Friday, November 12, 2010

Keeping it Real

You know what I love?  I love it when you meet somebody new, or maybe just get to know them a bit better than you did before, and you discover that you really like them.  They're fun, they're honest, and - bonus! - they have a kid or three the same ages as a couple of yours.  Subsequently, I love it when you and that person decide to force your children to be friends so you can hang out and drink coffee and talk cookbooks.

Anywho, this happened (happily) to me recently, and this person began reading what I write here, and made some sort of comment about me being "a machine."  And when I stopped laughing, I went back and read a few of my recent posts.

When I started blogging about two-year-old Annie and baby Jemma, it was partly because I wanted to keep a record of our life - their lives, before they would remember them - and partly to stay in touch and tell my stories to some friends who live far away.  But there was another reason, too.  I realized that I was often caught up in the drudgery and sometimes-thankless tasks of parenting; I realized that I often talked about my days as if they were just hours to be gotten through; I realized that I wasn't focusing enough on the good.

I'm a realist by nature, but one who wants (and tries consciously, with varying degrees of success) to be an optimistically-inclined realist.  I think this explains my long-documented and long-mocked love of the inspirational quote, my affinity for reading memoir and essays, my curiosity about people who have done big things with their lives:  how can I do this better?  How can I make this work?  How can I keep myself aware that each moment of even the most thankless task is a gift?  How can I laugh about the ridiculousness that is a toddler?

So I started writing here, and when I scroll back through the weeks and months, I see that I do tend to paint a fairly happy picture.  I tend to focus on the good, the perfect days, the adorable photos, the memorable one-liners and not the negative, though that seeps out every now and then when I need to vent it out.

But I want to keep it real here, too, so that my grown-up girls will be able to read here and see that every mother struggles with certain things, to see that each day was not rosy-cheeked babes in arms and a piping-hot meal on the table and a clean, happy house.  I want to keep writing my slice-of-life posts and celebrate the everyday things, but I want to remember things as they really were, too.


Sometimes our dining room looks like this:

and our front entry looks like this:

Sometimes I get in bed with a book when Jemma has her quiet time and I don't get out until she's up.  Sometimes Jemma wakes up from her nap and looks (and acts) like this:

Sometimes I plan to make Barefoot Contessa's Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic for dinner, but when I go to start it at 4:15 on a Monday afternoon, I realize that the first step is "Hack your whole, raw chicken apart into eight separate pieces like so" and when my knife hits the bone that holds the leg to the body, I immediately decide to make Whole Roast Lemon Chicken with Croutons Plus a Lot of Garlic That I Already Peeled.

Sometimes we go to Annie's parent-teacher conference and hear the word "spitfire" more than we would like.

Sometimes I don't make the bed.

Sometimes I cook lots of great things during the week for dinner, but sometimes I go to the grocery store on a Monday morning and my meal plan, written on the back of my grocery list, goes "Monday, grilled cheese and tomato soup; Tuesday, eggs and toast; Wednesday ???? . . ."

Sometimes I wait to do laundry until I'm about to run out of underwear.

Sometimes I eat a lot of the kids' Halloween candy while they're not home.

Sometimes I feel like this about my life:

but I think I'm going to want to remember the times when I feel like this:


  1. Love it! And, by the way, I NEVER make the bed:)

  2. I love this post. Also, I always wait until I have one pair of underwear left to do wash. That's how I know it's time!