Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mommy Blogging - Being Content

I realized yesterday that I didn't mean to tickle this post with an appearance of the Green Eyed Monster, because he is mean, spiteful, and jealous. Honestly, I have yet to encounter that in the blogosphere. What I really wanted to address is one of the dangers of blogging: comparing yourself to others and becoming discontent. So, go get your diet coke with lemon. You'll need the caffeine to stay awake. This is gonna be long.

Have you ever clicked on someone's blog and left thinking, wow, I wish I could write like that or I wish I had that kind of insight, or I wish I could be as deep thinking as that, or I wish I was that creative or I wish I was that kind of mother, or I wish I had that kind of family or I wish I could cook like that, or I wish that I could pull out Bible verses like that, or I wish I was really that selfless, or I wish that I had that kind of blog design, or I wish I had that many readers, or I wish I had that many comments, or I wish, I wish, I wish? Or have you fallen into the trap, as I have sometimes, of believing that everyone else is the perfect mother, perfect cook, perfect wife, or perfect whatever? Then I wonder if she yells at her kids like I sometimes do. Or I wonder if her kids are watching TV right now like my son is while I crank this out. When you are done reading those blogs, are you left feeling unworthy, discouraged or discontent? Be honest! Because I have been there, done that. And everytime that it's happened, I have wanted to quit blogging. Why? Because I felt like I wasn't good enough, smart enough, witty enough, or had enough to offer for anyone to keep coming back. And I began to question why I was even "wasting" my time doing this.

Then I realized what was happening.

Stupid satan was whispering his stupid lies to me, and I was falling for it hook line and sinker.

Thoughts that I'm not creative enough, spiritual enough, or good enough started to creep in. Maybe I should be more spiritual in my posts, maybe I should take better pictures, maybe I should do this, maybe I should do that. Maybe I'm boring. Maybe this is a waste of time. Maybe I don't have anything that good to offer. Maybe I should quit. Wow, was reading other blogs starting to affect how I felt about myself as a Christian, a mother, a wife, and a person ? Well, yeah, it kind of was. Whoa. Timeout, Debbie. Take a deep breath. You know what you need to do.

Drop it off at the feet of the Lord, and pray about it. And that's what I did.

My prayer was, "Lord do you want me to keep at this blogging thing, because I'm really not as spiritually articulate as so and so, and I'm not as eloquent as so and so, and I'm not as creative as so and so, and I'm not as smart as so and so"(and my blog isn't as pretty, oh wait, yes it is because I have a fairy blogmother ;) "Is this blogging thing okay with you, Lord? Is it something you want me to continue doing? And more importantly, please stop me now if it isn't edifying to you because I don't want this to be a place that I would be embarassed to take you."

That simple little prayer turned into a great big answer later that day. Yup. My sitemeter blazed to the most hits I had received to date. I don't even remember what post it was. I just know it blazed all day. Yet again, that great big God of ours showed me that what I thought was a silly request about a silly hobby wasn't silly at all. He does care about the little things I care about, and he does want to bless me in this. But most importantly, it was a reminder that I can't fall into the trap of feeling badly because I'm not more like so and so. That is offensive to Him because he made me exactly who I am as spelled out in this blog, and I don't know how to be anyone else other than that. If I pretended to be otherwise, I would be a phony. That spike in my sitemeter was His way of encouraging me to continue in the direction that I was going as a simple blogger out to have good, clean, silly fun. What you see is what you get, and I am this way in real life. As a result, I can honestly say, I am now "blogger content."

Now about you. I have clicked on a couple of blogs over the last few months that are wistful about who they are as bloggers and are suffering from the "I-wish-I-was-more-like-so-and-so" disease. Or "no one likes me because I don't have any comments." Please don't do that to yourself. It will rob you of your joy. Let me assure you that each and every one of you has something to offer. Keep blogging for the creativity, for the therapy, for the connection, for whatever. Don't stop because that last blog you read had 5 jillion comments, and you have one. I blogged for a year with almost no comments or readers on over 300 posts. Find a way to be content with who you are. You'll find your audience because there is an audience for every blog. Sign up for SITS. Heather and Tiffany found a brilliant way to connect like minded bloggers with each other. When you are the featured blogger, you will be queen for the day, and I promise that more than a few people will be inspired by what you've written, by who you are and will want to come back. It's a slow and steady build sometimes. Just don't get discouraged...stay true to who you are.

