Friday, April 6, 2012

Oh Positivity, Thou Art False

I don't always like my husband and I don't always like my kids.

I love them, for sure, but I don't always like them.

There are times when my husband drives me so crazy that I just want to put a pillow over my head and scream.

And there are moments when my kids make the most incredible messes, scream with ear-piercing intensity, and generally go bonkers that I wish I could hide in a closet for the rest of the day while someone else cleans the messes and interacts with the hooligans.

These feelings are mutual.

I know that my perfectionism, hormonally charged and mentally ill induced mood swings, and emotional intensity can leave my husband wishing for a break.

I know that my kids probably wish that I would let them draw roses on the tables and walls with peanut butter, or pretend to cook with flour while pretending it's snowing.

Is it okay for me to share these moments of frustration?  Or should I pretend that everything is always perfect?

I adhere to a brand of optimism that I call realistic optimism.  This means that I look at the world with an optimistic outlook yet recognize there are dark and ugly things that exist.  I think everyone is potentially wonderful human beings, but I know that sometimes mental dysfunction and personality disorders can complicate the positive outcome. I think that humanity is, on a whole, good, and I also know of the horrible abuses committed in the name of patriarchy, freedom, and religion.

When it comes to relationships between me and Ben and me and the kids, I know things aren't always peachy; yet I also experience awesome moments and days.

No one can make me laugh, knows me at the deepest level, and is as open and welcoming toward my opinions and beliefs as Ben.

And my kiddos are the sweetest, most daring, and hilarious little monkeys that exist. Like Emily's admonishing me to "ask nicely" when I angrily ask her to stop spreading peanut butter all over her brother. Or Andrew crawling in my lap when I am crying from an exhausting day and saying "come here" while wiping my tears with his chubby, soft hands.

Yes, I do love my husband and my children.

But, is it more socially appropriate to share these sweet and silly experiences than it is to share those not-so-positive moments?  I, for one, appreciate both.  I understand the bravery it takes to share things that might make a person human and I also admire those gushing posts about partners and children.  Why not share the ups and the downs?  Isn't that life?

Sharing moments of frustration can lead to the negative branding (i.e. someone calling you too negative), or to comments that detract from your real feelings and can lead to guilt.  Alternatively, sometimes sharing an abundance of positive things can lead to unfair protestations that you are too positive and clearly perfect.  Both are unnecessarily judgmental and highlight the semi-dangerous nature of publicly sharing our lives on the interwebs.

Those of us that engage in social media understand that Twitter, Facebook, and blogging only present snap shots of our life.  A complete picture of who we are, what we believe, and our worldview would take more than 140 characters on Twitter, a status update on Facebook, and a blog post.  Even "about me" snippets aren't adequate explanations of a person's full character.

What do we do then?  Do we look at a person's snippets and decide we don't like them because they are too negative or too positive?  Or, do we look deeper and find a complex and wonderful person?

That is our choice.  What will you choose today, tomorrow, and in the future?



  2. Amen, Sister. I choose to share the good, the bad and the ugly. Like you said, it's life. Why just highlight the peachy? Besides, I also find that when I share my vulnerable sides is when people are more likely to reach out to me, whether with their own stories or just to let me know it's okay. I love that.

  3. I try to keep it balanced, but I think I fail. Maybe more positive. But mostly because that's what I want to remember after the long day. Not the moment when two were screaming full throttle and the third was whining dramatically for a story, not the moment when I'm so tired my eyes cross as I nurse a baby and hear a scream -'she bit me!'

    Though it's interesting, Justine is right, my posts that were farthest from positive got the biggest, most connecting, responses.

  4. I'm so glad to hear someone else say that they don't always like their husband. There are times when the mere sound of his breath annoys me! I appreciate your honesty. I'm new to the blogging world and as I'm getting comfortable in this community, I completely pass by the fluff and rainbow blogs. They just aren't real life to me.

  5. Thank you for keeping it real and honest.
    There are times when I can't stand my family and I know the feeling is mutual. At the end of the day though, I adore them and I'd much rather be driven batty by them than anyone else.

  6. [...] to the homeland (i.e. stay-at-home club), I NEED to talk about this again.  To share my stories of silliness and frustration and successes because this job ain’t easy, [...]


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