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Along Abbey Road | A Lifestyle And Family Blog : The "Ugly" Truth

3.24.2014

The "Ugly" Truth

So, lifestyle blogs. The place where we are guaranteed to find radiating photos (taken on a DSLR camera, no less) of perfectly dressed children and their mothers (decked head to toe in overpriced, brand name clothing) working on a DIY project, laughing as they eat organic rhubarb (grown in their own garden — gotta' keep the farm-to-table trend alive and well!) cupcakes infused with lavender that were made hours earlier in their Pinterest-inspired kitchen on a reclaimed wood table (from Restoration Hardware or some other fantastically obscure designer based in Brooklyn). Give or take some of these descriptions to fit with the geographic location of the blog, and there you have the classic world of lifestyle blogging and the happiness it perpetuates.

I am absolutely no exception to this epidemic of showcasing our very best self, and I don't plan on stopping. (Did you see the cake I made in my last post? I'm practically H.H. Martha Stewart with that junk!) I am simply here today to share the un-staged sidelines of this blog, because life isn't constantly a platter brimming with a gingerly frosted cake topped with sprinkles (although my life is filled with a consistent supply of sugary treats of some sort because I firmly believe in eating my feelings).

What I generally share on this blog is a very small sliver of our life, and I'd be a big, fat liar if I said I didn't put a great deal of effort into creating a specific aesthetic and image that I want portrayed. (We bloggers would make for a mighty fine sociology study, don't you think?) So, here I am putting on blast the "ugly" parts of life as lifestyle blogging has conditioned me to think, when in reality this is just normal.

Couldn't tell you the last time I organized this shelf even if I tried. This is where all of our bills, paperwork and random stuff I don't know what to do with goes to die. (I am pretty sure there may be dead bugs inside that paisley box. I do live with all boys, you know . . . )

This dirty laundry has been piling up for a solid week now, and it will probably remain that way for another day . . . or three. Maybe even five if I'm feeling extra unruly.



And here is our clean laundry . . . What was that? It looks about the same? Thank you for noticing! I worked extra hard on it. I call it my "DIY Organization Hack" which fits right up there with my meticulously color-coded filing system as outlined above.

This picture doesn't do the crumbs and general filthiness on our counter the justice it deserves. Actually, the more I stare at this picture, the more I realize this is rather sorta' clean looking. Those dishes have been sitting in the sink for two days and that sandwich stands as a symbol of toddler rebellion in refusal to eat real food. Luke has eaten three bowls of Rice Chex today (with cow's milk that probably has been treated with hormones because I bought it at the Smart N' Final across the street because I can't muster the energy to drive to Trader Joe's . . . gasp!) and nothing else because I am too tired to argue with a 2-year-old that he needs to eat his vegetables and whole grains.


If you were to look reaaallly close, you'd see lots of dirt and crumbs that probably migrated from the aforementioned kitchen counters onto the rug. Those are regular old plastic toys that use batteries (another gasp!). It's not all expensive wooden toys and a playroom that envies that of a Swedish interior designer's nursery. And yes, Luke is still in his pajamas at 2 pm, and we have no intentions of getting out of them at this point in the day. Better luck tomorrow?

You know all those Instagram photos and blog projects I post with a lovely white backdrop in an attempt to make them look beautifully staged? They are all taken on this table, which just so happens to have grimy toe smudges and banana goo all over the bottom and edges.

Yep, I'm still in my pajamas, too, which consists of one of my husband's ragged tees and no pants. Complete with milk stains, snot and unknown bodily fluid I'd probably prefer to keep a mystery. No post-processing here, folks. This is me in my full glory with no makeup, under-eye bags, pimples and dirty, rooty hair. Oh, and that little green string in the bottom right corner? That's desperation in the form of a tied string on the bathroom doorknob to Luke's doorknob to keep him in his room because he refused to take a nap and we'd been battling all day, going back and forth with him opening his door and me barking orders in my best Napoleon-esque French accent to "get back in ze bed!" It's one of those days.


And while I was taking the above picture, I thought I'd add in this lovely bathroom mirror that hasn't been cleaned for about a week. And that concludes today's photo tour of our life.

I fear that in an effort to throw a little sunshine out into the world by means of sharing the cheery, creative parts of our lives, there is this stark backlash of inadequacy and exclusion creeping in and robbing our self-esteem as fellow mothers and women from all different walks of life.

I can just see the comments playing through my mind half the time as I read blogs and scroll through Instagram accounts, and I am betting you probably do the same . . . "Wow, her house is so perfectly organized and decorated, and mine looks like a daycare threw a rager. And man, is that thing from (insert various designer household appliances and furniture)?! Must be nice to have a wildly disposable income. Is that mother of five wearing heels?! Psshhh, puh-leaze! That girl is trippin'!" (Worst joke, EVER . . . )

I am writing these phrases from experience and as I read them back to myself, I would like to give myself a swift slap in the face! How and why do I let myself sink to those unhealthy, materialistic levels? It's toxic and downright shameful, honestly. Is all that crap really that important? Answer: NO.

