Feb 11, 2011  •  In Baby, Blogging, Claire, Motherhood, Personal

Keepin’ It Real

A couple of weeks ago, I posed the following question on Facebook and Twitter:

How do my internet mommy friends make the time to Facebook, Twitter, AND blog? I feel like I can only do one consistently without losing even more sleep.

Admittedly, I didn’t get as many responses as I had hoped.

(Sometimes I get paranoid that many people I consider my internet friends are not my friends, but actually dislike me and only remain in my social media circle out of pity/laziness/contempt. And one of the reasons I have been slowly pulling myself out of these sites is because I feel left out. There, I said it.)

But those who did respond helped me realize that we all have different priorities. For instance, whenever Claire is down for a nap the first thing I do is clean, because when the house is a mess I get stressed out and my mind can’t function properly. Meanwhile, other moms may choose to go on Twitter whenever they get a spare moment and leave the dishes for later, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s all about how we — as individuals — choose to prioritize our time.

While I managed to get the answer to the question I had raised, something was still nagging at the back of my mind…and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

Then, earlier this week, Jenna wrote a post titled “On Being Shiny, Happy, Hip” and I finally realized what had been bothering me.

The reason I had posted the question above, and the primary reason I had been withdrawing myself from our group of internet mommy friends, was because today’s generation of mommy bloggers make me feel like crap.

How do they all make it seem like being a mother is the MOST MARVELOUS and enjoyable experience in the whole wide world, gush about how much they LOVE their babies and how darn ADORABLE they think they are (and I have to admit, some of those babies are pretty cute), and make it seem like they spend every waking moment doing the things we, as mothers, are supposed to be doing, e.g., making organic baby food, taking the kids on playdates, and giving them the exercise and stimulation they need to be healthy and smart?

And this is on top of maintaining a beautifully decorated, meticulously clean house, having and honing über-creative hobbies, AND preparing healthy and nutritious home-cooked meals each and every day.

I love my daughter, but I hate being a mother to an infant and I CAN’T. WAIT. for her to grow up (yes, I even look forward to the teenage years). I even confess that sometimes — gasp! — I really miss my pre-baby lifestyle. I keep a clean house, yes, but our condo is full of generic furniture and is sparsely decorated. I hardly ever cook dinner anymore and I look like an extra from Night of the Living Dead most days.

According to the Salon article that Jenna talks about, the reason so many readers are attracted to these blogs — not just the Mormon ones — is because they serve as a means to escape our not-so-perfect lives. And I am sure that most of my friends who blog choose not to write about the negative stuff, or if they do, like Mandy, they put a comical twist to it so that it is easier to swallow.

Because who wants to read about all the bad stuff when our own lives are hard enough as it is?

…I do. (Raises hand.)

I wrote a long comment in response to Jenna’s post, and I admitted that sometimes I feel obligated to write about the bad stuff because everyone else seems so happy and upbeat and positive all the time.

And for this reason, I am sure that some of my readers must think I hate my baby.

But that’s not the case at all. It may seem like I do a lot of complaining on my blog, but the truth of the matter is that I am growing to love Claire more with each passing day. We have our bad days, sure, but we also have those transcendent moments that more than make up for the tough times.

Claire only JUST started reaching for toys last week.
Here she is with the adorable giraffe that Girl on the Park got for her.

I do not censor myself. Aside from the very few topics that J understandably asks me not to blog about, I write things as they are. I keep it real. And that has been the one thing that my readers thank me for every day.

Because before I got pregnant, I wish someone had warned me that round ligament pains may be more painful than labor pains (which in my case ended up being true). Before I gave birth, I wish someone had told me that it’s perfectly normal to not immediately fall in love with your baby. Before starting nursing, I wish someone had told me not to supplement with formula in those crucial first days (or at least use a supplemental nursing system) so that my daughter would not have gotten nipple confusion.

Before becoming a mother, I wish someone had told me how DIFFICULT motherhood can be, and that it’s okay to admit to this and not love every minute of it.

And now that I’ve written about it, I hope that my readers can benefit from my experience.

My blog is definitely not shiny nor happy — at least not all the time — but it’s a reflection of the Geek in Heels brand: keepin’ things real with a dose of geekery. It’s a reflection of my sarcastic, pessimistic self (my nickname in high school wasn’t Daria for no reason).

My “keepin’ it real” style is admittedly in the minority and not for everyone. But I hope that my mistakes, troubles, and small triumphs will help those who — like me — often feel like failures among today’s mommy bloggers.

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47 Responses to “Keepin’ It Real”

  1. LatteLove says:

    THANK YOU for keepin’ it real! It’s why I keep coming back, and really appreciate what you do with this blog.
    keep doing what you’re doing. The honesty about the bad is more refreshing than the exaggerated shiny truth.

