Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Beyond Mommy Blogging

(I wrote this blog post about 6 weeks ago but, for whatever reason, failed to post it. There was a lot I left unsaid, mainly because I am a wimp. Then Jamie the Very Worst Missionary hit it out of the park with this post and said what I wanted to but haven't. These are the words I was able to write.)

There are a lot of Mommy Bloggers. There aren't so many "Moooooooom" (said with the inflected tone of an irritated teenager) Bloggers. This has always baffled and bugged me.

Sure we can all giggle and guffaw at (and relate to) you Mommy Bloggers and your grocery store expeditions gone wrong, your trash infested cars (we called them "rolling dumpsters"), your sleepless nights with barfing toddlers, your tiny Picassos who choose the dining room wall as a canvas. We get this. We have our own stories.

Don't get me wrong. I love these Mommy Blogs. In an era of Parenthood Perfectionism it is nice to see that normal kids, and normal moms, exist out there. I believe it is of utmost importance for moms to see other moms dealing with the same stuff. There is a camaraderie in the ranks that I believe is good and necessary to keep moms from putting too-high expectations on themselves and too-high expectations on their children.

And, the truth is, you HAVE to laugh at it all, or you would cry. "Embrace the chaos" was our motto when we insanely chose to have four kids in six years. Chaos actually sounded like fun. (What were we thinking?)

But there aren't so many "Moooooooom (insert rolling eyes)" Bloggers out there. In fact, I  have hardly found any. And this is hard. Because, in the absence if the real good, the down and dirty of it, the war stories from both within the ranks and those who have (amazingly enough) survived, life gets lonely, and we can feel hopeless, like we are the only ones.

A couple of dynamics happen here, not only are we now unaware that anybody else out there is going through the struggles that we are with our teenagers, this is when the achievement announcements begin to roll in. The praise and adulation of the very kid who, just a few years earlier, smeared his poop all over the neighbor's dog is broadcast all over Facebook.

Gone are the streaking toddlers, and the pea slinging 3 year-olds and the preschooler who just colored every square inch if her baby sister's body in technicolor Sharpies. We are now given a steady display of honor rolls and Eagle Scouts and college scholarships and ballet recitals and MVP awards and student missionaries ad nauseum. It is an endless parade of evidence that their kids have it all together and are going places. And endless evidence that they DID IT RIGHT as parents to produce such assets to society.

What happens to the rest of us? We wonder. Is this what matters? Did we do something wrong? Have we failed our children? Are we the only ones slogging through this meat grinder?

Sure, because of the Mommy Bloggers, you know that you are not alone when your toddler smashes every egg in the carton or tells old Mrs. McGillicuddy that she is fat, but do you know that you are not alone when your teenager . . . ?

See? Here is the problem. We can't post that stuff. Our kids aren't oblivious toddlers whose cute, though messy, antics can grace the very public forums of social media and blog posts. They are living, breathing, READING people who deserve the privacy to grow and develop and become the people God intends them to be.

Sure, I want to be able to share the more mature chaos and drama that rocks our home on a daily basis but, out of respect for my children, I can't. That doesn't mean that I don't long for camaraderie. In fact, I need more than ever to know that I am not the only one in the trenches.

Maybe some parents DO have those Most Excellent Parenting Skills. Maybe some managed to pop out children wired to be exceptionally mature and focused and driven and happy, all rolled into one. Maybe some are able to skim over that very delicate stage of life called adolescence without so much as a scratch. But I would imagine that those are few and far between.

I once heard somebody say, "If you do it right in the younger years then you will not have trouble when they are teens." I just don't think I can buy that bill of goods because there are no formulas and one look at what is happening physiologically and neurologically within the bodies and brains of teenagers is enough to make you want to run far, far away.

But you can't. Because you are the parent. In my case, you are the mom. A mom who needs to know that other moms are there with her. In the trenches. Struggling to survive.

Please don't get me wrong. I love my children more than life itself. They are so wonderful and so unique. Life is no cakewalk for any of them, and if I look at it from the long term perspective, I think that is a good thing. I want to be able to love them through all of the growing and developing and pulling and pushing and questioning and weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I just can't do it alone. I need other moms. My trench is lonely.

If you need a friend in combat, let me know. I will be there for you.

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