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Inferiority is relative. It needs something or someone else to be compared to.

A sense of inferiority arises from comparing ourselves to someone else, someone supposedly superior. Why do we do that? Is it helpful? Very often, it isn’t but it can be automatic and unconscious. It’s a natural human tendency. Everybody does it. But whereas men tend to compare sizes (car, salary, appendage…), women tend to compare appearance – figures, clothes and inevitably, homes.

And as a feature of the modern age, we are increasingly exposed to media standards or celebrities’ homes and lifestyles. So now we also get to judge ourselves against these additional, artificially high, expectations of what we feel we should be doing.

I know I’ve been guilty of proclaiming, “I’m no good at housework. I’m just not as good as most women.” But if we examine this common grievance, it’s actually ridiculous.

Firstly, how could I possibly know how good most women are? I have a reasonable number of female friends but even that’s a tiny sample of the current female population. Secondly, is there really a single standard to which ‘most women’ conform? And who sets this arbitrary standard anyway? If there was just me on the planet, my techniques, standards, would be the norm – who’s to say they’re not the right ones? Besides, why does it even matter what ‘most women’ are doing? We’re not sheep, we’re individuals.

In light of all this, then, it seems obvious that one quick route out of inferiority is to stop comparing our homes with other women’s houses. But that can be easier said than done. So, whist it’s certainly worth remembering there is no single ‘right way’, there is another way to approach the problem.

Instead of focusing on your perceived shortcomings, turn the spotlight onto that which you believe to be better than you. It’s very likely that when you start to uncover the story behind these ‘superior beings’, you will discover that your lofty view of them is based on smoke and mirrors…

Don’t believe the media

Is your marriage like a movie marriage? Are your children like the perfect darlings we see on adverts? Does your hair always look like you ‘just stepped out of the salon’?

Let’s face it, no-one could maintain that level of perfection. Even supermodels admit they’re not as perfect as their airbrushed covers and posters. Why, then, do we sometimes feel pressured to have homes that resemble a magazine spread? Even the home in the magazine doesn’t look like that all of the time! It’s just a snapshot, a small timeframe, until life carries on, people and things gather, dust accumulates.

So be careful with how you relate to these ‘ideal’ homes. Whilst it’s true that interior magazines and TV shows can be uplifting and a vicarious pleasure, keep in mind that they are usually far from the norm. The are intended to be aspirational rather than realistic – to inspire you, as a force for good feelings. (Personally, I love them – they spur me to create the beautiful home that I long for – they make me want to tidy up, which can’t be bad.)

However the danger comes when these artificially perfect images depress rather than enliven. So, if your reaction to them is to sigh with despair, either a) remind yourself how contrived or unlikely that one shot is or b) look at something else!

People lie

We all have egos. We all want people to believe a certain version of us, so we gloss over the bits that don’t fit the image. I’m not suggesting your friends or peers lie to you, or you to them, but we may have a ‘best side’ that we’d prefer the world to see, rather than the more realistic and less flattering truth.

So there may be aspects to your domestic life that you’d rather keep quiet. But do you think you’re the only one? No-one is perfect, (which, in my view is a good thing – it would be exhausting!). What you see isn’t always the whole story. So, whilst it’s good to admire those who posses the qualities you’d like, don’t belittle yourself in comparison to their perfection – you are only seeing the highly-polished veneer.

It’s not a level playing field

You cannot possibly know all the facts about someone else’s life. Yes, your neighbour may have a perfect home. But she may also have staff or an over-zealous mother-in-law or obsessive compulsive disorder!

Don’t waste your energy comparing yourself unfavourably to women who seem to effortlessly pull it off. Firstly, you have no idea what effort is actually going on, behind the scenes. Secondly, you are unlikely to know the full extent of any support they may have. For example, your friend may keep an immaculate home but her husband may do all the cooking or her mother may help out with childcare or any number of scenarios. It’s pointless to compare results when everyone’s situation is different.

So, if we’re not comparing like with like, why compare at all?

Perfect home does not equal perfect life

There are worse problems than a messy home. Those people that you envy may be facing issues so serious they would swap lives with you in an instant. Everyone has problems, but for some these can be severe, traumatic, life-threatening and permanent. As depressing, exhausting and frustrating domestic woes can be, if this is our biggest problem, that’s actually something to be thankful for.

 

* * *

As always, I’d love to hear what you think!

Danielle

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This post is an extract from: Housework Blues – A Survival Guide.
Available in paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more details.

 

Picture credit: E D Plug

 


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“Is this it?”

“Is this what my life has come to?”

“I’ve got so much more to offer.”

Sound familiar?