  2. Patt T says:

    As a working woman who is looking forward to starting a family I must tell you that I sincerely appreciate that you blog without censorship. Sure it’s great to read about all the wonderful things that people are up to, but it’s so helpful to hear about the ups and the downs. I feel as though I could (and most likely will) turn to your previous blog posts as I am starting my family to remind myself of things that can and do go wrong, and look to your wisdom (and that of your readers) to help me get through those situations. Thanks for being genuine, it’s amazingly refreshing.

  3. Yes, yes, yes! I’m not a fan of the typical “mommy blog” — I’m not at a point in my life where I am remotely considering children, so just like I sometimes have a hard time maintaining friendships with women who talk about nothing but their babies, I’m just not interested in reading about something which does not relate to me at all. I knew that would never be an issue with your blog because you have such varied content (same thing with real life friends — I am happy to discuss their baby sometimes, just not ALL the time), but I love that you really bring up fantastic points to consider when it comes to thinking about having children. Everyone seems to only want to put their best foot forward and talk about how wonderful it is to be a mother, how blessed they are, how it’s the most rewarding job in the world, but we all know that no one is that happy all the time. Hearing about the problems and struggles makes us realize we are not alone in our own struggles, and helps us plan ahead for what is to com in the future. So thank you for blogging exactly the way you chose to blog!

  4. Nani says:

    I for one if I had seen that post would have responded but I have been on a self induced twitter/fb/blog hiatus until the last few days and even then I am MIA. I feel the same way you do but I don’t put it into as many good words you can haha.

    Being a mom is hard as hell and no one has a handbook because no baby is the excact same in every way. It stresses me out to know other blogger moms with kids my age eat wonderfully, seem to be hella smart and are using full sentences when feeding my daughter is like pulling teeth and she barely rambles in englilsh.. much less tell me any one thing I can fully comprehend. It’s just one big guessing game where everyone seems to hold the answers and we are left in the dark.

    The good part? no one has the answers I have SEEN it. People who talk about how great their babies are are eating rainbows and I am not going to lie I had an EASY baby. (I now curse and wish it was the other way around, what I wouldn’t do for an easy toddler) but I know people who did not and that’s okay because they are different.

    I also try not to be happy on my blog but I mostly only post pictures and tidbits so not much substance there right now. now if you visit my tumblr you might find some agry words here and there and some ranting.

    anyhow enough rambling. i love that you keep it real and I should comment way more often (although i ALWAYS read your blog.. I’m just lazy I admit it) and I like you that way.. one can only handle bits of goodness and sunshine so much a day.

  5. Amber says:

    I think the thing is, at least for me (one of those who responded to your facebook post), is that I DID write about a lot of the misery I felt. It’s just been awhile, because now things aren’t as miserable for us. All of the things you mentioned not being “spoken” of (the nipple confusion, not bonding directly etc.) are things that don’t necessarily happen to a lot of people, thus finding them to read about may be hard, as the sample group might not essentially experience it. I know my lactation consultant debunked the nipple confusion, and I know a handful of women who had to supplement with formula early on who ended up breastfeeding exclusively after. So it’s really hard to share, as one thing a person experiences may not be the same as something 40 other women didn’t. Ya know? That’s why I think it’s helpful for people to blog about their “issues”, to help expand the different experiences!

    I think some people are generally optimistic people, always choosing to look on the bright side, and those bloggers tend to blog the same as their outlook on life- like Kimberly Michelle, and Laura- their blogs state what is happening, good or bad, but with a cheerier outlook. There are others who blog to get their feelings out, so it sounds a little darker or not as “I love my life, it’s the best ever, I never want to change”. Like Jenna said, about the career bloggers, they kind of are being paid to put this “identity” out there in the wide world,. and I’m sure they try to uphold what got them noticed to begin with. There’s nothing wrong with that, I feel.

    For some reason, when you said the “Weddingbee Mommy Bloggers” I felt personally like you were also implicating me and my blog, because about 90% of the time now, I talk about how great I feel my life is, and how much I love and adore my baby. I’m not taking your post as an attack, but I’m just hoping you’re not thinking I’m not sharing any of the bad things just to keep this facade of happy-happy-joy-joy. For us, at this moment, the bad things aren’t really things? Like, they aren’t things to blog about? I got lucky with breastfeeding, and I got lucky that I didn’t have issues with Piper and her attitude (wrong word? Um, outlook?) as a newborn and infant. So I guess I couldn’t blog about fussiness and feeding problems, which enabled me to utterly adore my kid from day one. Is this the norm? I don’t know! I really don’t. I did have to deal with over a year of not sleeping, which was also a year of having to go to work with her daily with little to no sleep. I complained about that more on FB than my blog because it’s so much easier to go on the facebook app and quickly enter a status of “Oh my GOD Piper, just GO TO SLEEP” than it was to blog- DAILY about how CRAPPY her sleeping was.

