It’s interesting that emails and comments about my day in the life post have taken certain avenues. I’m surprised at the feedback which has been so happy to see a ‘real day’ and surprised by the sense that I’d had a bad day.
From my perspective, it wasn’t a bad day or even a hard day. The kids fought with each other, yes, but not with me. They did everything I asked them to for homeschooling – and, trust me, that alone practically makes it a gold star day. They played outdoors. They tried some new things. We ate fairly healthy foods for all meals (supper turning out to be cold cucumber soup with cheese toasts). I was at about 60-70% of normal and didn’t have the feeling of getting sick turn into one of those Visitations that it could have been. I didn’t cry.
I was also surprised by the thankfulness that I’d shared a ‘real day’. Leaving aside the fact that fabulous days are also real days, I’m struck by two things: 1) that I do mention quite frequently that we struggle (and have gone through huge problems in the past), and 2) that either the homeschooling blogosphere must not be doing a good job of being honest or we’re having a hard time being nice to ourselves.
Interestingly, I’m working on a fairly long post right now which discusses the way I used to blog compared to the way I blog now while discussing a lot of other things that have changed for me. I won’t go over the same ground, but I did previously focus a lot on the hard parts of my day while blogging. I felt that I needed to be upfront about our troubles. It seemed like everyone was having wonderful learning journeys except me. Until Sandra’s learning troubles were diagnosed, it wasn’t uncommon for me to end up weeping twice a week over my failure to teach her. I wished someone could help me, but since it seemed no one could, I thought I might be the lone voice in the wilderness being honest about having hard days. In the end, our days got better and I also got bored of writing so much negativity. I wanted to come away from recording our days feeling like it was a positive use of my energy and time.
Which leads us to the larger issue of the atmosphere of blogging. And it’s not just homeschooling blogs. Craft blogs can make crafters feel inadequate. Mommy blogs can make mommies feel inadequate. Photo blogs can make photographers feel inadequate.
Somewhere, somewhen, I came across an article that stated that the cruelest thing which mothers of young children do to each other is clean the house before a playdate. Anyone who’s dropped in on a friend to discover a house in a…ahem…state of flux and felt that sense of angel-chorus-singing-relief knows how true this can be.
A friend of mine calls this problem “comparing your insides to other people’s outsides”. In other words, you have no choice but to live with all your faults and errors and goof-ups. You know you’re a flawed being. Comparing that self to the edited outside face of someone else is deadly.
I wonder sometimes about the honesty of macro. I felt dishonest for a while for largely posting macro shots. They crop out the clutter. And the dog hair. And the nasty carpet that we’re still too broke to replace. But I realized that macro is how my brain works when it’s working well. When I’m not tired or hormonal or stressed.
My mind does look at my kitchen and zoom in on the flowers in the vase. My mind does see a whole day with the kids being their complicated selves and remember that they held hands in the mall – as tweens! My mind does ignore the clutter of a table full of knitting, workbooks, paper, toys, and pens after a morning of homeschooling and sees the rich colour of the tea in the mug and the delightful anticipation of the moment just before it hits the tongue but when the warm air is already filling your breath.
Which picture is truer?
Both have books. Both were taken on a sunny day. (Not today, unfortunately.) Both are of real moments. Both have positive memories, even. I’ve been tidying and organizing off and on for months now and I’m really getting a handle on things.
A long post.
But it’s important to mention, from time to time, that we’re all real. Because we forget sometimes, don’t we?
That all of us have faults.
And bad days.
And we all hate the way clutter multiplies when you blink.
And that life is still sweet.
And you’re the best ally your children have.
And that I’m strange and odd and beautiful and you are too.