I’m rather nostalgic for the days when only twelve people came to read my daily postings. Now, sometimes–like today–I feel self-conscious, worried about what people will think of me. (Especially since some real life people read this now.) I feel vulnerable when I pull back the curtains and let people have a glimpse inside my house. If I describe my kitchen full of dinner dishes and abandoned glasses, everyone will know that I’m a slob. A lazy slob. If I exclaim that I am so tired, just so weary from my responsibilities here at home, everyone will roll their eyes and wonder just what is so difficult about maintaining a household in alignment with my very low standards of housewifery.
If I tell you about the pile of eighteen books near my desk, everyone will realize that I have pack-rat tendencies (and a lack of adequate bookshelves). If I talk about my non-existent relationship with my sister who no longer speaks to me, you’ll assume that I am a rotten person, especially since I talk about the estrangement. (How disloyal of me to speak the truth!) If I offer details about life with teenage boys (stinky shoes, stinky armpits, repetitive noises, broken beds), you might think that I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent. (You’d be right.) If I mention my 4-year old daughter’s impressive ability to write letters . . . on her face, her pajama pants, the wooden arm of the child-sized rocker, her little table in the kitchen, as well as on paper . . . you might think I’m bragging. Or that I have no control since she won’t stop marking every flat (and not flat) surface with neat little rows of letters.
It’s funny because I’m not really concerned with fitting a certain stereotype. I don’t care if people think I’m not a picture-perfect pastor’s wife or a holy enough Christian. It makes no difference to me that the Almas and Eleanors (anonymous commenters of prior days) of the world think I’m judgmental. I do worry about appearing to be a messy housekeeper with an abnormal level of clutter. If I knew you were coming by, I’d work myself into a lather putting things away and dusting and washing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees. But on a daily basis, I don’t want to devote time to bringing my household up to higher standards because that effort is ultimately such a losing battle. The kids undo what I do almost as quickly as I do it. (I know. A better mother than I would make the kids do it. I told you I have no idea what I’m doing here.) I just don’t want to work like a slave cleaning and tidying.
What I want to do is read. I want to think. I want to plant flowers–will the ground ever warm up? I want to be uninterrupted. I want to enjoy just a day or two of an empty nest. I wish I could exchange a couple of days of the normal chaos for a couple of future days of quiet. Alas, time is linear . . . no loop-do-loos, no skipping ahead, no backtracking. Just today. And then tomorrow, another today.
I need to shake this self-consciousness. You can help by pretending that either 1) you are just like me, thus feel no judgment, only empathy or 2) you aren’t reading this blog and won’t look at me cross-eyed when you see me in public. Also, if you’re going to stop by, give me a few hours’ notice so I can find someplace to stash all these books.