I recently read this post about how bloggers set unrealistic expectations for wives and mothers in much the same way the pornography industry does, except we do it to the minds of women while typically porn is targeted toward men.
Literally, right after closing it, I saw a blog post about how a woman went 366 days without duplicating her outfit. (I won’t link it because I’m not trying to bash her or her blog. I am a blogger and know it’s hard enough without everyone picking on you.) I don’t have enough clothes to make it 30 days if I started wearing t-shirts over pajamas!
My point is, his point is valid. As bloggers, we show you things we do that work, things that are fun, things that are staged to look just so. Then of course, (he didn’t mention this but we do it) we show you our “real” selves by posting something emotionally raw or the messy living room surrounding our adorably messy kids and talk about how “that’s life” and everyone loves getting this glimpse into our reality.
All that does is make it seem more obtainable. It only exacerbates the unrealistic expectations we set forth. If she has a messy house and messy kids sometimes, then all the other things she does can be me. If she has had such a hard time with her miscarriage, and I’m having such a hard time with mine, maybe, if I can learn to do the other things I see here, I can be happy like she is.
It. Is. A. Lie.
I’ve tried very hard here on Rusty Basket to be as real as possible but I am lying to you! It is unavoidable as a blogger. Even for those of us who try. Because you know what you don’t want to hear?
My Actual Reality
I sat on my bed and cried today, in front of my kids. I didn’t have good cause. I just got sick of the screaming and the fighting and the constant mess and destruction that comes with little boys. I hated the sound of my children…all three of them, screaming.
And then when the oldest asked me why I was crying, you know what I didn’t do? I didn’t hide it like a good parent. I didn’t sugar coat things. I didn’t explain it in vague terms. I told him, “Because I suck at being a mom and I don’t want to do it anymore.” And then I cried some more.
You know what else I did? I fed them half a jar of hot fudge (at least I made it myself right?), some goldfish and pretzels, and apple juice (for nutrition of course) for dinner.
I didn’t wash the dishes.
I didn’t wash their hands or faces. In fact, the middle boy had hot fudge on his face when he went to bed.
And I didn’t care because all I wanted in the whole world was for him to go to bed so that I didn’t have to deal with them anymore.
I yelled. I told them I hated how they destroyed things and made such a mess of the house. I will probably have to send them to counseling one day.
I bathed them for the first time in probably a week. I took my first shower in 4 days.
I wallowed and griped and thought mean bitter thoughts.
And I have no positive spin to put on it. Because THAT is reality. Some days suck. Sometimes we suck. Some days, we don’t live up to normal expectations, let alone even come close to attaining unrealistic expectations.
And that’s a reality no one wants to buy.
You don’t want to believe that I’m a sucky parent sometimes. Why would you ever read my parenting advice if I suck just as much as you feel you do? I’m not helpful.
Why would you want to make my craft ideas if they actually take a long time, make a huge mess, and usually end up in a fight with the kids? That’s not going to entice anyone. You can do that on your own.
Why would you try my recipe if my 2 year old had to be forced into eating EVERY BITE THAT WENT INTO HIS FACE? That’s what you are already dealing with.
So bloggers lie. We omit the truth. We exaggerate. We stage. We light. We crop. We sell.
I could have easily told you about this day and made a great post about it. I could have painted it in the “struggling just like you” light or the “my messy kids and the lessons I learned about fleeting moments” light. Or maybe you would have enjoyed the “hectic craziness of living in a trailer while my husband goes to work and school” saga. But, in reality, they would all be lies. Because even though I would have been honest about what happened, I would have filtered my feelings and motivations. I would have misled. I would have perpetuated the unrealistic expectations you already have for yourself.
And I am sorry. I will try to show you real life but if you ever come here and feel overwhelmed or unable to keep up with some false unrealistic expectations I set, please know, I am every bit as human as you. I am flawed in so many ways. I struggle, real struggle, not “sell it as a great tear jerker story” struggle, every single day in this mom gig. You got this. I’ve got this. We can all suck together sometimes.
And for the love – put Pinterest away and go do it your way!
Written January 4, 2017.
And P.S. Not all days are like this. But they happen a lot more often than any blogger would like to admit…at least without putting a positive spin on it.