Messes and flops: a question from a reader

JeansPics_06-2011_Pic0381

Hello my friends,

I just received an e-mail from someone who has read my blog for a while now and who feels that perhaps it would be helpful to share more of our messes and our flops — more of our real life problems — rather than always the projects that turn out great and the corners of the house that are clean. Perhaps you feel the same way? Here's her letter (she gave me permission to post it)…

Hi Jean,

You don't know me, but I've been reading your blog for about a year now. Almost every art project I do with my 5 year old daughter is inspired by it. In fact, it's inspired me to make art a part of our lives, which I'm not sure I would have otherwise. I'm not at all artistic and have no art background. Your blog has also inspired me to think in different ways about the purpose of children's art. Now, when my daughter talks about why she loves her mom, the first thing she says is usually, "She lets me do fun art." So first, I want to say thank you.

I also wanted to make a little comment about what I'd like to see more of, and I hope you will take it in the constructive spirit it's intended. Occasionally, I feel a bit discouraged by your blog, because it makes it appear that all your projects turn out perfectly, that your house is always perfect and that your art supplies are always in perfect order. In our house, my daughter rips through the art supplies like a tornado, and I just don't have the time and energy to reorganize them properly all the time. We have spilled paint, markers without caps, constantly lost scissors, etc. I am hoping to turn her current playroom into more of an art studio, with a better organizational system, but that's another project that I'm not sure when I'll find time for. Also, our art projects don't always go perfectly. Sometimes, my daughter really doesn't get into the process and creates something that's really not at all what I was hoping for. (I'm not saying I need it to look pretty, but it just doesn't reflect her getting engaged and interested in the project. Three cottonballs and a feather glued haphazardly to a piece of paper does not a masterpiece make.) Sometimes, techniques fail us. Sometimes, she becomes a total grump and has a tantrum over the project or demands that I do it for her.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, it would be a breath of fresh air to me if you would reveal some of the times when everything doesn't go as planned. It would give me more courage and inspiration to keep trying. Are all your millions of art supplies ever strewn in a horrible heap? Is the thought of cleaning up the mess after a project ever enough to make you want to lay on the floor and weep? Do you ever undertake a project and have it turn out to be a bust? Do you ever start out with a really cool idea and it just doesn't work?

Just something to think about.

Thanks so much for sharing your kids and your art with the world.

Kristin

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42 Comments

  • Reply
    jen at paintcutpaste.com
    June 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    i love this letter, as i’ve gotten a few of those from my blog, as well. thank you for sharing it, jean and kristin! i have a “tag” called “whoops!” on my blog where i show some of the projects that just did not turn out or were not a bit hit with my daughter for whatever reason. you can see the list that got this whoops! tag here, if that helps: http://paintcutpaste.com/tag/whoops/
    blessings and paintmesses to all! :)

  • Reply
    amy
    June 9, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    I like to post what we try, no matter how it turns out. And Kristin, I try to approach what we do in a very open-minded way, and, especially with my youngest, in an experimental way–what does she like, or not? What works, or doesn’t? What does she choose? I try to document. I’ve found my posts are usually not in a neat packaged “here’s how you do it” format, because it’s more “here’s what we did, and here’s what happened, and maybe it will inspire somebody else.” :)

  • Reply
    Natalie
    June 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I do think that the blogs (not just yours) that I read give me images of moms completing “perfect” activities with their kids. Sometimes I get disheartened when my planned activities rarely go so well. I makes me feel more confident when I see the not so perfect projects mixed in with the wonderful.

