Why I Blog

by flowers on November 10, 2009 · 19 comments

I was talking to my sister-in-love on the phone this past weekend and as we were catching up on each other’s lives (which, unfortunately happens much to infrequently due to separate coastlines and busy lives) the topic of my blog came up.

She reads along religiously, getting a peek at her brother and nephews and a little insight to where we are at, and although a blog is an imperfect window, at least there is a view into her loved ones’ lives.

What surprised me was that she said something to the tune of, “Sometimes when I read your blog I feel like a horrible mother.”

* * *

First, let me tell you that this comment was in the middle of an honest and heartwarming conversation–the kind where you honestly assess where you’re at, but all the while keep a positive outlook of where you’re heading.

Secondly, I need to tell you that my sister-in-love is a world class act. She is an amazingly, thoughtful and deliberate parent and I have spent sleepless nights feeling like I need to be a better parent, more like her. She is an amazing writer and artist and her family is just quality folk.

Upon hearing this, in some ways I felt like I failed at my personal mission as a blogger. I’ve been thinking about this a lot the past few days. I have a very clear picture of how and why I blog the way I do, and I realized that maybe I haven’t been forthright about my intentions and just maybe you might think that I have a really nice life.

Well, actually, I do have a really nice life. It’s a life that I will never stop being grateful for, because I recognize how blessed I am to have not only my basic needs met, but to have had the opportunity to be educated and have many, many luxuries. I consider luxuries anything extra beyond the basic needs of life. Clean water, safe shelter, food– those are basic human needs. Going out to eat, high speed internet in my living room, and a dozen pair of shoes is flat out luxury in my opinion. I try my best to remember that.

The reason I blog is because I am imperfect. It’s because I was a stay-at-home mother who was feeling broken. I felt alone and isolated and I was not feeling fulfilled as a person on a soul level. When I looked at my life, I knew I had more to be thankful for than most people on the planet. I knew that some mothers are raising children in refugee camps, or amidst war, or all alone working 60 hours a week.

How could I be so blessed and still not be happy?

It was a provocative enough question that I wanted to explore it and as I started to broaden my internet scope past MDC a few other internet haunts, I found that there were mothers everywhere blogging.

It was fascinating to me. I loved exploring everyone’s unique vibe and hearing what was going on in their world and what their process was like as a person and mother. I was impressed with the way women formed community and support systems from their kitchens and living rooms.

I could hear the echo of my own thoughts across the blogosphere. Never in one place, but together, there was (is) this collective voice of mother that impresses and inspires me. Instead of feeling helpless in a big crazy world, blogging felt like hope and strength in numbers and opportunity.

I wanted in. I wanted to share my thoughts, my take on mothering and join in the conversation. I thought a lot about what I wanted to blog about and I wanted to be intentional with my voice. I am attracted to many different styles of blogging. I love gentle, crafty mama blogs as much as I love controversial, in your face types.

What felt authentic to me was to be honest, without being preachy; to keep my focus on mindfulness, while exploring the sometimes bumpy ride of our journey as a family. It’s not always pretty, but there is always a bright side, a sacred side, a place of contemplation and learning.

This is my true world view and sometimes I am self-conscious that I might be considered PollyAnna-esque. I am not one to put my head in the sand. I don’t want to avoid realities like war and poverty, but I also need to find peace of mind for my own sanity and for the sake of my children’s childhood and world view.

Social media streams the whole wide world and all of its crazy problems right into my home. On the other hand, my kids’ reality has a pretty small scope. They go through a huge day of experience in our home, our neighborhood and our town and they want me along for their childhood. They want and need me to be present.

Besides helping to run our family business, procuring and preparing healthy foods, keeping our home in a somewhat organized state that facilitates well-being and function, and doing massive amounts of laundry; I am also trying to figure out the best way I can help stop the gas drilling that is about to happen in my county and will pollute our fresh waters sources.

I’m meeting with local women, trying to figure out how we can provide better birth options for our community because they are sorely lacking.

I’m trying to figure out how to get and keep my family insured.

I’m trying to stay educated about our food systems and offer any help I can towards all people having access to quality, non-adulterated real food.

I’m trying to stay aware of global politics and I don’t know–not lose my mind from feeling helpless. There is so much more I could add to that list, but if I keep going I get lost and feel hopeless and that feels disempowering. That helps no one and nothing.

