Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Best or The Balance?




third baby treatment- hands on, all the time.

I'v been writing this blog for about 2 years now and over that time I've written hundreds of post and read thousands of yours.

I read blogs about design, interiors, lifestyle and fashion but my favourite type of blog fits neatly into the 'parenting' category. In fact, I'll take it one step further, it fits into the HONEST parenting category.

Why? Because I'm a parent and it's of personal interest to me.

I initially began The Beetle Shack as an outlet for my parenting struggles, woes and realities. Four years ago when Zeph was born, I found being a mother overwhelmingly challenging and isolating and I'd find myself turning to blogs for a little bit of virtual companionship. The only this is, I'd sit on my size 12 bum with a hot cup of full cream coffee, surrounded by filth and washing and read about beautiful, rhythmic occasions where mothers were in love and engaged with their babies, their homes and their lives.

A little bit of Post Natal Depression ensured that I felt like a substantial failure whilst everyone around me (in the virtual realms) was successful and fabulous. Clean homes, neat kids and popular blogs.

Some two years ago, I wrote a few dark and honest posts here about my life as a stay at home mum. When I look back on them I can see the heavy cloud looming above them, one that has since lifted and with it comes a refreshing sense of 'okay-ness'* that I hope sticks around.

But I sometimes wonder if now, with my new found 'okay', I write a blog that lacks some raw honesty and integrity. One that shares the best rather than the balance.

Yes, it's true that this space has become both my hobby and a little bit of a job. Yes, it's true that I do sometimes write posts for money and receive nice stuff for free which i'll be honest, I'm pretty stoked about. But it's also true that my initial reasons for starting this blog remain.

I want to keep an honest account of my life life at home. I want my children to look at this blog and see the whole truth - that some seasons were incredibly difficuilt and some were utterly fabulous. I want there to be a record of their early lives and I hope that one day this blog offers them a little insight into what it's like to be both a child and a parent. Mostly, I hope that when my kids have children of their own, they understand that experiencing the fullness of every emotion does not make them alone or a failure, it makes them awesome and human.

In doing that I may, from time to time, wander from the path of, you know, reality and write the odd flowery post about nothing but hopefully I'll always come back to whats ordinary and mundane - because really, thats what's great about life.




What is it that you love about reading blogs? and if you write one, what do you enjoy about that?


*I was going to say 'ease' but that would have been a lie. being a stay at home parent in bloody hard 99 of the time.

46 comments:

  1. And that is why I love your blog Em, you keep it balanced, which is a really, really hard and exposing thing to do. I love looking at all the pretties you post, but also the realness is something we can all relate too.

    ps personally, I'm not so good at being quite so honest online, I like to hide most mess and just show the little mundane happies.

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  2. I only read a few parent blogs and those which I do I prefer to be honest, as you say. As someone who has also experienced post-natal distress reading happy, competent all the time, I am so in love with my child and they sleep all the time blogs did a lot of damage to my fragile self esteem last year.
    So I really did appreciate your honest posts.

    That being said you can't keep dwelling on the hard and kinda shitty things. Everyone needs balance including blogs.
    And that includes content balance I think, not just the subject but the sponsored stuff as well. Just don't turn into a 'zoot review' style blog and you'll be right lady.

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    1. ahahah you and I in deep exhausted states reading blogs on our iphones at 3 am.

      BAM

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  3. I've been reading your blog for about almost as long as you've been writing it. Some of the things you've written have, in all honesty, brought me to tears. Not because of just the touching realness of them but many subjects were oh so pertinent to me. Post natal struggles, dark clouds and caesers (I've had two.)Things that I don't have the confidence to really write about yet, as a new blogger. I also adore the beautiful captures of your buoyant cherubs, rainbow home and tasty eats. I love all of it. I think that hopefully, most of your readers with any sense about them will see certain posts and look at and beyond the perfectly placed teapot or beautifully dressed babe and see an ordinary mum, perhaps like them who is taking a moment to enjoy something lovely, among the mess.

    I'll stop gushing now, sorry. Hawhaw.

    Anyways. Holly.x

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    1. Holly, you are SO lovely. Thank you for that encouragement and thank you for sharing this little part of your journey too.

