mad mama liberation front

I have had a post tumbling around in my head for a little while now and just the other night I told Mike about where I was at with it.  We had a good long conversation about it.   I like to think I have found a decent balance with my blogging.  In my experience, if I write too much for others or too much for myself, the blog and I suffer.  If I travel too far into either side I become tired, uninspired, burnt out, and overexposed.

I was wondering if I was brave enough to put that tumbling post to paper when I saw this honest post  from Stephinie of Gypsy Forest and was blown away.  I was blown away because I have many of the same confessions.  I couldn’t help but wonder how many other bloggers and women feel this way.  The most poignant quote for me was “you’re tired of being nice”.  Now I am not tired of being nice to my readers as they are a most lovely group of  supportive people, but I am tired of playing the perfect stay at home mama; I tire of playing nice all the time.  It occurred to me that the type of honesty I strive for and Stephinie spoke of could spread like wild fire through the land of blog if we were brave enough to let it.  A sort of Mad Mama Liberation Front (inspired by Mr. Berry, of course).

I think the growing circle of crunchy mama bloggers have begun to paint themselves into a  little corner, much like the one wives and mothers of the fifties were backed into.  We frame the parts of our day and lives we want others to see, but just outside the frame is the overwhelming mess and noise of real life.  We tell each other about the wonderful things we’re doing right (which is wonderful and oh so inspiring), but rarely talk about what we struggle with or go into details about how we make things work (which is frustrating and makes us wonder what we’re doing wrong).  We often fail to share the logistics of and fabric of our days.  I believe that what we focus on grows so we should focus on the good stuff, but we must also acknowledge the challenges.  You see, my worry is that instead of lifting each other up we are quietly competing with each other.  Certainly not intentionally, but through assumptions and crafty editing.   After everything women have been through we are still learning to show our imperfections; we’re still trying to prove we have it all under control in a lady-like fashion; we still fail to see each other as allies.

I am much more than my blog.  This isn’t to say I tell falsehoods or put on airs here.  No, the things I blog about are genuinely important to me.  I believe in homeschooling wholeheartedly.  I love the connection and rhythms that emerge from growing our own food and making what we can from scratch.  I believe firmly in attachment parenting and co-sleeping. I know the importance of buying ethically and responsibly made foods and goods.  It is a challenging and gratifying lifestyle and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but it isn’t all fresh eggs and crafty goodness.  It is hard work.  It is  a lot of planning that we still struggle with.  It is expensive in many ways and frugal in other ways.  It is exhausting and invigorating.

I love the pretty and natural things in life, but I appreciate honesty and vulnerability just as much.  I like filthy humour and fast cars.  I let my kids eat sugar and kraft dinner.  I swear like a sailor and the more I try to stop, the more I seem to swear.  To be honest, I don’t think I want to stop, but think I should.  I think Louis CK is one of the funniest people EVER.  I think baking and cooking with my kids is much like cooking with an octopus with zero impulse control.  It drives me crazy and leaves me feeling frazzled.  We bought a mermaid Barbie for Poppy’s birthday because it was the toy she chose and loved most and we still haven’t got around to making that sweet wooden gnome house I told you about.  I have never found the amber teething necklaces to improve teething symptoms; I just think they look beautiful against their soft skin.  We rarely have time to set the table let alone say the beautiful meal blessing we have hanging by our table what with the cranky, climbing children hollering for their food.  My kids have a knack for finding the one non homemade, non organic food on their plate and eat only that.  I am easily frustrated and quick tempered.  Try as I might, I can’t seem to find a daily rhythm that we can stick to, so most of the time we flail around in a mess of half done laundry and books.  I love the country life, but it is by no means ‘simpler’ than in-town living.  I miss being able to put the kids in the stroller and walk downtown for a little thrift store shopping.  We don’t have cable, but we watch movies and download tv shows.  I love shopping and miss it dearly.  McDonald’s is my kryptonite.  Sometimes it takes everything inside of me to drag myself out of bed to face the same messes and bank account as the day before.  I miss having a food and fingerprint-free couch and tire of stepping on dead apple cores and dried cranberries.  I cry out of sheer frustration and exhaustion more than I would like to admit.  I have been known, on occasion, to lock myself in the bathroom with a deep and delicious chocolate cake.

I am not complaining; that isn’t what this is about.  I just want to be certain I have never given you the impression I have all my shit together.  A friend recently said that I sometimes write as though the two income family is the easy way.  That is neither my opinion nor my intention.  I simply write about what I know.  I am fully aware that we are all walking different paths and fighting hard battles for the sake of our families and what we feel is best.  To clarify, I don’t feel we are living the one righteous path and apologize if reading my posts has ever made you feel less than, or insulted in some way.

