Saturday, July 16, 2011

Donna Reed or Julianna Margulies?

I tend to go through these cycles of anxiety and worry over work life balance. It gets most intense in the summer when the kids have half days of summer program. We can't afford to have better care. And I have an unrealistic desire to be more engaged with them. Truth is, I can't let go of the gender roles of Donna Reed blended with The Julianna Margulies' character on "The Good Wife." [note]

I want to be the fun mom that bakes cookies, does crafts, organizes outdoor games, keeps a perfect home, and puts parsley garnish on the dinner plate, all while being impeccably groomed, and wearing pearls over a starched ironed apron.

And while I'm doing that, I'd have a classic fashion style of reasonably priced almost designer clothes  that are perfectly fitted and pressed. My shoes would be appropriate and wouldn't harm my knees. My husband and children would always look like they stepped out of a magazine.

Our dog would be gentle, loving and calm. He would have his daily exercise and stimulation. He would not being chewing up furniture in frustration or swallowing small toy parts out of boredom.

There would be no clutter in the home. And items that are stored are still used at some point of the year, or they get quickly removed from the home. The lawn would be meticulously kept, the garden flourishing and bountiful. The car would be in good working order, clean and still have the new car smell.

There will always be fresh food available for the healthfully planned meals; all written down on the color coded wall calendar that would also include kids' lessons and play dates and all of my evening civic duty committee meetings. All surfaces of the home would gleam before I slip into freshly laundered sheets that smell of lavender.

I'll awake each morning refreshed, ready to jump into morning exercise, then shower, dress and apply appropriate amount of make up and style my hair. I would prepare breakfast fruit faces for my well rested, smiling children. While they are eating their half of the daily recommended amount of fresh food for proper vitamin intake, I'd smile as I whip up a batch of fluffy chocolate chip pancakes.They will be as excited for a day of exploring, adventure, and learning as I am. We head out the door with plenty of time to drive to the first appointment of the day.

I would get to my office ready to tackle the well organized and reasonably planned task list for the 3 hours window of time.  At the time to pick up the kids for lunch, they'd be happy to tag along for a lunch meeting. They would play with each other quietly while I converse intently with my lunch date.

We would arrive back at the house by 2 pm. It would of course be time to walk the dog, eager to sniff but not too impatient to pull on the leash unreasonably. It would be a short walk in the summer heat, but enough to keep the dog satisfied. I'd let the kids stay in the house so they don't get too uncomfortable. They would thank me for being so considerate that I would return to the home, catching them sweeping the floors and sorting the laundry without my telling them to do so. They would then read their library books quietly while I catch up on a few more emails and bits of research.

We'd either head to the pool for an hour or two, or do a craft project. Next we'd make dinner together in time for Daddy to arrive and ready to sit down at the table. After dinner, the kids and I would help Daddy in the garden and do other chores while whistling a happy tune.

The kids would express their desire to get ready for bed so that I can get back to working on the various items I didn't finish during the day. Those kids are so wonderfully supportive.

Then I'll really wake up, and be thankful that I'm the only one in my family with these unreasonable scenarios. But the truth of the matter is, the kids really do this schedule. Maybe with a few more eye ball rolling and huffing, but they still do comply with my schedule. Chores? Not so much.

As much as I complain about how much work I have to do - it's the work I've always dreamed of. I have the kids I always prayed for. I'm luckily married to the most accepting, smartest, funniest, and handsomest man I ever met.

So how is it that I feel like I'm failing? Oh yeah!- it's those damned TV role models. I have to keep reminding myself just like I do to the kids - it's movie magic. And I know it's a team of stylists, production assistants and lots of takes that make it look like the unreasonable life style I somehow convince myself that I ought to have.

#30 of 90in90 for #LUBlogTribe
[I'm troubled that it took more than a few moments to come up with a current TV character who is a career woman balancing motherhood.]

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