Doesn’t everyone have house elves??

I’m getting really fed up with the crummy mother-shaming exhortations to “slow down” or “simplify” or whatever, and today I read one that included a couple lines just perfectly encapsulates why I loathe them so, that went something like “slow down mommy, those dirty dishes can wait / slow down mommy, let’s bake a cake”. Because, uh, HELLO, I CAN’T BAKE A CAKE IN A KITCHEN WITH A SINK/COUNTER THAT’S COVERED IN SHIT THAT NEEDS TO BE WASHED AND ALSO NOT IF ALL THE SHIT WE NEED TO BAKE A CAKE IS, Y’KNOW, FUCKING DIRTY BECAUSE YOU JUST TOLD ME NOT TO WASH IT ALL.

Who the hell do the authors of these things think is gonna make sure kids have a clean plate to eat off and oh by the way also something to eat (maybe even something that isn’t going to spin them into hypoglycemic crash and turn them into asshole devil children)? In what magic fairy land does messy play not require a significant amount of prep and/or clean up which apparently we’re not supposed to do because gods forbid we spend two seconds doing anything other than staring at our cherubs in absolute rapture? Where the hell do the clean warm clothes come from for kicking in the leaf piles and how the fuck are we supposed to spontaneously hop outside to jump in them if we can’t find anybody’s %$#@ boots because no one spent the time to make sure they were put where they belong? What the FUCK are we teaching our children if we never let them see us engage in the daily activities of life, including cleaning up after ourselves and yes washing the fucking dirty dishes NOW, not after Freespirit doTerra Moonbeam goes to bed?

But no, fuck all that, once again allllllllll the damn work that mothers do is made invisible1, dismissed as unimportant, and we are told, again, that we are doing. it. wrong.

I get that I’m not the intended audience, but I still get caught in the shotgun spray. Because these things almost never say “hey, if you haven’t played with your kid this month because you’re still polishing the silver, maybe you could consider letting that go for a day”. They don’t often say “you’re doing the best you can under an impossible and unbearable set of demands, so yay you! When was the last time you cut yourself a break and took a moment to just breathe in your kids?” No, they say “you, Mother, I know all I need to know about you because you’re a woman with children and there is nothing beyond you than that, and so I know you’re doing it wrong, and let me tell you how in guilt tripping and/or infantalizing ways”. And that’s fucking awful.

Now someone clean my damn kitchen. I want cake.2

  1. Also invisible: any parents who are not mothers! Because they do not have Sooper Speshul Relashunnship With FdT Moonbeam because, um, vagina! Or something! Also, they wouldn’t be caught dead washing dishes in the first place cuz that’s wimmin’s work, ammirite?
  2. “WHAT THE HELL ARWYN WHERE THE FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN?” Umm… hi! A…round? Mostly trying to earn munnehs and do good work and shiz? And, y’know, cleaning and parenting and sometimes even baking cakes? Y’know! Stuff! Um. Sorry? Hi! …bye! *runs away*
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11 Responses to Doesn’t everyone have house elves??

  1. You’re baaaack!!! And YES I feel you on this. When hearing this advice I’ve often thoight, “sure but who the fuck is gonna make sure we have clean forks and plates for the eleventybillion snacks my kids require/consume all day long?” Thank you for saying this so brilliantly.

  2. Hilarious. Glad someone else gets pissed off about these “little things”…they’re so insidious I often don’t even realize they’ve made me feel vaguely bad without knowing why, so I think I just partially shrug it off and move on without having the chance to say hey, fuck you for making nee feel bad, bc I didn’t really realize they did! Not fair. Thanks for noticing this one for me!

  3. Manic Pixie Dream Parenting is not for me.

    Also, hi! Feel free to disappear for as long as you want, it is your blog and you aren’t obligated to us, but I am very glad to see you.

  4. Dude. I’m having a fucking awesome day if I don’t yell at anybody. I’m not a play-on-the-floor mom, my sink is usually stacked high, the laundry baskets full of not-yet-folded clothes… And I have three beautiful, spirited, loving children. Naysayers can suck it.

  5. Arwyn, I love you.

    No, really, I do, because I think this sort of thing every time I read one of these, and I think, “dude, since when is it my responsibility to spend every waking moment entertaining my children – shouldn’t they do a little entertaining themselves? Shouldn’t they help clean up their messes? I mean, yeah they’re 2 and 5 but if we don’t start learning to clean up messes now…..when will they learn?”

  6. Great words to read over coffee! Hells Yes!!!

  7. Arwyn! You rock! I’ve missed you!!

    (But in a totally non-pressuring, non-guilt-inducing, you-do-what-you-gotta-do and I’ll be thrilled when you show up here when and if ever that happens way, you know :)

    • Haha, thanks. :)

      I know the pressure to Blog Consistently (or Not at All You Abject Failure) is preeeeeeetty much all in my head, but, y’know. Head shit.

      But hey, I actually renewed my hosting for a full YEAR, so if nothing else, the archives will stop randomly disappearing! And the money’s sunk anyway, so I might as well make use of it, right? <–is how I hope it might go, sometimes, a little, in my head.

  8. HELLO!!!! Ahem, excuse me, thank you for this post my friend.
    I have a lot of feelings about this post and the sentiments that led to said post. I’m trying to navigate what being a full-time working mom to a breastfed baby with a SAHD partner means to me and for how I am as a parent, especially in my field where I am taking care of other people all day long and I can struggle with compassion fatigue and secondary trauma and blah blah blah. Plus then there’s the typical second shift shit that comes up even though A and I both know well enough that it’s BS but we’re both learning and figuring out as we go. Anyway… hello, nice to see you around these parts and no worries if you don’t come back for some time.

  9. Hiiiiiiii! I’ve missed your voice. :)

    I just read this article by a friend of mine:

    I thought it was a much better article about keeping a clean house, not mom shaming at all. AND it talks about men cleaning. Win!

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