23 March 2011

honest to blog


I enjoy blogging. I do. I like looking back at the record of our days. I like remembering the good bits and sometimes the hard bits. Writing it down helps me work out where we're at and stop and think about what and why we do what we do. I feel like sometimes though it seems a little more glossy than it really is. Some days are really challenging and just because I don't blog them, doesn't mean that they don't happen.


All day I work with the dynamics of children who challenge me mentally combined with a baby who needs me physically. They are all equally needy in their own ways and there is seldom time for anything I might like to do. But I've always been good at making things look easy. Coping and being capable, even when I'm struggling... just a little. Just like so many women I know.


Then there are those times where everything is going beautifully, flowing easily, the children are smiling and look relatively neat and tidy and creativity seems abundant and it's like... a blog post. Those days make you feel like it's all ok and you are heading the right way. They make the choices we make all worthwhile. I'm also aware that I tend not to blog the hard stuff to protect what we have. For the same reason that I find it difficult to ask for help. Sometimes I just don't want to whinge about my stuff when really, it's ok. And so people don't ask. They figure they've seen the blog and they know what we've been up to, we're all good, and that puts me on the back foot somewhat. Other times I do have a whinge and people try to offer a supportive ear by pointing out that I've chosen the harder path. Whether I agree or not is beside the point. They tell me their kids are in school and they have ALL DAY alone and that's awesome. Or that breast feeding or co-sleeping or carrying a 2yo is just asking for back pain...


Thing is, it's not all that helpful. If a friend is having a whinge about the school run, I'm unlikely to say "oh well, you have chosen to take them there and make your day all difficult and stuff". In fact, they are unlikely to hear that from anyone, but rather they'd just encounter empathy. Maybe someone offering to help them out on occasion... I often feel like I have to defend the choices we've made for our family by making it look good. By coping.


I'd like to let y'all know that it's not all cups of tea and biscuits and craft and skipping through the botanical gardens everyday. If you see me looking bemused, or overwhelmed or frazzled and I happen to mention I'm tired, a supportive approach would be a sympathetic nod. Ah yes, one of those days. You have them too, right? If you can, maybe some practical support could be offered. Most of our family is far away, so practical support is not something we have in abundance. Like so many families I know who have long days and many owlets to feed, schooled or not. They could all do with a hand occasionally. In my utopia we all look out for each other and offer a hand so that bad days are bearable. It takes a village and all that... So in the interests of bloggy honesty, I'm going to let you in on it from time to time, if I can. But promise not to question my choices. Respect them and that I'm happy with where I'm at. So happy. Remember that 75% of the time, life is peachy and we are all happily doing our thing, and that some days (or weeks) are just harder than others. Just cos.


Ways you can offer practical support to a friend or relative having a rough day...

Make them a cup of tea.
Do the dishes.
Hold the baby while they stretch their arms.
Take their older children for a walk so they can nap or work or sit in silence.
Entertain their children while they go for a walk. Bring an afternoon/morning tea treat with you and make sure you tidy up after.
Help them spend one on one time with one of their other children by entertaining the other/s.
Help out by taking children to or from afternoon activities. Grab some shopping on your way.
Drop off some colouring books for some quiet time.
Cook them a meal and invite them over, or leave it on the doorstep for them to reheat.


  1. All I have to say is 'I hear you!!' ... actually all I have to say is I hear you AND I applaud your honesty, like you I find time to blog on the chillaxed days, the harder days are filled with me trying to find some balance in the household, often failing but then trying again.
    I try and be as honest as I can as I feel we often paint portraits of ourselves that leave others thinking we are more together than we actually are and subsequently feel bad about themselves.

    I try and say "Hey! You know those days, where you wonder if anyone loses their path the way you do? Well I do, often, but I am doing the best I can and my children are great (although complexed) and we all have crappy days where we question our choices"

    Love to you on your hard days, we as mothers have such a strong 'brave face' that often others don't see through it. xx

  2. Dear Lauren,
    We have been struggling lately(I am sure that the recent supermoon has had a part in that).I have reconsidered my wish to let my only child learn at home many times a day.
    Blogs like yours from a loving, nurturing and hard working mother helps me find that window of goodness. Yes! I could try that.
    And add a little bit of mindful reflection.
    I have no support in my neck of the woods. When you do things a little "left of centre" it is hard to find a tribe and or mix with people who are making decisions so far from what you think or valuable.