      I'm off to 'Little Beds' right now

      xo em

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  4. I follow a few parenting blogs but mostly ones which are more balanced. I appreciate your self deprecation and your honesty. I started my own blog this year as I'm off on mat leave and it is actually quite hard to figure out what to include and what to exclude, possibly something non-bloggers don't consider! I really enjoy your blog and your eye for a beautiful picture is such a gift!
    I usually aim to be a little funny and parenting is that - but sometimes it is also just plain exhausting or frustrating and I can't avoid that either. The thing that's really tough it people wanting to 'intervene' if they think you haven't sounded upbeat etc... or disagreeing in less than helpful ways... or when I express something a bit inaccurately and it leads to confusion... The whole notion of persona is tricky. Plus I find it really hard to work out how to express my faith in a way that shows its presence but doesn't alienate non-Christian friends, and this is probably a thought point for you as well, I'm guessing :).
    Anyway, sorry this is anonymous but the wordpress function linky thing won't work on iPad! Visit my site if you want bokolmsyndrome at wordpress. No pressure!

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    1. It is hard to decide what to include isn't it- especially when criticism flows so freely round here! Yes, the faith issue is a sensitive one also.

      xo me

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    2. just visited you but don;t know how to comment- LOVE your writing so funny! You had me chuckling under my breath

      xx

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  5. I read a variety of different blogs (design, sewing, lifestyle), but, being a parent to two little boys, I do have a special interest in the parenting ones! My favourite blogs are the ones just like yours. Of course everyone with littles goes through the same struggles, but it's comforting to hear it admitted from time to time. I appreciate your humour through it all. You've created a very comfortable space to visit here, I just love it ;)
    I have tossed around the idea of writing a blog, but haven't felt the urgent call (yet, anyway). I work three days a week, and spend the rest of the time trying to oversee my own domestic whirlwind, I don't know how others keep blogs in the same situation!

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    1. I just read my comment and realised I didn't properly answer the question! What do I like about reading blogs? I like the personal voice! The little anecdotes! The little insights to how others live, their ideas, hell, even what they have for dinner (I love food)! But I also love reading about good design, fashion and food. But a good blog has a healthy dose of the author's personal thoughts and feelings about whatever the topic happens to be. Hope this is a sufficient answer ;)

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  6. I'm not a parent yet, but I love reading your blog and the honesty you type (and all the beautiful pictures and style posts). You, and my friends who are parents, have given me a real view into parenting and have not sugar coated it like so many do. Although I believe I can never be fully prepared for something I have never experienced, I do believe when I become a parent I will have more realistic expectations and be more open minded about how my life will change and the challenges I will face. Thank you for providing a truthful insight into life as a parent. You are awesome. Jacqui

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  7. I love the variety of posts but what draws me in most is your ability to show the messiness of life. It's unrealistic to think that life looks pretty all the time. I started reading your blog when I was a young mum and felt welcomed and completely at ease in the subjects you chose to write. It made parenting, life and virtual friendship seem real. I think you're getting the balance just right and giving the people the freedom to be themselves within the 'mess'. I enjoy the therapy of writing a blog and a way in which I can just get rid of some of thoughts taking up too much space in my mind. Your a blessing. x

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  8. {www.crazyspeedylove.com}

    I have always loved reading blogs of all kinds.
    I had never even given it a thought though about starting my own until 3 or 4 months ago - I had been trying to think about increasing my vocab/word finding. I had a stroke 3yrs ago (4days after my twins arrived!) Life had/has been crazy raising 3 at such a demanding time & with health and confidence there would have been no chance of starting a blogging.
    But my eldest starts school next year so I thought starting a blog about all things I love (my kids, family, shopping - nothing specific -mix match of things!) would help ease me into becoming articulate again to interact with other mums at Parker's new school.
    Close friends and family understand at the end of a tired day, when I say bus they know I mean truck - or when I say breakfast they know I mean dinner-time. But socialising as "Parker's Mum" with new people scared me. And blogging is helping fix that problem.
    Everything posted always relates somehow to my family - as there is always a story to tell. And I love that!

