Sex, Lies & Mommy-Blogging

I’m glad Mommy blogs weren’t around when my firstborn was a baby. I might have killed myself, quite honestly. I always go a bit crazy after I childbirth as it is–PPD, roller-coaster hormones, sleep deprivation–and I’m fairly certain all the pretty, popular and practically perfect Mommy blogs would have thrown me over the edge.

All the beautiful home-births! All the cloth diapering! All the homeschooling of your children (in Latin!) before they turn 3! Not to mention all the organic oatmeal containers re-purposed as side-table lamps on Pinterest.

Ultimately, all the daily reminders that no matter how hard I try, I suck as a Mother. And also, why have I never thought to upcycle my cloth diapers into new window curtains? Because I’m a terrible mother, that’s why!

Maybe Al Gore invented the Internet, but sometimes I think Mothers invented the Mommy-blog the better to eat their fellow Mommies, my dear.

If I were a New Mom right now? I’d be so intimidated. But thankfully, I’m an Old Mom and very content to have given birth to five human beings, none of those births being anything other than ugly, brutal and bloody. I did not call my hypnotist or doula to help me achieve a “beautiful birth.” The only thing I called for was: “DRUGS! MORE DRUGS!”

After childbirth, I did not dress-up in a cute little nightgown and post pictures of myself on Facebook with the caption: “Placentas don’t taste that bad, afterall!” In fact, I did not even watch myself in the mirror as I pushed out babies.

I did, however, get to see a geyser of blood hit the ceiling during childbirth–which detail is NOT part of ANY Birth Plan that includes words like “beautiful” or “spiritual experience.”

Look, even my Birth Plan wasn’t planned. But it did include words like: THIS IS ***** INSANE, MOTHER***** HOW THE **** AM I SUPPOSED TO ******OUCH! OUCH! I’M DYIIIING!!

All I’m saying is, I’d like to return to a simpler time when mothers were allowed to have ugly births and weren’t held up for public scorn if they decided to (horrors!) formula-feed their babies. What’s so hard about just saying: “Good for you!” and meaning it?

Instead, we’ve got all these Mommy-Designer/Lifestyle blogs that make motherhood seem like one transcendent dream of all-organic, water-birthing, co-sleeping crocheted tricycle wheel covers.

There’s nothing wrong, of course, with pretending like your life is a lovely dream. This is why I like to peruse Martha Stewart books–because her dreams are so pretty. But here’s the difference: I understand she has a full-time staff of people staging, photographing and editing her dream to make it look real.

The trouble with Designer/Crafting/Cooking/Lifestyle Mommy blogging is that it appears as if these Mommies do it all without any outside help. As if, baby, they were born this way. Being a Proverbs 31 Woman just comes naturally! And don’t forget to like my Facebook fan page so I can send you a free sample of all-natural vitamin supplements!

Nobody ever mentions how last week they had to call Poison Control because their toddler guzzled some bleach–(oops, can’t let anyone know you use bleach because then you might lose that sponsor who is paying you to promote their all-natural cleaning products on your blog!!)

These falsehoods are only made worse by the putting on of superior airs, the passive-aggressive language that suggests if you reeeeeeally loved you children, you wouldn’t send them to public school or give them anything other than The Very Best.

The main problem I have with these ideas are that they seek to define Motherhood–indeed, your entire identity as a person–by the way you bake your bread, decorate your house or educate your children.

And that’s a definition of womanhood I wholesale reject mainly because it only works with a small percentage of the global female population; ie. upper-middle-class, privileged.

So, if feminism is to move forward, I think we Older Moms owe New Mothers the space not to feel crushed under the pressure of pretending it’s all so very perfect. Wanting to be a good mother is good. New mothers want to give their babies the best. But this urge can easily become an unhealthy, hurtful compulsion when you’re comparing yourself to your favorite Mommy blogger who somehow manages to run four miles a day, homeschool her six children and take beautiful, well-staged photos of her all-organic, gluten-free dinners–without any paid staff or outside help.

I used to believe in Only The Best For My Children and now I’ve mellowed a bit and believe in grace and good enough and sometimes Chicken McNuggets.

I believe in working hard and in giving myself a break. I believe in blogging about real life and not making anyone feel like a crap-Mother after reading my posts.

Mostly, I believe there are many ways to mother well. And you are the best mother for your children so don’t let any blogger (myself included!) make you feel otherwise.

As a wise sage once said (and I’m paraphrasing, here), it’s better to be imperfectly YOU than to be a perfect imitation of someone else.

I don’t know who said that but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a Mommy blogger.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kara.murano Kara Murano

    As a new mom in the age of “mommy blogs” I SO needed to read this post. I am learning to be confident and content in who I am as a woman, wife and now a mother and comparison just kills me sometimes! thanks for the encouragement. 

  • Lindabrody6

    great!!!!

  • Robyn

    As a non-mom (with no immediate plans to change that) who reads mommy blogs (for the pictures and the humor), I agree with you.  I work with new moms, and even not so new moms who need validation in the not-perfect nature of life.  But I find a lot of that on the unashamed mommy blogs I read.  Which is also why I read them.  
    I’m sure there are the “and we’re all perfectly done up here” writers out there.  But there are a lot of mommy bloggers who are letting us into their not so perfect, everyone had the flu last night or I’m a recovering alcoholic lives.  

  • Suburban Mom

    Who reads those blogs anyway? They would bore the crap out of me. I prefer the more honest “man, sometimes motherhood sucks” type blogs because that I can relate to.

  • Stephanie Mumpower

    Lol! That’s awesome and I had one pretty good water birth but ugly ppd both times and breastfeeding didn’t work out both times. Somehow I recovered….I’m an older newer mommy, youngest is about to turn three and I will turn 40 not to far after that so the internet has sorta been both helpful and very hurtful at times. I put my not so beautiful birth and aftermath story in the newspaper and my family was horrified….I agree. Time to get real….I have no time for people who make it look pretty….I just move on to someone perfectly imperfect like me!!!

    • Laura Lewandowski

      Stephanie, you are awesome! I remember that breast feeding didn’t work out for me either and my husband had to throw out the breast feeding advocate who told me I didn’t love my child enough or it would be great. Said child is now 32, over 6 ft tall and a seminary student, so something went right somewhere along the way.

  • Allison Grace

    It’s taken me a lot of years to be Just Fine.  My year-old blog is about the messiness,  fun,  pain,  joy,  you-get-it, of cystic fibrosis  (my kids, not me).  EE, you are an inspiration.  Thank you for this post!

  • http://www.4andcounting.blogspot.com nicole_asmanyasgiven

    If reading a blog made me feel bad about myself I would stop reading it. I like being challenged and inspired and encouraged. That is primarily what I have found in my blogging and Twitter community.

  • Anonymous

    slow clap . . .

    • Tammy O

      Joining the slow clap with another slow clap at a slightly different interval. ;)

    • http://www.facebook.com/kara.murano Kara Murano

      I think this needs to be featured on your next “that’s what she said” post! 

  • http://mamapsalmist.com/ mamapsalmist

    Yes, yes, and more yesser.  But you  forgot the food diaries (what if your child has a food intolerance you didn’t know about or couldn’t see!) and the carsear safety (you let your two year old face the FRONT?!!) and the sick sense of superiority that people get from showing up another mother.  And the saddest part for me is all of my friends (moms of one!) who believe the mommy blogs.  They’re running themselves ragged trying to keep up and expecting the world to implode when another child comes along.

