Tuesday, April 28

Confessions of a Blog Stalker

So I have been thinking about posting this topic for quite a while now. I think about it often. So here it goes...

By definition a "blog stalker" is someone who checks a blog (or blogs) regularly and never leaves a comment. (Is that right Holly Noye? You told me this once...and I find it to be true.). Get it? You follow it, know all about this person/family/couple yet never interact with them. HA! Kinda funny, right? I am guilty of this on MANY blogs. My main excuse is that I use Google Reader. I can plug in the web address and when I go on Reader (thru my google email) I can see who has updated. It doesn't take me to the actual site though....so I can't comment on the post I read (I don't even get to see the pretty new wallpaper people use!). So I do have a legit excuse. :)

It's actually quite fun (yet crazy!) when I run into someone I have not seen or talked to in YEARS and they say, "Hey! I saw Daisy and Isaac on the playground outside (no one introduced them and they have never met). Hey...remember that time you almost burned Tanglewood down? That was hilarious." WOW. Now, I take full responsibility for that...heck, I post it for the world to read. :) But it's true you never know who's reading! (Let me reiterate that I don't dislike when people do that. I love it. It makes me feel good that people check in on our little family.) And for the record...I have done that to TONS of people. I love to keep in touch via blogs. The pics and stories help me feel connected to those I don't live close to anymore.

But that is not what I wanted to post about....even though I know MANY of you can relate. What I wanted to write about is the untold side of blog stalking. I check probably 30 -40 blogs. Crazy right? Well not too crazy. I don't check them each day. And honestly, some of you (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) don't frequent your dashboard (bloggers personal home page where you post) as much as I would like. But hey, I will take once a month (or once every three) if I can get it. :) I check mom blogs, kid blogs, baby blogs, craft blogs, newly married blogs, college kids blogs, pet lovers blogs, dressmaking blog, missionary blogs...and on and on.
What's the problem?
Seems like fun, right? Well, I tend to take what is on the blog as exactly how those peoples lives are. TRUTH...and all of it. Fun, carefree, problem free, good recipes, great families, sweet pets, new homes....ain't life grand? Especially the MOM blogs...whew. I read those, see those sweet pics, family adventures, and so on and start down this road...."Wow...she is such a good mom. I have not finger painted with my kids EVER. Or let them play in the mud daily. Or had a back yard camp out. Or take them on rock hunting hikes. Or made letter shaped crayons with cute letter molds. Or told them enough bible stories to make them have such deep comments...I AM A FAILURE. These moms are so happy and patient, laid back and calm. I wish I was like that. And look how easy marriage and kids are for her!"
How's that for a confession? I mean I don't even consciously think those things...it's more of "man, that's so neat. I wish I did those things...why do I feel so...down?"
- Can anyone relate to that???
Few comments on those thoughts:

1. Don't get me wrong....I LOVE blogs. I love to write and read them. I love to keep in touch and see pics. And I love to get ideas of fun things to do with my kids. I just get carried away in my own thoughts sometimes. I know this is my struggle. And I am not asking anyone to change what they post or how they post it. :) Cause I LOVE to read it! I am simply sharing my thoughts.

2. It's a weird thing, a blog. Because it's really a place to share good and happy, sometimes funny things. It's not the best place to air dirty laundry or share all your personal struggles. You can share struggles...but personal ones that don't effect others negatively. What I am saying is...I don't feel it's the place to post, "My husband is a lazy slob...we are not getting along." (Which my husband is NOT. Just an example.....dan added this when he proofed it! ha! but he is really not. ) You can post "Kids are not good for a marriage" (which I have found to be true.. ha!:)) so that no blame is placed, I guess. But having limitations in what can be said makes it hard to be honest about life, all parts of it. Some things just can't be said. But some struggles can be shared. And for those who do share those...I appreciate that. It's always encouraging to know you are not alone. :)

Plus, it's much like Facebook (yes, I admit...I am on it...but not often). What pic are you gonna choose for your profile pic? The ugly one? The one where you look bad? NO. You choose the ones that you like of yourself. Same weird phenomenon with a blog...many times...we only see the good stuff.

