The Other Side of the Screen

In recent months, a little birdie has been chirpin’ in my head about a few things related to blogging and “real life” behind the blogs.  I recently read a post called “The Trouble with Blogging,” where Amy articulated some of my rambling thoughts really well.   Worth the read. 

Blogging is great fun.  Blogging connects you to terrific, like-minded people, some of whom even become real-life friends!  Blogging encourages you to get better at whatever it is you do.  It can even provide an income if you want it to.  

But then there’s the other side of blogging.  The other side  where Amy reminds us that “what you see on the screen is not the whole picture.”

We have to remember that when we pull up our favorite blogs on our computer screens, we are seeing a finished product, a completed project, a prepared meal, a redecorated (and finished) room, or the best of the best of photos of someone else’s children.  Then we click off, and our bed isn’t made, the chicken for dinner is still frozen (and it’s 4:30pm), our kids are fighting, and homework remains to be completed.

Carmen from Mom to the Screaming Masses says, “We need to stop comparing our insides to others’ outsides.”  And I’m talking chiefly to myself here.

Here’s to keepin’ it real from the “other side of the screen.”

1.  On a routine basis, as in, multiple times a day, there is tee tee and wads of toilet paper sitting in one or more toilets that have not been flushed.  Lainey insists that “I am too yiddul to fwush.”  Some days, I could close my eyes and not know if I were in my own house or the zoo bathroom.

(And if the toilet actually has been flushed, it routinely has a pink ring that begs for Pine Sol) 

2.  I oftentimes do not make my bed or put away my clean clothes.  But I stay on my kids for not doing both.  What’s up with that?  And I love to get in a made-up bed.

3.  There are piles…lots of piles…in lots of places around my house.  These beloved piles drive my poor husband insane, I cannot seem to break the habit of keeping piles.  They make my house look messy, and I vow every six weeks or so (when I’m going through the piles), that I will no longer have piles.  I still have piles.

4.  My children fight, and the frustration I feel threatens to send me to the looney bin.  On a more serious note, it really breaks my heart when they have long stretches of time when they do not love each other well.  We are working on this one.

5.  I am not a self-disciplined exerciser or early riser.  Assuredly, I would feel better if I instituted both of these regimes into my daily life.  They only last a few days when I try.

6.  I have more unfinished projects and rooms than I care to admit.  Lainey, bless her heart, has not a thing on her walls.  I’ve bought all the stuff, but it has sat unhung for months.  That really bugs me.  

7.  Food.  Please do not ever get the idea that I am whipping up a well-balanced meal every night.  Trust me on this one.  Frozen waffles and hot dogs are my unhealthy, nitrate-filled friends.

8.  My microwave and my fridge are gross…well, okay the microwave is clean as I write because I finally cleaned it two days ago after hosting two holidays and realizing I could not stand myself one more second if the microwave did not get cleaned.  I’ll work on the fridge this week:)

9.  I have a hard time balancing blogging and real life.  In general, it’s all good, but there are days when it’s really not good.  Thankfully, I have a wise, sweet husband who can bring me back to reality when I start to wander into the blogging abyss.

10.  I “compare my insides to other people’s outsides.”  It is a dangerous, unhealthy way to live, whether in the blogging world or the real world.  It’s quite a paradox for me, because while God has used blogging to make me more confident in who He created me to be, there is always before me the beautiful homes, perfectly-organized closets, and seemingly “perfect” lives.  

So next time you visit a blog and everything seems perfect, remember there’s always “the other side of the screen.”

Can you relate to this post?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.  I’d love to hear your perspective!

Love,

About Amanda Brown

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Comments

  1. Oh my gosh, how timely is this?! I JUST spent ten minutes talking to my husband about my “deep thoughts” about blogging today. As I scrolled through my reader I started to wonder, “Is all this really important?” “Does it really matter what anyone wore on Wednesday?” (The answer to that would be NO!) Does anyone care what I served my family to eat this week? (Probably not.) And I wonder, does it really matter that my blog has not grown when I’m doing other stuff that I know for a fact that God wants me to do? Ugh. The craziness that roams in my head sometimes.

