My Real Life

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About 4:00 yesterday afternoon, this is what my house looked like:

Living room a total pigsty,


junk all over the kitchen table (yep, those are the lunch dishes, and also a package of little girl underpants that I bought for Bee and still haven’t put away),


and lots more junk on the kitchen island and counters.


Also, our bed was still unmade. Yes, that is a pile of laundry on the floor. That’s my side of the bed – remember I told you about my “nest?”


You’re probably wondering why I’m showing you this.

Well, let me tell you a little story.

About a year ago, I did a Google search for a pre-printed, master grocery list form that I could use in the “Food” section of my Home Management Guide. I stumbled upon a blog, written by a homeschooling, Christian mother, and at first I really enjoyed her posts, because she seemed like someone that I might have a lot in common with.

The problem is, this blog soon began to make me feel kind of bad. The writer was seemingly so perfect, and I felt that in comparison to her, I was a horrible wife, mother, housekeeper, and Christian. To make matters worse, she often wrote in a condescending, critical tone, which kind of made me angry. When she started attacking people for their Catholic faith, I quit reading altogether. I believe that it’s very wrong to hurt others in the name of God, and this blogger was definitely hurting people. Sadly, she didn’t even seem to care.

Recently, it has come to light that much of what this blogger writes is untrue. She routinely misrepresents her life, painting a picture of an impossible standard that we could all live up to – if only we were perfect Christians like her. She clearly struggles with self-esteem issues, and desperately wants to be admired and built up. What upsets me the most is that I suspect that her blog might be detrimental to the self-esteem of the women who continue to look to her for guidance and advice.

So…the point I’m trying to make is this:

What I write about is my real life. Though I often write about organization and schedules and routines, that doesn’t mean that my life is always orderly and perfect, as you can obviously see from the above pictures. It doesn’t mean that I am perfect. I get tired, and frustrated, and bored. I have many days when I really just don’t want to do housework…and sometimes I don’t. I yell at my kids. I get mad at my husband, and he gets mad at me. My house sometimes gets really, really messy, and sometimes we have frozen pizza for dinner, because I don’t feel like cooking.

Sometimes I struggle with a poor self image, and a lack of confidence, and terrible self doubt. Though I try to convince myself that I don’t care what people think of me, the truth is that I do care. I worry that people might think that I’m an obsessive-compulsive control freak, or a bossy know-it-all. I worry that people think I’m fat, or ugly, or dumb. Or that my house isn’t nice, or that my kids aren’t well-behaved. I have the same fears and faults and weaknesses as everyone else.

I’m OK with admitting all of this because personally, I respect people who are honest, and I don’t want to be the kind of blogger who presents her life as one big picnic. No one’s life is happy all the time, and while reading blogs is a lot of fun, it can also make us fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others, which just isn’t healthy.

My goal in writing this blog is to help and/or entertain you – never to hurt or offend you. I write because I enjoy it, and because I hope that I have something useful to offer. You, my blog friends, bring so much happiness to my life, and I hope that I can, in return, bring happiness to yours.

I think that we should all be kind to ourselves, and to each other. We should remember that our life circumstances are unique, and are given to us by God. We might not understand his reasoning, but we can be sure that it’s good!

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV

Oh, and one more thing…if I ever start behaving like the aforementioned blogger, you have permission to cyber-slap me.

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Heather is a minimalist in love with a recovering packrat. 7 years ago, she and her husband sold pretty much anything that wasn't nailed down in order to pay off their mortgage, and they've been living happily debt-free ever since. They have 3 hilarious little kids who were conceived with the help of in vitro fertilization, and they haven't had a good night's sleep in the last decade. Heather is an anglophile who loves all things British, and spends her free time looking at real estate listings in Cornwall. Every day, she and her family work toward a simpler, more meaningful life. Some days are awesome, some are disastrous, and you can read about all of them here.

Have a question? Need a listening ear? Contact Heather, or visit Want What You Have on Facebook.

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16 comments… add one

  1. Cindy November 27, 2011, 2:34 pm

    Just read this post again and I remember once more how much I enjoy your blog and the reasons I read it daily.  Don’t ever change!!

    Oh and this quote is now on the wall next to my computer…thanks!

     “I think that we should all be kind to ourselves, and to each other. We
    should remember that our life circumstances are unique, and are given to
    us by God. We might not understand his reasoning, but we can be sure
    that it’s good!”

    Reply
    1. Anonymous November 27, 2011, 2:36 pm

      Cindy, you have no idea how much I needed to hear this myself today! I’ve been very wobbly and anxious about my decision to expand the blog (a crisis of confidence, you might say), so just hearing some positive reinforcement from a reader is a real boost for me. Thank you!

