I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
February 28, 2013
I wrote a post Tuesday about some of the things I’ve done to help my kids love to read. I wrote it just because I enjoy sharing this kind of information, in the same way that I like sharing recipes. Hey! I tried this! It worked! It might work for you, too!
You all had some great tips of your own in the comments, but one comment in particular stood out. It was from a woman I don’t know personally, but I feel like I know her because we’ve been commenting back and forth for a very long time. And here’s what she had to say:
Bad mother guilt abounding here. I haven’t done enough of what you describe and my son, Punky’s age, does not love to read. I know it’s not too late, but I’m loathe to think about the work it is going to take to reverse what I could have been doing these last 3 years. Sad, guilty, sad, tired, and recovering from a 2 week bout with the latest stomach bug from Sydney Australia.
This really stuck with me, because I can’t count the number of times I’ve felt the exact same way lately, after reading posts on other mom blogs. I’ve seen entirely too many blogs lately that are brimming with photos of immaculate, perfectly-decorated houses, smartly dressed, beaming children, evenly-browned cookies, artful and elaborate crafts, and descriptions of too many moments of golden happiness to count- and I have felt completely down and inadequate. Because I will never be that blog. I will never have that life, even with my special camera lens and my Instagram filter. Things here are far from perfect. My kids are far from perfect. My marriage is far from perfect. Even my recipe photographs, one reader informed me, are far from perfect. This is my truth, and I’m guessing its yours, too. (Minus the recipe photographs, of course. I’m sure yours turn out beautifully.)
So moms, why do we continue to feel the need to pretend that things are otherwise? And why do we let guilt consume us by assuming others’ facades of perfection are the real deal? It’s maddening!
This has been especially frustrating to me in the mom blogging world. If you’ve been reading mom blogs for any length of time, you know that not so many years ago, they were one of the very few places you could go to see how life REALLY is for other mothers. I remember the liberating feeling of discovering that mom blogging world back in 2005 and reading what moms had to say about the boredom of motherhood. The frustration. The alienation. It was so different from the “mom stories” I was reading in baby and parenting magazines– and it felt GREAT.
Over the last few years, though, mom blogs as a whole have changed, and most of the well-trafficked ones are as glossy and sanitized and Photoshopped as any magazine. I blame a few things for this- Pinterest is one. Trying to appeal to advertisers and sponsors is another. And I can’t overlook the fact that criticism of “honest” mom bloggers is at an all-time high. Now that everyone’s reading blogs, people seem downright eager to jump on any mom who admits to being less than perfect. As a result, it’s never been so scary to put myself- my REAL self- out there. I have so many “drive-by” readers now- people who find my blog via a search or a shared post on Facebook or Twitter. They read one post, assume they know everything there is to know about me and comment accordingly. It’s bad enough when they criticize me, but occasionally, the criticism extends to my kids. And I’m not okay with that.
The result of all these factors is that our mom blogging space is being scrubbed clean. We’re reading each other’s blogs now and instead of feeling like we’re not alone, and we are, none of us, perfect, we’re left feeling… awful.
And I don’t want you to feel that way when you come here. I tell myself often that I’m going to try to be brave and continue writing honestly and openly, that I’m going to make sure my blog is MY space and not what I think PR reps and brands want to see, that I’m going to do it all knowing that the more readers I have, the more awful comments and criticism will come my way. And I can take it.
But truthfully, it’s not always easy. It’s not comfortable. And it makes my stomach hurt a little sometimes when people leave downright mean comments just because they disagree with something I’ve written or something I’ve done.
This is a lot to extrapolate from one comment left by an online friend suffering from Australian stomach flu.
I want it to serve as a reminder to me, though, that when it comes to this blog, the bad is as valuable as the good… drive-by comments be damned. I want us to be able to have brutally honest conversations here about motherhood and womanhood and life in general. There are not enough places where these conversations can happen, and that’s a shame. I want to continue creating a space here where you feel safe doing that.
And this post serves simply as a reminder to myself of why I’m here.
We now continue with our regularly scheduled programming.