This isn’t all about apologies either.  It is about empowerment and showing the whole picture.  I struggle with Jung’s words “I’d rather be whole than good”.  Not in their meaning but in the doing.  Sometimes we leave too much of  the rough stuff on the cutting room floor in an effort to be seen as good and nice, but as I get older, I realize I would rather be whole.

Now that we have all that out in the open, I promise to continue on.  You see, this is the moment I would usually retreat from writing publicly, but this time I am forcing myself to write through the discomfort.  To be honest I feel the fire being fueled by a good challenge so I will continue on with the real and the pretty and I encourage you to do the same.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter and feel free to leave a link to your own Mad Mama Liberation confessions.

 

go gently + be wonderful

e.

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88 Comments

  1. Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:37 pm by Notablogger | Permalink

    Hurrah! It is so icky and messy, this life at home with kids. Today, we went an hour over string (have, not have, knots, help, tears, shouting, throwing) and I still don’t know what was “right.” You’ve got my vote for honesty!

  2. Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm by Shannon Williams | Permalink

    Erin – that is so beautifully written. Any Mom who can’t relate to you is lying to themselves, or has a full-time, live-in Nanny to raise her own children ;) You are courageous, brave, beautiful and inspiring – and so many other things to so many people. Daily frustrations are honest, and fleeting at times. It is nice to hear, read & speak about things that are uncomfortable sometimes – quite often, it makes you feel less alone and isolated (at least, that’s how I feel about it). I curse my kid every time I fell the “crunch” under my bare feet after she has eaten Rice Krispies for breakfast, and I am so frustrated that I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since before pregnancy, and i dream of the day, many years from now, when I will have my own bed back with my husband. I wouldn’t change it, not ever, though. Venting doesn’t mean you love your family less, are a bad person, can’t cope, regret your life choices or are miserable – it simply means you are a human being. If we kept everything in, and constantly edited our lives, I truly believe you lose who you are and who you are meant to be.

    Perhaps I’ve gone off on my own tangent – I apologize if I have.

    Chin up, girl – you only stop growing when you’re dead :)

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm by erin | Permalink

      Thanks for the kind words Shannon!
      It isn’t a matter of having my chin down, but of pushing my way back out of a corner so I feel empowered more than down :)
      You’re a kind and good friend!
      e.

  3. Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm by Michelle | Permalink

    I laughed outloud when I read your post. So many things you mentioned, I do as well. My house is never messy. Never. And by that I mean that I spend WAY too much time cleaning and too little time having fun. I swear too. My little one has taken to saying “aw crap” more often than I like. I spend a lot of time homeschooling, being outside, making crafts with my girl and then I have nothing left to give my husband. And that is not good. There is my confession. I need to be a better wife and have more fun!

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm by erin | Permalink

      That’s a good one!
      Thanks for taking the time to share :)
      e.

  4. Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:08 pm by Jenn | Permalink

    LOVE this post Erin. I find that when things get to ‘real’ around here I lose my inspriration to blog and don’t want to be the blogger who only shares the parts of their lives that makes other people feel theirs are inadaquate as I sometimes feel reading these blogs (not yours). It is so, so important to keep it real and your readers will appreciate that. And if I step on one more dead apple core I’ll probably be in the bathroom with a deep and delicious cake too ;)

  5. Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm by Lisa | Permalink

    Thanks for this Erin, I appreciate the honestly more than you know. We are trying to live a simpler, greener life, and sometimes do well, sometimes fail miserably. I look to yours and other blogs as a source of ideas and inspiration, and find just that regularly. However there are times when I find myself thinking, what is wrong with me, how do they manage to do all this, and I get into that negative mindset feeling as though I’m not worthy. And there is definitely something to the competitive women thing you mention. I have said to my husband more that once I don’t understand why women can’t support and encourage one another more rather than tearing them down, so frustrative, yet I can’t say I haven’t been guilty of it in my lifetime as well. Anyway, I get documenting the ‘good stuff’ and things you want to remember in your blog, but knowing that you and others struggle with a lot of the same things I do also helps immensely.

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm by erin | Permalink

      Glad to hear your thoughts! Thanks for taking the time to write!
      e.

  6. Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm by sophiefair | Permalink

    thank you for the honesty. I find myself filled with longing wheni read the crunchy mama blogs, but I know that I am in a different season in my life. we have teenagers who are very settled and happy in their suburban high school, and my older daughter, in particular, is never happier than in a mad whir of school and extracurricular activities. and I have a pain condition which makes it hard for me to sleep, and hard to accomplish what I want to accomplish… and so many other things… we eat more fast food than I would like. I spend way too much time in my car. and really, I still love my life. I have a great husband and amazing daughters. I am blessed.

    thanks.

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm by erin | Permalink

      A perfect illustration of how different lifestyles bring equal joy to all different people!
      Thank you for writing!
      e.

