Wednesday, April 25, 2012

When being "shiny, happy, hip" is a bad thing

I'm feeling a little put off today.   I usually keep my mouth shut, but today I'm going to speak. Because the irony is far too great.

If you use blogger you've seen the changes.  I'm still adjusting.

But I did find a nifty little section about where blog traffic comes from and where your audience is, without having to log into Google Analytics.
As I was perusing, I happened upon the little section that told me where people had linked to my blog from in the past week.  A handful came from one site that I'd never seen before, so of course I had to check it out.
This led me to a post from a little over a year ago  entitled "On being shiny, happy, hip".
"How flattering!" I thought...till I read the post. :/
Yes, I just used punctuation to create a face.
It was about NOT reading blogs that make you think destructive thoughts and feel not good enough.  Specifically about mine she said "I stumbled on the blog of this lovely lady, who has had 8 kids and looks better than I ever have. Cue me realizing that this was not a good blog for me to read."

Ouch!
I'm confused...would she have read my blog if I was overweight?  or if I had fewer kids?  or no kids?

The blog goes on to talk about how inferior all of these "perfect" blogs are making women feel.  That they aren't real.  Huh?  Specifically that "blogs are a carefully curated compendium of a person’s life, and things can be made to look as picture perfect...as the author wishes them to be."
Well, yeah.  (after looking up the definition of compendium...)  Anyone knows that, don't they?  But judging on a 30 second snippet?  Yep, that's fair for sure.

(if you visit that blog, be nice.  This is not a call to stir up hard feelings or defense in my behalf.  AND you're not allowed to visit it until you've read this whole post-especially the things at the very end.)

Can't shake the feeling that maybe if she would have actually read more than whatever post she landed on and seen the nitty gritty that gets posted, maybe she would have felt differently.

Ironically as I looked around her more recent posts...all I found was the shiny, happy, perfect.  Photography, new dresses, hip neighborhood.  Year in review info included style pieces featured on the front page and progess in (wait for it...) running.  Europe trip, photog tips, mom's retreats... What the?  And a cheese tasting board (from whole foods of course).
Really?

Not to mention the weight loss challenge, the fashion boards, and the travel section.

Wow.
You're right.  My life is totally glamorous.
You know, while I'm cleaning up poop from down the legs of my toddler's spica cast (1/2 a box of wipes today and another hour if you were interested.  And a big prayer that I got enough that he won't have skin problems down that leg where I can't reach).

While I'm mopping up 200 oz of laundry detergent.

While I'm digging suction discs out of my 5yr old's nose.

While I'm digging through a hamper trying to help my kid find clean underwear at 6am.

I know, I know-it was our exotic celebrations of our anniversaries in the past.
(that one is written by my husband.  You really should read that if you never have.)


Yeah...'cause that should definitely make you feel inferior after you've just returned from your road trip through Italy.  And your cooking club.  While you're planning your Thailand trip for this fall.

I'm baffled.

Also ironic-this subject actually came up recently in a conversation with Aaron.
Why do people not like me?   This isn't a "poor me!" pity party, I'm genuinely curious!  In high school people thought I was a snob because I was shy.  I was too afraid to step out of my comfort zone and people interpreted that as me snubbing them, when it was my insecurities holding me hostage.  I've made an effort to change that but still find myself fighting it some days.
Is it because I'm an optimist?  I thought looking on the bright side was a good thing?  Is it because I work my freaking hiney off to get back in shape after having babies?  (which wasn't always the case by the way-I learned the hard way.  And it takes sacrificing sleep, free time, and my favorite indulgences, it doesn't just happen.)  Does everyone need to see what I used to look like after 4 kids in 4yrs when I weighed only a few pounds less than I currently do at nearly 9mo pregnant?  I shared the one year of work with very plain post partum belly pictures from last time around.  Guess that wasn't good enough.
Is it because I have a happy marriage?  That takes work too folks-good marriages don't just happen.  Is it because I don't share every time one of my kids tells me they hate me?  Is it because I haven't shared a picture of my stretch marks?  Is it because we are genuinely happy with a date night that consists of Digiorno and Friends reruns?  (or is it just sad that that's actually one of our preferred date nights?)
What is it?  Here I felt like I was being real...