My takeaway from this part of my blogging journey is that I have to be content in who I am as a blogger, just as I have to be and am content with who I am in my life, so that blogging remains fun for me. The Lord helped me turn my feelings of inadequacy into a deeper appreciation of your spiritual, personal, and creative gifts as I've continued to read your words. And, I will rest in knowing that the Lord sent me your way to show me something He wants me to learn, or to laugh about, or to think about, or to be convicted of, or to shake my head at in awe, or to encourage you in words as prompted by Him as so many of you have done for me. Afterall, isn't that connection and encouragement the point?

Oh, and one last thing, remember that behind every blog you read, there is a human who is an imperfect being with an imperfect life. And guess what, she probably yells at her kids and eats Froot Loops for dinner.

post signature


Courtney said...

nicely said, debbie!

Sean and Tara said...

You hit the nail on the head! I LOVE to read blogs (and by the way, yours is one of my favs), but I have not blogged because I don't think I will have good enough ideas, or creativity, or awesome pictures to blog about. So, I haven't... but now you have me thinking. Why not start a blog?

SKELLER said...

Good food for thought, Debbie. Now, laugh with me, please .... I couldn't help but think about Stuart Smalley (from former SNL days...) at the beginning of your post ... "Compare and Despair. I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And gosh darnit, people like me...!" :-)

Kat said...

Oh, I have so had comment envy. And content envy. And creative envy. But, I think I have managed to be true to myself...and find contentment...and "bloom where I am planted."

ohhollyf said...

Yeah you nailed me too.
Being another blogger is as fleeding as the bubbles i blow for my 7 month old. But, i too was contemplting a blog, until i saw yours and was encouarged to take the leap. So, reading blogs can also inspire us in the right way also.
But, yeah i read alot of creative stuff, drink another cup of coffee, forget what i just read and fold more laundary.

Piggy said...

I'm proud of you for turning to faith to reason through your thoughts and feelings. That was one important lesson that I learned from mass when the priest told us that you can't control your thoughts and feelings, but you can choose how to react. I don't have the comments feature turned on nor do I check stats on the number of hits because the main purpose of my blog is to capture the special moments to share for all who can appreciate the joy that it brings. The only person I compete with is myself as I strive to live a life as God would want. Surround yourself with positive vibes and filter out the negative. God's love is always guaranteed.

Swirl Girl said...

You mean they like me? They really like me?

I thought I was really smart and funny and quippy until I started reading blogs from other really smart, funny and quippy people. I have big time blog envy..

I am addicted to this more than I am to coffee. (substitute vice of choice there).


Trish said...

How'd you know we had Froot Loops for dinner last night?

I totally dig you! You have a great way of communicating the important things in life.

This is an issue that I struggle with more in real life than in blog land. For me it is easier to seperate reality from fiction in blogland, but a little more difficult IRL.

Great post as usual.

You totally rock and when I grow up I want to blog just like you ;-)

Sissy said...

Don't we all have those moments where we aren't content? I know I do. Thanks for putting it in perspective for me!

Becoming Me said...

wonderful post. Oh, I am so guilty of getting the blog blues because I feel so inadequate.

Meagan said...

Great post, Debbie! I really appreciate your openness and honesty. When I first started blogging I wanted to post something every day but quickly realized I didn't have that much to say. And the harder I tried to post too frequently the lamer my posts were so...now I just write when I really feel like it or have something to say. You are right...we need to be who we are-who God created us to be. So glad you are being true to who you are! Your blog is fun, real, and thoughtful! Keep it up!!

Melissa Lester said...

This is a great post, as usual. Blogging can be an inspiring, encouraging hobby if we don't fall prey to comparison traps. Better, I think, to admire, appreciate and affirm the good qualities we note in each other. Because those seemingly perfect women would no doubt find qualities to admire in us too. Love your candor and the intimacy of your writings. I feel like I am sitting in your living room with you each time I stop by!

Heather said...

I yelled at my kids ALOT tonight and FORGOT to feed them until 6:30.

Having said that, I think this is such an important post. Jealousy or feelings of inadequacy are real dangers of blogging and I've been guilty of it quite often.

I love that you brought this subject to light. It's important to be content in what God is leading you to create.

Lula! said...

Now Debbie...it wasn't for supper. Libbey had Froot Loops for lunch today, kid you not.

Such a wonderful post, my BFF and Fairy Blogmother. I was just speaking with God today, "Lord, take these tampons and tooties and use them for You, regardless of what others think, and help me find that balance, please!" And then tonight someone at church mentioned reading my blog (but not commenting, of course!) and said they loved that I was "keepin' it real, cheerleading tampons and all." Sigh...I felt better.

