Monday, November 4, 2013

I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT BLOGGING...






I've been thinking about blogging a lot lately. I've been considering what I choose to share and what I don't. I've been assessing what this blog gives me and what it takes away. I've been pondering why I continue to write it even when I'm at my most 'time poor'.

I started writing The Beetle Shack two and a half years ago, when our little Pip was about 4 months old. She was a darling baby, easy and content. A good feeder and sleeper and the perfect accompaniment to our larger than life, spirited, strong willed boy.

I'd spent the year prior to her birth at home with Zeph, pottering about with sewing and craft projects, constantly making a mess and cleaning it back up again. I sold my designer clothing to fund the purchase of a sewing machine and embraced the role of 'stay at home mum' the best I could. I went to work outside of the home (in the Visual Arts Classroom, to be precise) one day a week to help with the finances. I also spent quite a bit of time reading blogs. Blogs about craft and cooking, and blogs about parenting. 

I found myself in a position where I would compare myself to the women on the virtual pages ofblogland. Their lives seems so perfect - their children were cute, clean and well dressed. They loved the art of mothering and felt completely fulfilled in the home. They would spend their time in the kitchen whipping up organic oaty flap jacks for their kids, serving them on perfect vintage platters. They would walk gently on the earth, be gentle on themselves and completely in tune with the seasons and their loved ones. They would co-sleep, baby wear and never smack (gasp, did she just say smack?).

Meanwhile, I was sitting on the couch staring at the neon glow of my computer screen, filth surrounding me, with a cup of non-organic tea and a block of non-organic chocolate.

I felt like a dead set failure. My house was a mess, I was unmotivated, isolated and lonely. I was deeply in love with my child but deeply unsatisfied with my new found role as home maker. I was bored. 

For some reason, with the birth of little Pip I felt liberated from my perceived failings. All of a sudden I was at ease with my inadequacies and my disinterest in keeping a tidy home. I realised that my firstborn’s fiery temperament was not the result of his Caesarian birth (don't you know that baby's born via c-secion are far more likely to be unsettled?), nor was it the outcome of my poor parenting. He was who God made him - determined, driven, spirited and stubborn. In the same way that my placid little Pip was exactly as God intended her to be - the polar opposite of her brother - born of the same parents in the same way under the same circumstances. 

Two years ago I decided that surely there were other women who felt like me. Surely not every mother enjoyed wholeheartedly the monotony of stay at home parenting and the endless self-sacrifice it requires. Maybe i'm digging on myself but I thought perhaps I could lend my voice to this online world as a form of therapy and mental stimulation for myself; a little escape from the home, if you will.

In short, I started this blog for myself. It was a platform for sharing my successes and failures as a parent. A place to explore various interests, a place to vent, to journey, to create and to exhale. 

I am far richer as a parent as a result of this blog. The community, the solidarity, the creativity and the conversation. The connection.

Since The Beetle Shack began I have covered many topics but mostly, I've uncovered bits about myself that I never knew existed. Who knew this girl who was asked to leave her extension english class could actually write a little story and have someone read it?  Who knew this girl who could barely work a computer would be able to connect with women the wold over via the inter webs?



But with all of this 'good stuff' there has also been a pinch of bad. There've been anonymous negative comments on blog posts and there've been merciless slagging on other forums. I've been called fat and ugly, a try hard, annoyingly self deprecating,  a sell out and so on. I've been asked to explain my position on Sponsored Posts (rightly so) and it's been suggested that my 'finding our way to ethical eating' series was false and flailing, as I also do some work for mainstream brands.

For a while now I've been conflicted about what areas of my life I should continue to write about here at The Beetle Shack. Do I continue to write about our kitchen garden and our small collection of animals if I'm also going to declare that I shop at woolies? Do I continue to share my thoughts on living a more sustainable life if I'm going to take my kids to the Macca's drive through every never? Do I not explore ethical clothing brands if I am to continue buying some of my kids clothing from Target?

For a while there I decided that I wouldn't, and you may have noticed an absence of The Beetle Shack Gardening Column and the abandonment of the 'Finding Our Way to Ethical Consumption' series. I can see the perceived conflict and how it could send a confusing message if I wasn't clear about my intentions.

But you know, if I refer back to the reason that I first started writing this blog, it was for me. A slice of the internet, just for me. When I first began I wrote about making our own hand crafted chocolate, I wrote about our River Cottage Nights with our favourite friends and our desire to produce our own food, I shared recipes, craft tutorials and dirty rotten consumer driven online shopping expeditions - all in the first month of The Beetle Shack's existence. 

Isn't it funny that the content of this blog is largely the same as it's always been. Not much has changed,  I still want to write about my garden, it's a part of our life here at home. I want to write about raising animals for meat, tending to the soil and planting seeds. I want to share how and most importantly why we do things the way we do here at this little Beetle Shack. And guess what, I also welcome the challenge of working with brands, both big and small. It's something I enjoy. I like getting a brief, using my brain and my camera and earning a bit of pocket money in the process. 

I want to do both. Life is not black and white - there is always, always a grey area. 

I'm not a brand and I'm not creating one here with this blog. I am a person. One little small town girl with a grubby 1970's cottage, three children who usually have snot on their faces, a 1/2 acre plot of sloping land, a handsome husband and the most supportive parents in the southern hemisphere. 

One little small town girl with one little small time blog (too self deprecating?) and I'm going to continue to write it the way I always have. I'll write it for me as an outlet, a hobby and maybe if i'm lucky, a job.




* I'm happy to accept criticism over this blog, I've come to see that it's par for the course and I totally respect, appreciate and even expect that The Beetle Shack is not for every one. I'm happy to engage in conversation about my choices and decisions regarding what and who I choose to write about and will do so with no offence taken.

119 comments:

  1. Well I think your fab and your blog is too!!! I have never met you but am grateful to read your blog and see your cool photos! Keep going Em.

