Thursday, February 28, 2013

Failure Versus Fairy Tale

Sometimes I feel like people only like to read mommy blogs, mine included, when things are going downhill fast. We're talking to hell in a goddamn hand basket faster than Britney Spears shaving her head during that infamous meltdown. 

I get it. I get why that's so appealing. Everyone loves a good disaster story and as moms, we can especially relate to the meltdowns, the need to lock yourself in the bathroom for five minutes, fingers plugged in your ears to drown out the incessant whining of your toddler. We've all been there.

Hearing those things or reading those things rather, helps us feel less alone and lord knows whether you spend all day in an office or at home with your kids, its nice to hear you're not alone and ultimately screwing up your children for the rest of their lives by letting them watch TV and eat sprinkles for breakfast. Not like I know anything about either of those things.

And I will  be the first to admit, those days are funny. Maybe not while they're happening but in retrospect  at the end of the day, when you're sitting on the couch with a glass of wine in your hand, it's funny when you think about your toddler publicly humiliating you with a knockdown drag out tantrum in the grocery store over why he can't carry the glass jar of pickles which to everyone around you sounds like the "ass jah pimples." 

That's why I write about those days. To find the humor in them. To remind myself not to take life so seriously and to think twice about having another baby. I'm kidding. But mostly, I write about those days because it's what I'm living and it's what I know. Why would I write anything else?

When I first started this blog, I was writing about what my life was like when I had a year of marriage under my belt and a husband who was on the road more than he was home. I wrote about the trials and tribulations of training a puppy, most of which involved vomit or poop and of the time Fire Rescue nailed my three-day-old car on the street right in front of my house when we thought they were on our street because something happened to our 110 year old neighbor. I once wrote about the time I accidentally packed a beer for my lunch box at work rather than a can of seltzer.  Naturally, I wrote about what life was like before babies and while we're on the subject, a life that was pretty damn funny. 

And then I got pregnant and as things naturally progress, I had a baby and I suddenly became a mommy blogger and I began writing about my life as I navigated the rather choppy, kind of exhausting, wonderfully funny waters of motherhood. 

My question is, what is it about failure (in this case, as a mom) that brings people together over the fairy tale? We're so quick to hashtag "momfail" on Instagram and Twitter, so quick to divulge those oft shameful snippets of our days, it's almost as if we're more comfortable relishing in and documenting the failures over anything else. 

For every day that my toddler melts down and the dog vomits 7 baby wipes and the baby wakes up 4 times over night and my husband and I argue over who does more chores than the other (true story), there are three times as many days that the toddler is an angel, the dog a saint, the baby a better sleeper and my husband and I, equal partners on the same page of life. 

But that stuff? Isn't funny. It doesn't garner nearly as many laughs or "likes" than the other stuff. Nobody wants to read about that stuff and when they do? They become critical and chastising. As if anyone's life could actually be that good.

Let's not only find camaraderie in the failures but in fairy tales as well, no?







29 comments :

  1. I love this! & I love both the Failure & Fairy tale stories, somedays are really good & sometimes you consider shaving your head...

    Hannah

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  2. As if you need another comment from me saying I adore you, but I ADORE YOU. I always feel braggy if I write about good things yet if I write about a mishap I feel I look like I'm begging for sympathy....sound familiar??

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  3. Yes yes and yes. I like a balance of both failure and fairytale. Because that is the perfect representation of life, ya know?

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  4. Well said! I suppose I rarely actually think about this, but it's completely true. I wouldn't hesitate to post about G destroying a display at the grocery store while I tried to pick out some broccoli, but I never mention how sweet he is or the way his smile is completely infectious. I should work on that ;)

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  5. this is so, SO true! The "feel good" stuff doesn't make air time nearly as much as the failures among the blog world. Thanks for sharing that you're just like us! :)

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  6. aw, i love this! you are quite the writer, Miss AP!

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  7. I think for a lot of moms such as myself publicly speaking those mommy fails allows other people to chime in with the been there, seen thats and it gives you a moment to let go of the guilt. I know personally I have a number of times that as much I love my children I look them while they are lying or biting or whatever and I think I don't like my child right now. But the mom guilt is just overwhelming in that moment when you think what kind of mother says right now I do not like my children. So hearing other people have those moments validates that we are not a complete failure and everyone has those moments. So we need to stop drinking alone in a locked bathroom, pick ourselves up and move on.

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  8. Great post. I see a lot of mommy bloggers get chastised for only writing about the happy and good moments, myself included. For me, writing about the little tantrum moments and such aren't big things, because as you said, they're outweighed so heavily by good moments. So if I were to write my reality, it really would be made up almost entirely of happy upbeat posts. And that's okay.

    Hearing/reading/whatever about other mom's failures makes other moms relatable. Because all any of us are doing is trying our best to navigate the Unknown Waters Of Toddlerhood. And if one of us fails, it means most of us have at some point.

