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June 1, 2012

Truth, Addendum


I wrote a post last week entitled “Truth in Blogging”.

I so appreciate the encouraging comments and great dialogue in response to that.  And I got a couple of questions about whether something prompted me to write that post.

There was no particular instance that drove me to write that, but rather some ongoing themes that generally float around in the back of my mind.

For a long time now I’ve had conversations with a few of my closer friends about motherhood.  It’s wonderful, yes…more than I could ever have imagined…but it’s hard…harder than I could ever have imagined, too.

I’ve long joked with one of my best friends, “Why didn’t you tell me this was such a hard job?  We laugh, but – at least when the girls were first born – I was really pretty serious in asking it.

Those first couple of months, when the sleep deprivation was nothing short of torturous…when I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, like surely I was missing some primal skill set…when my emotions were so scattered, I seriously doubted my psychological wellbeing at times…

…I remember thinking, “I didn’t know it would be like this.

Looking around, judging by Facebook, motherhood is rainbows and butterflies, right?

Everyone else falls in love with their newborn upon first sight.  Those infant days are filled with contented snuggles and precious coos.  The toddler days are spent watching your baby delight in all things new.  And preschool days are spent attending themed play dates and playing nicely at the park.

Right?  Right???

With my closer friends, I’ve talked about how “nobody” talks about “the hard stuff”.  How, when you’re in the middle of “the hard stuff”, it can be easy to feel so alone, so isolated, thinking that “everybody else” has it “right”, that surely you’re the one who missed the memo.

So…if we would loosen up and not be afraid to talk about the nitty-gritty…if we’d be willing to risk the nomination for Mother of the Year and “admit” we sometimes struggle…then we’d all feel better about ourselves, right?  More “normal”, right?

But…if I subscribe to that practice in theory, then I’m doing a rotten job of holding up my end of the bargain, at least via Facebook and my blog.  Right?

It’s a question that tickles the back of my mind, and I just don’t know what the answer is.

But I guess I’m realizing that many other mamas may fall into a similar camp as me, one of focusing on the joys and the wonderment.  It’s not that the challenges don’t exist, but they (usually) pale in comparison.  It’s not necessarily a cultural conspiracy.

No, I don’t know what the answer is, but I’ll do my best to support my friends, as they support me.  And I am so grateful for that support.

Maybe that’s the learning for me here…just underscoring the importance of a circle of friends where you can laugh about your dirty laundry (and/or poop-stained wall).

I firmly believe it takes a village to raise a child.  And that village sure is helpful to a mama, too.

7 comments:

Marcia (123 blog) said...

Mmmmm, so I'm also torn about this. I think you need to be okay with how much you choose to share.

Also, some people like me get over things quickly, so once I share my heart, I'm 100 times better and can move on.

For D, the whole sharing almost makes it feel worse as he overanalyses :)

So which are you? I think if the sharing too much makes you focus more on the bad, then maybe it's not that good for you.

Personally with your blog, you are WAAAYYYY upbeat :) but I know you're honest and will share with me and others (of course I read all the comments on the other people's blogs we frequent) honestly from your experience and if you sense someone's having a hard time, email them additionally too. I treasure that spirit of the encourager in you, Mandy :)

Beth said...

You're right that as mothers we need to be honest with one another and say, "This job is HARD some days (weeks, months...)" The hard times are a million times harder when you think that no one else is struggling. We should be willing to share our challenges and support one another.

The thing that makes that tougher on the blog is that it is permanent and public. I have begun to worry about what my kids will think when they look back at this blog one day.

While surely everyone understands that mothering (and life) has good days and bad days, I worry that someone will read one or two posts and think that I am an unhappy, ungrateful mother.

Also, (for better or worse) I am sarcastic. Even when I'm posting happy stories, I can be quite sarcastic (I have cut out entire posts because I was afraid my point was getting lost.) On the tougher stuff, this does not read well. Tone is very difficult on the internet. I sincerely hope that I am better understood in person.

Also, since this gig is so tough, some days reading a positive, upbeat post from you really brightens my day and I'm sure it does for others too.

Keep up the great work. My mother assures me that when I look back, I'll only think of the good times. Even the bad times I do remember will be seen through a rose colored lens. No point in having them here in black and white to remind you! ;-)

James said...

I think we all know parenting is hard and kids can be a pain in the ass. As a reader, I like seeing people's stories about the nightmarish stuff that happens, but only in the it's-funny-after-the-fact sense. I quickly lose interest in blogs where the recurring theme is my kids fight, my kids make messes and my kids drive me crazy. No kidding... join the club. Whining from another parent is no more appealing to me than whining from my kids.

Of course, having people who support you and "get it" is absolutely important, but just because you don't focus on the negative in a blog doesn't make your blog lack honesty.

As a blogger, I just don't hang on to the bad stuff long enough to be motivated to blog about it. The good stuff, however, sticks with me and that's what makes it into my blog. It's not dishonest, it's just where it ranks in my consciousness.

Of course, when poop gets smeared clear across the living room carpet, you know that's going to get mentioned...

Cuz I'm the mama! said...

This is a great post and I am thankful you wrote it! I feel the exact same way, but most of the time try to write fun, upbeat and positive things for my girls to read years down the line. WIth that being said -- I also include some of the hardships, struggles and thoughts I am having a their mama. I think that part of the story is also important for them to read. And, mostly because I hope one day they will also be a mama and will know it's OK to have hard days and the sun will shine again. At times -- I shy away from certain blogs b/c it does seem all "rainbows and butterflies" and my life does not always seems that way so I wonder why??? But - in reality ... and as my hubs reminds me -- nobody has it EASY and especially not mamas. Hardest job on planet earth -- but most rewarding. I think you have a good mix of sharing about the positives, but also admitting that motherhood is not a cake walk and ever-evolving. :)

Just Another Mom of Twins said...

I hear ya! When I was pregnant all my mamma-friends talked about how great it was and really...they made it sound like a walk in the park...I should have known better becuase walking in the park has never been "easy" for me or all that enjoyable (at times) LOL!

I love my kiddies but Ihad no idea what I was getting into...most days I love being a mama more than anything I've ever loved doing but there are those days when I "miss" life before the fam...hey! I can be honest too! :)

Happy weekend!

Johanna Baker said...

You are definitely one of my favorite villagers!

Some days I look at myself in the mirror and think "holy hell, I look old!" I didn't start looking old until I had kids! :) Being a parent is exhausting - good thing the good outweighs the hard, or the world would stop populating itself!

IASoupMama said...

I have always blogged more about good stuff than bad, but have a handful of posts where I fully admit to being overwhelmed. I posted a lot of soul searching stuff during the many unsuccessful months of TTC because that is what I just NEEDED to write. My entry on Wednesday is an "I'm overwhelmed" entry, but I'm not blaming it on my kids or hubby -- just saying that sometimes I can't handle it all alone.

 
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