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  2. Aww Em! You are such a dead-set legend! I really do hope you continue to write just for yourself- this such a wonderfully honest, beautiful blog that I don't think needs to change a thing. Bah-humbug to all the haters! And just for the record hun- you are gorgeous!! :)

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  3. Aww Em! You are such a dead-set legend! I really do hope you continue to write just for yourself- this such a wonderfully honest, beautiful blog that I don't think needs to change a thing. Bah-humbug to all the haters! And just for the record hun- you are gorgeous!! :)

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  4. Em,
    I can't believe people slag you on forums. What!!??? You are one of the sweetest, most authentic voices on the interweb. (And one of the sweetest people I've met in real life too!)
    I love you for who you are, and everything that you want to write about.
    Yes, please bring back all your gardening posts because I desperately need some guidance/advice in that area (totally selfish reason, I know..).
    Much love,
    Ronnie xo

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  5. beautifully written em. keep writting and sharing what you want ... I find your (seemingly conflicting) desires over what you mentioned normal to my everyday life... this is always a refreshing (and not self - depreciating) read...

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  6. I enjoy reading your honest blog SO much! Never change. Its (im)perfect just the way it is :)

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  7. I wouldn't want you to change a thing, Em. There will always, ALWAYS be the haters, trying to bring you down because of their bitterness and own failings. Ignore them. You are wonderful and talented and HONEST and we love you for it. Filthy house and all. I am most certain that you have more organic food in your house than mine. And I totally buy the non organic chocolate. Just keep doing what you're doing because you do it bloody spectacularly xxx

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  8. Go Em... it's posts like this one that made me fall in love with your blog and your writing one night a year ago. I even remember calling out to my partner in excitement that he had to come look at this blog. Beautifully written post (I can't believe you got asked to leave an Extension English class! Shame on that teacher) and I'm glad you're going to write the way you always have. I was saddened to learn that people write mean things.... hope I never come across forums like those. Glad you're trucking on - keep at it, your blog (and your social media updates, from cute baby photos to talk of wine and all it brings!) brings me a bit of happiness every time I read it xx

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  9. We are all made up of contradictory elements that's what makes people so fascinating.
    As for people slagging you off perhaps they're unhappy with aspects of their own lives and instead of focusing on those they are focusing on you?
    I'll admit that sometimes I'll see others online lives and feel a pang of envy but that's an opportunity to work on why it makes me feel that way and not an opportunity to make that person feel bad.
    Keep blogging for you you're doing a great job of doing something a lot of people love.

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  10. I am new-ish here but enjoy what you share. If I didn't I would move on. Blogs are not like the 4 channels of TV we had (or didn't have) growing up - there is a huge choice more than enough to find a niche,. What is the problem of people who find fault? I cannot work it out.... My two-bobs-worth is to carry on doing your thing for you - that's why I read. Thanks for picking me up at times when I've needed it xx

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  11. This here slice of your life is wonderful. Warm, funny, sweet and all you. I don't read your blog for the Ultimate Handbook on how to eat/shop ethically but to inspire my own journey down a similar path. And the odd endorsed post? If only all advertising was as well considered and charming x

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  12. This is why you're awesome. You go girl x

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  13. GOMI is making a ripple on to a few blogs this week. I think the thing about that forum is you need to take the constructive feedback and toss the side swipes. Don't get me wrong I'm a lurker not a poster, but there are some positive outcomes that have come from the posts there like more transparency around bloggers and sponsorship.
    The main thing is that you stay true to yourself. You are not a brand, you don't have a mission statement and need to hold fast to one vision. You are human, you are as changing as the seas. You will experiment, discover and explore. Some thing's will work for you some things won't. Unfortunately you can't grow everything yourself, supermarkets are needed... Unless you can grow a tampon tree? Or just go completely native and use a wad of leaves (mmmm comfortable!).
    Live your life and share what you will. Be open to honest discussion and tell the bitchiness to go fuck itself.

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    Replies
    1. LOL at the tampon tree. ^^^


      Keep on going Em. I will never quite understand why people don't choose just to NOT read something if it's not for them and instead take personal issue with it. Gah. I think it's way too easy to be nasty when it's just words on a screen - not that I've ever done that. I love this blog. Keep on going. You write bravely and beautifully and from what I see, you are transparent enough that it is plainly clear when a post is sponsored and what more can you do than that? It seems too that you respond to the meanies with perfect grace and self control, I don't know how you manage that one either. Well done lady.

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  14. I love your blog Em! You are honest and fun and strong! Keep it up! :-)

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  15. I have only just started reading your blog but I love it and you'll only find love from me :) Keep doing what you are doing and ignore the haters.

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  16. You are who you are Em and you should share what you like about your life. I love your blog and the different subjects you touch on. Don't let others ruin something that you love xx

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  17. Oh boy..hope you feel better after getting that off your chest! I like all your posts - sponsored or not, fashion bits or kid bits or home pics..it's not the topic per se it's how you write - open and honest, it's not false or flowery. It's about the writing and an authentic voice, more than anything else. x

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  18. I remember when I first found your blog. You may have been a couple of months into it. I was a couple of months into being a mother of three. I would catch up on your blogs, right to the very first one, while sitting on the end of my 2 year old (at the time) son's bed, waiting for him to sleep. As much as that bedtime routine sometimes did my head in, I had you to look forward to, because I related! Finally, there was someone who was going through the same things! And wasn't afraid to admit it. You've kept that voice, and I know each time I come here, that there will be honesty, humour, frustrations, and love.
    Keep doing what you're doing. You deserve to be in this position.
    Big love lady xo

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  19. There's beauty in the grey because it is honest, realistic and shared by the majority of your readers. Your blog has had such an impact on me. Moving to the country with two small kids and being quite isolated, I find comfort and reassurance in reading your posts. You normalize the craziness of motherhood whilst embracing it. Quite simply Em, your blog has a big impact on many of us so remember that and continue your blog as you always have if that's what you wish to. May your supporters' words always have more of an impact on you than the negative ones xx

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  20. Yours was the first blog that I read and thought - ahhh... This is why people read blogs! I love it and as I only starting reading 6 months ago, I keep finding new bits I haven't read before. You are the perfect balance of everything that I love. Please don't stop!

