In Defense of the Perfect Mommy Blogger

We all love to hate her. She is disgustingly perfect. She blogs about her life and every post could be in a magazine. Her house is always clean and organized and her furnishings are gorgeous. She decorates with an amazing eye for detail and everything that she has she found at a great deal or made herself. Her closets are full of fashionable outfits and her bed is covered in hand embroidered pillows. Her kitchen looks like it could be the set for a cooking show and is always spotlessly clean.

Her children are always dressed in perfectly coordinated outfits, Little Miss’s hair things match the buttons on her blouse and the buckles on her shoes. The Little Man always has his hair combed and his face is never dirty (unless a dirty face fits into that days’ blog post, and then it is an adorable, controlled messy). Her homeschooling techniques are creative and fun. Her little ones could read at age three and knew the pythagorean theorem by their eighth year.

She makes everything from scratch out of the finest ingredients with an expert eye toward presentation and a balanced approach to nutrition. Her grain is freshly ground, her eggs came from her chicken coop out back, and she fetched her own milk from the cow in the pasture. Every meal she makes looks delicious and her children never complain that they want cereal instead of buckwheat pancakes for breakfast. Her organic garden produces so much food that she sells some of it after she takes catalog quality photos of shiny eggplant and long, flawless green beans.

On top of all of that, she somehow finds time to run a flourishing business out of her basement. She creates some wonderful, one-of-a-kind product that the masses are willing to pay lots of money for and yet she somehow keeps up with the demand.

Her husband is handsome and charming. She keeps him satisfied in every way and they are living a happily ever after.

And when she blogs about this utopia of hers, she makes it sound so easy. “All I did was lead this camel through the eye of this needle like so. Anyone could do it.”

Somehow this makes us feel small. Inadequate. Like loosers.

In retaliation there has been a surge of Imperfect Mommy Bloggers. These are the ladies who flash pictures of their messy houses and dirty kids proudly. “See,” they declare, “I’m far from perfect and that is okay!” They readily admit to being in their jammies at noon and yelling at their kids. They flaunt their imperfections to make us feel better. And it works. We love them. They make us feel like we are okay. So what if I didn’t get it all done today? Nobody is perfect.

Well, I am here today to tell you that I have a problem with the imperfect mommy bloggers and this is why.

Some nights I go to bed feeling great. The house is clean, the laundry done, the dishes washed. These are the days when I spent time with each kid, talking, reading, or playing. I was a firm and gentle disciplinarian and my patience was everlasting. Our schooling was fun and we all learned something new. The Man was given a reminder of the sexy lady that he married. I prepared and served three healthy meals. My day was full, productive, and beneficial for everyone.

Some nights I go to bed feeling guilty and inadequate. The house is a wreck. I yelled at the kids. I gave The Man the cold shoulder. I spent too much time on Facebook. I fed the kids some fast food crap.

Sure, it makes me feel better to soothe my conscience by comparing myself to other moms who fail. It strokes my ego and lets me know that I am not alone. But it does not inspire me to do better.

Now I know that it is not a competition. But admit it, we all do it. If my kids are bratty, I think, “At least they are not as bratty as So-and-so’s kids” and I become complacent in my parenting. When I visit someone else’s house and it is messy or the toilet is dirty or the windows look like they haven’t been washed in months, I think, “Wow! I am doing so much better than this gal!” And my poor housekeeping skills remain where they are.

But, when I see someone with well behaved, lovely kids, I am inspired to raise my own standards for parenting. When her homeschooling is better than mine, it inspires me to be more creative and to try harder with my own. When I visit someones clean, orderly home, my own standard gets raised a little bit and I am more inclined to wash my windows.

No, it is not a competition. And I am not trying to out-do any of my friends. But I want to surround myself with people who inspire me to be better, not coddle me in my failures. Don’t tell me it’s okay that I am the way I am, show me the greatness that I can become. I don’t want to barely get by. I want to strive for excellence.

So, I cannot resent those who seem to have it all together (which, by the way, we all know that they don’t). Rather I accept the challenge to do better in my own home and with my own kids and for my own husband. Because I can do better and I want to do better. I will be inspired by the success of others and I will forgive myself when I fail.

And I will encourage others to do the same.

12 thoughts on “In Defense of the Perfect Mommy Blogger

  1. Well said and I believe it applies to any area in life where one wants to challenge oneself. The important thing is to start and keep going. I like your statement: “I will be inspired by the success of others and I will forgive myself when I fail.”

    • I agree with fibercrush. Be inspired, do the best you can with what God has given you and don’t hate yourself if your days aren’t filled with perfection. We’re only human. We were created in the image of God. We aren’t God. 🙂

  2. I adore you, Shelly!
    Thank you so much for writing this. All the anti-mommy blogger sentiment I’ve bumped into lately really rubs me the wrong way. I mean, do you really want to see the unfolded laundry in my den or the harvest gold shag carpet that adorns our living room? Quite frankly, if I find myself on a whiny or just plain negative space, I move on. I don’t need that sort of energy in my life.
    I think it’s important to remember that what we see on another mama’s blog (or pinterest board) is only part of her life. None of us is perfect, and that’s ok, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give our best. I’ve seen a lot of “good enough” around and I don’t want to be a “good enough” mama. I want to thrive as a mother just as I want my family to thrive as a result of the choices I make as the mother/wife/partner/guide I intend to be each day.
    Each and every one of our days may not turn out as I’d hoped, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worthwhile in it’s own way. As you said, forgive myself and try again tomorrow, and the day after that too.
    Thank you (again) for writing this, Shelly. On my own blog I make it a point to try to focus on the lovely within the ordinary. Besides, my life is good and I’m not going to feel bad about that.♥
    xo, Carrie

  3. I like to think that I’m not an anti-mommy blogger…..more of a “hey this is my life” type of blogger. My life is different than yours or anyone else’s. I still don’t know how you manage with a bunch of kids when I can barely handle the one I have….but we’re different and that’s fine 🙂

  4. “Don’t tell me it’s okay that I am the way I am, show me the greatness that I can become. I don’t want to barely get by. I want to strive for excellence.” – This is excellent! May this be true of all of us.

  5. May I say Brenda…Bravo! Bravo for your honesty and your words. We should all surround ourselves with people that are willing to be truthful to us. To be honest enough to make me aspire to be better than when I began. It is these people that are worth their weight in gold! m.

  6. I haven’t stopped by in a while and just now saw this post. Thank you so much for doing such a good job of putting my feelings into words. I get so tired of friends posting this or that about how important it is to be “real” when what they really mean is to admit that we all struggle. I get so tired of the feeling that seems to pervade in some online spaces that it is somehow wrong to get it right or to be proud of ourselves when we do. My goal is to be the best wife/mother/teacher that I can be to my family, why can’t I be proud when I actually succeed?

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