    As I said before, it’s so much easier for me to be online during the day because I sit at a computer all day. Do I feel guilty that I’m not like those other moms who SAH who can give their kids one thousand percent their attention? Totally! But I have to earn money for our family, and if I have to do it while managing to give Piper 25% of my attention at a time, then I’ll do it. Do I hate that? Yep. And I DO blog about that, all the time, in fact. This is why, on weekends, aside from a few FB pictures I upload using my phone’s app, I’m not online. I don’t blog, don’t read blogs, and don’t do anything other than

    • By no means am I saying that I believe ANY of the bloggers I read on a regular basis throw out a facade! (And the ones that do, I’ve just stopped reading.) I understand that everyone has different outlooks on life, and that some people are more positive, optimistic than others.

      Like I said in my comment to Jenna, I associate different bloggers’ styles and outlooks on life as part of their “brand” — does that make sense? I know that there’s often so much more than what we choose to share online. And as I stated above, I sometimes CHOOSE to share the bad stuff more often because most mommmy blogs tend to have a much more optimistic view…and this is part of MY brand. (It also doesn’t help that I seem to have a more difficult than average baby — even strangers comment on how “serious” Claire seems for a baby.)

  6. Amber says:

    Wow, it cut me off because I wrote a book. 🙂 Sorry. Like I was saying, I don’t do anything other than FB scanning when I’m in bed for the night.

    I blog about being happy because I AM. I don’t clean, I don’t make Piper’s food (well, now she eats everything, so I guess I do), and I am NEVER all collected and cute. I’m a mess. Do I love my life? Poor as heck, often getting take out for dinner (perhaps the reason for the poorness), with a baby who has tantrums now and refuses to drink milk? Yes, I do. And this is why I share, because, like you, I’m being REAL. For me, my being real is about being happy with the crappy mess my life is, because it’s my life. If my being real sounds fake to others, then bummer. But it’s the truth. I hope YOUR “real” gets better soon, because I know how it is to run on such crappy sleep. 🙁

    I hope for you to be happy ALL the time! Which sounds like an insult, but it SO isn’t. 🙂

  7. People have different ways of looking at the world. I’ll be truly honest and say that my perspective of the world is incredibly different from yours. Through strained friendships and “life” I have actively chosen to be and live the most positive life that I can. That being said, many of my friends live this existence that is constantly thrown out as being “fake” and I’m really sick of it. Especially with the mom blogs.
    I have a very very easy comparison to make here. I have suffered from a debilitating and extremely painful syndrome since I was 17. With one very easy google search, I can find thousands of people with my syndrome talking about how they can barely stand to live another day. And if I went and spoke to these people, they would question that I even HAVE this syndrome because I weaned myself from medication and can function day to day without wanting to curl up and die. Do I have bad days now and then? Of course. but I don’t let it define me or my condition. I’ve seen motherhood the same way. I don’t complain to my friends about how hard life is day to day, and I don’t live in fear of mommyhood. Does that make my portrayal of life less “real” than yours? No. Just a different outlook.
    I hate the truly fake blogs… the ones where people TRY HARD to make their life look like something it’s not. But I thrive on seeing happiness through my Internet friends day in and day out…

    • As I wrote in response to Amber’s comment above, I completely understand that everyone has different outlooks on life, and your positive attitude is what I equate with your “brand” (for lack of a better word) and persona. So no, I do not believe that what anyone writes about their life is any more or less “real” than mine, because there is always so much more than what we all choose to share online and when you get down to it, there’s always a REAL person writing these posts. And I believe that what they write — whether due to their personalities or by pure choice — is still about their real lives (aside from those who purposely lie or make up stuff).

      I too, love seeing happiness in my internet friends. But like you said, we have different perspectives of the world and I need to see the ugliness too.

      • I’ll just clarify that my comments were directed at the first iteration of this post… and not the edited version. I think you’ve removed the harsh and directed tones that I found to be incredibly judgmental of others and took offense towards.

        • I’m not sure what you’re talking about, but I haven’t edited this post since I published it. I can even show you a screenshot of the “revisions” timestamps if you’d like.

    • Lyzz says:

      I’ve been following you since your weddingbee days, and occasionally come to your blog to see what you have been up to, as I do with some of the other “original” bees. Having said that, I usually do not comment but feel compel to to this post…

      The only thing that I want to say is that I find this post to be incredibly offensive.

      As others have put out there, we all have different outlook in life, and our blog is a reflection of that outlook. From reading your blog, you seem to have a pessimistic nature, usually seeing the worst in the best situations as opposed to some others who see the best in the worst situation. That’s alright, that’s your nature, but it is not my nature, and it is not everyone else’s nature.

