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My REAL Blogging Life (Inspired by the show The Real O’Neals)


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As a blogger, I spend a lot of time airbrushing my life to present it to the public. Sometimes this involves literally airbrushing photos to remove or reduce imperfections, but other times this fine tuning applies to the stories I present. I omit some of the trials and tribulations or skim over them as if they were minor. In part, I do this because I want you to come here to be inspired, so I don’t dwell on negative topics. But after reading about The Real O’Neals, a new sitcom about to air on ABC, I realized another reason is that I’m still trying to be Wondermom. I’m trying to sell an image that is a better version than the one behind the scenes.

The Real O’Neals is about a seemingly perfect family whose lives take an unexpected turn when surprising truths are revealed. Instead of ruining their family, the honesty triggers a new, messier chapter where everyone stops pretending to be perfect and actually starts being real.

Today I’m giving you a peek behind the curtain. Find out what this blogger’s life is REALLY like. Hopefully, like the Real O’Neals, we’ll both discover that life is richer when you embrace imperfection.

My Real Blogging Life

A Family Trained to Deceive

My husband and I didn’t set out to create a family of deception masters, but it happened anyway. As a military family, we all learned early on that other people have very specific expectations of us and we worked very hard to live up to them. Surrounded by a community committed to serving others, we all knew from the beginning that we had to project an image of strength. No one told us, but we realized that it is not okay for us to need help because we are supposed to be the ones who step in to help.

We might snicker about the couple at the airport sobbing tears over their weekend separation thinking to ourselves, “If they can barely survive a weekend apart, there’s no way they could make it through a one-year deployment.”

This bravado and snap judgment is our way of dealing with the stress and hardship of our lives – a little pat on the back to remind us how wonderful we are. Unfortunately, this doesn’t leave space for us to have a nervous breakdown in the middle of a deployment where we cry uncontrollably, certain that we’re screwing up as parents and our children are going to end up as drug addicts or murderers. And since all of our other military family friends seem to be doing just fine, we work extra hard to hide any struggles we’re having. News flash – After a couple of margaritas, every military wife I’ve met has confessed to having these feelings. Even after the confessions though, we sober up and put back on our masks of resilience and continue the charade of managing military life easily.

That’s the example my husband and I set for our kids and my quick little learners mastered it right away. Where is this aptitude for learning when it comes to doing dishes, folding laundry, and scrubbing toilets???

The Misrepresentations in Blogging

The deception skills we inadvertently developed in our children come in handy for me as a blogger. No tantrums when I need to take 50 photos of them sitting at the dinner table to get the “right” one. No questions when I tell them to stop fighting and hug each other for my family bonding activity post.

Blogging breeds deception almost as much as military life does. For one, as social influencers, we’re expected to be experts (or at least really well informed) in our niche. Why would you take advice from someone who’s telling you how much they’re failing all the time?

Which of these moms would you rather take parenting advice from? This mom – who’s barely holding it together and whose child is clearly unhappy?

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Or this mom who clearly has fashion and parenting mastered?

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Would you rather read a post on raising happy children featuring this mom –

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Or this one?

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Another reason blogging involves deception is that we want to create a positive relationship with our audience. Most people read blogs because they need something. Whether it be a recipe, birthday party ideas, advice on what products to buy, or resources to find help for a personal problem – you’re looking for something and we want to be where you find it and we want you to keep coming back for more. Since it takes far more positives to outweigh a negative, in order to maintain a healthy balance in our reader/blogger relationship, I have to provide you with FIVE times more positive information than negative. Rather than keep track, it’s just easier to focus on the positive and avoid mentioning anything negative as much as possible.

My REAL Blogging Life

It’s too bad modeling for photos wasn’t part of our military life experience because it is almost impossible for me to get a photo with all of the kids looking at the camera with a normal expression on their faces and sitting still. So. Many. Blurry. Photos. I swear my nephew is related to the Flash since even though he appears to be sitting still, he’s just a blur in photos (that’s him in the bottom right of each of the photos below).

At this photo session, in which I was trying to capture how much FUN we have as a family, I finally screamed kindly asked in a clear, firm voice my children to “STOP SCREWING AROUND AND TRY TO LOOK LIKE A HAPPY FAMILY!!!” Ironically, they were having tons of fun BEFORE my outburst, which did net me the coveted photo (finally) but also has resulted in the kids forever taunting me with their sarcastic parody of me – “We’re a happy family!”

While we’re on the topic of stellar mom moments, let’s not forget the time I made my kids re-do their bedroom mailboxes for my Family Mailbox post because I wasn’t happy with the originals. Or the (fun and easy!) Newspaper Basket I made with the help of almost everyone in the family that took several hours and lots of swearing under my breath.

