Over the past couple of months, I have noticed myself becoming increasingly domesticated (and increasingly uncool) – spending more time, energy and money on cooking and cleaning. I’m also spending more time at home, living like an old woman, minus the cats. For dinner tonight, I made a salad with green leaves, vegetables and seeds I don’t even know the names of followed by a raw, dairy- and gluten-free dessert. But wait, it gets more exciting. Soon I will start reading a book about World War II, and probably by 10pm I will have fallen asleep with the book on my face.
My own foray into domestic goddessery has seen me start to cook more and more in an effort to be healthier and save money. My cleaning and tidying habits are bordering on OCD. I have spent substantial amounts of money ordering exotic hippy food over the Internet. The only thing that is not organic in my fridge is the fridge itself. I even purchased a blender to make green smoothies.
What is fueling this obsession? I think part of it may have to do with reading the Mommy blogs. That’s right, sometimes I indulge in reading blogs written by Type A mothers who are on a mission to portray their lives in the most flattering light possible – in a sense, creating a fantasy that the reader/consumer is drawn into…and it totally works.
These blogs are easy to find. Usually, they are written by attractive white American or Canadian women who are married to a tall white husband who wears coke bottle glasses with one, two or sometimes three young children. Their lives exude a kind of bourgeois hipsterness in which each day is a new opportunity for exploring (and consuming) expensive food, fashion, furniture, art, Apple products and all natural, environmentally-friendly cleaning things. Home renovation projects feature frequently and prominently.
And maybe I sound a little snarky. But truth be told, I love these blogs. They provide me with some escapism. Sometimes when I need a break at work, I will spent five minutes reading a post or two and feel rejuvenated after doing so. I feel like some of these women are my friends, like I know their children. Which sounds creepy. Anyway, I also get lots of ideas about my own life from their vast troves of information – about chemical-free cosmetics, or easy-yet-delicious pasta dishes, about new, interesting books and music. And it’s all frreeeeee.
In their construction and portrayal of their lives as seemingly perfect – one amazing domestic adventure after another – I think they do their audience a disservice. I mean, for sure, there’s always the danger of TMI or over-sharing, and there are some things most people would agree are just too banal or gross to mention. However, a dose of reality would go a long way to helping readers identify with the characters, their trials and tribulations. Holding up such a picture of idyllic domestic bliss, which very few people can live up to, perhaps sends a message that your (the readers’) life sucks and you are a bad parent because your kid vomited after eating too much candy.
One writer, in the FAQ section of her blog responds to the question: Is life really that perfect?
i never said my life was perfect. it’s not. no one has a perfect life. but i choose to look at what i am blessed with rather than what i do not have. i work hard to find the joy in my day-to-day. regardless, i have terrible days just like anyone. while i try to be honest about the entire picture, i like to keep this blog on the positive side. please do not ever look at my blog (or anyone’s blog) and compare your life to it. a saying i love, “comparison is the thief of joy,” has never rung truer than in the blogging world. i can’t choose what you’ll take away from my blog, but i hope you’ll take away a message of finding the joy in what is around you, in your family and friends, and in your surroundings over anything else.
I agree with her wise words. Ironically, there is nothing but smiling faces plastered all over her posts. So maybe it’s OK to let the guard down sometimes and write, ‘this is hard,’ or ‘I feel overwhelmed.’ Maybe it won’t “sell” as well, but it will be real.