My Accidental Journey From Madison Avenue to the Mop ‘N Go Aisle
“I’ve been baking bread and looking after the baby…Everyone else who has asked me that question over the last few years says. ‘But what else have you been doing?’ To which I say, ‘Are you kidding?’ Because bread and babies, as every housewife knows, is a full-time job. After I made the loaves [of bread,] I felt like I had conquered something. But as I watched the bread being eaten, I thought, Well, Jesus, don’t I get a gold record or knighted or nothing?”
Like many of us, I grew up in a traditional household with a domestically-dutiful stay-at-home mom. I went to college–Duke and Oxford Universities-then I successfully hit the worlds of advertising and entertainment without a dust mop or plunger in sight.
Along the way, I strode down the marriage aisle which I later came to realize was an early sign of my future role as an “Accidental Housewife” marked by weekly trips to the Laundromat and sitting on toilet seats left up. But, I was in love and the traditional housewifely responsibilities that marriage brought didn’t cause me to break my stride, a nail nor deter me from pursuing my professional hopes and dreams.
Fast forward five years – I was feeling that pang for a smiling little bambino. Like all else in my life I figured being a mother, wife and working woman would be a breeze-after all I was a multi-tasker and prided myself on juggling more then I thought I could handle. And, so far marriage had been an easy adjustment (except for falling in the toilet seat!) plus I had two new lovely rings adorning my well-manicured hands. But once my son Luke came along the times they were a changing: my rings went into storage, my manicure became bi-weekly at best and the only thing I could juggle with some ease was my son’s bottle as he sat on my lap. In a heartbeat I’d gone from doing lunch to doing dishes and diapers. I had become ‘The Accidental Housewife.’
After the shock settled in, I decided that my best offense would be a good defense so I decided to embrace my housewifely fears, imperfections and frustrations. First on the list was to come out of my broom closet and admit to myself that I would never be Martha or Super Nanny. Clearly, I loved my family and wanted to maintain a nice home, but home-keeping perfection and appearing that I had it all under control was neither a real life option nor goal for this accidental housewife. So with rubber gloves on (fashionable ones at that!), lots of trial and error and my favorite accidental housewifely cocktail-The Dirty Martini (which by the way is a perfect way to help make your home look a lot cleaner!) I set out to discover just enough shortcuts to maintain a clean enough home; keep health inspectors away; our homes standing, our planet green and our manicures in tact. This also enabled me to smile more -with and without that martini!
Next, realizing I was far from alone, I set out to connect and ‘spread the glove’ with other housewives who were feeling the same things I was. I wanted to help them embrace their own fears and imperfections and realize that we are a new generation of housewife who doesn’t have nor need to do it all. Most importantly I wanted you to believe that it’s OK not to be the perfect mom, wife or housekeeper and to feel pride not guilt if you’re doing the best you can.
I shared this with all of you on TV, radio, in print, on line and you responded by making my first book, The Accidental Housewife: How to Overcome Housekeeping Hysteria One Task at a Time a New York Times bestseller. Wow! And, thank you!
So there you have moi. Here’s to you and I -the new face of today’s housewife. Let’s get rid of thinking we have to do it all and let’s do just enough to smile more, stress less and feel good about who we are. Spread the glove!