Wednesday, July 11, 2012

NOT the highlight reel

After a particularly heated debate on Facebook about immunizations (into which we will not delve at this moment), a friend sent me a message expressing her perception that while she enjoys reading my blog (we live on opposite sides of the globe), it sometimes makes her feel like a less-than mother. The baking, the crafts, the hand-knit clothes, the lovable farm animals...it all makes her feel that her life as a working mother who has to put her baby in daycare just to get by in the city somehow doesn't measure up.


That sparked my stepping away from this space, for quite a long time. I heard what she was saying, because I know exactly how she feels. Even though my blog is a space to share my "highlight reel" of the day, I read the blogs of others and wonder...how does she do it? How does she knit and sew and dye and spin and make lip balm and raise animals and repurpose quirky furniture and weave her own doormat while feeding/educating/crafting with her multiple smart, charmingly dressed children?


It occurred to me to post now and then about what goes on behind the scenes in this house. My intention is not to complain or be negative, but to shed light on this very real life we're living, to reassure anyone who ever stops by and thinks that maybe they're not measuring up somehow. So here is the behind-the-scenes moment for this week.


Tuesday is my one night out a week; I gather with a group of dear women friends for African drumming. We eat, talk, cry, and laugh, but mostly we drum. I depend on this evening out to sustain me through the week. Last night I stayed out later than usual, and wanted to kill my husband when he woke me up at seven this morning to kiss me goodbye (please just resist the urge to write something in the comments about how I should be grateful to have such an affectionate, thoughtful husband. I am. Just maybe not at seven a.m.). 


After grumbling a bit, I read a few pages of my book, knowing that the kids were watching a movie downstairs and would call if they needed me.


Except, when Violet and Margot both got scissors to give themselves haircuts, no one called me. Because they didn't need me, I guess...snip, snip, snip...it was done!
Three years after her first self-induced haircut, Violet clearly forgot the rule: we let professionals do some jobs, like dentistry, auto mechanics, and hairstyling.
Violet's first foray into hairstyling, age two...we had to shave her whole head.

So. That was the beginning of the day. The highlight was sitting down to watch Jurassic Park all afternoon, although that doesn't make much of a blogpost, does it? We didn't craft today, I didn't knit, I didn't clean anything or recreate something I thrifted into something useful. I did make dinner for the first time in a week.

And now? The kids are gone to soccer with their dad. I'm avoiding washing the dishes by eating ice cream straight outta the tub and surfing the internet. Quick revision: THIS is the highlight of the day.

Is that real enough for you? More to follow.

*Sincere thanks to that friend down under who brought some much-needed perspective into my real life.

25 comments:

  1. I really debated with myself if I should comment or not, but decide to go ahead with my thoughts.I am so sorry that reading some blogs has made others want to compare themselves to each other. Maybe it's because I am older, but I find encouragement, gather ideas and just become inspired from the blogs I visit. Life is so very short and I want to rejoice with the women I visit on line [and in person] as I feel they add to my day. I feel we should all be happy for each other, don't compare as we all have stengths and weaknesses,and it's nice to share it all. Much love.
    PS- What is it about kid's and sissors? All five of my babies at one time have cut their hair! :)

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    1. Glad you did comment...nothing controversial in what you had to say anyway! On my best days when I'm feeling gracious and self-confident, I do feel inspired...on days like today when I'm run down and overtired, it's harder to summon those feelings. Some days I just annoyed when everyone else's life "seems" so perfect and orderly when I'm stepping on strawberries or ushering gigantic spiders out of my basement!

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  2. Ditto what Tracey said! I love getting "sneak peeks" into the lives of others, and yes, sometimes I think "Why can't I be organized and accommplished like her?" but mostly I just say "Good for her, maybe I'll finish that shawl that's been on my needles for months!" Love your blog... you inspire and encourage!

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  3. Perhaps I am just too old to want to compete anymore but I find your blog Inspiratioinal, Realistic, Creative, Cheerful, Idea-filled and mostly Inspirational (I know-I said it twice). Your knitting makes me wonder if I can recreate it in crochet and once or twice a year I try, some years more successfully than others but it gives me the idea that maybe I can do it. I feel sorry for those who get bummed and feel competitive... pull together, women and men homemakers and parents--we are all in nearly the same philosophical boat... let's bail and sail WITH one another.

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  4. This blog post left me chuckling! I love your honesty!!! I used to read blogs and feel rather inadequate. But blogs have also helped me to learn to love myself more and to better appreciate the simplest things in life. I have read so many beauitful words in blog land. After years of reading wonderful blogs, I decided to start my own. Doing this helped me to highlight the special moments in our day to day existence. But writing a blog has also changed how I interpret what others write. For example, as a blogger I can now appreciate how photos give a certain impression. On the whole, I tend to focus on happy feel good moments because writing about these makes me feel good. But I've been known to have a good rant too! Honesty is the key! Bloggers make the world feel a little smaller and friendlier don't you think?

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  5. Bwahaha the haircut is AWESOME! I think people tend to forget that most blogs are personal journals, that we share with the world. I don't post my whole life on the computer. Just some thoughts and little moments, and recipes that I enjoy looking back on.

    P.S. When I was two my brother cut off one of my pigtails! :P

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  6. Okay, so the above wise folk have said it all. And I want you to know that I BAKED PIE (again) on the weekend. Do you know WHO got me started on pie baking? And knitting, and all sorts of other things that aren't coming to mind as I type hurriedly? YOU. And you make me laugh. You are an inspiration, and inspiration is just as real as the rough, less picturesque days.

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    1. Oh, bellydancing - I forgot about the bellydancing!

