Thursday, March 27, 2008

Feelings of Inadequacy

Let me preface this post by saying that I am proud of what I have accomplished as a mother. I know I'm a good mother, I know that I love my son more than anything in the world, and I'm pretty sure that he feels the same way about me.

I have a very large list of blogs that I read on a fairly regular basis. There are those that I read every day, and there are those that I head to visit once a week or so. But there are a fair number of blogs on my list that make me feel...well...inadequate. Inadequate as a mother, and inadequate as an artist ("crafter" always sounds so Grade 6.)

These are the blogs that are full of beautiful pictures of perfectly groomed children, all in hand-made-by-mom frilly dresses, with links to their chalk-full virtual store of handmade goodies for you to buy. There is never any talk on these blogs about cranky children, teething, sleepless nights, poop in the bathtub, or any of the other joys of motherhood. Just happy children, moms making their livings off their sewing, and beautiful photo-shopped photos.

The thing is, it's not that these Moms have perfect lives. Their kids DO poop in the tub, they DO bite the other kids at daycare, and their sewing machines DO bung up and they have to start projects all over again. They just choose not to post about it on their blog. And from now on, I'm going to choose not to read them. Even though I know that what is there on the internet for me to read is not necessarily the entire story of their days, my immediate reaction is that I might just be doing something wrong - my house certainly isn't as clean as theirs, I have NO idea where they find the time to sew frilly dresses for everyone in family, and I am not making a living selling cute creations in my Etsy shop, however much I may want to be.

Deep down though, I know that I'm really doing it RIGHT. I AM working my rear end off to help support my family. I AM making beautiful things in my basement. I AM loving and raising my son to the best of my abilities. And I AM telling the whole truth about my experiences of motherhood - something that I feel deeply passionate about. I think too many people come to motherhood thinking that it's going to be all cuddles and christmas pageants and milk and cookies over heart to heart chats. It certainly IS those things, but there are a lot of other bits in between that don't always feel so glamorous. I wouldn't trade my motherhood for all the tea in china, but my hope is that what all of us "Tell-All Mommy Bloggers" are doing is helping the next wave of mothers (as well as all the other current mothers around us) be confident in their abilities, proud of their accomplishments, and not alone in their struggles. The "Super Mom" blogs can continue to be an inspiration as an artistic resource, but I now recognise them as that, rather than a motherhood ideal standard to live up to.

Wow....that's enough heavy handed chatter for the day!! How 'bout a little bit of cute to finish the day up nicely. Notice the dirty counter in the background - real life people, right here!!!
P.S. Speaking of making beautiful things in my basement, tomorrow I plan to sew that pretty fabric into something fun....and maybe a little bit...cuddly!!


Bean said...

I so know what you mean, not with the motherhood thing, but the perfection thing. Makes me want to puke! Whose hair looks good all the time! I mean really. If you don't read this one already, read it
She's funny, Canadaian, a knitter, and makes imperfect seem like exactly what you want to be. Love ya.

Kendra said...

It's ok, just read about my life; you can't help but feel like a superstar mom!! :)

gretel said...

Here, here! Well, you've seen the less than flattering photos I've posted of myself...and the state of my home is apparent in the background of every photo...though I DO sometimes photograph the rare instances of cleanliness...just because they're so friggin' rare! I don't really have any experience with such blogs as you speak - but they sound awful...and I'm delighted to continue discovering the great and fun blogs through your recommendations and some of the great bloggers that have been visiting you on 'the roof'!

love ya...keep keepin' it real, Jenn. You are entirely and thoroughly ADEQUATE...and then some!

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Oh, thank goodness I know for a fact you aren't talking about me! Y'know, I have a few of those kind of blogs in my Reader. I think I'm going to go unsubscribe now because you're right, they only serve to make me feel bad about my TOTALLY NORMAL self. Everybody gets poop in the tub eventually (at least that's what I'm telling myself).

Coley said...

A fine choice Jenn. It's so hard to NOT compare yourself to everyone else, but it's so necessary to feel good about your life. And frankly, I'm a little in awe of your artistic abilities, so I'm terrified to look at the blogs that make YOU feel inadequate. ;)

Sarah said...

Lady - you do it all. You are a fantastic mom to a very energetic, very wonderful little boy; you work like 15 jobs and still manage to make beautiful things that the recipients cherish. Ignore those blogging "perfect" people.

Anonymous said...

OK, so I started reading this and I was like "whoo..." she's not talking about me. Perfect mama's who only write about those moments? Nah, not me.
My family wants me to stop writing about poop and vomit, actually, but hey..that's real life. Babe, here's to keeping it real. I hope I can do the same right along with you.
I do agree with coley...who can make you feel inadequate with the talent you have artistically?

Jen said...

Hi Jenn,
I came here through boondockramblings, and I enjoyed this post. While I do agree with you that I don't like people who only post the happy happy joy joy stuff, there are a few blogs out there, in which the mom is so negative about her kids and husband that it puts me in a bad mood, so I've stopped reading those. I think we can be honest, but still try to be positive and have a sense of humor about the bad stuff.

Anonymous said...

Burgh told me to come on by. I totally agree with you. I removed a few people from my reader just like she did. Thanks for the "reality" of life.

Anonymous said...

Burgh told me to come on by. I totally agree with you. I removed a few people from my reader just like she did. Thanks for the "reality" of life.

Felicia said...

Its a wonder, isn't it, that everything can seem so rosy on a blog. And I know that feeling of intimidation and frustration when reading blogs where the world seems to perfect.

I've tried to keep my blog as upbeat as possible because I kind of look at it as an online scrapbook of my life. I choose to record and remember those details that make me happy.

But recently I did blog about something upsetting that happened to me and I was surprised to have so many responses to it. I guess folks do like to know that the blog author is a real person with problems as well as success. I enjoyed reading your thoughts about this subject :)

Veronica said...

This is the best post ever. I agree with you completely. I actually don't subscribe to the 'perfect blogs'.

Gorgeous photos.

Susan said...

Those perfect-life blogs are like airbrushed photos in fashion magazines. They don't show the poop-in-the-bathtub days or the sewing projects gone horribly wrong or the mess that's just outside of camera range, just like we don't see the fashion model's zits or undereye circles that rival a racoon's. They're not accurate pictures and they can generate such unreasonable expectations of ourselves. Then our perfectly normal selves feel somehow inadequate.

I prefer to read blogs that tell it like it is--not so gloomy that it makes you want to run away from your life, but accepting the fact that some days are really challenging and we don't have to be perfect to be good people.

frog ponds rock... said...

Hi I came here from Veronica's.. I am giggling away here at this post and nodding as well..
umm I have just set a trestle table up in the middle of my loungeroom so that I can do some slipcasting....

hehehehe cheers Kim