      Having said that, your outlook and that reflection in your blog does NOT make your blog any more “real” than mine or any others who chooses the see the best in situations.

      Comparable to real life, I know people who are like you who are extremely pessimistic and I find myself extremely annoyed and frustrated in their presence, so I remove myself from them simply because they just don’t make me feel good. Similarly, I find myself more removed from your blog because I don’t feel good reading it.

      One last thought on this is that what you define as “real” sometimes comes off as fake to me because I question whether someone can be that pessimistic ALL the time, just like I equate Mandy’s (OMGMOM) attempt to be “real” to be extremely fake, so I stopped reading.

      I am not writing this to make you feel bad, but I feel obligated to defend myself and the rest of the mommy bloggers who write candidly (and real) about sunshine and rainbow in motherhood.

      • Perhaps my title choice was poor, because IN NO WAY am I saying that I am any more “real” than any other blogger. Like I said to Kim above, we are all “real” people behind our blogs, and what we write is just a portion of our lives. So I’m sorry to you, and all the others who got the impression that I am trying to say that I’m more “real.”

        That being said, is my blog the real ME? Yes. Like mentioned in the post, I didn’t get my high school nickname for nothing!

        That being said, I’m sorry that you think I’m pessimistic ALL the time, because while most of my readers (as well as myself )would agree that I am more of a pessimist than an optimist, if you read through all my stuff you will see that yes, I do have my happy moments.

        I don’t believe Mandy’s blog to be overly pessimistic either, because if you read her stuff it is OBVIOUS that her daughter is the sunshine of her life and she loves, and ENJOYS her life.

        This post was not meant to offend anyone. And by writing it I was NOT saying that my outlook on life or what I choose to share on my blog is any better than others’. I write about my experiences and as stated in the post, yes I choose to share the negative stuff more than the positive because that’s what I wanted to have read when I was going through the hard stuff, to know that I’m not alone and that it’s normal to feel these things.

        But like you stated, you choose to surround yourself with positive people. Just like how I feel a deeper kinship when others share their troubles with me, or when we share vent sessions over a glass of wine. I guess it’s just different strokes for different folks. And if you don’t enjoy reading it, please feel free not to, just as sometimes I need a break from overly happy blogs from time to time.

  8. TwentyFiveFifty says:

    This post is why I keep coming back to read your blog. I love Mandy too, because both of you live a real life. One that is attainable to all of us and that makes it so much easier to relate to you! I’m sorry that I don’t Tweet much or I would totally become your Twitter follower and right now I’m struggling with blogging since I’d love to spill the beans on some stuff going on over at 2550, but it’s too early. So hopefully we can be blogging “friends”. Chin up. We all thank you for your stories of Claire and I know you don’t hate her!!!!

  9. Ammoma says:

    As a longtime reader, I do appreciate you keeping it real. Mommyhood is tough! I really wish I had been warned about so many things I experienced after the birth of my now 3 year old son. Breastfeeding was one of the hardest, most heartbreaking things I’ve ever had to do, and the guilt I felt after stopping was insane!

    I recently had to censor my blog reading because, heck, the guilt for not being shiny, happy, hip was driving me batty. On top of all of that, I am a single mother, and my reality is so different from any of those other bloggers.

    • BIG kudos to you! I couldn’t imagine how any single moms do it — my respect for ALL moms went up tenfold when I became one myself, and my respect and admiration for single moms is up a hundredfold!

  10. eemusings says:

    I love that you keep it real, Jenny. Please don’t stop.

    I can barely find the energy to balance a 40-hr job, cleaning, cooking awesome meals, socialising and balancing my other hobbies (music, photography, reading, blogging) and a relationship. I don’t know how I would ever keep it together with a kid in the equation.

    With so much baby fever around, it’s great to hear your voice – I know that having kids wasn’t easy for my mother, who’s very emotional and prone to depressive states, and I fear the same will happen to me.

  11. kalen says:

    I was honest with Jenna so I’ll be honest with you, too! 😀

    I read your blog because the funny graphics/re-posts of articles. I read it because you’re smart and talented. I read it because you’re honest with readers.

    I get frustrated sometimes when you’re being kind of pessimistic and open and then people try to give you advice & you get mad and do a post kinda going off on people. In my opinion, if advice/reader opinion’s aren’t wanted, comments should be closed. That way you don’t seem like you’re… angry at people for trying to help.

    Otherwise, I enjoy everything you do around these parts and your mix-up of post topics. I think your struggles with motherhood so far have been very eye-opening for many moms-to-be who may not be getting ‘the whole story’ elsewhere. I also think a lot of the stuff you described was on the more extreme end of the spectrum sometimes (still normal – but I would be lying to you if I didn’t tell you it sometimes worries me).