    Anyway, if blogs had been around when my kids were little, I am certain I would have been sucked right into the vortex. It’s important to take a step back sometimes.

    Thanks for this, Amanda. I love it!

  2. When I first started blogging, I actually felt depressed because I saw so many families whose lives seemed perfect and had seemingly endless free time and money. I had to stop and really snap out of it and remember what you said, about the other side of the screen! I am happy shopping in the clearance section because that is what speaks to my creative side :)

  3. These words are all so true! Ha! To only be a fly on the wall the other 98% of my week and see not only the joys but the sorrows mess in my life!! We’re all real people! :) I think blogging can be a way of escape for me, like a good book, to find some small pleasures like new recipes!
    Good points you make and we all need to be reminded of these things, at times. :)
    Blessings,
    Leslie

  4. I really know how you feel. I leave dishes from the night before, we have a pile of laundry in the hall that I accidentally always forget to fold & they are so wrinkled, I leave the cabinet door open when I get a glass, in 8 years I’ve never hung curtains, just blinds. I could go on & on :)
    What a great post though. Best to keep it real & I love that you did.

  5. Although my kids are grown up and out the house, I feel what you’re saying… Oh How I Wish there was this thing called BLOGGING way back then… maybe I would not have felt so alone, or wrong about feeling that frustration. At least I would have known there were others in the same boat with me. Thanks for sharing. And Yes, I, too, have PILES and UNFINISHED GOT-TO-GET-ON-THAT-ONE projects!

    IT’s almost Friday… smile :)
    JoAnn

  6. You hit the nail on the head!!!! So true!!

    I also struggle with having piles of stuff. And it also droves my hubby bananas. “Why is it so hard to just put things where they belong the first time?” He has asked me that many times. I still have no good answer.

  7. Amanda I love your post! No one has a perfect life, perfect house, perfect anything!
    I admire women who blog with small children, I don’t think I could have ever done it!!
    Keep up doing what you’re doing, I love it!
    Blessings friend,
    Cyndi

  8. What great, great thoughts. I love that expression about comparing our insides to others’ outsides. So true!!! Good for you for keeping it real!!!

  9. just getting real~thanks girl for laying it out there. That’s why I’m pulling back and having to remove comments. The guilt of not visiting or visiting and not commenting or not responding to comments and then commenting when I have dirty pink rings in the toilets – gaining perspective here!! Thanks for putting it where the rubber meets the road.

  10. It really is true, and it leaves us all with expectations for our own realities that can never be met. I wrote about my expectations yesterday as I was realizing they can get way out of control. Blogging is great fun, but it is very easy and sometimes convenient to only show what we want to show. Thanks for a bit more of the reality!

  11. I love this, Amanda! I recently read the quote “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel” SO TRUE! I have to remind myself of that! But I can SO relate to every single thing you listed here. I struggle with balancing between “keeping it real” on my blog versus highlighting good memories and also protecting my family. For the most part I choose the highlight reel because 1) I just want to remember the good times! and 2) I don’t ever want to disrespect my family by airing any dirty laundry. It’s tough though! If I wrote every detail of our daily life, my blog sound like a big whine-fest! Ha! But I certainly hope that everyone reading my blog realizes that we are a real family living real life just like everyone else! Thanks for the reminder that we all have another side to our screens :)
    PS. my toilet has rings, my laundry goes from the clean pile to our bodies, our mail sits in a never-ending pile, I don’t exercise, and 90% of the time my house is a wreck :) Oh and Oscar Meyer makes delicious nitrate-free smoked turkey hot dogs–I know because my kids live on them!

  12. Great post! I think a lot of people get caught up with a case of blog envy when viewing other’s posts. What they don’t see is the pile on the floor next to that gorgeous picture they just took of their perfectly styled sofa or bookcase. I am all about keeping it real.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I loved this post! Spoke right to me!

