Dear Fellow Over Burdened Modern Women of the World:
Why do we make life so many times harder for ourselves than it needs to be?
Ok, back up. Let me share a mini-breakdown I had a couple weeks ago.
I am practically incapable, as I imagine many of you are, at saying no. I want to do everything, and because I am a modern American woman, I CAN do everything and I MUST do everything. Have you ever paused to imagine the perfect modern woman, as she is subtly implied by the sum total of all the different conceptions of ideal modern femininity? Here, I’ll describe her:
She must be lovely, but effortless. She must look good without trying, she must be stylish yet frugal, she must be poised, but not stiff.
She must excel in all domains. She must be accomplished in the workplace, taking on top jobs and doing them as good as – nay, better – than any man. She must rise to the top of her career, so as not to be limited by her gender.
Yet she must also have time to go to the gym, maintain a perfect house, one that is “simple” and “elegant” which translates frequently into “expensive” and “carefully curated.” She must have time to maintain multiple friendships, volunteer at charities, and entertain.
Oh, and she must also be a supermom, in the midst of all the rest. She must cloth-diaper (hey mom friends – is that a verb?), teach her baby sign language, make all her homemade baby food, breastfeed without problem, spend hours playing outside so her children never know what a TV is and prefer composing sonatas in their spare time (did I mention that this women is obviously musical?). She must sleep train, attachment parent, co-sleep, and schedule her children all at the same time. And she must still have time to love her husband and go on lots of cute dates.
She must be a virtuoso in the kitchen. Her dinners must be nutritional, delicious, and aesthetic. They must also be vegan, gluten free, free range, grass fed, and organic – all at the same time.
And she must always, always, ALWAYS, bring homemade treats to parties. Because if she brings slice and bake cookies, she will be single handedly responsible for the destruction of the American family.
Obviously, I am exaggerating a tiny bit. But if you look at all the articles, images, blogs, etc. that are out there competing to tell us how to live, the aggragate is a little overwhelming. Which brings me to my breakdown of a couple weeks ago.
I was helping throw a baby shower for a dear friend and I was in charge of the snacks and games. (The décor and invitations were done by my friend’s other friends who did an unbelievable job and at some point I will steal some of their awesome photos to share because it was perfect.) Now obviously, there is a right and easy way of doing this: go to Trader Joe’s and load your cart with all those delicious premade yummies. There is no one of woman born who can’t find treats they love in the frozen food section of Trader Joe’s.
But obviously, I couldn’t do this. If I brought non-homemade food to this shower, I would be admitting my failure as a woman, and her baby would surely come out with four feet or something. I should add that this friend would have been more than happy for me to show up with some salsa, chips, and Totino’s pizza rolls – the burden I felt was totally of my own imagining.
And so, at midnight, I was slaving in my kitchen over gourmet mini-quiches.
Let me tell you why so many places sell premade mini-quiches: they are an absolute beast to make. One tray was such a disaster that I pulled it out of the oven and turned and dumped it directly in the trash. James walked in at one point and might have asked if we should just go buy some, and I barked his head off that NO I HAD TO MAKE THEM BECAUSE I AM A WOMAN WHO COOKS.
And Fellow Modern Women, that’s absolutely ridiculous. What matters is that you are sharing your heart and your time, not mastering culinary greatness.
And so, my sage advice to you this morning is this. Next time you throw a party:
Go to Trader Joe’s.
Buy the darn mini-quiches.
Buy the pre-made flatbreads.
Load up on cheese and crackers.
Don’t let ridiculous images tell you that you can do it all.
You don’t need to.
Spend less time chasing the ideal and more time loving the people who matter in it.
Hannah Who Will Never Again Make Homemade Mini-Quiches
PS: Despite my late night breakdown, the party was a success, and the food was great, even if I was only successful in my mini-quiches for half of the guests to eat them. The success wasn’t the issue… I just could have gotten there so much easier, with fewer dishes, and less snapping at the hubs.