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Friday, May 29, 2015

Transparency - What is Real?

I am working on an article about social media and its effect on teenagers, specifically teenage girls.  I was talking to one of my daughter's friends and a few of the things she said about her journey trying to let go of social media and some of the pitfalls, got me to thinking about my life and my blog.

She talked about feeling almost constantly judged.  People making mean comments or being snarky if they didn't like what she was wearing, or if they disagreed with her opinion on something.  She talked about seeing these pictures of other people's lives and knowing that they were having a lot more fun than her.

I tell my big kids all the time not to believe what they see on the internet.  And I am not just talking about about news stories.  I don't want them  to think that everyone else is having fun, fantastic times and going out all the time.  It sure can look like that though, since everybody posts every little thing about their lives.  But, a lot of it isn't real.

Which got me to thinking.....

Do I actually show you my real life?

Should I show you the real in my life?

I am in the middle of my rock and hard place.  I want to keep some privacy for the family, but I also want our stories out there.  I want my family and friends that no longer live near us to feel like they are getting a glimpse of the people my kids are turning into.  But, I don't want creeps looking at my site or my pictures and being able to find us because I have been so open.

I want to be real and relatable.  I do.  I want to be able to be an encouragement to other moms...homeschooling moms....moms with big families.....moms that don't live near family members.

But, I have to be honest, I carefully select the reality that I share with you all.

I carefully select and retake pictures of myself to post, so I look good.  So, I don't look too fat.  When the fact is....I am actually fat. I am not just a little overweight.  I don't just have a few of those stubborn baby pounds to lose.  Truth is......I have about 100 pounds to lose.  I legitimately could be a contestant on the Biggest Loser (A-man even told me that last year when he saw one of the contestants and thought she looked about the same as me. "Mom!  You should go on this show!"  Emoji)

So, yes, I have been transparent.......sort of.

I have shown you how messy my house gets here and here, but,  have I told you that it looks like that more often than not?

I have told you I do actually yell at my kids, but I haven't told you that, once in awhile, my throat is sore from how hard I have yelled at them.  It doesn't happen often.  People still tell me that they don't think I yell at the kids.  I do.  No, not all the time.  I don't need to.  But, just like my dad used to be....when I have had enough, I have had enough....so look out.  Learn the signs.  LOL Emoji

I love Rainman.  I really do.  He is an awesome human being.  But, I haven't really told you that he is annoying and gross sometimes.  I have told you that in general terms.  I have shared that nobody ever told me that there would be times that I wouldn't actually "like" the man I married.  We do not have a perfect marriage.  It is not idyllic and romantic.  It is a constant dance of our own selifsh desires and actions, versus what will make the other person happy.   As I am typing this, I am thinking....oh man....now they will know what a jerk I am....how selfish I can be.  That sometimes, I sit in my chair and hope against all hope that Rainman will take us out to dinner, so I don't have to get up and cook.  Because, I just don't feel like it.  No good reason.  I just don't want to do it.

So, yeah, what you see on my blog is my life....sort of.

It is the carefully selected pictures and stories that I will allow you to see.

I guess that happens in real life too though.  We all have a "mom" voice that we use at the grocery store that is different than the voice that is used when rapping on the kitchen window when you see them doing something dumb in the backyard.  It is just that by having a blog I am inviting more actual strangers in to take a look.

I love my kids....more than I can truly describe to you.  But, ugg.....they do some...as Rainman would call them....boneheaded things.  Then they get yelled at.  Then they cry.  I usually don't tell you those stories on here.  Like the story of them playing catch with an open box of Cheerios in the kitchen.  Yes, no surprise here.....It ended badly.  That time though, Rainman did the yelling.  S-girl did the crying.  A-man did the flustered explanation of what they were thinking (Spoiler Alert:  They weren't).  And, the two of them did the cleaning up, while the other children passed judgment on them with snide remarks.  Which then escalated to both Rainman and I yelling at the rest of the kids to knock it off because they weren't helping and did they want us to remind them of the last boneheaded thing they did and got in trouble for?!?

It is NEVER dull here, that is for sure.