Great blogging series...it's been sooooooo good.

Evi said...

Well...I am am contented to know that I would not be one who ever caused you to be jealous...'cause I'm am contentedly undesirable...and that's okay by me! I have NO idea how people keep up with all the comments!
I signed up for SITS and now I am SCARED to face 'my turn'...YIKES!
I think I shadow my true nature in my blog...I am NOT a crowd and party girl...NO NO NO.
I am totally a coffee across the afternoon, before school's out kitchen table kind of person...and you have been one of favorite people to have over!...No need for too many more with the classics I've been blessed with!

Jennifer P. said...

Well, actually I eat Chocolate Chex for dinner, but...

Yeah--as real as we all let ourselves be on our blogs, we still have the benefit of several rounds of editing. And life, unfortunately, just isn't like that when you're "in the moment".

And thanks for being a fellow mom-blogger who is perfectly content with the fact that this means of communication can be a totally blessed and ordained thing. My in-law family is really pressuring me to (let me see if I can quote them:) "Get off that stupid blog and go find some writing to do that will support you and your children. You have too much talent to be wasting it on a bunch of strangers".

Some people just don't understand....

And I think your blog is creative, insightful, inspiring, hilarious, lovely---and downright capable of creating quite a bit of jealousy in others :)!

Love to you!

veronica said...

You are right there! I feel this all the time reading blogs and it is part of the reason I don't have my own and that I am just a lurker. But most of the time instead of jealousy (sp) I get ispired to try and be a better mom, wife, friend. Thanks for a great post.

Connie said...

What a deep thinker you are...and what perspective you brought to expose the Green-eyed monster out of hiding.
I can honestly say...I have never thought of blogging as a "hobby"...(but I guess it is...) I had never really thought about getting comments on my blog either...but perhaps it all boils down to "why" one blogs. I stumbled upon some blogs and got hooked. I decided instead of keeping a daily journal (prayer, gratitude, daily life) I would just start a blog...and make it fun. So for me...blogging is a daily record of what's goin' on in our lives...something for me and my family to look back and hopefully see growth, change, lessons learned, etc.
...but now that you mention it, I have seen some homes or read about how a person handled something that I felt a twinge of, "oh, I wish..." wistfulness. But so far the green-eyed monster has been held at bay.
I just love reading your blog and enjoy your insight.

Sniz said...

Thanks for your honesty. God is awesome, isn't He? I have another problem. I just don't feel like getting on the computer when it's nice outside (like now) and yet I worry about my blog readership even when I'm not doing anything and I struggle not to let it rob me of the joy that I have enjoying this beautiful world. Does that make sense? Thanks for blogging, Debbie. I love it here. You always have something that makes me laugh or cry or think. You're one of "those" bloggers and I love you for it!

Feathering My Nest said...

Bravo, well said, Debbie. Thanks for telling me about SITS. I just joined. What a brilliant idea. Those two ladies have it together.

Happy Wednesday, Kathi

Sarah Mae said...

This was very encouraging, thank you so much! I certainly feel inferior so often, and I need this to be reminded of who I am and what really matters. :)

Kat said...

As usual, GREAT post. Encouraging, too, as I have struggled with blogger envy and discontent. Slowly, but surely, I'm think I'm getting past the silliness of all that. As you said, I just need to be who I am!!

Thanks again :)

Elena said...

Yep, it's easy to fall into Satan's trap of comparing ourselves. But there is SUCH a diversity of women and men blogging that I think each one has something to offer another.

Kimba said...

This is a wonderful post, my friend. I think you have really hit on one of the biggest dangers in the blogging world.

I struggle with contentment in general. I find myself having to hold onto the Lord more tightly to battle with it each day since I've started reading blogs. I actually think that's a good thing.

Dawn@Embracing the Ordinary Life said...

Bravo bravo..well said (as if you didn't hear that several times already)...I have those little moments, an sometimes DH will say, "doesn't it bother no one reading it?" and I think...how do YOU know..and there is someone out there who NEEDS to hear what I have to say...even if it's just me!! Proud of me...proud of you...proud of us all!!

Teri said...

Thanks so much for this great inspiration. I may or may not ever get tons of comments on my blog, but my hubby and even my kids (!) enjoy reading about me and our lives. Something about being posted makes everyone feel famous and special. You know what I mean? And that's a pretty cool payoff for me.
Also, I am going to "slurp" my blog onto a blurb.com book at the end of every year. It'll be an heirloom of families memories and funny stories. Again, way worth it for me.
Oh, and I am loving the Aqualung and Rocky Horror tunes!

