Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mormon Housewife Blogs

1950s family prayer
Why I can't stop reading Mormon housewife

I ran into this article today and at first glance I was willing to be happy about non-mormons finding something good in these blogs--why the hell not, right? let's see the good in all things, or at least most. It's something I've thought a lot about lately, and perhaps I'll post more on later.

But then I started thinking about it more: this is just more fodder for the LDS PR department, more reason for many LDS girls and women to feel less-than. I remember trying to reach this ideal, to be these girls. I was not able to. I am not that girl. It doesn't mean I hate life (indeed i did in the church many times when i failed) or marriage, or that I don't see the good in small things, but not reaching the ideal espoused by so many--including general leaders--only sends one message "you are not good enough."

Yay for The Simple Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now, if this is who these girls are, I don't want to take that away from them. In many ways I wish I could be more like them, but that isn't the lesson I should absorb. I should be learning to embrace who I am.

Unfortunately, this is not what is or has been taught. Not in my experience. In my experience, the church and even much of our conservative society do not teach this. They teach perfection without acknowledging the tragedies that come in seeking it. Apparently the cost is worth the benefit.

So we allow others to tell us this is what is normal and that normal = happy. And we're enamored with normal because we don't feel normal. Anything to feel normal. Anything to feel not alone. And we sacrifice far too many people in the process. Many people have analyzed our fascination with the 50s and its nuclear family, and it's all worth reading. I won't go on about it, but we can and should be happy now. It's not about aprons and cupcakes and themed birthday parties and high-end jobs and perfect hairstyles and brand name clothes. I can understand the appeal in that, but that isn't what happiness is. Depending on the package, it's just more propaganda.

Again, if this is who these girls are, more power to them. If my son is what you might call a stereotypical boy, I will not take that away from him. If my daughter wants to wear frilly dresses and play with barbies, etc--awesome. As long as they don't criticise others or make them feel less if others are not who they are.

And that's why I can't stand these sorts of articles, even though I do believe in seeing the good in all, why I believe in seeing the good in that which we often demonize. BUT this isn't about the individual bloggers anymore but the faith they connect themselves to. In the church there is no individual. There is no separation, and non- or never-members can't understand this. When you speak of a person and connect them to the church in a positive light, the church will use it. There is no more individual after that. Just a puppet.

I have a really hard time welcoming anything that brings that.

And so this is no longer about charming, traditional, happy mommy bloggers. It's the Mormon we see, the Mormon we focus on, and the Mormon we are fed. And anyone who is not feels they are not, and because of this they will never really be happy either. Not as long as they buy into it. Me included.


  1. Yeah, I agree. It's a little startling that the author of the article knows that the picture-perfect Mormon family isn't a reality, but still wants to drink the Kool-Aid.

    That being said, I love Seriously So Blessed. I'm glad she mentioned that one too. Oh, and it was pretty funny when I linked to the mommy blogs in the article, then linked back here to your flames. lol

  2. woo for flames!

    i agree on that too--but i imagine (caution: assumption ahead!) that the author doesn't really understand what it is she's saying.

    But y'know. Who knows. It just doesn't seem like it. And who can really blame her--you dunno until you've been in it and then ran like hell out of it.

    SSB is some kind of genius. if you haven't, read interviews with the author. she seems to be rather lovely :D

  3. Yup. Everything you said here, Lisa. 110% agree.

    I likewise tried so hard to BE the girl on the Mormon Mommy Blogs, and I was *NEVER* happy. Plus, most of the girls I know who do these blogs self-censor. You only see the happy, and you don't see the shit.

    While the non-Mormon author may say that she realizes its just a fantasy, that this shiny happy people don't really exist, being within the system and proving it for yourself really hurts. It hurts like hell, and I can't ever look at the happy mommy blogs without being reminded of that hurt.

    Mormon Mommy Blogs have become a caricature of the 1950s June Cleaver family. Oh, joy.

  4. I have a like-hate relationship with these blogs. I want to make my house and kids beautiful like some of theirs are sometimes, but it all reeks a little of shallowness. I look at the family photography: perfect family in expensive, color coordinated clothes hanging out outside of a run down crack house. Sometimes I wonder how often they have to sit and wait for the homeless people to move along. It is all so fake and is one thing I hate about the church I am still part of. On my blog under my real name I try from time to time to show the pretty side, because I do enjoy that, though I don't excel as well as some of those women, but I also write posts about how life kind of sucks sometimes and how I am occasionally close to being certifiably insane. It is destructive the way they try to portray life as perfect. I know it is destructive to readers who feel inadequate compared to their polished lives and I'm certain it is destructive to these bloggers themselves because it must be EXTREMELY exhausting trying to pass yourself off as perfect all the time.

  5. These blogs are just like church where the women put on their happy faces and act out the picture-perfect life. They are not about real people/women with real emotions and problems. That's why they are so disturbing to exMormons because they make us feel like we are back in Fast & Testimony Meeting listening to Sister Perfect gush out her testimony while wearing cute-as-a-button new outfit and impressing us with the perfection of her ideal husband and plastic children. She doesn't tell you about her anguish with the fact that she has reason to suspect her husband is boinking his paralegal, etc.

    True to their Mormon culture, they hide who they really are behind the thuper-cute cupcakes and themed birthday parties. Yet in private they are collapsing with attacks of anxiety and not feeling good enough, quietly rushed to the emergency room, and given the prescription meds that keep them going while they keep holding up the fake image of who they really aren't. I know these people. I'm related to some of them.

    They post photos of an ideal, a fantasy. There is no truth, real, raw; no authenticity. They would never tell you how they really feel, not in a million years. In private they beat themselves up and can't sleep for days with the devastating thought that the neighbors are going to think less of them if they don't come up with the cutest and most clever Christmas craft ever to impress all the neighbors and thus validate their cutesy fake lives. That's what is truly sick and disturbing about these blogs. They aren't written by real people.

    The non-Mormons fascinated with and addicted to them are addicted to fantasy fiction. And it is incredibly disturbing.

    //end rant

  6. @CD: Annnnnd the church (and the bloggers themselves) are using this facade to endear readers to the church.

    Again, maybe there are one or two for reals girls like this. Maybe. But there aren't in my experience. I know one girl--she's so sweet, but I can tell sometimes by the way she speaks that things aren't always so squeaky, but how can you not be when everyone else is commenting on how amazing you are?

    It's self-feeding.

  7. Annoying. You called it, Lis. I've got damn TBM friends sharing this damned article on FB as proof of how the fucking mommy blogs spread the gospel.