Friday, July 23, 2010

The Flip Side

This bag sat here unsorted for at least 3 days.

Let's pretend you just popped in for tea. The pictures in this post are what you'd find here at the Knitty Gritty Homestead. They were taken weeks ago, but things are pretty much the same here today.

When I started this blog, I was intent on making sure it wasn't one of THOSE know, pictures of my perfect, imaginative, quirky kids dressed in handmade clothes, my perfect home, the perfect meals I cook, my perfect life. Today at the beach, a dear friend who hasn't really been following my blog told me she'd had a look today. Her response? "I felt like an inadequate mother!"

Another sinkful of nice hot water that will get cold before I get to the dishes.

Wow. I know that feeling well. I've been to blogs where the absolute decorative perfection of the house (white couches? in a house with kids??), or the prolific craftiness of the mama (does this woman ever sleep?), or the amazing meals she creates with apparent ease (while I ask my kids "How 'bout scrambled eggs...again??") is enough to intimidate and dishearten the most accomplished and well-intentioned mothers.

I KNOW that blogs do not represent the whole picture, and I've actually been grateful that in my daily search for a post I am encouraged to pick out the very best moment/recipe/craft of the day or week. It helps me focus on the positive, and I know that other bloggers do the same thing.

Food and craft preparation blend into a picturesque mess
(see how the paint colours reflect my happy bowl? I meant to do that...)

As bloggers, we do tend to put a bit of a shine on our daily lives. And who can blame us if we want to focus on the best parts of our day? We all deal with whining kids who won't eat the food we cook, follow behind us and sabotage our every attempt to tidy up, mess their clothes several times daily to ensure you do not have one day without laundry, overwhelm us with demands for food, drink, and crafting opportunities, and challenge our creativity and patience every minute. Why would anyone want to read about this?

See that pretty violets tea cup? With (wilted) violets in it to match the violets tablecoth?
See how my family has destroyed my pretty display?

Perhaps the isolation and inadequacy a lot of mothers feel would be lessened if we WERE more honest about the nitty-gritty of our days. In addition to the berry-picking, pie-baking, toy-knitting, and tea-drinking that goes on around here, there's also a lot of stress, chaos, tantrums, mess, less-than-perfect parenting, junk food, baggage from childhood, miscommunication, jobs to avoid, and mouse droppings in the drawers.

Note the crying child in the background. I think she slipped on something (I can't imagine what)
and banged her elbow...

So for today, I present to you the flip side of those pictures I take, where I clear a space on the island to place my lovely cake, or examine the backgrounds before I press the shutter to make sure there's no crap lying around on the floor. I feel like coming clean (haha! no pun intended) with what my house really looks like; my efforts to keep it tidy are half-hearted at best, as it seems a futile activity...

Welcome to the Knitty Gritty Homestead! Where I choose knitting and blogging over housework, and the tea is always hot.

*The winning number of my knitted hat giveaway, selected at, was 20
which means that Stephanie G. is the winner! Thank you for all your sweet entries...I may have to make this a monthly thing!

By the way, Maureen at Twig and Toadstool started a "Pay It Forward" giveaway awhile back; Karen at Sheepish won that one, then offered a toadstool bag as her "pay it forward" item. And guess who won? ME! Thanks, Maureen (who lives down the road and wins an UNBELIEVABLE amount of giveaways!) for starting it all off, and thanks, Karen, for participating! Now it's my turn! I have a lovely little knitted set to pass watch this space.

Have a great weekend!


  1. I just love this post, especially the bit about what is in the background of a photograph - just like me, despite the miles between us!

  2. In my opinion, this is the "perfect post"! Love it! Thanks for being so real, and pointing out how lovely a messy house really is!

  3. I have to tell my mother that my "messy" (to her standards), house is actually a representation of a well lived in house...a place where imagination is allowed to freely soar, the paint is always handy, and the toys are in a constant state of motion!
    xo maureen

  4. Very real, Steph, and courageous ( I know you will laugh when I say that) that you are so honest about your house, your life, etc. It is REFRESHING as a reader of a few blogs..the real ones are the ones that get my vote.
    Love, patience, and SERENITY NOOOOOOWWW!!

  5. Yes...those photos of my house never make the blog but I live in the same setting. Thanks for reminding us that we are real people with messing houses, dirty dishes and crying kids. Now to go give mine a hug.

  6. oh perfect...:) reality is way more beautiful than smoke and mirrors..:) part of being a community (yes, it's on my brain this week..) is being real. thank you so much for being real with this post! life is good and it!!!

  7. HAhahaha, you are my favorite blogger right now. I should put pics up of my messy house right now. This past week I have done NOTHING. NO blogging, ha, no cleaning, nothing with my daughter. I think it was a mental vacation.

  8. this is beyond great. I guess honesty and openness are in the air today! Thank you for your comment on my blog, you actually brought tears to my eyes!

  9. The only thing that your messy house represents to me is that it is full of normal and healthy children and a normal mother who spends much of the time wondering how the hell she has managed yet another day. Bless you all.

