So, instead of commenting on the Kerfuffle, I'm just going to talk about my own mom guilt, since I think that's what really fuels these particular firestorms. I don't personally know any mothers or fathers (or anyone else, for that matter) who judge other mothers for the choices they make for their families. We're all just doing what we can.
Unfortunately, somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain (and I know I'm not alone in this) is some cruel taskmaster who seems to think I could be penning Pulitzer Prize winning novels in my spotlessly clean and beautifully decorated home in between doing age-appropriate craft projects with my son, running 20 miles a week, reading the greats of the literary canon (to my son, theoretically) and cooking gourmet meals. These activities are all well within my reach, according to my task master. The problem, apparently, is that I spend an inordinate amount of time relaxing on my duff.
I've started to realize that the Judgie McJudgerson I'm housing in my head has a pretty skewed view of how time works. Sure, I probably spend a little more time than necessary reading humor articles online. My checking my email ritual has certainly grown to be a 40 minute exercise that doesn't necessarily need to happen before I start every writing project. And I certainly hit the snooze button--or, alternatively, let LO snuggle with me instead of getting up and making breakfast since, due to him, I haven't needed an alarm clock in a long long time--for a longer period of time than most people need to read the morning paper. (Did I just show my age with that comparison? For you Gen-Yers, that means "for a longer period of time than most people need to check HuffPo, TMZ and Twitter in the morning.")
But, ultimately, I do get a great deal accomplished each day. My taskmaster just doesn't count it for anything.
"Big whoop," she says. "So you unloaded the dishwasher before starting breakfast. Shouldn't you have done that last night anyway? And it's not like you cleaned up the breakfast dishes."
(That voice, by the way, sounds like the mean girls in middle school. Because I'm sure they all would really care about the relative cleanliness of my kitchen. It's up there with who has cooties as one of the most pressing issues of their existence.)
While that tween-voiced taskmaster has always been a part of my daily productivity struggles, motherhood has added quite a bit to her repertoire. Because it never occurs to her (or me, I guess), that adding a toddler/my particularly stubborn little cuss to the mix of my day makes things take thaaaaaaaat muuuuuuuch loooooooonger. But the mean girl still expects me to get about the same number of things done per day that I could accomplish when I was still a carefree single girl. Back then, I could devote untold hours at a time to a particular project until it was completed.
And therein lies the real difference between my pre-motherhood productivity and post-motherhood half-assery. I keep having to stop whatever I'm doing in the middle and try to pick it up later after whatever diaper explosion/tears/fitful nap/minor crisis has been dealt with. I'm not so good at that.
I don't know that anyone is particularly good at it, to be honest. And so we've all got our own version of the middle school mean girl barking at us when the house is a disaster area, the child is getting most of his nutrients from ketchup, and your last workout was when you picked up two gallons of milk at once.
So, in an attempt to call a Kerfuffle detente, I invite you to list five things you did yesterday. (I'll admit it, I'm stealing this activity from CafeMom, a website that is otherwise a complete and utter wasteland.) But I felt like this was a good activity to help me remember that my duff is not nearly as well-acquainted with my couch as my personal mean girl seems to think it is. This will prove once and for all that we're all working our collective asses off. I'll get us started.
1. Took LO to his 9:30 swim lesson.
2. Ran to the accountant's to sign our tax forms.
3. Wrote an article about the relative wisdom of purchasing a house in 2012. (Conclusion: it depends!)
4. Went shopping at WalMart with LO, who showed off his natural sorting skills by taking items from low shelves and placing them in nearby bins, despite his mama's repeated requests for him to "stay close" and "put that down."
5. Fried up some potatoes and made a gravy to go with Sunday's leftover brisket.
In the interest of ending this ridiculous sense that parents are somehow different from each other, please, tell me five things you did yesterday. I'll bet you got more done than you think you did.