Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Hiatus

I know, I know, this is turning out to be like how I used to write in my diary every so often, "Dear Diary, sorry I haven't written in a while, I promise to......."  Then six months later, "Dear Diary, see previous entry...."

Things have been wild around here lately, partly due to some stupid overscheduling on my part.  Family comes first, so my number one concern has been hot meals on the table and clean socks and underwear in people's dresser drawers.  And towels and toilet paper in the bathrooms. 

Another concern for me lately has been a blogging identity crisis, which culminated while reading a post on Middle-Aged Mormon Man last night about special blogging awards. Read it if you dare. Scott has been expressing concern that I am presenting an image of our family that is unrealistic and misleading.  We also have had a couple of special lessons in Relief Society (that even spilled over to EQ and HPG!) on perfectionism and depression in women.  Plus as I was laying in bed this morning fretting over writing Christmas cards, I kept thinking over the dreaded Christmas newsletters I will start receiving in the mail soon.  You know the ones, with the perfect family picture and the perfect list of things the perfect family has done throughout the perfect year they've had.  (Not that I'm not happy for my friends and pleased for their accomplishments, I am.)

As I do every year, I contemplated what would happen if people sent out a brutally honest Christmas newsletter.  "Mommy gained another ten pounds this year after spending $500 dollars in January on a gym membership and only going once.  She's decided to cut back on her chocolate consumption, and will eat only one family sized dairy milk bar a day instead of two.  Billy will be starting kindergarten in September, and everyone has their fingers crossed he will be potty trained by then.  Jane has brought her marks up considerably this year, and teacher says she may make it to the sixth grade after all.  Baby has taken up biting other children now that she has teeth.  And Alice has a new piercing and tattoo as you can see from the picture above....."

My point is, I know that one of the dangers of blogging and following other people's blogs is that terrible thing that happens with women.  We compare ourselves at our worst to other people at their best.  And we only present our best on our blogs.  It's like when I sit in RS on Sundays and look at my rough, work worn hands and look down the aisle at the other sisters with their beautiful manicures.  Instead of listening to the lesson, I might add.  The same thing happens when I view others blogs and see the amazing things people do with their talents.  (Another reason I've been avoiding Pinterest, actually.)

This does not mean that I am going to post about indiscretions or show pictures of how bad a certain someone's bedroom really gets, if I could only open the door in the first place.  I don't believe in airing dirty laundry, literally and figuratively.  I'm just going to try to figure out a way to blog in a realistic manner that is more reflective of what really goes on in the four walls of our house.  Wish me luck!


  1. You are so right! Thank you for such a powerful message today! I loved your insights mission. As I read it I wondered if it was our 'pride' that keeps us from really sharing? Why are we so afraid, in our society, to let others' know we have struggles and problems? I know that I always feel better when I know that I'm not alone in the challenges and that others have overcome hard things too. Thank you for bringing this out. I'm going to post it to my blog for others' to read.

  2. Very true Jen, thanks for your honesty! It can be so hard to see the little things in life as being perfect just the way they are. When I look at your hands I see love, hard work, commitment, dedicated service, honesty, natural are a mentor to me... In the heart of every women these are qualities we all want to have and for some reason we are trying to prove it to everyone that we are all of that and more. Our perspective gets clouded with the sensationalized image put out there by the media of women doing it all and having the perfect nails and hair too...and its making us sick in the process. Sometimes it takes a man to point out how rediculous we are...beating ourselves up trying to be the perfect mom, housewife, career woman...trying to do it all with a fake smile on our faces. It gets a bit braggy and it's a challenge to keep it up! After a while a burn out is inevitable. Kudos to you for putting it out there! Here's to keeping it real :)

  3. Jen, you are such an example to me! thank you for this amazing message! And you are absolutely right. I always compare myself at my worst to other people at their best. A totally unfair comparison! And I have a thing about hands. I think that, even more so than the eyes, they are the windows to the soul. You can tell a lot from a persons hands. I think hands that have performed labours are beautiful!

  4. I saw this post on Mormon Moms and really related to it. This is something I thought a lot about a couple years ago. I had a difficult time deciding what to blog about so that we didn't sound perfect (very unrealistic for us) but so that I wasn't sounding negative about my family either. Another thing I was concerned about was saying things about family members that could create a negative false sense of who they are, and I didn't want to build expectations in others that were anywhere near damaging. We all have a right to privacy and certain issues need to stay between us and our Heavenly Father. It's worked out that I mostly share the imperfect silly stuff and try to work in something gospel related...usually. I get permission from my children before I share something potentially embarrassing as well. For an example of a blog post with imperfect me feel free to read my last post (I'm doing the Dear Diary thing as well-notice the post was from a month ago).

    A couple years ago I decided I was tired of my all perfect Christmas newsletter as well. Did people really want to hear what each kid had accomplished throughout the year? Probably not. I had to admit, too, I was able to represent some of my children much more than others. So I did our newsletter on our "new family member Nobody". I went through a comedic list of shananigans my kids had pulled that were blamed on Nobody and showed everyone what an active person that has been in our home. For example. Nobody turned on the fawcet on the side of the house and let it run and run until the neighbors came over to say their yard had been flooded to the point that they were worried about sink holes. Nobody cracked the LCD pad on the microwave, and Nobody had a food fight that resulted in mashed potatoes stuck to the ceiling- we had to sand those off by the time I found them. From the feedback I received it was everyone's alltime favorite newsletter. Feel free to use the idea if you feel like it. Just thought I'd share.

    Thanks for the post.