    No one is perfect and I believe it’s really refreshing when bloggers allow their flaws to be exposed. Those bloggers seem natural & really gifted in their writing. Unfortunately, I can’t share a lot of the dark/sad stuff because if a potential client ever found me, it would put me in a challenging position. Maybe I should make a disclaimer that says, “SOMETIMES MY LIFE SUCKS” at the top of my blog? haha.

    Sorry for the long comment but I really do enjoy coming here (just like I like going to Jenna’s blog) and I hope things never change too much. 🙂

  12. kalen says:

    PS) My house is DISGUSTING right now. Our bills are paid late quite often. And I rarely ever shower before 5pm… and sometimes never fit one in afterwards, either! 😉

  13. Carly says:

    Honestly, I feel like I have read a good number of “real” posts from mommy bloggers lately. I’m not sure who these perfect mommy bloggers are, but you should stop reading them if they make you feel crappy! No one’s day should be ruined by a blog. Seriously.

    I construct my blog based upon what interests me and what is going on in my life. I don’t sugar coat anything, unless, maybe, I see a pretty picture I like 🙂 For the most part, I post what pleases me or bothers me, etc.

    I know I am basically irrelevant to this discussion, because I’m not a mommy blogger. But I think that people should read what they want to read or don’t read what you don’t want to read without guilt. As bloggers, people will love us for being who we are. And, if whatever we put out there is a big lie, well then we are the ones that have to answer to ourselves as to why we are lying about our lives to a bunch of (mostly) strangers. Just my two cents.

  14. Shayna says:

    A friend was just telling me today that the incidence of depression has increased since Facebook became popular because apparently we all get to feeling overwhelmed and inadequate with everyone’s super happy status updates and vacation pictures, etc. So, go ahead and keep it real, lady! I think it makes you more of a real person to talk about the good and the bad. And, for what it’s worth, I totally stalked your archives the other day and I didn’t get the impression AT ALL that you complained about Claire too much. It is very evident that you love your baby!

    • That’s really, REALLY interesting! And so completely relevant to this discussion, as well as understandable because I must admit that sometimes I look at the lives of some of my friends — who only seem to post pictures from expensive restaurants, exotic vacations, etc — and can’t help but be envious. Thanks for letting me know.

  15. Sandy says:

    I appreciate your candid outlook on motherhood, just as I appreciate Mandy’s…and Jenna’s. You are all mothers, as am I, but we’ve all tackled things differently and choose to share about them differently. I didn’t comment on Jenna’s original post, but I haven’t stopped thinking about it either. On my own blog, I try not to always be happy, everything is perfect but at the same time there are things that are off-limits for me to blog about. I don’t blog about fights with my husband (like Jenna, I feel that that should be kept between the two of us)) but I will call my baby boy a little s*%t like in a recet post…and yes, I shuddered after I hit publish for fear that someone out there would read that post and attach me for it. There are days that motherhood is great and all rainbows…but most of the time it’s just plain hard work. You’re exhausted at the end of the day, no one appreciates all that you do, and the one person that you do it all for won’t say thank you for at least 25 or so years…but still, one smile or belly laugh and I’m over the moon about him again, already forgetting about the 83rd sleepness night in a row.
    I think that’s just how it works…but I appreciate your outtake on motherhood, just as I hope my readers appreciate my outtake on it. And I agree with others, if reading someone’s blog makes me feel inadequate, maybe I should stop reading for a while!
    Keep up the good work, and hang in there…it DOES get easier each month that passes! I promise!

  16. Sandy says:

    And I should obviously proofread my comments before hitting submit…sorry! I’m tired, did I mention that???

  17. Like I have said in countless comments… I don’t have kids, so, my comments are probably only 24.56% helpful. But I WILL say that although you at times seem unhappy or pessimistic… you’re definitely not the only one. A friend of mine loves to talk about how much she HATED the first 6-9 months of being a mom. She didn’t have PPD, she just didn’t like being the mom of an infant! She hated how her entire life revolved around this person that didn’t respond or react, that she felt like the kid was constantly hanging from her boob, that she wasn’t as happy and smiley as the other moms she saw. When we talk about the fact that my husband and I are thinking of having kids in the next year or so, she reminds me, over and over, “Enjoy what you have now, make sure you are ready, because life will never ever be the same.” I think that’s why we’ve been married 3.5 years already and are still questioning when we’ll be ready. Because LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME and that scares me.

    Tonight I was driving with the hubs and I said, “sometimes I don’t feel like the sassy, sexy wife, and sometimes I feel like you don’t see me that way anymore.” Because realistically, I feel like he doesn’t always help out as much as I want, and sometimes I wish he’d just get his ass off the couch and DO shit instead of ‘relaxing.’ And I’m not LIKE my sisters-in-law who are all SAHM who use the family cook book to make extravagant, healthy meals. I feel pretty damn good if I’ve made some stir fry or put together a whole meal made out of things that don’t simply have to be reheated. I don’t even work full time!! I work 32 hours a week but I’m still TIRED and our kitchen is often messy and I am terrible at putting away clothes so they’re all over… So I don’t get how people do it with a kid, unless their kid is an angel and they’re a SAHM with a cleaning obsession.

