Wednesday, April 28, 2010

what life is really like for us

When I read women's blogs, I'm often tempted to play the comparison game.

I read about a craft idea, a birthday party or family devotions, and instead of rejoicing with my sister in Christ and getting ideas, I think to myself, "I could never do that! She's so creative! She gives so much time to her children! I wish I'd thought of that!"

So when I post something about a school project, family traditions, or how we learn Bible verses - or even when I make a passing comment about spending time with my kids - I'm always a little nervous, because I know exactly how some of you are feeling. I've been particularly concerned about this with all those recent posts about art projects!

Let me reassure you. Life at our house is not all art projects, family devotions and happy children playing - far from it! I tell you about these things to give you ideas and to share what's happening in our family with those of you who know us and like to hear about us.

The art projects have been a delightful relief for me from over-work and anxiety. One of the most restful things for me is doing art, a joy I haven't had any time for during the last few years and which I'm deliberately making more time for now as I try to be less relentlessly busy.

But if you want to know what the last school holidays were really like, imagine noise, mess, chaos, plenty of fights, and a tired, harassed mum doing her very best to love and enjoy her children. Add to that the fact that I was headachy and feeling flat, and you'll get a pretty accurate picture of life at our place!

So please don't compare yourself to me and say, for example, "I never do art with my kids". This is a recent fad for us, if an enjoyable one! Just get ideas from what I share if you want to, and ignore it if you don't. And remind yourself, when you see those smiling faces, that I left out the pictures where everyone was fighting over the best place to stand for the photo!

Blogs only ever show you part of the reality. Like every mum, I struggle with tiredness, discouragement, irritability, and disobedient children - every day! But in my weakness and weariness, and in our very human family, I have found, like you, that God is good.


Amanda said...

I know how you feel. I do my share of arty things with my girls but there is an increased pressure to keep up with the next Mum who's doing a lot more. I'm fairly sure that many of the Mummy blogs out there are edited to exclude a lot of info, mainly because they are trying to make an income from their blogs. Thanks for sharing.

Alison said...

Thanks for this Jean - it's really helpful!

Kath said...

Yes, God is good. Thanks for the reminder.
I've enjoyed seeing your creative projects.
Bless you,

the de la Hoydes said...

ha! that's so funny: that's exactly what I'd done. I'd even started to guiltily eye up all the usborne arty books entrenched firmly on the top shelf and think "that's what I SHOULD be doing". What a foolish heart I have! I may get them out and do some stuff, but not now because it's what I "should" be doing! Thanks for the reassurance, but also the inadvertent rebuke as to where my justification comes from :-) (thankfully not from doing art, which unlike you I am NOT gifted at, with my kids!)

Narelle Nettelbeck said...

I guess I get a bit jealous of some bloggers too. I'd love to spend my days writing and making a living from my blog and book etc but my reality is different and I have to work and spread my time in other directions at the moment.

Your blog is wonderful, thankyou.
You are encouraging me heaps :)

Jean said...

Mmm, spending my days writing and earning a living from my blog sounds good ... I don't think that will ever happen!! But writing is a wonderful escape (i.e. rest) and ministry.

Thanks all for your encouragement, and I pray we can all remember that our justification comes from Jesus' death for us, not from what we do.

In Christ,


Meredith said...

Hi there.

Always a day late with my comments and too late to join in the conversation!

The flip side of feeling overwhelmed or envious of what's going on in other people's lives, as recorded in their blogs, is to regard blogs as a smorgasbord from which to pick and choose. I have read all sorts of great advice on how to look after my kids and my husband and my home - some of which I have even tried!! And some of which has worked...our youngest now eats his veges, for example!!! And I have read all sorts of appalling stuff too.

But I think the "blogs collective" is a great place to share and learn - as would have happened in our extended families a generation or three ago - and if we can just get past this idea of comparison and view things a bit more optimistically, then this is a great place to be.


Jean said...

Good point, Meredith.

I like your idea of a "smorgasboard". I wish I was better at getting past the comparison game! Sometimes I have to avoid blogs as a way of keeping myself from temptation, but I'd much rather do as you do, and read without comparing so that I can get ideas and learn. Pray for me, sister!

Love Jean.