This Week’s Reality (See What I Did There?)

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Wondering why the silence over here this week? Well, the week’s not going great. 3 out of 5 of us have been hit by a horrible stomach bug, all the dehydration made my milk supply drop, the laundry situation is dire, I had to cancel the first dentist appointment I scheduled in 3ish years (I know, I know, all my teeth are going to fall out!) as well as get togethers with an out-of-town friend and dinner plans, and I’m fighting a losing battle at getting us ready to go on vacation this weekend. Oh, and the ceiling fan in our room starting smelling weird. The last time one of our ceiling fans smelled like that, it started smoking and I had to call the fire department so…..this bodes well.

I try to keep things encouraging and positive over here because those are the parts of motherhood that I like to focus on. But after receiving a few comments to the effect of “I wish I could always have a rosy perspective like you!” and after reading a few thought-provoking posts about the effects of blogs (like Simcha’s) or how Instagram and Pinterest can make users feel that everyone else has beautiful, organized lives, I want to be sure that I’m balancing things out with a big dose of reality. I would hate to think that what I post with the intent to be uplifting is actually discouraging someone out there.

I loved the post over at Messy Wife, Blessed Life about What Real Motherhood Looks Like (check out the fun link-up starting Sept. 2nd!)

So let’s take a little tour around my house today:

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Hello living room! This was a few hours ago. It looks way worse now.

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I took a picture of the cluttered kitchen instead of the sticky dining room table in effort not to gross you out too much.

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This was taken before Benjamin threw up all over his bed and I wrapped all the bedding up and dumped it in the middle of the hallway.

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Benjamin and Lucy watching Monster’s Inc for the millionth time this week because when I’m sick my parenting skills are nil.

And in case you’re thinking, “Yes, well, everything’s messy because they have the stomach flu…what does her house look like on a good day?” The answer is: about like this. So, I hope that makes you feel better about your housekeeping skills.

But you know what I posted on instagram? Instead of evidence of my messy, germy house, I posted this photo:

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 Not because I don’t want people to know I have a messy house, but because this is what I want to remember from this week. The sweetness of this baby. Her beautiful blue eyes. Her unbelievable hair. And the way she feels all warm and perfect when she’s snuggled close to my chest.

I printed out a bunch of instagrams a few weeks ago to display in our house (and of course I haven’t actually done that yet because I’m the least crafty person ever) and when I was looking through these little snippets of our life, I was just struck by the beauty of it all: my kids smiles, the bounty from our garden, my son’s eyelashes, my daughter’s sweetness. Isn’t that what really makes up our life? And what will I choose to remember from this week? All the vomit I cleaned up? Or that Benjamin wrote a song about how much he loves Baby Gwen and learned to collect the eggs all by himself without cracking them. Will I remember that Lucy was whining for me to hold her when I was too weak to pick her up? Or that she made us all laugh with her silly antics and how I’m in love with the way her eyes are turning from hazel to a beautiful honey brown?

How does blog reading and social media affect you? I’d like to hear you share in the comments. I’m not a huge fan of Pinterest. I’m not sure why, I just don’t find it very enticing. Maybe because I’m so bad at anything crafty/designy? I really enjoy Instagram and FB and feel completely lost on Twitter. I can be found all of those places and follow me if you like, but don’t be fooled into thinking life isn’t full of chaos and dirty diapers and piles of unfolded laundry over here. I’ll try to keep it real. Let me instagram that photo of my movie-watching kids in my messy bedroom right now…

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Comments

  1. says

    I am so glad to hear that things are still ok with you guys. Prayers that the stomach bug goes away very soon. I know my little man would love another playdate very soon.

  2. Beccy says

    Thank you, Hayley for this post. I love reading your blog (and following your Instagram) because you’re always so real and encouraging to people like me: mothers of tinies who don’t know if they’re doing it right and feel guilty everyday because they could have done it better. Reading real stories from real mummas is so important, and so encouraging. I have contemplated giving up Instagram and Pinterest because of the way it makes me feel like my life is so inadequate, but I hang in there because every now and again I see a post like this. Thank you. @wifecat xx

  3. amy says

    One of my favorite phrases is that when we look at the lives of others we see their highlight reel, when we look at out own, it’s a behind-the-scenes expose. Thanks for the post, it’s a beautiful way to think about a hard week.

