13Nov
Award-winning photograph

Where My House Elves At

(Prints available on Etsy*)

Dear Internet,
You’ve got some ‘splainin to do.

I know that sounds sitcom-silly at best and beat-cop-antagonistic at worst, but I mean it sincerely. We’ve been together a long time, you and I, from that first GeoCities homepage in ’99 (those synthesized MIDI versions of Third Eye Blind songs I had running in the background really classed up the joint!) to this morning’s reflexive Facebook scroll-through. I understand that change is inevitable over the years; neither of us is as earnest or as driven to gimmicks as we were in the early days of online socialization, and you never promised to conform to my expectations of you. Still, there is a certain version of reality that you’ve been projecting as something obvious and ordinary which continues to baffle me. And no, I’m not referring to the whole leggings-as-pants thing (though you’re welcome to explain that one too while you’re at it).

What I need you to help me understand is how the average Internet citizen of today seems to be able to juggle three or four full-time jobs at once. Let’s create a composite character for the sake of example: Harlingen Housewife is a totally average mother of four with her own Etsy shop and personal website. She gets up at 5 every morning so she’ll have adequate time to write a viral blog entry and run a few miles before making her family organic omelets for breakfast. While the kids are at school, she works on her third memoir, clears out her email inbox, and dusts the attic, keeping up a steady stream of Twitter banter all the while. After lunch, she focuses on her children, chauffeuring the older ones to extracurricular activities and facilitating art projects with the younger ones using a homemade watercolor recipe that she created on commission for Pinterest. Supper is quinoa-based. After reading the kids to sleep and treating her husband to a few rounds of lovemaking, she gets to work knitting custom convertible car tops for her Etsy shop. Only one or two tonight. After all, she needs plenty of sleep before her keynote speech at the next day’s Billionaire Bloggers Conference.

This is just a flat stereotype, of course. There are women who also manage to homeschool or run farms or travel the world or conduct publicity tours while doing all of the above. Some even hold down glamorous day jobs without missing a beat in their online success parade. Or at least that’s the picture you’re painting, dear Internet.

Here’s where my confusion comes in. I opened Twitter the other morning and immediately closed it again because—let’s be honest—99.7% of all Tweets nowadays are links to other pages, and I didn’t have time to read and compose retweetable comments on the thirty showing up on my screen, much less the thirty thousand queued up from the previous day. I didn’t have time because I was hoping to fit in a run before lunch, and adding two new pages to a writing project had already taken the lion’s share of the morning. The girls had an event scheduled for the afternoon, which meant that I would only have two hours after lunch in which to fit (or rather, fail to fit) errands, housecleaning, bookkeeping, emails, homework help, ironing, and a short lapse in judgment involving cookies… and there was the day, stretched out before me like a threadbare map, every inch of it already accounted for and found lacking.

You see, Internet, the contrast is just too great between what I’m able to do with my day (maintain a happy and occasionally hygienic home + write a little) and what you imply other moms are accomplishing with theirs (All The Things). Either I’m spectacularly incapable, or you’re skewing the truth. Or perhaps I’m just latching onto a skewed perspective of the truth that you never intended me to have. It’s hard to figure out sometimes what is real out here in the no-holds-barred glitter of your ether.

I realize that just because I can’t juggle multiple full-time gigs at once (and we DO agree that stay-at-home parenting is a legitimate occupation, right? good.) doesn’t mean that other people can’t. I also realize that the enviable personas attracting your spotlight are most likely supported by teams of babysitters and house elves and graphic designers and pizza delivery guys backstage. That’s just a hopeful guess though. For all I know, you could be the ultimate landing place for multitasking superheroes.