    You know what happens when another child comes along?  You learn to relax.  If my 10 month old catches 10 minutes of Dora while I’m getting lunch together, she is not forever doomed to a life of ADHD, autism, and lowered IQ.  Being a mom of two pushed me into the world of ignoring mommy blogs, and trusting my own sense of self a little more.  

    So far, neither of my children have fallen into a world of despair and neglect.  

    • Aprille

      I love this reply! 

    • http://thehomespunlife.com Sisterlisa

      I have a child with Asperger’s and I don’t view her as doomed. Just sayin.

    • http://www.downtoearthwomen.blogspot.com/ Tracey

      *only* ten minutes….?

      Is it bad that now during the winter, Dora is a staple around here? 

      Oh, for heaven’s sake! I KNOW you’re the map…..

      • Holly

        That’s what I was going to say, too, Tracey!  Go the whole nine yards.  Thirty minutes of Dora, or they’ll NEVER learn Spanish.  :)

  • Rebecca

    Wait. Wait. Geyser of blood?!?!

    Excuse me while I faint.

    • Anonymous

      I missed the geyser of blood post, dang

  • Leah

    Elizabeth I understand what you are trying to say here about blogging honesty to support new moms, but honestly I feel a bit like it is now insulting women who value that kind of lifestyle. If we are going to give women the freedom to live their values (their’s not ours) can’t we just say yay for you, but what I do is different without having to quazi insult those doing differently? I think it is up to us to choose what things we are passionate about as individuals, and the strengths we have as individuals. For some moms that is peaceful birthing, cloth diapering, homeschooling (or whatever) and for some it is appearing on national television, traveling to other countries as an advocate, or working out of the house. I say yay for both and I see both represented in mommy blogs strongly. No mom is doing it all without help, whatever she may be doing and we need to realize this as women in order to value and support all different types of individuals. Mom’s who are passionate about one thing are not spending time on other things. I hope to uplift women no matter their gifts, strengths and passions.

    • The Diaper Diaries

      I have to agree with this comment completely. I don’t eat the way i eat to make anyone else feel like crap, I do it because our family has made that a priority. You won’t find me however doing crafts ever with my kids. So I don’t read craft blogs.

      I agree with the other commenter who said that you are in control of what makes you feel guilty. I parent my kids exactly the way I want and non blog, mommy or otherwise,  is going to make me feel guilty about it. 

      • Anonymous

        I think you’re missing the point. When Mommy bloggers project an image of perfection into the blogosphere, they are unintentionally creating an impossible standard against which other mothers WILL compare themselves. Sure, in a perfect world every single woman would NEVER compare herself and would take FULL responsibility for her every feeling. But that’s just not realistic. Women do compare themselves to other women. New mommies are especially vulnerable to this because they are doing this mommy thing for the first time. I think bloggers and mothers have a responsibility to these more vulnerable, first-time Moms NOT to make motherhood appear like a perfect dream. I’m glad you and your family eat the way you do–that’s awesome! Just understand that when you say things like: “I’ve made that a priority” what another woman might hear is: “And clearly, if you REALLY cared about your family, you’d make that a priority, too!” Is that your fault? No. But I still think we ought to be mindful about how setting up standards for dress, eating and raising our children might come across to someone looking for guidance and a shoulder to lean on.

        • Anonymous

          Im old and I totally agree with you EE. Were kidding ourselves if we pretend that we dont pay attention to the examples and unspoken expectations of those we allow into our worlds. There was no internet or mommyblogs when I was a new mom and I’m glad. 

          I have worked in the Maternity realm for 26 years and TRUST ME, mommying has changed. In some ways mothering has been more validated, but at the price of sometimes unreachable standards.  

        • http://www.throughaglass.net Kari

          I have been thinking about this post off and on today, and I think that your heart is in the right place, but your message would perhaps be more effective if you direct it at new moms rather than “calling out” moms who are also just doing their best. Maybe blogging is an outlet for these “perfect” moms who are also struggling. Maybe it gives them a quiet safe place in their lives. 

          I am all for letting new(er) moms (I am still a pretty new mom) know that my life isn’t perfect, and I have posted a lot about the difficulties I have had adjusting to being a mom. But I don’t think I have to go so far as to post pictures of my dirty floor (actually I just mopped it for the first time in a week, so maybe I SHOULD post a picture). I am also not going to apologize for the convictions that I do have just because someone might struggle with that. Instead, we should focus on letting new moms know that they can’t do everything and that everybody lets some things slide.

          • http://www.facebook.com/brenda.tsuchiya Brenda Tsuchiya

            Wow 1st time in a week?  I think I last washed mine a month ago.  Except for spot cleaning the food the baby throws…

      • Holly

        Wow.  I have been a mommy for 19 years – and I’ve never quite achieved parenting exactly the way I want.  I keep messing up….even when I try my best.  I don’t think that’s all bad, I think that’s real life.

        You seem like a very confident person – that’s neat (and I mean that.)  I wish I were more like that; but I’m not.  I don’t think most moms, especially new moms, have that level of confidence. 

    • Amy

      I agree with you, Leah. If I think a blog is unrealistic or fake, I don’t read it. I have found plenty of authentic mommy-bloggers out there who do a great job of encouraging other moms while keeping it real. Unfortunately, EE’s post just made me feel judged.

  • http://wanderingonpurpose81.blogspot.com/ Amanda @wandering

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this.  I found myself saying to myself today, “You can have a (semi)clean house, or you can play with the kids and nap/blog/veg while they nap.” I obviously chose the vegging.

  • http://afrogatlarge.wordpress.com/ Pauline

    You are so right (even though it intimidates me a little to think that you went through birth five times – I did it once and still feel shaky about it, I stayed in bed for a month afterwards). I do quite like mommy bloggers, but I am very selective and only read the ones that make me laugh or educate me without being patronising – and I never read any who always do reviews, they quickly stop being interesting.

  • Lilloveandluck

    Love love love. I’m sorry I can’t comment more eloquently, I have chicken nuggets to reheat. Seriously.

  • http://evenonesparrow.blogspot.com even one sparrow

    Mothering seems to be (needlessly/inadvertently?) competitive as it is.  Honestly, I just wrote two posts last week “confessing” that I let my baby cry it out sometimes… confessing, because the bloggers I know and love are anti-cio and, yes, I’ve felt like a failure.  And although much of my mommying experience HAS been wonderful, I am SO struggling with crazy hormones and feeling…. well, just crazy some days.  And there’s not much I can do about it (so it makes me feel like I’m not alone to hear you say the same thing).

    Probably what us NEW mommies (and new mommy-bloggers – although, to be fair, I was blogging 2 years before becoming a mommy) could do is just be COMPLETELY honest about our lives.  I think we need more vulnerability, more confession, more reality…

    And as I’m writing this, my 7 month old keeps (no lie) going towards the outlet and computer cord.  So I gotta go. Loved this post

    • http://bluebonnetreads.wordpress.com Hannah C.

      Hey..this sounds like my life, right down to the small child pulling on the computer cord. You are not alone!!

  • Frelle

    Preach it. #thatisall

    As  usual, I love what you write.  

