A few weeks ago, I decided to take The Mom Pledge, vowing to not “just take The Pledge and let that be it”, but to live up to the standards set forth by The Pledge. I’ve also been conversing with a few people about blog topics (feel free to suggest, by the way), and one that keeps coming up is Truth. I am going to take that one step further today as I blog in response to the first of The Pledge’s Prompts:

“I am a proud Mommy Blogger. I will conduct myself with integrity in all my blogging activities. I can lead by example.” What does integrity mean to you?

To me, integrity takes it up a few notches from simply telling the truth. In “dictionary terms”, integrity really means to be honest, truthful, and accurate to the highest regard. Maybe that’s why I am not afraid to blog about the good and the bad from my point of view.

Sure, I might not always spill all the details (having Integrity doesn’t mean that I no longer have privacy), but it means that what I do tell you is accurate from where I sit. Just like you wouldn’t want to find out that your favorite chocolate was really made out of coffee beans, you wouldn’t want to find out that your best friends or favorite bloggers weren’t actually parents at all (or something). That’s taking it to extremes, but I have heard about some fakes out there, or people who copy other blogs word for word just to say they have a voice. Who are you really blogging for?

Personally, I think part of the mom-to-mom bullying comes from “facts” that mothers and fathers (even casually) tell each other that turn into these “mom-petitions”. I am not going to tell you that A knows all of her ABC’s just to stir up some competition that your 30 month old needs to do the same (when in reality, she only knows about half of them and not the bottom or top halves, just a few letters in order here and there as we sing). I am not going to tell you that Evan’s been rolling over so that you can spend hours with your child working on getting them to crawl by five months (when in reality, he only really leans one way or the other and really doesn’t show a desire to roll–a desire to stand is a bigger thing for him).

While working on this post (one, honestly, to make sure I had the right facts about integrity), I came across The Integrious Project, a project to make people think about their actions at all times–not just in the blogosphere–and how to include integrity in everything they do (my “in a nutshell” version). I was very inspired by a quote they recently Tweeted, and I’d like to use it when I am down on myself re: my blogging:

“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.” ~ Judy Garland

Oh, how right she is. I hope that I raise my children to be open and honest, and not to confirm to what other people want them to be. I hope that I can hold my head up high and continue to blog with Integrity, always sharing the truth with you.

Part of that, though, comes from taking responsibility, being a catalyst to help the “movement” of both The Mom Pledge and The Integrious Project in not only the blogging world, but the world I live in. It means when I get into situations where people are not being honest, I need to let them know they have lost my trust and that I still plan on showing integrity to them. I need to be a model for them to know how to live an integrious life.

Why should I have to hear stories of mothers lying about their children to get out of doing something they don’t want to do? Just be honest and say, “we are not interested”, not “my kid is grounded because they failed a test (or something similar)” and then find out that they turned down time with you and your kids to go with someone else. It hurts a lot less to hear the truth firsthand.

Why should I have to deal with mothers on my street who let their kids throw footballs that hit my truck and then they come to me and say sorry on behalf of their kids for letting the balls come oh so close then I hear from other sources that balls actually did hit it? A few things here–kids should be responsible for their own actions–I always had to apologize to whomever I hurt without my mom or dad coddling me; kids shouldn’t be playing in the street–it’s a safety issue; and moms should be honest when their kids did something wrong and other adults witnessed it–karma, baby.

Why should I worry if I am going to get a coupon deal because other people are creating fraudulent coupons and using them at my favorite stores OR cashiers are hiding products and telling me that they are simply out of the item (even though the store only opened just before I walked in)? Just be honest, you’ll lose me as a customer if you are not. And don’t commit fraud–it’s against the law, and it hurts you, the store, and other couponers.

Why should I have to wonder who is real with me–blood relations or not–? There are enough people leading lives void of integrity, we don’t need to be dishonest with the ones that care about us the most. Mistakes happen, and we should own up to them. I refuse to take anyone serious who can’t be honest with my from the start. I don’t need the drama, and I won’t let my kids be around that, either.

So from now on, I pledge to be honest in all I do (not that I wasn’t before), and to be the catalyst for others to show integrity too. With that said, the Integrious Project also led me to taking another pledge, the pledge to Blog With Integrity which says:

By displaying the Blog with Integrity badge or signing the pledge, I assert that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is important to me.

I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.

I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate.

I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices. My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising, should I choose to have it. If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked.

When collaborating with marketers and PR professionals, I handle myself professionally and abide by basic journalistic standards.

I always present my honest opinions to the best of my ability.

I own my words. Even if I occasionally have to eat them.

Are you with me?

(Let’s be honest–I know I got off a little on a mash up of thoughts around integrity, but lately, the TRUTH has really been on my mind, even to the level of teaching A about being honest when she has a wet pull up. It has to start somewhere, right? Thank you for listening to me today.)

This post was written as a post for both The Mom Pledge and Blog With Integrity in mind.

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(I wrote this on Sunday based off The One-Minute Writer blog prompt site. I am going to include more posts like this off and on—you read the prompt then write for a minute about the topic. How great is that? Here is my first try. I admit—I wrote for more than a minute, but I loved the topic.)

Prompt: Half—When is half enough?

Half is enough when you are down to your last dime and share an MRE with your roommate so neither of you go hungry.

Half is enough when you meet your friends halfway between houses to be fair so that neither of you are traveling too far.

Half is enough when you are stuck in a snowstorm, have gone 7 miles in 3 hours, and your aunt and uncle open their house to you for your safety.

Half is enough when you are trying to live and eat healthy but you just can’t give up the ice cream.

Half is enough when you are part of a true, honest, loving relationship because together you are one.

Half is enough when one of you is working and one of you is a SAHD, giving your children the best they can be given.

Half is enough when your children are half sister and brother but they don’t know any better or care—love conquers all.