Wednesday, July 14, 2010

the thing about blogs...

I love blogs.

I get inspired and rejuvenated when I get a minute to read what others write, and there's something inside me that feels so fulfilled when I have a chance to spill out my own feelings and to make a record of what our family is up to in this blog. Once I write things down, it's like my brain can relax instead of holding tight onto things that may otherwise get lost in the vast expanse of my own forgetfulness.

But some things trouble me about blogs.

Every once in a while I get reminded of those worries...e-mails asking incredulously how in the world I balance things so well. Me, balanced?? Yeah, those two words together are actually quite laughable. Or someone will say something about what a good mother they think I am from what they read. Luckily right then and there I can set them straight and let them in on how I forgot to feed my kids dinner the night before or how I slammed three doors because I was so mad at something or other a couple days back.

One thing in particular has made me think long and hard about blogs lately. There was this one session we had back at my sister's motherhood retreat in June that has knitted my eyebrows together in earnest concern ever since.

The topic was something to the extent of how to keep a positive outlook in your motherhood. The question was posed about what makes mothers spiral into depression or negativity.

And do you know what the most overwhelming answer was? Not health issues. Not finances. Not childrens' behavior issues or the lack of having enough hours in the day to do what we need to do. No. The big answer from a whole slew of moms was that blogs are the problem. Yes, blogs.

And that made me worry. Because I have a blog. And the last thing I want to do with it is depress people.

In writing this blog, my intent is not only to do what I started it for in the first place: to help preserve memories and keep a family journal. I hope to also be able to inspire others to find joy in the journey of motherhood. I have learned that not all mothers have dreamed of motherhood their whole lives like I have, and even if they have, they have realized that taking on the "motherhood mantle" wasn't quite what they had cracked it up to be in their minds. I know this may be a lofty goal, but I hope in a way, through this blog I can reach out to those mothers as well as the ones who are loving the journey already and create motherhood strength.

I believe that mothers have power beyond just creating a positive, loving atmosphere in their own homes. As mothers we can join together and with synergy we can create a network of strong families. We have a powerful voice if we just raise it up enough to be heard. We are strong. We can change the world if we work to build up our own families as well as others around us. And what a great conduit blogs can be to bind mothers together and create that synergy.

The goal is certainly so very far from creating jealousy or comparison.

But the trouble with blogs is that we tend to accentuate the positive instead of the negative. It's human nature. And that's good, isn't it? The bad part is that we see that positive "tip of the iceberg" that others are portraying and compare our worst to their best. (I like the iceberg analogy Ashley left on a comment after this post I wrote a while back along the same lines...) That's human nature too. And that comparing is not good.

Despite my best attempts to "keep it real" on this blog, somehow some people misconstrue the good stuff I write to mean that life is perfect all the time. And that just isn't true. They haven't seen the 90% of my iceberg that's under the water hidden from view.

Those kinds of things make me wonder how I can make this more real life. I mean, I want to capture life as it is. But you know what? Life as it is, is good. Not because it's perfect by any stretch of the imagination, because it isn't. My kids fight like the best of them. My heart worries endlessly about random things that probably don't need to be worried about. I forget important things. I have about a bazillion wrinkles. I get mad as a hornet about dumb stuff.

But life is good because I love it. And I'm thankful for it...especially when I break it down into moments. Especially when I slow down enough to enjoy the journey. And that's the kind of stuff I like to write about.

So I guess this post is really meant to say that I've struggled with writing thoughts and feelings for the last while because I worry about making life sound like it's all hunky-dory around here when there are a million worries and concerns along with the good stuff.

But I'm just going to go ahead and let it all hang out and not worry anymore, because people are going to interpret blogs any way they want, and I can't change that. Please know that just because I don't write every day about things like how I have love handles doesn't mean they aren't there.

Enough said.

89 comments:

Sarah said...

well said. i think most of us have love handles, but i don't know anyone who wants to post a blog about that.

Vicki said...

Shawni,

You're awesome.

Enough said.



(Ok, not enough because I guess that sounds kinda funny. :) But that was what I thought after reading your post. I love to read your blog because I get so much from it. You are a beautiful person and your family is amazing. Yes, sometimes I envy what you have, but then I realize how much I love my family and wouldn't change my life for anything. The reason I said you're awesome is because your last paragraph brought tears to my eyes because you are real and you lay it out there and I admire you for that. Don't change a thing! :) Ok, done being sappy...lol... )

Kelli said...

It's funny because I don't get that from your blog...that you're life is perfect. I can hear the regular everyday parenting things that go one and that you handle them well most times and not so well most times. I love your blog because (in addition to your amazing pictures) it shows true parenting, lots of ups and some downs and how you strive to be a close family. You inspire me with that...so keep writing what you're writing! Though, I was a little jealous of the DC trip :)

Ruth H. said...