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  21. Whoa, I'm really shocked to hear anyone could ever slag you off lovely Em?! Beetle Shack is one of my very favourite internet spaces. I think you're a super brilliant mum but also a REAL and open woman who is gutsy as hell to share all that you do... your words have given me virtual hugs on many occasions (as an amateur and often emotional parent of one spirited toddler) and have also really inspired me to do more. Please keep on just the way you are xx

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  22. Love your blog! Keep up the good work! Barbara from Belgium

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  23. This is lovely. As a very, very small blogger, I find it so refreshing to hear your perspective - which I also agree with. I love trundling by your blog, it's authentic tone and beautiful images. I celebrate your stance to keep doing what you enjoy - after all, that's what sets blogs apart from a mainstream journalism job. And that's what keeps us reading. xxx

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  24. I will never understand why people read blogs they don't like, and then go and be rude about them elsewhere. If you don't like it, don't read it. That's all there is to it.

    I share your conflict, but I see it as symptomatic of a larger issue: that of media pigeon-holing. If you write about gardening once, you're an aspiring gardening writer. If you then write a craft post, why aren't you staying within your genre? But, you know, I think most intelligent readers understand nuance and variation and development and growth and change. Don't they? I really hope so.

    Lovely post. Don't stop x

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  25. Er, if people don't like you/ your blog/ your topics they can move along... nobody is forcing them to read it! Keep on trucking :-)

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  26. Excellent excellent post as always Em - you are my hero!!!

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  27. Oh Em! I can't believe people slagged you off? That's so horrid, and completely untrue. You are a genuine, beautiful woman and mother. I didn't even know such forums existed (and if that's what they say, thank goodness!), but I guess that just shows how internet-illiterate I am.
    I have written posts before on what I choose to put on my blog. I don't know why we feel to justify what we fill OUR spaces with. We shouldn't. I want my blog to be a diary of our lives right now, so that's what I'll blog about. 8 billion pictures of Josephine? Yeah, so what. You don't want to read it? Then sod off. It's taken me a while to come to terms with that, but it's so liberating now that I have. I hope you take the same stand, because your blog is awesome the way it is. And if people don't like what you say, that's fine, but be nice and just move on. They're not being forced to stay here.
    I adore your honesty Em, don't ever loose it. It's why you have so many followers and so many lovely comments up there. And so what if you make a bit of money here and there and get a few free bits and bobs. Who, in all honesty, would turn that down? I don't. Hell no!
    Anyway, I guess I'm babbling. Basically, be true to yourself and allow this space to be what YOU want it to be. You're an inspiration and I love coming here xxx

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  28. Go for it Em! Do whatever YOU want to do. Love what you do. x

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  29. Well, I for one think you should never stop. I only recently started blogging and I kept it a secret for a year for these reasons, exactly! I don't drink organic tea, neither can I afford a seventy dollar onesie for Mason just because it was "sustainably sourced". I buy the cheap homebrand stuff from Woolies and Mason loves his Kmart onesies (as far as I know, anyway). It's hard when you put yourself out there - you let yourself be vulnerable and when you are attacked, its as if you asked for it.

    I've decided that a photo is a photo. We don't see past the 4 corners of what people put up on their sites. If you can make money from doing something you love, go ahead. Those people who slag ya off are probably just jealous ;)

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  30. I liked this post. I think that it's good to reflect on blogging - it's something I find myself doing often too. I think that it's also good to differentiate both positive and negative feedback into useful and not-useful. I have to say while I've not been personally targeted on those forums you speak of, I have found them useful in terms of helping me to reflect why I blog, what I blog, and how I come across. A while ago I had an ex take a blog post the wrong way and called me all sorts of awful things, and it while harsh and unjustified the comments were, it really made me stop and think about how I was coming across.

    Ultimately, I think that too much thinking about how you come across is a bad thing, and leads to self-editing or blog-paralysis (I'm inthe middle of that at the moment, actually) and I prefer to take advice from artists. There's a NZ artist, you may have heard of him, Ralph Hotere, who says "say nothing. The art speaks for itself", and every time I find myself thinking of how the audience will perceive these words I'm writing, I imagine Ralph Hotere on my shoulder. He was a Dunedin local, a bit of a fisherman..I always think of grey hair, smoky voice, old fishermans jersey and a faint smell of must and salt..

    I miss your gardening and ethical eating posts, I find them really interesting and inspiring. I'm not so into outfit posts but that's ok, don't stop doing them. Most of all I like that the same voice who I remember from when you first started blogging, those early days where you would comment on my poems, and I'd read every single post from you: that same voice still writes here today. I think that you have had a small but profound influence on me over that time, and maybe I've had a (even smaller) influence on you (not sure though!), and I'll end this essay of a comment to say thank you for knowing yourself and being brave enough to be yourself. You set a good example lady! Love xxx

    ps. And I think that you subliminally introduced me to Hugh, oh I cannot thank you enough for that. We have so much love for him all around Maitland St, possibly bordering on obsession..!

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  31. your blog is awesome and interesting and real! keep writing x

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  32. I love reading your blog because I am in the exact same position as you as a stay at home mum (and with a blog!), and I find you inspiring, encouraging and refreshing! Every time I see people saying rude things of others online I'm just always horrified by them! Who as a decent human being has time for that!?! Keep it all up!! x

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  33. stay away from GOMI... they were having a go a lovely Maxabella too.. You are genuine, I see it.
    I'm not a fan of highly sponsored blogs, but you have a really even mix. And I'm still coming back :)

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  34. Just today i messaged a friend and told her that she had to read your blog. I told her it was honest, fresh and your clothing shoots are stunning! The comments i got back was....i know i have gotten lost reading all the archives. Just for the record yours is the only blog I am committed to reading....i tell my husband about your honesty and perspective on life..... i can relate to what you say in your blogs and i appreciate the fact that you don't over exaggerate and you give new things a go but your also willing to admit that it may have not worked or just isn't realistic. Please keep on being who God has created you to be and please dont stop writing about it! I am so excited that you have pigs!