  7. Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm by Jules | Permalink

    Erin, If I didn’t already have a twin, I would think that you were mine. This post means everything to me. I have written about portrayal through blogging in the past ( written about here http://www.adirondack-mama.com/2010/01/glimpses.html )
    While I do try to share the beauty in my life at my space, I find that I try to be authentic as well. It is a slippery slope. After I wrote that post above, my father in law was diagnosed with Cancer and life just seemed to get even more complicated. I found that I shared some, but not all of the goings on. I pulled back. Unsure that anyone would want to read of struggles, etc when they had their own hardships going on. But sometimes, it’s impossible to continually wear the rose colored glasses. I see the massive amounts of competition for sure. I feel a bit tricked some times by the beautifully depicted lives of others and have stopped following a few blogs for the shear reason of that I can’t take it. I can’t witness the incessant brightness. Sometimes it’s all too much sweetness and light to bear. I find that if I am having a hard go of it in life, I tend to retreat from my space… your post here today though… you inspire me to let a bit more of it out there. We should all be here for each other, through the good and the bad.
    Hugs to you.

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm by erin | Permalink

      Yes. Too much light and sweetness gets tiring when we’re so weary…I don’t know how they can keep up with it to be honest.
      I am fighting the instinct to retreat and I hope you push through it too.
      Thank you so much for your kind words. It means so much to me especially that you are such a big part of that lifestyle and world I respect!
      Thank you thank you thank you!
      e.

  8. Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:02 pm by amy | Permalink

    i love everything about this post!

    my confession of a mad momma:
    whenever i try to do a super fun super mom thing with the 2 kiddos like cook, playing outside, crafts, whatever, they seem to just MESS IT UP (by fighting or whining or whatever) and i think how much easier it would have been to just popped in a movie!

    but we keep trying. i think that’s what counts. :)

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm by erin | Permalink

      Ditto friend. Ditto.
      Thanks so much!
      e.

  9. Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm by sarah | Permalink

    I love this. It’s beautiful and real and wonderful.

  10. Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm by barbara ledrew | Permalink

    read most of the stories…good luck with all the choices you make…hopefully best days ahead…

  11. Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm by Erin | Permalink

    Your post hits home for me right now. My life is in chaos after a few weeks of the cold and flu in earlier February…and I just feel stuck in a funk of cabin fever/winter blahs. I live in Ontario as well, so I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. There’s a lotta grey and brown on the landscape right now.

    I find I don’t blog about green living, being frugal, my choices to stay home with the kids, etc. very often because I feel like everybody else is, and that it is almost too cliche these days! But then then when I do, I find sometimes that honestly I isolate people — like people think we ALWAYS eat healthy, or never have bad days or whatever. I think it is so important to be honest too. Finding the balance is really hard.

    I applaud your honesty and just for being real. We’re all on the journey with you sister!

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm by erin | Permalink

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write!
      I appreciate your honesty.
      warmly,
      e

  12. Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm by Mandy | Permalink

    Oh Erin, how you read my mind, again. For the last 3 weeks we have either been sick or too darn lazy to do much. The kids have been begging me to get out paints, but I dont have the energy to clean up the mess, so instead, we have been watching lots of movies, sleeping late, and letting the mounds of dirt pile up in every corner and surface of my house. The dining table is now the laundry room, the living room is full of boxes and bins to be sorted. What clean clothes there are left are stacked in piles on the kids floors and dressers, and the fridge is quite bare, with the exception of chocolate brownies, store bought bagels and leftover pizza. I have a nasty zitty face, and a bloated belly, and cant seem to get off my ass to do much but complain or cry. Yeah, so dont feel alone. We all go through it. Its real, its life. Part of why I dont blog is because I simply dont have the time or energy to pretend Im perfect. Just this week my 4 year old said the F-word in front of our very Christain neighbors…however, it was because of me…”Mommy, why did you say that bad word again?” “What bad word honey?” “F*&*!” he said…so yeah…we are all real. Dont worry. Take a deep breathe, carry on. Order some pizza, take a break, and recoop again. Make some lists, regain your strength and fight the battle again tomorrow when you are feeling more strong.
    Best, Mandy

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm by erin | Permalink

      This was awesome. I must say.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write and share.
      It all seems to be the norm and yet none of us are that comfortable talking about it.
      Warmly,
      Erin

  13. Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm by Tonya | Permalink

    I hope also to strike a balance when blogging – although blogging does help me to see all the beauty in my life – to practice gratitude. But truly my life is joy filled, but yes, I have far too many moments when I yell when I shouldn’t and say things that should not have been said. Thank you for your honesty – it is helpful to find that some of the beautiful bloggers are truly human like the rest of us.
    Blessings, Tonya

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm by erin | Permalink

      Thank you for the kind words and I hope you find your own healthy balance.
      warmly,
      e.

