Thursday, March 17, 2011

Disclaimer: Not all rosy

Back in January, an article from Salon popped up in my reader that peaked my interest: "Why I can't stop reading Mormon housewife blogs." I have a similar problem, so I was curious what this non-member writer had to say. According to the author: "I'm a young, feminist atheist who can't bake a cupcake. Why am I addicted to the shiny, happy lives of these women?"

Her article attempts to answer that question. It's well worth the read, but here are some of my favorite highlights:
"It seems that a lot of popular culture wants to portray marriage and motherhood as demeaning, restrictive or simple, but in the LDS church, motherhood is a very important job, and it's treated with a lot of respect," says Natalie Holbrook, the New York-based author of the popular blog Nat the Fat Rat. "
"Indeed, Mormon bloggers like Holbrook make marriage and motherhood seem, well, fun. Easy. Joyful."
"It's not that she or I  want to quit our jobs to bake brownies or sew kiddie Halloween costumes. It's just that for G., Mormon blogs are an escapist fantasy, a way to imagine a sweeter, simpler life. "
I'll admit, I read all the blogs Salon lists. They're fascinating. These women seem to be good at everything. And I find it inspiring! I want to try that too! That recipe looks good! Oh, that's a cool sewing project!

But then yesterday someone sent me this article "What You Don't See", written by one of the numerous Gee clan (Tiffany Gee Lewis).  Again, a great read if you have some time. But she addresses the idea that all these shiny, happy blogs seem like they are just for show. She says:
"I started a blog last fall. I dragged my feet into it for many reasons. One of the main reasons I hesitated was I didn't want to be another contributor to the cyberspace guiltosphere out there. Especially where mothers are concerned, do we need one more reason to feel guilty? Because from the looks of things, other families are happier, their houses are cleaner, their marriages are better, their clothes are more stylish and their craftiness is even more crafty. Their lives are perfectly lovely, while my kids are running around screaming in their diapers."
It struck a chord - I heard someone say recently that all her friends' blogs made them look so darn happy all the time and there was no way their lives were that perfect.

It's true - a lot of these blogs, mine included - only include the good stuff. The happy stuff. The stuff that's pretty enough for print. But why would you blog the bad stuff? Should I blog about the argument I had with a friend? Or if I had a friend coping with a painful illness? Maybe sometimes these things are relevant. Maybe. But I think that they're generally very personal struggles - I don't want to air all my dirty laundry for the world (or rather, the 35 of you reading this). And I'm also trying to teach myself (a life-long struggle) to focus on the positive and the things that are going well, instead of dwelling on the things that are not going so well. Like Tiffany, I'm posting the cakes that turn out pretty. The recipes that work. What you don't see are the ten unfinished crafts stashed in the closet under my stairs. Or the cake that failed so miserably I ended up throwing it away before anyone could see it.

What's my point with this blog post? I'm not exactly sure. More than anything, just to pass along these two excellent articles. They inspired me and got the ol' wheels turning in my head. I hope they will for you, too.


  1. I think inspiration can come from both the beautiful bits and the struggles of our online (and real life) friends. Very thought-provoking. Thanks!

    -Elise @

  2. This is the exact blog I was thinking of writing. Well, kind of. Someone we both know blogs occasionally, and they're more brave than I. They blog about their finances (or lack thereof) and many personal struggles. I find it hard to read her blog sometimes because it's just ... not... fun.. one of her last posts was in frustration, that maybe she is the only one who has problems because everyone else is so happy. I've been wanting to write and say, "Life isn't always beautiful but it's a beautiful ride.. and I choose to only write about the good days." anyway, maybe I will just link your blog :)

  3. Thanks, Elise! And Anna, I've been mulling over this since I wrote it and I've gotten closer to pegging why I felt so compelled to write this blog. I think the great thing about blogs are that they give us an opportunity to celebrate life's "little wins." I enjoy hearing your (and other people's) success stories. We cheer each other on and celebrate those good moments. I think it's easy to get kind of down after reading other people's blogs and feeling inadequate at times. But posting to your own blog reminds you that there are plenty of things that you're good at, too. Thanks for enjoying the journey with me and thank you for sharing yours as well.