    I do not know you or you me- but I LOVE reading your blog and sharing what ever little glimpses of your life you feel like sharing. You write beautifully - from your heart.
    I wish I had your words sometimes.

    Sending love and light from Adelaide.
    Angela x

  3. I hear what you are saying and I think it's great that you have been so honest.
    I sent mine back to school this year for all the reasons that you mentioned...I felt that I got no support, that I had made the choice to have them home so it was my responsibility to deal with. I'm still not sure that it was right, but for now it's the only way that I can cope, burnout was close and that wasn't fair on me or my family.

    I love your blog and for now it's my link to the life I so desired for us.

    cheers Kate

  4. Although I am not an unschooler, I get the same reactions with our parenting style and some days it's hard to ignore unhelpful and unwanted comments and advice. I had one of those days with my mother in law over the weekend, so it was so nice to read your blog. I am made to feel that we are pandering to our toddler, I can hardly imagine what it must feel like to have your way of life questioned. Thank you for your honesty as always, I thoroughly enjoy your blog.

  5. Word.

    Although actually, when my non-h/s friends complain about the school run, I am quite likely to say "That's why I homeschool - I don't know how you do it every morning!"

  6. Am hearing you, loud and clear.
    I truly envy those people that have a village on hand to help them when times are shitty, people to palm older kids off onto so the baby can have one on one time, people to help cook food and do housework... *sigh*

    We have zero support and when other family members get EVERYTHING done for them, it really hurts :(
    Yay for being the weirdos of the family.

    lots of love to youse xox

  7. Lauren, this is beautiful and open and it makes me wish, like really wish, I could be one of the people in your "village," nodding sympathetically, and giving you support. I know those hard days, those struggling days, absolutely. I also remember when I had a very little one, when a cup of tea, or someone holding the baby would literally feel like the finest gift a person could give me. I hope you get those gifts, and more.

    I get so much nourishment from your words, Lauren—all of them—the ones where you're skipping through the botanical gardens, AND the rest! The light and the dark. And if I can't give practical support, at least I hope you'll take the hug I'm sending across the water to you, right now. :)

  8. Even with this admittance, i still see you as a perfect superhuman machine! lol!

    I wish we were still around to help out more, but i'm with you in the blogging world!

    And, like Liz, i do tend to tell friends who moan about the school run that they should just stay home and sleep in like we do! ha ha!

    Much love - Jo and Kai xx

  9. Thanks for sharing such an honest post. I think we all have to admit that our blogs are mostly a representation of really life "through rose-coloured glasses" (mine certainly is) - because it's easier to blog about the happy, productive, good days.

    I only blog about once a week because really noone wants to read about my work days (got up, had breakfast, took kids to childcare, couldn't find a parking space near work, etc, etc) or the days when the kids watch way too much TV (got up, had breakfast, had no energy so kids watched ABC TV for 8 hours until dinner, etc, etc) but they happen!

    Maybe you need to host Unschool Mondays and Real-life Wednesdays!!

    PS. Love that last picture of the Tiny Owlet - love the red and white stripes.

  10. Much love, understanding & you know the rest xxx

  11. Thankyou, thankyou so much for writing this blog post today. I have had such a difficult couple of days and have felt so utterly despondent about how I am parenting, why it is so damn hard and how the hell other mums make it look so easy. I don't know why it has been so hard for the past two days, but I really, really needed to see some honesty and understanding from other mums, and to read it from a mum that I admire so much is so refreshing to me ;)
    I, too, don't tend to blog the rough days. I think living them once is hard enough, whereas the good stuff I am happy to celebrate over and over again.
    Sending you a sympathetic nod and bucketloads of admiration,