    Hope this novel of a comment made sense. ;)

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  9. I completely agree. And before I got to the bottom, I was going to comment that I feel like we don't acknowledge our successes because someone is always there to criticize or call it 'bragging.'

    There have been times when I want to post about a fantastic day we've had or just an overall parenting-win day (you those that I'm talking about!!) and I don't because I'm afraid someone will think I'm bragging about having a 'perfect' life. Which couldn't be farther from the point I was trying to make. It's depressing, isn't it? I agree that we should celebrate the good days more! :)

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  10. I need a balance of both because that is real life. What I can't stand are the blogs where everything is perfect and there is no "real life" going on. The mom fail stuff.....we try to make it funny.....but truly, that is just life a lot of days.

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  11. this is a great post... like so many other comments- i sometimes feel like if I don't post the bad then I'm being too braggy or not genuine in my path in parenting... I definitely like to celebrate the positives more! :)

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  12. I completely agree. I post about both the ups and downs. I haven't ever been criticized on my blog for either type of post, but I'm sure it wouldn't be fun. It would definitely be unfair. I have experienced it on Facebook however. The people who post non-stop trying to be overly perfect and the people who are always complaining. I tend to tune both out eventually.

    Great post!

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  13. Such a great perspective! I think both sides are worth reading- I mean we do want to remember all of the good times we have with our little ones too! Well-written!!!

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  14. First of all, the beer-for-lunch story cracked me up.

    Secondly, here's my take. I think there are a lot of blogs and posts from people who post all-good-and-nothing-but-the-good. So there has been a backlash against that -- what some people consider to be parental window dressing. But you're right - maybe it's swung too far the other way. I try to write about both things, but I'll be honest that I tend to write more about the funny/harder stuff. I think that's because writing it out is therapeutic for me. I like to write about the nice stuff, too, but when I'm happy and content, I feel less of an urge to write and more of an urge to just enjoy it and be present. I need to make more of an effort to write about those moments, too, so that when Ryan is older he knows his life wasn't total chaos all the time. ;)

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  15. I think it's about what you connect with on a blog. I wish there was a better balance on a lot of blogs. I love hearing how much moms love their children, but if it's always about how great life is with very little mention of the bad parts, it starts to feel fake. At the same time, if it's always about the mommy mess-ups and meltdowns, that doesn't feel real either. So... I think it's about finding authenticity and balance as a mom blogger.

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  17. I had no idea you were a blogger BEFORE the babies! Hopefully, by the time I have a family I'll be a good blogger - you give me hope! (Sometimes I feel like single life is so boring compared to reading Mom blogs)
    You give us a good mix of information, advice and real talk about life's sticky situations we're all going through. Keep it up, AP! We love ya (and the blog)!

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  18. This is so true. The posts that get the most hits on my blog are when I write about my struggles with depression and anxiety. I call it ambulance chasing. Oh look, Molly had another meltdown, let's go read about it! LOL. I try to blog some of the good moments too. But the drama sells :)

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  19. I actually find your humorous but honest posts refreshing versus today's "pinterest mom" posts. it's like being able to read along, nod my head, and say, ugh i've been there.

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  20. Love reading both the ups and downs. You always put it in such great perspective! Sometimes the fairy tales and failures take place on the same day or within minutes of each other in my world!

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  21. I love this post. Yes, Yes, yes. In fact, I have one sitting very similar to this in my scheduled posts called "my 1%" where I write that I choose to blog about happiness, but it doesn't mean my life is perfect. What we choose to write or blog about doesn't reflect our lives 100%, and people often fail to realize that.

    great post friend!

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  22. Agreed.
    The fails in life are almost always funnier but it's nice to bask in the better days too.

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  23. I have no babies, so feel free to take everything I say with a grain of salt. That being said, I find the train wreck days just as much fun as the #macattackinthemorning IG posts. For me, it's a peak into the life of someone normal, someone who admits to having faults. So while you might get more of a reaction (comments) out of the Wildabeast Toddler posts, I still really enjoy the happy ones too.

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  24. I don't know how to say the comment that is floating in my head.

    World's most amazing comment right there, perhaps. HA.

    I struggle with this. When I write/post about the positive I have been made to feel (MANY MANY TIMES) as though I am bragging, showing off or tooting my own/my kid's horn. OF COURSE I want to talk about my child's skills or the delicious food I make or the awesome thing my husband does. But I also want to be able to talk about it when my kid sucks, and we eat cereal for supper and my husband is a douchebag. Because all of it? All of it combined together and rolled into one ... THAT is my life. It is not perfect. It is not in shambles. But it's all together just how it is.

    Ramble, much?

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  25. Love this. Kind of reminds me of your post when you and the husband made cookies. We all love you for keeping it real because to us your life seems picture perfect, literally. So if you just wrote about how great your life was we would all hate you :). But instead you are relable and likeable and you make us laugh and make us feel like we aren't awful for doing and thinking the same things as you.

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