I’m not exactly sure what those of you who have never met me & my family think we are really like. The impersonal aspect of the online world is that we can make people believe (on purpose) whatever our agenda is. At the same time, I think that by virtue of not sharing everything about ourselves and our families, a false impression might ensue. Not on purpose, by any means, but because we don’t share all the nitty-gritty of our lives. After all, who’s interested in the regular everyday events that take place behind our walls? That would be boring, right? And nobody wants to be Negative Nelly.
For years I was involved in a homeschooling support group which was predominantly moms who attended. (Seems dads don’t attend them, much.) No matter the topic for the evening, most people tended to share their successes rather than their failures. They were looking for answers, and there was always people willing to dole out their perspective answers. There wasn’t much negativity at these meetings (opposing views, yes, but not evenings of negativity). What curriculum worked for particular learning styles? Who were great music instructors? How to get your kid to finish their math?
I didn’t think the women were being unrealistic, painting their lives as wonderful at home when they really weren’t. I just think we focused on the positive.
I had a lady over just once shortly before our big family started to travel. If I recall, there was some physical interaction between 2 of my kids, like somebody hit the other person in the head or something like that. I think there was a burst of verbal abuse between siblings. This visiting woman visibly started to relax. She was relieved to see that my kids weren’t the angels that she had envisioned! And she excitedly told me so!!
I was quite shocked, actually, and gave a chuckle. Having never socialized with this lady and her children she had no idea what my household was like until that day I invited her over.
She realized that she had taken all the good things all the women had shared over the months at the homeschool group, and concentrated them into one Perfect-Homeschooling-Mom (that has never ever existed). She thought I was it…or at least one of a few.
The first winter we were living in our rooftop tents, Laars was still sleeping with Everette & I. We weren’t aware of it yet, but he was having issues with certain things in his diet, affecting his behavior and probably his brain. I just knew that some days were much longer and painful than others, and often we could tell the moment he woke up on the proverbial wrong side of the bed.
One of those mornings before we were even out of our tent Laars yelled out, “I HATE YOU!” Ah, welcome to another long day.
A short while later Pat, a grandma lady who was tenting down by the lake with her hubby but whose car was parked next to our van & tents, said, “I was so happy to hear Laars say ‘I hate you!’ this morning. Now I know you are just a normal family!”
We all have ideas what somebody is like without really getting to know them. Many people have ideas about what I/we might be like, without necessarily being aware of their own pre-conceived ideas. How do I know this? Because more times than I can count somebody has sized me up and down and then said, “I can’t believe you’ve had 9 kids!” Why??? Because they subconsciously were expecting an obese woman (perhaps in a denim jumper).
So, today I got to thinking that maybe my blog makes it appear that I’m a put-together mama fully engaged in my children’s lives, and that every day my kiddos are abounding in their creativity, confidence and friendliness.
It ain’t so.
From comments over the years I surmise you think:
- I’m overweight from all the pregnancies
- I slave in the kitchen making nutritional & scrumptious meals
- I am well organized (or sloppy as hell) and a hard worker
- We have a strong marriage
- Our kids’ clothes are neat and tidy and we have good hygiene
- We do endless activities and crafts
- I am well connected with my children’s needs
- Our children never fight
- I spend endless hours with my homeschooled children pouring over textbooks and marking their work
- I am superwoman getting my housework and grocery shopping done
NOPE! I mean, Yes I’ve got some extra weight on. But most of the other statements….nope.
- I don’t enjoy working in the kitchen most days; I feel accomplished if I make one good healthy meal per day.
- I am decently organized but I am consistently lazy and a great procrastinator.
- Everette and I have been together 30 years (end of Aug) but it certainly hasn’t been easy. Worth it, yes. Struggles, absolutely. We have a strong commitment to keep working on it, so that’s worth a whole lot!!
- Our kids might wear the same clothes for days and their feet might stink. But they’re happy.
- I imagine hanging out with the kids all day engaging in games and crafts and science experiments…but I rarely do.
- The kids yell; some say “I Hate You!” and slam doors.
- We are allergic to textbooks (just kidding, but we don’t use them on the whole since we find them boring & unengaging) and don’t do busy paperwork so there’s nothing to mark.
- I’ve never been a duster of the home unless I know company is coming.
- Everette is the main grocery-shopper for the family and has been for about 13 years or more.
Ok, so now that’s off my chest..I feel better.
Now you know I’m just another mom trying to do my best….well sometimes I don’t even think I’m honestly trying my best. I’m just existing, making it thru another day. Doing my own selfish thing while my kids fend for themselves.
But at least now you know what a Perfect Family really looks like!