If your life is consumed by housework, no wonder you feel superior – of course you have more to offer! I don’t believe that any woman on the planet has nothing more to contribute than cleaning and tidying. However, that doesn’t mean we should never do it. We have more to contribute than pretty nails but that doesn’t mean we should avoid manicures!


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Plan, Shop, Chop

I was once reading a cook-book by that original domestic goddess –Nigella Lawson. In it, she casually mentioned that planning and shopping are as much a part of cooking as the kitchen-based business.

This was a eureka moment for me.

Of course! It seemed so obvious when pointed out! Yet all this time I’d been wondering why I felt so defeated by the prospect of feeding my family. I had neglected to incorporate two of the three vital ingredients – planning and shopping.


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So, you’ve spent your time cooking or cleaning or washing or ironing etc, then you look around a few hours later and the fruits of your labour are gone with the wind.

Take a deep breath – it’s time for a Scarlett O’Hara moment.


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As so many children’s stories have it:  “At last, the great day arrived.” For me, that day is today. I hold in my hands a real-life, in-the-flesh version of my own book! This is my first book and so I’m giddy with excitement. (It really is quite a thrill – I heartily recommend it.) So, I’m celebrating this special moment and what I think is quite an achievement. 

However, it’s also good news for you because it means we are only days away from seeing the Paperback version of Housework Blues on sale on Amazon*. Days! Then, for those of you not keen on eBooks can get in on all the fun and frolics to be had in tackling your domestic demons.

Watch this space!

In the meantime, since it’s Friday, I’d love it if you wold join me in a celebratory tipple (or two) and raise a toast to the end of housework blues for women everywhere.

(Can you imagine how much nicer the world would be….?)

Cheers, my dears!

 

Danielle

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Housework Blues coverToday, I finally published the real-life (ie paperback) edition of Housework Blues – A Survival Guide!

There will be more details coming up (see below) but it should be available to buy from Amazon very soon! I’m so excited! This is the culmination of nearly 2 years of blood, sweat and tears (well, not so much the tears – it’s been a real labour of love).

I’m absolutely thrilled to have it finished and to send it on it’s way into the world to help women everywhere beat their Housework Blues.

Thanks so much to everyone who has sent in ideas, feedback or general kind words of encouragement.
I couldn’t have done it without you!

Right, off to celebrate with a big cup of tea and a flapjack.

(Rock & roll!)

 

Danielle

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PS the Kindle version is available NOW. Click here to grab yourself a free sample or immediate download.

PPS the eBook is also available now.

PPPS Did I mention I was very excited!

 

 

Housework Blues book trailer  video


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As a person, it is irritating when people don’t do their fair share, but if you are at all feminist, it’s much more complicated. There are principles at stake.

There is often the unspoken question: is it being left to me because I am the female? This incurs a wrath born of social inequities, turning a personal situation into a political one. It becomes less of a question about whether you should always have to clean the floor and transmutes into whether women should always have to clean the floor.


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If, for whatever reason, you don’t take on external help (and even if you do – you’ll still have to tidy up before they come!), it makes sense to utilise existing labour sources. I’m referring to The Others. The people you live with. Now you may be thinking – if those we live with did their fair share, we wouldn’t need this book! But I believe it’s possible (and just) to recruit them in your domestic battle. It’s simply a case of finding the right approach…


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The results of housework are all too fleeting. You spend your time performing boring tasks and before long, they need doing again. There’s not much scope for any earth-shattering achievements, right?

Wrong!


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Women are instinctive nurturers and carers. Historically, we are the caretakers of the species. Even in recent times, women who work full-time still tend to be the ones who make a house a home, administer TLC and know/care how each family member likes their breakfast. Regardless of who has the earning power, it’s usually the Lady of the House who manages the everyday comings and goings. She-Who-Knows-Where-The-Clean-Socks-Are. (Or aren’t, perhaps)


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Some days, for no particular reason, you’re just in a slump. You’re human. It happens. So, for these occasions, you’ll need to bypass logic and go straight to emotions.

Cue my Top Ten Emergency Uppers…

1. Look for the silver lining. However bad things are, there is always something positive you can focus on. If it’s any consolation, there will always be someone worse off than you.

2. Find clues in the opposite. If things are getting you down, that’s a clue to what would bring you up – so focus on that. Collect images of how you would like things to be. Select pictures or photos of your ideal situation. If the state of the house is depressing you, look at pictures of beautiful interiors. If your children are driving you mad, look at a photo of them being angelic and adorable.

3. Know your Rescue Remedies. Make a list of all the things that always make you smile, no matter how low you go. It could be books, places, people. Look for the sparks, those little gems of life that always bring a smile to your face. Only you know what they are.


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