Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Parenting Blog Envy

Strange topic, I know, but I wonder if anyone can relate. The more I blog and discover other blogs (addictive isn't it?) I find myself feeling a rather familiar but unpleasant sensation. Envy.

At university I was always envious of those super chic girls who managed to look fabulous AND win every law school medal all at the same time. While I fumbled with a bulky bag and sneakers and hovered on a credit average. Seriously how did they manage perfect blow dries and heels for 9am lectures? Did they all have cars and parking spots while I schlepped in on the train?

In high school I was envious of the girls who always had the cool clothes and the boyfriends... It wasn't until year 12 that I snagged a boyfriend and even then he was definitely a freak. What was I thinking? Yes I realise that in retrospect a Timberland sweatshirt and bootleg jeans really were hideous but that didn't stop my turning green wishing I owned my very own set.

Now here I am almost thirty, a mother and I'm meant to be all mature. My outlook should be laid back and wise, my feelings tempered and virtuous yet I find myself green with envy again. So what sends me into an emerald hue these days? Well you know those blogs written by other mummies, the really perfect ones? The thin and pretty ones who manage to post these amazingly styled photos of their many children while juggling crafting and cooking and whatever else these supermums manage to fit into their days? And here I am with only one child and I can't manage a tenth of that. Maybe I take the easy route with my daily activities? I don't like chaos. I'm a big fan or order, I like everything to be just so...

Seriously on a practical lever I want to know HOW they do it? While they are gluing pipe cleaners onto egg shells and baking bread from scratch where are their kids? Who is wiping noses, changing nappies and playing pretend with the good cutlery? Who is folding the washing, walking the dogs, making the beds, reading Bumbletum and replying to emails? Who? I just don't get how they do it all?

Does everyone else have armies of staff they just don't mention on their blogs? Or is it just me? Am I just a hopelessly inefficient, chubby, sloth of a housewife? What's going on? I only get 24 hours in my day does everyone else get more? And while I'm there, am I the only blogger who has no web design capabilities? All I see these days are fancypants blogs, stunning bloggers with oodles of time to craft and sew and I can't seem to get my act together to handle more than one play date a week let alone find my sewing machine or get my husband's shirts washed on time. I feel like there might be a conspiracy and nobody is filling me in.


  1. Hahahaha...I think they're all big fibbers! Or maybe they don't sleep? I too can barely get myself and child dressed and out of the house most days.

  2. I've wondered the same thing about a secret staff! Especially those moms with 3+ kids. How do they have time to write new and interesting content every other day, Tweet *constantly*, AND have a clean home (which I know because of all their photos)??

    I have to believe, especially for those online all the time, that there's a nanny involved that is never mentioned.

    Or, maybe, like me they do drive bys on the computer & phone plus everything else. I dunno. It's a mystery to me too.

  3. SD, Aneets and I have a theory that those types of bloggers have really dirty homes, eat takeout every night and dump their kids in front of the TV 24-7 ... and THEN blog. That's the onbly theory I have. You can't do it all.

    And if you ever want to feel good about your blog and how techno-savvy it is, then just visit mine! No bells or whistles whatsoever ... it'll do wonders for your self esteem!

  4. Carolyn, just remember, SOME MOTHERS LIE! :) Some days I'd be lucky if I even managed to get out of the house!

  5. Yes, @permanently twenty-three! I forgot to add the TV thing: electronic nanny!

  6. I must admit I have wondered the same thing!

    I don't even have kids and Mr.P and I can barley keep our house clean with the two of us and I struggle to write one blog post and one tweet every day! All that and I'm still not in bed before 1am most days!

    I think they are all aspiring novelists and this is the only place they can get published...they're all really spinster sloths! (I wish!)

  7. Oh MY GOD. You read my mind. I don't know how these Super Blogger Mum's do it!

    I try to do one post per day while my Munchkin is asleep, but even that is a stretch.

    I always console myself with the theory that their children are older, and more capable of entertaining themselves. Oh, and that obviously the photos only show a tiny snapshot, and probably aren't the full picture of daily life chez Super-Blogger-Mum.

    That's probably not true, they've probably got it 100% together, but it makes me feel better.

  8. Hmm...shall we start a new club? The Slothy Housewives? : )

    I feel your pain, totally. And I think at the end of the day, while you may feel like a mess (and ditto may go for your house...), you have to know that you loved your baby and did everything to show her that all day long. THAT is what makes a perfect mother!!

    Oh, and in case you're wondering- I think you are doing a lovely job of that. : )

  9. Grass (even the synthetic kind) is always greener and all that....

    You're the one I'm jealous of!!

    I haven't even STARTED a blog.

    Jen in Melbourne

  10. You mean... our homes should be clean?? I believe my kids are being brought up the same way I was... You make the beds when company comes...
    Other than that, no one goes in the bedrooms...
    There's too much else to do! And the lipstick they'll be cleaning off the school bus tomorrow WILL be mine!