It takes my focus away from providing a healthy environment for my children. It takes me away from a centered place where I can make the best decisions with what is in front me.

I saw keeping a blog as a way to keep my focus on the Sacred Gifts in my life. I want to stay focused on the love and the good food and the empowering ways we can create our life and sustain a healthy eco-system so there is a future for us here on Earth. I wanted to do something that brought me back, on a regular basis to feeling grateful, inspired and awe-struck by the beauty.

So I take picture of our lives. It’s become a hobby, a little outlet of mine that feels good. When I download those photos each week and look through them, I’m taken back to those moments we shared. I have time to reflect and often I am deeply touched by the beauty I see and it fuels me to be better, to wake happier and live more authentically for myself and my family.

Blogging also keeps me writing and that is a lifeline for me. I can’t tell you how many times I sit to write a post that never gets published. It just needed to come out, and it’s only through my commitment to keep this blog that I keep sitting to write, that I have a reason to write. I know my grammar isn’t always perfect and for the sake of keeping things rolling, I hit publish with only a few quick edits; but the thrill of hitting publish, sharing myself with friends and participating in the wave of mommy blogging is absolutely therapeutic for me.

No, my life is not perfect, nor am I a perfect parent. I yell and cry and say and do things I regret and have horrible, horrible days. I beat myself up and talk myself down and hide behind all sorts of fears and self-consciousness.

That’s one aspect of the truth, but it’s not where I want to focus. I want less of that in my life.

What I want is more flow, function, beauty and mindfulness in my every day and so that is what I blog about. It’s a tool that I use to transform my everyday grind into something that fills my cup; a tool that reminds me all week long that my life is an amazing gift and I best not forget it.

It’s the reason I take the truth whole and try to figure out how to help, because the people I know and love are so precious that they deserve a better world.

So, perfect? No. PollyAnna? Maybe a little bit.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

TheOrganicSister November 10, 2009 at 3:12 am

so precisely well said. :)
.-= TheOrganicSister´s last blog ..Simple Creativity =-.

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Carrie November 10, 2009 at 4:57 am

This is an amazing post Hillary I love how open you are. Your blog is inspiring reading mama xx

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exhale. return to center. November 10, 2009 at 9:03 am

thank you so much for this hillary.

i reflect on why i blog and what i blog about regularly and i really appreciate hearing your perspective.

a while back i started posting my confessions and my behind the scene shots because my blog was beginning to feel inauthentic. i was going through a tremendous amount of personal turmoil at the time and blogging about carving pumpkins and doing crafts with my kids felt weird and just not quite right.

but at the same time i just *couldn’t* share all the things that i was processing interally on the internet. it was just too personal and too sensitive.

so, while i was working with a wonderful life coach and moving myself forward, i started doing the occasional confession/behind the scenes post in hopes of finding some sort of authentic balance between who i am and who i am becoming. it has been very very grounding and i think has actually helped to free me up to speak more openly about what is working and what i do know for sure.

anyway…thank you. i think this is an important conversation that you and your sister-in-law had and that you are sharing with us as we all muddle our way through this new media and attempt to make some sense about what is safe and appropriate to share with the world and what should be held closer to the heart.

much love to you my friend…

~erin
.-= exhale. return to center.´s last blog ..in my nana’s kitchen =-.

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Alisha November 10, 2009 at 9:44 am

nak.

thx for writing this. i’ve always appreciated your honesty. love reading your blog!
.-= Alisha´s last blog ..Quarantine =-.

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Leah November 10, 2009 at 1:38 pm

I love becoming a polly anna. You are authentic and transparent and that’s what God calls us to be! (((Hugs))) I can so relate to your words.
.-= Leah´s last blog ..Delayed Halloween Picture Post =-.

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Leah November 10, 2009 at 1:39 pm

I kinda posted about being naive last night and thinking it was a blessing.
.-= Leah´s last blog ..Day 40 =-.

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sarah November 10, 2009 at 11:45 pm

SisterGirl,

‘Its a tool that I use to turn my everyday grind into something that fills my cup…’ yes I understand, and relate precisely to this feeling when I play music, paint a card,.. to make some beauty and order out of my experience, to make it whole, to make sense of it and recognize the wisdom of the challenges. I cherish how real I can be with you and that there is always love and understanding as we try to live the best our hearts tell us to.

