Sunday Confessional 2/19/2012

Heather says:

People new to Home Ec may wonder what this series is about. I started the Sunday Confessional a few years ago when I realized how it was way too easy to only share the best parts of life. Most of us tend to compare our personal, absolute worst with everyone else’s best foot forward. I started the Sunday Confessional not as a way to celebrate mediocrity or to encourage people to fail, but as a way to be honest about life. It’s never magazine perfect or tv tidy. We all have problems that aren’t fixed in thirty minutes and areas of our life that aren’t always perfectly staged for a photo shoot.

People get scared when their life isn’t measuring up to these false ideals. People write me emails, ashamed because they feel they aren’t good enough. I don’t want to contribute to that feeling. I want Home Ec 101 to be a resource no matter where you are on your journey to self-sufficiency and just as an FYI, perfect isn’t even on that map.

The way this works is I share something and then it’s your turn in the comments. It’s okay to be anonymous, just keep it family friendly.

So here goes:

The people who are close to me have been worried about me for a while. “You’re too stressed, Heather,” and yes, they’re right. You see, over the past five years Home Ec 101 slowly turned from a hobby into an actual job and what is slowly, so slowly, evolving into a career -this website isn’t all I do, but it is a hefty portion and the most public part of it. What those of you who don’t know me can’t see is I sweat the details, all of the details, all of the time. Was my tone too snarky? What if the community gets mad at me for for working with [Brand X]? I need to redo all the things right now! Oh no, I had a typo and no one told me. (Email me typo alerts, please, it’s kind of embarrassing to have them pointed out in the comments)

Some might say I’m a bit high strung.

Some might say I’m neurotic, but in a cute and endearing way not the scary way, of course -at least that’s what I hope.

Throw in some stress on a personal level and it really has gotten to be a bit too much.

So what does a work-a-holic do when they need a break from their brain? They start interviewing for a low-stress, part-time gig. (And then they bawl alone in a parking lot because they are “good enough” on the Internet to work with nationally recognized brands, but feel they just bombed an interview for a serving gig.) And then a couple days later they realize they just might be a bit hard on themselves when they find they actually landed said gig.

Starting in a couple of weeks, I’ll be working, very part-time, in my favorite Irish pub. (Some people I know have said I got the gig because I’m a redhead; I would hope it had more to do with the nearly ten years of F&B experience I had prior to having kids.)

Some of you are wondering how a serving gig could possibly be low-stress.

Let’s just say I need some “done” in my life.

As a mother, there’s never “done,” as a home owner, there is ALWAYS stuff I should be doing. As someone who is self-employed and works from home, there is always something more I could be doing to grow, improve, or increase my business.

Three nights a week I will now have a reason to put on make-up and leave the house. I will show up, do my job, and do it well. It may be conceited, but even as I worked my way up in the kitchen, I always waited tables because I was good at it and it brought in good money. At the end of my shift, I will clock out and I will carry home with me an immediate payoff, not only tips, but what they represent: immediate feedback on a job well done. Something I rarely get, as my boss* is very hard to please and knows when I’m phoning it in.

*I’m referring to me, not the one at the pub.

Am I idealizing it? Yes, a little bit. There will be things that go wrong, there will be the occasional table that doesn’t go well, there will be nights with crappy tips, I know this, but this time around, I have a more experienced perspective. It’ll still be a night out of the house that didn’t cost me anything except time and a few hours where I was distracted from the many things that are entirely out of my control.

And? The best part? The very best part of all? I will actually get to talk to adults, on a regular basis, without typing! It’s only been almost 9 years.

So what do you have to get off your chest?

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Comments

  1. *clicks non-existent LIKE button*

    • HeatherSolos says:

      @Bobbie Laughman the like button isn’t showing? Or are you just being silly?

      • KeterMagick says:

        @HeatherSolos @Bobbie Laughman I think Bobbie meant on the original post, where there isn’t a “like” button…just in the comments. (Keter watches Heather stress out over a Like button?)

  2. How I would love a job that I could leave when I clock out! As it is, I am a single mom of a teen girl, self-employed in a service industry and I teach at a tech school. The Honey-do list keeps growing, the house is always a mess (with 2 big Lab mixes, “clean” is a relative term!) and there are 3 baskets of laundry waiting to be hung and put away, and 3 hampers that need to be run through the wash.

    Heather, you give me hope that one day I might have a clean house, especially if I channel my inner cleaning goddess, who right now is off getting a pedicure with my inner exercise goddess.

    I love your website and your insights–carry on!

    • HeatherSolos says:

      @Dechlin I was waffling between going back to school and getting ANY degree (for a long time I procrastinated because I’m close to an ACS degree in Biochemistry and the ACS version is not offered around here. Recently I realized ANY degree would be better than my current “none” even if it eliminated all the extra work I did. However, I think the stress level of school would be way higher than a part-time gig, at least at this stage of my career / life.

      You’ll get there. A clean house is more about consistent effort, maintenance is a whole other story. Is the teen girl helping out?