  • Reply
    kara
    June 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    I love your blog Jean because it keeps my goal of doing art with my kids top of mind — the almost daily update on my FB page keeps me inspired. Before school let out for summer I checked out every Mary Ann Kohl book from the library and then gave myself a $100 budget at Michaels. So far this summer has been more fun for everyone because I have a stocked art supplies (in my kitchen pantry). I just set out a mix of supplies and let them 7,4,2 years have at it. I think the above email is very sweet, but I personally don’t care too much about seeing your “flops”. I guess I see this as inspiration and don’t really take it to seriously. Also I don’t really think there is such thing as flops with kids and art :)

  • Reply
    angela
    June 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I appreciate the letter. We all have days when we want to fall on the ground crying because of the mess our kids make. As a reader of your blog, I’m fine seeing flops posted or not posted. In my mind, I guess I recognize that every mom and child has good times and bad times. I don’t know that the bad times need to be posted on your blog. But if it would help some people, then I certainly don’t see why not.
    I read on a blog just recently that comparison is the thief of joy. That helped me to recognize that I really don’t need to compare my kids, myself, or our family to “blog” families. But I do think it’s helpful to see what others do when projects fail, how parents avoid big messes, and how they help children to create order in their surroundings.
    No matter what, I think the mom who wrote this letter is doing awesome in trying to incorporate art into her child’s life. Mom…You ROCK! My mom is not creative and has no art skills yet as a child she always provided art projects for me and my twin sister. To this day, I don’t remember any particular projects, but I’m SO grateful to my mom for providing the time to do art. It has changed me as a person.
    And remember it’s more about the process than the product they are producing!!! They are learning so much more than just producing a bird on a page. They learn patience, concentration, creativity, etc.

  • Reply
    amy
    June 9, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Natalie, I’ve stopped reading certain blogs because they just made me feel bad about myself! Particularly when my third was an infant and wouldn’t nap without me and so I always had a baby strapped to me. I’d be sitting there watching the clutter pile up around me, reminding myself that a happy baby was more important, but wondering how that blogger who also had a new baby was managing to not only do X, Y, and Z but also blog about it. A friend reminded me that we never, ever know what’s going on in the background in somebody else’s life (helpful grandparents? mother’s helper?) unless they choose to share it. Now I say to myself, Wow, look how much more I can do than I could two years ago! (And look what a confident toddler I have!)

  • Reply
    Jennifer Begay
    June 9, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    I think the ideas you share are wonderful and although it’s nice to occasionally see that other people do have bad days and messes I think it’s just a given. Nobody would want to read a blog that’s all downers and full of project’s that you “shouldn’t” try. Or who would want to see a project displayed on a table so full of junk you can’t tell what or where the project is? Obviously you’ll display it in a clean area. If your kid doesn’t want to do a project, don’t do it. Kids make messes it’s just a fact of life. What works for one won’t necessarily work for another in exactly the same way. That’s where creativity comes in.

  • Reply
    Jennifer Begay
    June 9, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    I think that the first comment is also great. The “whoops” category.

  • Reply
    Catherine
    June 9, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    On my favourite blogs I always assume there are flops (and towering laundry piles off camera) but have to admit it is nice to see some once in awhile. Your blog is very inspiring – looking forward to some crafty/arty fun this summer!

  • Reply
    Taryn
    June 9, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    I agree with Angela; I assume you have your down days when something doesn’t work out, but why make blog writing a chore by having to write about the bad times just to please the readers? Write what you want, after all it’s your blog!

  • Reply
    The Orchard
    June 9, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Thanks for posting. I think it would be great to see some flops from time to time. I have to say that when I first started blogging and reading other blogs I was also discouraged because everyone seemed so “perfect”. It made me feel like a failure and like a grumpy mother. It is great to see what reality is like every once in awhile.
    Thanks for posting the letter.
    Tricia

  • Reply
    Jill
    June 9, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Hi Jean,
    There have been times where you have been in a funk, questioned different things…(why is Maia drawing only rainbows and houses…or whatever), and it always surprises me a little and I also appreciate those posts too. I think just the way you are and blog naturally is just right. Like others have said, some blogs make me feel a little inadequate, but honestly in those moments, one really needs to look inside anyway and see where that yucky feeling is really coming from. I love also how you shared how you gather ideas and actually make a plan to put them into action. that’s where I get tripped up personally. Thanks Jean for coming to this space everyday, it is a treasure.

