Monday, April 28, 2014

The Blogger's Dilemma

As I've chronicled my existential self-absorbed blogging angst, I should probably share my latest thoughts with all of you as well.

Part of my struggle, as I explained in a reply to Amelia's comment, is that I want what I write to be truly edifying for those who read. As I was trying to get blogposts up more frequently, I realized that most of what I was writing was day-in-the-life. That's great - for people whose daily lives are interesting. Mine is not and besides, that would send me running to the confessional daily, and between all that confessing and blogging, I would have to quit my job and probably leave my family. No bueno.

In pondering all this, late at night, when I should be in bed, I realize what I am most frightened to blog about: happiness. Generally, I am very fulfilled in my life - overjoyed to have chubby toddler cheeks to kiss, a husband who holds my hand, a house that's mine.  I adore my life.

But I feel intensely uncomfortable talking about that. The fact is that most women don't bond over joy. I haven't gained many friends by sharing with them my great joy in my husband, or my happiness at finally having a child of my own. Most married women I meet seem...jaded. Their domestic life seems to have lost some of its sweetness. I feel silly and naive next to them; I don't want to speak up or share. I feel inadequate that I only have one at home; that maybe I'd feel like a 'real mom' if I had a whole pack of kids or if we'd been married for seven years - like maybe I'm happy because I haven't had enough experience with marriage or kids.

You gain friends by commiserating, by bonding over shared difficulties and coping strategies. To be honest, the matters that are hard in my life sometimes feel too personal to discuss on my blog. I refuse to discuss any troubles in my marriage because that's disrespectful; friendships feel the same way. My extended family? No way.

Recently I got a photo flagged and taken down on Instagram. It was my daughter and her cousin, naked, facing away from the camera - so just two cute toddler bums winking in the sun. I wanted to complain, but then I thought, was that appropriate? Am I oversharing? Afterall, my Insta isn't private. Anyone could find that picture. Maybe my judgment just isn't as good as I thought it was.

So if the only thing to talk about is that which is shiny and happy, has my blog become a title-fulfilling prophesy? Help me out here fellow-bloggers: how do you balance privacy and intimacy with your readers?

Friday, April 18, 2014

How Does a Mother Spend Good Friday?

How I think I should spend Good Friday (with more clothes, perhaps)

Since my conversion, I have traditionally spend the day almost entirely in silence. I was fasting, of course, and would mostly pray and do light housework. After the liturgy, I would watch the Passion of Christ, and then pray a rosary. I'd go to bed early with a rumbling belly. 

But not now.
"Mama, uppy!"

There's no shushing a sweet toddler, is there? I can't tell Zuzu not to shout "BUN-EY" with abandon, or to stop smiling because "Jesus died today!" It'd be a bit harsh, wouldn't it?

The ever-popular one shoulder look...

So instead, I'm trying to create our own cross buns at snack time, with 'eeee!' (tea) No upbeat music to clean to, and mostly quietly reading books. Early nap to prepare for the liturgy at 3pm. Preparations for tomorrow's meal and of course, Sunday. It helps that the weather has complied - overcast and rainy. It gives an appropriate feel.

Good Friday feels like a day I should be sad - a day I should just sit and think about Christ's Passion. But there are other ways to call to mind this ultimate sacrifice...showing Zuzu how to kiss Jesus' 'boo-boos' (showing her the five wounds of Christ on every crucifix we pass, and letting her touch and kiss each). 

So I dress for a funeral and try to convey to Susannah that today is that we think about Jesus even more than usual, that we think about his 'boo boos,' and offer what we have. Even our choice of clothing is an offering - she's wearing red and I'm wearing black. For reference, I'm wearing an outfit similar to the picture below, including the babywearing (although I'll probably opt for the Boba over a ring sling and lets be honest, 30 minutes in, I'll be barefoot in the back row because my feet hurt):

Good Friday

Good Friday by martij featuring black leather shoes
The great black hat is from Jen for my birthday, the dress is a similar one from Dillard's (on sale), the shoes are from Nordstrom Rack, and the purse is only in my dreams (I am almost always carrying this one instead - a lovely Christmas gift from my Uncle Chad and Aunt Paula).

