It was the end of a long, horrible day of parenting.
I had been forced, for the first time in my motherhood career, to actually leave a full cart of groceries in the middle of the store after I half-dragged a screaming child around in a desperate attempt to stop his crying by pretending it wasn’t actually happening. (Side note: that technique is something along the parenting equivalent of na-na-na-na, I can’t hear you! Also? It’s horribly ineffective.)
The other two children had somehow discovered an entire Christmas box order that contained nothing but packing peanuts (order mix-up) and shredded them into approximately 18 million little unvacuumable pieces along the living room rug. And to top things off for the day, the oldest had peed her pants on the way home from school. In.our.driveway.
In short, it was an awesome day.
And when I at last collapsed on the couch, feeling too zonked to even pour myself a glass of wine, I didn’t have the heart to tell my husband about my day. After all, what did I have to complain about? I was home, right? Who wouldn’t kill to work from home? And could he ever really understand the unique torture that is a long day of staying home with young children, feeling at once overwhelmed yet simultaneously completely unproductive?
Enter the blog.
I started blogging shortly after my second child was born as a way to help myself become a “real” writer. I remember being pumped when I reached 35 page views in one day. Success! I had arrived! I love blogging, yay!
What started as a way for me to drink coffee, ignore my children, and pretend I was a writer slowly started to morph into something a little more ominous.
Suddenly, in the dark of the night, the soft, inviting glow of my computer screen called to me like a sweet temptation formerly only reserved for my mother-in-law’s secret chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Blog it out!
Connect with online readers!
Feeling like your husband doesn’t understand?
And that’s where things started to get a little tricky…
It started with a couple of “lighthearted” posts about the difference between men and women; a few “humorous” stories about how my husband could never change the toilet paper roll, literally stacking the new roll on the still-standing empty roll predecessor. Maybe one or two chuckle-worthy moments about the time I came home from working one job at the hospital to start in on another, only to find my husband sitting, perfectly content, in front of the TV eating ice cream.
I loved the comments that rolled in from women who “got it.”
Finally, I thought. Someone who understands me!
But slowly, the comments stopping being lighthearted commiserations of wives in the trenches. They became darker — and then they stopped all together.
My mom was the first, sending me an email that brought back all of my angst-and-guilt-ridden teenaged years in expressing her disappointment at me in talking badly about my husband for all the world to see. It might as well have read, “I can’t believe this, young lady! You clean this up or you are grounded for the rest of your marriage!”
And yet, I brushed her warnings aside, thinking she just didn’t get it. It was fine, I thought. I had it under control. This is just part of blogging, it’s funny!
More family members were next. A reproachful comment from an aunt; obvious “unlikes” on my blog’s Facebook page. Even old high school friends that I hadn’t seen in years felt the need to gently nudge me, leaving smiley faces with comments like, “Maybe you should talk to your husband first! :)”
And still I justified the occasional “funny” post about my husband or my marriage, thinking that it was just part of how I processed my emotions. I needed that writing vent much the same way other women needed to vent with their girlfriends. Some wives complain over a glass of wine at girls’ night, I used my blog. What was the difference?
But it wasn’t until the day that my husband actually read one of my posts that I realized how destructive my behavior had become.
I’ll never forget the hurt look in his eyes.
Honestly, I can’t even remember what the words were that he read, but looking back, I know it wasn’t the words themselves that hurt; it was what they represented:
A betrayal of our marriage.
I had allowed myself to stew and simmer about my husband’s “transgressions,” using them as dark fodder to fuel my own selfish blogging pursuits.
I had splayed the guts of our marriage all over the Internet and whether 35 people or 35,000 people read it was not the point.
The point was that I had really, really messed up.
I had been so quick to jump to the comfort of blogging, with its instant feedback and magic cathartic properties, in all of the normal ups and downs of a marriage — except in every “down,” instead of talking to my husband or making my way back to an “up,” I had been running to the computer.
I had placed my husband last and made a mockery of the marriage vows we had sworn to one another.
Right now, even as I write this, I’m so ashamed for my actions. Right now, I dread the comments that will pour in if this article makes its way to Yahoo Shine, because I know they will be harsh and perhaps well-deserved. What kind of wife mocks her husband on her blog?
But in all honesty, I think the mistakes I made are an easy trap to fall into. In the beginning, blogging is addicting and it’s so tempting to document every part of your life, to share and connect those parts of your life with others, and because marriage is a major part of many of our lives as writers and bloggers, it seems natural to share those parts as well. And when they start to get those page views up and drive the conversation? Well, then, it becomes even more tempting to keep the witty banter about picking up your husband’s dirty socks yet again.
But I’m here to tell you that nothing can replace the relationship between a husband and a wife.
Nothing behind that computer screen is worth seeing the hurt look on your husband’s face.
No matter how much you try to explain yourself or laugh away a “good-natured” barb about your husband, it can’t be undone in the blogging world. It’s there, forever, reminding you of how you placed yourself above your marriage.
So, take it from me:
Blog about your house, your life, your career, your kids, your experiment into forgoing hair removal. Blog about it all.
But leave your marriage between you and your husband.
Image via Robynlou8/Flickr