3. But here is something I have found to be true at my wise old age of 29.... :) All people have struggles. Some bigger than others. But if you really get to know people, every one has their level of pain and hurt. Even those you think never do...they could be the very ones hurting more than anyone else (they usually are!). (Insert here the "why we need Christ" speech. :) ) Not to be a downer...but this is a good logical reminder to me when I blog stalk and start thinking about how I wish my life was like someone elses. Everybody has something going on. Life is not perfect. And it reminds me that God is my confidence. Not me, not what I think I should be. But what he makes of me right where I am at any point in my life...good or bad.

I also acknowledge that some people don't wanna share everything. And that's ok too.

4. I have also found that in my harder times in life (moving to a new city with no friends or losing our job) it was harder for me to read peoples blogs and how great things seemed to be for them.

5. If my blog has ever made you feel that way...(and I really try hard to share the good, the (appropriate) bad and the ugly (and sometimes naked)...then I am sorry. We all go thru good and bad seasons in life. Our current season of job loss and our future in limbo is not my favorite. I will be honest and say that I go thru a roller coaster of emotions each day. But God will provide.

Just thought I would get these feelings out there and see if anyone else can relate...come on...comment! Even you Google Reader people. :)


Lark said...

My blog is more about my mis-adventures of motherhood than my sucesses! I love reading about you guys, we miss seeing you!

blessdtwice said...

Well, I do most of that... I blog stalk, think "why can't I get it all together" but I also (when I post) try to keep it real on my posts (see- did mary have this much trouble getting jesus to the temple-post if you want to know what I mean)

Seriously, I feel the same. I am THRILLED that you blog- so I can keep up with you guys better.

Love you!

Anonymous said...

Mel~ If it makes you feel any better, I (your own mother) look at your blog and think "Mel is such a good mama, where did she learn how?" and "My poor children have to take my word for fun times, I have about 5 pictures total of each of you". Keep it real, sweetie, everybody loves REAL people and that draws more people to the Lord than perfection! Love, MOM

Michael and Hannah said...

I totally relate on all counts. I definitely blog the happy times and not the sad times, because the happy times are what I want my kids to remember. But I've felt guilty before for presenting a false image. Well, maybe not a false image, but definitely a partial image. The people I have envied the most have on occasion fallen the furthest. But more recently in my life the moms that I adore and draw so much encouragement from are the moms that show their imperfections. Your blog is the best of both worlds... real world, real problems, honest feelings, but drenched in the love and joy that comes from walking in the light and loving the one true God. I only hope blog stalkers get a fraction the encouragement from me one day!

torinem said...

I can totally feel you! I try to post the mildly hard days, but I am not going to post the non-kid big struggles that life throws me, for the most part. It's hard, sometimes, though, to remember that everyone else may be holding back, too! But, at the same time, it's good to see friends happy!

Lauren B. said...

That was a great post! I always enjoy reading your blog!

KTL said...

Thanks for that! I do all of the above about anybody and everybody who is not in my same exact life place and get down on myself because of it. Please keep keepin it real! I love your stories and love keeping up with you and your kiddos even though I feel like I haven't seen you in FOREVER!

Jesse Faris said...

SO true how we take others' blog posts as the the holistic picture of their lives. My favorite blogs are those that, as your mom said, keep it real. I include yours in that category, by the way! :)

Tesney said...

I totally understand the temptation to compare yourself with other people's blog identity. But I think the important thing to realize is, just like in real life, there's a lot more to people than what we put out there most of the time. I don't really feel like that's being fake, but that we just choose with whom and when to self-disclose. It's not really appropriate, like you said, to post on your blog, "my marriage is on the rocks and little Johnny is the spawn of Satan," even though that's the way we may feel sometimes. Those are things to talk about with your bff, therapist, etc.