    And when we DO have kids, I’m planning on being a working mother, which I never thought I would be. But that’s sort of how it will have to be, because we live in an expensive town and have a fairly high rent and my husband’s job just will NOT support us financially. And I REALLY hope I am a mom that loves her life. But I do worry that I will start to resent the little person that turned my whole life upside down. I worry that I will resent being “mom” instead of “Jessica.” Does that make sense?

    So I’m glad that you’re not a shinyhappypersonholdinghands.

    Also: I think a lot of Mormon mommy bloggers feel pressure to appear happy and put together b/c their church doctrine tells them that being a mother is a HUGE part of a woman’s reason for being. And that the LDS church is the only church with “God’s plan for happiness.” My husband’s family is LDS, and I feel like the women feel like they always have to be making fancy meals and being the best mommies ever. It seems like such a stressful, guilt-producing expectation to me. But that is just my theory.

    • Completely understandable. I had the same fears before we had Claire, and for some reason I think I forced myself to not think that way — that if I BELIEVE motherhood will be wonderful, it WILL be wonderful. And (as you can probably tell), it didn’t work out that way. And sometimes I really do resent my baby, and I feel like a horrible mom, as well as a horrible PERSON, for doing so. I always thought I wanted two children, but now I’m more leaning towards the “one is enough” side, because I really don’t think I can go through this again, especially with a toddler!

      Sorry I went off on a tangent there. I just wanted to let you know that your fears aren’t unwarranted, and that I understand. 🙂

      • My hubs and I thought we wanted three children… and we haven’t even had one yet and now we’re thinking “maybe two is enough.” I’m glad I’m not the only one who was unsure about the prospect of plunging into motherhood. I think the majority of it is “your life will never be the same!!” My husband jokes about his “50 and Free” plan, which means that all of our kids would be out of the house (in college) by the time we’re 50. My brother and I were out of the house by the time my folks were 50 and they were VERY HAPPY to have an empty nest and to have it just be the two of them again, especially being so young. But even when you’re 50, you still have kids… hopefully they just don’t try to move back home or ask for money.

        Sorry. Tangent.

        Anyways, between you, Mandy, and Jenna, I feel like I have a good, rounded view of motherhood.

  18. Val says:

    Mommyhood sucks. I stay home with my daughter, work part time from home, sleep 3-4 hours a day – not because she’s up – but because I ended up with insomnia after her, but then realized maybe I don’t sleep because this is the ONLY TIME I get to just BE. My blog is all about her or mostly things related to her, and your post got me thinking. I don’t think it’s all happy joy goody, but it may sound that way if someone else read it depending on perspective, I guess. My daugter is the core of my life, but that doesn’t mean sometimes I wonder what life would have been like had I not become one. Our house looks like the rainbow alphabet threw up all over it, nothing in any of the rooms match anymore, there are streaks and small hand prints all over any flat surface, and laundry to be done daily. I spend all day with her, clean/cook while she naps, and once she goes down for the night, I surf, blog, shop, chat, email, EAT because this is the only time that I can do all those things without interruption or feel like I’m neglecting my kid. In my case, insomnia is a blessing and a curse. I think it keeps me from going batty from the lack of ME time, but it’s definitely no fun not sleeping either. Mommyhood does suck, but then she’ll waddle over to hug me with a huge grin on her face, and it’s the best thing in the world, until she waddles away again and knocks over all the books I just neatly stacked up. Gahhhh…. Thanks for keeping me company when I need something to read.

  19. Nodakademic says:

    I love honest blogs like yours! So many of the things you’ve written about motherhood resonate with me–even though I’m not a mother. I think “I could see myself feeling this way…” And somehow, since you feel it too, it makes it not so bad. Here’s an example. I swear, EVERYONE told me before I got married that I’d forget everything but my husband’s face when I stood before him during the ceremony. That I’d be in the moment, completely in it and full of joy and nothing else. I am really not that kind of person, so it came as no surprise to me that I was completely aware of what was going on, I wasn’t “in the moment,” and my brain was still churning away about details and concerns and this and that the whole time. That’s just me. So when you’ve written about not being ‘love at first sight’ with your baby, I’ve honestly thought that’d be me too. I’d need time to acclimate before really feeling the immense love. I’m glad to know that this is the experience some women have, so if/when it happens to me I won’t be ‘alone’ or feel like some sort of freak.