  14. Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm by Laura Jeanne | Permalink

    This is a wonderful post, Erin. I just stopped blogging myself – one of the reasons was that I too was tired of showing only a tiny bit of my life that was pretty enough to share. I thought many times of posting something similar to what you just did, but I guess when it comes down to it I was too chicken to show my true self to the world.

    By the way, although our Etsy shop sells natural organic toys, our own kids often play with plastic toys. We had kraft dinner for supper last night. I let them eat sugar and even food coloring once in a while. Like you, we don’t have cable but we watch lots of movies and downloaded tv shows. Even Disney sometimes. Oh yeah, I sometimes swear like a sailor too. And so does my 3 year old. :P

    Thank you for your honesty, I know we all appreciate it.

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm by erin | Permalink

      I am sorry to hear you decided to stop blogging. I have been there before. I have walked away a couple times now, but always return so that is why I am making myself walk on through to the other side.
      I hope you are at peace with your decision.
      Thank you for your honesty. So great. And yes, we watch Disney too. Sometimes I think we put too much of our own shit on our kids. We try not to buy into the princess consumerism, but for the kids it is just an entertaining story and I don’t see the issue.
      Thank you so much!
      e.

  15. Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm by beth | Permalink

    I’ve never commented before (regular reader though) but I just wanted to say how much I appreciate this post. I seem to torment myself with my daily reading of crunchy mama blogs, and imagine that my life could be so seemingly perfect if only this or that were different…. Since I found your blog I have loved it for the honesty in your writing…sort of ‘crunchy with an extra bit of grit’.. You have such beautiful photos, children and ideas, but still admit to fighting the ongoing battles that all mamas (especially those of us with these sometimes ridiculously high benchmarks of what mothering young children should involve-I swear if I’d never discovered blogs I could have laughed off the idea of a perfectly laid table and more craft output than the occasional row of knitting until my little one was at least 4, and may have been happier for it….)are stuck in. keep it up! x

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm by erin | Permalink

      “crunchy with an extra bit of grit”
      You have no idea how much I love that!
      Thank you for reading and taking the time to write to me today. It is always amazing and liberating to know we’re not alone.
      Warmly,
      Erin

  16. Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:08 pm by nicole @ deliajude | Permalink

    i love your candor. and i yell out a hearty amen.

  17. Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm by MJ | Permalink

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you for writing this. As a woman and mother who values authenticity, creativity and ecological responsibility, I enjoy reading many mommy/crafting blogs (and I’ve read yours for a while), but I have to admit it’s become more frustrating to do so.

    I read these blogs because I believe in living with intention and meeting the emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of oneself and family. These blogs have been such a great resource for learning how and I appreciate those women who are willing to share so much of their lives. That being said, some of the blogs have become a brand, a niche, a precious echo chamber for (typically white) SAHMs, WAHMs or those in artistic careers with certain economic backgrounds and assets who can afford expensive digital cameras, artistic retreats and (100% wool) felt and wood toys for their kids. I know some families sacrifice to make this happen, but because they don’t write about these sacrifices, readers are free to assume otherwise.

    Unfortunately, the lack of diversity in authorship and content in the blogosphere can easily lead some to believe that this lifestyle is for the privileged few and too difficult to bother with. It’s easy to get discouraged and just say “screw it!” because you feel there aren’t enough hours in the day and your husband/kids don’t give a hoot anyway. That’s why I really appreciated your recent post about the trade-offs in your becoming a SAHM. And I appreciated the pros and cons you listed of moving to your cabin.

    I am a woman of color, a mother of one child who works full time. I shop at farmers markets, co-sleep, cook from scratch, garden, crochet, and shop at thrift stores. The fact is, for this lifestyle to become more common in this day and age, readers need to see how it works in a variety of family situations (married, single, working class, middle class, rural/urban/suburban, SAHM/SAHD, one-income/dual-income, rent/own, etc.) They also need to be reminded that many women of an earlier generation did all this AND worked outside the home, particularly if they were working class or of color. My grandmother was a nurse for a living and had to deal with the trauma of a husband who abandoned her. Yet she gardened, canned, crocheted, knit, etc. Some women are not in a position to stay home and have no desire to live on a farm but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn some of these skills, live more simply, and connect better with their families. Others yearn to stay home with their kids but need a realistic picture of that life.

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:57 pm by erin | Permalink

      I am really glad that you a) read my blog and b) took the time to share your thoughts and perspective.
      The lifestyle does appear to attract a certain type of people who appear to never worry about money. All that organic food, fabric and yarn is spendy. We are a one income family and can’t afford it all, but sometimes feel like we’re not doing it right if we don’t have all the handmade paraphernalia.
      It is incredibly frustrating when you see everything but the details of how it works.
      Warmly,
      e.

    • Posted March 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm by Janie | Permalink

      Well said and I share your sentiments exactly. Thank you so much Erin for your honesty. Reading your blog post makes this life of ours feel more real.