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  35. Ditto all the good stuff above. Love your blog. Your writing makes me smile!

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  36. Hi Em, blogging is just weird isn't it. It starts out just as something where you write little stories and then people start reading and before you know it the blog kind of has a life of it's own.

    I have no problem with you discussing sustainable living and then admitting to flying through the drive thru at some time in your life, that is actually what I find important. Living the life of someone living on the high horse (organically grown gluten free hay eating horse of course) is not so fabulous.

    My real thoughts after reading this post though are that your life to me does look fabulous and pretty and filled with gorgeous children who are cute, clean and well dressed. You always look amazing and happy. To me your blog is similar to those ones that you thought you would be different too. But this is why I like it.

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  37. Oh Em, it breaks my heart to read that people have been so mean to you, because you are beautiful and kind and sweet and REAL(!!!) and that is why I love this space. My favourite blogs are the ones where the blogger writes about her life and everything therein,so keep up the good work Em. You are fabulous. x

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  39. I can't believe people can be so mean! I definitely must still be a truly small time blog, as I never encounter that sort of unkindness, and I think if I did, I wouldn't have handled it as well as you. It's a beautiful blog and a beautiful place to be. Of course, write what you want to write and if you want to make money from writing, that's completely OK! Obviously, you can never please every soul in the world. x

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  40. You are beautiful. Your family is beautiful. Your writing is beautiful. Thank you for all you share. You inspire me...all the way over here in North Carolina.

    Shine on Momma,

    Jess

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  41. I have loved reading your blog since I discovered it about a year ago. I have read so many that have left me feeling that I am a crap parent (because I hide from the kids in the office reading blogs...) , wheareas yours puts into words, what so many of us are feeling. I grow veg (when it's not being eaten by rabbits, and caterpillars....) and have hens, and love the idea of the simple life, but I also shop at Aldi and buy clothes from Primark, non of us are perfect.
    I don't understand people who feel the need to make nasty personal remarks, as they are so perfect themselves! Your blog is a little piece of the interweb i like to go and read about the fact that it's not just me who's house/kids/life isn't perfect, and it make me feel so much better x

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  42. you're fucking awesome (hope that language isn't too real for you!) I love your blog, I always read as soon as you post, keep on keeping on

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  43. Wow. I don't know how you do what you do but I'm glad you do. It makes me feel sad that you get such a hard time for sharing the way you do. Just know that so many of us find your musings entertaining, inspiring and reassuring. Personally I don't find it hypocritical to talk about ethical living and shop at a major supermarket. Most of us live imperfect aspirational lives so why shouldn't you share yours (and make a bit of money doing something you enjoy at the same time? I say go you!

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  44. Dude you know I'm loving you hard but let me ask you how do you feel about yourself? How do you feel about your blog content? If your happy (& there's no reason you shouldn't be!) then why do you have to answer to anyone ? You don't have to explain yourself unless you want to. It's ok to grow your own food & to go through the drive thru. Your not alone! I can't resist a post mix coke & a mcchicken! It's ok if your not liked by everyone because those who do like/love you ( see all the comments here tonight) will be here to chat, share advice, prop you up when you need it & admire your ridiculously beautiful home. It's your blog Em. You write how & what you like, answer questions if you want to but do it your way. x

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  45. Hear hear to this entire post. Interestingly I too wrote a similar (miniature small blog version) of this just a few hours before yours. Your blog is completely unique, inspiring, loveable, beautiful and real. Be true to yourself, however organically challenged you are. ( I am just aiming to remember green bags at this stage but the standards are low at our place at present as we have other challenges). And lastly, Show us the piglets! mel x,

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  46. I only read a select few blogs these days (time poor!) Yours is & has been on the top of my list since I first discovered it. I say ignore the bitchiness. X

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  47. You know, I actually woke up this morning and found myself laying in bed for a few minutes, without having to get up and run to one of my own snotty nosed darlings. And somehow in those few quiet minutes my mind wandered to your recent post about your new bedroom decor. I laid there thinking how perfectly neat and pretty everything looked on your blog, while looking at the general mess in my own bedroom that no matter how hard I try to control (which admittedly isn't usually all that hard!) still seems to find it's way into every corner of my home. (Do I get any points for having almost twice the number of little snotty faces as you?? Preggers with #6, due any day now!) Anyway I laughed to myself and thought, that's ridiculous! There is no way on earth her whole house looks glossy magazine photo shoot ready everywhere all the time! After all, she's home all day with three adorable mess makers, and no matter how small, and cute children are, they produce huge piles of messes and work! Be that directly or indirectly as a result of you having to feed them, and entertain them, and do stuff for them, everything gets messy, pretty much every single day! So then I thought, "Well, good on her! At least she manages to make parts of her house glossy magazine photo shoot ready part of the time, with 3 little ones!" That my dear, is a huge accomplishment of which I think you should be very proud! :-) I enjoy visiting you here!

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  48. Love this Em. Just keep doing what you're doing, what makes you and your gorgeous family happy. Stuff what anyone else thinks. You are awesome. xo

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  49. I get it. I totally do. I've been blogging on and off for the last SIX years and throughout that time my blog has changed because well, *I've* changed. Finishing uni, getting married and right now finding myself through motherhood for the first time while living in a little village in the UK thousands of kilometres away from my home in Melbourne - I've also read so many blogs and wondered "How the hell do they do it?". If I get a shower in before the end of the day, I consider that accomplished LOL.Yours is a recent find for me, but I love it because I love the glimpses into your life - perfect/imperfect I don't care :)

    The other thing that has been brewing is my love and passion for healthy living and eating. I've discovered myself through food and working my way to a person that I can truly love. I'm currently studying to be a holistic health coach because I figured that THIS is what I want to do - but I am far from the perfect green-smoothie-guzzling-natural-makeup-wearing-yoga-devotee. Doesn't mean I don't love those things, but for me that part of my life is a journey as much as it is my identity. I still eat non-organic and wear MAC when I go out. What I'm trying to say is that, next year I'll be launching my website and business in this area - but I'll still be blogging about everything else on my current blog. I've been struggling a little bit because I WILL be a brand in a way for my biz, but the other part of me just wants an outlet for me.

