Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Fake House

So I'm not sure anyone has noticed but we haven't posted anything since Valentine's Day.

That was nearly three weeks ago.

When I realized how long it has been since I wrote anything...and how long it's been since I wanted to, I told Kim I wasn't sure I wanted to keep up this blog thing anymore.

First I thought I was just bored with it.  Then I thought I just didn't have time for it.  But then I saw that my heart  didn't seem to be in it anymore.  And not just writing on my own blog....but even reading some of the blogs I have followed for years.  I think I finally figured out what it is.

I'm tired of creating the fake house.

And I'm tired of visiting the fake house.

You know what the fake house is....right?  It's like when you know company is coming, so you run around like crazy cleaning....stowing and hiding all the clutter that normally fills your counters and causes you to trip coming in the front door.  You put out the pretty white monogrammed guest towels and hide the ugly blue ones that don't match and look faded or stained.  You light candles....turn on some cool background music....and use dishes that match and don't have Halloween pumpkins on them.  In June.

We all do it.  We know we do it.  Yet when we go over to a friend's house for dinner and observe this scene we come home and feel grossly inadequate.  Because we trip over four pairs of flip-flops when we walk through the door, we see an ugly, stained, faded (wet) towel thrown on our favorite chair and a stack of mismatched dirty pumpkin dishes in the sink.  In June.  There are no scented candles lit....just the aroma of wet dog.  And the only background music we hear is the kids seeing who can yell "poop" the loudest.

And we think.....Ugh.  Gross.  How come my house can't look like "theirs?"

What am I doing wrong?

And it's the same with blogs.

We all do it.  We know people are reading about our lives so we pick and choose what we share.  We post the best pictures.  Tell the best stories.  Oh sure .... we tell a few "horror" stories that reflect a bit of life in the trenches of motherhood.  But usually they are for the sake of comedy.  Because they are funny and you really can't make that stuff up.  But even those stories don't show what our lives are like on a daily basis.

Homeschool blogs are the worst.

Don't hang up on me yet.  I'm just being honest.

You read someone's homeschool blog and they have pictures of their kids sitting sweetly, quietly and very still, reading books....or working on a project.....or drawing a masterpiece....or playing a musical instrument.   And in that same post they share how they grind their own wheat, churn their own butter, sew their whole family's clothes, feed their kids steamed vegetables twice a day (and the kids LOVE them by the way), are multi-lingual and arrange all of their books according to the Dewey Decimal system.  And you remember just a little earlier at your own "school" when your child fell out in the floor practically in convulsions because you told him to work on his math worksheet while you attempted to scrape dried oatmeal off of the breakfast dishes so you could throw some frozen chicken nuggets at them for lunch.  You haven't had a shower and may or may not have brushed your teeth.  Your laundry room looks like it could be featured on "Hoarders" and you can tell from three rooms away the dog has left you a nice present to clean up.  Again.  Awesome.

And you think....Ugh.  Gross.  How come my house can't look like "theirs?"

Look.  I've done it too.  In fact, I posted this picture on Facebook the other day.

I thought about doing a post on this blog about how it was Dr. Seuss's birthday so we had a big celebration.....had green eggs and ham for lunch....made all these wonderful crafts and then sat around studying Dr. Seuss's greatest works all day.   Which we DID!  Sort of.  Truth is I didn't even think about it being Dr. Seuss's birthday until we picked the little one up at school and he had on his fancy hat and bowtie and I thought....well, crud.  I didn't do anything all morning in our "school" except assign math worksheets that caused convulsions.  So out of guilt, I ran in the store on the way home, bought some ham, came home and scrambled some eggs and made them look green with some spinach (hoping the kids would gobble them up and alleviate some guilt from feeding them frozen chicken nuggets for lunch every other day), quickly copied little one's hat and bowtie for the other two, took this picture, and then plopped them all in front of the Cat in the Hat MOVIE so I could get started on the laundry before the TLC crew showed up to film the next episode of Hoarders.

I'm serious, y'all!

Truth is, I try. Day in and day out I struggle to do it all.  I try to be creative in my homeschooling.  I try to keep a clean and tidy house.  I try to cook homemade healthy meals for my family.  I try to have us read more than we watch TV.  I try to find my children's passions and encourage them.  I try to find teachable moments in everything.  I try to savor every moment I have with them, knowing how quickly the time passes.  I try to live intentionally.  I try to be gracious.  Merciful.  Kind.  Loving.  Resourceful and industrious.  But what feels like more often than not, I fail.  So I get up the next morning and I try again.  And that, my friends, is what my life really and truly looks like on a daily basis.  Trying, and trying, and trying.....and praying.....and praying harder.....and trying some more.

Who wants to read about that?

All this to say....I'm not sure about this blog thing.  I'm not sure there's enough time in the day to continue to keep up the fake house, or keep peeking into others' houses (which may or may not be fake) and feeling generally bad about it.

Maybe we need to be more real and get out the ugly towels for each other sometimes.

What color are yours?


VA6336 said...

Well, the first thing you should know is that I started this response 10 minutes ago. The answer to the "what color are your towels?" question is: yellow. Or at least, they used to be yellow. They still are yellow around the edges, but they're more of a dingy cream/yellow tinted sort of color now.

