1.5.13

how do I honour them?

pssst: have you heard the news?

I've thought about honouring my readers a lot this past year. Do I honour you? Am I respectful of you? Two occasions brought the topic to light for me and I think how I've navigated them has helped me figure out if I am and how I can. Namely, a home tour and a third pregnancy. 

I remember when I was asked to host the home tour on Life Made Lovely. Seems like so long ago now, and our house is TOTALLY different these days! Around the time that I was asked to host a tour and was preparing our home to do so (we were in the process of painting our kitchen cabinets, etc), I came across many blog posts discouraging such things. The posts I read, and I couldn't shake them off as coincidental as I was planning to do a home tour that week, said in no uncertain terms that posts where you straight up display your "lovely life" are unedifying to readers and in a way, bragging. And in many ways, I agreed with them.

And then I read other online opinions discouraging Mommy Bloggers (Am I a mommy blogger? I don't know but I took it to heart nonetheless since I am a mommy and a blogger at the very least) in general, because blogs like that (like mine?) only show the sunny side of life + give the wrong impressions + false expectations + raise unnecessary standards for all women + discourage anyone whose life is unlike yours. Well. That's a lot to think about. And I don't want to be that woman or that blogger. But where is the balance?

My question for myself (and I suppose for you) became, how do I share my passions and my life, while still guarding my family's privacy, while still telling a true story, while still honouring my readers?

And I'm still figuring that out, but here's what I've come up with. I'm responsible to my readers, but I'm also not. If you're coming here every day to share a bit of life with me, I'm so glad you're here. I do my best to show the good, the bad, and the ugly, and never want to give off the impression that I've got it all together or that I'm the perfect mom/wife/friend/Christian or have the perfect life. But at the end of the day, I can't control the thoughts in one's heart or head so if that impression is given despite my best efforts, I'm not responsible. The owner of the heart is :)

Several months ago when Brad and I were trying for Baby #3, I shared my heart on how hard it was for us over on the Baby Bump Blog, and one person commented that I was being insensitive to those who have been trying much longer than us (at the time we'd only been trying 5 months, though they felt long to us) by voicing my struggle. I reevaluated right away, but came to the conclusion that there will always be readers, and in life, people, who have been down a harder road than me. If I don't share challenges and struggles I'm having for fear that someone else out there is going through something worse then I'd never share anything, and I wouldn't be telling a true story. That said, I want to honour you all as I share those burdens. 

Practically, the home tour and our third pregnancy taught me to blog with grace, authenticity and honesty, though not salvaging privacy. It's why I added a picture of my house looking like an absolute dump during my home tour, and why I preface my pregnancy joys with the understanding that we are so very blessed and we know it (and a great number of my friends and readers have experienced pregnancy loss and I want to respect that while sharing my story). 

I think bloggers should be able to share fun projects and life wins and yummy recipes online without fearing that they're making another covetous, but that it's a fine line and we need to make sure we're honouring our readers. I think bloggers should be able to shout it from the roof tops when they're pregnant or give birth, no matter how long it took them to get there, but understanding 1 in 3 women will miscarry demands us to blog with grace and gratitude. I hope I've done both for you, and am thankful for your grace when I haven't!

xo  


6 comments:

  1. I think the bottom line is: you are the owner of your heart. and I love that you posted that...some of us DO struggle with jealousy, or covet..or whatever. If we do, then the need is to step away.

    I had to step away from all home decor type blogs for about a month or two recently because I was honestly feeling so sad that I couldn't even afford a $5 DIY. Now, I am mostly just reading blogs that encourage me spiritually...but I've added your blog back to my bloglovin' b/c you seem to present the best of ALL worlds.

    I also recently came to the realization that I don't "owe" a certain amount of my personal life to my bloggers. I share how I feel compelled, and as long as I'm not creating a fictional or stepford family online, I'm fine with leaving out a lot of my personal life. I used to feel differently, but I don't anymore. Every person will share different things (like I would share my sexual struggles, but not when or how long we've tried to have babies...but that's ME) You are probably the exact opposite! It's how we feel the spirit led, and we're helping different people down the road!