    Also, if I had a baby and said baby was taking a nap, like you I would be cleaning the house or doing laundry or something..a messy house stresses me out SO MUCH! Priorities…

    • I had to chuckle when I read your comment, because I WAS THE SAME EXACT WAY! As I walked down the aisle, I didn’t experience the pure joy and everything-is-hazy-except-my-future-husband’s-face moment that everyone talks about. I was worrying about how the string quartet may not make it to cocktail hour, thinking to myself, “Why is that person looking at me like that? Do I have something on my face?” and things like that.

      As for the ‘love at firs sight’ moment with my baby, one person explained it to me like this: “Some people just take longer to fall in love than others. You didn’t fall in love with your husband for YEARS after meeting him — how can you expect to fall in love with your baby right away?” And it’s true. Sometimes I worry that I STILL don’t love Claire as much as some moms probably did as soon as their babies were born…but I figure that hey, this is how I love, and as long as my love for her keeps growing, that’s all that matters, right?

  20. ruth says:

    hello! i started following your blog while i was pregnant (i just had a boy in january) and it’s been great hearing about your ups and downs–especially since you always follow up on how you overcome the issues you ran into. it shows your growth as an individual and mother =D

    i remember reading that you had to stop playing the piano during your pregnancy because of carpal tunnel and I was wondering if the carpal tunnel went away after you gave birth to claire…I got carpal tunnel during my third trimester and the carpal tunnel hasn’t gone away. sometimes it’s painful to lift baby 🙁 should i expect it to go away anytime soon?

    please do continue being candid on your blog! it’s awesome. it’s your blog, after all.

    • Hi Ruth,

      For me the majority of the swelling (water retention as well as joint swelling) didn’t go down for 2-3 weeks after the baby was born. So I would say that the carpal tunnel didn’t completely go away for about 4-5 weeks post-partum.

      How many weeks post-partum are you? If it’s been over 2 months and you’re still experiencing pain, I would definitely bring it up to a doctor. Good luck!

      • ruth says:

        it’ll be one month on Sundy…i guess i can bring it up to the doctor if i still feel pain at the six week post-partum check up.hopefully it’ll stop hurting by then! thanks for the speedy reply

  21. Jenn says:

    I appreciate your honesty. I’m pregnant now with my first and I like to read about all sides of pregnancy. Yeah, it’s nice sometimes to read the posts that are all sunshine but I much prefer the real posts. Thanks for being honest!

  22. Victoria says:

    Hi I’m a fairly new reader. I stumbled across your site through a google search a few days ago. Your blog reignited a once, I thought, dead interest I had in blogs when 10 years or so when I was 12. I think what drew me in was the very fact that everything you talk about is interesting to me. In that, there is a humanistic quality to it, because it has so many different notes.
    I do not agree with the people who took your Keeping it Real blog post as a personal attack. Obviously that wasn’t what you are trying to say.
    I believe it is a really brave and kind thing that you do to be able to share with us your problems. I actually learn a lot from reading about other’s problems, and I think it’s beneficial when we talk about these things sometimes.
    I am always question whether it is right to say or think negative thoughts, so it is a great relief to find out that someone out there is thinking the same. I am seriously considering creating my own blog after this. Thank you and keep it up!

    • Victoria,

      Thank you so much for your comment — you have no idea what it means to me. Especially the part where you say that you question whether it is right to say or think negative thoughts, because that’s exactly how I feel. 🙂 It is for readers like you that I keep writing, and I hope that if you do start blogging, you will share with me the link!

      • Victoria says:

        I’m grateful that my comment made an impact lol. Yes I will definitely do that. Thank you again and looking forward to reading more from you!

  23. Jan says:

    I am not a mommy, but I do read some mommy blogs. I feel exactly the same way you do – why do they always appear to be happy? I mean, every time I go out somewhere and I see a couple with a fussy baby, my first instinct is thank God it’s not me who has a baby. But I am 28 and have been married for 2 years and so I am being forced into trying for a baby soon. When I read happy perfect mommy blogs, they make it seems so easy. But I love reading your posts because they give me an idea about what to really expect. So please do write about everything that happens – good and bad.

  24. Ann says:

    There are lots and lots of women who love their children, but don’t always love being a mother. You’re not alone. Want proof? Read some of these confessions from women who feel overwhelmed or unhappy with their choice to be parents, either all or some of the time:


  25. Beka says:

    I never wanted kids growing up, then married a man who wants to be a dad, made the decision to have children someday, and now fluctuate between wanting babies NOW, never wanting babies, and total ambivalence. Yes, I am aware that that made zero sense.

