A week ago I had coffee with a new friend and was greatly challenged by the conversation that took place. As we talked and shared about our lives- what they are and what we hope them to be, we somehow got onto the topic of blogging. She mentioned something that I've been feeling for quite some time.
Tonight, I'm going to address "mommy bloggers".
Maybe you've stumbled upon the "mommy blogs". Not all are bad. Many can be great. My friend spoke to me specifically of the "mommy blogs" that aim to be seen as so perfect that the moms that read them come away feeling inadequate. I laughed when my new friend stated, "I'm not even a mom and I come away feeling inadequate after reading them."
Can anyone out there relate? I sure can. I love to browse blogs. I love the creativity and ideas that come from them. What I don't love is the lack of realness that I feel many bloggers out there share (or lack to share).
I'll be the very first person to admit that I struggle with some real insecurities. Do I like to share those insecurities? Heck, no. I like to look perfect. I like others to look at me and believe I've got it all together. But I'm writing tonight to share that (surprise, surprise) - I don't.
When I began this blog several months ago, I began it for several reasons. One reason was my love for writing. I've been told I can be funny and have a good way with words. Another was because I was desiring to have a part of my life that wasn't strictly "kid related". As a mom, I struggle to separate the parts of my life that are kid vs. adult. Blogging about things I am passionate or excited about seemed like a great way to do that. With that said, these reasons weren't primarily why I began my blog.
I began my blog because I wanted to be a voice for women and moms out there who need to know that it is okay to have some imperfections. I wanted to write something that would be real, open and honest with a journey that doesn't always go as planned. And, as I talked with my friend, I was challenged and guilt ridden over the fact that maybe just maybe I haven't exactly done what I had set out to do.
Do I think it is wrong to share all of the great parts of life? Not at all. I find joy in posting about my child's successes, the high points in our life as a family. I love to post fun things that I've made, recipes that we enjoy together, birthday celebrations for our cat (and kid). These are good things. These are the blessings of day to day life. What I don't like, is when these every day blessings of life seem to overshadow the fact that we are real people who need others to come along and say, "Hey, it's okay to make mistakes." It's okay that your child isn't sleeping through the night. It's okay that potty training has been hell. It's okay that you didn't shower today and you spent half the day eating raw cookie dough while watching Barney with your toddler. IT IS OKAY.
And so, If you've stuck with me this long...I'm here to apologize. I'm deeply sorry if I have made any of my readers feel inadequate (mom or no mom). Over the course of my journey during the past year, I've come to see that God gives us women in our lives to come along side and walk with us during the good times and the bad. The problem becomes, when we are so frightened to open up about the bad that the friendship never becomes real. I'm so tired of that old way of life. I'm learning to let go of the unrealistic expectations I have of myself and the ones that others may have of me too. I'm not perfect. Neither are YOU. So let's get real.
So this is me being honest and real. Before my daughter came along, I thought I was happy. My husband and I wanted to try for a baby. We tried. We got pregnant right away. I became pregnant and barefoot (literally- I went barefoot to one of my baby showers). Then when Mack was a week old, I was hit with postpartum depression. I suddenly didn't want to be a mom. I didn't like this new baby that had taken over our lives. Everything that I thought I wanted was gone. Instead, I had this new stranger living in my home- and a not so polite and pleasant one I might add. And I struggled silently like this for over a year. I struggled with thoughts of suicide and of leaving my family. I was so scared to share with other moms exactly how I was feeling. I didn't even tell my own mom how I was feeling. I kept it all hidden and I did myself and everyone around me a disservice.
Two years later, what I know now is this--postpartum depression is real. It is painful and sad and can destroy families and friendships. What I know now is that it can be treated and helped. A lot of what it stems from can be emotionally related things that were never taken care of (pre-pregnancy). Last October (after moving here to Colorado) I finally hit rock bottom. I was diagnosed by a doctor as severely depressed and for the first time throughout this whole journey I was put on anti-depressants (sorry Tom Cruise). I also began to see an amazing therapist who has helped me to come to grips with a lot of issues I was facing (both mom and non-mom related). And today, I can finally say that, emotionally I am the healthiest I have ever been.
This journey has brought me to a place where I can better see the benefits of being honest with friends about where I am. I am learning to ask for help when I need it. I am finally learning to love myself and to value who I am first and foremost as a person but also as a wife and a mother. Most importantly, I am learning to be real. I hope that I can share that with all of you as I continue this blog. If nothing else, I hope that as I am honest with my journey, other women and mom readers out there will be reminded that sometimes, life just isn't cookie cutter.
With all of that said-- Here are some pictures of the happenings that have taken place lately in my life.
I've been training for the Washington DC marathon and today I completed my first of two 20 mile runs. Parts of it felt like hell. Other parts, like the ones in these pictures were just miraculous reminders of how beautiful Colorado is. For the first time today in a long time, I didn't miss Chicago so much. That is a milestone friends!
I've started to crochet hats and am considering an ETSY site. I made this particular hat to more feminize Mackenzie's bright red (rather masculine looking) winter coat. Who says girls always have to wear pink??