  • Reply
    Monica
    June 9, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    I thought this was a very interesting topic, and here’s my two cents. You seem to have a fantabulous art space set up, but like the mom who wrote the letter, I don’t, and OH YES there are days I don’t want to get everything out and ready for a painting session that will last 5 minutes and take 15 minutes to clean up (testing all variety of new cleaners to get colors out of the dining table). We often just pop in “Cars” for the 100th time, have some popcorn and call it a day. But that never makes it to my blog because…well, I guess because it’s not very in keeping with the overall theme of the blog. I have dropped blogs that are all sunshine and clean houses and smiling children because I can’t take it, but this blog I think has a good bit of reality. I remember reading recently that you had some things all ready but Maia wasn’t interested so you did it yourself (the flower mandalas, I think?). Haha! That often happens here; that I am more interested in the project than my kids are. I love reading the blog for ideas and I just accept that you have an art space that is much better than anything we’ll ever have, and children who are probably more into art than mine are, and at least I have some ideas to keep trying. :)

  • Reply
    MaryAnn F. Kohl, art book author
    June 9, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Oh, yeah! I can tell you about art workshops I’ve given where a few people looked at me like I was a wingnut, or projects that fell flat, bubble wrap that didn’t make a print, paints that wouldn’t spray from the sprayer, or paints that dripped from the sprayer and got all over the people’s hands, etc tec. Oh, yeaH, I can jump on this wagon and drive!

  • Reply
    Erin
    June 10, 2011 at 12:28 am

    I can certainly understand the sentiment behind the letter (our art supplies are only set up the way I’ve envisioned them about 1% of the time), but I think there’s an important thought missing- you can supply materials and have a plan in place but when it comes down to it you have to let go of the experience and let it be whatever it’s going to be.
    Sometimes a project doesn’t come out the way we expect it to at our house but we can learn just as much from things that don’t work out as we can from things that go “perfectly”.
    As for other “perfect all the time” stuff- do people really want to see pictures of laundry piles? Dishes undone? Toys all over the place? I personally don’t since I can see that at my own house… I come here for the lovely inspiration you offer up. :)

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    June 10, 2011 at 12:35 am

    all good thoughts…i like what angela shared about “comparison being the thief of joy”…brilliant! i get major blog overload and find myself feeling WAY down when i read too many and all that jealousy starts creeping in about what amazing things it seems other people are doing in their amazing houses with their amazing families. and then i feel unmotivated to do my own blog. i’ve found it works for me to just quickly stop by a blog or two once in a while and then stay focused on the moment in my own house with my own family…i’ve grounded myself from the computer on a number of occasions when i realize it’s starting to bum me out. on that note, we did do a bean teepee, a project i first read about last year and am finally getting to, but i feel good that the inspiration was out there and we got to it on our own time. when i need another idea, i know where to go!

  • Reply
    Rachelle @ tinkerlab
    June 10, 2011 at 1:07 am

    hi jean! thanks for sharing this letter. i’ve shared a few of our “art fail” projects on my blog just because it makes me feel better to come clean every once in a while. Here’s an example: http://tinkerlab.com/2010/10/spaghetti-art-fail/
    I agree with Jill that you do a good job bringing your questions, concerns, and issues to the blog.
    Thanks for all you do!

  • Reply
    Sheau
    June 9, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Thank you for sharing this honest letter. Yes, I find inspiration in blogs I read and sometimes it makes me feel down because of the “perfectness”. As a reflection, life is not always as planned and perfect. It is a good reminder from time to time to accept imperfection in our life and finding way to cope with it and cultivate what means the most to us and what brings the most joy to our family. I hope we all find a peaceful and joyous place to grow, collectively and independently.

  • Reply
    Jennifer B
    June 10, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Thanks for posting this letter and bringing the ideas out for discussion and reflection.
    One thing that I don’t see in blogs (or books) is photos of the clean-up process for a particular activity (whether success or flop). There are times when I think, hey, that’s a great idea, but would do we do with all the …. when the project is over? Is paper with tempera paint recyclable? Should I keep the scraps?
    I have a 2 year old and have had her order me to do something that I intended her to explore. I would appreciate reading your suggestions (or those of your readers and colleagues) about how to respond supportively in those situations. Thanks again for such a great blog!

