Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So, I read a post the other day that has really kept me thinking...


Andrea, a mother of two adorable little girls, who blogs at The Train to Crazy, wrote a post she called The Myth of the Supermom. In this post, she talked about how reading people's blogs can make you feel inadequate, as if you should be doing more than you are because everyone else is. Maybe it is because I am WAY older than Andrea (go look at her pictures...seriously, I'm WAY older!), but her post made me sad inside. I've been thinking about it ever since. This is what I came up with:

1) I do tend to post positive things that happen in my life, but that is NOT to make other people feel they should be doing more. Instead, it is to help me keep focused on the positive in my life. Momstheword wrote a post a few weeks ago about how difficult it is to refrain from complaining, but how negatively our complaining affects our family members. That reminded me about a pastor of a church somewhere who'd had enough of all his congregants complaining and challenged them all to go two weeks without complaining. They all discovered it was really, really tough. Complaining had pervaded all aspects of their lives. I like to think people post positive things on their blogs because they are staying focused on the positive, even when the cat pooped on the carpet, the kids talked back, the bills are stressful, and the car broke down. Those things are all real, for all of us. I honestly don't think I've run across a bragging blogger who posts positive things to make themselves feel better than the rest of us (maybe I've been fortunate, maybe they're out there). As for me, I am so far from a Supermom that the idea is funny to me. As Andrea pointed out, no one is perfect. I'd hate to think my blog made anyone feel inadequate.

2) I also think that when people do post about difficulties they're facing, the bloggy world is full of truly caring, helpful people who are willing to lend a supportive "ear" and some time-tested advice. I've never felt judged, nor have I seen anyone judge. Look at the power of blogging as it wraps loving arms around mother's of sick babies...have you ever seen anything like it? The bloggy world is an amazing "open-air" school, where you can learn how to deal with anything from overwhelming bills to a fussy baby to how to properly put in a zipper. How cool is that?

3) Finally, life is not a competition. We all have unique journeys filled with challenges that test us in different ways. We're also at different stages of life...some with no children, some with grandchildren, some with grown children, and some with children in the middle. Some have husbands, some don't. The list could go on. There is one thing that unites us: Bloggers truly enjoy sharing information, positive and negative, that they think other's might find meaningful, helpful, or entertaining. Some are trying to monetize their blogs, some are hoping to increase sales at an Etsy shop, and some just do it for fun. When I first started blogging, I wrote a post about why I decided to blog (you can read it here) and it was all about the generosity of the bloggers and how wonderful reading blogs had made me feel. I was looking for help with a sewing dilemma and there were tons of bloggers out there who'd generously taken the time to post tutorials on their blogs. I solved my problem, but I was also hooked!

So, if you're like Andrea and you feel badly when you read what other people are doing, please don't. I can guarantee you that none of the bloggers I "know" intend to send a message of inadequacy your way. None of us are Supermoms...I don't think any of us aspire to wear that title. Andrea, if you read this, I'll bet you didn't know just how powerful your post was and I hope you don't mind me commenting publicly on how it affected me. It just seems to me that women have forgotten how to be friends and we needs to relearn that amazing thing...we have so much to offer each other.

(Now I must go back to procrastinating over vacuuming and dusting...I'm sure there is something else I need to be doing that is more important that cleaning!)

9 comments:

generationsgoneby said...

Erin,

I think you hit the nail on the head, it's her age. Remember when you were just having kids and a friend was cloth diapering, breast feeding, bread making... And you were sleeping till 11:30 am with a baby attached to your breast wondering what was quickest to drive to for lunch?

Okay, that was me. Then thing is, I remember when mine were little. Working moms made stay at home moms feel lazy. Stay at home moms made working moms feel neglectful. It wasn't until I got older and wiser that I can say, it's great that Erin bakes her own bread and cookies. I hate to bake and don't like sweets that much and so I can read about her wonderful treats, but it doesn't make me less of a mom when I buy Oreos.

No one can do it all, so I think it's fine to do what you can and want to do well. But I think that's maturity (and exhaustion) talking. :)

Erin said...

Gens, I do remember the Mommy-wars...it was so sad. I also do think age has a bit to do with it, but I also wonder about the expectations we put on ourselves, no matter what our age. Your last sentence says it all"...do what you can and want to do well."

P.S. Biggest thing we don't tell new moms? That you'll be tired for the rest of your life! That it doesn't "go away" when the kids get older. Sigh...

Melissa Henning said...

I feel a lot of that pressure, as a new mom and as someone trying to lose weight. People are ALWAYS trying to one-up me as a mom or in my weight loss efforts, in real life. The blogging community has been so supporting and you totally hit that nail on the head (like generations said). Here I don't feel like anyone is trying to make me feel bad, and I feel like others know that I have no intention to make anyone else feel bad--we are all in this together! The funny thing is that all of the people out there in the "real world" one-upping each other, are the same people who are understanding and in the same boat as everyone else in the blogging community. Isn't that funny? lol.

PS. But, I AM supermom! My underwear says so!..well it says superwoman anyway... j/k! lolol! (haha I crack myself up). ;)

Alicia said...

That was wonderful!! I don't think I could have said it any better!

I agree w/ you 100%!!!

Erin said...

Melissa...is it the same people who, in real life, are competitive and then become supportive online? Really, or is it that we meet those people in real life and assume the bloggers are that way in their real lives? I've wondered about that myself. P.S. Superwoman panties? OMG! You rock!

Alicia, thanks!

Andrea said...

First of all, I'm not THAT young! You make me sound 20 ;) Second of all, I totally agree with you. The blog community can be a wonderfully supportive place.

I wrote that post coming from a place where several people I know in real life expressed the idea that I am a better mother than they are, based solely on what they read in my blog. It is a very real thing that many women are reading blogs, whether they have one of their own or not, and are comparing themselves to what they read.

I think it is not a "blog" issue, but an issue that women in America have. We compare ourselves to everything. There are millions of dollars spent daily to ensure that we continue doing that.

That being said, I too compare myself to others sometimes. It is hard not to. Hopefully with years I'll become wiser and more self confident ;)

momstheword said...

First, thank you for the bloggy link love!

Second, I haven't read her post yet, but I will. I also think it may have something to do with personalities.

For one thing, I try to be a fairly positive person in my "real" life as well as on my blog.

I really don't want people to read my blog and walk away discouraged or down. I want to encourage, make them laugh, or make them think.

So I rarely post about some things (like my mom being in the hospital except she's home now).

I love your blog and appreciate your honesty as well!

Erin said...

Andrea, you look really young and I'd never presume to guess. Besides, being young is a compliment at my age! Thanks so much for writing such a great post about the urge we have to compare ourselves to others.

Moms, that is exactly why I try to keep my blog upbeat. I never intended to make anyone feel inadequate or discouraged. Glad your mom is home and doing better.

Tricia said...

Maybe it's the fact that you're married to Superman and you have royalty for children that people have an image of you as Superwoman/Supermom and may feel a tad bit inferior. (jk ;} I couldn't resist.)