    Your blog always puts a smile on my dial and I love how in your posts somehow, I manage to picture myself right there in your story!!
    Great work! xx

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  9. I read a whole variety of blogs, design, interiors, diy, sewing, one or two style blogs and parenting blogs. The parenting blogs are a little abstract for me, because I'm not a parent yet (let the good doctors get things working for me please). Most of the blogs I read and properly enjoy have a nice balance between honesty and prettiness. I think sometimes I can look at the pretty pictures on a blog and get swept up in the moment of 'why doesn't my house look like that' but then I read a post like yours and I come a little bit more down to earth. I think that your blog continues to strike that nice balance. My next challenge is overcoming the financial inferiority complex that I get from reading too many blogs ... because I just can't get our paychecks to cover all the pretty clothes and homewears everyone else seems to have. The grass is always greener and all that ...

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  10. Blogging started for me as both a bit of a journal and start to my little business, and exploring other peoples blogs was also a connection to other mums when I felt isolated and lonely with pnd. Since that time - it really bounced around a bit for me to express my head. Of late I have become wary of writing too much after having some new school acquaintances read and assume and almost stalk me. That has been very challenging - and frankly, not quite sure how to deal with it and how much to share on my blog now. xxx

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  11. I am way past babies, but your blog is both sweet and real and reminds of the days of little children and juggling and angst etc and it makes me feel all warm and gooey like a nice chocolate pudding. I love that you have a platform to write and share and I appreciate all that you bring, decor, hints, recipes, it's nice to dip in to lives like a good magazine except its not so manufactured. I esp like how you were turning into your lovely mum, if my child said that I think iy would take my breath away and it would be the best gift everever ever.

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  12. I enjoy blogging because it makes me appreciate the little moments, and see them for what they are. The hardest thing for me with blogging is finding where I fit in Blog world.. and knowing how much to share without over sharing..

    I have emailed you about what makes your blog special, what really stood out to me is you really DO take the time to read our blogs and comment and you even replied to my email!

    You are a real person with real struggles and you have a gift of sharing it and being authentic about it without coming across as arrogant or ignorant..

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  13. Your blog is a great mix of inspiration, fun and honesty. Love it. xx

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  14. I don't write a blog but this year I've started reading some. Why? My journey to parenthood with my first baby was relatively ok minus severe sleep deprivation! I lived in the city, had a great friend who had a little one the same age as mine and my days were filled with the wonder of a first baby living in a busy, activity-filled city. But then came a move to the country, a renovation and a second baby all at once and it's left me isolated and at times lonely and out of my depth. So I read blogs like yours, which is one of my faves, to gain a sense of company, advice and ideas (I know, weird when I don't personally know you!). To know you're not the only one, that others go through similar dilemmas. So keep on keeping on with your approach. Just as you have written yourself Em, sometimes I like to escape from the reality and see beautiful images and sometimes I like to read about the raw and real. I think that's what makes Beetleshack such an appealing blog.

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  15. You are the 1st person that really opened up the world of candid blog writing and the great group of women we can meet there & I am so grateful to you for that. There is certainly a draw to the perfectly styled & beautiful, but it is not a lasting one for me.... because I have little ones who are going to grow into big ones who will hopefully bring more little ones into this world & I cannot imagine a life without them, which means I will never have a life without messes..and plus, I live with myself & I'm a beautiful mess most of the time. Thanks for sharing the real & the lovely in your life.
    loads of love & bacon crisps
    Heidi

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  16. I read quite a few blogs, mostly of SAHM/WAHMs. I'm a WOHM and would like to read more of them, but there aren't many! Yours is one of the ones I prefer because you are quite upfront. I also can understand you better as we can see/read the sacrifices you two make for you to stay home (work at home). I find it much harder to relate to blogs where the mum is a SAHM/now a WAHM blogger, but clearly the additional income is a bonus not fairly necessary.