  3. propellerhead1 says:

    I love how you keep it real Heather. :) You are correct. It is so hard not to compare oneself to the public successes of another. We are always our own worst critic. It sounds as if you are going to enjoy the part time gig and it will give you a way to decompress from some of the stress in your life. Thanks for sharing….

  4. whenpigsflyblog says:

    Good for you. Sometimes we forget how fulfilling it can be to take home a paycheck. I’ve started doing a little bit of freelance stuff and just getting even a tiny check is so nice. Good luck and have fun!

  5. I know *exactly* what you mean. I took a part-time job at Old Navy a few years ago. It was such a stress release for me. Mindlessly folding clothes, helping clueless husbands find a good gift, keeping up with style without spending a dime, and, most importantly, interacting with people–grown people that I wasn’t married to. An added benefit that I hadn’t expected was the diversification of my income: no one job had all of the pressures of paying 100% of the bills. I was able to calm down at my full time responsibilities, too.It sounds like you’re taking care of yourself and I’m glad to hear it. :o)

  6. Ditto on that. My SIL’s over the years have always wondered what I do all day – while my ‘work’ has come and gone according to the needs of my family. It seems the only way I could ever ‘prove’ myself to them is if I were making money. Even to my husband who has supported me in my decisions when I would work or when I would be a SAHM – even he would sometimes play the money card – that he was the one ‘making the money’. A paycheck definitely does give a person a sense of worth and accomplishment : D

  7. Heather, it’s great that you’re getting out of the house. I totally understand all of these frustrations, and changing scenery does help. I know you’ll be great at this new gig, because you are great at everything you do.

  8. judithboggs2 says:

    Good for you, Heather! Waitressing can be fun (I bartended for a few months, once, and enjoyed that, too!) And getting to be with grownups who aren’t related to you can be so affirming! lol

    By way of confession for me this Sunday ….. I sometimes find that I have taken a tone of knowing it all, when, just like you, I know that I don’t. I’m working on that. In my eagerness to share the few things I do know, I don’t want to discourage anyone else by my snarky tone ….. sorry for when I have. And I am very open to learning from others’ experiences, which is why I have been reading your blog for years. You and your readers (and in the old days, Ivy) help me more that y”all can know. Thanks! Lift a Guiness for me!

  9. When I have too much to do, sometimes I shut down and don’t get much of anything done. With all cement floors and a dog, no dishwasher, and no dryer (meaning only one, MAYBE two loads of laundry every other day if one of them has all hanging things), things can pile up quickly if I’m not on top of it. I work part time and I cook 95% of what we eat on a very limited budget, so I’m always under some sort of stress. I try to blog at least one or twice a week with either a craft I’ve done or something I’ve cooked just to give me that sense of accomplishment you’re after with the new part time job.

  10. teresamtaylor says:

    Just today I was feeling like I’m at my breaking point. I have 2 beautiful girls who will be 3 and 1 in the next 2 weeks and I get to stay home with them. It is the dream job I never knew I wanted. I taught prior to staying home and thought I would do that forever. Since being home with the girls I thought I would always have a tidy house (I’m a bit of a clean freak) and healthy, home cooked meals. I am so overwhelmed with the day-to-day chores and things that I have just given up. It’s like a complete 180 — clothes (dirty and clean) everywhere, rotting veggies and fruits in the fridge and fast food bags in the trash. I am also so cheap (and possibly prideful) that I don’t want to ask for help cleaning or babysitting so I can accomplish tasks. I know I look comical (or pitiful) trying to keep it all together while the things are so evidently falling by the wayside.

    Thanks for your post to remind me that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows on the Internet or in real life. Perhaps it’s time I wave the white flag and ask for a little help and rearrange my priorities.

    • HeatherSolos says:

      @teresamtaylor I have been exactly in your shoes. EXACTLY. And just a few months later I was in those shoes and battling morning sickness.

      Hang in there, I promise you, it really does get less overwhelming, unless you’re weird like me and just pile stuff on top of yourself. :D

  11. I’ve been unemployed far too long…had started doing online stuff like Etsy & then my husband had heart surgery & that all got put on hold. Now, I need to start up again & just don’t feel like it. The advantage of the job you are describing is that it is regular money! In our house, with Dave being self-employed, regular money is not what happens unless I am working somewhere (but nobody has hired me this time). I can’t complain because God has provided as He always has and the paperwork from dealing with the medical system is almost a full-time job by itself.

    And my confession is that I really don’t WANT to work anywhere else! But I have to start being obedient about productivity. I am a natural sluggard.

  12. KeterMagick says:

    Heh! Learn from my FAIL! I had a bunch of extra strawberries bought on sale that needed to be made into jam quickly, so I shoehorned in cooking them down while making breakfast. And I got distracted setting the table because I discovered the dog had made a huge mess shredding some stuff in the dining area (blood pressure spike!!!). A minute later, sugar/strawberry syrup boiled over on a glass cooktop and immediately turned into a mixture of hard candy and carbon. Fifteen minutes with a razor blade, Brasso, and a magic eraser, and it’s like nothing happened, and the jam itself turned out fine. Still, I was vexed with myself for getting distracted. Yes, I was trying to do too much all at once. But I vented a bit of my spite: the dog got served his shreddings for breakfast instead of his kibble. Yes, he’s smart enough to understand that. ;o)

    Heather, you are the only person other than me who, when they need to decompress, will bite off something more to do. ;o) I understand your reasoning, though, and fully resonate with the “getting to talk to adults” thing. The isolation – combined with the inability to hold an adult conversation when I had managed to corner, er, “capture the attention of” another adult without 10,000 interruptions from the rugrats drove me utterly bonkers. I am a complete Irish pub freak: there’s nothing better than a good pub (and a Guinness). Slàinte!

