SALT LAKE CITY — It was while looking over unrealistic cleaning schedules on Pinterest that Utah mommy blogger Meredith Ethington decided to write a how-to for how real moms keep their house clean.
This humor piece included tips such as not letting your kids come home and getting a dog to clean up crumbs. The post ended up going viral, and Ethington realized this was something other moms needed.
"I thought to myself, 'Moms need to see more of this. They need to see that we don't have to be perfect,'" she said. "We have a lot of expectations that we see in social media that we put on ourselves because we think that's what everybody is doing."
Ethington first started her blog, Perfection Pending, in 2007, the year that "literally everyone on the planet started a blog," she said. She used it as a way of working through her feelings on motherhood and discovered it resonated with other people — her readers encouragement kept her writing.
It wasn't until recently, though, that she thought she would try to reach even more moms by writing a book. "Mom Life: Perfection Pending" (Absolute Love Publishing, 158 pages) is meant to show moms that it's OK to laugh about motherhood and admit that it's hard, Ethington said.
"I also wanted the reader to come away from it knowing it's the best job you can have," she said. "I didn't want them to come away feeling like they couldn't do it because there are so many hard aspects of motherhood I talk about in the book. … I wanted them to come away from it going, 'She's right, this is hard, but it's worth it and I can do this.'"
Ethington grew up in Texas with a working mom, but she said somehow the culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that she belongs to still made her feel some perfectionist pressure going into motherhood, especially after she moved to Utah.
"But I think it exists outside of Utah too because I feel like with social media now, we're constantly comparing ourselves to other moms," she said. "We're comparing ourselves to Princess Kate who just had a baby and came out in full on high heels. She just had a baby seven hours ago and she's in a dress and high heels — that's not real life."
A mother of three children ranging in ages from 6 to 11, Ethington had to devote more time and get more babysitters to write a book as opposed to individual blog posts. But, no matter what time she's had to take for writing, she's found that it's an outlet she needs for herself.
"I've wanted to quit a lot of the time," she said. "Sometimes you can get frustrated and get caught up in, 'Nobody is reading this. Nobody cares,' and have all these doubts about writing. But, my husband is always like, 'No, you've got to keep writing. This is what you need.' So that's what I try to focus on is this is something that's good for me."
She's also encouraged, she said, when other mothers contact her to thank her for writing the blog and showing them they are not alone.
Ethington hopes that when her 11-year-old daughter is having her first baby one day that she can share "Mom Life" with her and tell her, "This is what I want you to know about motherhood." She's not going to show her daughter now, however, because she doesn't want to scare her away from being a mom.
"I hope she'll read it one day," she said. "But I don't think she's quite ready to read it from cover to cover yet."
If you go …
What: Meredith Ethington book signing
When: Saturday, May 5, 5 p.m.
Where: Deseret Book, 2274 S. 1300 East, Sugarhouse