  • http://thehomespunlife.com Sisterlisa

    I sooo hear ya.

  • http://grace-filled.net/ jen

    Serious love here as a “new mom”.

  • Holly

    See?  There’s simply no reason for me to blog.  You say everything I wish I was brave enough to say, and in a much better way, and without the GUILT, too!  :)  Thanks so much!!!  I was thinking these same things (only less brilliantly) just today.

    Yay for old, reality based moms.  And yes, I DO feel so sad for the moms who read, who are running themselves absolutely ragged trying to measure up.  (Gosh…I know so many little pseudo Soulemamas in real life….they try to replicate her blog….which is lovely by the way!)  They spend their too-spare pennies buying the perfectly organic hand-whittled wooden baby toy – because they simply HAVE to do it to be the BEST for their baby.  Or the $9 a pound organic butter because someone told them it was so much better and if they really loved their family they would want to provide the best….)  And I look at those perfect mommy bloggers and think to myself…”You’re lyin’ in there somewhere.  No way you do all that.  Are your kids in therapy? Not yet?  Give it time….(and no, nothing wrong with therapy.  We all could use some….)

    But still.  You try to say something, and they almost get mad at you – because YOU are spoiling their dream.  You might think it is a gift, intended to help them relax and find more joy – they see it that you are a killjoy, jealous, misguided.  So…mostly, I just try to (in real life) quietly be supportive and kind and….choose a different way.  Hopefully I am a good example in that. 

    I know this is long…but an example from real life:  I have had a young mom come to my house every week while my 17 year old runs a lego club for younger kids.  She is SO worried about everything – she has to tell me about every organic thing she has purchased, of how strictly they eat.  She couldn’t even say that she and her husband watched a movie on “date night,” without saying that it was a “scripture tape.” 

    I smiled and pointed to the diet pepsi and bag of chips on the counter, and said, “Yeah, I like healthy foods too, and I aim for them, but the reality is that it’s a lot of work and there are times we eat junk food.”  I’m pretty sure I disappointed her, because as an older mom I’m supposed to be an example, ever calling her to a stricter and more restrictive life.  (Theoretically, in her world, I mean.)  And inside of me, I just gave a heavy sigh and said, “I can’t do that.  That’s not who I am.  I’m who I am.  You don’t have to measure up to anything here, girl.  Just be yourself.”

    So….thanks for the blog. It’s awesome. 

    • Holly

      I think I’ll reply to myself here… haha.  Just wanted to clarify that I LOVE Soulemama.  She does a wonderful job.  It’s just that IN REAL LIFE, I see lots of mamas trying to *be* her, and feeling such pressure because that’s not really even their natural bent.  They feel guilt, almost.  Nothing personal against a beautiful blogger here – it was just an example I’ve seen.  I wasn’t trying to be unkind.

      Also, I didn’t like how my words about my visitor came across.  I felt so bad for her, not judgemental against her – because it was so clear she thought I had these impossible standards she should measure up to.  I think it’s the overall climate that has been created – we automatically think we can’t measure up – but we’ll spend every effort and penny trying.

      I….don’t want that.  I want people to be free to be themselves, whatever that is.  And?  I want that same freedom back.

      Peace!

      • http://www.downtoearthwomen.blogspot.com/ Tracey

        I think we’re getting what you mean. You’re sweet to make sure that no one thinks you were trying to be mean. 

        LOL…I’m not that careful….

  • theresaEH

    HA!!! Back in the late 1980′s when my children were little and my house a wreak and I was sleep deprived etc etc etc, I could not stand to look at magazines for the same reasons you mentioned above!! Now that my kids are grown etc, I LOVE to read blogs about imperfect mommy bloggers….I avoid perfection ;-)

  • http://nishhappens.com/ Nish Weiseth

    If you were here, I’d SO kiss you on the mouth for writing this post, and I DONT CARE WHO KNOWS IT. 

    Joining the applause and the “thank you” comments. Love you, friend. xo

  • Mara

    Okay, I saw lies vs truth in mommy blogging. So where is the sex?
    JK!
    Good post as always your royal momminess.

  • this is carrie

    Now you’ve really made me think I need to put up the vlog I showed you the other day.

  • Tammi

    LOVE!!! :)

  • Valerie

    Too funny! Love it. It’s weird though – I never knew how intense the mummy-guilt would be. My child has it pretty good, and I still get all torn up from what I *don’t* do. Sigh. We need to ease up on ourselves. I think it is a matter of finding our peace in Him, not in what we do or how we do it.

    Someone was complementing me on my daughter the other day, and I was quick to say that that was a good moment. Luck of the draw, really. Kid throws a tantrum – bad parenting. Kid smiles and says hello politely – good parenting. Same kid.

    Cut up fresh fruit for snack – great! Packet of something – fail!

    I am learning that I can’t get it right, but I can love to my fullest and do that best with the enabling grace of God. And that is enough.

  • sara

    Amen.  Thank you.

  • Lara

    Reading some mommy blogs almost did me in a couple years ago!  My reaction was “what is wrong with me?!”  
    But, I doubt that blogs make it any worse than visiting with others moms does.  New mother hood is such an insecure time.  Why is her house cleaner than mine? How does she have the energy to plan a party when I can barely make dinner.  Her kids obey.  
    I finally snapped out of it when during my LOWEST time of my life I found out some people were jealous of me because I had a garden and read a lot of books.  “How does she have time and energy for that?” They would say.  I laughed because I spent time in the garden to avoid the dishes and because fresh lettuce was my medicine.  I read books to escape from everything that I hated about my life.  i didn’t have time, I STOLE time from playing with my kids, and cleaning and crafting and making dinner.  We all have our different things.  Some people make lamps out of recycled oatmeal containers because they are avoiding cleaning toilets and that makes them happy.  Go them.  We all experience the hardship and we all do our own things to deal with those hard things and none of them are better than the other things.  
    Saying all that, I think I’m totally agreeing with the spirit of your post which is, stop comparing yourself to others and just be you and do do the best that YOU can.  Because we can’t do everything and sometimes choosing sanity over a clean toilet is the right choice.  Yes?

  • Liz

    You remind me of my mom, who is totally, no nonsense, just do the best you can, awesome.

  • KatR

    It seems like all sense of women having boundaries goes out the window when they start having kids, and they somehow become community property, forced to endure the opinions of strangers.

    “Let me put my hands on your stomach without asking! Let me demand that you follow my advice on how best to get that human being out of your vagina! Let me lecture you on what you are doing with your own breasts!”

    • http://www.downtoearthwomen.blogspot.com/ Tracey

      LOL…it’s all about the war stories. 

      Women/Mothers want to recount their days of glory in the child- rearing trenches. I also think there is a sense of entitlement to spew what you know when you feel like you’ve been to hell and back. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/brenda.tsuchiya Brenda Tsuchiya

      Oh my goodness, what is it with people and touching the stomach?  People tried to do that with both of my kids until I gave them the death stare.  

  • http://www.thingsicantsay.com/ shellthings

    Oh, how I love this! I love reading blogs where moms are REAL about how it is to parent! 

  • Emily Morrice

    Just a thought: i dont think you can assume mommy bloggers aim to make people “feel like crap-moms”. No one can control another’s emotions. Saying tht you believe in “blogging about real life, not making others feel bad” is too easy… Afterall, mommy bloggers are blogging about real life- they msy just value different things than you or I. If we feel good or bad after reading any blog, its our issue.

