Tuesday, August 21, 2012

keeping it real

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post that got deleted after a day of having it up. I'm not sure how many of you read it ~ it was called "feeling soggy" and basically it was about my insecurities about how NON-"crunchy" I am. How so many other people seem to have it all together, leaving me feeling rather soggy.

I took the post down because I didn't want to come across as being whiny or sulky. I didn't really take the time to think through what I was writing at the time. I was in a mood, just started typing...and voila, I published it. I still feel the same way I did when I wrote that post. But I've been able to think more about what exactly I want to say about it.

Now, I don't know what other people's drive is behind their blogs; what their purpose is of keeping one. I'm sure ~ no, I know ~ there are many different types of blogs and reasons behind why people keep them and what sort of content they want to feature.

For me? It's a pretty open book into my life. I don't give all details about absolutely everything, but I do share a lot more on this blog page than I will with any of you in real life ~ unless you are one of my two BFF's...then you get even more!

For me it's about being vulnerable. It's about sharing my joys, triumphs and successes...along with my struggles, insecurities and failures. It's about keeping it real.

And I guess that's not everybody's intent with their blogs. Some people choose to only portray themselves in a very positive light. Only posting the good things about themselves, their family and their lives in general.

And while that's their right to do so, it's also the part that I struggle with. Big-time.

Why? Well, those who keep such "perfect" blog pages are portraying themselves as people who others will put on a pedestal. Sure, deep down we know nobody actually is that perfect. But we can very easily convince ourselves that since we aren't being shown the flaws that maybe it's because there really aren't any.  And very quickly we can start to feel that we will never measure up.

And I don't know about you...but that doesn't seem like an honest relationship. And that's how I view the other bloggers that I take time to read about {whether I know them in real life or only via the internet}, as relationships. But with some people it's starting to feel fake. And one-sided. Like I am the one who is baring my heart and soul, becoming vulnerable and admitting my faults and I'm getting "picture-perfect" posts in return.

Call me selfish, but I want more.

Yes, please post about your love of being a stay-at-home Mother and the fun activities you do with your child(ren). But it would also be nice to read every once in awhile that you failed your child and spent more time on your iPhone than playing with your son or daughter.

I really do want to read about your delicious recipes that grace your family's table night after night. But sometimes it would make me smile if you shared a FLOPPED recipe once in awhile too!

And don't get me wrong ~ I'm very impressed that you seem to have such a good handle on keeping your house immaculate and clutter-free. But I think it would be cool to see "the catch-all" space that you must be hiding...somewhere. Or to hear about another area of your life that isn't quite as clutter-free.

It's wonderful that your children are blessed enough to be clothed in the latest trends. But every once in awhile it would be cute to see them in a mis-matched outfit that they threw together themselves {or the time when Daddy dressed them!}.

I'm impressed that you are regularly so healthy and fit...and thin. But I don't always want to just see pictures of your perfect abs and your amazing "post-baby" body. Yes, I want to see those and applaud you on your accomplishments ~ BUT I also want to read about the time when your weakness led you to the bag of chocolate chips and you just. couldn't. help. yourself.

And good for you for making so many things from scratch ~ whether meals or other household items. But can you show a picture of your pantry that just might have a canned good stashed somewhere? Or fess up to the night when you were so tired or lazy that you broke down and cooked up a pot of Kraft Dinner and called it...well, dinner?

I'm happy that your children are generally very well-behaved. I don't know how that happens, but good for you. But you know what? I also want you to tell me about some of the times when they haven't been on their best behavior. When they've tested you past your limits and you haven't known what to do. When maybe ~ just maybe ~ you locked yourself in your room and cried a little bit?

Yes, I want you to keep it real. A friend told me the other day when we were emailing a bit about this that some people maybe just choose to share their flaws with close friends and family members rather than with the whole blogging world. And I get that...to a point. But you don't need to share every negative, intimate detail about your life or turn into a Debbie Downer. But I need some sort of indication that your life isn't perfect. I want to see that vulnerability. 