    :) you're doing a great job Emily! Don't ever think differently..and try not to let those 1% of unkind comments fester too much.

    ReplyDelete
  2. As a single girl Em I love your blog! Maybe it's because we are friends and I have yet to see your new place or meet Oli and this is a great way to keep in touch if you will. I enjoy your blog posts, they inspire and challenge me on all areas of life. Thank you for being honest about how long it took to paint the table and chairs. Such a cute project, that Pintrest can make look so easy and time efficient.

    It's in those things that you are honouring your readers. Keep writing girl and I will keep reading ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the statement you made when you said that bloggers should be able to share the good without fear of causing another to stumble into covetousness. Their response to our posts isn't something that we can control. What we can control is how much we extend grace, as well as how honest we are in our writing.

    Thank you for being sensitive to your readers while remaining true to your God-given story.

    http://www.domesticblissdiaries.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think this was a really great post and you made some excellent comments. I stopped blogging for a bit because of the same thing. I wasn't sure about posting silly things like nursery pics or milestones Levi was hitting because I was worried people would compare or feel negatively. Then a really wise lady (my mom.. ha ha) told me that it wasn't really my issue. Post what I do with grace and understanding... but you can't control how people feel.

    If I am completely 100% honest, there have been times I've struggled with reading your blog. When you only have gained 7 pds @ 18 weeks and I'm feeling like a horse :) or you post about morning sickness sometimes I've had trouble with it because I feel like with needles/blood clots I'm having such a difficult pregnancy. But I have to remind myself that 1.everyone has different experiences and you can't judge how hard another person is having it. And 2. It's 100% not your responsibility nor your problem. You have never posted in a braggy/non-graceful way about these things. It's just my insecurities and struggles.

    I think your doing an excellent job! We are all living different lives with different experiences. I mean your a momma to 3 in a city apartment - me a mom of 2 in a 4 bedroom house on a farm. We seem totally different. I think that's what's beautiful about blogging is that we can connect with people in different parts of thier lives, with different joys and absolutely different challenges and struggles.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous1.5.13

    I think it’s so great that you care so much about your readers and appreciate that you are willing to address such a topic as this one. I absolutely love to read your blog and have found myself both challenged and encouraged by your words and experiences. I don’t find you to be someone who brags about your material possessions, but rather shares creative ways to have fun with home d├ęcor, kid’s toys, and clothing on a reasonable budget.
    I think the topics that you write about (pregnancy, child rearing, faith and family building) are ones that are so personal, and can be very emotional, to both you and you readers. So, there is no question in our brokenness and vulnerability that our words might hurt others every now and then. If I were to be honest with you I both struggled with reading some of your updates on “trying” and at the same time understood and could relate to them. Only for the sake of reflection, and not to condemn you in any way, I will share an example of a time in which I struggled. I lost a pregnancy at 10 weeks in October and found it very difficult to hear you compare not getting pregnant in NY to miscarrying. I also know the pain of being certain you are pregnant and not being, but knowing you are and losing, is not comparable, and I pray you never have to know the difference.
    Extending grace is something not only the writer of a blog must do, but also the readers. I think if anyone is not willing to both be sad with you when things are hard, and be excited with you over things big and small then they shouldn’t read your blog. Thanks for caring about us Emily; we appreciate you and your willingness to share life with us. - Alicia

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Emily, first time commenting here! (Found you on Instagram not long ago and really enjoy your blog!) I respect your thoughts in this post a lot. I just started a blog and I can begin to relate to the audience question...cuz you're not blogging in a void. It's great that you are considering your tone, content, and audience. As a mom of two, I've been encouraged by your joy in your season of life. I often need other mommas to remind me that mothering can be fun:) Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete