I’ve started posting two or three times the past week. You know when you feel like you have stuff to say and you start to write it all down and then all of a sudden it sounds stupid? Yeah, I scrapped one complete post because of that.
My blog friend Andi posted and asked whether people prefer reading blogs that are happy and rosy or if they want to read about people “warts and all.” I alluded to this in my comment on her blog post, but I thought I’d address it here further.
As a member of a minority group, I think it’s even more important those of us who write about our lives write about things that are real. Being a mom in a two mom household is hard. It’s hard for a lot of reasons. It’s hard because people assume my children are missing something, and because we have to go the extra mile (ok, the extra 1000 miles) to ensure that each of us has equal rights to make decisions on their behalf and for each other. It’s hard because we pay more for fewer rights than our straight counterparts. It’s hard because every. move. we. make. as parents is scrutinized so that a single misstep can be used to prove gay and lesbian parents are unfit.
My children have heard people ask us (in front of them) which one of us is their “real” mom. In a day in age when children are raised by grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, stepparents, etc… people still look at my family and believe I’ve not done right by my children.
It would be easy to post only about the things that are fantastic in our lives. Visits with grandparents could be easily glossed over by presenting beautiful pictures of everyone enjoying time together. I could post pictures of trips to the park, and swimming lessons, and lazy days watching movies with a bowl of popcorn. But it would be a lie. Because you’d miss the fact that the visit with the grandparents was the first one in which my parents visited in over 2 years because they treat my children as second class grandchildren. You’d miss the fact that in that trip to the park we had to leave early because a father who wouldn’t control his much older children physically threatened me (old story but true). You’d miss that at swim lessons the kids spent all of five minutes in the pool and refused to get back in because they said the water was too cold. You’d miss that the reason we spent the day on the couch watching movies was because J ran full speed into the door frame of her bathroom and hit her head so hard we were watching her for concussion signs. I could post our family Christmas portrait but neglect to discuss that we haven’t hired a professional photographer in years because you never know if someone is comfortable photographing our family.
I think there has to be a balance. I can’t write about only negative things any more than I should write about only positive things. When we were first trying to get pregnant, I absorbed every blog I could find about trying to navigate donor sperm, IUIs, IVF. Sure I was looking for hope. But I was also looking for real. Are there people who get pregnant on the first at-home try with frozen donor sperm? Sure. But there are a ton more crying month after month and wondering what’s wrong and why is it so hard. Are there lesbian couples with children who never hold their breath when the dental assistant asks their child about “daddy?” Probably. But there are a bunch more of us who spend time worrying about whether or not little Susie’s new friend at school will be allowed to come over and play once her parents find out little Susie has two mommies.
The reason it’s important to write about the hard things, whether you’re writing about being a parent in a same sex household, parenting a child with special needs, battling infertility, blogging about chronic illness, etc… is because when other people are going through the hard things, they read what you write and feel less alone. Sure, as a blogger I suppose the only person I have a responsibility to is myself, but if I’m putting my stuff out there on the internet to be read, then the likelihood is that someone, even just one person, is going to stumble across what I’ve written and maybe realize that parenting twins in a two mom household while trying to have another isn’t always moonlight and roses. And maybe they’ll turn off the computer and feel like someone else out there gets it.
Parenting is hard enough. Magazines, television, celebrities with expensive nannies – they all make us feel inadequate on a daily basis. Blogs are a refuge from the glossy, airbrushed, spotless lives that bombard us and tell us we aren’t doing a good enough job. I read other people’s blogs for a sense of community, to make a connection. I’m not perfect, and I want my blogs to be imperfect too.
What about you? Do you gravitate to blogs with only positive stories? Or do you need to read about someone “warts and all?”