Note from Cara: This just went out to my email list, but based on the response I got I think there’s a need for me to share this publicly as well.
The idea of only showing your ‘good self’ isn’t anything new, our parents did it via picture-perfect Christmas cards sent to distant friends and relatives, and by never talking about the shameful or bad stuff on long distance phone calls.
But with the immediate gratification of social media, so much of our days have very picture perfect lives right in our face. It’s easy to feel like everyone has their lives together, and we’re the only ones who can’t seem to manage it.
Blogging can amplify this even more, because we really want to connect with you as a real person- I’m real, I have a real family, real kitchen, and we have seen real results of the lifestyle I encourage here. But this is a very specific version of my life that I’m presenting to you.
Without airing all my dirty laundry, I’ll give you a glimpse into my reality.
Confessions & Real Life
I have a hard time balancing being public online with my life and not being fake. I even tell my ‘in real life’ friends not to follow my blog, because they’ll get an unrealistic picture of what my reality is.
In the back of your mind you all know this – I record my videos when I’m having a good hair day and not feeling bloated, I don’t post the 50%+ of new recipes that flop (you should have seen my first 2 attempts at homemade RX Bars… they weren’t even edible!), and when my kids are yelling in the background of a video that I’m recording, I mute that out and put some soft uplifting music there instead.
Struggle is a part of life, and it’s not something that we see in others unless they’re our really close friends. The truth is that we all struggle with our attitudes, boredom, feeling like we don’t do enough.
And of course those conversations in our head that we’d rather be doing anything else than scrubbing an unidentified substance off the wall in the kids room and maybe nobody will notice and we can put it off for a day or two. Later. We’ll do it later.
It’s safer to only post the good stuff, posting the bad stuff opens us up to criticism and being kicked while we’re down (which hurts so much more). But it’s also damaging to YOU, my friends, if you only see the good stuff. Here are some quick facts about my life right now that hopefully will provide some balance.
- When I’m finishing up a project for work (like the Freezer Cooking Class) my housework goes out the window. When you’re emailing thousands of people at once, any technology issue needs to be addressed immediately because every thing that doesn’t work wastes hundreds or thousands of people’s time. So it means that laundry, housework, and paperwork get ignored while I deal with whatever I need to deal with right now. I also have been known to allow the toddler to shred paper with little safety scissors, empty the bookshelf, and mix up all the games in the game cabinet just to get the last 20 minutes needed to finish up a project in time.
- While we’re on that subject, I do work full time on my blog/classes/consults and I also have a 3-year-old at home. I’m a morning person, so I get up early (I aim for 3-4 am a few times a week) so I can get uninterrupted work in before the kids get up. This is great, I enjoy my work, I really like watching the sun rise most mornings. But then I. am. grumpy. by the time the older kids get out of school. So grumpy. So tired. And counting down to bedtime. I absolutely am not serving a creative dinner that night. It’s usually leftovers.
- This is my job. I make an income from my blog (if you want to also, you can get started here), most bloggers that are blogging every week do. Do not compare yourselves with us, just take what you can use from what we do (really- we are trying to make this easier for you, not make you feel bad). I get comments and emails from you saying that you wish you had all the creativity in the kitchen, or the organization to pull all this off. This pays my bills, that’s why I have time to do this. If I had a different full time job, there is no way I could blog like this.
- Also- I outsource my kids’ laundry. A professional service comes to my house, picks it up every Monday, washes and folds it for me and then brings it back to me the next day. This frees up so much mental space knowing that the kids always have clean clothes. If I’m behind on my laundry I just progressively start wearing more dressy clothes until I can catch back up, but having the kids’ stuff done is huge and essential.
- I do weird stuff to get creativity. I love having this creative outlet, but there are many times that I get writer’s block. I’ll whine to my friend that everything is boring, food is boring, my pictures look unappetizing, and I don’t want to write one more word about gut health. So I take a break. The mountains are my happy place, and road trips (read: Boredom of driving I-15 for hours and hours) get me out of a a rut.
- I’m better at providing for the physical needs for my family than then emotional ones. Food/shelter/clothing? I’ve got it covered. Feelings/validation/emotions? I struggle. I’m constantly working on self improvement in this area, but again, I’m only showing you the stuff I’m good at. I’m also a full time single parent (this isn’t new- I’ve been divorced since 2011) so it’s up to me and only me to figure all this stuff out.
- Last one ? I love the cheesecakes at Costco. I know. I allow myself to buy one a month, when I’m PMSing and grumpy/starving/falling apart. Last month I bought a bag of organic mangos (the dried mangos in the snack isle? They’re like crack) instead, and I was pretty pleased with myself. So there ya have it :)
Back to that good stuff that I like to post (and you like to read)- it may not be an accurate picture of the exact day that you see it. When you see that email come through? I may have written it on a peaceful Tuesday morning, to be sent to you later that week. But the day it actually comes through to your inbox I could be dealing with 3 kids with the stomach flu… a car battery that won’t start… or a toilet that overflowed. So please, have grace if I don’t respond to your emails, comments, or customer service requests right away, I’m trying, I promise :)
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Thanks for your honesty…I needed to read this today. And thanks for your blog! It’s inspiring, educational and helpful
I’m so glad you enjoy it Sherri :)
I too thank you for your honesty. It’s so easy to begin wearing a mask!. Blessings, Gretchen
Ha! It sounds like you are a REAL human being! I actually am not surprised about that. You seem to be really down to earth to me.