Here's the thing people.  We all have our priorities.  We have control over how we choose to spend our time and what's important to us.
I'm no fashionista, except the few times I've lucked out and worn other people's clothes for a photo shoot.  I don't travel, unless you count a road trip with 8 children to stay in a motel where the decor featured magazine cutouts in dollar store frames and a broken frog statue, or the generosity of parents in blessing my family with a couple of days at Disney.  I don't take fabulous pictures.  Well, except all those finger pics from my phone two weeks ago-I am pretty proud of those and the fact that they drove my husband crazy.
My priorities are being healthy and fit and setting that example for my kids.  Hanging out in the yard with them even though my floor is so dirty that a neighbor stopped by and actually said to me "if you ever need help with anything...anything at all....let me know.  Like, um, if you even want me to come over and sweep your floor..." (yes, she really did, and I still love her.  And I may take her up on that.)  Some days it's on getting a workout in even though I should be doing the ironing that piles up for weeks on end.  Some days it's spending time with my husband, and JUST my husband, even if it means putting my kids to bed an hour earlier.  And sometimes it's blogging even though I should be switching the laundry that's beeping at me.
Our priorities shift throughout our lives depending on so many things.  Some of them will never make sense to anyone but ourselves.

I know I shouldn't let one blog post bug me.  But you know what, it did.  Chalk it up to the pregnancy hormones if you want because I'm sure that's part of it.  When it really all comes down to the nitty gritty, I genuinely don't care what someone who knows nothing of me and has never met me thinks of me and my personal (non-professional, non-money making, few followers) blog that is more of a personal journal for me than anything.  Even if this whole rant makes it sound like I do.  There is too much on my to-do list today to spend anymore time dwelling on someone's thoughts from a year ago.  Although that to-do list does include finishing sewing the drapes for the family room and starting on my baby's blessing gown, which probably puts me right back into making people feel inferior again because I'm sewing.

I'll leave you with two things.
Two things that are worth your time, I promise.  And that I obviously need to hear again today as well.
(and if you have a few minutes, it's worth linking over and reading or watching to the whole thing on both of them, I promise.  In fact if you have time to watch, listening to them speak is the best!)

First,

"There are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those.
Furthermore, envy is a mistake that just keeps on giving. Obviously we suffer a little when some misfortune befalls us, but envy requires us to suffer all good fortune that befalls everyone we know! What a bright prospect that is—downing another quart of pickle juice every time anyone around you has a happy moment! To say nothing of the chagrin in the end, when we find that God really is both just and merciful, giving to all who stand with Him “all that he hath,”2 as the scripture says. So lesson number one from the Lord’s vineyard: coveting, pouting, or tearing others down does not elevate your standing, nor does demeaning someone else improve your self-image. So be kind, and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live.               -Jeffrey R Holland, found HERE
 and second, 
"This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:
Stop it!
It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”"                                          -Dieter F Uchtdorf, found HERE


Amen.

*ETA: I guess I wasn't completely done with this, or I'm a glutton for punishment.  I had to go and read all the comments on the post.  Interesting.  A lot of "if it's an issue, quit reading it" comments, and a number of "why do you care?" kind of comments too.  I did find a pleasant surprise that while a few others bemoaned me for being "so lucky" to look "like that" after 8 kids, and that my blog was unreadable, there were two that came to my defense and actually read a bit of my blog and pointed out that I posted plenty of not so shiny, happy things.  Much appreciated.

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20 comments:

Jane said...

Catey, this is so well said that I don't even know where to begin. But I loved reading what you had to say and the two bits at the end (yes, I read ALL the way to the end as instructed). :) I have found your blog to be real, inspiring, fun and an overall pleasure to read. I find solidarity in who you are as a mom that I know will help me when I am one. Don't change a thing...and I don't believe you will!

Laurie said...

Okay, loved every word, very well written. I had not read the anniversary post written by your husband, it was awesome... and very relatable. I loved the $68 Lucky Charms... I'm sure they were well worth it.

I'm quite sure that you're as real as it gets and I love your shiny happy posts almost as much as your every day mishap ones.

Maybe someday we can get all of our kids together... and go to Hawaii or Disneyland or someplace awesome where all the other shiny happy people hang out.

Tara said...

I don't comment very often, but I love reading your posts in my reader each week.