  • Reply
    Vera
    June 10, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Dear Jean,
    thanks for sharing the letter!
    Personally, I love your blog and you beacuse of your modesty. I don’t get the impression that you are tryng to be perfect, and that everything concerned with your blog has to be perfect. I recall that you write often about the projects that failed, and then again about the new attempts to do things better. I suppose that people who don’t have an artistic background maybe feel more insecure than those who do have this kind of background, and that this is maybe the reason of this kind of ‘inadequate’ feelings. In art, specially ‘open/ended’ art, everything IS about the process, and often about the mess, and very often things fail and don’t function the way we assumed. That IS art: art is seeking for new solutions, for new ways to make things function. Art is TRYING. And the good thing is that there are endless correct ways! And I find all those things in your blog! Also, I think the lady that wrote the letter (and who is doing fantastic job) needs some more encouragment. I don’t think that the solution is in posting pics of piles of laundry or so, but maybe include some tips for faster or easier clen-up! Maybe.

  • Reply
    Krista M
    June 10, 2011 at 9:33 am

    there is a great post over here at ‘steady mom’
    http://www.steadymom.com/2009/01/enthusiasm-an-authentic-mother.html
    that talks out just that. It should make anyone feel better about how things don’t always turned out as planned

  • Reply
    Liberty
    June 10, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I adore your blog and honestly I don’t feel you are an over achiever or perfect in the homekeeping reality… I think you do an excellent job sharing the project & ideas — the whole point of this blog. I guess I just assumed that for all the great projects there is always those days when something did not work out or was messier than appeared.
    It is also makes sense to realize that not all kids function with art the same — for instance, our supplies are kept up but available with permission. At no point ever would my daughter even dream of ripping through supplies in a disrespectful manner or not put them back… that can be a reality. As well, age appropriateness is something to consider. As a parent who adores art sometimes I offer up a project that is either too easy… hence the gluing of a feather and three cotton balls or to complicated which is discouraging. I think it is our jobs to help guide them through their art experience to a degree… maybe inspire is a better term. If I am noticing something is to breezy and she is bored with it I’ll ask her how we can make it even more creative. Or, if something is to complicated I’ll try to find an impromptu way of simplifying the steps a bit.
    My point is, maybe your blog is the reality… not for all, but for some. :p And, that is okay!!! I enjoy seeing projects that work well — that is why I am here, for the ideas & inspiration. I don’t need the outakes of a messed house and project. Rather if you do something and find a better way to help a child through it that is one thing, but to just post a project fail, I am good.
    Love your blog & FB posts!!! Thanks for all you do!

  • Reply
    Carolina
    June 10, 2011 at 10:50 am

    I had to say that Kristin read my mind…I was thinking about writing a similar letter but never knew how. I guess I was afraid that it sounded like a critic when I actually I’m a huge fun of your blog. It is really inspiring & your words are usually the first ones I read every morning, when I receive the updates from your blog. That being said, I do sometimes feel a bit discouraged myself, as I only have one daughter and -even I know she is a very very active one- I sometimes can barely plan any activity and still do laundry, sort through the mess the house is, do dishes, go to work…I know that a blog usually shows the sunny side, the projects that turned great, the house that is all cleaned up, and the treasured moments. But I also started to wonder if, even though I do have an art background, I was the only mom that was tired, disorganized, eager to do stuff but not having the time or if my child was the only one that starts a painting & 5 minutes later off she goes, leaving all supplies behind and a mom thinking why on earth she decided to set up anything in the first place. On the other hand, it’s your blog and you have the right to write whatever you consider you want to share with your readers. Whatever you write, we’re all here, reading you & happy about it!

  • Reply
    tasha
    June 10, 2011 at 11:32 am

    This is all so inspiring- I am amazed how a blog about art with children, can be a meeting place of sorts for so many of us. I read this blog daily, and have for more than two years now. Its so wonderful that so many of us mothers can come here, with our morning coffee as I am doing right now, and get some inspiration and encouragement to last our days with our children. I take the beauty I see here and get inspired; my house will always be a mess because no matter what, I’m far more interested in having fun, and doing art with my kids than cleaning up all the time. We are homeschooling two kids; the messes are going to happen, dishes are going to pile up. Many thanks to you Jean, and Kristin for being honest and conscious moms!