    • HeatherSolos says:

      @KeterMagick I’m sure there are others out there, they probably have just packed their schedules so tightly that commenting is completely out of the question ;)

      Oh and I totally understand the dog thing and the irritation. I once came home to find the kitchen looked like a crime scene. The dog had chewed a red pen; it was incredible how much ink fit in one Bic pen.

      I’m really excited to get started, and it must be one of those “meant to be” things because finding work pants wasn’t even the usual nightmare. I stopped in Target and found appropriate black pants that were a) long enough and b) on clearance. When does that happen? Apparently only in leap years or something.

      • @HeatherSolos @KeterMagick NICE! I remember looking for black or tan pants…NEVER long enough and always EXPENSIVE….

  13. I work part time and stay home part time with my 4YO. Our house seems to be in a semi-permanent state of remodel and I am forever forever forever behind on laundry and floor cleaning. Since we live in the mountains (read: lots of dirt tracked in), have two dogs, a kid and wood floors, the floor situation is constant, even after just cleaning them. I would love to feel comfortable having people over more, but between the unfinished state of the house and needing to do so much prep to have them come, I often don’t have. And I love company. I would so love to be one of those people with a sparkly, finished house who has a housekeeper too. That’s my confession. :-)

    • @stacyl Y’know what’s ironic? Most of us are more comfortable in a house that looks like ours & most of us have houses that look like yours!

  14. Congrats on the job!

    Confession… Hockey has official taken its toll on our house… It is now over ( we had our state tourny this weekend) and I can start reclaiming it before I start my couple months of full time work at the zoo ( a job that I was call up and offered… I wish all my jobs came that way).

  15. Good for you! I can completely relate- so nice to feel such a tangible sense of accomplishment at the end of a shift. Nice to be doing something you’re proficient at too instead of muddling around trying to make it all somehow work (referring to me here, not necessarily you!). Best wishes with the new gig!

    My confession?? I am itching to start another blog or go back to writing on my old one, but I haven’t quite done it yet as I am not sure I would be “good enough” at it!

  16. And I know where you will be working, so I can come in and harass you! I can be “that” customer. Ah… the small joys in life. ;)

    • HeatherSolos says:

      @carnellm we should probably clarify, for those who don’t know, that you are a friend, here in real life AND that you save the website from time to time.

      @carnellm pitches in when a tech problem is beyond my skill set.

      • @HeatherSolos Wait, there is such a thing as real life? I thought on-line was all there was. Us geeks don’t get out much you know.

  17. AndreaUpdyke says:

    I have thought of getting a serving job again from time to time. It really can be fun! I hope you love it. As for confessions, I have one that is home related. I am a pile-addict. I can’t stand clutter so I “quick-clean” almost daily, but I end up making small piles of I’ll deal with that later. They are everywhere and it makes me nuts! Piles in the kitchen, piles on my desk, my dresser, my nightstand, the living room, all containing some mishmash of papers, magazines, a stray necklace or something that needs to be filed. Insane. I am drowning in piles!

    • @AndreaUpdyke This made me laugh….I, too, am a pile-addict. I end up scooping them into a box or basket to keep sanity & have a room my husband calls the womancave that is barely useable because the piles are stored there to be dealt with later.

      The only consolation is that my son in the Air Force publicly acknowledged on facebook that he aced a surprise inspection due to the ability to hide dirt & clutter quickly, ending with ‘Thanks, Mom’.

      I think that doing one box/basket at a time might help, or setting a timer to do it a little at a time.

    • @AndreaUpdyke In our house we call that “flat-surface-syndrome”….hahahaha!

  18. Confession: I just get overwhelmed. Then I feel lazy. Then I might just have a pity-party with a glass of wine. It is getting better (we are moving into a house with a much better lay-out and G-a-s-p….real closets and storage space.)

  19. bigfeet4me says:

    Old paperwork – haunts me. Piles get cleaned off counters and dumped into a brown paperbag when company is coming and then over the years those can accumulate. Then if you are moving (you don’t have time to actually go through those bags then) you put multiple of those in a moving box and label “Old Paperwork”. Over the years this has been my biggest organizational challenge. Hubby definitely gives me crap about moving “old paperwork”. Ha! What to keep? How long to keep it? Ugh! :-)

  20. I’m going back to serving too! (because being a housewife is consuming my very fibers right now and like yourself, I just want to complete something I know I do well.) Confession, I’m totally tired of my parent association at my child’s school and I want to quit, but I don’t want to give the nay-sayers (that never volunteer) the satisfaction of saying “I told you she would quit.” I’m secretly counting down the days to summer vacation!