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