February 21, 2011

get real

We went to visit David's family this weekend. William helped Grandma with her gardening. She gave him a spade and he "planted" some rocks.
Then we made hand and foot prints in concrete squares for his parents. I was laughing so hard as we made a team effort to get Will to cooperate. David pressed his hands into the wet concrete, I held his body and David's sister held his legs between mine. It was a sight! Of course, we didn't get a very good hand print of him because he kept squishing the concrete between his fingers. All the more fun.
Now I'm getting serious. I've been thinking about this all weekend.

When William does adorable things (which is often) I think, "These are those 'ah-ha' moments that people seem to have when they 'get' parenting and why it's so wonderful." I think some people misunderstood what I meant in my post about motherhood when I said that "my days are full of joy, wonder and complete gratitude" and some may not understand my sentiments. What I want to clarify is that yes, motherhood is challenging. I have moments of exhaustion, frustration and fear that I'm messing up such a wonderful boy's chance of a wonderful childhood. But even when I have those moments I'm not thinking, "This is awful" (which the article and the movie both mentioned as a common feeling linked to parenting). I am thinking, "This is hard but this is what I've always wanted and this temper tantrum/screaming/hitting/biting/etc. is just a bump in the road." It's what gets me through to the next one.

There's a popular criticism towards many mommy bloggers about not being "real". I think this means that we're supposed to show pictures of how empty our fridges are or not make the bed when we post a picture of the new mirror in our bedroom. This does not make sense to me. I don't want to post about the negative things in my life. I'd so much rather concentrate on the positive. On one hand, sharing my miscarriage with so many of you brought a lot of peace and comfort to me - and thank you to all of you. I feel like, through blogging, we've learned how to care for each other in a different way. My inner confliction is that my life, though not easy, is generally pretty happy and I generally like to post the things that make me happy. Everyone has their own right to post anything they want (including the bad) but I wish that we would stop criticizing the joy that positive blogging brings to many lives, including mine. I've heard many people say that reading a blog where someone's life seems perfect gets them down but my thought is - let's not compare someone else's happiness to our own but be inspired by each other.

OK, I'm done now. But really, am I the only one who feels this way?


  1. I couldn't agree more, Elizabeth. I, too, have no interest in writing about negative things that happen in my life...I don't like to read about other's complaints, so I don't write about them on my own blog. However, I will also frequently get comments where I feel like people are insinuating my life is picture-perfect and nothing "bad" ever happens, etc. I find it frusterating at times, and I'll often get into a blogging rut because of it. I think the bottom line is, some people tend to dwell on negativity, some do not. When they read positive things, it amplifies the negativity they dwell on. Can't really change the way that people think; just know that there are many, many out there who are encouraged and uplifted (like me!).

  2. I've been reading your blog for at least a couple of years and must say, you are the ONLY mommy blogger I read.. ok, I will admit that I read Dooce. Is she a mommy blogger??? :) I love your chin-up, optimistic attitude towards life. You appear to keep your marriage interesting AND fun. You boys are adorable & I am completely impressed at your creative genius! Thank you for being a bright spot in a rather chaotic-messy world. :)

  3. No, need to clarify. I know exactly what you mean. I have five children who keep me pretty busy but also make me beyond-imagination happy. I have twins who are 20 months old so I can relate to what you write about in regards to William and I enjoy it! Keep writing...I think you're adorable and uplifting!

  4. I just wanted to add that I completely agree with what you've written here! It's been something on my mind a lot lately, too, as it seems to be a topic that is coming up more and more these days. I haven't taken the time to articulate my own feelings about it yet, but you nailed exactly how I've been feeling.

    I've really enjoyed reading your blog. I have to admit that I was too sad at your miscarriage post to leave a comment, but I wanted to so bad. We've had our own losses and it just triggered heartache so strong I couldn't formulate a response at the time. I hope your heart continues to be comforted.

  5. I think you can still be "real" without being negative. I don't think the intention behind a positive-themed blog is to be fake, rather to seek the joy in the every day. Sometimes to others, it can seem like one's life (or that "perfect" blogger's life) is too rosy to be true. But I think maintaining a balance of the hard with the good is what makes for an interesting blog and friend. Don't we all have friends in real life that we'd rather be around because they are positive in the face of hardships? Same thing.

    I think you are doing a great job of maintaining that balance. Keep it up.

  6. No, you're not the only one! :) I actually just wrote what I believe is a similar sentiment, maybe from a different angle, last night. It's been bothering me.

    No one is exactly what they seem superficially, on a blog or anywhere. If someone seems to have a perfect life, well, I think it's pretty safe to assume we're just not seeing the whole picture - because no one has a perfect life! People just choose to display, catalog, and document their lives with different emphases - which makes perfect sense because we all have different viewpoints and personalities. Why would we all tell our stories the same way?

