A Peek Behind the Curtain of Imperfection

March, 2011 · By Coryanne Ettiene

7 years ago my world changed forever when my daughter was born.  Prior to her birth, I had no concept of how valuable time was, and our home was a place frequented in between work and social events…the thought of becoming domesticated conjured up images of comfortable shoes and day time TV, complimented by a frazzled distance from the outside world.  I embraced motherhood with open arms, but the life that came with it was another story. I fought domestication every step of the way, because I was convinced that there was little value in it.  Not satisfied with being labelled a ‘housewife’, I pursued a Master’s Degree in Philosophy at Kings College London and nearly lost my sanity trying to juggle one of the hardest degree programmes in the UK with a newborn….and surprise surprise, a pregnancy too.  Ironically, I was proud of my lunacy for the mere fact that it placed me as far as I could be from being a ‘housewife’.  2 years later, with 2 babies in tow, I started my own consulting business and juggled clients in between playgroups and nap-times…my life was anything but restful, just being around me left people short of breath and reaching for a glass of wine.

My insanity finally came to a halt when we moved from our tiny London flat to our first family home.  Three years after I became a reluctant housewife, an MPhil under my belt, and a number of clients later, I finally discovered the value of domestication and that my role as housewife was just as meaningful as all my previous roles, if not more so.  My journey into domesticity was more of a battle than a transformation, made worse by the fact that I could not relate to any of the figure heads sharing their domestic talents– I saw them as a pioneers from an earlier generation who illustrated perfection and would not approve of my short cuts, my total lack of craftiness or simply not understand why I would wear heels when I could be wearing more comfortable shoes.

By the time my 3rd child was born, our family home was fully remodelled, I embraced domesticity, and I began sharing my ideas of how to lead a more domesticated life on Housewife Bliss.  The last year has seen us leave our beloved London for a more slow living lifestyle in the US.  We originally intended to stay in Arizona for a year before laying roots down in California — however we are now going to plant roots here and to do so we need to move from our current house to a bigger house to get the most out of our lives.

…this is where the imperfection comes in…….

We are moving the weekend of my daughter’s birthday party and right before  her first science project is due, and I could go on and on with all the other things that make moving this weekend the worst possible scenario, but instead I will just say that life happens, and you can only do the best you can do.  Since her first birthday I have made her a number birthday cake (1.2,3,4,5 & 6) all elaborately decorated and cause for much stress the night before.  The cakes are important to me, I have visions of showing her the photos of each one when she is older and having her coo over the detail and love that when into making them.  However the cakes are not important to her, I am reminded each time we go past the bakery section that for her next birthday she want’s one of those cakes ‘like all the other children have’.  I am stubborn, I am an idealist and I am housewife, no daughter of mine is going to have a bright pink birthday cake with an air sprayed Justin Bebier on it, so I smile and say that when she is 10 she can have a store bought cake  (why 10, who knows, maybe I know it will take too much time to bake 2 numbers?).  She pouts, but agrees and we carry on until the next time we pass by the cake isle at the shop.

Well, her ship has come in, this year she is getting her ultra violet cake full of heaven knows what, made by a stranger and decorated with the latest heart throb on top because this week, time is not on my side and imperfection is on the horizon.  I had to think about what was important, a smooth move that does not interrupt her party, or a crazed mother with cake batter on her face who is 10 mins late for the party & who forgot to unpack the party bags?

My battle with accepting domesticity is finished, my battle with perfection continues.  I accept that imperfection is part of daily life, and have learned that where we allow for it is up to us.  If this weekend has anything to teach me, it is that embracing domesticity means embracing the imperfection that life brings into your home.


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