  4. says

    I really relate to this post. I also read that Simcha article and it made me think long and hard about the nature of my blogging. There are always plenty of things going wrong even when things overall are going right. I try to focus on the positives (and kind of pretend the negatives aren’t happening) but hopefully not to the exclusion of being authentic. It’s a tough balancing act sometimes, but you pull it off beautifully!

  5. says

    Thank you! I’m at a place now where I realize that everyone’s life has some messes and I don’t view someone’s recognition of their blessings as some sort of attempt at an intentional glossing over of their life. Or at least I try. When I do struggle with it I know that the problem is ME not the other person writing. I think blogging completely changed my perspective on this. And I think I have a very similar approach as you. Far too often I have a tendency to focus on the negative when what I want to remember is the beauty. It hurts so much when I see comments deriding certain blogs. When did we get to a place where upon seeing someone else’s success we decide that they are “unreal” or we can’t simply be happy for them? We TOTALLY need to find support and comfort from others who are struggling in the same ways but I think we need to realize that we don’t have a right to other people’s dirty laundry (both figurative and literal ;)

  6. luisaagnes says

    Dear Haley,

    Please don’t be discouraged to persist with your former “rosy” tone! It has been transformational for me. Personally, I did not find it “rosy”– the suffering and struggle were clear through the pursuit of grace, and that happy, confident faith shone through the suffering, glorifying it.

    Please pray before you turn away from your original tone– could it be envy motivating your readers? Could it be the devil trying to force a bushel over your light? I am sympathetic with Symcha– we drive our own experience and seek that which will help us and avoid that which discourages us. To the naysayers, I ask please find another blog.

    In my darkness and loneliness seeking friends inspired by grace, I prayed desperately to our Lady and she sent me to your blog. As a happy reader, I pray you are inspired to persist with the same love and joy.

    Love,

    Luisa

    • Haley says

      Thanks for sharing this, Luisa. I wasn’t intending to communicate that I would be changing my tone, but rather that I want to make it clear that it’s not always lollipops and rainbows over here. The folks who were commenting on the “rosy-ness” weren’t trying to be discouraging or naysayers, just noting that I focus on the high notes. I just wanted to remind everyone that I’m in the trenches, too :)

      • luisaagnes says

        Thanks Haley! I was trying to re-source this quotation I remember from “Come be My Light”– you know the Mother Theresa biography– and she says something like “Joy is a sign of a life of suffering in Jesus”. It had never occurred to me that you were not in the trenches, since your joy was a shining light.

        My only thought is this– if what is in your heart to share is muted by the thought that you might be causing someone to be envious because it is too joyful or “rosy”, please don’t stop for that reason. Perhaps the discernment question should be instead, “Will this discourage anyone in their life of faith”. Grace, inspirations, won’t do that for anyone.

        It’s like at the last judgment, when the saints’ choices to do good in spite of temptation, in spite of their previous failure, is held up before all of man, we will not feel envy but joy that our Lord offered his Grace and love and that this person was accepting and complicit in his love. Your journey is that, for me at least, and I encourage you in it, embrace it with all the joy and please continue to share it with us! It is such a joy to me.

  7. says

    Melt my heart a million times over-your daughter is adorable!
    And houses are supposed to me messy, proof that you’re actually living there and enjoying life. Although, it is certainly easy to get caught up in feeling like you’re the only one that’s completely out of control. I’m surely guilty of that but getting leaps and bounds better. Thank goodness.
    It is good to focus on the positive. Absolutely. But I also feel like people need to see the beauty of “real life” more often. People seem to have a warped view of “real” and a magazine photo.
    Thanks for the post- it was great, and feel better soon!

