I don’t read Mommy blogs. I have two or three blogs that I regularly read, and that is because I know those people in real life. Very occasionally, though, when I have some extra time, I start clicking through and reading these delightfully decorated, always updated blogs.
And I laugh at them.
I read about how wonderful their homeschooling is, how clean and nicely decorated their house is, and in between all of this writing, they managed to put up 274 quarts of applesauce, handpicked from apple trees in their backyard that they fertilize with the special organic fertilizer they make in their kitchen. While their five year old is doing algebra at the dining room table and their fourteen year old daughter is busy sewing a complete fall wardrobe for the entire family.
Truthfully? I suspect that their kids are watching Sesame Street and flooding the toilet.
I laugh because not only do I not believe the public image they present, but also because it is so far from the ideal for my life. My ideal is spending lots of time with my kids, making messes, playing in the mud, fingerpainting on the kitchen floor. My ideal is not the spotless house or the fresh eggs in the backyard or the widely read blog–good things, to be sure, but what would I have to give up for them? Would I be giving up listening to my son’s giggles as he throws rocks into the creek? Would I be missing out on watching him chase bubbles down the sidewalk, or twirling in the living room? I could bake all our own bread, but what would I be missing out on while I did that? I could have world’s spotless house, but what kind of message would it give my son? Would it tell him that having a super clean house is more important than the train track he just built on the living room floor?
The bottom line to me is that if my son grows up and remembers a spotless house, organic-from-scratch-grown-in-our-garden food, but doesn’t remember me ever reading to him, I have failed as a mother.
My point isn’t that one should have a messy house or feed their kids a diet of sugary, processed foods. Of course not. Those are good things–but are they always the best things? My point is that there is a balance. One can have a picked up, relatively hygenic household and pot roast with homemade mashed potatoes for dinner without neglecting all those special moments that make up a childhood. My point is that as a mom, my goal is to never sacrifice the best for the good. I never want to sacrifice missing my son’s giggles because I am doing something that some Mommy blogger out there told me I should be doing. Maybe it works for their family, but in the end, I don’t need someone else’s approval on my parenting.
So this afternoon, we’re skipping out on the dishes, and dinner very likely will be Burger King tonight. You see, it’s a warm spring day, and I’m taking my little boy to the park. Not too many days from now, not nearly as many as it seems, my little boy is going to get into his car and drive off to college. And then I will have all the time in the world to clean and bake bread and write, but I won’t have my little boy kisses.
And I don’t want to miss a thing.