      Reply
  2. Sara December 4, 2011, 6:19 pm

    I just started following your blog, and as a brand new mommy (5 month old daughter), I appreciate your ideas, your humor, but most importantly, your honesty.  You’ve been a delight to read! :)
    Sara

    Reply
  3. KB January 16, 2012, 12:07 am

    Hello!  I am a new reader (just found this blog late Friday night!) but while browsing I ran across this post.  I wanted to thank you for this post, and let you know I really respect your stance!  I hope to never have to issue the said cyber-smackdown.  Haha!

    Reply
  4. KS February 18, 2012, 5:07 am

    I appreciate this honesty. I use to be a well organized, very clean person. Until I had kids, I’m always afraid someone is going to stop by when my house is a disaester and find out that I can’t keep it together. It makes me realize that I unitentially appear that way to others and it also makes me realize that I don’t always have to have it together.

    Reply
  5. Risa April 28, 2012, 5:35 am

    Your blogs make me want to try harder! You never make me feel like a bad person, you just make me want to be a better one! Thank you for all of the great posts and ideas! Its been really helpful and has made my life less hectic! 

    Reply
  6. hillary June 6, 2012, 7:46 pm

    Just stumbled upon your blog as i struggle with daily life with my 4 and 3 year olds.  Thank you for giving me some direction and also saying you are not perfect!   There are so many days I get mad, feel like a not perfect mom/wife/person, and days I just want to be anyone else.  Then there are those (rare!) days I feel almost like I’m in control, the kids sort of listen, and I made a great dinner!!!  Every day is a CRAZY adventure!  Thank you again :)

    Reply
  7. Nicole June 15, 2012, 12:28 am

    I love this!! Thank you so much for posting. Fake people bother me to no end. I have so much more respect for real people. Life is not a picnic, no matter how blessed you are. People need to wake up and realize that NO ONE has a perfect life. It’s unattainable. Just like the name of your blog, which is worded perfectly, WANT WHAT YOU HAVE!! Thank God for the good AND bad days and always count your blessings : ) God bless Heather. Love that the Lord guided me to your blog!

    Reply
  8. Esmom03 July 15, 2012, 4:54 am

    Wow. Tears are actually in my eyes as I read your post.  I have spent countless hours/years trying to find the inspiration to make a difference in my own life. To feel like I can be a good wife/mother/homemaker but, always walk away empty. Until now. You are real.  Your home is a home not a museum but, a place with things are spilled, laundry is piled up and the laughter of a happy family reins supreme.    

    Reply
  9. C.R.P July 27, 2012, 11:13 pm

    God bless you!!! :)

    Reply
  10. Chasity August 1, 2012, 11:34 am

    This is why I love reading your blog! When I read your posts it gives me encouragement because I know that this is how real life is and how it is supposed to be. I don’t have any friends outside of my immediate family (mostly my mawmaw because she moved in with us 2 years ago) and my husband so it’s nice to read about how life goes for another mom. I’m about to send my oldest to kindergarten so I have been reading a lot of your posts to see how a normal day goes for someone with kids in school and one at home. I love that you have found something you enjoy that also helps others like myself!

    Reply
  11. Amanda Siemens August 19, 2012, 1:07 pm

    It’s funny, I was just thinking about this. I fully admit I squealed like an excited school girl when I found your binder series (I am a binderholic LOL). It was so nice to indulge in my binder fix without the accompanying case of “cranial-posterioritis” that seems to inflict some bloggers LOL

    Reply
  12. Jennifer September 9, 2012, 5:09 pm

    This is so perfect these days. Thank you for this post, it reminds me of how much I dig your blog!

    Reply
  13. VC December 19, 2012, 9:54 pm

    At the end of th year my job is being elimiated. My husband and both feel it will be more cost affective if I stay home with our small girls. This truely scares me!! I have been looking at website of stay at home mom when I came across yours. I love reading your website. I was just reading “about your home” and “your typical day” and started to feel like there is no way I could be a stay at home mom like these woman I keep reading about. Houses perfect, food made from scratch, kids smiling etc……then I came across the blog “my real life” and all my worries went away. Thank you Heather for posting!!!

    Reply
  14. Michelle December 30, 2012, 4:53 am

    Thanks for sharing….I needed to read this:)

    Reply
  15. Aubrey May 22, 2013, 8:18 pm

    I am a new reader of your blog and stumbled upon this post (among others). You seem to not only have great advice, tips and stories; but also seem very grounded and relate-able. My husband and I are expecting our first child, and we are still making the decision on weather or not to go down to a one income family and have me stay home. I’m nervous about it for sure, and have a lot of the fears you express in this post, but ultimately your blog is inspiring and helping me see how wonderful a decision this could be. Thank you for your honesty, I’ll be here more!

    Reply

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