  8. says

    Please, please, please never change this blog. Your sunniness is a bright spot in my day! I understand now (though I have to admit that it surprised me) that some people are troubled by happy blogs.

    But, conversely, other people are exactly as troubled by the downer blogs. I read some blogs that seem to be mostly about how terrible it is to be a mom, and they are frankly bewildering to me. I follow many of them because I want to be engaged with this Catholic Mom blog community. But I don’t feel encouraged or edified by them. I feel like I want to find these moms and hug them and help them and fix them.

    Some of us are on the other side of the fence on this one and are looking desperately for blogs that try to look on the sunny side of life and they are HARD to come by!

    • Haley says

      Thanks for the encouragement, Kendra! I’m not planning on changing a thing. I just wanted to be sure to remind folks that things aren’t always sunny over here and that I don’t have it all together :) In general, I feel bummed out by downer blogs, too. I’m a big fan of yours, m’dear.

  9. says

    I think your blog is a good balance of “real” and “rosy”. And, the blogging world is big enough for everyone…those who focus on the positive and those who don’t. I think different blogs appeal to different people, and that’s okay. Everyone has their own style and is attracted to different hings.

    I don’t get into Pinterest either, because I just don’t see the point. I know I’m never going to do 96% of what I pin…I’m not crafty/artsy..it’s just not “me” and that’s okay. I also don’t really get Twitter, so I basically just do blogs and Facebook ( don’t have a camera to do Instangram) and that’s okay.

  10. Taylor Spangler says

    This particular post made me feel a million times better about myself! I had a bad experience lately with a website that I thought I could learn from, when in reality all the admins did was be rude if you had a different opinion or if you were unsure if you could live like them as a mother. I started to think that it was sickening to see people bicker everywhere and also that blogs were just a way to make yourself and your life seem superior to others lives. It’s refreshing to see the difference in your blog. The love of Christ shines through you Haley. God Bless your family and I pray you all feel better soon!

  11. says

    Ah, I think you blog has always been “real”! Not everyone has to show pictures of a messy house to be real! I think that those pictures help the new moms or the moms without many real life friend that don’t know if their “messy” life is normal. It is!

  12. says

    Ahhh…I’m so sorry you’re sick! Gosh, that is the WORST when you have little children. What’s that phrase…you don’t have anything if you don’t have your health? Okay, kinda goes against the point of this post since you were explaining all of the lovely things you’ll still remember from this week. That is so true! It is so important to focus on the positive. I try and do that on my blog, too. It’s my natural tendency. But yes, being sick still sucks! And I hope you feel better asap.

    It’s so funny, I’m exactly where you are with all those social medias you mentioned. I still DON’T GET Twitter. When people post on their and import to facebook, I imagine it all different. Maybe it’s because I was always on fb (since just a couple months after it started) I just got so used to it’s format that Twitter threw me off and I never took the time to “get it.” I kind of consider it like a snowboarding/skiing thing. Whichever one you try first, you tend to love and prefer to the other one. I’m a facebook and skiing girl. The one time I tried snowboarding I broke my wrist ;) (OK, every analogy breaks down at some point :) but clearly, skiing is way easier. :)

    I too LOVE instagram, shy away from Pinterest too, and while facebook is starting to bug me because of it’s commercialism, I also enjoy it the most out of all the ways to connect. Oh, and of course blogging. Couldn’t live without blogging ;)

  13. Erin says

    I appreciate you’re peppy, sunny disposition and so enjoy your blog just the way that it is. That being said, it’s nice to see I’m not the only one who says “Heck with it!” when the toddler pulls out all the blankets and books from her shelves, scattering them all over the room, for the 4th time before noon. Lovely mix, my dear.

    • Haley says

      Thank you! Rearranging all the books in the house is so entertaining to Lucy that I just don’t fight it anymore, haha.