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Kate November 11, 2009 at 10:16 am

GREAT post, Hillary! So exactly what so many of feel I think.
This morning I was thinking about all the “shoulds” I put on myself:
“I should do more crafts with my kids.”
“We should spend more time outside.”
“I shouldn’t let them watch so much TV.”

It’s simply too much time shoulding all over myself! What if I stopped putting so much energy into what I should or shouldn’t be doing and instead trusted 100% that I’m the PERFECT mama for my boys and they are getting EXACTLY what they need?
I think as Mamas, we all should ourselves too much when in fact, perhaps we’re already perfect just the way we are!

Don’t know why I felt I had to share that, but obviously I did!
Love you!
.-= Kate´s last blog ..Re-Create the World Wednesday! 11/11/09 =-.

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flowers November 11, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Kate, I love it and couldn’t agree more.

Trusting that I’m the best parent for my kids feels so much better than cranking on myself.

And when I do feel like I “should” it’s usually a sign that we or one of us has a new need. Think about it–I should craft more=I feel crappy about not crafting last week. How much more fun is it to say, “Hey, I want to craft more. How can I make that happen?”

Love how our processes overlap!

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5orangepotatoes November 11, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Wow, this is so well said! I really think it’s something that only bloggers can really understand. I LOVE all the wonderful people I have met and all the wonderful new people I meet on a weekly basis. So glad to have come here and met you now! ;)
.-= 5orangepotatoes´s last blog ..williamsburg, virginia =-.

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Melodie November 12, 2009 at 12:46 pm

What a beautiful post! I love your insight into life and how inspired I feel reading your words.
.-= Melodie´s last blog ..Support for Breastfeeding Can Make All The Difference =-.

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Stacy (Mama-Om) November 14, 2009 at 1:29 am

Thanks so much for coming by my blog — I have loved discovering yours!

This post resonates with me, too. I very distinctly remember writing my first posts that were about the very real “bumps” on my path toward peaceful parenting. The bumps have actually gotten so much bigger since then, but so has my perspective and my support.

Blessings,
Stacy

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renee @ FIMBY November 21, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Hillary, this was lovely to read and so right on. I could identify in so many ways. I too choose to write about the things I want to focus on. The memories I want to hold near, the ways in which I’m blessed.

Other mother’s blogging has spurred me on in so many areas of personal growth mostly because they were writing about their successes and sharing their enthusiasm for their lives. Their enthusiasm and gratefulness and showing all the cool things they do and who they are inspire me.

Blogging as ” a tool that I use to transform my everyday grind into something that fills my cup; a tool that reminds me all week long that my life is an amazing gift and I best not forget it.” wow, so well said.

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Kiersten December 2, 2009 at 11:41 pm

I very much loved the honesty of this entry. I have just touched the same idea in my own blogging. It came up around Thanksgiving and wanting to write a family gratitude entry that no one but me wanted to write. I used that experience as a segway to begin discussing some of those feelings. Thanks for beautifully expressing it!
.-= Kiersten´s last blog ..Where’s the ‘home’ in homeschooling? =-.

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Amber March 30, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Thanks for linking up to this post for me. I really enjoyed it!

I have had some similar experiences. People who assumed things were much better for me than they seemed. I think this is a danger of blogging, for sure, but it’s also a danger in everyday life. We often don’t share the nitty-gritty details of our life. Maybe because they’re too personal, or they would hurt others, or because we’re just not ready to. So I think that we often think that others have it more together, just because we don’t have the whole picture.

I try to keep that in mind, and it helps me when things get crazy for me. Just as this blogging community helps me to feel not so alone.
.-= Amber´s last blog ..Programming Guru =-.

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mb February 17, 2011 at 7:01 pm

awesome- i am just finding this now, but it hits so close to home for me that i just couldn’t help commenting just to say thanks. :)

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maggie May 18, 2011 at 8:01 am

I keep reading your posts…and the embedded links to more of your posts. You sound just like I feel and think. Finally! Someone who gets wrapped up in the world’s problems while focusing on being the best woman-mother she can be to her kids and husband. Your honesty is validating.

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