What you've said intrigues me. I am saddened and surprised--maybe not as much as I should be, though--that blog reading is an overwhelming cause of negativity and depression. Blogging may be technology's latest means of comparing ourselves to others, but in times gone by we've done that via what we wear, what our children wear, where we live, the ribbons on our bonnets, etc.

I think, like you suggested, that interpretation is key, here.

My life, too, is full of slammed doors, bored children, dishes in the sink, times when I put myself in time-out after I totally lose my cool, piles of unfolded laundry, and even angry words with my sweet husband that I regret later. Do I put all that on my blog? Very rarely!

Do I believe that all the other bloggers' lives are as bright and shiny as their blogs? Nope! I've chosen to believe that they are probably a lot like me: with real problems and real clutter spots and real worries that they might not want to focus on when presenting themselves to the world via their blogs.

I could go on and on about this (I already have) so instead I'll just go scrape the burnt rice out of the pot that has been sitting next to my sink for that last eight days. That's right, eight days.

DIAPER DIVA said...

Thanks for this post! I know as woman we always have that tendency to compare ourselves to others. I was looking back at my blog the other day and was amazed at how much I actually documented and was soo-o grateful I had taken the time. My kids came fast and furious, and life was and still is a whirlwind with 5 kids adopted out of foster care and 3 soon to be. If I had no blog, I would have no journal...

The Ballard's said...

This is exactly how I feel. I used to get discouraged reading blogs until I had my own. I think that if we are keeping memories, they should be the good ones. It is my blog, so I write it the way I want to remember it. Sometimes we need someone to do more & remind us to step up. If people are getting depressed by reading blogs, it is because they are sitting around reading blogs & not making the most of their time. That being said, I love an hour of sitting around getting "inspired" and then back to the real world of fighting, yelling, cleaning, laughing, hugging & enjoying:) You make me want to be a better mother.

Shumway Family said...

Shawni,

I think you strike a perfect balance.

I think somethings are best not shared with the public - some struggles are best kept within the family and it's ok to not share with the world.

I find the blogs I read inspiring. They help me think about how to best help myself and my family. I tend not to dwell on the blogs that seem too crafted or negative. I like positive things.

Your blog is so great, I get so much hope and inspiration from your ideas and insights.

Keep it up!

Love,

Maureen

pakosta said...

I struggle with this too. My blog went private recently due to a weird situation, that made me very uncomfortable sharing pictures of my children. ALthough my blogger blog is still open, but I don't really update it anymore.
Life is full of imperfect moments, I do write about those in their journals I keep for them and choose not to put the negative stuff out in cyberspace!
hugs!
tara

Abes and Stace said...

I understand the problems with blogs - but I am SO grateful for them too. Yours and a small handful of others are the blogs that I go to each morning that give me sort of a "pep talk" and get my day started off right. They give me grand ideas of things to do with my kids and keep my focus on motherhood straight. I am the type of personality that thrives on good examples around me. Maybe that means I'm not very creative on my own, but I actually get depressed when I don't have good examples around me.
I think the only problem with blogs is that you see what EVERYONE is doing and feel like you have to keep up on not just what one friend is doing, but what every blog you read is up to. That is something people need to understand and relax about.

Chris and Kat said...

Shawni,
That surprises me that blogs cause depression in others. Honestly, I love reading blogs. They inspire me, cheer me up on a down day, and make me appreciate my life all the more. Maybe if I wasn't happy in my own life, a blog where someone was might be hard. So in that case, is the blog the chicken or the egg? :)
Keep up the great work!
Katherine

Misty said...

I've only recently started following your blog - after reading your book. It is one of few blogs I follow and the reason I choose to is because you inspire me to enjoy my children. I'm expecting my 4th in Jan, which will make 4 kids in 3 years. Lately I've spent a lot of time feeling overwhelmed and unsure of my ability to do a quality job as a mother. Yet, somehow you - someone I've never even met - are able to help me enjoy my life as is currently is WITHOUT making me feel guilty for all the ways in which I fall short. For some reason I believe you when you say you aren't perfect and what I love most about your posts is your attitude about those imperfections. Everyone of us is imperfect - in many ways/areas. We can't change all of that overnight. However, you inspire me to believe that I can enjoy motherhood and that my kids can enjoy me even though I am imperfect. I will change, I will be better in 1 year or 5 years or 10 years. BUT - I don't have to wait for 1 or 5 or 10 or more years to enjoy where I am with my children right now. Thank you for that inspiration. It means so much.

...You May Say I'm A Dreamer said...

Your blog is pure inspiration to me...OK, I get a tad jealous when I see your amazing photography skills, but that has just motivated me to take an adult education class and learn more about being behind the lens! Thanks for your honesty and candor. You're a breath of fresh air and I would be sad if your blog disappeared!
~Mary

jen said...

Brad told me once that he wished our life was really like my blog.
I felt the same way you do--I try to keep it pretty real, but I want to focus on positive stuff most of the time.
Love the iceberg analogy.
Here's to another imperfect but joyful day.

Marlowe @ Come Home to Roost said...