  18. Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:19 pm by Jeannine | Permalink

    I continue to read and enjoy your blog BECAUSE you are honest about your life. Thank you! I hope that you continue to mix in honest and pure posts such as these along with the beautiful photographs and recipes.

    I decided to stay at home with my two girls after the birth of my second, two years ago. My mother stayed home with the two of us and we recently had an interesting conversation about this.

    I recall thinking I wouldn’t follow that path as I recall her being frustrated much of the time. Extended family made comments (when she wasn’t around) about how it was a shame that she didn’t use her masters degree. As if the only woman who should be a homemaker is one that is uneducated and unemployable?! She recently asked if I felt I had to defend my decision and I confessed that I do, often. Her reply was simple. You truly never get the time back and it is the early years that are the most important to get right.

    While I too find myself locking myself in the bathroom (or the pantry) or extending the movie time a bit longer, depending on the day, I truly feel I’ve made the best decision. I would never look down upon a woman who has made the opposite choice and I can only hope that the same courtesy would be extended to me.

    There is a fine line with many household-bloggers (I prefer that term to mommy-bloggers) between truth and privacy and I wonder if many prefer to only share the good because they think the bad or hard is too personal.

    I recently read this post from Mighty Girl and I truly hope that more mothers share their honest feelings as you and these authors have done.

    http://mightygirl.com/2012/02/22/breastfeeding-hormones-and-depression/

    Thank you again!!

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:03 pm by erin | Permalink

      I have never heard a woman say she regretted staying home with her children. They always say it was hard, but worth it. That says a lot and encourages me.
      I think it is too personal for some, but I am a fan of vulnerability and being candid. It isn’t for everyone and just as those people may wonder how I share so much I wonder how they keep it all private.
      It takes all kinds.
      Thanks for taking the time!
      e.

  19. Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm by grace quam | Permalink

    Thank you for the post. I also think it is important for myself to remember the difficulties of it all, or else I forget it, and wonder why I am having such a hard time when everything used to be so easy and beautiful….

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:42 am by erin | Permalink

      Yes, that happens to me too…which could also be a good argument for just writing about the good stuff…all the other stuff you don’t write about falls away.
      Thanks for this!
      e.

  20. Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm by Stephinie | Permalink

    This totally freaking rocks!!! I am completely humbled to have inspired you in any way…. wow :)
    “Mad Mama Liberation” I love this. So glad to have crossed paths with you sweet lady.

    xo
    ~stephinie

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:40 am by erin | Permalink

      Gah! I am so glad you love it.
      I too am glad we’ve crossed paths new friend :)
      much love,
      e.

  21. Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm by Ana | Permalink

    Erin, whenever you have written this honestly about the messiness is when I have loved you and been inspired by you the most. It’s one of the bravest things we can to – to highlight our imperfectness and put it out there, unpolished and without coherence.

  22. Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:36 pm by Linnea | Permalink

    This made me laugh. Aloud.

    I would eat copious amounts of fast food french fries and donuts except I have a pile of allergies. Somehow I’m not allergic to Snickers bars or peanut m&m’s so those are my hidden junk foods. And yes, I’ve snuck them in bathrooms right along with smokes.

    We don’t live by a schedule or follow many rules. I say, of any lifestyle, take what works for you + yours but leave the rest. Frame or no frame, this life of yours can only be lived by you.

    Seriously, you don’t need a routine and Netflix isn’t going to stunt growth. Kids do benefit from satisfied parents so do what works for you.

    Don’t know if this works in the country, but we always figured that if the kids use (our) curse words in front of the grandparents (who would care) that we’d just blame the sailor-mouthed neighbors. :)

    Thanks for the post. Go easy on yourself and your Barbie-loving-Kraft-eating kid will be better for it. And now you’ve compelled me to write about kids who sometimes complain about roadtrip epic drives.

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:24 am by erin | Permalink

      This is great! And you’re right, happy parents is much more beneficial than not turning a movie on and white knuckling it through the afternoon.
      I am at that place I think, I just don’t want anyone to assume I am better at this than they are. I wanted clarity mostly.
      Thanks for the great comment!
      e.

  23. Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:28 am by KC | Permalink

    What a great post. I really love when you put up pictures of your messy house. When you have little ones you really can’t have a clean house. Something’s always got to give. For us it’s usually the dishes and sweeping. My dinning table always has crumbs on it. I have a spot on my kitchen floor with dried rasberries from three weeks ago when we made rasberry cake. I have the leaning tower of laundry in my bathroom right now and i constantly have dirty cloth diapers piled up on the changing table becuase something crazy happens and I don’t remember to bring them down the hall to the bucket. My toddler current has a hobby of changing her clothes every half hour and leaving them on the floor.

    I oftenfind that sharing only the nice things is a lovely escape from all the crumbs and whinning and such. But i also love a good dose of reality. It makes me feel just as good. I like to share my frustrations on my blog as well sometimes. I gind that putting things out into the universe makes me feel better even if it doesn’t change the situation.