We ended up with 5 extra kids at our house a few days ago....all aged 6 and under.  So, we had 11 kids here and 2 parents.  It was actually a really good day.  Everyone had fun.  Only a few tears and boo-boos.  All in all, it was a good day.  I was exhausted when it ended and happy to see the extra kids go back home with their parents.

The next day, S-girl said to me, "Wouldn't it be great if we had 11 kids everyday mom?  Then we could have our own t.v. show and everything!"

Yikes!  I told her that I would love to have 11 kids, but that I didn't think I would want a t.v. show about our lives.  I don't want our "reality" out there in the world like that.  I like our relaxed, simple vibe around here.  I don't want to be judged by the outsiders about what we should or shouldn't be doing with our family.  I don't want to be judged for the mistakes we are making.  And, honestly...I don't want the masses to.....not like me.  That is what it boils down too.....just like a teenage girl....

Fear that I won't be liked.

On a side note:  There is "sort of" a version of us on T.V. already. We have started watching The Willis Family on TLC and take away the musical and dancing careers (LOL), that is pretty much how our family looks and runs behind the scenes.  Really.  But, again, comparison rears its ugly head and I think, "Why haven't our kids taken more advantage of the fact that we homeschool?  Why haven't they taken up song writing?  Why haven't they won dance competitions?  Why are my kids so.....normal....and average?"

We can't help but compare ourselves to others.  It is normal.  It is human.  It is dangerous.  I tell my kids that ALL THE TIME.  But, we grown ups need the reminder too. I need that reminder.  We all need to remember that what you are comparing yourself to is often a carefully constructed version of the truth.  Not a lie.  But, not quite the full truth either.  Like my blog.

I have an article coming up next month for Home & School Mosaics about rejecting being "Pinterest Shamed" for my summer with the kids.  I think I can take that to a whole other level with refusing to be "Life Shamed" by other people's lives.  To go ahead and take glimpses of their lives and enjoy seeing them.  To take ideas from what they are doing and trying with their family, but not think we are total losers if we don't operate the way they do.

I follow some awesome blogs.

There are life ones like Come Home To Roost.  She has awesome, beautiful children and takes amazing pictures.  But, if I am not careful, I end up comparing myself and thinking things like...."She is so skinny.  She has 7 kids and looks like that?!?  What is wrong with me?!?!?"

There are organizing/home ones like Sunny Side Up.  She is also another slim mom that takes great pictures, and she also has a brand new house that is becoming wonderfully organized.  If I am not careful, I could look around her world and compare myself.  I wouldn't come out on top.

There are crafting and creating blogs that I follow, like Whatever.  Another slim mom that takes beautiful pictures that decorates with colorful, fun stuff.

I think you are already getting to know my style of comparison, right?  My weak spots.

Having a blog is being part of a strange dance I am choosing to participate in.  I have a blog for a few reasons.  One of them is truly to keep my family and friends who now live thousands of miles away involved in what we are doing.  I also blog so I can get some homeschool curriculum for free by being a reviewer.

But, honestly, my other reasons are more selfish.  I want to have readership.  I want followers.  I want to be a writer.  There, I said it.  I want to turn writing into a job and make a little money on my blog.  So, I have to put things out there, that maybe I wouldn't normally tell a stranger.

What you are seeing here is reality. But, it is a small slice of our life.  A small percentage of the picture.  Not to say that what you see isn't real.  It is.  There is a LOT more to us than what you see here.  Some good.  Some bad.  Just like with the blogs I follow and have to fight the urge to compare myself too.  I am just seeing a small little slice of their lives too.  It is not as idyllic as it seems.

We all have to remember that just like movies and t.v. shows are....edited/more perfect/comical... versions of reality....so, is my blog.

So is Instagram.

So is Facebook.

This is my Goldberg's version of our life.   All based on truth, but prettied up a bit for your viewing pleasure.  Ha!

So, if you ever find yourself comparing yourselves to me, my family, my marriage, my way of homeschooling and feel like you don't measure up and you aren't....enough.

Just stop.

Don't do it.  You are enough.  You are your perfect version of....you.....and so am I.




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