Otherwise I just leave your blog feeling worse about myself. And goodness knows, I don't need any other fuel for that fire.

My friend/sister-in-law/cousin {yes, that's all one person!} sent me a link to this article that really embodied everything I have been struggling with lately in regards to exactly this kind of thing. And I have decided that it's not worth it. Feeling this way because of things I see and read online from other Moms is not doing me any favors. And by extension, it's not doing my family any favors either.

I need to fill my mind with positives about me and my family and my abilities as a housewife and mother. 

Here is an excerpt from the article linked above:

"You see, there are no perfect kids and no perfect mothers. No matter what you read in blogs, see in magazines, and learn in books. There are sinful kids and sinful moms and dads.

And the only thing greater than both is the grace of God. The God who says “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” The God who loves to forgive, to transform, and empower.

God loves you – not because you are a good mother but just because you are His precious child.

God loves you – not because you’ve mastered all the skills of parenting but because He has.

It’s divine grace that will transform your parenting – not guilt.

It’s grace that will keep you going and serving and scrubbing when you’re exhausted and worn out.

It’s grace that will conquer your feelings of inadequacy and remind you of God’s love for you in Christ.

It’s grace that goes for the heart of your kids, not just their behavior.

God has demonstrated the fullness of His love for you through the cross of His Son, even while you were still a sinner.

He has promised you His presence.

He has spoken His approval over you in Christ.

He is the perfect Father who delights in you as a daughter."

That, my friends, is keeping it real. And I will continue to keep it real on this blog too. I won't hesitate to fill you in on the good things in my life ~ like my successes in the kitchen, my exercise accomplishments, the sweet family moments that fill my heart with joy. There's nothing wrong with feeling a sense of pride in the things that you succeed at...and sharing them with others.

But I also am going to continue to let you in on the other parts of my life. Like when my first try at cinnamon rolls looked absolutely hideous, or when I don't know what to do with my children's behavior, when I kill yet another plant, and when I don't always practice what I preach.

And if you want in on a wonderfully open and honest relationship with me ~ I invite you to do the same. Otherwise...I just might have to make the difficult decision to let go and walk away.

For the sake of my sanity. And my outlook on life. And how it all affect my precious family.


LaughingLady said...

I'll say a big AMEN to that! I think it gives so much more real-ness and personality to a blog when there are obvious confessions of imperfections. Because it's like you said, we all KNOW they're hiding in your life and/or home SOMEWHERE!!!

I guess maybe that's why I've kinda strayed over the years from posting about my daily life and gone to more generic photo posts or processing thoughts along my faith journey. They're a little more neutral when it comes to measuring failure or success!

LaughingLady said...

(Oh, and I LOVE that laundry sign!!!! Perfect.)

Kathy and Carl said...

Definitely hear you. Sometimes you head to read an article on someone's blog, hoping to get some encouragement/real life stuff and come away feeling like, "Well, I should really get myself in order,". Sigh.....well, I'm not and won't be for, like, 80 years maybe?

pam said...

If it makes you feel any better, we had Kraft Dinner for supper on Sunday night. Just Kraft Dinner - not even with hot dogs or some pre-cut baby carrots. Although I pride myself on making it on the stove, and not in the microwave, so I can still say that I "cooked" supper. :)

Kendra said...

I'm also loving the laundry sign. Ben's shirts just keep hanging there, waiting and waiting to be ironed, but realistically? If I had the time to iron...I wouldn't be ironing. I would be doing something fun.

Anyway. Thanks for sharing from your heart. Your vulnerability is refreshing. And your right - blogs are a fantastic way to make life look completely, unrealistically perfect. Who actually takes the time to paint gray and white strips inside a closet which no one will see, unless it's posted on a blog??

Your challenge to be real will stay with me!

TammyIsBlessed said...

You inspired me to start my "Not Me Monday" posts again :)

Keep it real, but in a funny way. Hey - sometimes the only options are to laugh or cry. I try to choose laugh as much as possible, though I don't always succeed.