  • Reply
    Miriam
    June 10, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    I started about a year ago to search all kind of art ideas for my boys in blogs and got the same feeling that your reader does. Some ideas I tried took me 4 times longer to prepare all the materials than the time the boys where really working on it. They did not like it, threw it on the floor…I felt like I was failing as craft-mum. This feeling went on until a friend of mine who lives far away asked me to mail her photos of one of our crafts that she loved. When I wrote it down, put the photos…it also looked perfect although it was a real mess when we finished, the boys tried to eat the paint, one of them stopped and finished it another day, the other one glued pieces of paper on his chair….Suddenly I realized where my problem was. When you see a post about a craft with the final result and no description of how the children did, how long they were really entretained, how messy it was at the end…we all tend to make up a story in our head in which the crafts goes very smooth, just like it would go like we would craft it ourselves. No mess, children loving it being hours entretained, fantastic result….All this is just to say that what I really miss is not when it went wrong (although sometimes can be fun to see;) but more a description of how long a child was entretained, where were the problems, how can we get the mess controlled… I would find very interesting to read more information of the process itself and surely about how the children react. For example in the post about the toddler group. This way we will all get a more realistic idea of what we can expect when we want to do that craft with our children. AND what is more important, we would once more remember that the important thing is not the result of the craft but the process of creating with our children.
    Thanks Jean for your wonderful blog. I really love it. Specially your suncatchers with flowers have stolen my heart.

  • Reply
    Julie Liddle, ART IN HAND
    June 10, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Ditto on those darn sprayers that soak the hands rather than spraying! And as a fellow teacher of little ones, I assume you too have experienced the phenomenon where the very SAME project can be incredibly well-received by one group of kiddos, with them fully engaged, and creating inspired results, and the next day, a different group will stare at the same materials, maybe tinker with them a bit, and seem completely unenthused. It’s just the nature of the beast. Every individual and every group has a different personality and temperament and will respond differently to the same stimuli (in our case, art materials, even if presented in the very same way)…so one person’s flop may be another’s masterpiece! Or, a flop with your kid on one particular day, might be a success on another (depending on mood, rest, hunger, distractions, etc), or a few months down the road when developmental changes have occurred.

  • Reply
    Brittany
    June 10, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Hi Jean,
    I’ve been following your blog for awhile now, but I don’t think I have ever commented (sorry about that, sometimes I’m a little shy!). I just had to say, that while I understand the sentiment of Kristin’s letter (and definitely can relate at times!), I have never felt that your blog is a presentation of all perfect projects and home life. I feel like you have always been very honest about projects and about your experiences as a mother and teacher. I have always found your blog inspiring and full of great ideas- thank you for that!
    We all may feel differently about the topic, but personally, when reading another mama’s blog, whatever the topic may be, I expect that the purpose of the blog is to share positive experiences and successful projects. I don’t assume that the writer never has hard days, I think we all do. I feel like you have shared many great tips for going with the flow when a particular project hits rough patches or changes direction unexpectedly as well as for organizing an art space so that it is functional for kids of different ages.
    While a “whoops” category or tag is a cute idea, I think that you are already doing a wonderful thing here. Keep doing what you are doing! I appreciate it greatly :)

  • Reply
    Kari
    June 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I LOVE this blog, and this letter, and all the responses! It’s refreshing to “come clean” as someone put it and to read from others doing the same. This topic makes me think of leaf rubbings. My son is nearly 6, and though we’ve tried leaf rubbings at least a dozen times through the years, it has never once been a success for him, and there’ve been a few tantrums over the disappointment of failed attempts. Here’s to real life!

  • Reply
    megwrites
    June 10, 2011 at 10:11 am

    “Is the thought of cleaning up the mess after a project ever enough to make you want to lay on the floor and weep?”
    Yes, I too have been that tired (often!). That is why at my house drawing with markers, crayons or colored pencils is an activity my kids can do at anytime, but they have to get permission to paint or do other messy projects because I have to gauge whether or not I can handle that kind of mess at that moment. So, honestly, we don’t do painting that often and I think that is okay–nobody wants Art Time to be Stressed Out Mom Time.
    Jean, I’ve never felt like this space was trying to be a perfect mommy blog. I’m sure it would be fine to have a few more of the “oops” moments, but personally I don’t see that a huge change needs to be made.

