In Praise of Sloth

I confess that I am generally a lazy person; probably not a good statement to put on a website that’s for professional use. Now, that’s not to write that I don’t take vocal technique and artistry or performance seriously – I do. I consider it to be almost a moral failing to show up underprepared for a rehearsal or a gig. Bad, diva-esque attitude from anyone at a rehearsal or a gig provokes anger in me. While I tolerate it when students show up for a lesson without having practiced, I certainly don’t like it. Wherever I am working, I take some pride in doing a good job. However, I’m lazy in almost all other aspects of my life, be it my career, my general appearance or my home.

I would probably have a more successful career as a singer/songwriter, a musician and a teacher if it weren’t for my tendency to sloth. I enjoy practicing but I don’t practice nearly as much as I should though in all fairness, I am a working mother. I’ve realized that in order to be successful in any business, especially in entertainment, you have to be extremely driven and striving for your success must be your all-consuming goal. I would much rather spend my evenings curled up with my husband and kids, reading a book or watching a movie in front of the fire than pounding the pavement and being social with people I hardly know. I detest networking – too much work.

This leads me personal grooming and hygiene. I bathe myself and the kids every day. Do I put on make-up or paint my nails? Only a bit of mascara and concealer for the dark circles under my eyes when I think there might be money involved, i.e. students, gigs, office temping, etc., only because people probably judge me based on my appearance so I make a bit of an effort based on what I think others might expect. If I paint my nails, eventually I have to either remove the nail polish or repaint and I’m too lazy to bother with either so it’s best not to start that unnecessary bit of grooming in the first place. I do brush my own hair but thankfully, the boys’ heads of hair are too short to really need brushing, right? I brush their teeth and mine but I haven’t taken them or myself to the dentist for far too long. Actually, this act of sloth is really motivated by a pathological fear of dental hygienists. They take dental hygiene very seriously and they have NO sense of humour. Still, not being vigilant about my teeth or my children’s teeth is nothing to be proud of.

I never buy new clothes or shoes for my kids or myself. During a recent visit to Saskatchewan, my mother-in-law bought us all really nice pairs of shoes and some clothes (thanks Mom). I cleaned out my closet, got rid of a bunch of stuff and I’m now the proud owner of six pairs of shoes and those include hiking boots. Most women would find this number rather low but I like it. Why? I can’t be bothered to decide what to put on my feet. I have a small purse, wallet and a backpack. Why? I’m too lazy to transfer stuff from one bag to another never mind decide which bag to transfer it to in the first place. The more clothes I have means the more decisions I have to make and I’ll just wind up wearing the same ones that are at the top of the drawer anyway. My poor children wear clothes that are serviceable but not necessarily colour coordinated or matching and definitely not ironed. The only new clothes that they get are from their grandmas. On the matter of clothing, I’m probably better suited to being a mother of boys than a mother of girls. If I had a daughter, she wouldn’t want to be seen in public with me past the age of five whereas I can probably stretch that a little longer with sons.

As for food, I’m competent at cooking but not necessarily exact or careful. Over the years, I’ve learned how to make some decent dishes that my family will eat but the only time I follow a recipe is when I’m baking and that’s because chemical reactions are involved. I try to buy organic but I don’t go out of my way to do so. However, most of our food is homemade from scratch and we seldom eat out. I regularly bake bread and every fall, I can the delicious summer fruits for winter use. The kids are well fed and we eat very healthy foods most of the time so I’m probably doing some things right on the foodie front.

Good housekeeping? My home is not tidy most of the time but that’s nearly impossible with two active little boys. I could care less if any furniture or dishes are matching. I didn’t even pick out the furniture. My wonderful mommy-in-law gave us a bunch of cash and I sent my long suffering husband to pick out the couch, love seat and chair. The furniture is very comfortable by the way and it probably looks very nice. I’ve never even set foot in an Ikea even though I live within sight of one partly due to sloth and partly due to fear. I’m the only female I know who finds Ikea big and scary looking. We have no curtains or drapes because I’m too lazy to either buy or make any. I don’t want the reader to assume that we live in a pig pen; my home is hygienically sound. The dishes are usually done and the bathrooms are cleaned on a regular basis.

Ultimately, I try to do what makes me and my immediate family happy. Could I be better groomed, eat more organic food, have a cleaner and tidier home, have a more successful career? Yes to all but I would probably be miserable and so would my family. I’m constantly trying to work out a good quality of life and rhythm that fits with both my personal and professional lives, especially when I find myself combining them. So this season, I think I can make improvements toward eating better, being better groomed and having a tidier home but that’s probably about as much as I can do. Probably for good than for ill, the other aspects of my life can remain slothful. And so that’s why the title of this month’s blog is “In Praise of Sloth”.