Your blog appeals to me because it is REAL. It inspires me to see a momma with 8 children who takes care of herself, loves her family, and has a good marriage. That is what I want.

I started following your blog before Sam was born and I have always been impressed by how genuine and honest you are. You tell us about the good, the bad, and everything in between.

My sister and I are relaunching her blog (www.livetobeinspired.com) and we would love to have a guest post from you! We want to feature real women doing real things and you are as real as they get! Thanks for the inspiration!

Shilo said...

lOh, Catey. I love you!
I'm sorry people can be so mean, especially on the computer.
I just recently went the rounds with a family member over certain things and it hurts like heck to be the one being judged so harshly when you've done NOTHING wrong.
I had the same issues in High School as well, where because I was so shy people thought I was conceited and everything that comes with it. I think I still get that judgement placed on me because I haven't been able to break out of that shell.
I've never been anything but impressed with you. There was a time when I wondered how you kept it all together. Your home was always immaculate (I'd been there maybe 2x's for a planned thing), your kids were always so well behaved in church, you always look amazing...I could go on.
But then there came a day I ran to your house for something and saw that you're just like the rest of us, just trying to make a go of this so called life.
I still think you are amazing and such an inspiration to those of us who 'actually' know you!
Please don't let this get you down!

Becky said...

Since I know the real you I can admit a time or two putting you up on a pedestal but that was before I really knew anything about you. Actually you are AMAZING and someone to be admired and inspired by. Life isn't easy for any of us and if we could just look into each others hearts we'd be shocked at the amount of heartache, disappointment and challenges we'd find in the most "perfect " woman's life. Catey I love how honest you are. I look forward to thr great posts you'll have as you kids start gojng to dances, driving and dating. Thanks for the great talks at the end. Always remember that all of us are just trying to do the best that we know how to do and you're doing fantastic!

Rheanna said...

Love ya Catey! Your blog is my favorite because it makes me often feel like the things that happened here are normal and okay :o) It helps me remember to laugh at all the craziness too---sometimes I'm not so good at that. You're fantastic and it's just sad that she couldn't see that for herself, she's the one missing out!

Heather said...

Catey,
You were my friend when I was pregnant with my first baby and I watched you be a mom. You're one of my heroes and I'm thankful that I still get to stay in touch with you via this blog. I love that you write about real things. I often think about when I'm having a hard time doing a "motherly duty", that Catey is doing this too! :) One of my mantras I've learned over the years is "If you think someone is perfect, you don't know them well enough." For anyone wanting to feel sorry for someone's happiness think of that quote.

Catie said...

I have to admit that I do admire the heck out of you Catey! And I often think that you do really have your sh*t together to be able to do everything that you do AND be an awesome mama to (soon-to-be) 9 kiddos. But I've also read enough about your life to know that it is NOT easy and I have NEVER thought that you were sugar-coating anything or only showing us the "good stuff." I've known you through some pretty intense stuff.

And you are so right. We all prioritize our lives and decide what's more important and what we want to spend more time on. There is nothign wrong with that.

Is it just me... or was it a little odd to read some of the comments to that other blog regarding the posters' religions... I had NO idea it was a "thing" for atheist women to follow Morman women's blogs for entertainment purposes... wth?

~LL~ said...

Mmmmmm.....Pickle juice! LOL!

You KNOW I love you!

You and your pregnancy-hormone-induced blog.... well, I'm ovulating and this has made me want to blog.

Not only is it envious, but the whole "entitlement" idea haunts many. So many, instead of being happy or inspired by someone, choose to think "Why not me?"

WhatEVer!

Sometimes the grass IS greener on the other side.... but seldom do people see the work that goes into cultivating that yard....

Heh.....now that I am waxing philosophical, I guess it could be greener because of all the manure that has been dumped......but I digress!

I have *known* you for many kids now....and I feel like we were separated at birth.

You sit on that pedestal, little lady! There is room up here..... I will just move over a bit!

Kelsey said...

Don't worry I was a B.B.A (bitch by association) to some people! hahahahahah Yes, I made that up.
That lady is obviously super insecure and she needs to get a life asap!
Don't even give her a second of your emotions. Haters gunna hate. Yes, I just said that.

Becky said...

You don't know me, but I actually found your blog from that post. Don't even worry about it, the blogger who wrote about it is so insecure that she has to criticize those who have what she wants (in your case, a healthy lifestyle and body).

