Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Keeping It Real

There is something I want to address after reading some pretty frank things recently about Mommy Blogs in general and my blog in particular and how they are viewed in the grand scheme of things. I know there are people who struggle with blogs. Aren't they just vanity incarnate? Aren't they just illusions of perfection designed to induce feelings of guilt and inadequacy amongst fellow moms? Aren't they just places for people to worship at the temple of ME?

Obviously, I don't think so, but I do admit that maybe I have been a little remiss in posting frequent reminders of an important fact that all blog readers should keep in mind, so here goes...

I don't claim to speak for anyone else so remember that when I say...this blog is not my diary. A diary is a safe, guarded place that you can pour your heart and soul into and chew over all the thoughts in your head. If you are 12, that might be which Jonas brother is the dreamiest. If you are 32 it might be the heart pains of showing up to yet another friend's wedding without a date and crying out in written prayer for God to please send you the fulfillment of your vocation. I never really was a diary writer, but if I was, I certainly wouldn't share it in an open forum like this.

This blog is more like a scrapbook. There are rows and rows of scrapbook aisles with pretty paper, cute chipboard cutouts and themed stickers in every store with a craft section to prove that no one wants to waste time making an ugly one. I am probably just as picky about what I put here as I would be putting together a scrapbook that I would leave out on my coffee table. This is not "True Confessions of a Catholic Mom" although being that it is my place, I reserve the right to include some if I so choose.

If I was going to document a family vacation to Florida, you can bet your sweet bippy that I wouldn't waste my time putting in the blurry pictures of highway or writing down how much we paid for gas in Mississippi or how many fights broke out over who's turn it was to play the Gameboy. Now, if somebody got stung by a jellyfish which then turned into a funny story involving humorous yet disgusting natural remedies, that might be something I'd jot down for posterity's sake.

So if you come here and feel inadequate at how your life looks compared to these pictures, please remember, they are just snapshots. A camera lens focused in on one isolated subject, not a wide open panorama to my whole life. And when I post a picture of a beautiful cake that I actually made, decorated and served to my family, it's the real deal, not a facade. I'm not obligated to show anyone the dirty dishes in the sink! Since most of us are all moms, I just assume everyone knows they are there.

I'm not trying to sell anyone anything or make anyone think that I have everything figured out. I'm just trying to record memories for my family and friends and focus on the good in this life that I enjoy but often times don't see for the forest of bad. Those of us with naturally pessimistic natures have to force ourselves to see the beauty so that we don't feel strangled by the ugly everywhere. Maybe some people should pick up a camera and try to find some beauty in their life too and then they might not be so bitter about the beauty in mine.

And just in case anyone missed how imperfect my life can be at times, here are a few reminders:

Sunday Obligation

Mirrors followed up with Thinking


Batting Practice in My Head


  1. Well said Charlotte. I like the scrapbook comparison, I think it's a good one. And what a lovely scrapbook you have too! ;-)

  2. No doubt that you're the real deal, darlin'.

  3. I'm sorry if you have been getting grief over seeming too perfect on your blog. I think you handled it so well. Your scrapbook analogy is right on.

    I am so glad that you don't plan on changing how you do things around here. I personally would much rather see your beautiful crafts and cakes than your dirty dishes. I have enough of those of my own!

  4. Dear Charlotte,
    I have been off line for over a week.
    I agree with you and try to keep it real.
    Sharing the good with a little of the unreal fo our lives.
    As I was off line I would like to say congratulations on your news( as I read back)I will pray for you and baby.
    God Bless

  5. Thanks for this great post. I think that would probably be the disclaimer that most of us moms would want to make on our own blog. I display the beauties of our lives here in our home, occasionally touch on lessons learned, but, as you say, my blog is not my diary. I'm just now reading your immediately preceding post where you've displayed some beautiful original creative foods and ideas. When the Holy Spirit moves in our lives we can produce many gifts, and that is the case with you. You are a gift to all of us who come to your site every day for inspiration for Christ-centered living !
    btw, my daughter had much fun coloring your Divine Mercy coloring page. if you want to check out her artwork I posted about it today:

  6. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas with everyone. I am so sorry that your generosity was not well received by some. As someone who frequently uses your ideas and never stops to comment, THANK YOU. My family has been blessed by great projects and many fun times, all without ever knowing what it took for you to share. Thanks for giving my family inspiration for beauty.

  7. Keep on keepin on. Love your blog :) Who wants to see messy? I see enough of that right in front of me, in my own home!!!

  8. Gosh, I'm so sorry you have been reading comments about your blog (your life) seeming too perfect. =( I think this post was a very good response "to set the record straight." I like how you said something to the effect of not showing the dirty dishes, because as moms we should all know they are there. So. true.