That's okay, Shawni, I still think you're perfect. But then, I've always loved surrounding myself with friends who inspire me to be better than I am. Blogs are like an ongoing tip book for me -- always clueing me in on ways to do better or new outlooks. And we love to catch up with you guys!

Heather said...

I get from your blog exactly what you said you intended it to be. It inspires me to find joy in motherhood. Thank you!

Julie Johnson said...

Great post...so honest and true. I will admit to being one of those people..and that was my hesitation in starting a blog. Some of the blogs I followed for years seemed like the writers just "had it all together." I've tried to make my writing reflect what I'm thinking...and how juggling 4 kids and 2 dogs and a husband with a heavy commute to the city...is very often just nuts! Some of my posts are very sarcastic...and really it's documenting life...for me.
I love yours by the way!
julie

Just Rhonda said...

Oh I wish I could just copy this and put in on my blog. I've had lots of people email and ask me that too and it kinda drives me nutty. And makes me think that if they knew me AT ALL they would realize that life isn't perfect and I am very far from it. But what's the point in dragging on and on about the downside of things. I've seen those blogs and I sure don't like to read them. They're DEPRESSING.
Great post!

Love Being a Nonny said...

I think those of us who read your blog daily know that you deal with lots of less than perfect scenarios. You have pointed out how difficult life can be with your precious baby girl sometimes and how you had to juggle everything while your hubby was away on business....etc. I love seeing how you STRIVE to be a good wife and mom. None of us are perfect. None of us would be hooked on a *depressing* blog. Thank you for being one of my very favorite blog writers. Your family is beautiful....that's from God. No apologies needed.

Love Being a Nonny said...

I think those of us who read your blog daily know that you deal with lots of less than perfect scenarios. You have pointed out how difficult life can be with your precious baby girl sometimes and how you had to juggle everything while your hubby was away on business....etc. I love seeing how you STRIVE to be a good wife and mom. None of us are perfect. None of us would be hooked on a *depressing* blog. Thank you for being one of my very favorite blog writers. Your family is beautiful....that's from God. No apologies needed.

sista # 2 said...

100% agree with you!Great insight ;)

Tawnie said...

I was at Lagoon yesterday and it was like seeing celebrities as Max and Elle walked right on past me. They got on the sky ride. I saw them two more times. That was pretty cool. They are even taller and skinnier than the pictures show. My brush with fame. :)

Hannah said...

wait so are you not going to post anymore ever?

Hannah said...

wait so are you not going to post anymore ever?

likeschocolate said...

I wouldn't worry about what others think. Just write from your heart because first and foremost you blog is for you and your family. Funny story though was I found an old friend through facebook. She checked out my blog. Then, I had the opportunity to visit her in her city. She told me she was scared for me to come to her house for dinner. When I asked her why, she told me it was because of my blog. That it appeared I had such an amazing life. I told her that blogs do not show the true reality. I usually only post the positive things and that our family would be happy with hot dogs for dinner because we eat that too.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I have heard that from some of my friends, too, that blogs depress them. And I guess I've run across certain blogs that make me feel badly about my own life- but that's when I choose to stop reading those blogs!

It is a hard balance to strike when writing a blog between keeping it real and focusing on the positive. I don't want people to think that my life is all sunshine and smiles all the time, however, focusing on the positive things in my life gives me energy and happiness.

Hannah said...

you saw elle and max at lagoon?

Domestic Accident said...

This is partly the reasoned I stopped blogging- not because I was depressed reading other blogs (ok, except one where she confessed she never raised her voice with her kids. Man, that made me pea green), but because I didn't know how to blog authentically without archiving negative junk for my children to read some day. Yuck! Who wants to read that? But when I posted only hunkydory things, it made me feel fake. I never found that balance unfortunately.

I think you have a good balance here. I find this blog inspiring but not too Pollyana. Bravo!

Jess said...

well said!!!! from your post as well as everyone who commented!!! i blog as a way to capture all of the moments good and bad. I try hard to stay positive and my blog helps me with that by looking at the good...even though there are meltdowns and tantrums. and last...i find so much inspiration from fellow blog moms....when i run out of ideas i have so much at the tip of my fingers!!!!

Nelson Family said...

I am sad to say we women are a little jealous and competitive by nature. If it's not blogs depressing us gals it is something else.

I don't think that it is necessary or appropriate to share each little flaw, mistake, or bad judgment call you make with your family on your blog (I think we all know you are human). Besides, this is a journal in a way, why focus on the negative? There are many more people being inspired where other women are depressed. And what I don't get-If something is depressing you...turn it off!
Please don't feel you need to adjust your positive outlook on life, it is refreshing and I hate to say it, but there are enough complainers-who wants to read a blog about that?

Why should you have to continually point out how imperfect you are to a few women when there are so many more who just enjoy your down to earth view on the joys of motherhood. It would depress ME if you changed in any way. Okay I am done :)

Susan said...

