By Heather O.
CJane posed a question on FB today, about how she gets emails from women who have converted to Mormonism because of Mommy Blogs, but then are crushed when they find out that our lives aren’t really all that sparkly, that Mormons have the same problems as everybody else. She posed the question of how blogs can be more real, or even if we have a responsibility to show the grittier sides of our lives.
I kinda grinned at that, because dude, I don’t think we sparkle over here very much. We’re pretty gritty, aren’t we? At the very least, we all have a strict policy against putting up cute pictures of our well dressed and well coiffed children, so at least we aren’t making anybody feel bad because our kids are cuter than yours. (Because they are. Totally. My kids are gorgeous. Unkempt, dirty, sticky, mismatched little bundles of awesomeness.)
I mean, would it help somebody to know that my days have screeched to a halt since sending off my daughter to Kindergarten, that my big plans haven’t materialized at all because I’m too lazy and scared to move forward? Would it help people to know that I’ve fallen into a habit of putting on clothing that could possibly pass for yoga gear while I take my kids to school or walk them to the bus stop, because it’s easier to nap in yoga pants than jeans and I know that after they’re gone, I’ll be going back to bed for an hour? Or two? Or, depending on how late I’ve stayed up the night before watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls or Walking Dead, two and a half?
Would it help to know that some friends showed up unannounced at my house last month (and yes, I was awake, but was still in my “yoga gear”) and I was too embarrassed to let them in because my house was such a mess, but they came in anyway, tried to be nice about the mess (which included shredded paper on the floor and muddy paw prints in the carpet because the puppy, he’s insane), but I could tell they were going, “Whoa, who LIVES like this?” I was seriously so tortured by the fact that I was “caught”, I spent an insane afternoon cleaning, and then texted a picture of the clean living room to that same friend with a catchy glib message like, “See, haha, there *is* carpet in my house!”
Demons. We all have them. Even the people who don’t have muddy paw prints in their carpets.
I was also reading Oprah’s magazine today (picked it up to kill time while waiting at my son’s Tae Kwon Do class, don’t judge me), and there were some very, very silly things in it. I mean, not everything was silly, like Dr. Oz’s stuff about eating right and exercising, and the “Ask Dr. Phil” section was good for a few facepalms, but there was a lot of stuff in there about not “giving up your power” and really listening to your heart about whether or not you’re doing what your predestined path is, and that if at the end of the day, you’re exhausted but not exhilarated by what you’ve accomplished, you need to rethink your path and regain your power.
Which is all fine and good, I guess, but motherhood is a life long journey that gives you plenty of days where you’re not exhileratedly exhausted, you’re just freakin’ exhausted, and it limits you in a lot of ways because every choice limits you. The difference is with motherhood, your choice makes your life permanently intertwined with somebody else’s. You are responsible for that life, and sometimes you just have to do what needs to get done, regardless of how fulfilling (or not) making dinner every single night is, for example, because somebody else is depending on you and it’s not really cool to be overly selfish when it comes to raising kids.
And it struck me that magazines like this are part of the problem of the sparkly lie, too. Oprah tells us that it’s supposed to be all about us, and it can be, sometimes, but really, when you’re married and have kids, it’s not about you, it’s about your family as a whole. Families are hard, and exhausting, and messy. (And those are the functional ones.) And you slog through it, because you love your kids, because little kids can be incredibly cool, because you know it’s worth it, and because you’ve made a commitment.
Life is hard. There’s no way around it. Some people have harder lives than others, but none of us lead sparkly lives all the time. The only person I knew who came the closest to a perfect sparkly life was The Wiz, but then she got slammed with diabetes, so now her life sucks too. See? Nobody gets out of here unscathed.
So I guess what I’m saying is that if you are tired of the sparkle, stick with us. We will probably continue to keep some things private, because boundaries are a good thing, but if anybody wants to join the church after reading us, know that while I spend a lot of time trying to look nice on Sunday, most of the time I’m napping in my yoga gear.
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