  14. This is a rule I try to keep in mind when reading blogs, looking at a magazine, talking to friends, etc. It’s difficult to remember sometimes, but you are so right, everyone has something that is not going they way they want it to, we ALL have a struggle.

    I almost always have the same frustrations you listed. Those piles though? Every night I started by carrying around a box that I dump all of them in and then take 10 minutes to sort and trash or put away. It still isn’t always perfect, but it’s helped a bit. :)

    great post, thanks for sharing!

  15. Thanks for being real, Amanda. I think I can relate to just about every single item on your list.

  16. I loved reading this blog post and all the comments.

    I try to keep my blog a little on the real side but not to much. But its just got to much for me. So Im giving up blogging and scrapping for a while. To take care of things on the other side of the screen. Like, packing up my scrapbook room so that my Son’s Fiance and her twins can move in next week.

    As for the piles. This is one of my biggest issues. But its not mine. It’s my husband. He leaves piles all over the house. Like dirty clothes on the floor right next to the laundry basket. Come On! How hard is it to get them in the dang basket. Or, Every day, he has to get a different Jacket out of the closet and then leave them all on the chair in the dinning room. I think he is worse then raising my two kids. But after 27 years, What are you going to do. Just pick it up and move on. Its easier then fussing about it.

    Sharon

  17. I can relate so, so well! Really, it’s easy for me to do this even in real life, not just in the bloggy world. Most of the time we see people at their best, so it’s easy to start feeling like everyone has it together but me. So not true. We all have our things and messes and areas we wish we were better at. Thanks for the encouragement!

  18. 11 children and a blog…there is no both. I do one well…then the next week the other. i may take a huge vacation this summer and plan my posts. Seeing some of the organizing blogs and started to think if i just had a pill i could do it all…thanks. you have saved me for another day…going to clean my kitchen now… ;o)

  19. Wow! I love this! Thank you for keeping it real and reminding us to do the same. Beautiful encouragement!

  20. I could have written this myself! Oh, it is so very hard to balance the two, particularly if you’re trying to make this blogging thing somewhat of a part-time “career”. I often struggle with how much do I let my readers know the “real” me and how much do I just leave it with the theme of the blog. Not that there isn’t a component of me in the blog, but it’s not the “behind the scenes.” Thank you so much for this candid reminder!

  21. I think you are describing me in your description!! As I sit in here with “piles” surrounding me, discouraged by comparing myself to others around me to care! :)

    Thanks for the post – this has definitely been a theme in my life and in blog world.

  22. Thank you so much for this post! I completely relate. It can be really frustrating seeing all of these perfect pictures of projects and homes. I am always trying to find balance in the blogging world.

    Thanks for sharing.

  23. I cant tell u just how glad i am to realize that i’m not the only panicked blogger around! i struggle wd my chores and blogging…and often feel a deep sense of loss…. what i related to most were ur thoughts on healthy lifestyles… i wish to rise early but blog late night after all have gone to bed… i love the satisfaction that comes from sharing thoughts but am extremely guilty about the imbalance… felt a connection…

  24. Thank you for keeping it real!!!!!

  25. Wow. I really needed to read this.
    I TOTALLY relate to most of these, but especially #2, #5 and the not an early riser/ consistent exerciser. Amen and amen.

    Thanks for making yourself vulnerable. You speak what so many are afraid to admit.
    Hugs!!!

  26. One of my favorite blog posts ever. Oh. How. I. Can. Relate!! And I am not even a blogger, just a reader of them! You described me and my home and undinished projects to a tee!!

  27. Thank you so much for this post! I have gotten discouraged and a tad bit annoyed by picture-perfect blogs and mommies in the past. At times, I have wished they would show their dirty laundry and projects that fail.
    But then I realized it’s nice to visit an online world where the chores, kids and the endless to-do list isn’t the focus, and instead I get to soak in the beauty of what others have created. :)