I write to you today from amid a cloud of powdered sugar as I am deep in preparations for my dear son Midget’s approaching birthday. Somewhere between making my own asphalt to resurface the driveway, slaughtering the cow and carving it up for a birthday barbeque and weaving new blankets for the beds, I’ve found the time to reflect on our relationship and I’ve got some concerns, Martha. Our four year relationship appears to be in jeopardy and I think it’s only fair to let you know in the hopes that you make necessary changes to salvage our bond. But I know you Martha. Your time in the joint hardened you. You learned more than just how to fashion a deadly shiv out of a toilet paper roll. That being said, I’ve long allowed you hold the alpha-dog position in our relationship, so my expectations of any alterations in behavior on your part are very, very low.
4 years ago our union was young and fresh, my hands not yet callused from scrubbing pans to sparkling perfection and my soul still set atwitter by your countless suggestions. I was certain nothing, not even lime build-up or stubborn soap scum could tear us apart. When I had questions such as the best way to proof my yeast or how to remove the stench of spit-up from baby clothes, you were there. Your condescending tone and haughty way was exactly what I needed to put me at ease. Trapped in a world of Turkish career housewives with perfect garnishes, golden baked goods and the whitest whites, I needed you to guide me from educated American career woman to Turkish domestic engineer. You were there for me Martha. You were the thinking woman’s housewife, exactly what I longed for. You taught me so many life lessons “It’s not housework, it is home keeping” and like a sponge, I drank you in. Together forever – that was how I saw us.
As in any relationship with a skewed power dynamic, I began to recreate myself in your image in the hopes of drawing us even closer. I lightened my hair. I donned sensible shoes. I purchased twinsets. I convinced myself that no self-respecting homemaker would use anything premixed, premade, or premeasured. I subscribed to all of your publications. I made my own bread. I grew an organic garden and landscaped my balcony. I color coordinated everything from my son’s socks to my husband’s underwear. I cleaned every other day, issued hand-written thank you notes and made my own yogurt. I gave you the power you deserved as a sacred deity – Our Lady of Prepetual Perfection – and worshiped appropriately. I quoted your holy words “It’s a good thing, ” and made plans for my Mecca-esque pilgrimage to worship in your live studio audience.
Then, I moved back to America. As with any great love, a transcontinental move is difficult for all involved. But we’d formed such a strong foundation that I assumed our union was solid. And it was, until fate forced me over to the opposition – working mothers of America. I tried to stay on the righteous path. I continued to shun all things premade. I rejected all things meant to make life easier but not created by the Martha Stewart Inc conglomerate. And in all honesty Martha, because I feel that at this point in our relationship we can be honest, this has been the hardest two years of my life. So as I prepare to make a tray full of gluten-free- multi-colored monster cupcakes for a class of preschoolers, followed by a fire engine cake, complete with licorice hoses and gum drop sirens, before deep cleaning my entire house in preparation for the arrival of my extended family, between loads of laundry, sorting recycling, preparing dinner, running laps behind a Midget on a bike, wiping tears, silencing whining, doing some light grocery shopping, packing lunches for tomorrow and chasing a small person into the bathtub, all after a 9 hour work day in a job where I regularly work 6 day weeks, I have one thing to say to you Martha – suck it.
Don’t misunderstand Martha, we’ve had our good times. Remember that time we turned many of the Turk’s work shirts into Hampton’s inspired placemats and his argyle socks into charming stuffed animals for the Midget? Yeah, good times. I’ll never forget that time we made filled cupcakes in 42 simple steps either or squeezing pounds of lemons to make a pudding that tasted remarkably like a gym sock. Oh such fun. We must be honest though it wasn’t always sunshine and cupcakes. We’ve had some trials – that slow cooker meal that turned out gray, or you forgetting to list 2 cups of water in that cake recipe- remember? See, no one is perfect, but I overlooked that because I thought we were in it together. But we are not. Your expectations are simply too extreme for a working mother. Martha It’s taken some time, but I’ve come to realized that a Swiffer is not the devil, one doesn’t need to utilize all vacuum attachments to properly vacuum and sometimes in order to give rugs that ‘spring day fresh’ smell, instead of dragging them outside and beating them senseless with a broom before heaving them onto a railing, it’s ok to just hit them with a little Febreeze. And in full disclosure Martha, I must tell you that this one time when I had to take 6 dozen cookies to a school event – I used a mix. Yes I did Martha, and no one died. And in a little bit when I make those multi-colored monster cupcakes – I’m gonna do it again…oh yes I am...Betty Crocker and I are all ready.
Martha, it seems we’ve grown apart. Clearly we want different things. It’s not you, it’s me. I appreciate our time together, but we’re heading in different directions. We can still be friends though. You can borrow my twinsets, I won’t need them anymore. It’s been a pleasure and if I ever again find myself living atop a sandy mountain in a small sea town in Turkey, home with a new baby and living amid professional housewives, I’ll give you a call. Until then, Martha, I’m sorry. It’s over.