So, I want to tell you that I love your blog and think you're very real, but I also don't think you over-share. I mean, we've all read those blogs where someone posts a little TMI and it makes everyone uncomfortable. Oh wait, that might have been me. :) Hahaha!

Rachel said...

I guess I'm not a stalker b/c I comment a lot! :) But I totally know what you mean!

One of my girlfriends said that anytime she or one of her friends is having a bad day she refers (them) to my blog (go to the label called "Just Average" - http://whatsupwoodwards.blogspot.com/search/label/Just%20Average) which will show you some lightly bad days that can make you feel a little better!

The post titles that are "What a Beautiful Morning" can always make you smile and feel better about at least your current day! ;)

I will continue praying for Daniel's job situation!

I love reading your blog! I hope I'm as good at taking pictures and capturing moments like you and Anna do when I have kids!!

Good blogging!

Courtney said...

I think the naked kid in the backyard makes yours an officially "real" blog :) I will no longer feel stressed about such things..right now, MY kid has no pants on, is covered in sidewalk chalk and mud and loving his life as a kid :)

I can so relate. I feel that way about so many people ..I.HAVE.to.resist. Its hard this mom thing, and we dont make it any easier on ourselves by looking at the other chic who seems to have it together (like the mom friend of mine who has two kids my kids' ages and is training for a triathalon..I know, right?!).

I think the thing is we ALL feel that way, and if you dont then you are either lying or in denial :) I think Satan can use comparisons to mar our vision ..I know I get mine marred on a regular basis (she says as the dishes from last nighs dinner are still in the sink) BUT ..we can use those things to remind us to make our own sweet moments to blog about (while the sour laundry smell is eminnating from the washing machine).

I have a couple of together friends, and they arent as much fun as the ones that arent! :)

As far as sharing ..I worry about sharing too much, because I dont want to sound like I am whining. I think I will rethink that. Cause I feel like it sometimes (like when the cat sat on top of me and PEED on me this morning ...GOOD MORNING!)

I am so going to blog that ...


Love you sweet friend, and its because you are who you are that you are in my my "she knows how I feel" category. Thanks, Mel :)

Brittany said...

I would hate to be known as a blog stalker, but I do have to admit I read many blogs and don't leave comments. Hopefully you don't think that I stalk your blog, being that I leave you comments!:)

Moving on, I couldn't agree with you more! I read a ton of blogs and I get discouraged sometimes thinking that I don't do enough fun things. I am also guilty of posting (on the most part) cheerful blogs, but I have my quirky dry sense of humor throughout them, which has more truth in it.

I could totally post about how I am so tired everyday after work I have to make myself get up and chase after Brayden (and not let him crawl around the house picking up dust bunnies from the floor and eating them or was that cat food...hmmm). I could also post how I would be totally fine with eating out every night, but I'm sure that wouldn't be good for me or the kids.(Addison and Brayden's mother had to be fork lifted out of her home today at a whopping 800lbs...Ahhh)! Or how the trash can in my bathroom has been full for a week and I haven't emptied it or how I hate to change toilet paper rolls. Even though it is a simple task my toilet paper will sit on top of the empty one for a week! I could go on and on and on and on, so you are not alone with your thoughts! EVERY mother feels the exact same way as you do, whether they post it or not! :)

Heart Ya!!!

Julie said...

Hey Melanie. I must admit that I've been stalking your blog for a couple of months. Charity gave me your blog address. I cannot believe how much Daisy has grown. She was an infant the last time I saw her in person. She is beautiful...and Isaac is also. I actually have you on my blog list, but I haven't left any comments because you would probably be like Julie who? Anyway, I thought this would be an appropriate time to come clean. I loved this post and agree that it's sometimes hard to not compare yourself to other moms or compare you children to other children. Thanks for saying what (I think) a lot of other moms are thinking/feeling. I love reading your blog because you are just a funny as I remember!

Baby Hayden's Blog said...