So please, dear Internet, in light of all the years we’ve spent together and my enduring love for the avenues of self-expression you’ve opened to the world, do me the courtesy of explaining:

  1. Whether or not task forces of mythical creatures are running the lives of successful bloggers for them
  2. What the primary difference is between my workday and theirs (if you say it’s a 5 a.m. wakeup time, I reserve the right to punch you in the throat even though I’ll know you’re right)
  3. What others are sacrificing for the appearance of having it all
  4. If those sacrifices have been worth the resulting success
    —and lastly—
  5. How anyone can keep up with Twitter and do anything else ever

Sincerely,
Puzzled in Perugia

 

~~~
*No

Share this Story

7 comments

  1. Oh MY GOODNESS!!! There are MYTHICAL CREATURES to HELP??? Holy cow. I NEED SEVERAL. Do they GRADE PAPERS? I have OVER 200 papers in my dropboxes right now. Just know that you were not describing me at all up there. I don’t ever do laundry, or clean, really. I only cook because I think it is required to keep children alive. And yes. Sometimes I ignore things* in order to do what I want. You should try that, or at least SHARE your MYTHICAL CREATURES. Do you have an Etsy shop for them?

    *Like grade papers

  2. What I need you to help me understand is how the average Internet citizen of today seems to be able to juggle three or four full-time jobs at once. Let’s create a composite character for the sake of example: Harlingen Housewife is a totally average mother of four with her own Etsy shop and personal website. She gets up at 5 every morning so she’ll have adequate time to write a viral blog entry and run a few miles before making her family organic omelets for breakfast. While the kids are at school, she works on her third memoir, clears out her email inbox, and dusts the attic, keeping up a steady stream of Twitter banter all the while. After lunch, she focuses on her children, chauffeuring the older ones to extracurricular activities and facilitating art projects with the younger ones using a homemade watercolor recipe that she created on commission for Pinterest. Supper is quinoa-based. After reading the kids to sleep and treating her husband to a few rounds of lovemaking, she gets to work knitting custom convertible car tops for her Etsy shop. Only one or two tonight. After all, she needs plenty of sleep before her keynote speech at the next day’s Billionaire Bloggers Conference.

    I am SO EFFING TIRED of the P31 Wife myth being propagated all over the interwebs! Oh wait. ;) This is brilliant, dear friend. And the award winning photograph is a glorious touch.

  3. You crack me up. Megsie cracks me up. There ARE no perfect people. Except for Elizabeth, and she’ll deny it loudly. And I’m with you on the throat-punching if the 5 a.m. wake up is what makes the difference. GAH.

  4. You. Are. The. Funniest!!!! How’s this FTW: we didn’t even go to the pumpkin patch this autumn so our boys could pick out pumpkins to carve and arrange on the front porch. From the looks of my Instagram feed, I AM A TOTAL FAILURE!!!!!

  5. Wait! You have house elves?! And here I thought you were raising preteen girls in a foreign country while writing, blogging, moving, setting up a new home, supporting your husband’s career by holding at least three different executive and administrative positions in his business, and running a marathon all by yourself.

  6. You are so funny! This is a great piece. And it makes me think of a post on GirlsGoneChild, Help is (not) a Four-Letter Word, where she talks about her nanny, and all the complicated things about having help and the pressure to appear as if you don’t.

    http://www.girlsgonechild.net/2013/02/help-is-not-four-letter-word.html

  7. Avatar of Bethany Bassett

    Hahaha, Megsie, I just love you. If I ever were to open at Etsy shop, you’d better believe it would sell mythical housekeeping creatures! Automatic grading robots too. XO

    Rain, love – You know me and Ms. P31. We’ve got quite the love-hate relationship (except without the love part).

    Liz – I’m inclined to agree about Elizabeth. :) Regarding our new 5 a.m. throat punching club, who would you like to target first? I’m thinking Snow White and her chirpy pre-dawn singing habit.

    Erika – No pumpkin patch?!?! HOW COULD YOU. One day when your boys are in therapy, they will be forced to admit that their childhoods were ruined by a lack of orange gourds. Just so you know and can start feeling guilty over it now. (BTW, my girls have been to a pumpkin patch exactly never, so they’ll be right there in therapy with your boys. Fun times!)

    Tom – Okay, your comment wins the day, especially for awarding me no less than three executive and administrative positions AND referencing the marathon. In fact, I think I’m going to put the marathon on my resume now. :D

    Willow – You know, I do remember reading that post. I’ve slipped behind on my GGC reading over the last… uh, year?… but I do love how honest she is about the behind-the-scenes working of her lifestyle. (Now to figure out how to afford a full-time nanny…)

© Copyright 2014, all rights reserved.
Site powered by Training Lot.
Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.