  14. says

    Haley, I just want to say that some blogs are so perfectionist that I do feel discouraged(I enjoyed that link-up about our reactions to blogs), but I’ve never gotten that feeling from your blog. I, more often than not, feel lifted up and encouraged. And I’m one of those people who shy away from ‘perfect mommy’ blogs. :) So, thank you. And no worries!

  15. says

    Ok first of all, don’t set your house on fire please. Is it an old fan (like the motor is going out) or wiring? Brian volunteered to go take a look at it if you think it’d help? He’s installed a bunch of fans and has some electric work experience. Lemme know.

    Second, my house is so bad it’s never going in a link up. Ever. Ever. I don’t want to *give* people the stomach flu over it.

    Sort of kidding.

    I don’t think anyone will ever accuse me of painting a rosy picture of anything. I complain way too much! lol No risk there…

    Next, Gwen’s hair is amazing. Always. She’s adorable.

    Lastly, I don’t know why I seem immune to the mom jealousy thing. I mean, of course I’d love to possess an organized bone anywhere in my body and I never get around to 99% of my pins on Pinterest but I always feel weird on the topic; I don’t seem to care much about any of it. I don’t know how or why… I always try to suss that out. Any ideas? I just accept that I’m always the weird one in most social situations anyway and go on my merry way. lol.

    Glad ya’ll are on the mend. Hope everyone’s 100% soon. Sorry about your milk supply. I’m sure it’ll just be a momentary dip especially if you had oversupply issues before. Nothing a great cluster feeding can’t fix, I’d bet.

    Hang in there!

    <3 Jeni

    Next

    • Haley says

      The fan was there when we moved in and we’re gonna replace it when we get back in town. The last time we had a problem (and I actually had to call the fire department because it was smoking and I wanted to make sure there wasn’t an attic fire) replacing the fan was all we needed to do.

      And I think since I don’t have an organized bone in my body I don’t have any urge to compete with the pinterest world, haha.

      And supply is back up! Cluster feeding FTW!

  16. says

    Thank you for writing this. Sometimes I get caught dreaming about a glamorous stay at home life with a clean house and perfect homeschooled children. However, my reality is that I am a working mom. Your post drives home the point that no one is perfect and the grass may not be greener on the other side. It is best to be happy and at peace with what we have.

  17. Sarah says

    Prayers for speedy recoveries and amen for well-lived-in houses! Keeping the house clean is a daily challenge–and my little Charlotte is only a few weeks older than baby Gwen! Hubby grew up in a super clean house because cleaning is his mom’s hobby. Not my hobby! I’d much rather tear things apart and rebuild them. I just wish she’d stop making comments about the condition of our house…

  18. says

    I agree with the other commentators that you’ve always had a great balance of real and encouraging. I did enjoy this post though as my house has completely fallen apart since returning to work (made worse by the fact that we have been out of town several weekends). I’m crossing my fingers that I’m able to salvage some of it this weekend. Anyway, sorry to hear that your family is sick. I hope you feel better soon and that you have a great trip.

  19. says

    <3 … Thanks for the post! I'm not a mom but I feel like your blog is always an encouragement to me… maybe because it just seems like you offer yourself in friendship to your readers, and also with plenty of honesty… no matter how things are going you don't airbrush them to make life seem perfect… and you don't project an honesty about your life, joy and struggles and all.. I really enjoy the tone of your blog :)

  20. says

    Oops! I meant to say “you project honesty about your life” .. or “you don’t project an image about your life” .. brain got a little mixed up posting there:)

  21. says

    People will always find fault in others if they have it in their nature, can’t change that. You definitely shouldn’t be feeling bad at all. Your blog is so positive and encouraging for women, no matter which religion one practices.

    Hope you are all better already.

  22. Natasa says

    I love your blog. I discovered it a few weeks ago and now regularly check for updates. I love how cheerful and pretty it is, and that you focus on beautiful things in life. I need such encouragement because I tend to throw pity parties a lot and often see family life primarily as a struggle. Blogs such as yours are a reality check for me. There is so much beauty and poetry in all of this baby and toddler stuff. Thank you!

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