Last week my friend Christie wrote a post she called Putting the trash out (a.k.a: Keeping it real) where she posted a picture of herself “in all her grainy, un-photoshoppped, un-made up, bags-under-the-eyes glory” and then shared a bit of dirt on herself — a list of shortcomings that she thought her readers may not know.
She urged her readers to show their reality with a photo sans makeup or photo editing. As I said to her in her comments, once many eons ago I posted a picture of myself sans makeup. It’s probably buried in the vast wasteland that is my old Typepad blog, and once is enough for me. So don’t worry, you can read on without fear of finding a photo of me sans makeup at the end of this post.
Christie was inspired by this thought-provoking post by Travelin’ Oma, who challenged her readers to take a look at their blogs with objective eyes and consider what others see. Ideally it will be homey and welcoming — not overly piled up with trash, but not pristine and artificial either. (She expresses it with a beautiful analogy; you really should just go read it.) I think Shelly found that balance admirably in this post, by the way.
Balancing authenticity and my family’s right to privacy is something I think about a lot. Sometimes I wish my blog were anonymous so that I could let it all hang out, but everyone I know including my mother and my pastor know about my blog. Let’s just say I won’t be letting it ALL hang out. And yet, if I were being fake, I wouldn’t be able to get away with that either.
Then today when I saw Alli’s post, I knew I had to chime in. I think she makes excellent points about the reasons many of us choose to highlight the sunshine and rainbows. I think I’m usually pretty open about my shortcomings, but there is certainly plenty of dirt that I don’t share. Some of it would make excellent blog fodder and I’d share it if I could, and some of it I wouldn’t tell you if you had me interrogated by Jack Bauer. But out of respect to my family, I do hold back. Probably not enough, according to some.
I like Travelin’ Oma’s analogy of the home. That’s what I want my blog to feel like. When people visit my blog, I want them to feel like they are coming into my home. When friends and neighbors stop by my house, they often find a sink piled with dishes, crumbs on my counter, toys scattered on the floor, and sometimes I’m still in my pjs. I don’t try to hide the mess, although I admit I do wish I could be one of “those moms” who has it all together all the time. (“Those moms” exist, right? Ha.)
I feel that I am a part of a great community of bloggers who strive to “keep it real” while also respecting their friends and family, and it’s always a joy to read a post like Shelly’s and be reassured that I’m not alone in my struggles and also encouraged in my role as a mother.
Alli put it much better here:
As more and more women tell their stories, we see we are not alone. We share moments and experiences, and in doing so, we are creating works of art and archiving our legacy.
I just love that — archiving our legacy. I recently installed the Link Within plugin that suggests similar posts at the bottom of each post, and this week I’ve enjoyed clicking on some of those and reading my stories. I hope that one day my children will do the same, and I hope they get a laugh or two at my expense, and at theirs.
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Meanwhile, Kristy asked a great question over at our Savvy Source group:
Okay, thankfully this has not happened to us on either side yet but I was thinking about it yesterday as my kids had friends over and they let them play with their DSi’s. If your child were playing with an expensive toy at their friends house and broke it, would you replace it or would you feel like the Mom should have stepped in and said something like, “sorry sally we have a rule that no one plays with our expensive toys” or something like that?
Click over and weigh in!
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And one more thing. My other blog, Chic Critique is getting a makeover, and we are having a tagline contest. I’d love to hear your suggestions.