Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Dirty Secret at the Heart of My Mommy Blog

People blog for many reasons:

  • To keep faraway family/friends updated on their lives
  • To share their brilliant ideas/recipes/methods/philosophies with others
  • To make some money to support their families
That's not an exhaustive list, but those are the big three, I'd guess.  I have, at various times, blogged for all of those reasons.  When I first started this blog, I thought that my unique contributions, i.e. the things I had an abundance of that I could supply to others, were a tendency to over-analyze, and a non-momish affection for all things math/science/nerd.  I thought I could take a unique stance on typical mom issues, or look at domestic issues from a nerdy point of view (the only one I had at the time).  This philosophy was fairly accurate, since my most-visited post of all time is a mathematical breakdown of the efficiency of crock pots versus other cooking methods.

However, I quickly realized that "the rest" of the blogs out there like mine were drawing traffic with recipes, gorgeous pictures of food, and DIY tutorials.  Big, fat, long posts full of numbers and mathematical symbols were not exactly a selling point.  So I started doing what everyone else was doing: taking food pictures of my new recipes, writing DIY "how-to's," and recording my new discoveries for the benefit of others.

But here's what I gradually learned: I found that (what?!) actually living my life, being fully immersed in it with no camera in my pocket, was so much  more fulfilling than constantly blogging about it.  I hate dragging a camera down to the garden all the time, and I especially hate making my family wait to eat dinner so I can take a picture of their food first!  I realize that some people are huge photographers, or take great joy in capturing all the beauty that they show on their blogs.  But I'll be honest, I am not one of those people.

But here's the truly new thing I discovered during those months: I was blogging because I felt like I was doing so much around the house that was of value, that was significant, and that I wanted SOMEONE, ANYONE to see and admire.  

Do you see the problem here?  I think this is secretly at the heart of so much of the current mommy blog obsession.  We work so hard in our homes, we pour out our hearts in the things we are doing, but who recognizes our hard work?  Do our kids stop and say, "Oh mom, thank so much for making me applesauce from the apples on our tree instead of buying some Mott's.  I appreciate that you took the extra time to do that."?  No way!  Do our dogs say, "Oh, mom, I appreciate you not using pesticides in the garden or chemicals in the house - I feel so much healthier, and I've noticed my tail wags more."?  Heck no.  Do our husbands say, "Thanks sweetheart, for washing my clothes in all-natural detergent instead of store-bought."?  Well, maybe, but not likely.  

So here we are, working our tails off (no matter what kind of oil we're cooking with or what kind of detergent we use!), and who is there to notice but God?  And I found myself thinking, "I better take a picture of this so it can go into a blog post, because otherwise, it's just extra work, unnoticed and wasted."  

This was my dirty secret: I felt unappreciated, unnoticed, unpraised.  And I wanted someone to tell me, "Great job!  You've done something that matters!  Your hard work will return a handsome reward someday in health or in savings."  Nobody in my home was telling me (as often as I wanted, at least).  Society's only message to me was, "you are of value only if you make money to buy nice things."  And so blogging became my source of recognition, of pride, of value.  

But that is not my true source of value.  My worth doesn't come from other people recognizing my hard work.  It doesn't come from doing the work.  It doesn't even come from the character that is gradually built up in me as I put my own desires on the shelf to provide for my family.  Nope.  My value is deeper than that.

I am loved, cherished, valued by the One who made me.  

Always, forever, and regardless of what I accomplish during the day. 

That is the truth I needed to fill up the empty discontent in my soul.  And when it is filled up, daily, by knowing who I am and Who He Is, then instead of striving and working to fill myself up, the things I do are an overflow of the love that is full to the top within me.

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