On "paper" (webpage paper?) it doesn't really make any sense how I even started following her in the first place. When I found her through a "friend" of a "friend" (read: other people I don't actually know) she was a stay at home mom of one, living in Canada, and I was a working gal (how often do you get to use the word gal? Not enough!) in Pittsburgh. We didn't really have much in common...at least on the surface...But for some reason I just felt connected to her. She's a great writer, but most admirable to me, is how open and vulnerable she's willing to be about her life. She's shared insecurities as a mom, struggles with weight loss, and just generally let us all into her real life. No fake persona. No sophisticated airs. Just a real girl making a life in an apple orchard with her husband (and eventually baby girl after baby girl).
I mean- this is her "about" page...how can you not love her?
My name is Amanda and I started writing here six years ago, before I had kids and before Twitter came and wrecked everything. A lot has changed since then: I now have three daughters (Avelyn, Karenna and Brinley), a brand new career in real estate, a somewhat reluctant Twitter account, and I am still happily holding hands with my lanky farmer of a husband, Steve. I can’t keep my house clean, my children always look just a little feral, and I don’t do crafts. I like boot camp, anything involving bread or cheese (hence, the need for boot camp), dance parties with my girls in our messy living room, Modern Family, thrift stores and mochas. I am a firm believer in keeping it real.
Have you ever seen Facebook status updates like these?
"I just sleep-trained my six day-old baby and now she peacefully sleeps for 18 hours a night! Whoever said motherhood was hard must not have been as good at it as I am! Lol!"
"Stayed up till 3 am making homemade fondant for Johnny's cupcakes for his class birthday party tomorrow! Feels good to be a super mom! Have to run and take photos of them with my new professional lighting equipment and post them to Pinterest asap!"
"My husband is the best! After he massaged my feet for an hour, he surprised me with a dozen roses and a $50 Starbucks gift card. I love him, love him, love him!! Someone's getting lucky tonight!"
I kind of want to punch those people in the neck.
It's not that I'm a bitter old hag who is against strong marriages, happy babies and talented cupcake-making mommas, but I just get tired of how messages like that can create so much pressure for us to present a glossy, artificial veneer of perfection to everyone for fear of not measuring up, for feeling less-than, for thinking ourselves failures.
There is so much power in being true, in that moment when you open up to someone and show them what's really in your heart. We all want to look good, to make it appear as though we've got it all together. But I have found that when we are honest about our life and are willing to admit the areas we struggle in, that's when we are able to truly connect with people and find real community, support and love.
1. I think that being a mom is hard. Being a good wife is hard sometimes, too. Keeping my house clean is hard. Balancing work and life and kids and friends is hard. Basically, I think being a grown-up is hard. I love my kids, my husband, our home, our life, but it takes a lot of energy and patience and commitment to keep it all going. I battle selfishness and exhaustion every day.
2. My house is a MESS. Like, it's really bad a lot of the time.
3. We suck at family dinner. Often I throw eggs and toast at the kids at 4:00 to keep them quiet, then I'll give my husband an equally lacklustre dinner when he gets home an hour later.
4. I am tired a lot.
5. The kids watch too much TV when they get home from school.
6. I often wonder if I'm doing a good job of being a mom. Raising little people is an enormous undertaking and I spend most of my time feeling as though I am hanging onto the end of my rope by a single, fraying thread.
7. We are often late for school, church, you name it.
There you have it! And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
I don't think it's good to wallow in all the ways we are less-than-perfect, but I try my best to be real, to celebrate the good and not just focus on the bad, to extend grace to myself and others, to live in thankfulness and wonder at the God who made this life, and to realize what its His strength that sustains us.------------------