Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Soule Mama is bad for my brain

First off, I have to tell you how much I love Amanda Soule's work. Her book is fantastic, a new classic for us natural family meets the crafty sorta people. And I look forward to her blog everyday. It's a feast for the eyes and an inspiration to do better with my family, my home, and my ambitions.

But, damnit, I can't help comparing my life and myself up against her. And I come out the serious lo-ser. She's like a hippie Martha Stewart. I am drawn into her circle of order and creativity, but I will never, ever be like her. It's heartbreaking. She grows things and cans them. She homeschools. She helps her kids do amazing creative things. She writes books about doing amazing creative things with her kids. She's a prolific eye candy photographer. She knits. She blogs five days a week. She makes these little fabric/embroidery collages with themes and sells them for outrageous amounts. She's full of gratitude and wonder and kindness. I find myself checking her blog everyday, wondering at how picturesque her life is. How perfect. How utterly unlike my own life.

For instance. Soule Mama's pregnancies are lovely rocking in chair love affairs with her rounding body. All earthy, wholesome mommy stuff. My pregnancies were sorta of nine month long puke fests, while I complained bitterly when my ass no longer fit through doorways. She revels in the work of making a home, food, and providing for the the basics like firewood. I hate having to do housework, gardening, and cooking. I'd rather read a book on how to do it than actually do it. My fabrics aren't as nice as her fabrics. She makes these cute little skirts with her 3 yr old while making dinner. I lock myself in the basement to sew and when my 3 yr old knocks on the door I turn up my gwar-esque rock louder to drown out her knocking.

Mama can't talk now, sweetie, she's avoiding you.

Sometimes I try to get comfortable with my limitations as a mother and try to cozy up to my anti-domestic nature. I read Erma Bombeck and tell myself that kid's are resilent, canned tomato sauce looks just as yummy as sauce made tomatoes from my own garden and that germs from unwashed floors actually help immune systems develop. I chant 'good enough' all day long. But then I open up Soule Mama's blog the next day and I can see how far I am away from where I want to be. How I just don't measure up.

As it turns out I was actually paying attention at least some of the time those years at university. I know that we judge our own situations as relative to others. We feel rich or poor compared to our neighbors. We feel ourselves as good or bad parents compared to those around. It's not hard to figure out why I feel bad about myself when I have the whole of the internet in which to find the shiniest examples of everything. I am not the best mom, the slimmest, the healthiest, the most domestic, the most natural, the most creative, the most feminist, the most ambitious, the most crafty, the best anything. In this climate of the new domesticity, with type A housewives creating mult-million dollar brands out of their lives, I am not even in the race. Heck, my position as a spectator is so far away that I need binoculars to see the starting line. Though I can still see it's not real. Still, from far away over here, it's still beautiful.

Self-preservation instinct is kicking in. In order to help pick my self worth up from below magot droppings, I'm going to take a wee hiatus from Soule Mama. And from my many lofty tombs of betterness from the library, the self help, the how to de clutter my home, feng shi my insides, or deep cleanse my colon or whatever the hell it is that catches my fancy week to week that makes me feel completely inadequate. I think I'll limit my reading to areas that have nothing to do with me. Life and times of Mozart. The breeding of dogs. Romantic medieval poetry. Perhaps if I ignore all information that I am even vaguely interested in right now I may get back a measure of confidence in my parenting and running this household. When I only have reality to compare myself to.

Perfection will be banished from my to do list and my bookmarks. This will be me doing my own thing, not comparing myself to you.

This'll be me accepting my limitations.

(oh, darn, I think I've once again accepted mission impossible. I never learn.)

18 comments:

Doc Russ The Betterness Coach (sm) said...

If you have the energy for "just one more thing" check out my Podcast: BetternessCoach.com on iTunes or pick it up from my website at www.betternessCoach.com . It is 15 minutes of FREE Betterness Coaching a week! Give it a try!!

Melinda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pezzgrrrl said...

i am SO glad i am not the only one who feels that way about Soule Mama!

dmoms said...

I just have to tell you that I have had to take a hiatus from soulemama before. I am reading her again, after I came to the conclusion that I can never keep nor do i want to keep up with jones' or soule's for that matter. I love my life just as it is.

loved reading this.

Angie said...

Ya know, I think you just put into words what so many of us have been thinking (or dying to say ourselves). As I was reading this post I kept saying, "Yep, that's how I feel". Trust me, you are not alone.

Kelly said...

oh dear, yet another blog that reminds me how limited I am but at the same time feeds my mind and soul in a way that keeps drawing me back to it...damn it.