    What if we started sharing our weekly messes?

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:21 am by erin | Permalink

      Thanks so much!
      And that is a great idea! Perhaps a take off of Soule Mama’s This Moment, but a diptych contrast of a mess and a good moment.
      Brilliant, and thanks for sharing you confessions ;)
      e.

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 10:16 am by KC | Permalink

      took inspiration from this post for today’s moment:
      http://littlehomesteadinthedesert.blogspot.com/2012/02/this-moment_23.html

      I too will make it a habit to show more of the messy side!

      • Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm by erin | Permalink

        Awesome!
        I may be doing fawned fridays for another website so was trying to come up with a new Friday Meme…I think this is it!
        Now for a name…
        e.

  24. Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:33 am by Rachel | Permalink

    I needed to read this today… I have been reading your blog for a long time but have never commented before. So many of your posts have really resonated with me and I especially want to thank you for writing this one. I have a horrible habit of constantly comparing myself to others and feeling like I come up short. So many blogs make me feel inferior and like I will never be as good of a mom as I want to be. It is way too easy to hold ourselves up to unrealistic ideals….
    This might be a bit off topic but I sometimes feel like I am stuck in between two worlds- the crunchy crafty simple-living organic homemade world and the other more mainstream world, if that makes sense. I don’t feel like I fully belong in either one (although I identify more with the former) and it can feel really lonely sometimes and hard to meet like-minded people.
    Anyway, I really identified with this post and thank you so much for your honesty and vulnerability. Even just this comment makes me feel like I am putting myself out there in a way that feels a little scary, so I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and life here. I have admired your blog for so long now because you manage to maintain a lovely balance of beautiful and real. Thank you.

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:18 am by erin | Permalink

      Thanks so much for stepping out and sharing your thoughts and feelings Rachel.
      Thank you also for your kind words.
      That’s just it, none of us fit into one little hole, we are so much more than our blogs and online presences and that is what I am trying to get at. It looks like we’ve touched a nerve.
      Warmly,
      e.

  25. Posted February 24, 2012 at 2:13 am by Bea_OT | Permalink

    I’m pretty new to the mommy blog world, so I haven’t figured out how everything works. However, I am really attracted to these honest posts. It seems I’ve been seeing more of them. Perhaps your revolution will change mommy blogging forever!

    As far as my confessions…I wish I could be more like you, but I lack the talent, don’t have the energy, and feel bad about it. I had such idealistic hopes before my son was born, but his stroke changed everything. I also over estimated my abilities. So I’ve pared down to loving my child with my whole heart and soul. I just enjoy living vicariously through moms who can do so much more!

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:16 am by erin | Permalink

      I hope it does start a revolution if even on a tiny scale ;)
      You are probably more like “us” than you may think!
      Warmly,
      Erin

  26. Posted February 24, 2012 at 4:54 am by Nicole | Permalink

    Gorgeous Erin – I have stopped reading those ‘pretty’ blogs because it’s just like reading a glossy magazine – something I stopped doing years ago! I like your blog because it’s honest – we need honest!

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:14 am by erin | Permalink

      Thanks Nicole!
      I don’t think I can bring myself to stop entirely, but they have lost their draw to a great extent.
      e.

  27. Posted February 24, 2012 at 7:39 am by Shara | Permalink

    I love your blog and have always felt that you have a great balance of the good and the struggles. So many blogs seem to be going through this same transition lately, and while it is completely understandable, nobody wants to or can be sweet and nice all the time, I don’t really want to open up my favourite blogs and read about the mundane stuff all the time. I would prefer to read the good. I like to come into these blogs and be inspired to get out of my own funk. That’s not to say that bloggers should put aside there own life struggles just to keep us readers happy. But I don’t really want to read it blog after blog, day after day. I would hope that most women realise that behind every bloggers pages is a real life that looks just like theirs. We should know that bloggers aren’t perfect people, mostly because we know that there aren’t perfect people in our real lives. I hope this makes sense! Again, I think you write a beautiful blog and love seeing “Feather and Anchor” appear in my inbox! x

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:13 am by erin | Permalink

      Of course. That is what I am saying and we all know it rationally I suppose. It isn’t the blogger’s fault that they know how to keep it together. We read happy blogs for a reason and I love them just as much as the next person, but it can be frustrating when we never see the hurdles or frustrations they meet when trying to live that life.
      I am just trying to keep it real. Thank you so much for reading and for sharing your perspective.
      Warmly,
      e.

  28. Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:34 am by jodie | Permalink

    Thank you erin, for being the voice/word
    for so many of us. in Love and Light jodie

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:46 am by erin | Permalink

      Thank you for your kind words :)
      Warmly,
      e.

