Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Reality Check

Sometimes when I'm reading other people's blogs--blogs written by young moms who have three or four children whom they homeschool while running some fabulous cottage industry which involves sitting on the couch and knitting all day and then writing books about it while the (amazingly well-behaved and highly self-sufficient) children play with handcarved wooden blocks on the wide-planked hardwood floors--I wonder why I myself have failed so miserably as a mother and a human being.

The way some of these bloggers write about their families, it seems like it's nothing but good times and fuzzy moments and charming toddlers in calico dresses, everyone off to the farmers market or the Krafty Kids Co-Op or what have you. There are no TVs, no squabbles over computer time or whether or not the Nintendo DS is going to be taken out back and shot (because of course there is no Nintendo DS).

In case you were wondering, this is not my life. If I have written anything in the short history of this blog that would cause you to think that (and I don't think I have, but you never know), anything that would ever make you think I'm anything other than a broken woman contemplating sending her four-year-old son to military school out of sheer spite, well, I apologize. I don't want to be the cause of yet another woman walking around telling herself that everybody else is doing a better job of being a parent than she is, everybody else's kids are more emotionally well-adjusted and simply less insane than hers.

After a lovely back-to-school open house that made me all aflutter with back-to-school giddiness, reality crashed right back into our lives. When I picked Fine Young Son No. 1 from school yesterday, all hell broke loose in the minivan. Brothers yelling and screaming at each other, seatbelts unlatched so blows could be thrown. And despite my many threats, despite FYS2 being sent to his room for the afternoon, there was no improvement at any point up until the time the boys lost consciousness (clarify that: until they fell asleep; I did not drug their afternoon snacks, though in retrospect it wouldn't have been a half-bad idea). From about 4 p.m. on, I had a headache that wouldn't quit.

It's not that we don't have good days, days when my fine young sons play together and seem to halfway like each other. We do have those kind of days, or at least fragments of those kind of days. And I love my children and would take a bullet for them (but not one for their Nintendo DS) and can't imagine life without them, except for maybe having leisure time and not having spend a chunk of every day wiping syrup off of every available surface in the house. But, really, my life would be so much less without them. Emptier. Poorer. A lot less funny.

But if you ever read this blog and think, "Ah, I'd like to have her life because it seems so much simpler than mine, so much easier, her children so much better behaved than my own--why, everything at her house is fun and carefree and light," please remind yourself: It's a blog. That means most of the cruddy stuff is edited out.

Which is what makes it different from real life.

1 comment:

Kate said...

I have just found your blog today, through your comment on mine, and I *love* this post. I guess nobody's life is really like blog-life, just like no magazine shows a real, lived-in house! The most popular blogs seem to be aspirational in some way or other.

Meanwhile, I frequently feel like throwing the kids' computer out an upstairs window and attacking the Playstation with a sledgehammer!

I'm looking forward to coming back here. Thanks!