The Dirty Secret of Homemaker Guilt

I love homemaking. I just love it. I love cooking, I love decorating, I love making my home more functional, I even love cleaning (well, sometimes. And even if I don’t love cleaning, I sure do love having cleaned).

And yet, even though I am an absolutely enthusiastic homemaker, I more and more find myself succumbing to an ugly side of modern homemaking: guilt.

Let’s face it: even the best of us have homemaker guilt these days. I admit that I am a huge, unwavering Martha-Stewart fan, but — in all honesty — she also stresses me out. When I flip through her magazine and look at those perfect cupcakes, perfectly wrapped presents, gorgeous table arrangements, I am torn between excitement (hey! I want to do that too!) and stress (how the hell can I find time to do that?).

And I think a big part of our guilt comes from the fact that we live in a world where homemaking has been professionalized. We’re bombarded with images of perfect houses on HGTV, perfect dinners on the Food Network, perfect parties in magazines. And while many of these publications and shows profess that what they’re doing is “easy” and geared towards the average homemaker, the sheer amount of “easy fixes” or “easy dinners” or “easy table arrangements” that they suggest we try out some weekend is completely overwhelming.

“Hey, I can do that,” I think, when I see some neat feature in a homemaking magazine, like a suggested center piece arrangement, or feature on how to organize your closets in five easy steps. But then I really think about the time and effort it would take to purchase the items for some table arrangement, or craft project, or easy four-course French dinner, and I get completely overwhelmed. I could do it. Theoretically. But in reality, I really I don’t have the time, or the money, or even, on some days, the energy.

It helps when I get in these slumps to realize that these “easy home meals” have been created by people whose job it is to come up with dinners you can supposedly make in less than 30 minutes. Those “easy fixes for the home” that my beloved Martha features in her magazine, are actually projects that they spent days photographing to make them appear utterly perfect.

Part of me loves these publications; I love the ideas that they give me, I love the way they spark my imagination and inspire me to do more things around the home. And part of me hates them, because I never actually have the time to make the 30-minute meal that will actually take me an hour to make, and for which I have to purchase $20 in extra ingredients that I wouldn’t normally buy.

Let’s face it: in this day and age, you have to work to make a living. Even if homemaking is our calling, we have to fit it in between our jobs, activities, and social lives. We can prioritize it, we can love it, we can even be one of those professional people who do formerly domestic tasks for a living, but for most of us the home is something we have to work on in our spare time.

This blog is meant to be about modern homemaking—for those of us who have a passion for cooking and baking and decorating and making our house a home, but who also have to face the realities that it’s something that we do in our spare time. And, in the interest of truly full disclosure, I want this blog to be a way for me to motivate myself to find the time to spend on my home projects, which so easily get pushed out of the way because of work, social activities, travel, and even the allure of watching crappy TV with my boyfriend after a long day at work.

So here’s to homemaking—but homemaking without the guilt, pressure, and stress.After all, those things really shouldn’t be a part of something you love, and I don’t think they have to be.


1 Comment »

  1. […] true – it’s Modern Domestic’s one year anniversary today. My first post, “The Dirty Secret of Homemaker Guilt,” went up a year ago. Elpis and Justice and I celebrated at Co Co Sala with one of their three-course […]

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