  29. Posted February 24, 2012 at 10:08 am by Valerie | Permalink

    I just loved reading this, Erin. I’m one of your silent readers usually, but wanted you to know how much I enjoyed this post. Thank you for your frank honesty and for sharing the same thoughts that many of us are processing inside our boggled minds!!!
    Keep up the great work :)

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm by erin | Permalink

      Thanks Valerie!
      I am so glad you’re still here and enjoying it. It means a lot to hear from you :)
      e.
      P.S. I promise I will get in to see you again soon. I haven’t been getting out much this winter…ugh.

  30. Posted February 24, 2012 at 10:43 am by Meryl | Permalink

    So much of this made me laugh out loud….

    “the more I try to stop, the more I seem to swear. To be honest, I don’t think I want to stop, but think I should.”

    All so very honest!

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm by erin | Permalink

      Thank you Meryl!
      It was liberating and fun to write :)
      e.

  31. Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm by Jules | Permalink

    Erin, you inspired me to write too. Thank you for getting the wheels turning.

    http://happinesscomesinlittlebits.blogspot.com/2012/02/keeping-up-with-crunchy.html

    XOXO, J

  32. Posted February 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm by teresa | Permalink

    i came here after reading the post over at the gypsy forest blog. and i have to say the same thing i said there! f**k yeah mama! your blog is so beautiful and filled with gorgeous photos and wonderful posts and, best of all… it is BALANCED. life forces us to experience balance. we need it! chaos to balance the serenity and kraft dinners to balance the kale chips! i am so happy to have read both of these mama manifesto blogs today. after having what seems like weeks of junky coughs, runny noses, and pink eye in my darling little punk we have had way too much tv and oatmeal for dinner…

    thank you for being authentic. it is amazing (and so freeing!)
    xoxo
    -teresa

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm by erin | Permalink

      I will echo that “F*ck Yeah!”
      Thanks for reading and taking the time to write!
      e.

  33. Posted February 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm by Danielle Grabiel | Permalink

    Amen, sister! I think I’ve said that before in a comment on one of your posts. I am with you on pretty much all you said, from Kraft dinners to swearing like a sailor. An horror of all horrors, my mom showed Cinderalla two my three yeard old last week and now she loves it and what I am to do? ;)

    One of the most fun posts I ever wrote was about our absolutely hilarious and dyfunctional attempts to celebrate St. Lucy’s Day this year. It was so liberating to write about what really happened. Check it out if you have time:

    http://mamamusicman.blogspot.com/2011/12/st-lucys-day-grabiel-style.html

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm by erin | Permalink

      Ha! Thanks I enjoyed that. It is much the same as so many of our own little celebrations with two kids under three…it is just plain insane to expect them to get it isn’t it?
      Thanks so much for taking the time to write and share!
      Warmly,
      Erin

  34. Posted February 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm by Kristin | Permalink

    I just found your blog and wanted to say that your post is awesome. It is so true- so many things that I think myself all the time.

    Thank you for putting it into words.

    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm by erin | Permalink

      So glad you’re here and that you took the time to write :)
      Thanks!
      e.

  35. Posted February 24, 2012 at 6:32 pm by Angie | Permalink

    Thank you. Good words.

  36. Posted February 25, 2012 at 12:11 am by Kelly | Permalink

    Thanks for this. I think the point you bring up about crunchy bloggers and 50′s mammas is such an important one. I’ll be ruminating on it, and probably writing about it, too! I want to hope we’ve come a long way from then – and I also believe that blogging should be honest (although my optimistic side always comes out). So thanks.

    • Posted February 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm by erin | Permalink

      It is good to be both honest and optimistic, there is so much value in both.
      Thanks for taking the time to write.
      e.

  37. Posted February 25, 2012 at 7:25 am by Julie | Permalink

    Thank you once again for your honesty. The funny thing is, after reading through some of the links relating to bloggers disclosing their secret messy lives, I realize that as a blogreader, I am not deluded. I know that when I view a well-cropped image of a simply beautiful moment or craft, there is a much larger picture that I’m not seeing. I have stopped reading the blogs that don’t recognize that there is struggle. Really, I thank you for your words because it’s reassuring to know that your family is in good hands. Sometimes an author’s voice makes me worry that she’s neglecting the health of her family in pursuit of a certainkind of perfection and that as a reader, I might be fueling that. Sorry for the tangents; really just wanted to say thank you for this post.

    • Posted February 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm by erin | Permalink

      And thank you for the kinds words!
      Warmly,
      Erin

  38. Posted February 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm by 6512 and growing | Permalink

    Came here by way of Stephinie at G.F. and glad I did. I really liked this line:
    I think the growing circle of crunchy mama bloggers have begun to paint themselves into a little corner, much like the one wives and mothers of the fifties were backed into.
    Yay authenticity!
    Thanks for “writing through the discomfort.”