Hope everyone has a peaceful Good Friday - however you can. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

What the Heck is There to Say?

I'm sure you can tell - I haven't exactly been blogging up a storm here lately.

Mostly it's because I am busy (aren't we all?). I don't make time for it - I want to sit and browse endless for lingerie sales. (no really - this is my favorite way to waste time on the internet. I dream of finding an 80% off sale at Journelle where all the bras are in my size and made of sea foam colored lace and mesh. Also, it would be cool if Eberjey made my size or if Fleur of England cost the same as Wacoal). I know shoes and home wares from Anthropologie are the more acceptable forms of female obsession, but this is mine)

But what I'm really thinking is: what exactly do I have to say? To the world - to you, my readers (most of whom I have no clue who you are and others who stay anonymous, but I know you're reading).

I have a pretty great life, honestly. The struggles I endure are quite minuscule; they only seem large because I am so selfish and small. Sometimes, when I think of how good my life is, I get frightened - like God views life as a balancing scale, and he sees I'm tipping it way too much and he's going to send some cancer/death/poverty/etc. my way just to even it out.

I have also figured out that for most people, they don't want to read a happy blog. Happiness is boring. Y'know, like that Russian guy said: "happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Granted, I think my happiness might be unique because I'm not thin or good at photography (is that a prerequisite for a great mommy blog??), but still - I am an upper middle class white mom who works part-time as a youth director, but mostly stays at home. My husband's job has taken us to Rome and will soon take us to Ireland. Who wants to hear me cry about not fitting into jeans from seven years ago? (but seriously - I love those jeans and will never sell them because one day I will punish my body enough that it will shrink into the size 8 oblivion it needs to be to fit into those pants)

But what's the alternative? Write about how every third time I open my washing machine, a roach scurries into its depths? (it's terrifying - Florida is the land of bugs) Who wants to hear about my inexplicable ability to keep a clean house with only one child, or how I always end up throwing away food that's languishing in my fridge because our microwave broke like six months ago and sometimes, I'm just too lazy to turn the stove/oven on to reheat leftovers so I get take-out?

The truth is, I think I need to write a little of both - about our happiness and my corresponding snubs to the overtures of grace that God is constantly offering me. In the big picture, I have very few worries and am mostly happy. But in the day-to-day grind, sometimes I feel overwhelmed: by my stunning loss of ambition, with my own inadequacy as a house keeper, with my own materialistic desires, with my near pathological refusal to let anything bother me (because then I'd have to admit that something was wrong).

As I said to Calah the other night, the work is the glory. The work that I'm doing - in my life, with my family - that's what I have to share here. If I share it honestly, maybe then that'll be something worth saying.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Wedding Song

Breaking my blogging silence to chime in on Grace's wedding song link-up...

Flower girls, anticipating the day ahead

We have been married for 2, almost 3, years now. Looking back on our wedding, I see so many signs that I was just not myself at that particular moment in my life. But one thing that stands out as something that absolutely was me, was us, is our wedding song: Umbrellas by Sleeping at Last.

I do not have the pictures of our reception on this computer...but that's okay, because I really liked the ceremony better! 

One of my favorite aspects of Tom and I's friendship, and then our courtship, was the music that traced the narrative arc of our relationship. As friends, we passed burned CDs back and forth - "check out this band" and "I love this composer." We so enjoyed sharing what we had discovered. And when our friendship deepened into romantic love, he shared with me a mixed CD I will never forget - the CD we listened to the entire summer of 2009. Each song means so much to me, but Umbrellas had a prophetic call for us both - especially the line about "we'll bring a child into this world." It spoke of all we wanted for our love - to bear witness to the beauty of each other's lives, and for that love to overflow into another person.

And it did. 

PS: Dyed my hair red. 
Guess I really am panicking over my last year in my twenties (I turn 29 on Sunday). 

Just call me 'Red.'