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.”
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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.