Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Raising the cyber-curtain

A while back I started a post that remained in my drafts folder for quite a while before I deleted it.  I had titled it, "Please don't mistake me for someone who has her act together."  A bit long for a title, and in the end I didn't publish it.  Not because I felt it was too revealing, but rather because I hadn't finished it and week-old thoughts always seem a bit stale to me.  But since not having my act together is a recurring theme in my life, I am rehashing the subject.

Blogging permits one to choose one's level of privacy.  I need not reveal anything I do not wish to reveal about myself.  I am grateful that my blog is read by my family and others who know me pretty well.  It helps keep me honest.  Without going to the extreme of airing one's dirty laundry, it is good to be sincere in all things.  A lack of sincerity puts a wall between us and God, who sees us as we truly are.

My journey as a Catholic began with a leap of faith: opening my marriage to children after 12 years of oral contraceptives.  Part of my desire to remain childless was the result of having been raised with the idea that children were a burden and kept you from having a fulfilling life.  The rest was selfishness--I liked to have my time to myself, to be free to do as I liked.  I thank God for my children, as they have taught me that my life is not my own.  It is a gift to be shared, as all good gifts are to be shared, although I may say that I do not always do so without resentment.  I still whine--inwardly, if possible--when I have decided that a certain block of time is mine and my children need or want my attention during that time.  I feel put out and rather like a child who has been asked to share something delightful with a sibling, counting out the sweets and saying, "alright, you may have just this one, but the rest belong to me."  For some reason, I feel the same way about sleep, as if I am entitled to a certain number of hours per night.  Now that insomnia has become a frequent problem for me, I realize that this simply is not so.  We have no claims to decent sleep, good health, physical beauty, vacations, cooperative children, or anything else, really.  Nothing is to be taken for granted.

Anyway, I don't really know where I am going with this, except to tell you that I hope I present myself with sincerity, and that what my handful of readers see is a true representation of me.

If I appear to be a successful homemaker, let me inform you that I don't show you photos of my bathroom closet, or closeups of my carpet, or the inside of my oven.  If I look like a great homeschool teacher, I can tell you that since Advent we have fit more into the "Un-schooling" category.  If you think I am a wonderful parent, well, I am sure my children would give you a truer picture--I yell too much and gripe too much, and I can't say that I am always kind and fair to my children.  Sometimes I find myself down at their level--more often than I care to admit, in truth.  If it seems that I always have healthy, homemade food prepared for my family, please know that we eat our share of frozen pizza and hot dogs.  If my knitting looks great, you aren't seeing the errors; if you think I'm a good photographer, you aren't seeing the forty shots I deleted before posting the one good shot.

Honestly--no false modesty here--I'm pretty mediocre all the way around.  This used to really disturb me.  There is this innate need in the hearts of most people to excel at something, to stand out, to make a mark.  I am approaching 50 years of age (49 in November), and I can truly say that I am okay with my being just "okay".  I do still feel twinges of envy now and then at the women who really do seem to have it all together, most of whom I know only through the internet.  Perfect homes and curriculum planners, gorgeous meals, cakes and crafts for every liturgical occasion, and kids always looking tidy and happy.

But that's just not me.  And I am learning to live with that.

My chomped-on tomato plants.  The beasts have acquired  a taste for pepper spray...


  1. Hi Nadja,
    Let me begin by saying that there are no perfect homes and curriculum planners, perfect celebrations and kids. I'm 9 years older than you, and my 24+ homeschooling years are over. My two youngest of 7 are at home attending college, well, 1 lives at home and the other at college not far away. I remember all the sleepless nights, unkind words, hot dogs, pizza, and messes everywhere. :-) And, I remember all the homeschool magazines with articles on how to raise perfect Godly kids if you do this and that, and which curriculum is the BEST. Back then, there wasn't much out there, but it was enough to confuse anyone. "I thank God for my children" ~ me too. All during that time of raising them, teaching them, and instructing them in the ways of the Lord, I was growing in my walk with the Lord, just as you are now. They might think at times that you're the "wicked witch of the west", but when they are older and grown, they will thank you for all that you have done for them. They will remember that their mom spent every day with them and was there whenever they needed her, through all the sick and sleepless nights and all the celebrations. And when they have children of their own, they will realize what you went through and how you felt. When God gave us our children, he gave us the job of being their mother, the hardest and most rewarding job there is for a woman. You will stand before Him one day and hear, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." And you will probably say, "Thank you, Lord, for being there and helping me through it all." :-)
    You're not just "okay" ~ you're awesome!
    God bless,

  2. I think that's the blessing and curse of blogs - seeing so many great ideas and inspirations and yet feeling the need to measure up to what someone else choses to share of their life. Like in so many aspects of life balance is so important and challenging.

  3. Very nice post. I hope it is widely read... a good message. Although I do wish I was a few years younger and could have a few more babies, I think wisdom and acceptance certainly comes with age. I am kinder to myself, which I think makes me a better wife and mother. Peace

  4. "I still whine--inwardly, if possible--when I have decided that a certain block of time is mine and my children need or want my attention during that time."
    Oh me too :)
    And I am getting much more settled with simply being okay, good enough.
    Everyone has a back story, everyone has failings and everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
    There is no such thing as a perfect life.
    And in this truth we can find each other more compassionatly and honestly.
    Wonderful post!

  5. Thank you for posting. I often see what others are doing and feel inadequate. I am just beginning to see that I am not other people and that our family is the family God gave "us" and noone else. We have more or less begun unschooling despite well thought out plans. We live with a chaotic life even though hubby and I are both neat freaks and organization junkies. Thank you for being so honest. This post really was uplifting.

  6. I turned 49 last month. I started having children right after marriage, resulting in 7 kids 25 years later. I feel like I am finally growing up and getting some wisdom in my 40s. I happen to be an organized person, but I can't control and organize 8 other people 24/7. When my health is good and I have a lot of energy, my kids say I get this wild organizing, furniture moving look in my eye and they know there is going to be a big upheaval. But thank goodness for them, that craze is rare. One improvement I was thinking about the other day from my young self to now was my attitude about messes. If I left a clean kitchen and came back to a disaster, I would hit the roof and take it out on my young kids; now, I just start cleaning without thinking about it (OK, sometimes a little sigh escapes).

  7. Hello, I came across your blog via Soule Mama. I love this post! It's so true that we compare ourselves unfavourably with other mothers. Thank you for this timely reminder to be both honest and accepting.

  8. you go, girl :)
    love ya'.

  9. Just stumbled across your blog today and will be coming back to 'visit' often. It is so true that we all want to be at the heights of some imagined 'greatness' when usually we are just normal souls stumbling along as best we can. I heard a priest give a sermon not long ago about all the unknown people who came before us, ones who's names are not known to history that did their part in spreading the Catholic faith. Without them, so much would not be possible for us. Sometimes I think that without us and our own small impact on the world, who knows what the world would be like? It reminds me of that story about the butterfly -


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