    We shouldn't need to feel that we need to apologize, either for having a dirty house for company, or for knowing we have a great life and we love it. Comparing my whole life to someone else's selected blog posts is never going to come out favorably, you know?

  7. I think you're right. And your blog is just lovely. When I read it I feel lovely too. :)

  8. Your blog is happy and inspiring, but you are also genuine in everything you say. No fakeness here. I think that is what makes the difference between inspiring positivity and the blogs that get certain people down (I am not one of those that struggle thankfully, but I have had many discussions with friends about it). Sometimes it feels like people are hiding from reality behind their blogs that paint perfection, or they are trying to be someone they aren't instead of embracing themselves. And you can feel it. I think if people could be themselves on their blogs everyone would be happier. :)

    I love your happy, real blog and I wish we lived closer so William and Byron could be BFF's. How cute would they be together, really!

  9. No, I feel the same way. And it isn't just in my blogging, but in the way I try to live my life.

    Sure, our life is not perfect but I try to focus on all the positive things, all the blessings.

    God has given me one life to live and I am trying to live it to the best of my ability.

    It use to really bother me when people would criticize me for how I choose to live. But today it doesn't so much because I know that in looking for beauty in all things I am being more "real" then I ever have been!

    Keep doing what you are doing!


  10. Gotta chime in here and say thanks for keeping it positive!!!

    As someone who hasn't yet felt any sort of pressure from you or any other blog I read to "be just like them", I appreciate reading about your adventures. Your blog, and the many others I read, inspire me to find my own way of celebrating being a better person. Thank you!!

  11. I agree that it's fine for people to blog about whatever they feel like blogging about. What bothers me, though, is that a lot of people seem to think that they're not allowed to talk about the hard things that happen in their lives. And not just in the blogging world. It's really no wonder that so many people feel that way. Those who open up and share their struggles are often thought of as "negative." I don't understand that. Maybe it's just because I don't think of struggles as bad things. Our trials are blessings. When we choose to look at them that way, they teach us, they build our character, and they strengthen us. There's nothing negative about that. I think that we can all inspire one another just as much by sharing our weaknesses as we can by sharing our strengths.

  12. I understand what you were expressing.

    I just read the current cover story in Good Housekeeping magazine yesterday. In it, Valerie Bertinelli is quoted as saying, "Happiness is a choice," she says — one that she makes every morning, no matter how much is on her plate: "You can choose to be happy. There's going to be stress in life, but it's your choice whether you let it affect you or not."

    I don't necessarily live my life by the wisdom of Valerie Bertinelli, but making that choice and focusing on the good is something I easily embrace.

  13. This is really in the blogging zeitgeist tonight! Do you read "Reagan's Blob"? She wrote about how she's been in a funk but her posts have been happy...and it is a catch 22 of this. Blogs can inspire, but they can also inspire despair. I agree--I have such a blessed life, I hate to complain, but I also don't want anyone to get the idea that my life is hassle-free. I do appreciate a little balance in a blog; and I don't like to complain but have also taken great comfort and gotten wonderful ideas for helping others through blogs.
    Anyway--keep those photos of your gorgeous little guy coming! I used to just follow your recipe blog but whoa, was I missing out on a cutie! He has SUCH expressive eyes, I just love it. Lucky boy--lucky family--lucky us that you take the time and care to share!

  14. I get up in the morning and check my blog to see if YOU updated. I love reading your positive outlook on motherhood and life in general. I know things aren't always 'rosy' but you look for the good and that inspires me for the day. Don't change...ever!

  15. I am in your team, Elizabeth! I think like you, we have to remember all the positive things in our lives. I like to look at the things that occur on my life with a positive attitude, and I think everyone should do the same, everyone would be much more happy!

    Way to go Elizabeth!

    BTY, I love the pic while trying to get Will's hand print. Awesome!

  16. My thoughts exactly. I considered writing a post about my feelings on the subject, but life has been too crazy the last month...and so I'll just read what you think and call it a day.

  17. Love your blog. Love your focus on the positive. Love the happiness I feel after I read you!

  18. Love the post! I couldn't agree more. Even the hardest, scariest, saddest, most frustrating moments are made sweet when you experience it with your child.

    I think a blog is a bit like a scrapbook - I don't scrap or post about piles of unfolded laundry or messy toys unless I have a really good reason too. Yep, on most days my guestroom has unfolded laundry in it and my playroom is usually strewn with toys, but those are inconsequential in the grand scheme of my life - certainly not post or scrapbook worthy.

  19. Amen! I feel the same way and find myself saying the same things to others. I love your balance and outlook. Love you Liz!


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