    I appreciate your blog so much, Charlotte. It is so inspiring! When I visit blogs, I know that I can't replicate someone else's family life, their creativity or their cooking abilities. My situation is different and so is my threshold. And I just know that about myself. But I love all the ideas that I see here and at other blogs, and I appreciate the sharing that goes on in "Blogville." I see someone celebrating a feast day or trying a new approach to some daily task, and it inspires me in my vocation to always be looking for ways that I can be the best wife and mother that I can be ... And when I do find an idea that I can incorporate into my family's life, I either save the idea for another time (like that cute Altoid O Antiphon craft ~ I'm saving those tins for next Advent =) or just go for it, because I know it's doable ... The Garden Parties is an example of that ~ never have we celebrated the Easter season in its entirety, and this year seems so much more "alive" and "joyful!"

    God bless you, Charlotte! You and your family are living out your Catholic faith, and that is very real.

  9. Your blog is lovely, we love using your coloring pages and I personally love the inspiration I find on blogs of other Catholic homeschooling moms.

    I am sorry that some others obviously don't feel that way - and felt the need to share that with you.
    Love the scrapbook comparison too - perfect.

    My grandmother taught me never to compare you insides with someone elses outsides. One of the most valuable lessons in life, I think.

    Gee whiz! Trish

  10. Oh, good grief, Charlotte. Isn't it a pity, human nature being what it is... People just must find fault. Personally, I gravitate toward the places where I find beauty and order and optimism. Chaos, disorder, and grumpiness I can find right here at home. I appreciate that when I come to visit you at your "house" here on the internet, like any good hostess, you clean your living room before I come. Duh. You don't have to spread your laundry out on the chairs and sofas to prove you're doing it.

    We love ya, honey. Pay no attention to the critic behind the curtain.

  11. Well said, Charlotte! I have had comments made to me personally such as "well, I see YOUR life is simply amazing and perfect . . . . ." ! HA! Not even close - don't look at my blog and think that all is well! Simply a documentation of the things I CHOOSE to make public! I also see that congratulations is in order to you! May God Bless all of you!

  12. I think most bloggy people understand that our blogs are just snapshots and that we aren't going to tend to share photos of our successes rather than our moldy toilets. I admit to feeling inadequate at times while reading other blogs. But I do try let that feeling transform into inspiration and I also try to remember that there isn't one of us who doesn't walk with the Cross. Personally, I prefer blogs that encourage me to be better than I am. And being "real" on a blog doesn't mean dumping our trash on the world.

    Keep up the good work. You have a lovely and inspiring blog!

  13. I meant that we ARE going to tend to share our successes rather than our moldy toilets! Sorry!

  14. I agree---well said. I know from experience that I don't enjoy reading blogs where the blogger puts everything out there, especially the bad stuff, the angry rants. That doesn't inspire me. It makes me unhappy.

    I choose to read blogs that inspire me to do better or just make me happy. Yes, even as a blogger, I sometimes get caught up in the lie that their lives are perfect and they are so much better at things than I am, but then I remember all the stuff I don't blog about. Or try not to, anyway.

    I started blogging in the hopes that I could somehow inspire others with my faith. I'm not sure I do it as well as you do, but I'm me, not you. Keep giving us those wonderful snapshots!

  15. I second Party of Nine's comment. :)

    There will always be criticism and there will always be support. We only need to be concerned with what God thinks and what our husbands and kids would want us to share. Who has time for anything else?

  16. Your blog has always and ONLY been a blessing to me and many others. It saddens me to think that anyone could possibly have an unkind thing to say about you. You are such a dear, generous friend to many, in quiet and unassuming ways that make you all the more special!

  17. Keep on trucking Charlotte!!!! I for one am very glad to see all the positive, it gives me Joy that others are walking the walk with me and enjoying themselves along the way. We are all far from perfect but I'm with everyone else's comments: I really don't want to see the dirty, I have my own, Thank you!

  18. Ver well said Charlotte. I'm sorry for any grief you have had to go through. God has called you to be an example and an inspiration to other moms to enable them to better raise their own children in the Faith.

  19. Amen!

    Personally, I have never been able to justify spending $$$ on a scrapbooking hobby when I know the scrapbook would just sit on a shelf. At least a blog is more easily shared and can bless and inspire moms in their vocation. And you are right in noticing that blogging is often therapy for us bloggers - keeps us looking at the bright side of life and the beauty to be treasured in our daily lives.

  20. I'm sorry you had some not-so-nice comments. Yours is one of my all time favorite blogs to visit for positive, creative ideas from a real mom! I like how you pointed out we are all moms, we can just assume that the dirty dishes are behind the scene : ) So true!