  • http://www.OtsdawaJunctionFarm.com/ Farmer Julie

    AMEN and love this :)
    And, may I add:
    While you may see beautiful photos of our farm on my blog, just out of frame are my two older kids in a WWF-worthy wrestling tournament.
    What you don’t read about is the hassle of paperwork we’re still completing in our transition to farm life.
    And you only occasionally get a taste of our fine dining at that Clown’s restaurant.
    Old Moms (especially Old Mom bloggers) are smart, you know, and just clever enough to aim the camera – and the blog post – at what we want you to see.

  • Stephiejowood

    Keeping it real here…

    I just locked away my daughter’s homework and told her she had better sit her butt down and watch some vintage Scooby Doo!

    No homework until your TV is done!

    In my defense: She was all mean and irrational and crazy. Her homework was making us all grumpy, so now, she can’t do it until she can be nice about it.

    That, oh mommy bloggers, is fine piece of parenting! And cable is a necessary first world parenting tool, so there…

    Now I’m off to find my organic corn chips so we can make nachos for dinner!

  • Ashley Anderson

    This is me giving you a virtual high five!  You rock!

  • Terry

    “As a wise sage once said (and I’m paraphrasing, here), it’s
    better to be imperfectly YOU than to be a perfect imitation of someone
    else.”Yes!!  It’s taken me about 20 years to realize this!!  Don’t wait that long to find this out.  You’ll find a contentment and peace that is so freeing! 

  • http://thehomespunlife.com Sisterlisa

    p.s. where’s the sex talk? ;)

  • http://faithandfood.morizot.net/ Scott Morizot

    I don’t have much of an opinion on “mommy blogs”, but I do have a few on gluten free dinners. ;-)

    FWIW, we used cloth diapers with my oldest, but it was because we were too poor to afford disposable diapers as anything but an occasional luxury.

  • LizzyZ

    I’m so glad that I don’t really know what you’re talking about. Mostly because I don’t follow any mommybloggers like that. It would screw too much with my head. That’s why I only follow mommybloggers who write about PPD, bad days, and the occasional grateful accomplished moments.

  • Sharaze Colley

    Ha! I love this…I have a blog that I keep unlisted because it’s just about family stuff and a blog I started after our son was stillborn that is public. I really value transparency (funny enough, our community group gave us a Transparency Award at a church thingie a couple weeks ago–how cool is that?). I love telling the crazy, quirky stuff my daughter does (well, that we all do) and sharing the heart breaking, horrible things people tell a grieving mom. I read very few mommy blogs and I hide a few people on Facebook because I can’t cope with all the perkiness (I was this way before I lost my son so it isn’t new) or with the My Way is Best mentality. 

    • http://www.downtoearthwomen.blogspot.com/ Tracey

      People say horrible things to the mom who’s lost a baby because many don’t see losing a baby as a big deal. 

      I know I didn’t until I lost my baby too ( he lived for three days, and I am grateful for that, but it was nowhere enough.) 

      Infant loss just never ever clicked for me. I guess I just never really thought about it, until it happened to my own child. 

      • Sharaze Colley

        I think that is definitely behind some of the remarks but I also think it’s that people often don’t know what to say to *anyone * who is grieving. Our culture doesn’t prepare us for death terribly well, for a variety of reasons.  Children dying is extra difficult to wrap the brain around because it’s just…not supposed to happen that way.

        And I am so sorry for your loss.

      • Anonymous

        I work with moms after pregnancy loss/stillbirth / neonatal death and while some stupid comments are surely because people dont know what to say, comments  that come from others of childbearing age are often a result of the fact that the infants death is so terrifying to the parents’ peers that they will say ANYTHING to convince themselves that what happened to you cant happen to them. Of course what happened to you CAN happen to them, but there is a hysterical attempt to show a “difference” …and the person trying so hard to find a difference isnt self aware enough at that moment to realize how hurtful they are being. 

        Old people and little kids are often nice to grieving parents in a way that other young parents struggle to be.   Read “Life Touches Life” by Lorraine Ash…she does a good job with this issue

  • Falfie4

    Once again… LOVE this!  Although I’ve never seen someone post about eating placenta on FB, the obsession with perfect motherhood has got to be one of my biggest pet peeves EVER!  As a childfree woman, I feel the insult is even bigger since I’m obviously missing out on creating this perfect, amazing life for myself.  I’m a huge fan of attachment parenting, so I’m not knocking parents who do what they are supposed to and nurture their children appropriately, but I really feel like our culture has created such an obsession with parenthood.  I hear plenty of other childfree folks express disgust with this kind of parenting, but it’s refreshing to hear it from a mother.  Always love it when you speak your mind.  :)    

    • Holly

      Have you not seen the dessicated placenta pills?  They are the rage….you must try them!  :)

      (Bleh.)

      • http://www.downtoearthwomen.blogspot.com/ Tracey

        **gag**

  • http://bluebonnetreads.wordpress.com Hannah C.

    I appreciate your point here…but at the same time, I feel a bit touchy about some of your examples. Peaceful homebirth does happen – and as an expectant mom, I found it helpful to read about that. I think we need both sides of things when it comes to birth stories.

    Even now, I like reading some mommy blogs – they give me hope that my life won’t always be made up of all the hard parts of mommy life. I can be creative too sometimes. I’ve struggled (I think I still do, actually) with PPD and feeling like my identity as a person is totally gone, subsumed into Mommy – and blogs like that help me feel like that isn’t my destiny.

    That being said, I don’t read many mommy blogs – and I don’t feel like I have to be just like them to be a Good Mommy. Other blogs help me feel good about that, too! :)

  • http://bluebonnetreads.wordpress.com Hannah C.

    I appreciate your point here…but at the same time, I feel a bit touchy about some of your examples. Peaceful homebirth does happen – and as an expectant mom, I found it helpful to read about that. I think we need both sides of things when it comes to birth stories.

    Even now, I like reading some mommy blogs – they give me hope that my life won’t always be made up of all the hard parts of mommy life. I can be creative too sometimes. I’ve struggled (I think I still do, actually) with PPD and feeling like my identity as a person is totally gone, subsumed into Mommy – and blogs like that help me feel like that isn’t my destiny.

    That being said, I don’t read many mommy blogs – and I don’t feel like I have to be just like them to be a Good Mommy. Other blogs help me feel good about that, too! :)

  • Stefania

    I think you need to read the mommy blogs that were around when I had MY firstborn way back in 2002. Not a one (that I recall) painted their lives as picture perfect. Quite the opposite. In fact, I started reading blogs written by mothers because I wanted to read about the experiences (joys, trials, tribulations) of imperfect mothers like myself. I don’t know what has changed in 10 years to make you think that all mothers who blog live perfect lives…I would just like to suggest that perhaps you haven’t found your people yet. Keep looking. It’s worth it.

  • http://www.naptimemomtog.com/ Sarah Halstead

    What an awesome blog post. So true. Thank you for sharing. 