    I think out of it all the one thing that keeps coming back out to me is AUTHENTICITY and HONESTY. If you and I can keep being true to ourselves and honest, then the online world will be fine. Keep doing what you're doing - you're a great mum x

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  50. Brilliant post. Nothing like a bit of honesty to allow the rest of us to feel normal. I prefer the blogs who keep it real. Keep writing from your heart.

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  51. Right on Emily!!! As far as all the sustainability stuff - NO ONE is perfect and I think as long as someone is trying to incorporate some of it in their life - that's all that matters and I love hearing about it! I do miss the gardening stuff a little - but will keep reading no matter what you post!

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  52. You always write so wonderfully. I really appreciate your honesty, frankness and healthy dose of self depreciation every now and then. You are one of the people who inspire me in writing my own blog. Keep going please! X

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  53. Hi Emily,
    I for one love your blog. Keep going! We all try and take steps forward to be good stewards whether it be our bodies, our planet, etc. We will never be perfect. All we can do is our best and I think that should never stop but on the days when we are tired and fed up that is where grace comes in :) Amen for Grace.

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  54. I'm not sure if I have ever posted here, but I found your blog a while back looking for a Sienna Miller hair cut of all things and have continued to follow you because you are real. Like you I stay at home and had a bunch of ideals about doing so, but in life nobody is is 100% perfect and that's what I love about your blog... Your realness!

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  55. I love this blog, and I would never even *consider* saying something negative to you, or about you, or going the cowardly way of posting anonymous venom about you on some message board. That is for jealous people who obvious covet what you have (or what they perceive you as having).

    Please don't change, please don't stop writing, please don't pay attention to the nonsense.

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  56. I've only recently found your blog but I love it! I love your style, your gorgeous photos and your beautiful home. I think you are stunningly pretty and ridiculously well-dressed with the most adorable little kiddos! I love to hear about your garden and your animals but most of all I like that you post photos of your kitchen in a right old mess and write posts like these so that I remember you too are as normal as little old me. x

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  57. Really do hope you keep bloggin, have just recently come across your wonderfull blog, and find it really great ... all the best Trine (DK)

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  58. Em the grey is why we come to The Beetle Shack! If you weren't sharing the realism between living a life with a sustainable and ethical approach but still being allowed to eat non organic chocolate and shop at Woolworths I certainly wouldn't be as smitten with your shack as I am! You present a real insight to your life which is inspiring, supporting and encouraging and I hope you never stop sharing all aspects of life at The Beetle Shack with us X

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  59. You go girl shame you felt you had to.justify why you do what you do....maybe its because your your own persob and allowed to do what you bloody luje and say what you want. Freedom.of expression I love your blog and this post :)

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  60. Excuse my spelling errors little man helping.me lol

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  61. Oh man, when I first started reading this post I thought it was going in the 'I've decided to stop blogging' direction... SO glad it wasn't!

    What's that saying? What Judy says of Jane says more about Judy than Jane? I don't know if those are the right names, but you get what I'm saying. Although I'm not sure knowing that makes hearing nastiness any easier...

    I suppose you've just got to cover all that rubbish up with all these good things coming from your loving readers. I adore your blog, Em. The fact that you don't have things all figured out but are still trying to pursue what you want in ways that make sense for you is part of what makes you so relatable. Thanks for staying true to you. X

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  62. This is so beautifully written Em!

    I adore you and your blog and I love what you do with the 'grey area' xx

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  63. I love your blog! It's so real, I love that your house is messy and your kids dirty - so are mine!
    I think anyone who blogs and puts themselves out there is brave, so thank you for sharing. I'll continue to be a fan.

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  64. I love your blog (and your garden posts) and people who post negative comments should really look at themselves first and ask themselves why they feel the need to bring someone else down. Blog what you feel like blogging. Do it for you! If a person is not interested they do not have to read it. I can honestly say I find your blog honest and informative at times. It is nice to see how someone else does things (new ideas that my head did not think of). I will keep following your blog so please blog away ;)

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  65. Oh goodness Em... e x h a l e !
    So much to tell you, but here's the one thing: just keep doing what you're doing, and damn the rest of the world. You're so right - The Beetle Shack is for YOU, not your kids, not us, not your husband, YOU.
    I struggle also constantly with the sharing, the exposure, the putting it out there or holding it in. I can lose sleep over it, but I always find that if I'm thinking too much about it, if blogging is 'too hard' than I shouldn't be doing it.
    We're farmers, we grow beef cattle and fine merino wool and prime lambs. I blog about our farm life, our veggie garden, our life on the land, the agricultural industry. Sometimes there's conflict of interests, for sure. But...our farm (well the farm we work on) is no small hobby farm, it's 30,000 acres of intensive high production business. It's 10,000 Merino ewes and 2,000 Angus cows + offspring. Mr Woolworths will buy our beef and lamb, a lot will also be exported, actually most of it will be. I think people have this false perception of farmers versus the supermarkets. I worked as a produce buyer for my family business (buying selling trading and transporting potatoes and onions) - I've seen the other half of the industry. I try and share that on my blog so people understand Australian farmers better, not just small operations on the city outskirts (which definitely have their place in smaller marketplaces, of course) but REAL AUSSIE FARMERS like us. Turning off thousands of cattle to feedlots, shearing tens of thousands of sheep. It's our livelihood and it's real. Blog what's real, bugger the rest.
    Anyway, that's my rant. Sorry I didn't reply to you on Facebook regarding the pigs...basically my husband can't be bothered to scold the skin and all that when it comes to butchering pigs, it's pretty easy to butcher up a lamb after work, hang it for a few days without a cool room, and easily have it cut up with a ban saw, pigs and steers are put in the too hard basket. Slacker!
    Emma x

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  66. Em, your blog is one of my very favourite reads. We are at the same stage in life and I love hearing your honest take on things. I also love hearing about what's going on in your garden! I couldn't give two hoots if you do sponsored posts – you've got bills to pay and you put a lot of time and energy into this space. Do what you feel is right for you, I'll still be reading :-)

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  67. Honestly, I have a few unladylike words for those nasty people - y'know, the kind that rhyme with duck and cough.

