Thursday, February 18, 2010

Adventures in Mothering, Wednesday Edition

I was sick yesterday.  Not the rolling on the couch, wanting to die kind of sick.  I was achy, sick to my stomach, tired.  But mostly, I was grouchy.  When the kids got home from school, it seemed there was little they could do right--everything bugged me.  In tears, Lily came into the family room and softly asked, "Mom, did you have a bad day?  Can I take care of the baby for you?"  And I was humbled and penitent.  And still grouchy and sick, but at least it had been brought to my attention how crabby I was acting.

This reflects a subject I've been thinking a lot about since the scenario described at Church yesterday.  One lady came up to me after the lesson was over and said, "It's good to see that things like this happen to you, because you seem so perfect." What?  Another lady told me that sharing experiences like that make me real and relate-able.  What?
Why is it that I can see all these flaws in my own character and yet only see the good in others?  As my mom says, I've never been very good at hiding how I truly feel (this can be good, but usually it's kinda bad).  Is this a flaw?  Is it something I should be working to fix--becoming more introverted and  . . . for lack of a better word, fake?
Brad and I were talking on Friday, and he said, "Sometimes I wish our life was really like it appears on your blog."  What?  I try to be honest and tell it like it is.  Mostly good, sometimes hard, sometimes bad.  But this started me thinking about other blogs that I read.  I know so few of you outside of the cyber world, and all I know of you is what you write about yourselves and your families and adventures.  I read about your goals, your achievements, your recipes, your opinions.  But who are you, really?  Are you really as perfect and wonderful as I see you?  Or are you different in reality? If you lived across the street from me would I see a different side of you that would make me cringe?  Or would we truly be best friends, like I feel when I read your stories and comments?
Moreover, would you like me?  Would you see how I really parent and really act and really talk and you'd be so bugged that you'd shutter your home, hoping to avoid any contact with me?

So these are my questions:
For those of you who know me in the flesh, do you think I portray my life accurately in my blog?  Do I come across like I am in reality, or am I hiding in some imaginary world?

For those of you who know me only through cyberspace, do you think I'm being honest with you?  Or does it seem like I sugar-coat and grandstand?

And don't be afraid of hurting my feelings.  As those of you who see me often know, I'm pretty tough.
Or is that just a facade?
This could be interesting . . . .


  1. Jen this is probably my favorite blog of ALL TIME. We've only "just met" but I admire you already for your honesty. I was a blog stalker if you will, on many blogs before I decided to start my own. After reading so many mom blogs I started feeling inadequate. I vowed that when I started my own blog I'd be honest and tell it like it really is here...the good and the bad. Why is it as mothers we compare ourselves to other mothers and families? That's so dangerous! I could go on and on about this but the baby is crying! Thank you for your post...and I like you!

  2. I think you seem pretty dang real, Jen. Ups and downs. Ins and outs. Highs and lows. Just like the rest of us.

    (And if we lived across the street from each other, I KNOW we would be friends.)


    PS. You've given me something to think about...I sort of try to create a mood on my blog, but I generally try to stick with the one I'm really feeling. I do put a mostly positive spin on it, though. But then, I'm a positive spin kinda person. Still, someone reading my blog might think my life was easier than it really is. Yep, something to think about. (heehee...Prepare yourself for posts bemoaning my various physical ailments and worries!)

  3. I think it is impossible to write "as real as you feel" because circumstances, emotions change nearly every moment. But, that said, I think you have a nice balance of reality and hope in your writing.

  4. I don't feel like you sugar coat or lie to me on your blog. But I definitely feel like you are a close friend even though we've never met. When you comment on my blog, it makes me smile, before I even read what you wrote, just seeing your name, makes me smile. I see you as having a wonderful life, but also have had many trials and difficulties. I wouldn't say that from reading your blog, I think you have a perfect life. You share the bad and the good and I appreciate that because it does make me feel like I'm not the only person out there who has a bad day and is short with her kids. So keep on sharing the way you feel like sharing!

  5. Well I do know you in real person and I think your blog reflects you! Some things are good, sometimes you are bugged, sometimes tired, but mostly I believe you have a good life. You have 7 wonderful children, a great, good looking husband (you can pay me later Brad) and a very busy life. You try hard to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, fulfill your callings and help others out.

    I really think that we as women tend to look at someone we admire and think to ourselves that 'they' have it figured out, nothing ever goes wrong in 'their' life, but we are wrong to do that to each other. We ALL have great moments and bad moments - we just need to learn to give ourselves and others a break.