I don't know what people have said because I don't read all the comments , but I don't think everyone gets the feeling that life is perfect for you, well....I haven't read the comments, so maybe they do think that. As you say it "get real" any normal mother knows no one has a perfect life. I don't spend my time worrying about what other people are getting out of my blog. I blog because it's fun and it's my version of keeping a journal and if someone else gets something fun out of it then that's a bonus.
Honestly and I mean this in the most loving way..."lighten up". Don't over think it. I really don't think everyone views you as having the perfect life, but I do think people view you as being blessed. Blessed and perfect are similar, but also very different.

Amy said...

Thanks for that! I realized that a few months ago, when I started to get depressed reading these cute, perfect blogs about stay at home mommies who do everything right (or so it seems), and this working mama was depressed...but it's so true! Now, I read them with that in mind, and even stopped reading many of them, to be honest. Thanks for sharing...and while we know no one os perfect, your kids seem happy, and as mamas, that's what we want, right? :-)

Jessi said...

Thank you so much for this! Well said, as always.

Demarcus Family said...

I love blogs too. I find them to be inspiring and they actually motivate me! Motivate me to be a better mom, wife, home decorator, reader, church stuff etc. etc.
I love your blog because it is real ( the beautiful pictures help too!) but, I get a sense of real life from your blog and inspiration from you too! Your blog makes me slow down and enjoy the small things. I have gotten great ideas from you, ( taking my kids out of school for lunch on their birthdays, and writing their talents on their fingers. I think you ARE an amazing mom, because you are a REAL mom. Keep bloggin..

Cardalls said...

one reason why i keep coming back to your blog is i think you are very real about life, but yet see the positive in it. i don't want someone who wallows in the negative. we all know its out there...i want to read words that uplift and inspire me and yet don't make me feel inadequate...you have managed to do that!

janine said...

I think we have to read blogs keeping in mind that we ARE accentuating the positive and that is right. Our nature, as women, is to compare ourselves. Unfortunately, we tend to compare our worsts with others bests. I often measure myself as a mother with how I'm doing with my faults....as opposed to my strengths....sometimes we ignore what we do well. This is something we have to constantly remind ourselves and that we are all different and our children were sent to us specifically because we have what they need!

Stephanie said...

I haven't had time to read the other comments yet so I'm sorry if I happen to repeat something others have already said.

Please don't apologize for anything about your blog, or your life. You have an awesome, normal and frustrating at times life just like I do. I am inspired by so much of what you write. It inspires me to do things with my family that I haven't done before (we did summer goals this summer because of your post and it has been fantastic.)

When others get depressed or jealous of other peoples blogs it is their own issues showing through, not your fault. I enjoy reading about the high points and adventures in others lives. It gives me a great desire to make more of my life and sometimes seeing someone else do it is just what I need to give me that final push.

Thank you!

Anna said...

Love this!

KT said...

I think you already do a great job of keeping it real. And Blogs are not depressing to me. They help me get out of my depression. They help me see that I am not alone in this big thing called motherhood. Depression comes from lack of connection for me. I draw inspiration from seeing how others handle their challenges. I have a family blog that focuses on the positive and keeps the grandparents and relatives updated. It helps me to keep the good memories foremost in my mind. It reminds me how adorable my children are. (I can read it when I'm mad at them to remind myself.) It tells the story of our family that I want us to remember 20 years from now. (and yes, our own quirkiness is there.) Then I have a deep dark personal blog where I rant about things and get them out of my system. Someday I'll delete it. I mentally assume everyone else has plenty of private blog material in their lives as well. That doesn't mean they want me to read it.

kati said...

Hi Shawnie, I am new to the blogging world and I found your site after I was given your book for mother's day. and I just have to say that your parents site and your blog have helped me to find more joy in motherhood. I was feeling too much like motherhood was a chore and had lost the fun in it for a while. I don't normally leave comments, but i just want you to know that I have been uplifted and have found more joy in the journey! So thanks!

The Nicholas Family said...

Hey! I am so grateful for your blog! You have inspired me to set higher goals for myself!

Krystle said...

Shawni you're the second blog I've read that has posted something about being real in your blogs! One of the comments to the post was blogging is a snippet of our lives (the good things) because honestly who wants to lay out the bad on here? No one. I think if people are comfortable with who they are and are happy then the blogs they read shouldn't affect them so negatively. I'm a first time mom who draws inspiration from these blogs, whether it's with home decor, parties, recipes, places to go one day, shopping, or even being able to send a kind word to someone who is struggling in hopes that it can brighten their day. Thanks for being an inspiration.

HELLO my name is Jill said...

I love your blog. I love that you care enough about your readers to even be concerned about this. That just proves even more so, you are perfect haha!! Own it!

ive actually thought on this very topic even concerning your blog particularly and what I thought was that you are an amazing mother and that is a gift and I am thankful you share your gift with others. especially me :) because quite honestly it doesn't come as easy to me so I take what I can and apply it accordingly. A blog is the perfect way to share! so please never stop.

Mark & Ashley said...