    Beautifully honest writing, as usual, Em. We love you for all those shades of grey, funnily enough it's what make your life so brilliantly colourful!
    Love & light, lady xx

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  68. hear hear! Well said Em. Life isn't black and white - and the grey area is forever changing. I hope you do continue to write about ethical eating and your garden - not only because I enjoyed those posts - but because by doing so you inspire other people. I often feel like I'm preaching to the converted in my online space - but your content appeals to and reaches a much broader audience. And the fact that you are new to ethical eating is what is so appealing - it makes it seem within the reach of others.

    And those people who leave negative comments and criticise. How sad must their life be if they are taking time out of their day to criticise someone else. That's what I tell myself to feel better about nasty comments ;-)

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  69. There are always going to be nasty trolls who say horrible things when they can be anonymous on the web, i guarantee 99% wouldn't have the guts to say it to your face. I love coming here to your beautiful but real little blog. You make me realise it's alright to not be perfect, there is cereal on my loungeroom floor & that's ok. I live not too far from you & enjoy reading about where you shop for food etc as i may have not known about these places otherwise & if i was to bump into you on the street i might momentarily lose my mind from pure excitement.

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  70. I hope you never stop the gardening columns and the ethical eating/clothing whatever. In this day and age, we do what we can and we learn about the things we should be doing. So we buy some stuff from Big W and we also try and support ethical choices elsewhere. We buy toilet paper from Woolies and organic tofu from the little guys. Whatever. I think it's ok for your blog to reflect that. I know mine certainly does. It's not right to hide that part of ourselves that shops at global corporationy corporations, and pretend all we ever do is buy hand-dyed and fair-trade cotton pants. I don't think it's being a sellout, and I don't think it's fair. Your blog should reflect you, and we're all just doing our best, sharing what we learn as we go. I for one miss your gardening column and your thoughts into ethical eating, and I don't give a flying fuck where you shop. I just want to read you.

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  71. As I don't have any children, I could say that my life and yours are in completely different places. However, I am always encouraged by your honesty, humour and integrity on The Beetleshack. Carry on sweet Em, I know that I am but one of many who love this space and leave inspired by what we find here. A thousand times, thank you! xx
    { Proverbs 11:2 }

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  72. Your blog is REAL and that is why it is great. Trying to eat ethically and grow your own food while still also shopping at Woolies from time to time is what real people with real lives do. It isn't contradictory. Life's journey is about always striving to do better while making the best with what you've got.

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  73. The whole way through reading this I was thinking 'good for you' you write a great blog and the best person to do that for is yourself. Thanks for letting us come along for the ride.

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  74. GOMI is just a forum for A-Holes. They are best completely ignored. I love that you show the diversity of real family life, and it's not necessary to be black and white about anything. Keep exploring and keep sharing x

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  75. I keep writing comments, and then deleting them because they just aren't quite right. You are a fabulous person Em, full of honesty and humour and colour and light. Your sharing of your life is no doubts cheering people up, spurring them on, making them feel better about themselves..who knows! I DO know that it is a privilege to see all we do when someone blogs about their life, their family and your readers know and appreciate it. One thing I have learnt in my 7 years of blogging and tacking this way and that as I change, my kids change, my life change, is that so long as I am happy when I press publish, then that's all that matters. Are the kids going to be OK? Dave? Then that's it. Who cares, who really gives a SHIT about what people say about you? Let them do that thing, and stay away. What good can come from reading it...they are just reinforcing all the negative thoughts you already have on yourself right? Get in line haters...

    We all live complex lives mixed with perfect crumb free days and other messy ones, some organic, some filled with take away and when we blog we are seeing a tiny section of any given day or moment. You are openly sharing your life, and in the process helping others along the way. If just one person planted a veggie or flower because of you, then I reckon that's pretty cool.

    Don't justify yourself. BE yourself. And if the peeps don't like it, they can go and do their negative shit in their own negative space and certainly don't let that bother you along the way, it doesn't concern you, you have already answered to yourself when you hit publish.

    So, um, yeah. Be cool babycakes, because you are.

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  76. * stands up and applauds *

    You are who you are. And that, my dear, is beautiful. xx

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  77. As long as you are happy with what is on your blog then there is nothing to stress over.. you own the space and it is yours to do what you want with.

    Who wants to chat with a whole load of people that are negative nancy's.. by choosing a path dictated by those people that is all your will gain in your network. Just chat with the veggie growing, tutti frutti, trying to be healthy and ethical types.. hang with your own and enjoy it x

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  78. I have never commented before but i have been reading your blog for a while. I love your honesty and humour, please dont change, Kaye x

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  79. Hey, thanks for being real about this! You know what, I think your blog is lovely, contradictions, successes, failures, the pretty, the real life, everything. I find a nice bit of symmetry in the narrative that you tell about finding your place in motherhood and finding your place in the internet. You grew to let your lovely imperfect first born be just as he was. And your blog is the same, right?

    It's your blog! It's your life! It's your space on the Internet! Write about what you want to! (And for the record, I feel like you owe NO explanation on how / when / why you accept sponsorship. It's your, blog, your work, your time, your prerogative. You're not running a government-funded NGO here, I mean....;)
    Write what you love! Write what's real! I'll keep reading!

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  80. It is perfectly acceptable to believe in ethical eating and hit the drive through, just as it is perfectly acceptable to have a kitchen garden and buy vegetables from the supermarket. To suggest otherwise is just ridiculous.

    It is human. As you say, you are one woman with three children and one husband and one house - you're not a mission statement spouting corporation. Life is a series of experiments - it can't be anything other.

    The negative nancies who waste their time with such hideous habits as "hate reading" don't deserve this much attention.