  11. You are a perfect "mum," you are educated,loving, craftier than you think, and oh yeah, you sit down each day to play with your child. I just read that the average toddler only gets one hour of attention total per day, where as, the average person watches 8 hours and 11 minutes of T.V. per day. Trust me, (this coming from a mother and teacher) you are who I would consider a super mom.

  12. You are a perfect mom. You actually spend time with your daughter. I just read that the average person spends 8 hours and 11 minutes watching TV and the average toddler only receives one full hour of attention per day. Trust me, coming from a wife, mother, and teacher. I would say you have your priorities straight. Not to mention, you are educated, beautiful, and craftier than you think. You ARE a super mom in my eyes. (I think you are a little to hard on yourself, because I thought that even before I read this post.)

  13. I'm sure they only show us photos of the one tidy corner in their home - the rest must be a tip. There must be something going on - I just don't believe that people really live their lives like that. And that kind of makes them less interesting bloggers, in my view. I prefer the 'here it is in all it's glory' approach - it's much more realistic and most of us can identify with that - just trying to keep the show on the road!

  14. LOL no one can do it all : ) There is no way I could work and cook, craft and keep a clean house without the help of of my husband, thats my secret !!! I wish I still had a cleaner though : )

  15. Don't sweat it! A blog is a great place for many people to brag up their life to make themselves feel better. Also, many people are unwilling to air their dirty laundry, so you aren't seeing the full picture when you look at an amazing blog. I have admired your blog for quite a while. You have nothing to feel ashamed about!

  16. FYI: I have been one of those secret staff members (nose-wiper, food preparer, hide-and-seek player). They do exist!

  17. I've thought the same thing about your blog! Tinker always looks so cute and your blogs are always interesting with thoughtful topics and your blog page is adorable! Look at all the followers you have! That says something for the quality of your blog. I only have 18! But, i love those 18 to death!

  18. Yep, but putting it into perspective

    There are some of us to cook
    There are some of us who sew
    There are some of us who craft
    There are some of us who look like glamazons
    There are some of us who can IT it up.

    The truth is, no one does this all at once. I probably fit into the cook, IT and (sometimes) craft category - I'm certainly no glamazon!!

    I have no cleaner,no personal slaves but I try and be organised, but I've had to learn to be flexible and forgive myself! My time for ME is not spent at the hairdresser or doing lunch, playing tennis - it's spend lovingly on my blog and in my kitchen... my love of technology and food combined! (hence no glamazon status!)

  19. I also think it is an illusion and also misperception. As Amo said, I also thought your life was beautiful and perfect - gorgeous house, clothes, child - and you achieve so much.

    I have always been a high achiever and I post lots of my 'achievements' on my blog and people often ask me how I find the time to do it all.

    Well, I am highly organized and fast, but I don't get a lot of sleep and I neglect my health, my body, fingernails, hair and social life. Not to mention the garden and the floorboards. I haven't cleaned windows in 6 months and dust embarrassingly infrequently. And I'm happy to admit that.

    I am always tired, often snappy and always stressed about all I have to do.

    Like most mums, I do want it all (for me, it's DO it all, not HAVE it all), but I am learning fast that balance is imperative to a healthy life. An unmopped floor may be sticky underfoot but at least I'm helping my kids with their homework and making pancakes with them.

    Sure, there are women out there who 'lie' or put up a facade. But I think for the most part, modern women are just so intent on building a fabulous life for themselves and their children.

    I don't think I'm someone who has to keep up with the Joneses but I do want to do a lot with my life. I'm still learning to balance and probably always will.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. I'm with P23 I think that these people use the TV as a babysitter and must have really filthy houses- because really who has that amount of time?

    My other thing is who is eating all these cakes, slices, sweet things that these bloggers are cooking? I let the kids have some cake on occasion and same with myself, but if I ate all the cake these bloggers seem to make I'd be the size of a house!

    Often the whole idea of the blog is to present the best parts of your life- I am not a huge fan of that and much prefer the blogs who do the warts and all approach. Nobody is perfect, no matter how much they might and make it look like they are!

  22. It's a comfort to know that I can't be one to inspire such feelings!

    I outsource shirt laundering (a habit hubby had before we met & I'm one I'm not interested in breaking), dinner is rarely an inspiration, the house is just "clean enough", the beds almost never made. And I'm NOT one who blogs every day or crafts constantly.

    But I *AM* happy - does that count for anything?

  23. C - shall we start a "dirty little secrets" weekly post where we take a pic or make a confession about something we've NOT done? today could be the pile of washing I've not folded, the dryer on even though it's a clear day, the grubby table from which I am trying to work from home.... take your pick!

    or it could be "this and that" post: includes a pic of THIS thing I did (the quilt top I've made) as compared to THAT thing (or things) I didn't do to find time to do the "this". does that even make sense?