  21. Charlotte

    I agree our blogs are only snapshots of our life. And who wants to depress themselves further by not focusing on the positive. {{}} sad to hear you have been hurt{{}}

  22. Well said!! Great post! I do get caught up in looking at all the wonderful things other Catholic homeschool moms are doing, but then kick myself and remember, like you said, that these are only snapshots- no one escapes real life.

    In the end, I am so grateful for all that you and other talented bloggers share. I have found a wealth of much needed inspiration on all of those blogs. Here is my post, somewhat on the same subject.

    Thank you for your blog!! It has made learning and living our Catholic faith richer!

  23. I echo what everyone else said, so I won't bother typing it in ;) It's wonderful being able to come here and see beauty, rather than the ugliness in the world. You're an inspiration and I've gotten some great ideas from you over the past year or so that I've been here. Please don't change the way you do things just to suit a few unpleasant people.

  24. There are only 3 blogs that I check into daily, and yours is one of them. My daughter loves your coloring pages, they have become the border around our schoolroom. We also enjoy various craft ideas, and simply feeling that we are not alone in trying to live our Catholic faith daily.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your gifts with my family. I know others feel the same.

  25. Charlotte, your blog is beautiful and so are you!
    I love coming here and can't imagine someone having a critical word about it.
    (I think I am much like you, in that I tend to be a bit on the pessimist side, so I especially appreciate the happiness and beauty here!)

  26. The blogs I like the best are those where moms share ideas (homeschooling or homemaking) or crafts or book reviews (or coloring pages) that they have used successfully in their homes. I ususally don't pay attention to personal posts because I don't know the person/persons involved and soccer photos or birthday pics of strangers just don't interest me. It seems like a form of voyeurism or minor celebrity watching to check up on what Mrs. So and So is doing today, 1,000 miles away. I always admire the restraint of blogging women who keep the private out of their writings and photos.

  27. Hi Charlotte- I just discovered this article and loved your candid words and honesty! I didn't have a chance to read all of the comments (wow) but I would think most Catholic Mom bloggers AGREE! I started a blog to share faith, hope and love. It's all about using the tools available(in this case technology) to glorify HIM and lift each other up. It's Mom's like you that help keep us motivated to keep improving our domestic churches and living our vocation to it's fullest possible extent. THANK YOU for all you so and for being willing to share. GOD BLESS Y OU! Tiffany

  28. I think you did a great job explaining this! It would be wierd to be reading someone's diary, but I do always appreciate the ideas and the inspiration to maybe take things up a notch when celebrating feast days and birthdays. Anyway, the analogy is just right and I like your style!

  29. I agree with all of the comments here, especially about learning to turn any feelings of inadequacy into inspiration. I have received so very much inspiration from yours and other Catholic mom blogs. I am so thankful for it. Keep up the good work, Charlotte! You bless many people with it.

  30. Rock on, Charlotte! And a great big DITTO! Thanks for spreading a little more beauty and a whole lot of joy in the world of blogging mommies. Like I tell friends and family: I blog the beauty of life, but I don't live that same life just to have a beautiful blog. Thanks for saying it all so eloquently...

  31. Sweet lady, I have only total admiration for blogging efforts, and complete thanksgiving for all your generosity you bless the blogging world with. Keep your chin up, scrapbooks are lifetime keepsakes aren't they? Hugs!

  32. Here's what St Paul says about it:

    Philippians 4:8

    Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think on these things.

    Focusing on the excellent, the beautiful, the lovely isn't unreal, it's what we OUGHT to do. Or so says St Paul... but maybe he doesn't know as much as your critics?

    You are a lovely woman with a lovely family and lovely blog. Think on these things.

  33. "Maybe some people should pick up a camera and try to find some beauty in their life too and then they might not be so bitter about the beauty in mine."
    Amen to that!!!
    Excellent scrapbook analogy.

  34. Charlotte,
    I don't blog, nor comment often, but really enjoy reading other's blogs, and get lots of ideas, inspiration, and encouragement. But, this is a good reminder to us that we can't compare our insides to the outsides of others (and what they choose to show us).

    I read a recent article on homeschooling addressing being content with our own abilities, and being happy for others' gifts, even if we cannot replicate (and we don't need to try). You have some beautiful, wonderful talents to enrich your family's life. I pray for my own talents to enrich my family as best as they will, and let grace have to do the rest.

    I'm sorry you have been given grief over sharing your scrapbook.
    Thanks for sharing all your wonderful ideas though. I appreciate the inspiration as I work out my own interests, talents and time to work on the lovely things in my family's life.

    God Bless you and your family!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and yourself!