Hey Mel:

When I read/stalk your blog, I see what an awesome mom you are and how you love being with your kids and how much you love Dan. Yes, you do share your tough times, but it's mostly positive and I'm sure LOTS of people would love to have a life like yours! I do appreciate how honest you are, B and I always remember how we used to have long conversations with you guys (Mon. nights :) about relationship/life struggles. It was so nice to talk about real stuff. Miss ya!

Rachel said...

Thanks, Mel. It's all been said by your friends, but there is no question that blogland is a one-sided picture. But what else could it be when you never know who is reading? You show me a mom (or a person) who doesn't regularly feel like she's falling short and I'd have to say that she's not striving to be better.

Elizabeth Fair said...

Well, I guess I'm SUCH a blog stalker...I have yours, Hannah's, Amber when she updates, the QUADS, Kristy Holsenback's recipe blog and more!! Most people think I have fallen off the face of the earth b/c I never talk to anyone...I know horrible of me. However, I LOVE LOVE LOVE keeping up with all of yall. I feel like if Daisy and Issac walked thru my door right now, I would know all about them....same with Hannah's kids. I enjoy reading them and it makes me happy!! You are so funny in how you approach things. I love hearing all of your stories!! Keep up the good work!! :)
Elizabeth Fair

Anonymous said...

melanie, i couldn't agree with you more. and the really sad thing is that while i am reading blogs and feeling like an inferior mother i am missing so many opportunities to play with, read to and love on my own precious children!! i LOVE getting to keep up with everyone and their families but i know there are many times God is telling me to get off the stinkin' computer!
i love you guys and love reading your honest and real blog :)

ashley wyatt

Jeris and Holly said...

Love it. I needed to read this today!

Anna said...

Cool! I will expect more comments from you from now on. :) lol
I hear ya, Mel. Tuthfully, blogging is just our new modern day social world. Cyber space has created a whole new realm of relating to each other. It seems to me that what you're talking about is the classic Sunday morning "how are you" , "oh, fine" scenario, except it's over the internet now. Everyone pastes a smile on their face. Some people will choose to be real, some will choose to try to put out the best image they can. I confess I probably do both at different times.
Gotta hand it to ya with generating the comments, though! Way to go! ;) Love ya!

Alisha said...

I am a major blog stalker! but most of the blogs I read are ones that need prayer wariors!! but there are also the fun life is grand ones too! Yours being one haha I feel like I know your family. All that is to say I know exactly how you feel, and feel free to check ours our sometime www.neilnatic.com/blog

Sarah said...

I totally do this too! I guess I just don't feel like writing "How cute!" over and over again. I save my comments until I have something to contribute. Know that you are being stalked!!

I also agree about the documenting thing - I don't know if I'll be able to scrapbook again until my kid(s) are able to play outside on their own - which means we need a house first :).

emily said...

thanks for this post... it is so easy to not be "fair and balanced" in our blogging. (sorry for the cheesy foxnews analogy there! it's what came to mind!) for me, sometimes it's pride (just wanting to show the fun things) and sometimes it's a genuine attempt to keep a positive attitude about circumstances. i am with you in comparing myself to other moms i read about. satan will always find something to use to try to get to us. technology is such a blessing and a curse at the same time! i agree with ashley's comment that i find myself reading about other peoples' kids and my kids are begging me to play with them. pathetic! i do keep up with you through my newsreader, so i hardly ever comment either. :)

Burless Family said...

Hi mel...I'm so behind in your blogs and am catching up. This post really struck a cord with me. I'm soooo with you here! Nothing or no one is perfect and it drives me NUTS when people blog all sunshine and rainbows all the time. I LOVE your blog because it's so real. I feel like you're on the couch next to me, talking about your day when I read your blog. Your blog after Isaac was born, talking about how hard it really was being home with two little kids (a newborn and a toddler) was a real a-ha moment for me. When I had Brady, I had a lot of the same feelings you did and I took GREAT comfort in your blog, knowing I wasn't alone.