Thank you for your generous magazine subscription offer. “Free” is one of my favorite words these days, and I’m a huge fan. Really. I have a stack of your past work and I look at it sometimes when I need to know how to choose a ripe kumquat or draw a mural on my staircase.
Unfortunately, I will have to decline your offer. While it’s wonderful to know that macramé is not a lost art and someone besides my uncle has a swizzle stick collection, I find your magazine does not have what I need.
I do not need to know how to raise prize-winning ducks or how to care for mohair. I do not need to know how to identify marks on silver (we’re pretty much a Rubbermaid and Pyrex kind of family) and I certainly do not need to know how to indulge myself with a perfect manicure, even though you would be appalled at the state of my cuticles.
What I need is to know how to be satisfied with what I have.
I need to know how to give my attention fully to my children.
I need to know how to get juice out of carpet. Maybe you covered that one.
Don’t get me wrong. I love what you do. In fact, that’s the problem. I love the excellence with which you pursue your craft and the beauty you dangle before my eyes, so much so that I could easily lose myself in it. I could bow down to your hospital corners and perfectly organized sock drawers. I could pursue that kind of excellence without a backward glance.
You see, Martha, all that beauty demands a response, and I have a hard time responding rightly. I see what you have and I want it. It’s a little escape, a little dream, a little distance from my reality, which is a lot messier than yours. You probably don’t have sippy cups fall on you when you open your cupboard doors, but I do. You probably don’t have mismatched quilts on the kids’ beds, but I do. You probably don’t even know what a mess Silly Putty can make on couch cushions, but I do.
And it’s taken me longer than I care to admit to be okay with that. It’s taken me longer than I care to admit to realize that my kids do not need they kind of mom who buys in to what you offer. They do not need a mantel full of hand-flocked Easter bunnies or made-from-scratch Twinkies. They need me. They need me present, undistracted, and humble enough to not chase after every “good thing” that graces your glossy pages.
There will be a time, I’m sure, when the grandkids come to visit and I will awe them with gingerbread cathedrals and homemade snow globes. But these kids, my kids, don’t need more picture-perfect magical moments that come at the cost of a too-stressed mom who loves perfection more than reality.
They need this mom, their mom, to spend more time pleasing them than you. They need this mom, their mom, to be in this thing 100%. And that’s not something you can help me with.
So, with all due respect, I think your free magazine is still a little too rich for my blood. It’s just not worth the cost.