  12. Thankyou for such an honest post. It seems many of us feel the same way and it is nice to know that. I wish people would think before saying things, we can be so judgemental of others and it is not at all helpful. A friend at my local ABA meeting suggested a list of things TO DO on the fridge and if people came around and offered help (how nice!) that they could be directed to the list. I dont like to ask for help either so this seems like a less confrontational way to ask for it to me.
    You are amazing parents and I love that you are doing what you feel is right for YOUR family!
    hugs from me xxx

  13. Thankyou for this post. I sometimes feel like I'm not authentic when I blog. I *am* being authentic, it's just that don't happen to post about the yucky/boring/unreadable stuff, lol.

  14. I have heard so many Mummas who do things the way we all do say exactly the same thing, right down to "I would never say something like that to a schooling Mum when she complains about how awful school drop off is!"

    So many times I hear mainstream parents vent about how distressing school-related things can be and having their children injected with drugs for the sake of "immunity" etc. I think to myself "it doesn't have to be like that," but bite my tongue because saying "I do things differently so I avoid problems like yours" is SO insensitive, and even if that person were to turn around and do everything the way I do the next day, it still doesn't change the fact that in *that* moment she needs empathy and support for what she's going through!

    What you've written here is a big reason most of our extended family don't have a lot to do with us and our children. I'm not able to share a lot of our lives with the grandparents and aunts and uncles because the lack of understanding makes it such a trial. And, like april said, it leaves us feeling hurt because the other grandkids get so much more time with our parents :(

    I'm jealous of friends who are able to involve their parents in so much of their lives, I would love for my girls to have closer relationships with the grandparents etc. but we went and painted our wool black and recked everything.

    Oh and on this topic I heard a woman speak at a conference a couple of years about about neo-liberal discourse of choice. Her research showed that because we have a very individualist society now that over-emphasises the importance of "choice" in our lifestyles that as a society we are becoming less empathetic. She found that younger generations tend to dismiss the trials of others as "well that was their choice." The example she used were things like domestic abuse, poverty etc. a growing attitude seems to be "well she should've made smarter/better choices, it's all her own fault she's suffering now."

    Will try to remember the academic's name and find out if I can access the conference paper :)

  15. Can I, as a Nanna add my comment, that I regularly read your blog and it always makes me smile.
    My 'babies' are in their mid 20's. I have 4 beautiful grandchildren. They are all so different .
    Keep on doing the wonderful job you are doing being a nurturing and aware mother. I remember often struggling with the same issues you blog about and often feeling unsupported by friends who weren't on the same wave length as far as parenting styles. I found one or two special friends who are still there quietly loving me and my quirky ideas.
    I love that blogging is available to young mums. How I would have embraced it and found the support and likeminded women I felt didn't exist.
    Thank you Lauren. Sending my "Nanna" support to you and all who have replied. ~

  16. Wonderful post! and it's lovely to get a little more of a glimpse at the real you. Thankyou for the list of practical things to do to help out. I found out tonight a friends daughter has cancer (they only found out yesterday, and she's only 5). She thankflly has a huge support network and family... but that's just left me wondering what I can do...right now. I'm going to drop some pencils and a colouring-in book for each child on their doorstep tomorrow. Thank you.

  17. I read this post the other day and was writing you a long comment about how much I could relate and how I wanted to email that list to every one I know. But then there was a tantrum and a spill and some other life moments got in the way and here I am half a week later still not knowing if I am coming or going.
    What i really want to say though is great post!
    I hope your weekend is 95% happy. X

  18. {{hugs}} to you Lauren, you are doing a fabulous job with all that you do.


  19. Yes! Yes! Yes! This is exactly how I feel too!! It's so hard to whinge or be overly honest for us who have chosen a path that is not the 'norm' as people are so ready to jump on the: well, why don't you just send them to school' band wagon. It's not what we need. It's a listening, empathetic ear that gets us through and also gets them through on their rougher days. Thankyou so much for blogging about this. I feel like doing the same on my blog - I've been thinking about it for far too long. This is the inspiration I've needed. Thank you, thank you, thank you xx


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