Friday, June 07, 2013

Living in an Unwanted Fish Bowl- Large Families in Public

Today I got a chance to talk to my dad and that doesn't happen often.  So naturally when he calls I run to the phone as fast as I can.  Otherwise I won't talk to him or another 4 or 5 days or so.  He's a hard worker for sure.  I've never in my life seen anyone work as hard as him with little or no complaint.  Today we were talking about personality types and how there are four different types.  He said there is the social extrovert, the demanding (something like that), the analytical, and something else (can't remember).  I asked what I am and he quickly said the social extrovert.  I'm not sure that's me anymore. 

Alllll growing up I loved being social with anyone, any animal, anything that moved.  Ha ha.  I had no problem talking in front of big crowds of people, singing, acting on a stage, or getting to know any person and was very comfortable making new friends.  Then.... my rose colored glasses began to be lifted.  Kids, if handled with care, wear rose colored glasses.  They don't imagine that walking down the street could bring harm or that terrible things can happen.  Everywhere they go is an adventure and they don't have the worries us parents have. 

Somehow over time my rose colored glasses were lifted and I saw life in a harsher light and so I had to wear my shades.  I saw how vicious girls (women) can be as far as judging each other's bodies, homemaking skills, talents, etc.  Instead of accepting each other for differences and seeing the beauty in it, judgements are made. 

Large family mamas fall into a special category because of being put into a fishbowl.  It doesn't matter where we go we have people staring at us, watching our ability to handle our children, and seeing how the kids interact with each other.  I don't blame them because I would do the same.  I love to watch how mamas do it with so many kids.  It's fascinating.  The hard part is hearing the comments.  You don't know whether you're gonna hear harsh words or kind words.  Over the years I've begun to pull myself into a protective shell.  I'm not sure how healthy it's been.  I don't like being watched and this week was particularly hard because I had extra kids.  I went to IKEA with 10 kids and I felt like I was part of a circus I didn't want to be in.  I like to SEE the circus but not be part of the act.  It's easy to want attention when you never get it because you have a couple of kids but I get it every little place I go.  My old friends from the past have no idea how shy I've become.  They are used to loud Jenny who doesn't mind the spotlight.  However, when you are hurt, whether attacked in person, online, through anonymous hate mail, by family, or what used to be good friends, it's easy to slide into a shell like a turtle for protection.  I hate that I've become this person. 

I know people say, "Well, you're the one that has a blog.  That's what put you in a fish bowl."  True.  However, I meant it as a journal escape for myself and also a way to document changes in my life.  I just love to write whether I had no followers or 1,000.  I love followers!  Mostly I have amazing followers.  Whether they are stalker followers.  People that visit secretly but never let me know they came.  Admirers that have this vision I'm the perfect homemaker but don't really know me as a person.  Friends that know me in real life and come to visit every now and then.  Haters that come just to have something to fume about.  Then I have the faithful followers, blogging friends I met online years ago that I've enjoyed hearing from and love to also visit their blog.  ;)  I've helped to put myself in a fish bowl because of blogging and I know that.  However, that's not a bother.  Mostly it's just being out in public... in real life. 

I promise you that I never intend to make myself appear as someone different.  I might withhold things to protect myself and my kids and because some things are just no one's business.  I have been accused of pretending to show a perfect side but believe me, I just blog because I love to blog.  I don't blog for applause, or a show.  I blog about what I love and care about.  I blog about our adventures or misadventures.  I don't blog because I need to air out my dirty laundry nor do I look for sympathy or praise.  You know you are a true blogger when you can't imagine going a day without getting things off your mind and onto your blog. I have a secret blog no ones knows about.  Not even my bestest of friends. :) 

I think it's time I ask God for help in opening up my heart again and not being so afraid to be watched.  After all, about 80% of comments I get are positive when in public.  "The kids are respectful, well behaved, act good in a restaurant, and can sit still."  It's those few weirdos that are just angry I have more than 3 kids and have to give the evil eye or say something.  I can't let the small percentage get to me.  I know I say that but I need to practice it.  Having a tough shell without it being a hard shell if you know what I mean.  After all, I'd rather have smile wrinkles than sad ones. 

Like it or not, I am in a fish bowl.  "God, can you just paint it a little rose colored... for me?" 


Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

I think you're doing a fine balance of it all. And you know, your head lice posts have to be some of the bravest out there. :)

Virginia Revoir said...

Tee hee, Happy Elf Mom. Sooooo true! Well, the ONLY reason I had the courage was because I had learned something valuable and wanted to pass it along. It is by far one of my most searched out blog posts from other parents needing help. :)

Living My Dream said...

We have 16 children and I can honestly say I know how you feel! I was very much the same as you were. We moved around a lot and I loved meeting people, making friends and was the one that was having something going on all of the time. Life happened and I found my soul pretty fragile for a long time. I don't really like what inlet it so to me and am working hard to get back to that place I was.