I absolutely love your blog. It's refreshing to see a mother who find a great balance between her kids, marriage, and herself and is so happy doing it. I hope you don't mind if I keep on reading!

Candice said...

Wow, what a negative person! I generally only read blogs of people I know, but I l LOVE being inspired by my friends and family members that are "shiny, happy, and hip." For me, blogs are a way to keep in touch and a mess-free scrapbook of sorts (since I print mine into books later), but I love reading blogs like yours that are uplifting, motivating, and most-importantly funny! I didn't read much of her blog, but it seems SO hypocrital to me to cut off people's blogs because they're writing nice posts about their lives (with beautiful pictures), when it appears that she's doing the exact same thing! Anyway, enough of my rant. I love your blog, just the way it is.

Jenna said...

It's always interesting to see response posts pop up. I do think you are being a bit defensive. I never said anything negative about your blog, just that it's hard for me as an overweight mom working so hard to lose weight to read the blogs of women who have lost their weight (even if it's me psychologically projecting that they lost it easily, when that probably isn't the case). I only have so many hours in each day you know? And I've chosen to make sure that I stay away from things that cause me anguish. This doesn't mean YOU are doing anything wrong by being yourself or writing your posts or putting yourself out there, it just means that I'm not your target audience.

I have a good life, a really good one. And this year in particular has been/will be rather dreamy (a trip to Thailand like you mentioned). But I post pictures of my stretch mark covered post-partum stomach, blog openly about my weight loss struggle, wrote a detailed post about my post-partum recovery (with record of when I pooped the first time and how it felt), shared my anguish over finding out my son is speech delayed, wrote about how hard school and statistics was for me, bared my soul about new changes in thinking concerning homosexuality and other things related to my religious beliefs (something that was really hard for my family to hear), and many, many other things.

There is no need for us to compete about who is more "real". We can both do it in our own way. And neither of us have to read the other person's blog either. I'm sorry if you felt my post attacked you. That wasn't my intention.

Celeste said...

Hmmm...not sure what to say. I find myself trying to follow the counsel of the last two quotes and at the same time, wanting to defend a friend from hurtful words!!

So instead I will just let you know that I think you're wonderful...always have, always will!

Don't let "ugly words/people" bring you down. You truly are amazing!! :)

Jess B said...

Some people think being snarky makes them smart. And personally, I don't need to know about your postpartum poo. You are a source of inspiration for me and many others. I've "known" you since the August '10 PW boards and my husband knows who Catey is because of all my, "Oh, man! Check out what Catey ran!" or "Check out how AWESOME Sam is doing!" Thank you for sharing yourself.

Karina Macias said...

Catey: You are greater than any snarky comment people can make! We love you and know you are a REAL woman! So proud to be your friend! XOXO

Michaela (aka Mama Michie) said...

Catey, I don't know if I've ever commented on here, but I felt I had to today. We were on the same pregnancy board 4 years ago and I've been a bit of a lurker on here ever since (not in a creepy way I promise!!).

I guess what I love about reading your posts is that you keep it real, you don't glorify the good or the bad... you just seem to write about things the way that they are. I admire you for having 8 (almost 9) kids and still taking care of yourself, and love that you don't have this "better than you" attitude about it either.

Don't change a thing about yourself. You're right, it is all about priorities and you seem to have yours in the right place.

9intheSunshine said...

Hi Catey,
I just want to tell you that I *love* your blog. I am a mom of 7 and interested in running. Many mom/running blogs are moms who have smaller families, and while I admire them, I don't really relate to their lifestyle. You really inspire me, and I love that you share the ups AND downs of your life. So thank you for being real, and please don't let the sour pickle people get to you!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

GREAT post :) I feel you on both sides.. From someone who tends to be overly honest on my Blog, I find it refreshing to read your Blog.. HUGS!

Martinezster said...

I love that you included the insight at the end. I think sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the good fortunes of others. We all could use a reminder of how great we really have it from time to time. I love reading into the trials and tribulations you share about your life and still seeing you be so darn optimistic. Your fitness levels after 8 children is inspiring and that is what I take from your blog. Reading through your blog is empowering and really puts into perspective how rewarding hard work and determination truly is! So hats off to you for all that you manage to accomplish in any given day!!!