  • http://twitter.com/VelveteenMama Velveteen Mama

    I agree with what you’ve said… to an extent.  I’ve experienced more than my share of self-deprecation over what other bloggers put up on their blogs.  But I had a realization not that long ago – I’m the one who is responsible for how I react to what someone else says – in real life and on the internet.  If someone says she makes eating a certain way a priority for her family, and a reader “hears” that she should do that too or she’s a bad mum and feels bad, the reader is responsible for her reaction (unless the blogger is specifically saying “if you don’t feed your kids this way, you are a horrible mother”.  Then of course the blogger is a pompous ass and why would you want to read that crap anyway?)

    If you have even the slightest hint of self-esteem issues, or are second guessing yourself as a parent, then maybe you shouldn’t read the ‘sunshine shooting out of your ass’ blogs.  I don’t, I can’t.  I also have never been on Pinterest and refuse to go because I know *I will allow* it to make me feel bad about myself, especially if I’m already not in a good space.  

    In the beloved words of Dr. Suess “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”.

  • Clairezip

    I haven’t read any of the comments, but I just wonder if it’s fair to polarize this so much.  There are plenty of organic/natural/crunchy mama blogs who also highlight the mess of things – emerging mummy for one, soulemama for another.  Soulemama has posted pictures of her laundry pile, and talked about eating popcorn for supper.  And on the other hand, some  ‘not so natural’ mama blogs also make it a formula of motherhood and sound like they’ve got their methods down great and so should you, leaving moms feeling guilty if they like to try to doing things in way that seems less ‘mainstream’.   I think you can be natural, crunchy, enjoying beautiful births or promoting drugs in labour and why formula worked for you and still be gentle, honest and loving.  Or you can be for any of those things and not be charitable.  Isn’t it more about that?  Whether you are charitable or not, rather than whether you are a natural/hippy/organic mom or not? 

    • http://www.downtoearthwomen.blogspot.com/ Tracey

      I think we polarize because it’s natural to do so. I also think it has more to do with inadequacy that so many moms of young kids naturally feel.

      Moms of young kids are kind of blind to what their family is going to look like in ten years. They have the weight of the world on their shoulders that if they do everything “right” the sheriff isn’t going to ever be knocking on their door with their teenager at o’dark thirty in the morning. 

      BTDT….I did everything “right” and I was still standing in front of the judge with my son, the hooligan. BUT, it all turned out fine, he straightened out and DIDN’T become a jailbird after all. He just had the audacity to have a mind of his own and skipped through the part about thinking through the consequences. It didn’t matter that he wore nothing but cloth from the time he was born.

      • Holly

        I am lovin’ you Tracey.  :)

  • http://www.sustainablemommy.wordpress.com/ Naomi

    Oh, yes, about those beautiful births…  I wanted to have one, had the doula, no drugs–and I “vocalized” myself hoarse!  By the time baby was out, the room looked like a war zone, blood everywhere. My hair was matted and gross and needed to be shaved off.  According to photographic evidence, I looked like a pregnant zombie for two months afterward.

    And then in those vulnerable post-natal weeks I saw pictures of gleaming new mothers and infants in arms in blog-land and wanted to weep.  They may have still been in hospital gowns but their hair and makeup were perfect, stomachs were flat, and they glowed as though they had just awakened from a beauty rest.
    My kind husband reminded me that they probably had mothers and sisters on hand to help (we didn’t).   Nevertheless, I still held it against them.

    On a related note, as much as I _admire_ the idea of a “beautiful birth,” I think it’s noteworthy that the bibles of “beautiful birth” advocates only report complication-free births.  Really, people, every darn one?  I don’t think we’re getting the whole story.

    • http://www.facebook.com/brenda.tsuchiya Brenda Tsuchiya

      I learned after I saw the pictures of myself after giving birth to my first kid-bring the hairdryer, flattening iron, and makeup to the hospital for the pictures.  Because I pretty much looked like death warmed over after my first. 

  • http://reallywhatwerewethinking.blogspot.com Dana K

    Well, you might enjoy reading about son’s assplosions, my husbands unibrow, or looking at pictures of my face after an untimely reaction to shellfish.

    I read a lot of “mommy” blogs but I don’t read any by “perfect” moms. There are plenty out there that are honest, funny, & enjoyable to read.

    I definitely consider myself a feminist and, for me, feminism gives women choice…that includes the choice to stay home, bake the best bread possible, and even wear make up every day.

  • Hannah

    Loved this.

  • HippieGramma

    No internet around when I started, but the Mommy Wars have always been there, and it’s sad to me that it isn’t letting up.  Imagine how different our lives and psyches would be if we as women would support each other’s choices!

    Fact is, very few of us will get to parent all our children exactly the way we want.  Our actual lives (and actual kids!) throw monkey wrenches into the best laid plans.  In the course of our lives we may likely breast and bottle feed, cloth and disposable diaper, work and stay home, do crafts and plop the kid in front of the TV.

    On a weird side note — the big issues when my kids were little were working vs stay-at-home, proper socialization, and the evils (or not) of TV.  So the fact that I converted the living room into a kiddie gym, shunned unnecessary housekeeping, carefully screened the kids’ tv viewing (before dora and blue; Barney was “new,” blech), and cooked organic, dairy-free, corn-free, gluten-free meals (due to lots of food allergies, NOT by choice) made me a virtual nutcase in our parenting community.  Although I think it’s ridiculous to go to that much time and effort if you don’t have to, I admit it’s kind of validating to read that some of those things are now held up as examples of GOOD parenting, lol… how times change.  ; )

    • http://www.downtoearthwomen.blogspot.com/ Tracey

      The wars continue because there is always new mommy blood. When we were young ( at the dawn of Barney…I still suffer through it because my 3 year old has discovered it on Netflix….feel sorry for me) we settled those issues and now for myself as an “older” mom of preschool kids, I couldn’t care less about those debates anymore. 

      I think it has to do with the fact that I have seen the first five kids become young adults and know from first hand experience that whether or not I cloth diapered had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the sheriff has had to escort my teenage son (now 22 and a daddy himself) home from a few shenanigans. The fact I only breastfed my oldest for a month after she was born, really has little to do with the fact she graduated Magna Cum Laude from college last year. 

      So, I have the advantage of hindsight. I don’t feel like my youngest kids’ future hangs in the balance if I don’t feed them organically or home school them with Mozart playing in the background. I can be alot more relaxed this time around and THAT is a nice feeling. 

      • Holly

        Oh, GOSH, Tracey – YES!  I have older kids too, and your words are so true!  At first, there’s this little feeling like – WHAT?  I did everything PERFECT for you and you STILL have struggles?  (That was me, being naive.  Ha Ha.  But I think that a lot of us are, think we can control so much….)  Time is humbling, but that is a good thing.  I *think* I’m a better mom with my younger kids.

      • HippieGramma

        I know, but I wonder why we can’t stop the cycle.  There is SO much guilt and expectation heaped on new moms, from all sides, and apparently from increasingly new venues, to produce The Perfect Child who will eventually grow up to become The Perfect Adult.

        And I guess I compare it to dads, who seem to feel very little of this pressure and really, in my experience, approach parenting with a healthier expectation and self-esteem than most moms.  Even while they are messing up naptimes, and feeding the wrong foods and letting them swing from the chandeliers, there is very little guilt — if they mess something up today, they’ll do better tomorrow.  It won’t affect the kid for life.

        And I can’t think of anything comparable in a man’s life that produces that day-to-day, hour-to-hour guilt and fear over not doing everything Perfect.