As I stand here on my hypocritical soapbox, I am not intending to demean or belittle the beautiful lives that people in blogland choose to share. I simply want to inspire and empower my fellow women, and let them know that it's okay to be imperfect. Trivial and mundane things, such as unorganized cupboards, messy floors, pimples, and the contents of our closets and living rooms, to the very real and emotional things such as relationship struggles, physical and mental health issues, addictions, and labels based on socioeconomic status and race should not define us and be a gauge of our self worth. Nobody, I repeat, nobody is perfect, and we are certainly fools to compare ourselves to other people and believe that their lives come with no "ugly." After all, as our beloved Pinterest ironically says in sleek and whimsical typography, comparison is the thief of joy.

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44 Comments:

At March 24, 2014 at 8:58 AM , Blogger Flora and Fauna said...

Giiiirl this is so my life right now. I have been trying to muster the motivation to deal with this "disaster" all morning. Thank you for always being honest and genuine. It's nice to know we're in this together. Here's to hoping we clean these messes up... someday ;) Love you sweetheart! xo

 
At March 24, 2014 at 9:23 AM , Blogger Bethany said...

Thank you for this post!! You are so right--we all craft our very perfect images of our lives for the world to see, because we can. But it is comforting and refreshing to see the real sides, too! I don't see anything wrong with the perfect posts as long as there is some reality to balance it out. p.s. I love the way you write.

 
At March 24, 2014 at 9:33 AM , Blogger Carrie L said...

Absolutely love this post...seeing things to admire and aspire to is one thing, but a little dose of reality makes it so much more interesting! Thank you for being honest! x

 
At March 24, 2014 at 9:56 AM , Blogger Heather said...

OH dude...my "lifestyle" blog talks about baby poop almost daily. And we wear Old Navy clothes. Feeling ya over here!

 
At March 24, 2014 at 10:09 AM , Blogger Monique Rodriquez said...

Thank you for keeping it real!

 
At March 24, 2014 at 10:54 AM , Blogger nicole said...

loved this :)

 
At March 24, 2014 at 10:59 AM , Blogger Shannon Boyce said...

I absolutely love this. It's refreshing to see the regular, every day stuff that is never highlighted on blogs! What a wonderful post :)
the-creationofbeauty.blogspot.com

 
At March 24, 2014 at 12:07 PM , Blogger Ann Bates said...

Your honesty is why I keep reading your blog :) It's refreshing.

 
At March 24, 2014 at 12:26 PM , Blogger Rachel Vidmar said...

Possibly one of my favorite blog posts ever. I spend too much time blaming myself for all of the things I SHOULD be doing, when in reality everyone is struggling to some degree! The magical thing about social media is that we get to pick apart our lives and find the prettiest things and share THOSE so the real life images of dirty mirrors, broken sinks, goopy eyes, old sheets, and crumby carpets can be forgotten. So thank you for this.

 
At March 24, 2014 at 1:33 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

Pretty sure we will be stuck in these messes for the next 18 years, and then be crying about having no messes to clean up anymore! Lol. Lots of love, sweet friend!

 
At March 24, 2014 at 1:35 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

Thank you so much, Bethany! That means a lot. Like you said, I think it is good to keep it honest. It's no fun having nothing to relate to, you know?

 
At March 24, 2014 at 1:37 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

Thanks, Carrie! It's always good to have a mix of both.

 
At March 24, 2014 at 1:38 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

Three cheers for baby poo and Old Navy! We are all about those things over here, too! :)

 
At March 24, 2014 at 1:39 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

You're welcome! Thanks for reading! :)

 
At March 24, 2014 at 1:39 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

Thank you, Nicole! xo

 
At March 24, 2014 at 1:41 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

I thought it would be fun to change it up a little. Sometimes I just need to let loose and it was actually really fun and liberating showing a different side of things. :)

 
At March 24, 2014 at 1:43 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

It's comments like these that keep me blogging! Thank you so much for reading my blog! xo

 
At March 24, 2014 at 1:44 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

You are so welcome! Another reader suggested we start a revolution and I like the idea! Social media is so great, yet so crippling, just like you said. We need to keep it real more often. It makes it more fun I think :)

 
At March 24, 2014 at 2:02 PM , Blogger Lauren Smith said...

I love this post! Thank you for being so real and helping us all feel a little better about ourselves. :)

 
At March 24, 2014 at 2:24 PM , Blogger Allison Boreen said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this!!! I cannot tell you how much I needed to see this from someone whom I've come to admire. Truth is what connects us. Realness is what makes us in this together... not who has the best stuff or most time to get stuff done. Thank you. xoxo!

 
At March 24, 2014 at 2:59 PM , Blogger Hanna Bar-or said...

Such an awesome post! I feel like bloggers give the illusion that their lives are perfect when in reality it is not. I think it’s great when we all get a reality check that nothing is perfect and all our houses are messy ;) Thanks for keeping it real!!

Goldpolkadots.com

 
At March 24, 2014 at 4:16 PM , OpenID karamaria74 said...

best thing I've read on any blog ever.thank you, thank you, thank you for your honesty.