Allmykids123 said...

Your blogs always leave me inspired! We are not alone in our wonderful, rewarding, exhausting, exhilirating life as Mommy's and Wives. It's nice to know that others are out there going through the same struggles and joys as I am. Keep up the blogs!

Tracey said...

This post reminds me of how I used to feel when I read fashion, entertainment and gossip magazines. I had to give them up because Satan just used them to try and tear me down.

You're good enough, you're smart enough, and gosh darn it Debbie, people like you!

And I love you girlfriend, Trace

Evi said...

Oh...now I feel bad...I wasn't trying to sell myself short...it does sound that way after reading it again from that perspective.
I TRULY am MORE than content with a small crowd! I TRY not to be a huge crowd pleaser... I know...I am one of the weird ones who feels this way.

Julie said...

Hey Debbie, Thanks for stopping by my blog and checking out my hair. That picture was actually at the beginning of my hair color washing out. If you saw it now, you would see alot more silver/white/gray..whatever it is called. But thankfully it looks like I had my hair highlighted, only with white/gray, instead of a lighter color! : )

I wanted to comment on this blog post but I had to get ready for our small group of young couples to show up.

When I first came to blogging I had to quickly ask myself why I was here. After all I saw SO many women who were aspiring to be writers. I knew I loved to write and felt a desire to write. I knew God was asking me to write. I just didn't know why. I had to think it all over. In the process I had to ask myself, was I looking to be a published writer? Is that why I blog, for the practice? The answer is NO.

I blog because my heart is full and my longing is to write the words Papa (my special name for God) has put on my heart.

I think it's good that you are challenging people to consider why they are here. It can feel like popular crowd and clicks in high school sometimes. There are definitely some "popular people" with "popular blogs". It's could be easy to not "feel" popular in blogland. Who knows for some it could bring up memories from their high school days....

For me it all has to come back to why I am here.
When I start to feel like this is pointless I have eto go back and ask God, why am I here? Who am I here for? Am I trying to get value from "blogland"? I am here for you, Papa, or the approval of others?

In the end if no one reads my blog...Papa does. And the truth is, that's all that matters!

Thanks for sharing,

The Roost'er said...

OK, i came back, just to explain the 'blogmom' comment - because my mom always says the right things. You do, too. I never do. I don't think that's my particular gift, but I surely appreciate your gift.

No, today was a messy day for my own selfish-imperfect-me reasons (not my kids...that was Emotional Monday) -- I should have feathured myself at The Nester's...instead of the crazy project I tried to do and ended up breaking a 36x54" piece of glass on my living room floor...but that's a blog for a different day.

Just know YOU RAWK.
Thanks for your Blogging Contentedness.


Mrs. R said...

I think I have a bloggy ghost or something cause I commented last night and now it's gone...OOOOOHOHHHH.

Anyway, again woman, you are right on. Where does this wisdom of yours come from? You are like some kind of Jedi Mommy Master.

You are such an inspiration and one of the true blessings I found blogging.

Gina said...

Briefly. I have been there briefly. But I didn't start because of comment lust. Not really. I stared because I wanted to write in a public forum again. Well that, and because Trish made me do it.
Being Blog Queenie really put that into perspective for me. Yes it felt fabulous having all those readers one day. But guess what I did for 2 days? Read comments. Because each. and. every. one. deserved to be read. I'm sure that I will come away with some new readers and undoubtedly some new friends- and that is why I blog- not for 50 gazillion comments. No offense, folks, but I have too much to say to sit around reading comments for 2 days.
By the way, I have 2 best encouragers. You, and Kathi at Feathering My Nest.
Oh, and you, me, Trish, Lula, and Heather need to meet somewhere in the middle for a week- like, say, Hawaii?!

scargosun said...

Isn't it funny how times have changed? Do you think anyone was asking God about blogging 5 years ago? :)

Thanks for visiting my blog BTW!

EEEEMommy said...

I love Froot Loops! :)
This was such a good post. I've gone back and forth on this issue so many times and have prayed prayers similar to your on different occassions. In the end, it is all about surrendering the blogging just like we surrender everything else in our lives and asking God to use it as He will and commit ourselves to be content. In that, there is freedom.

Thanks for sharing. :)

christa jean said...

Tee hee! That last sentence made me giggle. I recently posted about craving Fruit Loops and giving in to that craving. And I have yelled and I am not as cool as my profile may seem to say I am.

