Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Blog Effect

About once a week I like to hop over to and read Soule Mama, a blog by a mom who knits, sews, and home-schools her four children with grace and ease (or at least that is how it seems). Usually I feel peaceful, calm and inspired by her photos or posts. But last week I found myself weeping as I viewed her tribute to her youngest child on her first birthday. The photos of the gifts from the siblings, made with such love and care and beauty, made me so sad. I had long envied Soule Mama, but now the startling evidence of her seemingly superior lifestyle was right there in front of me.

Suddenly my life felt hectic, ugly, and completely at odds with my values. While my kids were stuck inside watching TV, hers had been out gathering wood to make blocks and knitting balls for the baby to play with. I can't even imagine the horror on my kids' faces if they got these gifts this month. My daughter dreams of a Playmobil box with hundreds of shiny plastic parts under the Christmas tree. Both kids fall asleep to the sound of traffic on the busy road just beyond our door. That morning I read her post, Soule Mama made me seriously doubt my earlier contention that life in the city is better in the long run than what I had growing up.

Although a blog empowers us by letting us share the real details of our lives, it may also be the great humbler. Reading blogs, I am now regularly reminded how unoriginal my ideas are and how different my life is from the many I have imagined for myself. That is not to say I am disappointed with my life, (my husband and children are amazing and wow me with their special gifts every day) I am only disappointed with my inability to be all I can imagine.


  1. Don't be hard on yourself Jen. What we blog about is just the window we let people peek through. As cool as SouleMama is, I'm sure she'd be the first to tell you that we all have crosses to bear! =)

  2. Jen, the thing about blogging is that it's a carefully constructed persona; an edited version of real life. You only see what the blogger wants you to see.

    For example, I could post some photos of the Christmas tree that I let the kids trim themselves with the ornaments The Boy made last year. I could include some dreamy prose and it would project this image of myself as some sort of hip "let the kids express themselves" kind of mama.

    But I wouldn't be showing how vaguely cranky I felt during the process, or how I hid my favorite ornaments in my bedroom so I could hang them myself later (and snapped at The Boy for sneaking in there), or how I went back and tweaked some of the kids' handiwork to meet my own aesthetic standards.

    I don't know this Soule Mama and I've never read her blog, but I'd be very surprised if there weren't at least some storm and stress behind the scenes that she's choosing not to share.

  3. yes, blogging is all about projecting a persona. take me. i'm not nearly as cranky as my blog might lead you to believe. i know what you mean about soulemama (just peeked at the blog). i have a real life friend who is a lot like her. i try not to measure myself against her, and know, since i know her personally, that life is not always as serene and artful as her blog may make it seem. but i am inspired by her. you'd like her, too, i'm sure (if you like soulemama):