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  17. I totally agree - I much prefer 'honest' blogs - so much more. I always try to be the same though sometimes find it hard to get the balance right - and also don't want to come across as moany! you have a fabulous blog x

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  18. I love reading your blog because of the exact reasons you posted. I love reading the blogs I chose to read because of their honesty and I must say that I also am geared towards parenting blogs as that is primarily what I am. I write over at www.maryandlil.blogspot.com because it is an outlet for me both creatively and connectively. It makes me feel like someone is listening, even when I feel that there is noone around. It gives me hope and joy and something for me to look back on and feel that I accomplished something and know where I have come from. Its a journal if you will that I get to share with the world. Thank you for your honesty and integrity and keep doing what you came here to do xxx

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  19. Honesty, the stuff you don't say out loud yourself!
    You've got it in bucket loads. You just have a great balance of all of it. Humour, insight, little dark mummy thoughts we are all too embaressed to voice!
    Being a mum is completely opposite to our single independent life that had choice, money, freedom and which..in retrospect was so self indulgent and selfish! No one gets being a mum, except mums....
    Now I have three boys under 6.... I like nice things, I still dream of homely changes in my little nest, but the reality is I live in a bomb site, war zone, totally chaotic circus in which I have absolutely no control over! Funny, there is plenty of unconditional love, hugs, arguing and mess though!
    Out of curiosity...what sort of comments do you like? The anecdotes? emotional responses? reassurance???

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  20. And where do you buy your Fimo? Online? I am in adelaide and sometimes Lincraft stock a very limited range....

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  21. One of the reasons I love your blog so much is because of the honesty and 'real' quality of your posts. I've always been both comforted and inspired knowing another mama is going through the same ups and downs. I think it's natural to prefer writing about the 'good bits' though - as a blogger, these are often the memories I prefer to focus on and want to remember as opposed to 'a day from hell' :) I've always found you to be very down to earth Em. Keep doing what you're doing! xx

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  22. I've been following you for almost those two years (wow!) and love the honesty that is your blog. It's not always awful and it's not always exciting. But somehow you make it so readable. I always love seeing what's happening at the beetle shack. My blog has evolved but its still tere for exactly the same reasons as you. There is always food and fashion if things get boring though ;)

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  23. *parenting, not your blog! Whoops!

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  24. Now Baby dry size 3 is too small for my son, because he grows so fast. In the hot days he will continue to use cooler baby dry, size 4. Hoever when it turns cool or cold in fall or winter, he maybe like other diapers. I think the honest dipers will be good one for him at that time.

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  25. I really appreciate your honesty, which is why I started reading your blog in the first place. Your way of showing things as they really are is so refreshing, but I enjoy all the "pretty" posts just as much. I love your style, and would love some tips as to making my home a beautiful, relaxing (child friendly!) place, without needing it to be expensive designer stuff. Keep it up, Em!

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  26. Your blog has always been one of my favourites...for exactly all the reasons that you mentioned.
    I love it all!

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  27. Its the real honesty that makes me come back to blogs like yours and decide to write my own. Honest to yourself and to your readers. You can't really hide and if in doubt askatoddler.com

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  28. I started my blog just over a year ago, to record growing a fledgling garden after having my third child at forty. I found that other stuff seeped into this blog - not least the trials and tribulations of bringing up three boys, while my husband works away. I have talked about my struggle with on and off depression. I wondered if it was "the right" thing to do, after all most people seemed to be finding it all a breeze. Then I thought, sod it. This is my blog. I started it for me. And maybe for my family to look back on in later years. And I'm glad I did, because what you see on the page is who I am - a bit silly, twee, loving where I live and what I do, but struggling with bits of it too.

    I love your blog for it's honesty and humour. And funnily enough it was one of the first that prompted me to press the follow button. Thank you for this post. And keep processing on the page, it's honest and real and obviously you!

    Leanne xx

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  29. I'm new to the blogging world but I read yours all the time. Love you honesty ideas you share and products and happenings in your home. My blog is slow to start. I write a diary but like you thought it would be something nice to share with my children later on. As I am a uni student too it is hard to find the time to write it lately.
    :-)

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  30. I'm finding it really difficult to find the words to say what I want to say! You blog really well. You are engaging, funny and creative. People can really relate to you. I like that you show very clearly that real life can be chaotic and hard and all the 'real' stuff you write about, and at the same time can be beautiful, and can be posed, or artfully displayed, and well put-together. And actually that normal life is really a balance of all those things- neither always hard or always 'perfect.' It changes daily for most of us and you capture that fullness really well. I thinks a lot of parenting blogs can alienate people by being too perfect, and highlighting our own perceived inadequacies. I reckon you get it just right, and for me at least, you remind me that it all exists together and that's life and it's ok.