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  7. I long since left behond any illusion that what is portarayed by ANYONE on the internet is a daily accurate reflection of all that goes on in their world. In many ways blogs can be an attempt to re-frame our own world into a prettier portrait for ourselves! We can edit out all the dreary stuff, only take photos of the just cleaned portion of a room etc.Not talk about the pain we go through, stessed family dynamics or financial insecurity.
    Just like sometimes I like to read fairy tales , sometimes I like CBC newsworld .I also can sift through on-line writing with the same filters.
    By- the -by, if anyone feels guilt it is their issue- their emotion-their response. It is in no way your responsibility! But I also like a good healthy does of real writing. The good, the bad , the ugly. It's all life

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  8. My hubby came home the other night after a 16-hour work day (this was after midnight) and woke me up to kiss me. LOL, I wasn't exactly pleased either! My blog is pretty useless in the pretty-pictures-crafting-homestead-lifeing. But I am still proud of a lot of my writing, and I realize my strengths lie elsewhere. What inspires me about your blog (and the multitude of others that I read), is that it allows me to ask the question "hmm, could I do something like that?" Then I challenge myself by taking a sewing course, and bingo, I've done something crafty!! But I think we all enjoy these types of posts, because we can wipe the seat off of our foreheads and say "phew, her family's not perfect either!" Thanks for your honesty :)

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    1. that was supposed to say "wipe the *sweat*"

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  9. I agree that blogging is just a journaling experience and other folks shouldn't judge. I think if someone lets it bother them, like REALLY bother them, they need to step back.
    My four daughters were quite the hair stylists right from the time they each learned how to manipulate a pair of scissors. My eldest was the worst!! Now all in their thirties, one of their fondest topics of conversation is the hair cutting episodes. It looks like my eldest granddaughter is following the tradition. As an aspiring child model, her mommy would like to chain her to a chair after each snip that necessitates a repair job!

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  10. Great post! I write this now, still in my pj's at 3pm and contemplating a movie instead of taking my kids to the pool. It is really hot out there and all I want to do is sleep! Much as I love posting about the triumphs in my life on my blog it certainly doesn't mean I've got it together and I really do fall into that trap of comparison when reading other people's work too. Silly really. Oh well, I guess I'd better got do some more chores....but that movie does sound good ; )

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  11. I've also thought, "how does she do it?" about some of those bloggers who seem like they have perfectly balanced lives. But really, I know that not everything can be perfect and that only the best parts of life make it onto blogs. And this does make me appreciate the ones who throw some realistic posts into the mix, and the spontaneous posts that are really representative of one's life, rather than a pre-planned schedule of perfect blog posts. I like authenticity and strive for that on my blog, too... as much as possible, anyway. :) Nice post.

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    1. Ditto! I also feel that what we sometimes forget (or what others who always appear so "perfect" fail to mention) is that some lucky people have a large support system - husbands at home, grandparents, aunts, etc. - who help shoulder their burdens. I think many of us unfortunately don't have this network of real-life support that maybe people more commonly had in the past.
      -Jaime

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    2. So true! I have noticed that. I deeply wish I could have a strong network like that!!

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  12. I guess you should be grateful they just tried hairstyling and left dentistry to the professionals?
    But, seriously, thank you for this post - it is always reassuring to know there are people leaving real lives out there in blogland.

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  13. I don't know necessarily that I feel inadequate while reading other blogs about moms who can do it all. Maybe it's because I'm an old mama? I just know that I do things differently. Doesn't make me less of a mama. I'm still learning this whole mama thing so if I am feeding her mac and cheese again for the third straight day, who cares. She eats it.
    And isn't cutting hair a right of passage for kids? I know I did it (my mom has pictures too!).
    Have a fabulous day eating ice cream out of the tub!

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  14. Thank you for this! I always love reading your posts :) I will be 100% honest and say that there are a few blogs out there that make me feel like utter crap. I know that is not their intention AT ALL but after seeing all that they accomplish as if it is nothing, the big families they have, the large amount of devoted people that follow them and comment ...well, I feel pretty low and worthless. That sounds selfish and horrible, doesn't it?! I take a step back - I too try to only share the positives I want to remember and sometimes the lows I experience so that maybe I can learn from them. That is what they are probably doing, as well. At least I tell myself that. Yes, their lives maybe more blessed than mine but that just means I need to work harder maybe. I don't know. My friend told me this quote once and I keep it with me for when I let myself get down :

    'Comparison is the thief of joy'

    How true is that?!
    Anyways, I am rambling and it is late but thank you for this!!

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    1. Eeek, I didn't mean for that to sound so down and out! That's what happens when I respond to things too late at night. I am very thankful and inspired by all of those blogs I mentioned, they push me to improve my life. The only way things can get better in life is to be the change :) I am also grateful and honored for people that read my own blog and share their kindness with me :)

      <3

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    2. No worries...like you, I fluctuate between admiration, inspiration, and despair! As long as we can all acknowledge that most of us have to clear the floor and any horizontal surfaces of junk before we take a picture, and that by inviting the world into our home, we're inviting admiration AND criticism, we can just go on with what we do for fun or money: blogging about the highlights, and the behind the scenes moments! The many responses (at least for my little blog) to this post reinforces what I already suspected: people want REAL more than they want perfect, right?

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    3. No worries...like you, I fluctuate between admiration, inspiration, and despair! As long as we can all acknowledge that most of us have to clear the floor and any horizontal surfaces of junk before we take a picture, and that by inviting the world into our home, we're inviting admiration AND criticism, we can just go on with what we do for fun or money: blogging about the highlights, and the behind the scenes moments! The many responses (at least for my little blog) to this post reinforces what I already suspected: people want REAL more than they want perfect, right?

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  15. Thank you, this is a great post! I always enjoy reading your posts.

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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!