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  81. You have made me cry.

    I need to do some serious soul searching myself... Your blog is a bright spot in my day... don't change a thing (unless you want to that is.)

    Thanks for your honesty and your heart. Beautifully done.

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  82. I regularly check in to read your blog, and look forward to your posts. I find inspiration, and some motivation reading your blog. I hope you never quit. The fact that everything is not a breeze, or easy, or perfect, makes you very relateable. That said, you're beautiful, and you're family is lovely.
    Also, as for the sponsored posts, I love your fashion sense and the way you decorate your home, so I am interested where I can find some of the stuff.
    All the best, and thanks for writing your blog.

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  83. Hi Emily, I've not commented on your blog before but felt absolutely compelled to do so today. We've never met and yet, through your blog, I feel I know you ..... not all of you but just a little bit ..... and I like what I see! I learn a little more about you each time I visit and I look forward to reading your posts each day. You're blog is you ..... charming, honest, open, beautiful, interesting, enjoyable, inspiring and a whole lot more and simply, it is what it is! Now, when I was growing up, I was taught a simple lesson ..... if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all! So, if the "Whinging Wendys" and "Negative Nellies" have nothing better to do with their time than to put others down, then it says more about them than it will ever say about you. And to be perfectly blunt, if they don't like what they see or read, then why do they continue to do so????? Be who you are, keep it real, stay true to yourself and simply ignore the rest! I, for one, will continue to visit x

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  84. Hi! I'm really glad you're going to keep writing! I learn a lot from your posts - I am hoping to become a Mum one day soon and I love reading about other women's journeys in motherhood, and about family life in all its muddy glory and joy. Your voice is honest and real, and life is complex. Thanks for all you do.

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  85. What a beautiful and perfect blog Em, you say it all, you are you and you make your own decisions, it has nothing to do with anyone else and that is why people love to read blogs. No need to take on other's peoples crap or their perceptions on who you should be. Your words in this post relate to everyone, everyone is entitled to making their own decisions because it is their life. If they don't wish to read about your life and all the pendulum swings that make it balanced (or not), then don't. xxx jay

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  86. Your blog is a pure delight for me to read as I am sure it is for the rest of your readers. However, this blog is yours. It is primarily for you and it should contain whatever you want it to. If people don't like it, they don't have to read it. And they should heed one of the most adorable Disney characters, Thumper - 'If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all!'

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  87. I think we all reach this point and take a breath and say....hello this is me under here!! Just don't loose yourself, because it's a barstard to find you way back from being lost.

    Leonie xx


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  88. Keep writing about what you want to write about, otherwise you're going to end up hating blogging. And I think 'finding your way to ethical eating' is just that, finding your way. I can't imaging why anyone would think that you were only going to buy ethical produce from now on when your intention was to try. A follow up post on how hard/easy it is would be awesome but if the negativity has got to you then leave it alone, because at the end of the day, the blog is for you, you have to enjoy it. I'll still read it x

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  89. Trolls took the fun out of blogging for me... for a couple of YEARS. I'm only just finding my feet now. I really feel for you and what you've been through. I know how intensely painful it is...

    Sometimes it's nice to know that other people know JUST how you feel. I know JUST how you feel! Keep trying. Keep pushing through and find a way of doing this blogging thing that makes sense to you. In the end that's the most important thing. Smooches!! xx

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  90. Emily you are an honest,good normal person ,I love how you write,you don't need to answer to anybody I don't think.I hate the internet for those rude horrid people who always know better than you ,do they really have perfect lives,oragnic food ,spotless homes and happy lives ,perfect sleeping children, I think not! They are nasty cranky not happy with themselves people.I prefer to think that if you have nothing nice to say ,say nothing I like to be kind to others and I hope I will be remembered for this when I die.Em keep on enjoying writing your blog hon and writing about what you want to share xx Lisa Mckenzie

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  91. Hi Emily - I love reading your blog, it makes me feel normal. No one is perfect and you have every right to have your say. There will always be those who want to "slam" others but who cares. You write from your heart about your experiences- never apologise for that.

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  92. Stupid people with nothing better to do that to hate on someone is so very sad. Keep on keeping on and being you, the kind, funny, honest, beautiful person you are cause that's why you have been so successful with your blog. You inspire your readers and make us laugh, cry and remind us that even gorgeous mummy bloggers (such as yourself) have messy houses and don't live perfect lives! We all need you here Em! xxx

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  93. I personally enjoy your posts where you show your messy house and realise that it isn't just me. I'm currently getting into that stage where I'm a little bored being a stay at home mum (maybe I should blog - nope). The internet is never going to be full of joy and love because we all have opinions and personalities that don't quite mesh. But I think you do a great job.

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  94. I only know you from your blog. I love what you write because it's real. You aim high - you try to be ethical in what you buy, eat locally, grow your own and all that. But we are human and we live our lives in reality. We don't always have the time or the money to achieve our ideal life all of the time. So the shopping at Woolies or Target is a necessity. Any fool who can't see that, is a exactly that - a fool. Don't give their opinion any time or attention. You are criticised because you are an amazing woman. Remember people never bother to criticise this insignificant. It is your blog that inspired me to blog and from the comments you've received in response to this entry, I am not the only one your words touch. Keep up the honest writing!