  10. Wonderful and honest blog.So real.I think of those days often, so thank you for allowing me to relive those.By the way that's why we become Nannys.Now I have a clean house and I leave the tiny fingerprints on the windows.

  11. Donna Keon is my mom, for your information...and now I have tears in MY's true. I love visiting my mom's house because it looks like I want mine to look...but I know it didn't look like that when we were kids. I'm putting the window cleaner away and leaving the little handprints for another day...

  12. Love you Steph... you are my hero!!! (Your friend from the beach)... now I just have to figure out how to get a profile, so I am not a creepy anonymous follower!

  13. I had to laugh when you mentioned clearing the crap before pressing down the shutter. I do that for every pic, I swear. Move over! I can see the clutter!

    And I am so excited to be the winner of your giveaway! I've never won anything, honestly. I'm so excited! Great great post...

    Stephanie :)

  14. Great post!
    I often leave the finger prints, nose prints (of both furry and non-furry children), as well as kisses on my windows. I sort of like seeing the sun shine through them...

  15. That looks just like my house most days only the toys are bigger! I love that you shared your world, the good, the bad and mostly the in-between.

  16. Great post about the reality of life at home with children. I have had a life long struggle with perfectionism and now as a mother of three young boys, a puppy and a cat, my life is far from "perfect." But it is real and honest. In fact these days, it's full of poop! Thanks for the great blog!

  17. Love, Love, Love this post. Actually, I think all of your posts are tremendous. Thank you for "keeping it real"

  18. I love this post - this morning my husband pointed out we'd not 'unpacked' the overnight bag from out trip to my sisters 2 weeks ago - but you beat me by a week!!
    Well done to Stephanie G too - let's face it the odds of probability were on her side!
    Oh, and there is a parcel in the post - you should get it in a few weeks.

  19. So true. Great post! This is why I almost never post pictures of myself or my house (but lots of pictures of my blindingly cute kid). I just don't feel like I can measure up to other bloggers, and even if their pics are edited...well then my photoshop skills suck too!

  20. Awesome post, Stephanie. I love it. The pictures of your messy house make me feel happy, because they look a lot like my house (although I don't have gorgeous wood floors, but that's besides the point). And that makes me feel better about the stuff that is on my living room floor right now: several video cases, a lone sandal, a hacky sack, two oven mitts, a denim hat, a paper airplane and a piece of crumpled paper, a cookie cutter, a dinky car, a plastic dinosaur, a video rental card, and a play sword, cape and crown.

    I too think my mom's house is so beautiful and clean, but I remember our house being pretty messy at times when my sisters and I were kids. So it's all good.

  21. We all need a little more truthfulness in our posts. Thanks for reminding me of this, and sharing your pictures!

  22. Yep, our house pretty much looks the same. (And I take photos of my messes too, so when I'm a grandma I can look back and remember the loveliness of those laundry mountains).

    Our homes proclaim, "People live here!" and it is truly wonderful, even if it the mess annoys us sometimes. The story of our lives are written in the messes, the struggles, the quirks and chaos so much more than in those moments of peace and calm. And our kids want a happy childhood, not a clean one. Happy mothering friend!

  23. Hi, hope it's OK to contact you here. We would love to include your blog on our giveaway search engine: Giveaway Scout ( Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog ( ). thanks, Josh

  24. I loved reading this post! It is honest and real:) I have 4 children and trust me, my house is untidy a lot of the time, with toys everywhere, because children are playing with them, of course:)
    Thank you so much, for sharing your days with us:)
    Take care

  25. It can be very refreshing to show off how life actually happens in our homes! If a house with children is too clean it means the kids are not having enough fun. Keep the fun coming!

  26. Your unsorted bag sat for just 3 days? See, now I feel inadequate ;-) I *still* haven't completely unpacked from last month's holidays!

    I LOVE how this post seems to resonate with everyone. That dialogue is so important...keeps us real. Your photo captions just make me giggle, and your whole post, as always, is inspiring in its honesty.

    Here's to the rich fullness of a messy home and life!

  27. Just leave your bags packed for the next vacation! You'll be two steps ahead...

    The first thing my relatives said last weekend when they came over for a birthday lunch was: "It's so clean!" *rofl* I wasn't sure how to take that...I had to send my husband out with the kids for most of the day to get it to look like that!

    So, just imagine what it will look like when I'm away at work all day? Thank goodness for husbands that vacuum!

    I take many photos outside, it looks prettier, the lighting is more natural, and the mess is normal, weeds included. ;) *cackle*

    See you soon...


  28. This is so great, and you made me laugh. I have considered going around the house and taking pictures of our clutter. Really my house is pretty neat and tidy, but not all of it, if that bag was sitting in the back corner of the hallway it may have stayed for a lot longer than 3 days...

    I have been exploring your blog a bit, almost commented several times already, enjoying it very much, thank you!


This space is a creative outlet for a busy mama; I warmly embrace your comments and feedback, as well as questions/requests for details. I do check them daily and will respond where appropriate! Thank you for visiting the Knitty Gritty Homestead!