The kids also like to call me out on putting words in their mouths. For the most part, I do try to honestly convey their opinions when I share them in a post. However, sometimes they don’t use all the words I want them to include so I add them. Have you tried to get a teenager to share his or her feelings with you? It’s either a one-word answer, dripping with sarcasm, or an emotional outburst completely unrelated to the topic. Conversely, sometimes they use way too many words so I have to pare it down to a single thought. I call this editing. They call it lying.

I also get accused of lying when I share ideas here that we don’t actually implement at home. For example, the Consequence Jar and Reward Jar, which I really do think are great parenting tools. We tried them (for a very limited time), but since my kids are older they just weren’t effective. I consider myself a resource for ideas. My kids say I’m a hypocrite. Actually, they’re too afraid to say that to my face, but I can read it in their expression when I give them this explanation.

One deception I don’t get family criticism for is my photo editing. I airbrush away acne, scars, a chocolate smear on the cheek I didn’t notice when I was taking the photo, or the crumb on the table I also didn’t notice. I’m not proficient enough to figure out how to make myself thinner or make myself more voluptuous so rest assured, that is exactly how average my body is in the rare instances you’ll see it on the blog. Here’s an example of my (limited) photo editing skills:

Before

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After

Crispy Baked Green Beans That Even Veggie-Haters Will Eat

Be honest, which one would you rather eat?

I try to be honest when I post here. If I struggled with a craft, I tell you. If I had to go through 3 different versions of a recipe to get one that works, I usually share that too. So, pretty often you do get the “real” version of what’s happening. But in case you’re fooled by my smiling children and seemingly spotless home just know I edit all the unpleasantries out. I try a lot of things and the small fraction that are successful (or that I’m confident will be successful for other people), I share here on the blog. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll see a lot of funny, relatable quotes and images that sum up my daily life which is full of the same personal, family, financial, and household problems you face.

More About The Real O’Neals

Want to see more “real” life? Make sure to tune in for the series premiere of the new comedy, The Real O’Neals. You can also find more details on The Real O’Neals website and by following them on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

The Real O’Neals stars Martha Plimpton as Eileen, Jay R. Ferguson as Pat, Noah Galvin as Kenny, Matthew Shively as Jimmy, Bebe Wood as Shannon and Mary Hollis Inboden as Jodi.

The Real O’Neals is essentially a shared family journey of self-discovery and growth that results from Kenny shattering the family’s status quo with his moment of honesty. The journey will be a bumpy one, but will leave them better off than they were before. I’m looking forward to this unique perspective among the other funny primetime families I love.

New Episode Tuesday 8:30|7:30c.

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100 thoughts on “My REAL Blogging Life (Inspired by the show The Real O’Neals)”

  1. My crazy family moment was when my daughter was potty training. Those crazy days of being in a public bathroom stall and her telling the entire universe all about my bowel habits. I actually got looks coming out of stalls from people.

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  2. I’m not a blogger, but when I’m looking through certain friends social media and I see nearly perfect family pics of kids happily smiling.. willingly posing at the right moment. I feel a little inadequate. I have 2 young gorgeous children. My youngest is a boy.. he is 4 and has special needs.. so he does not want to sit still and pose for pictures for me. And my daughter gets impatient. When one finally looks at the camera and smiles, the other isn’t looking, closes their eyes, or gets up and runs away. People ask me why I don’t post more pics. And I think to myself.. having fun and doing actual activities enjoying my kids is more fun and meaningful to me (not to mention less stressful) than chasing kids down, screaming, yelling, and tears and snapping away to try to get the “perfect” picture. Sure it’s nice to have great pictures. But I prefer a candid shot, something less staged that is less work. Reading your post made me feel better and less guilty about not getting a perfect picture of every family moment, because I suspect people are editing their pictures. It’s so accessible and common there are even apps for it. I think pictures like you posted of your beautiful family at the table are refreshing, and the honesty of this post makes me want to come back and read more. I appreciate you letting us know what happens behind the scenes. None of us are perfect, and I respect Moms like you, that can be real. There aren’t many out there in the Mommy blogging world.. where perfection is Queen. Who wants to go to a blog to feel inadequate? It’s nice to know there are women out there who aren’t afraid to be real. Photo editing definitely has it’s place. I can see how it can be a useful tool to a blogger, or media outlet. The zucchini fries do look amazing in the second shot, I admit. I always wondered why my food pictures come out looking lackluster. This post was very interesting. I’m sorry I wrote a lot. It just got me thinking.

