I had a conversation with a high school classmate the other day. She, like many people, expressed an amazement that I have found time to write novels, in addition to being a mother and working close to full time. To which, I responded glibly, "Yeah, but my house is never clean." People think I'm being funny. I'm not. I'm being real. I clean something everyday. I pick up something, I fold something, I wipe up/down something, I put something away. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
But the house is never all clean at the same time. And, that is alright with me. I wish I lived in a spotless house. I wish it were clean. I wish there was no clutter (the clutter is my true enemy, to be honest). But it's not. Because, here I am, at 6:30 pm on Thursday. I have my pajamas on already. I'm waiting for my Twitter chat at 8 pm when I will crack open an adult beverage and chat with some great ladies during the fastest 60 minutes of the week. I could be folding laundry. I could be cleaning a toilet or mopping a floor, but I'm not. I'm writing.
This is me. Cluttered, messy me.
In HOLD HER DOWN, I touched on the pressure that the main character, Elizabeth, faces in trying to live up to the standards of perfection that her peers have established. That was kind of a true thing. I cringe whenever I hear another mother talk about Pinterest. Not to say I don't use it, I do. I find it very helpful for building my story boards for my books. But when I hear about finding recipes and crafts, I cringe. That is so not me, and I don't want to play that game. I don't need to play that game. That game is not healthy for me.
I think we need to be a little more real to ourselves a little more often. We are not those perfect moms that we strive to be. We have our faults. A lot of us keep a lot together a lot of the time. Most of the time. But we need to allow ourselves the space and forgiveness not to be perfect.
I'm going to make another reveal that will certainly lower your opinion of me. It is related to the second part of the title. Today is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. I know that every day is some day, but a day for cookies--sounds good to me. But then comes the pressure. Friend after friend has posted and pinned recipes for the cookies they are going to make. Yeah, I don't really like to bake. I read through recipes, and mentally inventoried my pantry. Yep, I could make them. But, nope, I won't. I didn't and I'm not going to. I'm beat. I made my husband pick up Chinese food, just so I didn't have to cook (he wasn't supposed to be home, so we were going to have sandwiches or leftovers). I did the next best thing--I whipped out the ready-to-bake cookies and popped them in the oven.
I got two thumbs up from my son and daughter (who is a very tough critic). Yeah, that's enough for me.
P.S.: If baking is your thing, here's a recipe you should try. It is featured in the novel, Thirty-Two Going on Spinster by my friend, and super-real mom, Becky Monson. Her main character, Julia, has a serious baking fixation. Becky assures me that all the recipes in the book have been tried out. If you like desserts at all (and appreciate humor and good writing), this book is for you. Without ado:
Julia's Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks of butter softened to room temp (use REAL SALTED butter)
2 tsp vanilla (use REAL vanilla, no imitation junk)
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 cups flour
Milk Chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375º
**The key to this recipe is all in the mixing, the REAL butter, and the REAL vanilla.***
In mixer beat butter until fluffy (approx 2 minutes), add vanilla and mix for 1 more minute. Add both sugars and beat until light and fluffy (about 4-5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add salt and baking soda and mix again. Add flour one cup and a time, mixing after each cup. Add chocolate chips last.
Using a cookie scoop, form into balls and place on sheet at least 2 inches apart. Press down with the back of a spoon to slightly flatten cookie before baking (this will keep it from staying in a ball).
Bake for 8 minutes, until the base of the cookie is a very light brown color. Put them on a plate, grab some milk and go eat your feelings in front of the television. You have my blessing.