About Me

I am a proud wife and mother, and a born again Christian. I work from home as a writer while taking care of Miss N, our six-year-old, Miss M, our four-year-old and Miss C, our newest bundle of joy. Life is crazy but so much fun!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Blogosphere and Mommy Guilt

EDITED TO ADD: I just want to say that this post is not about other bloggers, it's about me. While some bloggers I've read do seem to put on a front, a friend graciously reminded me that most are just moms like me doing the best they can. This post is intended to be a reflection on what the blogosphere does to me as a mom by amplifying the inadequacies I already feel. It's not bloggers' faults, it's the nature of the media, and perhaps my own personal problem. I feel the same way reading some mom's Facebook posts and twitters (when I used to do Twitter). Upon re-reading my post for the umpteenth time, I realize i might have come across wrong. For instance, I have no problem with blogging conventions, minimal problems with Twitter, and those who attend/use those venues. If a professional blogger read this and felt offended, please forgive me. I have much respect what you do, even if sometimes I wish I could see on your blog a messy house or tantrum-throwing toddler, just so I could know that my house is pseudo-normal. For those who do post those pictures. THANK YOU! From a normal, struggling mommy, it really does help me. This post was primarily about me and what the blogosphere does to my emotions. I guess I got a little emotional partway through.

Mommy guilt. Maybe it’s as age-old as motherhood itself. Sometimes I envision Adam and Eve’s great, great, great granddaughters sitting around the watering hole washing their laundry and having this conversation:

Mommy 1: Look at this garment I made for Little Adam Junior. It only took five days to complete. I hiked to the tallest mountain to find the palm leaves for the little sleeves.

Mommy 2: It’s just darling. Look at Eve Junior’s dress here. I spent a whole week on it. It took even longer because Daddy had to travel past the Red Sea to get the hide for the bottoms.

Mommy 3: Those are both great. I know I don’t have time to sew garments like that because my kids are so busy helping me cook these healthy, organic, trans-fat free meals that taste like something from a five-star restaurant. And look, here’s a step by step guide with photos of how we made it, and notice there are no crumbs, spills, or strangled children in the picture!

No? You don't think it went like that? Ok, maybe the conversation wasn’t quite like that, but I do imagine that “Mommy Guilt,” that feeling of inadequacy when faced with the doings of other mommies, is not a new thing.

But, I do think the blogosphere amplifies it.

When I started this blog, it was simply a place, pre-Facebook days, to stick pictures and quick stories for my extended family who live all over creation. In most ways that’s still what it is. I simply don’t have time or the desire to be “a blogger.” Blogging conventions? No way. Spending hours following people, twittering away my life, and growing my follower’s list? Not for me. I’m happy with my little blog that gives me a place to write down memories that I am forgetting so quickly.

The “blogosphere,” however, is an interesting phenomenon. I spend a fair deal of time online, and I have several high school and college friends whose blogs I read to see how their kids are growing. From time to time stumble across blogs of other mommies that I don’t know. This is where it gets scarry.

See, a mom who runs a blog for money has to have constant posts, and it seems some of these mommies make it appear they have it all figured out. Sure, they talk about “keeping it real,” but they don’t post pictures of themselves at the end of the day when they’ve dealt with an almost two-year-old refusing to wear a diaper while a four year old sobbed “mommy she’s screaming too loud nad it’s hurting my ears!” They don’t post pictures of the post-tornado scene that is their house while they sit and blog. No, they make it look like everything is hunky-dorey in their little online world.

How quickly can they pour on the Mommy Guilt! One post talking about “Why I Homeschool” on a particularly “big” mom’s blog made me feel like dirt because I don’t want or have the ability to home school right now. She went on and on about “I just really like my kids and want to be with them,” and “life is already all about learning so why do we need to send them away to learn?” So, therefore, those of us who do NOT want to have our kids home with us must not “really like our kids.” I know that’s not what she meant, but that’s how I felt after reading it. I honestly cried.

Other moms do this “Tot School” thing. It’s basically a very structured homeschool (for not long periods of the day, but still planned and structured) for toddlers and preschoolers. They talk about “pincher grasp,” and other fine motor skills, and all of this stuff I learned in college.

We don’t do “Tot School.” We don’t do any type of structured learning. We’re just a mom and her two kids doing the best we can to love each other, enjoy the world God created, and carve out enough time for mom to make money to pay the bills.

Sometimes all it takes is, oh, five minutes of reading some stranger’s blog to feel like the worst mom in the world. My house is a mess. (For the record while I type this it’s not, so I’m not wasting cleaning time right now, just in case you wanted to know) My kids aren’t in structured “school” in my home, and next year I will send my eldest out of my home to go to preschool.

Yet, without the blogosphere, would I feel this much guilt? Probably not. Sure, I would have friends who “do it all” better than I do, but it wouldn’t be so overwhelmingly obvious how “bad” of a job I’m doing.

There is the principle found in II Corinthians 10:12, where it says, “but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” I am not these other people. I am not raising their children. I am me, and I am raising Natalie and Megan. I need to focus on what needs to happen in their little lives, in our little house, and in our little family.

So, I am contemplating swearing off mommy blogs. Yet, there is something that draws me in. Perhaps I’m just a glutton for punishment. Maybe I enjoy the mommy guilt too much? I think maybe a hiatus would be good for me. I’m still thinking though. No promises from this pseudo-blogger!


chris said...

Well, two thoughts ... one from a pastor, one from a financial couselor, both of whom you know well.

Pastor would say "if you doubt, don't". Dave would say "try it for a three months, and if you find you truly hate the new results, you can always go back to the old way of doing things".

Life isn't just all about learning for children, remember.... Even us "old dogs" can learn some new things!

Pepper said...

I think this post is so true and so good. I come from the bloggy generation when blogging was about you and sharing about your life. Not selling yourself and your blog. I can understand trying to make money with your blog, but there is this mentality that you need to have to have the blog with the most followers, the most comments, the highest hits. But these numbers are getting inflated and falsified by these follow me games. I mean really how many of those "followers" ever come back?

It's great to find a blog about just you, its so refreshing, can't wait to see your posts for mommy's piggy tales!

jenmom said...

You speak my heart so well it is a little scary! You said so well what I've been feeling for months.

I am a minister's wife and I started my blog because we are now serving 1,000 miles away from any family. I wanted a way to keep our family up to date on what we are doing and post pictures of my kids for their grandparents, who only get to see them once a year now.

I'm happy with my little blog as you are with yours. It's also been a blessing to come across those who really "keep it real" like yourself!

Blessings on your sweet family!