  6. First of all....THIS is why we ARE friends! I had a VERY similar day yesterday, and it sucks to be grouchy. Ok, that said, I think you are very "true" on your blog. I never feel like you're sugar coating things. It truly is impossible to see someone 100% as they are, because in blogs, we are capturing moments in time. And many times, those moments we put on here are the good, fun, happy ones. However, the suck happens, it's there and unfortunately, we just aren't as able to see it in others as we are in ourselves! Anyway, point is, I think you're great, happy, grumpy, wise, honest, kind, true.

    Love you.

  7. Well, I don't know you personally (I'm from Sue's blog) but your blog seems real enough to me. I like someone that can present themselves honestly, warts and all, without grinding our faces in TOO much realism. I know what you mean, though. I think we all try to put our best faces forward most of the time, instead of wallowing in our worst selves. But our true essence has a way of popping through, giving each blog it's own flavor. And I don't know about you, but I like my friends, blogging or otherwise, to have a lot of different flavors. So much more interesting!

  8. I have known you in real life for many years. What I like about you is your ability to capture the real life. I have days just like yours, and children like yours as well :). My ugliest stuff never makes it to my blog, which is probably a good thing. But lots of other stuff never makes it either because I do not have the gift or ability to communicate that way. You have an amazing talent. You can share real life experiences in a meaningful way, and include thought provoking commentary. Not everyone can do that, not even if we really really want to. Oh, my kids just got home from school and my house is a zoo now. So just keep up the good work!

  9. Well, I haven't really known you for a long time, but on your blog, you are the kind of person I thought you would one day be...when we were roommates 20+ years ago. Only you do seem a little calmer, but no less capable...and perhaps more kids than I had you pegged for. :o)

  10. I always feel like we could be having a conversation when I read your blog, so I feel like it's pretty real, like it or lump it. (For the record-I love it!) It's hard to really know what happens in another's life, especially over cyber space. I think it's fairly easy to sense who is sugar coating, and who is real, and the real ones are the ones we love and keep visiting. What we really need to do is teach ourselves to quit looking at others and assuming they don't have problems-we all do.

    I don't know if I can put a link in here, but I was just reading another set of blog entries about this. These bloggers all took a keeping it real challenge and aired their "real" selves including a photo without makeup. They were great posts, and thought provoking, which is my favorite kind. I really liked the original one at: from 1/5/2010 and one at from 1/5/2010. The 2nd one is a blog I have come to really enjoy, take a look-

  11. Hi Jen, I'm one of your blog stalkers but I have to tell you that one of the reasons I read your blog is because you are so frank and honest with your opinions and personal flaws. Yes, all of us tend to emphasize the positive, but shouldn't we? From what it looks like, you want your blog to be a reflection of your life. Yes, we all have trials and bad traits but should we focus on them? No, we acknowledge them, try to make them better and then think about all the blessings in our lives. Just my two cents, please don't change a thing :o)

  12. Anyone who posts about their baby shooting poop on them right before a photo shoot is keeping it real!

  13. Well, as your sister I have known you my whole life of 35 years, and feel like I "know" you. Sometimes you can be intimidating because you don't seem to have a tolerance for people who don't share your same views or opinions. You are more articulate than most and that can be intimidating as well.

    I think most of us just get caught up in comparing our weaknesses with other people's strengths. You have a lot of obvious strengths and so I can see how someone could wonder if they could relate to you. But those are the people who don't know you and your family to be as normal as anyone can be.

    I really enjoy reading your blog and knowing what is going on with my sis from day to day. It helps to be distracted from my day to day!

  14. Were you slamming doors in your grouchy mood?

    Just teasing you.

    I hope today is a much better day.

  15. Geez, Jen, everything is PERFECT over here, so I don't know what you are talking about!!! :) Smiling happy faces, everyone being so cute to a photograph...I cook and clean and play and teach with a smile on my face every minute!
    I wonder about the same things myself..I try to keep it real on my blog, and I don't want to be negative either, and I also don't want to blab all over any trouble or issues we are having with particular children..especially when they are older children....the balance is hard.
    First, I don't know you in real life, but I can imagine what your life is like a little...with the spread of kids. I think you are TOTALLY real! Realer (not a word) than most bloggers.
    Loved the church post...see, how real is that!

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