I'll tell you later Betty

Sara said...

I think you are preaching to the choir, sister! I really believe there are more mom's out there trying their best the survive the day with a sense of sanity and nurturing their kids then modern June Cleavers. And I think the blogging world is full of amazing inspiration and sometimes unrealistic expectations. Even the perfect blogger mamas have bad days, screw ups and imperfections. Maybe they are hopeless nose pickers or a nasty flipping-the-bird habit!
Your honesty rocks!

unjugetito said...

Ha! This should make you feel better. You are my Soule Mama! Haven't been to her site and since you apparently feel you can't compare I ain't going there!!!!
I'll stick to catching up to you...

Courtney said...

Just like the pp, you are my soule mama! I, too, love Amanda Soule but she is far beyond my reach. I strive to be more like you.

Kristina said...

Ha! I came across your post when I googled "Soulemama + perfect". Another mama I know referred to her as "Miss Perfect Pants", and while I enjoy her blog, yeah, it makes me feel inadequate, and I wonder.... is she a secret screamer?

Anonymous said...

I have put myself on Soule Mama restriction. I either feel inadequate, or I want to fight her. I know, I am a terrible person, I killed Babmbi. Seriously though, I think there is a lot of projection on her blog, tasteful editing, and censoring (putting the right little blue thing in, which you know wasn't there) I also think she has a nanny or an assistant, and lord knows she has more money than my family does. No, money doesn't buy happiness, but it does buy opportunities. I think I need more honesty, more real-ness, but what I really need is not to feel inadequate or more poor. Also, I agree, she is a secret screamer or pillow puncher, who wouldn't, 4 kids up in your sHHH all day, give me a break/drink. Yes, I am mean.

Anonymous said...

i love you for this. love you. i've felt the same way for awhile now. i've had this nagging bit of insecurity and self hate lately, and i think some of that may come from stumbling upon her blog (been an almost daily visitor since). her world is beautiful. but so is mine. thank you for keeping it real.

Anonymous said...

i posted the above (anonymous)last night when i was in "hater" mode. thinking about it more, i realize that soule mama is the ying to my 'housewives of OC' yang. she inspires me, and i know my feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing come from a different place. i still loved your honesty tho. it's also funny that i'm posting sorta late in the game, responding 2 yrs. after your original post.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear sweet lord,thank God!
I'm not the only one who has a love/loathe relationship with the soulemama blog.I feel like a turd after reading her blog whilst wishing fervently that i was her and they were my children.She is great,she is an inspiration...but good golly I want to smash a few of her thrift shop china plates and rip up a few of her self-bound books.
You literaly made me LAUGH OUT LOUD with your description of drowning out your daughters voice with the rock...been there!
As long aS we love 'em our kids will be fine...fingers crossed

Lea said...

Hello Vegbee,

I've only just discovered your indietutes blog and very quickly added it to my bookmarks bar, right next to soulemama's. It was those tabi boots that really sold me. So far, I'm loving your creativity, your honesty, your striving (and your footstyle).

None of us are perfect. Our children learn from our striving. As part of my striving I devised a little star chart for myself (not a big fan of them for kids but thought I'd test one for me). If I was a reasonably level-headed, grounded and rational mama for the day, I received a blue star on the calendar. If you're so inclined you can read about one of my "not very blue-star day" stories here: http://lazuligreen.blogspot.com/2009/07/not-very-blue-star-day.html

I've stopped the star chart. Trying to be kinder to myself! Nice to meet you, Lea

Anonymous said...

I know it's horrible, but I can't stand SM. I'm sure she's a very nice person, but it takes all of ten seconds of looking at her blog to make me feel like a shitty mother and person in general. And I wouldn't even want to have her life, is the thing. If I was at home all day with 4 kids and another one on the way, not to mention chickens and pigs, I'd have to become an alcoholic. My one child is more than I can handle some days. So, I'm not sure why it makes me feel bad, knowing that I wouldn't be as good as someone else at something I don't even want to do.
I like Crazy Aunt Purl. She has no kids, but she's very real and makes you feel like you can overcome anything.

Sadie from allnaturalme.com said...

You are so funny ~ I think you may like my comic, hee hee...

http://allnaturalme.com/blog/?p=1688

Anonymous said...

i feel the same way.
it's one of those situations where I can't help but think that there are things that other people must be doing for her, or she's on speed. not really, but no one can do everything plus everything else, while raising five kids. I can't do half of that with my one kid. but I'd rather be me.