Yes, you're right, it is so easy to think another has it more together than you. Maybe that is the bane of womanhood ~ comparison.
Thank you for giving us all a "check-point", to help us make sure we are not finding our worth from how many comments there are.
I needed that today.

Sidney said...

Amen, SITSTA! You nailed that one right between the eyes...or maybe He did through you! All the things I've been thinking, especially since I just started blogging as a release (and fun!)

Love the blog, love your words. Congrats on being Blogger of the Day!

Sue said...

Love that post, SITSsta.....the thing that always hits me is all these 'prince charming" husbands. "my huby is the best" "my hubby is so so understanding and helpful". MY hubby is a big pain in the butt. But I love him. :)

Britt said...

I needed that! Not so much in the blog world, I'm content with my homely little offering and enjoy being dazzled by all the beautiful blog spots out there :o) But in every day life stupid little Satan sings his stupid little song in my ear about so many things. Thank you for reminding me that he is stupid, and they are lies and that my Mirror is above me, not below.

Lindsay said...

Another "Amen Sista" from me too. I admit I have had a twinge of "blog envy" from time to time. I am not that creative or crafty or eloquent and I have a hard time expressing myself sometimes. But I just remember that the blog is for me and if no one else wants to read or say anything, then it's like a journal. So stuff it, Satan! I love your blog and all of your hilarious insights. I will definitely be back!

Amy said...

You've mentioned here just about everything that has gone through my mind at one point or another after I began a blog. It's only been a few months, and I have a few that read my blog regularly. Now that I am a part of SITS, I love meeting new peeps!

Oh, and I usually eat Lucky Charms for supper, and I yell at my kids a LOT!!

Jen said...

I appreciate that you expressed these feelings to blogland. It is tough when those feelings creep in and I also acknowledge that it is Satan putting those thoughts in our heads. Plus, I'm glad I'm not the only one who eats cereal for dinner!

Jennifer said...

Hi Debbie, This is the first time I've visited your blog and I'm new to blogging in general. I'm glad you posted this b/c I was starting to get a complex checking out all these amazing witty blogs and feeling really self conscious--like who do I think I am trying to write a blog when so many people are so much better at it!

Thank you for the words of wisdom!

And I also had some flashbacks to Stuart Smalley from SNL and also The Church Lady--"Could it be...SATAN?" LOL

Angela said...

So well said, Debbie! There is nothing more I could add to that post o' perfection.

Living For Today! said...

Your blog is absolutely beautiful--the colors are just eye soothing!

Louisa said...

I've just come to this post from Heather over at Mindless Junque and wanted to say thanks for being so honest and writing this. I have found it really encouraging to read and reflect up. I write my blog mainly for family and friends who don't live near me and want to keep up with us and particularly our new little girl. I am loving all these other blogs that I have found, mainly through STIS, but mine will never be like them. This post has helped me be OK with this and to realise that the reason my blog exists is to help the people I love feel more connected to our lives and it's achieving that and that is a great thing. I don't need to get loads of comments for it to be a 'sucess'...though it is always nice when someone does comment! Thanks again. This post has really encouraged me!

Ann said...

I'm visiting you via SITS today.
I really needed to read this post.
Thank you for being so honest.
I do get so disheartened when I see so many hits on a blog that hasn't been around as long as mine. So many comments. Like their the "popular girls" and I'm the weird one standing in the corner.
And here's a stupid thought...when I visit a blog often, (and I know that they visit mine, we exchange comments almost daily) yet I'm not on their Blog Roll and they're on mine, I wonder if I should take them off because they haven't acknowledged me the same way.
Stupid I know!!!
I just take a step back and remember WHY I wanted to do this in the first place.
I want a creative writing outlet for my thoughts and life stories.
(But it sure does feel great to be acknowledged, right?)
Thanks again for the post!

Louisa said...

Hi Debbie, back again to comment. After reading your post the other day I had pause to think. I have wondered whether I should keep up blogging. My friends say that they really enjoying reading my blog and keeping up with our lives but only a few ever comment which makes me think perhaps they don't really enjoy it...but then they email me or leave a message on Facebook which makes me realise they just aren't ensconsed in the blogging world. None-the-less I still doubt myself BUT after reading your post and inviting God into the whole situation I received have received more comments in 24hours than ever before and I have been greatly encouraged. I am really thankful that I came over here and read this post. Thank you for helping me get perspective and put in the one person's hands it should have been in all along!