  • Reply
    jen
    June 10, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    I’ve that type of opinion before but I just don’t get it. I don’t read blogs to see people’s messes and failures. I want to see the good stuff, all cleaned up and pretty.
    I guess the messes help people who feel they don’t measure up realize that not everyone is perfect. But isn’t that a given?

  • Reply
    gabi
    June 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Oh my God!
    Yesterday I was just thinking about that, I have a 6yr old and a 2.5 year old, we built our art room just like you and my daughters enjoy a lot that time so as Maia and your baby but sometimes they fight over something and get grumpy, sometimes is not as peaceful as you make it look, I agree, and I wonder how do you deal with it, sometimes they want to do art but I don’t so how do you do it when Maia doesn’t want to per say? or you rather spend time with a friend at a park? what happen when the project plan is great but your daughter craft looks awful?

  • Reply
    Audra
    June 10, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    I think this is a wonderful attitude to have. In fact, if you want to be content with your own life, family, blog, it’s the ONLY way to think.

  • Reply
    Audra
    June 10, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    As someone who perpetually suffers from “Imposter Syndrome” this IS an interesting topic for me. I think that one thing we all need to consider is that many people use their blog as a place to ESCAPE from the flops and disappointments (in crafting, cooking, child-rearing or whatever). Many people choose to use their blogs as a place to showcase their successes and share what makes them proud.

  • Reply
    Sabrina Jones
    June 10, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I have to say, that the comments on this post have been really entertaining to read! I have two kids (boys 5 and 3) and we have tried a few of the projects on your blog – and have met with varied levels of success and failure. The most frustrating one (and most highly anticipated by me…) was rolling paint-coated balls on a huge piece of paper in our wading pool. I truly believed the boys would enjoy it – large scale, outside, lots of paint and mess and colors! My 82 yr old Mum was also visiting, and I suspect there was a little desire on my part to show her our collective creativity. Well needless to say, it was a flop. Not only did they not engage in the process, but they were very critical of the end result “that doesn’t even look like anything” and “it’s just a big mess on the paper”. I, of course, was discouraged and annoyed.
    But my dear old Mum dropped some pearls of wisdom – the only person in the group who felt it was a flop, was me. My Mum enjoyed watching me drag all this stuff out to the lawn and try and direct two kids who really just wanted to fill the wading pool with water, (she has a very dry sense of humor). And the boys were in fits giggling, as they related to their Dad at the end of the day, the “funny art project Mummy made us do with the wading pool!” So the lesson learned? Even “flops” are an important part of learning and growing up (both the kids and me), and finding out what didn’t work, or wasn’t a success not only helps me get to know my kids better as they develop, but it also becomes part of their life experience and that makes it all worthwhile.

  • Reply
    Darcy
    June 10, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    yes, I would love to hear the flops. Also, my kids go through periods where they love projects and then where they hate projects, do your kids do this too? how do you deal with it?

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    June 10, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I’ve been meaning to enter this discussion, either through the comments, or another post, but haven’t been able to yet. Sorry. It’s been a sick kid week with fevers, throwing up, and lots of neediness (and messes everywhere of course!). Just want you all to know that I’m reading comments and I will try to respond soon. -Jean

  • Reply
    Krista M
    June 10, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    that is a good spin on things. I agree with this too.

