(If you're here for the food porn, you might want to skip this one. Also: thanks to everyone who has been faithfully commenting! Though I am no longer using an interface with Blogger that allows me to "reply" to comments inline, I do try to "respond" via email or comment-in-kind when I can, so please do leave comments that help me to identify you, and your blog, if you have one.)
A while back, the lovely Kristin asked if some of us would be willing to join her in a round of Things I Am Afraid To Tell You (TIAATTY), a movement that has been making its way around the blogosphere in an effort to make bloggers more human, and less "perfect." I agreed to participate, because I think Kristin is a cool human being for putting herself out there, and I didn't think she should have to do so alone.
And then I began to struggle with what I'd say, because I've already revealed a lot about myself on this blog, and I don't think I portray life as especially perfect or beautiful, as some style or fashion or even mommy blogs do.
On the other hand, I'm also not your run-of-the-mill ALI blog. In fact, many times I don't feel ALI enough. And I do make choices about what I post here, partly to protect the privacy of my family, and partly because there's some things that simply don't make for interesting reading. I realized that the TIAATTY movement isn't just about airing dirty laundry, but about asking ourselves what our blogs really do say about us, and that perhaps it was a useful exercise in self-reflection.
So here they are, Things I'm Afraid To Tell You.
On Stay At Home Motherhood
I am a pretty crappy stay at home mom, most likely because I never wanted to be a stay at home mom when I was growing up, and I still don't want to be one now. I know I lose myself in my own thoughts when I probably ought to be talking to my daughter. I look at Facebook and check my email too often (that was true even when I wasn't a stay at home mom; I tell myself that at least I'm doing it on my desktop, so there's that limitation ...). I am not a patient person. I lose my temper. I yell at my kids. Not often, but enough to feel badly about it. I know it's not a good response. It's not my first response, but it's there. I wish I could channel the patience of my son's Montessori teachers. I wish I knew how to get my daughter, in particular (because I spent all day with her) to do what I ask her to, or more importantly, not do what I ask her not to, in a way that is more calm and constructive, even the thirtieth time I have to ask. That calm, meditative, yoga persona I sometimes seem to possess? She does live here, but not all the time.
I eat the same thing for lunch pretty
much every day, that is, when I actually make something one could call lunch. I drink coffee for breakfast. And there are plenty of weeks when nothing new appears on our table. I feed my children frozen fish sticks at least one night on the weeks when my husband is away. Food around here is not always a beautiful, fresh and fabulous experience, as it might appear in my camera lens.
On My Personality
On a related note, despite what I try to preach about self-acceptance, and despite the mostly healthy foods I prepare here, I am perpetually obsessed with my weight. I don't actually weigh myself, because we don't own a scale, but I poke and prod and frown disapprovingly in the mirror. I would secretly love to be stick-skinny, though I confess I do admire my biceps and shoulders when I'm lifting weights at the Y. Actually, come to think of it, I am probably a mildly obsessive personality. I alphabetize my spices, stack my Tupperware just so, rearrange things in the grocery store.
I've had to work hard for everything I have, and despite what I say (and really, believe) about compassion, I confess I have a hard time being compassionate to people who have had everything in life just handed to them, whether it's money, or a job, or anything. I am also jealous of people who are more successful, or more beautiful, or more well dressed, or more whatever, than I am. I see people who start businesses, or write novels, or whatever, and hate them a little. I'm envious of bloggers who come up with thoughtful, imaginative, creative things to say every day. And then I don't feel good enough to say something, and end up not posting at all.
Actually, I tend to remember more of the negative things people have said to me or about me than the positive ones, and as a result, I never really feel quite good enough in general; I've spent my life trying to overcompensate for that feeling. I am ashamed of the fact that as an almost forty year old woman, I
haven't figured out what I want to be when I grow up, and worried that
I'm facing the prospect of starting my career all over again.
I don't separate my colors from my whites. If you did laundry
every night, you wouldn't either. And my son goes to school with socks
that look dirty, no matter how clean they are. Guess what? Bleach
won't help anyway. And while we're on the subject? I don't launder my
sheets every week. I throw them in the laundry when I remember, or when
one of my kids wets the bed, whichever comes first. That makes the
bedwetting experience a positive one for the whole family, right? Clean
I wish I had nicer clothes. I have a horrible sense of style, and
need someone to hold my hand when I go clothes shopping. I really
prefer shapeless dark colored things. (I worry about going to BlogHer
and showing up looking like a complete frump, because I simply
don't own anything appropriate. What do bloggers wear to a blogging
conference, anyway? And what does one wear to a blog party?) And while we're
discussing shopping: I often return things I buy, because I convince
myself that I've made a rash and irresponsible purchase. I also return
gifts. Even when it's something important like, you know, underwear. (Before I use it, of course.) I
am frugal to a fault.
I don't know if any of that helps to deconstruct any sense you might have had of "perfection" around here, but if it has, I'm glad I did. After all, I started out "Half Baked" for a reason, and while a lot has changed since then, the fact that this is my space, and that I'm still journeying, hasn't.