Monday, April 28, 2014

The Blogger's Dilemma

As I've chronicled my existential self-absorbed blogging angst, I should probably share my latest thoughts with all of you as well.

Part of my struggle, as I explained in a reply to Amelia's comment, is that I want what I write to be truly edifying for those who read. As I was trying to get blogposts up more frequently, I realized that most of what I was writing was day-in-the-life. That's great - for people whose daily lives are interesting. Mine is not and besides, that would send me running to the confessional daily, and between all that confessing and blogging, I would have to quit my job and probably leave my family. No bueno.

In pondering all this, late at night, when I should be in bed, I realize what I am most frightened to blog about: happiness. Generally, I am very fulfilled in my life - overjoyed to have chubby toddler cheeks to kiss, a husband who holds my hand, a house that's mine.  I adore my life.

But I feel intensely uncomfortable talking about that. The fact is that most women don't bond over joy. I haven't gained many friends by sharing with them my great joy in my husband, or my happiness at finally having a child of my own. Most married women I meet seem...jaded. Their domestic life seems to have lost some of its sweetness. I feel silly and naive next to them; I don't want to speak up or share. I feel inadequate that I only have one at home; that maybe I'd feel like a 'real mom' if I had a whole pack of kids or if we'd been married for seven years - like maybe I'm happy because I haven't had enough experience with marriage or kids.

You gain friends by commiserating, by bonding over shared difficulties and coping strategies. To be honest, the matters that are hard in my life sometimes feel too personal to discuss on my blog. I refuse to discuss any troubles in my marriage because that's disrespectful; friendships feel the same way. My extended family? No way.

Recently I got a photo flagged and taken down on Instagram. It was my daughter and her cousin, naked, facing away from the camera - so just two cute toddler bums winking in the sun. I wanted to complain, but then I thought, was that appropriate? Am I oversharing? Afterall, my Insta isn't private. Anyone could find that picture. Maybe my judgment just isn't as good as I thought it was.

So if the only thing to talk about is that which is shiny and happy, has my blog become a title-fulfilling prophesy? Help me out here fellow-bloggers: how do you balance privacy and intimacy with your readers?


  1. You are so right that people do bond over sorrow and hardship. I have seen a lot of blogger's readership increase greatly when they are going through a difficult time and share something troubling.

    I tend to blog about the hard parts of my life when I am looking for support. And that support you get, can be so wonderful. I think it's great to support those in need and that support can really make a difference to a person. I once went through a very difficult experience, I didn't share that experience with anyone outside my immediate family, and looking back, I wish I had. I really really, wish I had. The experience was made all the more difficult, because I kept it locked in and didn't share.

    That said, there does need to be boundries. I would never share anything online that could be potentially embarassing or awkard to someone else (like my husband, a friend, family members, my older children). I think you are 100% right not to share any difficulties in those regards.

    I also think it's fine to share the happy parts of your life. We need to hear about happy marriages and happy mothers and all that. I'm sorry you feel that most married women are jaded...that hasn't been my experience. Most married women I know are happy being married and happy having kids. Yes, there are valleys and downtimes and difficulties, but overall they are happy. I do think it is edifying to read about happy marriages and happy mothers. And, if people don't want to read that, they can just not read your blog. It's not YOUR responsibilty to make sure that no one is every envious of you. Sharing your joy is not the same thing as bragging. I mean, it can be done in a bragging way, but I can't see *you* doing that.

    Every blogger has a different style. I don't do a lot of day in the life posts either, because my days aren't that interesting and I'm just not able to write like that. Some very popular bloggers are excellent at those and write post after post after post of basically nothing....just daily life stuff, and people love. Everyone is different.

    I see you being more of a "deep thinker" and more "content orientated" . You like to write about ideas, you like to write about philosophies and thoughts and all that. I love to read your thoughts....about anything.

    You once wrote something that was super edifying to me. I'm not sure if you remember it, but it was in a post about a trip you all had made somewhere (can't remember where) but Zuzu was crying and wanting to get out of her stroller and you wrote about how you made the decision at that time to choose to lovingly carry her, to give her your love and carry her even, even though your arms were tired. That was one way you showed love to her, by taking her out of the stroller. I LOVED that. I thought of that often when I was in a similar situation with Elsa...when she just wanted to be picked up and carried or rocked or comforted or nursed. It's so different from the world which is so worried about "spoiling" babies and toddlers and how "they must get used to the stroller/crib/" so "don't you dare pick them up/give in"

    Anyway, that post really meant a lot a too and those few lines were so edifying to me!

    1. You always have such good comments!

      Yes, suffering is definitely a bonding experience - but short of my loss of Francis, I haven't really had any experiences that I feel are appropriate. Family struggles like you say seem too private.

      Thank you for the encouragement to share joy. I guess I don't think about people needing to know that those exist so thank you :) You are so encouraging I should have you on retainer!

  2. As someone who is single... longing for marriage (who already knows it's going to be hard), please share the joy! Marriage is SUPPOSED to bring us joy, and closer to the Lord. I want to know those things. I want to know that those marriages exist!

    Not every single post has to have a purpose... I say, if you want to share a heart-warming story or a silly moment... then do it. If it brings you joy and happiness, then it's completely worth sharing. :) Because at some point that happiness will get to the right person, just when they need it.

  3. I'm going to echo Jen and Amelia...the sharing of your joy is necessary! My favorite bloggers (and friends, and people) are the ones who are AUTHENTIC; whether that means they share their struggles, happiness, sorrow, or joy.

    Motherhood and marriage are both seen in our society as "happily unhappy circumstances". While we love babies, they're seen as a burden and that they take away freedom. And the same goes for marriage: "the ol' ball and chain". Reading about someone who is genuinely embracing her joy right where she's at is necessary, just like reading about the suffering/struggles of others.

    And I think it's awesome that you are constantly discerning what is and isn't blog material. Some use their blogs as a public diary...mmm nope.


Comments make me feel like I'm not just talking to myself or the government (because I know the government secretly reads my blog). Help me feel less crazy - comment away!