  • Reply
    amy
    June 10, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    I’m really enjoying this conversation and hope that Jean doesn’t mind that I keep checking in! Also, I don’t feel that this blog sugarcoats the realities of busy life, sick kids, etc–wanted to make sure I said that! I found, in a post about one of our so-so activities (painting through netting) the reasons why I share the not-so-successful stuff:
    “I think it’s valuable to document the activities that maybe don’t work out so well, first because I use this blog to document what we do for my own purposes, and that doesn’t mean just the wildly successful stuff. Second, it may appeal to someone else who comes across it–your child might love this! And third, because you never know, a few months from now G may direct me to get her some vegetable netting for an idea she has, and if we hadn’t done this, she wouldn’t know to ask.”
    It all comes down to the goals of the individual blog writer, I think, because we all have the right to blog as we wish. And I love the saying about comparison being the thief of joy and just may have to embroider that and hang it on the wall. :)

  • Reply
    Carolina
    June 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I personally love Jean’s blog. But I relate to Kristin letter too. I don’t expect or want or ask for a list of messes & failures. I think the blog is great as it is. But life, with all its richness, embraces both good & wrong & sometimes I do wonder how does Jean do to be such an amazing mom. I wonder about what happens “behind the scenes” & how she manages with the rest of her life (all of the mom & house rutines). I personally don’t feel that this happens because I don’t measure up, & don’t feel any of that in Kristin letter either. Maybe it has to do more with the fact that, after reading about a person’s life for a long time, you wonder about the whole picture, and not so much with wanting to double check to see if others are imperfect.

  • Reply
    Ally
    June 10, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Hi Jean and fellow readers,
    I nodded and shook my head a dozen times as I read the comments. I agree and disagree all at the same time! This blog is like a light at the end of the tunnel. It serves as an inspiration, a jumping off point, and a motivating kick in the behind to get something organized when it looks right for us. I don’t do every project you come up with, but it sure comes in handy as a prompt and a resource when I feel the spirit!
    I have just as many lazy days with my girlie as anyone else. I don’t think your life is portrayed as perfect, I think you are wonderful at documenting and sharing the special thing you do with your girls. We all have our “thing” that we do, but we don’t always acknowledge ourselves for our special talent. Instead of letting comparison steal our joy, maybe we need to do a better job of honoring the part of parenting that we nail really well! It may not be art, but what is this blog for? grin.
    Dishes? Laundry? They’re a given. Have I vacuumed? Not often enough. It doesn’t mean that I need to see pics of someone else’s mess to make me feel better. Although I do get a kick out of seeing other people’s kids in their pj’s all day just because they feel like it, too. We all have those days!
    I love the fact that you are so generous about sharing pics of your home and family. The way you display art so proudly in your home has been a source of inspiration in ours! My daughter cares very little about how it looks, but she takes a lot of pride from seeing her efforts up on the wall.
    I really laughed when I read the post about the pool painting being a flop. I too was super excited to do this one. Dragged out the paints and the pool when a friend came over to play. Neither girl was interested! They helped shake the pool for about a minute! Big sigh of disappointment followed by laughter. The girls were more interested in body paint. One project failed but another took off on its own.
    Similarly, I pulled up your post on flower mandalas and showed my daughter. She did one while I did one. Her interest waned before mine did, but when she saw me still working, she came back to her own project later to add a little more. Sometimes modeling serves its own purpose. She loved seeing the pics of the projects hung on your door. That’s why we read this blog. Or, why I do, and then show her the pics and projects to get her input.
    So keep doing what you’re doing. We are inspired daily! Thank you for doing it!!

  • Reply
    Beth
    June 10, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    This is so great. I actually read a similar post at Soulemama or Attic21 site (may be she got a similar question). A blog really is putting your best foot forward, and we don’t know all the drudging details that lead to the inspiration point. It’s good to know nobody is perfect. It’s too easy to get down on ourselves, when what we seek out for inspiration, seems unattainable. I thoroughly enjoy your blog and appreciate you honesty in this instance. Keep up the good work! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Sabrina Jones
    June 11, 2011 at 12:53 am

    Ally
    Your post about showing images from blogs to inspire your daughter is an important point! I think children (and lots of adults…) can more readily relate and understand processes visually, and so being able to show a series of pictures of how to do something, and the end result is a powerful tool in terms of inspiration and motivation. For example, I showed my eldest a blog post on another site on how to make a “goody ball” instead of a goody bag for his upcoming birthday party. He was really excited having seen the steps, and could engage in the actual process here at home, because he had “seen” the process before. And perhaps that’s one of the most interesting aspects of blogging – to engage a diverse group of people in a dialogue that otherwise probably wouldn’t happen.

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