    • Posted February 26, 2012 at 8:25 pm by erin | Permalink

      Wonderful! So glad you’re here and loving the new movement!
      e.

  39. Posted February 26, 2012 at 8:22 pm by kim | Permalink

    t h a n k y o o o o u u u u. finally someone gets it right! your honesty and vulnerability are beautiful.

    • Posted February 26, 2012 at 8:24 pm by erin | Permalink

      Thank you for taking the time to let me know ;)
      e.

  40. Posted February 27, 2012 at 10:52 pm by Kyce | Permalink

    Yeah, I’m all for the idea of a series of “real moments” sweeping our corner of the blog world every Friday!
    I have my days when certain blogs raise my blood pressure and I’m ready to yell at the computer. “How many fucking tomato plants does one family need?!” or, “No you DO NOT really want a wood cookstove,” or whatever.
    Some women do make it seem so easy on their blogs, and it lacks that tangible humanity we would get if we actually knew them, and had known them as they grew into the person we see a version of online. I appreciate honesty and vulnerability a great deal–and yet I also know that some people have been practicing this life a bit longer, that some things have been grown into, that they do become easier, that we all struggle along the way, but we do make our way. I have been inspired in so many ways by blogs, they have influenced me hugely. But I feel I have to use with caution lest I compare myself mercilessly with the online fantasy.
    And I must say I’m horribly jealous of your photography and wish you’d post some crappy pic from a crappy camera now and then. :)

    • Posted February 27, 2012 at 11:06 pm by erin | Permalink

      Too funny! All of it.
      Everything you say is true too. We crave more than perfection, but humanity. That is it exactly.
      Cook stoves sound lovely, but they are a bitch to learn I imagine.
      If it makes you feel better, I do take a lot of crap shots and even worse ones on Mike’s work Ipad. Our hard drive is full of blur and bad light ;)
      Thanks for making me laugh and think :)
      e.

  41. Posted February 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm by Kate | Permalink

    THANK YOU FOR THIS! I am a mother of two boys (age 1 & 3) and in the past year have found myself reading more and more blogs for ideas and support. And I find myself getting frustrated (off and on) at a sense of “I am calmer, more creative, more crafty, homemade, attachment oriented” than you mindset. You are right, it is an underlying competition. I was talking with another mom recently and she said that her mother said it used to not be like this – or not as much. I think that the online community can be so amazing and supporting and like minded people can find eachother but it can also be another way of “keeping up with the Jones’” and that is not healthy for any of us. I greatly appreciate your honesty. And I really needed to hear this. My confession: I am all about attachment/natural parenting and living lightly on this earth but I can’t handle sleeping with my boys. Sure they are welcome to snuggle and read in our bed and we have lots of time doing all of that but when it is time to sleep – everyone to their respective beds! I think co-sleeping is great for those it works for but for me and a few other dedicated mamas I know, it has not worked. And a sleepless mama is no good so I had to pick my priorities and my whole day is dedicated to my little ones, my bed is for me & my hubby! Ah, that felt good. I have had such guilt over this and assume that others judge me for it. I need to let it go and just be confident in my choices and not feel guilty or apologetic. Keep on Erin!!

    • Posted February 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm by erin | Permalink

      Thank you so much for joining the conversation and most of all for sharing your own confession. I think the point you make about choosing your priorities so that you can be a happy mama is so important. A happy mama is worth far more than some of the things we feel such crazy guilt over!
      Thank you thank you for your kind words. There is an exciting collaboration coming out of this soon too!
      e.

  42. Posted February 29, 2012 at 7:30 pm by Bonnie | Permalink

    Holy crap, I can’t believe this post! You have said exactly what is in my own heart and head, and the reason why I’ve been struggling to blog regularly since I started years ago.

    Really wish I was your neighbour. This is the first time I’ve seen your blog and I will certainly return.

    Keep on keeping’ it real…

    • Posted February 29, 2012 at 7:46 pm by erin | Permalink

      Oh what a gaggle we’d have if we all were neighbours…sigh.
      Thank you so much for writing. I just checked out your blog and enjoyed it as well.
      Hope to see you again dear.
      Warmly,
      e.

  43. Posted March 1, 2012 at 10:07 am by emily | Permalink

    I came here through a round-about way from Rhythm of the Home (by way of Julia Daby’s blog) and I just want to say ‘Thank you!’ As a long-time reader of the crunchy mama blog o’ sphere, and struggling crunchy mama myself, there *is* more of a competition out there. In an effort to paint a pretty picture on everything, as often as I am being inspired, I also am left with a huge feeling of inadequacy. In an effort to ‘keep up with the Jones’s,’ my life becomes inauthentic. Thank you for the reminder that life is beautiful: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    Warmly,
    emily

    • Posted March 1, 2012 at 10:35 am by erin | Permalink

      Thanks so much for sharing.
      I am so glad you found your way here :)
      e.

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