It does TOO apply to you.

Online Journal as Dumping Ground: I cannot stop thinking about this little incident that happened a few days ago, and when I say “little incident” I really mean it because it was just a tossed-off comment in a larger conversation about nothing much. However, I CANNOT GET IT OFF MY MIND. Therefore, I am going to share it with you, along with my various reactions and possibly some semi-coherent textual representations of sputtering. Woo! Are you ready? Here it goes.

So I was in my friend’s car on the way home from Wal-Mart after we had spent a significant portion of the day cleaning her kid’s room. We were talking about domestic crap, like how kids make messes and what you do to get your whites even whiter or whatever, and she said, “See, I understand the concept of cooking and cleaning, just not as it applies to me!” This was in reference to the fact that she mostly doesn’t do these things, think about these things, or worry about these things, because life is too short and her family is perfectly happy in a messy house (which is true), so whatever.

Okay. Okay, here’s the thing. The thing is… that at the time I didn’t think about it much but now my head is going to explode, because REALLY? There are really people who are like the low-rent small-town version of Paris Hilton, shopping and partying and wearing stylish sunglasses, and it is now acceptable to admit that in the home arena you are kind of useless? What? HUH?! Gah! The more I think about this the more I want to call her and say something like, “You don’t understand the ‘concept’ of cooking and cleaning ‘as it applies to you?’ WELL HOW NICE. It must be GREAT to be able to toss that one off like the stay-at-home mom version of ‘I don’t do windows!’ Have a nice goddamn day; if you want to come over I will be here, doing laundry and fixing lunch for my son!” I have been obsessing about this for three days now, and it just does not get any better.

Am I jealous? Hell, I don’t know. I just feel like that was a pretty stupid moment that I should have caught and responded to in some way, instead of just going, “Yep,” or doing whatever it was I actually did. The concept of cooking and cleaning? You understand the concept? Because I did not know there was a concept, I thought it was all action and results, like a mathematical formula: One (1) appropriate cleansing agent + one (1) germ-phobic stain-obsessed household manager (“Mom”) + many (4789345876) hours of scrubbing, sorting, and tidying = one (1) clean, happy, well-fed family. I did not know that there was this whole theory that you could just appreciate from a distance without worrying about or striving for its daily application. Sure, there are days when I say “eh, fuck it” and we all go out to play or whatever, but on the whole I feel like if you stay at home doing nothing, have kids, and are the primary caretaker for that home and those kids, then you should maybe — and wait for it a minute, because this is radical — TAKE CARE OF YOUR HOME AND KIDS.

The whole thing is just driving me nuts for vague reasons, really, because this friend’s kids are quite obviously well cared-for and very happy, she and her husband are very much in love and functional, and their house is often messy but it’s never gross or anything. So why should I care? I DON’T KNOW. I just keep having visions of all the dishes I’ve scrubbed, all the mopping-related backaches I’ve endured, and feeling kind of pissed off. Again, all I can think of to say is, OH IT MUST BE NICE. Perhaps I am just pissed off at my own anal-retentive stickler tendencies toward being some kind of Stepford mommy, I don’t know.

I have your concept right here, buddy. Jeez.


7 Responses to It does TOO apply to you.

  1. stillnotatallscruffy says:

    Yeah, but this is a self-solving problem, because if you fail to feed children — probably for more than three or four hours — they complain vehemently. My child, long may he wave, was 22″ when he was born, and twenty-three years later was (is) 75″, and a LOT of the difference was my cooking. You with your imminently-six-foot-plus kid are in much the same position, and it ain’t conceptual.

  2. lethal says:

    I’m glad I don’t have a kid. Getting a slew of 50+ year olds to put their dishes in the dishwasher and put their blankets away after naptime is hard enough!!!

  3. sarawr says:

    You know… it’s not actually so bad; it is, at least, not very much worse than just cleaning up after an adult or two. Something about the privilege/spoiledness inherent in that comment really HACKED ME OFF, though, and I just cannot let it go. Of course I cannot just call L up and be like, “GUESS WHAT YOU LAZY, SPOILED, SPENDY WOMAN, YOU ARE LAME,” if only because she is not actually lame. I really need to get a grip on the idea that one line of a conversation does not sum up the participants’ respective lives, because DAMN.

    Still, at the least, it was a pretty DUMB remark. I stand by that. I do not, however, stand by the notion that my kid is a ton of work/nagging or that there is no reward, because he mostly picks up after himself (except for stuff he obviously can’t, like tall things or heavy things or using chemical cleansers) and he is pretty darn rewarding. Mostly, that whole comment just sounded like “haha I don’t have to be a grownup because I am insufferably pampered” to me, and it ADDLES MAH BRAIN.

    God, I need to shut up about it.

  4. Anne says:

    So if her house isn’t a total pigsty, and her family is getting fed – who’s doing it all? I don’t really understand what her situation is – could she be just playing down what she does do in order to seem more Paris Hilton or ????

  5. sarawr says:

    No. Her husband does a lot of it, and she usually has the kids do more — like, when it comes time to pick up the living room the kids do it while she sort of helps, or when it’s time for dinner she’ll do the shopping but her husband does the cooking. She’s trying, right now, to be a stay-at-home mom for the first time in a while, but she doesn’t seem to understand that staying at home means you have to do some of this stuff yourself. If something’s actually gross or unsanitary, I assume she cleans it up — at least, I’ve never seen anything disgusting over there — but the actual cleaning just doesn’t get done. The house is a total mess, it’s just not filthy, if that makes sense.

    And again, her kids and her husband seem to be fine and they’re a fairly happy family, so who knows? Maybe this is just how it works for them. I think it bothers me because this woman is already very princessy and diva-y and… you know, she makes a big deal out of how she shops and buys $70 purses and spends hours on her makeup, etc. She likes to project this “I’m so pampered” image, and it bothers me in a woman of 34 who has three kids and is not wealthy. I think I just have a problem with people who are proud of being useless; my personal feeling is that when you are an adult, you need to have some level of competence in certain arenas, you know?

  6. Anne says:

    I think I just have a problem with people who are proud of being useless

    You’re not alone there!

  7. […] I just realized how harsh this post came off, and I kind of want to clarify a few […]

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