I beat myself up plenty as a mom - sometimes it's justified, other times I'm too hard on myself. We all have good days and bad days (or good vs bad moments), but for me, at the end of the day, I judge myself on only two things: what was the quality of my relationship with the Lord that day, and what was the quality of my relationship with my kids/husband? Everything else is just stuff. There are plenty of other important things in life, but it is only those two questions I judge myself by.

It's a given that life isn't perfect for anyone. I'm grateful for your blog/you. Please keep up the good work of being a mom/wife/everything else, and don't over-analyze yourself or your blog. It will drive you crazy! :)

sarahandmatt said...

You are not responsible for other people's tendency to compare themselves to you. If they do, however, maybe the comparison will make them feel like trying a little harder and being a little better mom. That's why I read your blog. I admit, sometimes I read other people's blogs and feel bad about something I've done. Usually it's something I should feel bad about! Moms need to remember that just because none of us is perfect doesn't mean we should just sit back and let ourselves stay that way! You're doing a great job, Shawni, keep it up.

Sarah said...

you are seriously rad.i am with you.

Tiff Moser said...

The problem isn't "blogs" it's letting ourselves fall into Satan's trap of comparing ourselves to others and forgetting our own individual worth. I have read your blog so many times and felt so uplifted and inspired in my own life. I think it's all about how we choose to react to someone who is setting a good example. Just my two cents. :-)

Ali F. said...

Shawni,
You are such an angel mother. Thanks for loving everyone and your family as much as you do, and for including us all. Sometimes I can enjoy my children and life better that day, because I've read my scriptures and your blog!!! Thanks.

The Gathering Place said...

Thank you for your honesty in your post. I know exactly what you mean when trying to put your best foot forward on your blog (while the dirty dishes, etc. are just around the corner). I think we all escape a little in our blogs, but the positive for me is making new friends, getting fun ideas, and using my own creative juices.
BYW, thanks for letting me blog-stalk. I found you through 320 Sycamore.

Heather said...

Amen Sister!! Let's celebrate the best in others and ourselves. We can accomplish SO much more that way!!

Sarie said...

I love you Shawni! What a great post! You are forever a great example and you never, ever depress me, just make me want to be better. And that's a great thing.

It's so so true. We can be so strong together as mothers.

I am going on a quick road trip with my sisters this weekend and we have a planned agenda of what we're going to discuss. Good things, things that make us better mothers and wives. Ways we can improve. Our dreams and goals for ourselves and our children. We planned this so we don't digress into gossip or chat about things that don't matter and make us feel worse about ourselves.

There is so little time to perfect our motherhood. And I'm so grateful for blogs!!

xo
Sarah

dawn said...

Hi Shawni,

I've been reading your blog for about 6months now I think and have never commented. The way you express yourself and your family is amazing you tell it to us straight I think. While showing us that you have fun and happy times you also show us the meltdowns,being late, forgetting things, all the normal things us mom have everyday but we usually don't put it on our blogs. It's up to the reader to choose how to react about the blogs they read. Sometimes I'm jealous of yours because like another commenter said you have amazing photo skills which I wish I had. Otherwise I see a mom who works hard to stay close to her children who understands them and inspires us to do our best and I love the ideas you have. What I also love is that you have girls and one boy just like me so I love to hear the stories about that which are funny and sweet. So please don't quit your blog or write less or write different I love coming here to be inspired and to laugh and actually cry at times. You have a wonderful sweet family and I know my family is too just different from yours. Please feel free to visit my blog I post mine for my Project Life Album from becky Higgins who scrapbooks so we take a picture a day and I upload them once a week and some fun stuff in between. So come on by and say hi if you have time. It's http://everydaymemorieswithprojectlife.blogspot.com

Tracy said...

Yours is one of the few blogs I read to put my life back in perspective and keep it real. I know you aren't perfect...no one is, but you handle things well. We all have imperfections and it is important to move on from those and focus on the memories that make us happy. Your blog inspires me to keep on doing what I am doing...being the best mom & wife I can be...wrinkles, slamming doors, loud voices and all!

Thank you for helping me keep it real.

Eyrealm said...

I have been with you??? When in the world did you have time to write this brilliant thing? Love you!

Ali @ Mommie Life said...

I love this post and how honest you are in your writing but I have to tell you that all good isn't bad. I don't often leave comments on your blog but I read EVERY new post you have.
Your positive outlook on life inspires me to not only be a better wife but a better mother, more patient, loving and embracing of the details in my baby's life while she is so young.
I don't think it's a bad thing to focus on the good.
Sometimes I come across blogs where the writer is far too honest... I don't like all the negativity that comes with those blogs, it rubs off on me and my outlook on the day to day.
Please don't change anything about your blog. You are a wonderful blogger! :)

And your pictures leave me in awe!!

Vera said...