        I wonder why we’re so different in that regard.

  • Melissa Hudson

    I absolutely love this, thank you for sharing.  I always feltl like I never fit in with other Mommy bloggers because I had PPD, I formula fed my child and he slept in the bed with us until he was 5.  I always felt like I was being judged for that.  Truth is, it worked for us.  I don’t have any regrets and I think I’m a better Mom for going through what I did and what we did as a family :)

  • Alison

    If I get this vibe from a blog, I simply stop reading that one, because there are lots of really great “mommy bloggers” out there who are honest and real and wonderful and supportive. I’m not a fan of blogs who paint a pretty picture all the time, and make life look perfect. Because its not perfect, and we all want to know that we aren’t in this alone. However, I thought this post was a bit harsh toward people who choose to blog only the good. A friend once told me that she isn’t trying to be deceitful, she has just chosen for her blog to be a place of positive influence, not negativity. She feels that she’s being honest without being negative. So even though it came across (to me) as “life is all sunshine and roses all the time”, that’s not at all what she intended. I just think we should remember that there’s no way for us to know their heart or their intentions, and it’s not quite fair to assume that they intend to make other moms feel inadequate. If you don’t like it, stop reading, but don’t criticize.

    • Holly

      I don’t think anyone is trying to make other mothers feel inadequate – not at all!  I think it is the nature of the beast.

  • http://myleftbehind.wordpress.com/ Stacey

    Ironically, I started my own blog to avoid the trap of comparison. Neither of my birth experiences was beautiful. They were terrifying and even life-threatening. My first was an emergency C-section after a failed induction, and my second was a vaginal delivery…at 28 weeks. I breastfed my oldest, but it took us three weeks to learn how. I don’t blame women who give up. I almost did. With my second, I pumped for five and a half months because after having a feeding tube for the first two months, she was reluctant to latch on. I don’t blame her, and I don’t blame myself for doing what needed to be done.
     
    Honesty is key. As moms, we need to be honest with our children and with ourselves. I think it’s also important to be honest with each other. I hear women say that motherhood is the most rewarding job a woman can have. That is a beautiful idea. I love this idea. I hate that it ignores the hard work that goes into actually seeing the reward.
     
    My life as a mother is messy. My house is never clean, and my kids are not perfect angels. Nor am I, for that matter. I screw up all the time, and my readers seem to appreciate my being honest about it. Well, most of them anyway. I did receive a rather judgmental comment recently, and the woman got mad at me for not publishing it. To me, though, it wasn’t honest. It was a picture of the way she thought my life should be. That’s not how I roll. 

  • Amanda

    I think the biggest problem for new Mama’s (at least in my case) is not having enough real life support and having to seek encouragement ONLY online. When that’s the case I feel like it’s really easy to try to compare yourself to a projected image of somebody else without realizing that you’re not necessarily getting the whole story. When you have people in real life that you spend time with and learn from, I feel like you get to see a more well-rounded picture of what motherhood can look like (the good and the bad).

    One of the biggest revelations I’ve had was to realize that there is nobody out there who does EVERYTHING. People tend to have particular areas that they really excel in and are passionate about and that’s likely what they blog about and tend to focus on. I find I’m not so much tempted to emulate one particular mommy-blogger as much as I’m tempted to look at a whole bunch and think “she crafts, she cooks all organic, she makes everything from scratch, she never allows her kids to watch tv, her house is always so organized… etc. so I have to do ALL of those  things to be a good mom!” Thankfully the Mommy-bloggers I read are all very gracious and like to “keep it real” frequently and give peeks into the nitty-gritty of motherhood. (I think that’s the only place where I disagree with you – I think there ARE a lot of Mommy-bloggers keeping it real and gracious out there. Now if only there were a way to direct to Mama’s to those blogs and help them steer clear of the other ones…)

    I’m thankful that God has revealed to me at such an early stage in life (my oldest is 18 months and we have another on the way) that we are all different and we’re all at different points in our lives – and our lives are going to reflect that. He didn’t give us detailed parenting instructions in the Bible – He gave us principles and allows us to work them out uniquely. And while I think there’s a place for challenging each other and encouraging each other to examine our priorities, I think there needs to be way more grace than anything else.

    I’d also like to encourage older Mama’s to reach out to real-life new Mama’s whenever possible…. Mommy-blogs can be really helpful, but they’ll never take the place of real relationships. (And I understand that it’s hard to have multiple intimate relationships, especially when you’ve got kiddos… but just an occasional phone call or note of encouragement or sharing of your own struggles that you’ve gone through… particularly if you’re one of the Mom’s who understands that not everyone has to do everything the same way to be a good parent.)

    • Aprille

      I think this is one of the best and truest comments listed here! I have a 17 month old and am learning the SAME thing!

    • Holly

      Amanda, I love your suggestion, and think it is so good!  What I find, though, is that the blogs have created such a distortion of reality that inhibit real life relationships from older to younger.  Frankly, I’m a disappointment to some younger mothers, because they’ve seen the perfect picture and seen how someone else (online) manages to have a bunch of children and a perfect home, etc.  When I allow reality to show thru, it is unsettling to them.  It seems that many WANT the impossible dream to be true.  They want to believe that they can achieve it, too.

      Any suggestions?

  • http://www.veronicamonique.com Veronica Monique

    Well, said. I like looking for mommy blogs that don’t make it all homemade lollipops and organic roses. I had one drug free birth, but only because things happened so fast they didn’t have time to inject me. I mean, I saw the nurse come in with the syringe, lay it on the table to check me then said I was at 8 centimeters and started breaking down the bed to prep it for delivery. Those first few tears were lamenting the loss of the drugs. For ever tweet I make about what super mommy thing I might be doing with my kids there are hours of playing video games and doing nothing in particular, and then we eat whatever. Nobody lives in perfect, even if we have perfect moments, we don’t live there. I like taking my kids out to the zoo and stuff, but every time without fail there will be an argument in the backseat or I have to chase one of them from climbing over the fences or something. We don’t mention those things enough, but they happen–they happen to all of us mothers or they happen to the nanny.

  • http://www.downtoearthwomen.blogspot.com/ Tracey

    I am someone who has entered young motherhood for a second time, meaning being the mom of infants and preschoolers.  I had five kids when I was a young mom, who are now ages 24 to 17.  I have had three more kids in the last five years, so I am doing it all over again. 

    When my now 17 year old was 11 months old, I found a mommy blog way back then ( 1996) only it was formatted a bit differently than this one. It was mostly an ongoing conversation we would post on a bulletin board site, way back when everyone had dial up and when posting pictures was a pipe dream. 

    Sixteen years later, it’s still alive and kicking. Many of the women there became very close friends. Through the years, they supported each other through the births of younger children, that first day of Kindergarten, dilemmas on how to stop your biting child and debates on whether to spank or not. It’s where I first heard of the likes of the Ezzo’s and Michael Pearl…and not favorably, I might add. 

    Soon we were celebrating high school and college graduations….both of our kids and some of ourselves. Some saw their kids get married and some saw themselves suddenly becoming grandparents. 

    Later on it became support for those who were dealing with aged parents, some who lost their parents, siblings. A couple of us lost children, one lost a grandchild and last year, we lost one of our own.