Thanks Joy :) Yes… very real!
I used to follow your blog a few years ago when I was doing GAPS for my son. He’s been having a lot of issues lately and I’ve been thinking about doing the diet again, although not as hard core because I don’t think he would tolerate a life without potatoes and chocolate now that he is older! I had a particularly hard time with him this morning which made me feel like the worst parent in the world. I appreciate your openness and it’s great to know that we all sometimes struggle through our days.
I’ll be 70 later this year but still learn a lot from you young bloggers (now, that makes me sound like the Wise Old Woman of the Mountain when I still feel like a 30-year-old). I admire and applaud you, Cara, for writing this. I was the overachieving mom of two boys (in others’ eyes) and still sometimes think I need to be measuring up to bloggers like you. You are very wise…and brave.
Thanks MJ, We love having the perspective of those who have already raised children here <3
“If I’m behind on my laundry I just progressively start wearing more dressy clothes until I can catch back up”
Best part, and I completely know how this goes! My coworkers all know when I start wearing dresses to work every day, it’s time for me to do laundry.
Haha, glad you liked it Kay :)
This reminds me of what we were talking about earlier! We are real people and everyone has real struggles. I’ve been known to do the same thing with my 3-year-old to get more work time in. For me, it’s usually letting him spread Legos and puzzle pieces all over the house. My remedy is having a 6-year-old that has to help him clean it up for technology time which in turn keeps her busy so I can work too. :) You’re doing great!
So good to chat with you last night Stephanie :) It is a balance, isn’t it?
I think a lot of people are going to take something of encouragement away from this article. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks Sarah :)
In one of those moments of serendipity, Facebook tossed me a memory today from when I started GAPS. I posted how hard it was and how I couldn’t do it without the information and support of GAPS sites. Yours was a treasure. I’m hovering on the edge of GAPS again, knowing I need to do it but dreading the hard work of it. Six months did wonders for me before. It’s good to know you’re there.
Thank you so much….I feel so thinly spread between three children and feel guilty every time we eat cheese sandwiches (because they are cheap and I can make them with one hand!!) We did GAPS a couple of years and one less baby ago and I know better.
Despite your confessions, I hope you know that you inspire me to get more done, you help me with ideas for better ways of getting the good stuff into pur bodies (herbed olive oil is a staple in my home now) and one day, when I have mpre time I am going to try more of your recipes :) Love from South Africa xxx
Thank you Lisa, so glad to hear from you! You’re doing a great job, and I’m glad you like that herbed olive oil!
Thank you for your honesty!! It’s awesome to know that you are busy too!
I meant busy and human!! <>
Cara, you give me hope! Thanks for doing the hard work so we all have it a bit easier! Thanks for not beign perfect also! Now you even look more perfect!! Your service too your family and to us, the bigger community, is huge and makes an enormous difference… Love, Alejandra.
Oh, my goodness. I am just starting a business, while still maintaining my current full-time job, and this makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER!!! I have been hard on myself because it takes me FOREVER to get a new blog post out, or my video training that I’ve been working on for more than a year. And feeling frustrated that my life looks disorganized and I’m not making home-cooked meals as often as I’d like. You are right that the bloggers I follow are my models, and I do compare myself to you all!!
Thank you so much for the forthright honesty. It makes me feel so much better. Onward through the fog!! :)
I’m so glad to bring you some ‘realness’ :) I’m sure you’re doing a great job!
Beautifully said, a pleasure to read and a credit to your integrity that you’re willing to share the truth that we are all living. Thank you for the valuable work you’re doing and the countless people you’re helping.
This message from you really touched me. I’m having a hard time, physically & emotionally, right now and can’t seem to get my “control” back. Not that I was ever in control, but I have had some type of influence over my circumstances. I wonder what happened to that. I eat sugar when I crave keto-friendly foods; after eating just a few bites of protein or veggies, I run for my nausea meds; my indigestion seems to be tied to my depression, or vice versa. I understand that we all struggle in some areas, but I long for the balance you speak about. I will keep trying to reach for those eggs with my morning coffee instead of a cookie, praying that balance will cover me once more. With “friends” like you sharing your struggles, I can’t help but improve. Merci’
Oh, Cara, you are wonderful! I have been following you for…9 years? I am so happy that you were able to relocate to a safe and beautiful place, for your new marriage, happy for your success with your incredible creativity and incredible recipes! Girl, you don’t know what kind of talent you have! We consulted with a well-known Autism nutritionist once ($$ ouch) and she didn’t have the creativity or recipes that you do! You always make me happy – my own life is “unshare-able” on social media. I’ve watched people go on fabulous vacations, have a job, take care of themselves, while I’ve suffered with health issues terribly myself while having to care for my kids (1 with Autism & delays); nothing short of a nightmare at times. You are not alone when it comes to providing physically for your children better than emotionally. Keep it up – you are an inspiration to so many.