You know several "big" blogs I read lately have been criticized for not being "real" or being too rosy, or whatever. I think it's silly. First of all, I read your blog because it IS inspiring. I'm sorry, but if you whined all day long about how hard your life was, I would feel sad and say a prayer for you... and probably never come back to read it again. Second of all, why should you air the negative? When you have a friend over to your house, you clean up the pile of laundry on the dining table and wipe off the toilet seats. It's the same thing with a blog. I post pictures of my kids looking cute and I don't post pictures of my dirty dishes on my blog, that doesn't mean I don't have any. Who wants to be reminded of the bad times? And who wants their family's unhappy things recorded for the world to see? I've actually seen some blogs that consist mostly of complaining, and THEY depress me and make me think "you know, you have a lot to be thankful for and it's so sad that you can't see it" and I don't read them anymore. Please keep posting all the JOY in your life, because it inspires me to find the joy in MY life! I want other mothers to be role models - not idols, but moms who are further along in this journey than me to whom I can look for guidance - and it's the POSITIVE HAPPY moms who I choose, and you're one of them!

The part of blogging that DOES stress me out, is that sometimes I get caught up in stuff like noticing that I have one less follower, and wondering if I said something that offended someone, and then I lie awake at night and worry about it... those times I think about just not blogging anymore, because I don't need that kind of added worry in my life.

Sarah said...

Shawni, this is brilliant. To add one more thing too...sometimes my children read my blog. The LAST thing I'd ever want to do is post about some personal struggle or problem they are having. I think blogs must reflect mostly positive, and the struggles must be generalized...I would never want to lose the trust of my children over a stupid blog post.
You are SO real on this blog. But your joy of motherhood shows through and what a great inspiration to others, and a great gift for your children to read about how much you enjoyed their childhood.

Coleen Ure said...

Shawni,

I don't know you but I've read some of your parents' books. My sister told me she liked your blog, that's how I found it. I have felt depressed after reading blogs and have felt strongly that I need to cut back my time spent on Facebook and reading blogs. When I see all the great things other moms write about (running marathons, baking beautiful birthday cakes, traveling the world, decorating their homes, bragging about their kids/marriages, their talents/hobbies/careers, it makes me feel like I'll never measure up. Last months Ensign talked about this very subject and I felt like it was meant for me. As women we naturally compare ourselves and I believe blogs are one of Satan's greatest tools against women (therefore the family) today. That being said, I think most blog authors are innocent enough, but it's good to be aware. I've found that since I've spent less time updating my blog and reading others' blogs I've lived in the moment more and enjoyed my children/husband/life much more. I hate the feelings of inadequacy that usually follow blog reading. I'm glad you are aware of the problem.

Caroline Green said...

Shawni- I absolutely love your blog! I think you do a great job of keeping it real, but also inspiring others while you do it. You are positive and I think that's really great to see someone being positive and encouraging others to be positive especially when it could be easy to someone like me to dwell on the things that aren't going like I want them to. You help me to try to see things in a positive way and to enjoy the journey. Keep up the blog. As I read your blog I was worrying that at the end you were going to announce you were doing something completely different with your blog and that would make me sad. I pass on your blog to my friends because it has really inspired me. You rock!

kami @ no biggie said...

Thanks for that Shawni! I don't comment often, but I so appreciate this post and your effort to keep it real.

Alissa and Brandon Owen Family said...

You are wonderful and inspiring. I love how you write-- you are like Linda II, which is wonderful and lucky for us your mother's legacy continues! I see your blog as dessert at the end of the night, but without calories!

Keep "treating" us to your great life, INCREDIBLE ATTITUDE, and insightful writings.

Alissa Owen

Muriel and Jerry said...

ummm I love your blog and it is so real. I will never forget the picture of Lu on her tummy one Croc on throwing a fit in the Target parking lot...that is not perfect but it is real and it is motherhood. I love your insight and ideas. I come here for your creativity and your photos...and most of all for the kids...I just adore the stories and snip its you share. Keep it up Shawni. Have fun on your trip.

Nancy K said...

I've picked up many a good parenting and living in general ideas from you...its so nice to have a great place to reference when things come up in my own family!

seven smiles said...

I feel the exact same way. To all of it. I wrote a similar post about it last year and then later added it to my side bar under "disclaimer". I think blogs *can* be absolutely fantastic.
And, you couldn't have said truer words: "people are going to interpret blogs any way they want, and I can't change that."

Rachel said...

Thank you for being unafraid to stand up for motherhood on your blog! There is so much media out there showing how glamorous other life choices are that I think it's essential for us to see how motherhood also can be beautiful and even "glamorous". Like you said, it's all about slowing down and finding the beauty in the moments. I hope my own girls grow up thinking of motherhood that way.

Myrnie said...

The other thing that keeps me from saying EVERYTHING I want to say, is that the internet is kind of forever, and I don't want my kids to find grievances about things they did as a four-year-old floating around on the internet when they're older. Plus, no one likes a whiner!

Anna and Ryan said...

Hey there Shawni! I also think your blog is inspiring and well written and so often though provoking. I really appreciate your perspective on motherhood. You are a great example, so let your light shine!!