    Reply
    • Don’t apologize for writing a lot. I loved reading your comments! Enjoy those candid shots! Even if yours are blurry, off-center, or have poor lighting, at least you are capturing your family’s REAL memories. I’m glad this peek behind-the-scenes of blog life let you know that what you see isn’t necessarily what you get (in many ways it’s just a different form of advertising). Most bloggers aren’t trying to deceive you, we just want to make our “product” attractive to you so you’ll actually come get the details and take what you can use in your own life. I do hope you come back and read more and PLEASE share your thoughts when you do, especially if you ever disagree. Another thing military life has taught me is that my way in never the only way and often, not the best way, and I love to learn from others. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  3. Our honest, crazy family moments usually come on weekends, or when we’re traveling, and when I don’t have any expectations. When we feel less stressful, and just out enjoying the moment!

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  4. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I was a military kid and had to endure many times when my dad left to go here and there, including Vietnam, and we were expected to present the happy face and strong demeanor in public because that’s what military families do; we act right because it’s what we’re supposed to do. I don’t begrudge it any because in its own way it makes us stronger once we have to merge into the civilian lifestyle.

    I also understand what you mean when you’re talking about how we present ourselves in our blogging. Luckily, I don’t mind telling a funny story to get my point across, as it often involves me & my wife and I rarely come out of it looking good. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • LOL. I’m sure your wife doesn’t mind those true funny stories either! Being able to laugh at ourselves is a great skill (and one I have to practice sometimes since I can take myself too seriously on occasion). Thanks to you and your family for your service to our country. As mom to 4 military “brats” I know how hard that lifestyle is.

      Reply
  5. My family likes to watch Viral Youtube videos and just redo them together…not even record ,just do them to have fun:)
    Its too much fun!
    Another fun time was when my sister picked me up from Ohio and we traveled back to Buffaalo NY so I could visit with the family. We song the whole way and had so much fun!! We couldnt stop laughing!

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    • I love this idea! I’m trying that with my family in lieu of dance party this weekend. It sounds like so much fun!

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  6. Well we traveled by RV from Indiana to California because I wanted to see all of Hollywood. 6 of us in one RV. My husband & I were carsick from day 2 of 9 days. It was totally miserable throwing up & everything else all day. All the other people had a great time eating out & laughing at us. I never despised them more than after that trip. They did whatever they wanted and didn’t even care we were so sick.

    Reply
    • I’m so sorry to that you were miserable during that trip! My mom and best friend both get horrible motion sickness and it’s the absolute worst. They’re two of the strongest women I know and they buckle under that nausea. Shame on your family for not being more sympathetic. I hope you milked it for as long as you could!

      Reply
  7. My 3 yr old grandchild managed to open the locked front door and walk to the end of the street and enter a neighbors house. She went into the kitchen and helped herself to crackers in the cupboard! The poor neighbor was stunned to walk in on her and did not know who she was. A scream led to us finding er ~thank goodness! This story is now family folklore and she is 10 ~amen!

    Reply
    • LOL. Those must have been some tasty crackers! One thing having kids has taught me is that we can never underestimate them, unless it comes to chores. Unlocking a door at 3? No problem. Loading a dishwasher as a teenager? Impossible. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  8. Last April my Dad had to have a leg amputated, and he’s been staying at my house since then. While 99% of the time I am happy that we can keep him out of a nursing home, there I days I think I must have lost my mind offering to do this.
    Like the day he decided he wanted to be independent, but ended up knocking over the ‘used’ bedside commode and a half-full urinal in one swoop. I sent out an email to all my siblings that night saying “Don’t ever tell me again I don’t “get it” when you talk about your kids having tantrums, I UNDERSTAND!”

    (He’s doing much better, and actually gets his first prosthesis soon. There is light at the end of the tunnel!)

    Reply
    • You are a saint! I wasn’t expecting to laugh at the end of a story that started with an amputation, but you managed it. Kudos to you for stepping up to help your dad and for having such a great attitude about it!

      Reply
  9. Once, when my family and I were visiting Geneva-on-the-Lake while I was still in high school, I ended up sneaking out after dark with my sister to meet up with 2 fellows we had met on the boardwalk earlier that evening. The four os us made our way to the beach, where I was talked into skinny dipping with this guy, while my sister and the other guy stayed on shore. When I came back to the beach to put my clothes back on, THEY WERE GONE!! My sister had taken every piece of my clothing and, separately, strung them in different spots on the way back up to the boardwalk. So I had to run around naked and gather each article of clothing individually, while on goers looked on with amusement. It was one of the most embarrassing moments in my entire life…. and I’m 30 now!!

    Reply
    • Haha! I’d love to hear what you did to get back at your sister. I hope it was a prank of colossal proportions!

      Reply

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