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I have been a professional blogger for over 5 years. I gave up my career in medical research when I gave birth to my son 15 years ago and spent several years as a stay at home mom. While I was thrilled to be able to stay home with my kids, I was also slowly going insane from the lack of mental stimulation. Playing Barbies and making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches isn’t exactly rocket science. I tried teaching preschool and working retail part time but neither of those was really fulfilling. I had gotten into the ‘green and healthy’ lifestyle and really wanted to teach others how to live a simpler and more ecofriendly life so I started blogging at Turning the Clock Back. Teaching others to reduce their carbon footprint and cook from scratch was my new mission. And then I blogged about something NOT green and ecofriendly on my new blog and some slightly psychotic green militant went apeshit and left hateful comments on my post. What the hell? I never said that my whole life was a perfect example of green living! I was trying to keep it real with my readers but apparently only people who are perfect should be blogging. I was disillusioned.
Now comes a hard choice….do I continue to share my ‘not perfect’ moments on my green and healthy blog? Will people only believe what I want to teach them if I am seen as a perfect example of eco-friendly living? How do I find that balance between being real and honest with my readers and being a respected blogger who knows how to live green? Blogging was a source of income that my husband and I needed. I changed my about me page to include my insane love of Cheetos and Diet Coke. I am weak at times and I want my readers to know that. And then I started a new blog to feature the parts of my life that have nothing to do with green living. Suburbia Unwrapped was created to share my struggles with parenting teenagers, dealing with middle aged metabolism, and to be honest about my lack of perfection. However, now comes another struggle…because brands don’t really want to see the dirty reality. In real life, I forget to pay bills occasionally. I swear. I have a drink (or two) at night and have been known to forget that the kid told me she needed a white tshirt for the band concert and I didn’t buy it. I have been known to eat fast food on occasion, argue with my husband, and lie to the PTA about a prior commitment so I don’t have to volunteer for yet another activity. I wanted to turn Suburbia Unwrapped into an honest look at my life but honesty can be ugly and brands don’t want ugly. I wasn’t going to make any money on my new blog with the ugly truth.
Fractionated Living was created so that I have a space that has nothing to do with brands . There is no advertising, nobody to impress and frankly, probably no people actually reading it. Hopefully that will change over the coming years….I would like to have a loyal following of people who are just as imperfect as I am. Because I want Fractionated Living to be a place where I can be real….I just need to get used to sharing that lack of perfection with my followers! Why is that so hard? Because mom bloggers have spent the last 5 or 10 years showing everyone how perfect they are and the rest of us ‘non perfect’ moms feel an intense need to live up to their image. Mom bloggers have been making people feel guilty for way too long.
Who the hell really cooks like that?
When is the last time you tied up your soft taco before feeding it to your family?
Where do these people get so much money that they can buy tableware and linens that are clearly never actually used?
And then comes the guilt. Clearly my dinner sucks because it is served to my family in a chipped bowl and our cloth napkins are actually used to wipe our faces. You can tell from the set in stains that won’t come out even with that laundry detergent the mom bloggers swear is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
But, chipped bowls, messy food and stained napkins doesn’t look pretty on Pinterest so mom bloggers don’t show those photos.
They will show the perfect apple pie…..not the 5 pieces of crap they cooked BEFORE that one that didn’t come out right. We don’t pin imperfection. Imperfection isn’t pretty so we don’t blog about it.
“I forget how fun these activities are each year! Everyone is a great listener as I explain how to clean the pumpkin and be safe with knives. They don’t say, “I KNOW, MOM, I KNOW” and then indiscriminately hack and stab at the pumpkin while making the noise from “Psycho” until they eventually lose interest and wander off to torture each other with pumpkin guts.”
Recently I was a scrolling through the internet and came across a Tumblr blog called It’s Like They Know Us. Honestly, this site has some of the most hilariously captioned photos of ‘perfection’ that I have ever seen. Perfect parents with their perfect children showing their perfect lives to the internet…and then a caption inserted onto it to make the REST of us imperfect folks feel a little bit better about ourselves! If you need a good laugh I seriously suggest you check it out!
I have come to realize that the websites that I visit the most often are the ones that show off the blogger’s flaws in absolute glaring reality. I love The Bloggess because she seems to have zero brain to mouth filter. There is no attempt there to be perfect, just to be real. I am sick of seeing mom bloggers perfect family photos…I want to see the ones where the kids are crying and your shirt has a stain on it because you were eating McDonald’s in the car on the way to the photography studio. Then maybe I won’t feel like such crap the next time I end up going through the Golden Arches to feed my French fry addiction.
So, hats off to sites like Scary Mommy that show us that it is perfectly acceptable to be a slightly okay mom. If we try to live up to the standards that most mom bloggers set, we will end up with a shoulder crushing amount of guilt. Because mom bloggers are only showing us a small percentage of their lives. We don’t see the mountains of laundry, the foreclosure notice, the women that are in abusive relationships or the toddlers who just wish their mom would get off the computer and read them a book.
Because reality is ugly. And ugly doesn’t bring in the money.
I wear many hats in this thing called life. I am a science geek, an introvert, a busy mother of teens and slightly neurotic about dirty dishes. I used to have a really important sounding job in cancer research when I decided to give it all up to be a stay at home mom. I played with Playdough, colored pictures of Barbies and freaked out when the baby ate dog food. Then the second kid came along and I started to think dog food might have nutritional value. What is Fractionated Living? It is me…divided by work, life, kids, marriage, and hobbies and trying to come up with the answer to life.