Jo Lynn said...

I agree about blogs. I spend no more time with my blog than a person who gets 2 breaks a day at work. Or a smoker who smokes 2-3 packs a day. I think blogging has enhanced my life and made me a better person. My life isn't perfect, but it isn't bad either. So shoot me for writing about the good and not the bad. I think its human nature to do that.

LnZ said...

amen.
That's too bad because I find joy and strength and my best ideas come from others' blogs (including yours) so thanks!

Tracey said...

Well said. You have a gift and are an instrument in the Lord's hands... Continue to share your gift for those who are trying to better their lives and draw upon inspiration. You have blessed many lives and motivated others.
Keep it up!
xoxo

Maman positive said...

Hello

I'm a french woman reading from France (so please, excuse my poor english). I can read and write a little but i can hardly speak. I just want you to know that i've discovered your blog 5 months ago and it's such an inspiration for me. Yes, sometimes, i feel jealous about what you are able to achieve with your family, especially now because we are facing a lot of troubles but i'm still convinced that the Lord will help us find a way to go through it. You are very inspiring for me because you were able to build the kind of life i too want to achieve, with all the good AND the bad stuffs. I know your life is not perfect, no one's life is. I just admire your ability to only keep the best of it. That's all. So, please, stay as you are and give a flying F... to everything that negative people can think or say.

Thanx.

Elam's said...

Ditto to everyone else - I find your blog quite "REAL".. yes occasionally I think - "wow she is amazing"... but you make it real, and make me feel I'm not as bad as I think I am ... so I thihnk you are doing a great job! Thank YOU.

Heather said...

I think it's good once in awhile to hear about the mistakes we all make, but I also think that the happy picture that is painted on so many blogs helps encourage all of us. It makes me want to pull on my boots and get to work and make things better in my life. The good stuff I see in others' lives makes me want to work hard so I can have that, too. Letting the bad hang out once in awhile is also encouraging, but no one wants to read negative things or struggles all the time.

You do a great job at both on your blog. That's why so many of us keep coming back. We can only blame ourselves if we feel unhappy about the comparisons we draw between ourselves and others. Most of the time it's a sign that we need to buckle down and change things in our own life to make it more of the life we want.

Thanks for your inspiring blog!

Nicole said...

you have such a beautiful heart! Thanks for being so honest in sharing all that! I agree with the whole blog thing but like you I like to blog about the happy things mostly...not that there is not crazy hard times but I like to look at the positive because mothering can be dog-gone hard :) thank you for being so honest I sure enjoy reading your blog!

Brian and Staci said...

Shawni--I don't know what other people are saying in their comments....but I think your blog is soooo awesome and you always continue to make me strive to be a better mom!!! How can that be bad :) I hope people aren't leaving rude comments to you....that would just make me sad! I ADORE your blog and your sweet family!!!! You just seem so real to me :)

SMDStudio said...

I have never posted on your blog before, but I have been reading it religiously for about the past six months. It has changed me in so many good ways. In all honestly it was an answer to some prayers searching for ways to be a better mother. One of the most empowering things I got from reading it was that you make mistakes and then you get right back up and keep trying to be the best you can be. I love reading about the great times, and I appreciate the admittance of rough times. Your blog has a wonderful balance and it has seriously helped me become a much better person. Thank you for writing.

Holly said...

You know what? It is so sad that people think that what they read on blogs is it. If we posted about changing poopy diapers and kids who wake us up at 4:15 a.m. we would all be really depressed. We write about the things we want to remember as they happen and those who can't tell the difference between memories we want to treasure and all the things we'd rather forget need to realize that their life is as perfect as they make it. We have just as much junk going on as the next family, but I'd rather not remember that stuff and focus on the positive. It doesn't mean we have a storybook life, we just don't dwell on the negative aspects!

twolittletots said...

thanks for being honest. i love your blog and you make me want to be a better mom.

i try to keep my blog on the positive side as well, but there are times i feel like i have to show my true colors a little bit, because i get emails as well asking how i keep it all together...i don't either!

i would love to hear more parenting tips you have, that would be great.

thanks again for a great blog!

Dana @ Bungalow'56 said...

I am uplifted by many blogs I read. I try to find the funny in the frustrating. I realize because I write a blog that I am only seeing what the blogger chooses. I am find with that. If I find a blogger makes me feel frustrated I discontinue reading. Simple really.
Dana

Corrie said...

good for you for saying it out loud! once my twins turned 1, I had to write on my blog that if I make it look easy having 3 under 3 then it's not and it was never my intention to make it look that way!!!!!!!!!!!!

so glad you make us all feel normal
Corrie;)

Ojibirish10 said...

Thank you so much, this resonated with me in in all the right places! Very well said and I am so glad to have stumbled upon your gorgeous family. Having a large family is such a blessing and also sooooo much hard work. I really needed to hear what you said here, thanks again :)

SamK said...

