I asked the very famous and absolutely divine Jana Engelbrecht if she would write a guest post for The Reluctant Mom. Of course she said yes, and asked me for an idea of what she should write, and then I said “I dunno, anything really….” I am specific like that.
Jana is famous for many things —- not the least of which her ability to be cover model for Finweek and her ability to bring people together on her forum http://www.moomie.co.za/.
Perceptions and Boundaries by Jana Engelbrecht
I am often amazed at how we all perceive things differently.
I will look at someone and think they have it all sorted out, they know what their goals are, they are well-groomed, their kids are well-behaved, they have this perfect life.
In a way, Facebook and social media is to blame for this phenomenon, because the more I speak to people, I realize that it’s not just me that feels this way. We each have a perception of what another’s life is like but we never really know, do we?
You can create this picture-perfect online-ideal but it can be shattered by reality.
That is one of the reasons I believe blogs like Reluctant Mom and The Bloggess are so popular. And why a forum is such a great platform to voice your fears, dreams and reality.
Hardly anyone wants to read about how shiny-happy-people your life is like all.the.time. It’s depressing. Even though I just adore positive people and every day is a challenge to focus on opportunities instead of obstacles, excitement instead of irritation and joy instead of frustration, it can get a bit too much. Reading is a leisure activity that with two toddlers and a humongous belly with another one on the way, I savour.
I don’t read anything that is not gripping, extremely out of the box inspiring and/or makes me laugh. Blogs? I have three bookmarked on my phone and I check it every night. I LOVE a good blog. To get a peek into someone else’s life and you know that person bared a little piece of her soul. To read an entry you know she didn’t necessarily read through, because she was so caught up in the moment. It’s honest and real. Reality sells and the more raw the emotion, the easier other people identify with the writer.
When I stumble on little treasures like: “It unfortunately gives me a really good view of myself taking a morning squat – and my guess is, that it is not the best time to look at yourself under any conditions. Ever. Unless you are into that sort of that look,” it makes my day.
Especially if that day comprised of trying on 110 different “pregnancy looks” in the horrific mirrors of Truworths. You feel beaten when you walk out the store you vowed you would boycott – if only for their horrifying cellulite-enhancing mirrors.
And that’s what makes me tick. When people are real and honest and put their real thoughts out there. I am not that brave. I provide a platform for women to do exactly that but my own insecurities, un-plucked eyebrows, badly shaven legs and cracked heels, I like to keep to myself. Not brave at all.
That is one of the reasons that www.moomie.co.za is still, to this day and four years down the line, my passion.
I know it provides a platform for women to really open up about their feelings – in a safe and respectful environment.
I am eternally grateful to the women on there. They care for each other, they know each other’s stories and they become friends in “real-life” as well. When I receive an email or Facebook message about how Moomie impacted their lives, it makes my heart all warm and fuzzy. And I want to push forward to provide so much more.
Reading what women write on Moomie breaks down the perception we have of certain situations.
The biggest lesson I have learned in the past four years is not to judge. Not to let my own perceptions stand in the way of helping someone else. Just because I have a certain idea about something, is not to say you have to think the same way. We are all different and each of us comes with her own bag of skeletons. No-one is exempt from that.
And to this I look forward to: to try this year to put information, stories, articles out there that can stretch your comfort zone. That makes you think and push your own boundaries.
It’s so easy to judge another because of what you perceive or think. Meanwhile back at the ranch we each struggle with our own challenges. But sometimes it just takes a minute to step back, go wait a minute and think twice about giving a new idea a place in your mind.
I want to keep learning, keep stretching my own boundaries of my mind and stay in touch with that source of magnificent power that a mother has. Because it’s true.
Being a mother is an amazing opportunity to become more of what you already are. Embrace it.
Image source: Finweek, 6 February 2014.