    It was a give and take blog. No one moderated it. No censorship was allowed.

    I’m no longer part of it , but it was one of the first blogs ever. Much different than the ones now that just pretty much have one person blathering away….including my own. 

    • http://www.downtoearthwomen.blogspot.com/ Tracey

      Oh…and I forgot to mention some had lost spouses, too. 

    • http://faithandfood.morizot.net/ Scott Morizot

      Hmmm. Sounds similar to the email list we found for my wife when I was introducing her to the Internet (I had been on it for some years already) back in 1996. She was pregnant at the time with our second together and youngest. That list (I took it over years ago and run it now) of mothers who were all due in November of 1996 with one of their children is like an extended, international support group. They’ve helped each other through all sorts of issues and crises, large and small.

  • Herewegokids7

    “..crocheted tricycle wheel covers…” Bahaha!  And ‘passive agressive language’…YES.

  • Holly

    The other truth that I think you touched upon, EE, is the fact that no one can possibly do it as well as some bloggers pretend to.  When you see the “perfect” blog – you can automatically know that some area of their life is suffering.  It’s just a given, because no one could possibly do it all. 

  • Kim Prince

    But don’t discount the legions of mom blogs who tell it like it is and make you feel like you are not alone.  Back when I started, that’s what most of them did, and I credit mom blogs (before they were called that) with saving my sanity as a mother of a newborn.  You just have to *click away* from the Perfect Moms.

  • http://www.downtoearthwomen.blogspot.com/ Tracey

    LOL….judging by the comments, you’ve struck a chord…..

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you, EE. It can be hard to read some of what I call  ‘the ‘blogs of perfect preferences’. 

    Everything we do is a priority, by choice or default.

    When I realized that truth, I was able to let stuff go that was making me feel like such a failure . If I watch my kids riding their bikes instead of making my own granola, time with my children was my priority, for example.

    I remind myself  that each one of us are given the same 24 hours.

    What I do with mine, how I touch other people’s lives, care for my family and share life with my husband will look different from that of anyone else.

    There is no super mom…the crafty mom, healthy food mom, breastfeeding only mom, cloth diapering mom, military mom, working mom,  web designer mom, fashionista mom, homeschooling mom,  and so on…each one of them puts their interest/talent ahead of something else in their lives.  You would have to know EVERY detail of a person’s life to judge what they are trading out for what you see showcased on their blog. No one can do it all, be it all and give it all.

  • http://www.throughaglass.net Kari

    When I got married, I was told to pick the two or three things that are most important to me and to let the other stuff slide. I think that’s been good advice for motherhood, too. So we eat (mostly) organic and have cloth diapers, but my floor is pretty dirty. I am okay with that. I am doing the best I can.

    I was already in my 30s when my baby was born, and I already had a good sense of who I am and who I want to be as a mom, what my values are. I know that the pictures on the internet are only halfway true. And I am old enough to know that I can’t let those things make me feel bad, and that I need to move away from things that do. I would venture to say that it’s not a blanket “new moms” who might feel this pressure, but new young moms especially.

  • http://lookingattheprettythings.blogspot.com/ Suzin

    Just love this post…. I think I am doing okay, then read a blog and the guilt for the processed food and dare I say I yelled-overwhelming let me tell you. Thank you for being real, and tonight, who knows, maybe chicken nuggets in front of the tv watching a movie!!!

  • Kristen Rosser

    To me the problem is that we wrap our identity up in our motherhood, and then when someone seems to be doing motherhood better, we interpret that as saying they’re better at being a female human being.  And when we feel like we’re doing motherhood better than someone else, then we feel better about ourselves as human beings.

    But the whole premise is wrong.  Our identity is not in motherhood, it’s in being children of God.  If we truly believed that, we could not only be real with each other about our struggles as well as our triumphs in motherhood– but we could also stop comparing ourselves and feeling threatened by the comparisons.

    It doesn’t help that the church often works hard to convince women that their identity is in their motherhood.  Single, childless women often feel like they don’t really matter, and that’s just not right.

  • Sarah Silvester

    I understand your sentiments and I agree with them. baby books and a view of an unreal life as a mom just doesn’t help when you’re trying to figure it all out with a new baby.
    However I do kind of wish you could have had a disclaimer at the bottom (“I wasn’t talking about x, y, or z”) because there are a lot of  bloggers out there who write about mothering and parenting who are incredibly helpful and encouraging and real. I love Emerging mummy, sorta crunchy, in the backyard, simple mom and you – you’ve all given me incredible insights and help. It’s entirely up to us whether we choose to use cloth and do fancy natural food, I feel no pressure from the blogs I read to do any such thing. I just feel inspired. and I’m thankful for you all.

    • http://www.emergingmummy.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Just wanted to say thanks, Sarah. xo I appreciate that.

  • Nurse Bee

    Interestingly enough, I faced quite a bit of this IRL when I first became a mom, as we were at a church where you better darn pretend your life is perfect.  Thankfully, I have a much more real church now, but I still have friends from there who continue with the pressure (posting on facebook about teaching their 3 year old to read, etc.) 

    The nice thing about blogs is I can choose not to read them.  Wish I could do the same with people sometimes……

  • http://southernxyl.blogspot.com/ Laura

    It wasn’t bleach that caused me to call the poison control center for my daughter – it was the bite she took out of my solid antiperspirant.   (Trying not to laugh, the person on the other end of the phone told me to give her something to drink, she’d be very thirsty.)

    I’m very glad the internet wasn’t around for me.  I would have fretted about everything the OBGYN said – “Your alpha-fetoprotein is a little high, but it’s probably nothing” – I had no idea what that meant and as it turned out, it was nothing. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/mommycracked Mommy Cracked

    I love you.  That is all.

  • http://bunkersdown.com/ Ami

    There are many of us who thank “Mommy Bloggers” for saving our lives.  The women who write about their lives filled with depression or fertility issues, the women who chronicle the long nights with teething babies or their loss of loved ones, these women are responsible for rescuing many of us.  And occasionally these same women also write posts about what is going good in their life (whether it be crafting, diapering, homeschooling, or a gentle birth experience.)
    There are thousands of “Mommy Bloggers” out there, each of them passionate enough about something to write it down for others to read.  In that huge group you are going to find ones you enjoy and others that you don’t.    
    But I believe it is the responsibility of the reader to make that decision, not the blog writer.  And while it would be wonderful if everybody was polite and mindful of each other’s feelings, it is important to remember this quote (keeping in mind that we are talking about Mommy-blogging and not abuse):
    “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

  • http://somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

    Pure awesomesauce!! EE I don’t know whether to give you a hug or a high 5. Seriously LOVED this and wish we could sit together and snark at the storm of comments over some Baileys.

    As a dude I’m walking into the fire here, but hey, it’s the internets and I drink my coffee with a splash of jet fuel.

    Quick disclaimer – No, I will never truly comprehend the pain of childbirth. It’s physically impossible. However, none of you ladies has ever been kicked in the junk or caught your pecker in a zipper.

    I don’t think I will ever understand women’s affinity for pain. I’m a tough guy, but the idea of a home birth, without a doctor or pain medication is a whole new level of insanity.

    Let’s just take centuries of civilization and medical progression and throw it out the window. I’m so glad my own wife was all “Bring on the drugs!” and relished in the sanitary environment of the hospital.