 
At March 24, 2014 at 8:12 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

Thank you, Lauren! Glad we can relate to one another :)

 
At March 24, 2014 at 8:13 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

Aww, Allison! Thank YOU! You are so right! It's all about connection and realness, for sure! xo

 
At March 24, 2014 at 8:14 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

We should start posting more of our messes and make that the new blogging standard ;) Thanks for reading, Hanna!

 
At March 24, 2014 at 8:15 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

Wow, that's one of the best comments I've ever received on my blog, so thank YOU!

 
At March 24, 2014 at 10:18 PM , Blogger Eliza said...

Love seeing a glimpse into your life Abbey - it looks pretty familiar :)

 
At March 25, 2014 at 9:28 AM , Blogger LOLA C. said...

Nice post!
http://asmmgz.com/tecuentomistrucos/

 
At March 25, 2014 at 1:43 PM , OpenID Anonymous said...

Hey looks just like my house! Love this post :)

 
At March 25, 2014 at 1:43 PM , Blogger Heather Miller said...

And I don't know why I show as anonymous, my name is Heather ;-)

 
At March 25, 2014 at 10:32 PM , Blogger Whitney said...

Wow, thanks SO much for your post! Very well written and so very true. It is so easy to get swept up in the comparison game. And please don't think less of me here, but I've actually thought similar things about you. Not in a mean way! I just have admired your sense of style and thought that you always seem so together. It's refreshing to see that you sometimes have crumbs on your countertops and kids in their pajamas all day too. And isn't it funny how when we DO let people see our flaws, it usually makes us even more likable than when we try to hide them (even though it feels like we should be "perfect" and that's the image we try so hard to portray). Anyway, thanks for being real.

 
At March 26, 2014 at 1:42 PM , Blogger Tallahassee Piper said...

Wonderful post! Keep up the good work!

 
At March 27, 2014 at 11:07 AM , Blogger The Egg said...

absolutely love this post and laughed out loud at the clean laundry pile. this is a new phenom that i've picked up in the last 2 years and i fully blame it on blogging!

 
At March 27, 2014 at 7:56 PM , Blogger Sarah Staggs said...

This is so true!!! My house looks the same way, yet we only photography the clean and pretty stuff! haha Thank you for your honesty though and for letting us know that not everyone's lives are perfect... no matter what you see on social media!
xo, Sarah @movingeastonwest

 
At March 27, 2014 at 8:02 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

This is EXACTLY why I wrote this! I am personally sick of reading other "perfect" looking blogs, and I didn't want to come across that way either. I am just a plain, everyday gal! Thanks for reading :)

 
At March 27, 2014 at 8:02 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

Thank you so much!

 
At March 27, 2014 at 8:02 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

My whole life is laughable, ha. Blogging is the worst sometimes, isn't it? Let's stop this ridiculousness!

 
At March 27, 2014 at 8:03 PM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

Amen! xo

 
At March 31, 2014 at 3:00 PM , Blogger Brittanie said...

This is an AWESOME post! My favorite.."I fear that in an effort to throw a little sunshine out into the world by means of sharing the cheery, creative parts of our lives, there is this stark backlash of inadequacy and exclusion creeping in and robbing our self-esteem as fellow mothers and women from all different walks of life in general." Seriously, thank you for putting yourself out there, these kind of reminders are what we as mothers need when we start to get sucked into the "I'm failing because my house/kids/makeup/clothes/body/children's lunch etc don't look like so and so's on IG or pinterest etc." What helps me is remembering that a little gratitude for what I have goes a long way when I think of others in the world who don't even have a roof over their head. Thanks for sharing, loved this. :)

 
At April 1, 2014 at 12:43 PM , Blogger Maya Schuller said...

Abby you're such a fantastic writer!!! Not only was your message inspiring, but your choice wording had my alternately laughing and nodding vigorously. I am so so glad you decided to share all of these pictures and insights. As a girl working two jobs, clothes shopping minimally and trying to plan a wedding in one of the most expensive cities in the US, I constantly feel behind on housework, workouts and much of life in general. Then I look at a blog like Gal Meets Glam or Pink Peonies and just groan because their lives look so darn perfect and airbrushed, filled with designer duds and constant eating out. I still find their creativity inspiring and their sites worth a visit, but its hard not to feel insanely jealous. Thanks for the reminder that we're all imperfect and bloggers' "lives" are really only the part of the life that they share! You're the best!!

 
At April 2, 2014 at 1:35 PM , Blogger Katie said...

LOVE this.

 
At April 3, 2014 at 11:07 AM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

Wow, thank you so much for your comment, Brittanie! Gratitude really is the key to not get caught up in the whole mess! xo

 
At April 3, 2014 at 11:08 AM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

Maya, I totally do the groan/envy thing too! It's a breath of fresh air to know that people are human, right? Let's start a blogger realist movement!

 
At April 3, 2014 at 11:08 AM , Blogger Abbey Rodriguez said...

Thanks, Katie! Thanks for reading! :)

 

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