A girlfriend of mine recently had an embarrassing, but probably very common, issue with her teenager. She happens to read a number of parenting blogs, but commented to me that she had never seen any of the bloggers mention similar problems with their kids. In fact, she commented that these bloggers seem to have, if not completely perfect families, certainly better-adjusted-than-average ones. My friend wished out loud that she could find a blog that reflected her own, imperfect family, rather than the always-awesome ones she was reading about.
I cringed, a little guiltily.
A lot guiltily, actually.
While I do occasionally blog about mistakes we’ve made, I only write about the funny ones. The ones that aren’t really my fault, and the ones that don’t make us look too bad. The ones where people can relate, and aren’t too likely to judge us harshly. You know. The minor mistakes. Not the total foul-ups that are more-or-less self-imposed, not the stupid stuff that, in hindsight, I kick myself for not dealing with/figuring out sooner. Not the stuff where somebody suffered (unless it was unusually gross or funny), and certainly not when that happened as a result of our ignorance or neglect.
I didn’t write about neglecting a major wound on one of the dogs until, when we finally did go to the vet, we were informed it was badly infected, and she was in significant pain, and that the stitches might or might not even take.
I haven’t talked about how the goats’ feet are totally out of hand, and desperately need trimming, but how a combination of colicky baby, illness, sore back, crappy weather, and sheer lazy (emphasis on the latter; goat feet really only take a few minutes per goat) have left some of my girls limping.
Or how I’ve failed to socialize one of the doelings, who is now totally wild, and will probably have to be sold or culled, because she can’t be caught or handled.
I haven’t discussed how our delaying of the butchering last year left us with some extremely damaged roosters, plus a flock of very hassled hens missing all of their back feathers for the winter and the summer; nor have I mentioned the chilling or sunburn or other suffering the hens went through as a result. (Though the hens are moulting, now, and the feathers seem to be filling back in, thankfully)
Don’t even get me started on the state of my house, the barn, or the level of cleanliness of my kid. I will simply state that I have actually had to set a goal to put pants on every day for a week. A goal. To get dressed. Not even to get dressed by 8 am, or to dress up nicely; just to get out of pajamas sometime before I went back to bed. For seven days in a row.
(I failed to meet that goal, I might add. In my defense, we’ve all been completely wiped out by some stomach bug, and there’s not much point in wearing pants if you’re seated on the toilet holding a bucket between your knees while your significant other is banging down the door because he also needs both bucket and toilet, but I digress)
In the end, I am guessing that my friend’s bloggers are much like me: selective sharers. Folks who don’t really want the world to know all the warts and dirty laundry, even though they’re okay with sharing some. I don’t imagine anyone has an overly rosy impression of us and our little disaster-farm out here, but maybe I’ve been a little coy about just how big a disaster it is, some days. My apologies, in that case.
But don’t count on me to tell you the whole truth, all of the time. A girl needs to hang on to a little dignity…