The second thing you should know is that just as I typed my "name" into the appropriate box, the 3 year old behind me shrieked, his big sisters howled and I turned around to watch the 3 year old pee on my pillowcase-less pillows that are on the floor, being jumped on by the kids. I took the sheets off my bed to wash them this morning (novel idea, don't know what I was thinking...) and the kids think that means they can throw the pillows all over the place and jump on them. Except now at least three of the five have pee all over them. So, ten minutes later the boy has had a "costume change" and the pillows are in the washing machine. I don't have a dog, but I do have a cat who thinks he's too cool for the litter box....

Martha said...

Be PROUD of every one of your mismatched-ugly towels. Your "real world" is true living and true life. And all the mismatched days and hours is what makes your life quilt the "eucharisteo". I think many of us prefer the ugly towels as they have character......

Marty said...

Who wants a fake house? I enjoy reading about your life, hope you keep it up on some level. Several of the people/blogs I read each week have written on a similar theme lately. Maybe it the time of year -- focus on you and yours and write what pleases you!

Cindy said...

Oh Julie....((((HUGS)))). I don't even blog, but I know what you mean. There are some friends on Facebook that I've even started hiding (GREAT people, but again, I'm tired of hearing about the organic xyz's that she handpicked and made into some extraordinary meal, which makes me feel like crap when there are dog hair tumble weeds rolling across the floor and an unpacked bag of the best (gasp, conventional) veggies I could find from WalMart...). Unfortunately I think that's the downside to this virtual world. It is just that, virtual, and it hides everyone's flaws, but seems to magnify our own because those are the only flaws we can see. I can't decide if you continue to blog or not, but I enjoy reading about your REAL house ;-). Hang in there. Another ((((hug)))).

Elicia Stevens said...

Love it! Authenticity is what it's all about.

M.A. said...

Girl, you're good! Even if you don't post as often, posts like this are worth it!

Brianna said...

Thank you SO MUCH!! A friend posted this link to her Facebook page and it has really made my day!! Please don't quit blogging now that I have found you! :)

Kevin said...

Wow, I'm with M.A. on this one. You're a VERY talented writer. I agree with M.A. - don't put yourself on any timeline or deadline to post at any set frequency. Just write when you have the muse. This was an excellent example. Don't write because you feel you have to because you own the blog. Just write when you feel inspired to write. If that doesn't happen very often, then so be it. I vote for keeping the blog to put your writing talent to use and as an avenue to express yourself whenever the mood strikes you. Have a great day!

Anne Marovich said...

Wow - you're a real mom! Thank you! And - you're a great mom.......

Emily said...

I see your four pairs of flip-flops, and I raise you seven pairs of mud-encrusted boots and old tennis shoes plus a week's woth of school shoes and three muddy socks. And the towel is not on the sofa. It's in a pile by the backdoor. It's white (well, it used to be) and coming apart on the edges. It's my bedroom that looks like an episode of hoarders. It's full of clean and dirty laundry and box after box and pile after pile of things I need to sort and throw out including but not limited to confiscated toys, Christmas cards, old directories, discs of photos, lots and lots and lots of school work and correspondence, a bill or two, and a few library books.

Do not despair! You are not alone! I can't work up the energy to write another blog entry either. Maybe when then the winter blues pass...

Kelly said...

Hi Julie!

I'm sure your *real* house is better than your *fake* house would/could ever be! You seem as real as real can be to me...

We're having our 9th snow day... yes, the ninth! Jim is snoring on the couch, I put pajamas back on after I brought Jakob to school (apparently you can't have snow days in lent... j/k) and am looking at Jakob's toys strewn about - the crazy shooter built out of trio blocks, dirty socks on the floor, a lego hero factory guy, wii remote, a 3-day late red box movie, all scattered about in the living room. Most concerning is the silly putty egg that is empty. Where is the silly putty? Last time it was discovered stuck to my new rug in my kitchen.

All in all I wish my baby was home with me instead of at school... but I know his day at school will be great and all his friends are there with him. I had hoped to meet him for lunch, but the roads are pretty crummy. I'm eager for 2:45 to get here when it will be time to pick him up for the day.

In the meantime, I suppose I should de-wrinkle the clothes to finish laundry and maybe come up with a plan for dinner.

Enjoy your day - your kids are loved and cared for... you're doing a great job ;)

Kate Adams said...

Oh, girl. I get it. I am constantly down on myself for not doing enough, for not being perfect enough. But blog entries like this one are the ANSWER. I think women propagate this "failure" cycle because we aren't fully honest about how hard it is to balance everything: kids, home, job, school, and all the other stuff life throws at us. So, thanks for acknowledging life's imperfections.

Liberty said...

AH-MEN! don't know if you've noticed, but I've cut back on my posts, SIGNIFICANTLY.
This critical job of MOTHERING drains me to the point of deep exhaustion, and that leaves NO ENERGY for typing :)) how that for a non-blog post?
Trying to get back in the swing, because I like it for the simple fact of the online journal. I need to quit checking stats and just write for my kids to have something to look back on and laugh and remember...
Hence our back for the forseeable future link up called "what are you juggling"
because everyone has the crud and laundry and ANTS!!!!! don't even get me started on my unorganized cabinets I can't seem to remember to buy replacement hinges for, so they are *at times* hanging on by threads!

For the record - the TRYING over and over and over IS real life and it is blessed and HE does see it and give you strength to keep going. one {tiny toenail} step at a time.