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  31. **and I just wrote 'I thinks' in my comment and my blessed iPad won't let me change it. Hahaha technology....

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  32. I love your blog. It rates as one of my top 5! It is honest, funny, interesting and secretly I enjoy a little bit of the mess, the chaos and the disorderly. In short. I like that your blog is real! Yes the picture perfect domestic goddess blogs are sometimes nice to read. But it is the "realness" that I like, that keeps me coming back!I am yet to step in to blog territory. My Clickety Stitches facebook page is like my pretend blog ;) That will do for now. Keep up the amazing blog! Cassy

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  33. Sometime a blog is like having a conversation with another adult when you just cant get out or meet up; its done at ones convenience. That's what I love about blogging (just started) and I plan to use it as a way of showing some of my work.

    http://hrdmashed.blogspot.com.au/

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  34. Great post and honest too. I started blogging after taking part in a motherhood art group looking at our journey.for me it was a way to connect, reconnect to my writing and have transparency withy mothering. I love being a mother but I also like being honest about it it's not all roses, there are days I pray to just get through it and moments of elation. I don't get paid to blog my only aim right now is to build community, get more readers (I'm rather unknown lol) and breathe/embrace my time with my kids knowing they won't be babies forever.
    Www.poppyfoxathome.com

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  35. Oh goodness, I feel like I could have written this post myself. After having my son in 2009, I also was having a hard time and turned to blogs for comfort. Soon, I was writing my own. 4 years later, it's still here and serves as a huge creative outlet for me in addition to capturing my everyday life with 2 boys, a husband, and a full time job. I love reading about other mums (especially honest ones) and while I may not always tell every single detail of my life on the blog, what I choose to share is always 100% honest. I love having a space where I can be truly me. PS, my blog is www.pecklife.com in case you'd like to take a peek. I love reading yours!

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  36. I still use honest diapers - my son is wearing big ones now - and will use them until he is potty trained. As for the scent of the diapers, they smell like baby powder. Other diapers have an unpleasant odor to me.

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  37. I had Jarvis at the end of 2011. I found myself a new Mum (again), but this time I was 43 and felt alone in the world. Women my age were becoming grandmothers. I discovered two blogs Edenland and Cirque De Bebe. Blogs? What an amazing thing I had discovered (yes I must have lived under a rock as I had never read a blog before then) Nine months after having Jarvis I started a blog as a record of our lives. I continue to read and love blogs that are filled with honesty and with women (and the odd male blogger) I admire.

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  38. you are relate-able which is comforting given my first born will be here any day now. I've started a new blog which I hope to be 'keepin it real' - traineemama.blogspot.com : )

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  39. شركة نقل عفش
    اهم شركات مكافحة حشرات بالخبر كذلك معرض اهم شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والخبر والاحساء والقطيف كذلك شركة رش حشرات بالدمام ومكافحة الحشرات بالخبر
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة الجوهرة من افضل شركات تنظيف الخزانات بجدة حيث ان تنظيف خزانات بجدة يحتاج الى مهارة فى كيفية غسيل وتنظيف الخزانات الكبيرة والصغيرة بجدة على ايدى متخصصين فى تنظيف الخزانات بجدة
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش واثاث

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  40. شركة نقل عفش بالرياض وجدة والدمام والخبر والجبيل اولقطيف والاحساء والرياض وجدة ومكة المدينة المنورة والخرج والطائف وخميس مشيط وبجدة افضل شركة نقل عفش بجدة نعرضها مجموعة الفا لنقل العفش بمكة والخرج والقصيم والطائف وتبوك وخميس مشيط ونجران وجيزان وبريدة والمدينة المنورة وينبع افضل شركات نقل الاثاث بالجبيل والطائف وخميس مشيط وبريدة وعنيزو وابها ونجران المدينة وينبع تبوك والقصيم الخرج حفر الباطن والظهران
    شركة نقل عفش بجدة
    شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش بالطائف

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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em