    Also, if you really want to go “all natural” and return to the days of the Pilgrims, have the kid outside in the dirt with no running water or electricity.

    The only thing natural about child birth is the actual birth of the child. I would think that it makes logical sense to have said birth in the most safe environment possible where the child’s statistical chances for survival are astronomically more positive than my house.

    Last thing, people who wait until their kid is born to find out if it’s a boy or girl annoy me to no end and automatically get the loudest, most insanity-inducing baby toy I can find. You want something cute, cuddle-y or practical? Then I need to know if it should be pink or blue.

  • http://www.lovewellblog.com/ Kelly @ Love Well

    Great post, Elizabeth. You always write this passion. :-)  I love that about you.

    But I wonder about the deeper issue in the post: that of woman feeling doomed to compare themselves against other woman or an impossible standard that’s out there. Even if someone presents themselves as perfect, they are not. We all know that, right? If we get our feelings in a snit after being around people like that – whether in real life or on a blog – then we can take action. Don’t read the blog. Remind yourself who matters. 

    Ultimately, God is the only one who determines our worth. If our self-worth is shaky after being with other people, maybe we need to soak in His presence and grace. 

    We don’t have to compare ourselves to anyone. We need to bow out of that game. (Talk about countercultural.) 

  • http://somuchshoutingsomuchlaughter.com/ suzannah {ShoutLaughLove}

    e, you know i love you, but your post is weighing on me.  “What’s so hard about just saying: ‘Good for you!’ and meaning it?”  

    can’t we afford that same grace for mamas who are crunchy or passionate about design?  just because they parent or care about different things than you doesn’t mean they’re “pretending life is a lovely dream.”  you’re painting with an awfully broad brush here. 

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for this, Suzannah. Here’s where I see the difference: it’s one thing to be crunchy or passionate about design, it’s another thing to say that living this way is superior to other ways of mothering. THAT is my problem. Hey, I’m happy to see creative, healthy, wholehearted mothering! What doesn’t make me happy is when these ways are held up on pedestals and celebrated as more worthy, more superior—I’ve seen these attitudes from BOTH conservative homeschooling moms AND passionately crunchy moms. THAT attitude is what prompted this post. Hope that helps clarify my position. :)

  • http://www.plogette.com/ Plogette

    As a non-mother who does not plan to be one, I appreciate this! I feel the syrupy sweet condescension when I say that I’m not planning on having kids. The ‘I’m better than you because I did and look how perfect we are’ attitude. I don’t condemn their choices, but that does not stop them from doing so to me. Also, I feel that this ‘mommy blog’ idea that you have stated can apply to SO many different blog areas online. Good words.

  • Anne-Marie Tonyan Lindsey

    I tried to comment earlier and seem to have somehow made it disappear… so forgive me if I’m repeating myself.

    I started my blog to talk about planning a pregnancy and dealing with severe anxiety at the same time, and since I started blogging have come across a lot of the “mommy blogs” you’re describing. I contribute to their bounce rates, because they make me feel like I’m about to have a damn panic attack.

    I already feel guilty that I won’t be cloth diapering, and I am not even pregnant yet! (As far as I know.) We live in an apartment building that doesn’t have a functioning washing machine. And I feel guilty about one day using disposable diapers. I think that says a lot.

    I struggle with mental illness and a major source of anxiety for me is a need to get things “right.” Compare myself to the image of the perfect mom projected onto the blogosphere? YOU BET. Thank God for therapy.

  • pammy

    it’s a blog.  it’s free. elizabeth doesn’t have to please everyone with it.  she didn’t ask for editors.

  • Likecake

    love it! as a mother of 5 myself i try my best to stay real and not get caught up in the… “crocheted tricycle wheel covers”. 

  • Rachel C.

    Enjoyed this blog. thanks :)

  • Nathan

    Privileged upper middle class? Really?

    We had a home birth because it was cheaper than going to a hospital. We make our own peanut butter because we are a financially lower class family. We bake our own bread, soak our own beans, and clothe diaper because there is no other way we can keep from falling into the red. We do these things because we think they are the best decision for our family, but we also could not afford to do otherwise.

    Your rant only made you out to be the very blogger you are criticizing.

  • http://twitter.com/the_lilybrown Elizabeth G Brown

    So I’m in the daydreaming-about-starting-a-family phase of my life. And I gotta say that when I’m dreaming about something, I research. I google. I read blogs.

    And I gotta say…THANK YOU for some MUCH needed ballance.

    Whew! Even as a marriage and family therapist, having read the books and worked with parents to dispsell this social message,  I find myself feelin’ the pressure to be a lot of things that honest-to-goodness I can’t pull off in my home now, let alone when there are gonna be kiddoes running around!  

    Like learning how to raise a human being isn’t enough of a skill set to aquire besides having to become a master crafter, chef, innovator, decorator, etc. Key point though: If that’s part of who  you are already, of course that’s the kind of mom you will be! That’s awesome!

    I’ll probably have a darn cute nursery. I already have a darn cute house.  But I’ll probably have perpetual dust bunnies in the corners. Because I already do right now. I’ll care about organics because I already do. But I’ll probably buy babyfood (organic of course, haha). I won’t magically take up sewing. I’ve already tried and it didn’t work out well.

    But oh, I will love them.

    There should be room for “supermoms” of all shapes, sizes, talents, styles and personalities. Without the expectation of not measuring up if you are different from what everyone says you should be.

    So, thanks Elizabeth!

  • Slinkyf3rr3t

    E, I appreciate your honesty, but I feel you’re also discouraging anyone who is looking into having a home birth or a medicine-free birth.  Not all labors are “brutal” or involve “screaming”.  I had a hospital birth with my first and a home birth with my second and yes there was some pain, but it wasn’t “brutal” for me.  And it’s not that way for everyone. I’m very sorry it was a painful experience for you.  And for the male who said people who have children at home might as well have them outside in the dirt – for your information there are studies that show having a child at home is at least as safe as than a hospital birth bc a hospital may be sanitized, but there are still a lot of germs floating around in even the cleanest hospital.  I feel those who “freebirth”, or have their child without any assistance from a midwife are putting themselves and their baby at great risk, so I’m not suggesting that road - we chose to have a very experienced midwife and doula involved.  I do realize that 10% of women do need medical intervention during birth, I was one of those 10% with my first - I labored at home for over a day and then my midwife decided it was time for us to go to the hospital for help.  I still had him vaginally, but barely – the impatient Dr. and anesthesiologist wanted to just put me under and cut me open, thankfully I did eventually push him out.  In some hospitals the cesarean rate is 33% or higher either often because the doctor does not allow the women more time to labor – “failure to progress” is all too often a misdiagnosis; just as all humans are unique, all labors are unique.  Not every woman dilates at the same rate. And a C-section is MAJOR surgery!  I’m not saying I’m against C-sections, either, I just feel it’s often done too soon (or just scheduled in advance like it’s a just an appt).  However I’m also not criticizing anyone who’s needed pain medication or needed a cesarean.  I’m just glad we live in a time when we have a choices and I don’t think anyone should be made to feel bad for their decision or scared of looking into alternative places to birth, especially if their local hospital does not cooperate with someone’s birth plan.  I know I deviated from the original topic a bit, I’ll get off my soap box now…