  24. Hello my name is Shelly and I'm a secret "slummy mummy"! When I go out, my children are nicely dressed, as am I. I do my hair and put on makeup. But at home it's a different story! My house resembles an explosion in a toy factory thanks to my two little princesses... at least I THINK there are two of them! They move so fast it's difficult to get an accurate head count! I am often in tracksuit pants and a tshirt, usually with dried weetbix, snot and drool marks and occasionally blood from one of the aforementioned princesses pushing their boundaries that little bit too far. As i type, they are watching TV and drinking milk whilst strapped into their highchairs (it's safer for everyone!). So, there you have it! A snap-shot into the life of a "slummy mummy"!

  25. I hear you on so many levels.
    but your doing a good job so don't worry about the other mums.

  26. I would like to get a tenth of what YOU get done, friend. I FAIL when it comes to time management and parenting. Big FAIL.

  27. What you're forgetting here is that YOU are one of those women who others are envious of ;)

  28. I'm jealous of everyone that I read in blogs, why does the grass look greener on the other side???
    Then again, I know that I'm writing this in my pj's it's 10am and I have only just feed the kids breakfast, (yet i don't want others to know that) but by this afternoon, I'll have a photo session, that will look great, kids all preened and washed, looking polished and poised,but behind scenes it's tears and tantrums, bribes and frustration. The joys!

    The fact is, two kids and a business from home = chaos and by no means are any of us perfect...we just like others to think we are. Human nature.

  29. I hear ya!


  30. It's called airbrushing...retouching...leaving out the bad bits...that's how they do it :)

    I like apathetichouswife's idea of a "dirty little secrets" post - I would be great at that!

  31. I read a quote once that has always stayed with me and kept me going through the hard mummy times-

    You can have it all just not all at once : )

  32. Well...I think you have a great blog...wonderful design and fun to read! I am just starting out and I can't figure out how to have mine look 1/10th as nice as yours! ;-). Sooooo..no beating yourself up...Your blog is beautiful...and I'm sure you are too!

  33. There is no such thing as 'perfect'... and I don't think anyone is trying to be.

    I don't think it's about 'bragging' or 'lying' or even about creating 'illusions', as mentioned above.

    I think it's about Mum's taking a moment from their hectic day to share a little light from their day.

    Yeah they could talk about the piles of washing they haven't done, the bathroom grime that is collecting on the tiles or the toddler tantrums they've endured throughout the day... but perhaps instead they'd rather share some of the good stuff in their life.

    I appreciate that. I appreciate a dabble in the reality too. Whatever the writer is comfortable sharing.

  34. Carolyn, the day I meet such mommies, I am a wreck to say the least. Here in India, most of the mommies of that sort do have help in the form of extended family or a maid-servant. There is no way they can achieve pull it off without help. On most days I go to bed with feeling like crap not being able to do all I want to. Not that I cannot hire help, but it so difficult to hand your kid over like that!

    Stop being so hard on yourself. You come across as a beautiful, caring mommy. And your blog is good. Your recipes are good. And Tinker looks super cute. You are in a good place. When Tinker hits school for longer hours, you will find time to sew and check out the latest in fashion too. Peace!

  35. Such interesting replies and thanks for all the compliments, you are a very kind bunch.

    Telle I don't think I'll ever share your sunny outlook on life but I get your point.

    As for perfection well I'll put my hand up and say I'd really like to get as close as I can. I've always been like that. I can't relax in a messy house, I don't feel attractive unless I'm pretty thin. Type A through and through!!

  36. I can relate. I know a mommy who you would like at and say, "wow she has it all."

    She has the perfect husband who has the perfect job, who brings in all the money. She has the perfect figure, keeps her perfect house perfectly clean, and the perfect and polished children.

    She is also miserable with her life. When you think someone has it all, they don't; no one ever has it all and that is what I remind myself when I turn green with envy!

  37. They're freaks! I don't read blogs like that. Do I really care about how clean someone's house is? NO! I like my house messy - it means I didn't waste all week cleaning it.

  38. i've decided (for my own self-esteem anyway...) that moms that are too perfect are just boring. so NYEH to them :) you kick ass and i enjoy your blog AND your honesty. but you certainly aren't giving yourself enough credit!

  39. You can come and read my blog...there's definitely no perfection there LOL! I'm envious of these stepford mums too. I'm also go green when I read about preppies in New York and in the South and also the college chicks who seem to be having so much fun. It seems that everyone has a better, more organised life than me and I didn't even realise it until I started reading blogs :) Oh and I'm also envious that everyone seems to have married or is marrying their perfect soulmate while I can't even find myself someone who isn't half a jerk...