Shawni

I used to get depressed looking at everyone's home/kids/life and wonder why mine didn't look so good.

I used to have 60+ blogs in my reader. I cut that number down to 3 and you were one of the ones I kept.

You inspire me to be a better mother, wife, sister, daughter and friend.

Unsurprisingly, now that I'm not spending so much time online, my life is so much better and I'm appreciating what I have.

Brooke said...

I think we all have days where we look at someone's blog and say, "Oh man, I wish I were that content"...

but honestly, most people who blog are positive, happy people who err on the side of HONESTY.

In fact, as I walk through a tough trial in my life, losing a child, I have chosen to be very transparent in the journey. Not every day is a happy one....but I want people to walk through the path with me and know it's okay to feel pain. We don't have to medicate it away (although there are cases for some where medication is a good solution...I don't want to offend :)

All in all, you have a beautiful family and a beautiful blog..and you have to continue to write what it is that inspires YOU. That in itself inspires others.

Linds said...

I know you know this... every person can only be responsible for their OWN attitude and outlook on life and how they choose to respond to others. So no matter how "real" you feel like you are on your blog... I think there will ALWAYS be someone who may choose to compare themselves and become depressed over it. But that has nothing to do with you... there is nothing that you could do to make them choose anything differently. We aren't alone in that... I know our Father in Heaven faces that same dichotomy.

Life IS good when we choose to see it that way. Life IS horrible when we choose to see it that way. I'm of the opinion that those who become depressed over the positive nature of others' blogs are in need of an attitude adjustment. I have a serious belief that NO MATTER WHAT happens in MY life, I will always feel that life IS good. I will always be grateful for all of the experiences that mixed together make up this beautiful thing called mortality. I love being here.

And as for you... your blog lifts and inspires and motivates and strengthens every single woman who is choosing to see life positively... who wants to find the goodness and joy of everyday moments... who is LOOKING for that. Those who want to be justified for continuing in their negative attitudes (even if they aren't consciously aware that's what they're doing) will see blogs like yours as depressing.

I believe you should not change a single thing about your blog in effort to please the masses. Be you, be true to who you are... and that's the best gift that you can give to anyone. I love your blog... thanks for all that you share. :)

Rebecca said...

Just now I randomly came across your blog and love what you said (and love your photos!) and will be back for more....right after I scrape the squished blueberries off the floor:)

P.S. I totally believe in managing what influences I get with blogs, facebook, etc.. and there are so many ways to set things up on my computer so I don't end up spending time reading stuff that I know won't inspire me, or on blogs about people I don't really know(unless they are inspirational).

I have a new guideline for myself that I use when deciding which blogs etc... to read It's from the June 2010 Ensign..a quote from Elder Ballard "Make sure the choices you make in the use of new media are choices that expand your mind, increase your opportunities and feed your soul" If it doesn't do one of those three things...I skip it:)

...I have my google reader and gmail set up so the blogs and facebook messages I get are the ones I want to get and the other ones I can look at maybe occasionally...I think a big part of the whole problem about blogs is just not managing them well:)

I also love this talk from Sister Beck and how she breaks down time management into Essential, Necessary, and Nice. For me, when I am blogging or reading blogs after my essential and necessary things are taken care of, it's much better for me and my family:) Here's the address for the talk: http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,9118-1-5187-1,00.html

Auntie Jo Jo said...

I love this. I think about this all the time. Maybe all of us bloggers should put a disclosure: "Warning, this blog is meant to inspire, not to make you feel better about yourself on my off days." The end. Thanks for this, sometimes I just don't want to be reminded of my bad days and instead focus on my good days.

Amy Jean said...

TRUTH

Mary Beth said...

I love your blog. I am fascinated with your family and what they do (no, I'm not a stalker!) Your life is very different than mine, but that's part of the interest for me. And as a sister blogger I am well aware that I post what is reasonable for me and my audience. My MOTHER reads my blog! and has one of her own. Many blessings.

Lori @ RRSAHM said...

Brilliant post. I love the bit about comparing "your worst to their best". Very well said.

Sherri said...

I just found this post on your sidebar even though it's from several months ago. I am one of those who gets down on herself when reading blogs sometimes. I know a lot of it is our circumstances and comparing EVERYTHING. Maybe that's the case for others.
I don't know if you have seen it, but I think you've prioritized some things in your life compared to years before just from reading your posts. You know what you need to do for your family and what's most important.
We just bought our first DSLR(Canon) and I am looking forward to learning how to use it. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and what you've learned along the way.
Btw, my oldest is a boy, too, who is turning 12 this week and then we have 4 girls AND our youngest was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes this past year (her dad has it, too) so I can relate when it comes to Dr.'s, giving her the care she needs, on top of everything else that needs to be taken care of in life.
I think you're doing great. I am always afraid that people who read my blog think it's all hunky dory when I don't feel that way at all. I appreciate when people keep it honest and real (I think you do). Maybe not depressing, but just letting us know you're human, too, and what you do to get through. Thanks!

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