    But your perspective is as valid as anyone else’s, just as theirs is as valid as yours. They’re simply different. I love reading Jenna’s blog because she gives me hope that maybe raising a baby doesn’t have to be SO hard. I love reading Mandy’s blog because she proves that you can still have a sense of humor post-baby. And I love reading your blog because you’re teaching me that even if I don’t love my baby at first sight, and never planned on having a baby, and don’t really know exactly how good of a mother I can be… that it’s ok. And that’s really valuable, to me, because I truly wonder if I’ll suck as a mom. And you clearly don’t suck as a mom even though you don’t have all the ‘perfect’ moments or responses.

  26. Deanna says:

    Jenny, I appreciate your candidness. I know that I will use your experiences as a resource when we are TTC, pregnant, and have an infant. I should say that I also enjoy reading blogs with more “positive” outlooks because I, like you, sometimes have a more pessimistic view of the world, and I think it helps me to be a little more positive myself. I really dislike it, though, that every time you post something like this, people come running over here to defend themselves or Claire against your “pessemistic” ways. I found your post in no way shape or form judgmental. I believe the attitude was very “to each their own,” and I don’t know why people are so quick to assume you are insulting them. Sigh.

  27. Deanna says:

    Jenny, I appreciate your candidness. I know that I will use your experiences as a resource when we are TTC, pregnant, and have an infant. I should say that I also enjoy reading blogs with more “positive” outlooks because I, like you, sometimes have a more pessimistic view of the world, and I think it helps me to be a little more positive myself. I really dislike it, though, that every time you post something like this, people come running over here to defend themselves or Claire against your “pessimistic” ways. I found your post in no way shape or form judgmental. I believe the attitude was very “to each their own,” and I don’t know why people are so quick to assume you are insulting them. Sigh.

  28. Joolz says:

    Regular reader delurking here!

    I gave birth about six weeks after you and have found it tough but in different ways from you. I was lucky enough to fall in love with my baby straight away, but he’s pretty much unputdownable and will only sleep in his sling during the day and in bed with me at night. He also fights sleep like anything – getting him to sleep in his sling during the day always feels like a massive achievement and inevitably he’s overtired a huge amount of the time. He can’t stand the car or his pram either, so much for babies being supposed to fall asleep in them. I find it really hard mixing with other mothers sometimes because I feel like the problems they face are so far removed from the ones I do. They are talking about how to get their babies to sleep through the night, whereas I am wondering how I can get my baby to sleep for more than two hours between 11pm and 7am (my husband has had to take time off work at short notice on a couple of occasions because despite going to bed pretty much the instant he gets home, I’ve just been too tired to be able to function in the morning).

    I have to keep reminding myself that there’s a large element of self-selection going on. The mothers who are finding it tough aren’t the ones who will be blogging, on twitter etc. or at the baby groups. I also have to keep telling myself not to be jealous and that I just have to accept that mothers whose baby is in that 15-20% of fussy babies really do not have a clue what it is like to have a baby like that and that’s not their fault.

    I’ve started to find it easier to not talk to regular mums about what I am finding hard because it always ends up leaving me feeling frustrated afterwards that nobody seems to understand. Doesn’t mean I’m always successful at remaining calm and positive though! I do wish somebody had braced me for the possibility it would be this hard. I don’t regret having our baby in the slightest, but I think I might have found it easier to handle if I’d known in advance that a certain percentage of babies are like this. Everybody tells you about the lack of sleep, but you see other people get out and about with their babies once they are past the first couple of months and I’d naively assumed that I’d be able to as well. I’m gradually getting used to this new lifestyle now I guess and learning to make the most of it, but not to the sleep deprivation which I am still finding really hard.

    (Ironically, I actually have a fair amount of time for internet, because I don’t dare do physical things while our baby is asleep in his sling for fear of waking him up! My husband is doing all the cooking, washing up etc. and we’re lucky enough to be able to afford to have a cleaner come once a fortnight).

  29. These posts are why I keep reading your blog 🙂 Keep them coming!!

  30. Angie C says:

    I’m not sure why people found this post offensive in anyway. The great thing about blogworld is that you can post what you’re feeling or your interests and portray it ANYWAY you like. I don’t get a hint of pessimism when I read your post. In fact, it just seems like you need an avenue to “vent” for a lack of word out your frustrations with trying to be perfect while living in reality. And what’s wrong with that? And who wouldn’t want affirmation and what you’re feeling is what we’re ALL feeling?
    I know the happyallthetime blogs you’re talking about and while i’m mostly awed by their unending patience, I do get the “are they for real” feelings too. My mom told me you can’t give 100% at work, 100% to your family, 100% to cleaning and cooking and 100% to yourself. You need to prioritize what’s important to work accordingly. So my family gets 50% of my energy, work gets 40% of my energy, and everything else gets 10%. If I give 100% at work, my brain shuts off when I get home. If I’m cooking and cleaning and running around trying to make my entire family happy all the time, I suffer at work.
    Don’t beat yourself up over it. From what it seems like, you’re an awesome mom, wife and daughter. You don’t need to please anyone else.

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