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  95. Don't let the bad guys win is all I can say. Unfortunately writing on the internet is like leaving your front door open and letting anyone wander in. That of course is both good and bad. There will always be criticism and negative comments, but I think you just have to rise above them and remain true to yourself and your blog, which I feel you do. And the snarks who put down mummy bloggers for whatever reason they've hit on that day/week/month are like the internet version of schoolyard bullies -- and are best ignored. And really they are in the minority, you have such a huge supportive audience that keep coming back for more, friends all over the world in fact! I like reading your blog for its bright happy look, its joie de vivre and most importantly for its honesty and optimistic approach to life -- yes, even on your bad days! There is a lot of love in your blog and it shines through. And it will be such a fantastic thing to look back on in years to come, a wonderful visual record of those wonder years that are oh so fleeting. This is your little space, your journey, no one else's.
    Sarah

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  96. I have dropped by your little slice of the internet every now and then as I was first drawn by one of your submissions to ten on ten (I think that's where I stumbled upon The Beetle Shack! Forgive me if my memory is fuzzy). And I love your perspective behind the camera and was whittling down my list of blogs I follow trying to save room for the ones that I love, that inspire me and, as you say, don't make me feel as if everyone else has the perfect life and I somehow missed the boat. But after reading this post you are most definitely a keeper. The honesty, authentic sharing of who you are and why you invest in your "internet space" is perfect...because it's not! I don't want to see your perfect home or that you have everything figured out, I love your perspective just as it is. Because it inspires me to live each day looking for and embracing inspiration and sharing it with others. Thanks for your authenticity!

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  97. Your blog is my favourite. I can relate so well, being a mumma of three "spirited" children under 4. Life is not perfect all the time, sometime you have seemingly conflicting views about lots of things and your blog just illustrates this. Keep writing, can't imagine not getting your updates in my email!!! Lauren xo

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  98. I really don't understand the desire of some to belittle, to mock, to be horrible, to be the small person
    I do understand the desire to dream, to do more, to share
    Keep going just as you are Em
    x

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  99. You know I really think your blog is a great example of everyday feminisim in action. Giving a voice to women who struggle with a role that society tells us we should be blissed out by, often despite a history of great deeds, thoughts and aspirations (as well as wanting to parent). Parenting is just one job description, and funnily enough for many of us we are not the perfect fit for it even though we love our children dearly (though perhaps not like them all the time!). The fact that people respond how they do (I am talking here the negative comments) rather prooves the point that giving a voice to the mulitple, varied and complex experiances of being a woman (as well as a parent, a money earner, a goal setter, a humanist) remains critical. Keep up the good work.

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  100. Em, if people are going to read your blog and think your a purist or expert then they aren't really reading and listening to what you write and say. I also think the competitiveness and bitchness out there isn't necessary, why can't you just be yourself a d people the it or leave it. I don't write things I don't feel and I'm not perfect either it isn't why we {or some of us} blog. I think your honest and living a simple life with grace and honesty and that doesn't mean it's bliss. I was in my pjs till 11:30 this morning and my house has been bombed by two little ones and I still havn't done the dishes. Em, you hold your head up high your doing great. X

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  101. I love your blog! I check it every single day.

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  102. I love reading your blog, please keep doing what you're doing, I love the way you write with honesty and the way you are just yourself. It's refreshing to see someone not trying to be perfect. Thumbs down to the detractors, they can go elsewhere. I choose kindness. Xx

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  103. This is the first time I have ever commented on a blog & just wanted to say I love everything about your blog. I love that you make me feel like I am 'normal' as I'm trying to figure out who I am in this motherhood thing. I wish I lived near you so I could be your friend in real life and I hope that doesn't sound stalkerish. You are awesome & have a real gift, so keep doing it. xx

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  104. Em,
    I have read your blog, for, like, EVER! And its amongst my most favorite of a tiny handful of blogs I regularly visit. I love it for your honesty, wittiness, faith, amazing style, ex art-teacher lady ( like me) , mother, etc etc etc...the list could keep on going...keep on doing what your doing because its you...we are all human. I love that you include inspiration on cottage-style living/gardening/wholefoods/animal rearing...but yet you are real with life, hey - a happy-meal here and there can't hurt if I say so myself. Love you for keepin' it real.
    xo

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  105. I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now, finding it after leaving Sydney for Houston. The lovely glimpses into your home and life are a sort of tie for me, connecting me to the warmth of the Australian sun, and my years there raising my babies into strapping young children. I love your blog. Please don't let anyone cramp your style with their narrowness. We wouldn't want that! Do it for you, and thank you for sharing that with us!

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  106. Isn't funny how people have such high expectations of others! I love your blog :)

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  107. Love love love! You are great as you and I am happy with that. Also, I am happy you are not trying to 'brand yourself' that term always freaks me out. :)

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  108. Beautifully written. I support you.

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  109. Beautiful post,I connect with your blog like no other. As a mother and woman, trying to live a better life and succeeding most of the time and being real the rest of the time. Beautiful, flawed and honest. Brave enough to put it out there for all to see. X Andrea

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  110. So many comments and righty so - your blog is beautiful and you should continue to post for yourself! I have blogged about my garden - but it isn't anything special and this year it will mostly be in pots (incase my husband sells the house). I hope one day I have as many lovely readers as you (which demonstrates that you're obviously doing something right). Shari from www.goddfoodweek.blogspot.com

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  111. Life is not about black or white, it is about balance. Congratulations on having the courage to present an honest account of your own beautiful, balanced family and life.

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  112. It's crazy isn't it? How bitchy people can be... so sad. so so sad. Mum always told me that everything people do shows you a little part of their soul... if they criticise they feel less than happy in life, if they are constructive they've got enough to be able to share it around. I think your blog is authentic, artistic, ample and awesome... A+!! ♥

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  113. I can't believe that people would be so callous and insensitive to actually say such negative things. What gives them the right? I don't always get a chance to stop and comment but I like your little (big) blog and it's not what I would write or what I would share but who cares, write about the things that rock your world and photograph and promote what you like, you know, without being stoopid - but you're not, so all good there. I love the garden posts and the cooking and the kid-wrangling. I've even passed you on our kid-wrangling, Girl Guide wrangling missions and there was no opportunity to stop (and you looked busy) but I promise I will next time, just to say "you're OK".

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  114. I heard this quote yesterday and thought of you, and this post. I guess it sums up that we are all in conflict with ourselves, and that it is the contradictions that we all have that make us human. William Faulkner, the great American writer, said this as part of his Nobel Prize acceptance speech:

    "The young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat."

    I just love that idea... that the only thing actually worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself. Makes me feel much better about all my own contradictions!

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  115. You go beautiful lady!!! Don't be changing for no Trolls :) xxx

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

xo em