Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What I Do and Don't Blog About

IBlogging is a funny thing, it is for me anyway.  Maybe because I don't really have a solid theme other than "us," which is this very vast and varied thing.  You know, when I started this blog; I started it for me and for us.  We had just moved to the mountaintop and life was pretty hectic.  I figured that we were headed in this frantic direction of intense and rapid change, and that it would be easy to believe in the moment that it was all very memorable, but that in very short periods of time much would be forgotten....just because so much was happening at once.  It was an exciting time and I didn't want it to get lost in a sea of so much newness.

I like to write.  I always have.  It soothes me and brings me clarity.  And to be honest - it stays put.  Pretty black letters make up my thoughts on a page and no one comes along and undoes my effort.  In my mommy world the small act of permanency is few and far between.  I make food - it gets eaten and is gone.  I clean - it gets dirty again.  I wash it - and there it is to be washed again the next day.  Blogging makes me feel like I accomplished something that will last.  Something tangible in an otherwise intangible life.  It's how I get my "me time."  It's something that I do for myself, though I hope it benefits others, or will someday, but for now - it gives me that little piece of something that really has nothing to do with being a wife or mother, even if my words are about them - the act of touching these keys is all for me in the moment.  It's free and I can do it from home whenever I want - very important factors for any mother.

And so, that would be how I got started.  I've said it before and I'll say it again - I didn't really expect any other partygoers to be showing up for my party.  I thought that for the most part that these words of mine, though public, would remain mostly unread.  There are already tons of "mommy bloggers" out there and even more "blogs" in general.  I saw no reason for mine to standout to anyone.  And it is still campartiviely  small, but more of you showed up than I ever expected.

So, when I started, I wrote about us, and that is what I've continued to write about.  Sometimes it is about what we are doing, or something about the kids, and other times it is just my thoughts.  I measure my words differently now that all of you are here, which is a good thing, really.  But I pick my subjects carefully.  I don't write about politics, current events, religion, breast vs bottle feeding, stay at home moms vs working moms, abortion, homeschool vs public school or anything else that might be construed as controversial.  And here's why:  I believe that we have each lived this very unique and exact life that no one else has shared, and that those events have made up our very personal and deep ideas about right and wrong.  I may not agree with your belief on something simply because I haven't had your experiences and vice-versa.  Rather than argue those points, that we will never agree on, I don't even go there.  I'm not interested in educating or changing anyone's mind.  I don't want the drama, and though I love to debate - I don't have the time for it.  There are plenty of other places to go for that, but here, it is my little world and I like to keep it......simple.  I don't want to judge you just as I don't want to be judged.

I've had this unspoken policy of removing any comments that I find rude or inappropriate.  I also don't answer emails of the same nature.  This is not always easy to do because I believe in free speech and being open and honest, but there are lines to those things.  Hateful comments have been left and prying emails have been received.  By my very nature I want to defend and set the record straight, but I restrain myself to avoid adding fuel to the fire.  I made the mistake, which I won't be doing again, of allowing and answering one of those comments on my last post, which was a very innocent post, and it went from the subject of overpopulation to foodstamp usage.

I share our life here in a very public way, but so much of our life is private.  There are things that are just simply no ones business.  Our financial situation is one of them.  Yes, it is easy to see that we don't have much money and even fairly directly stated at times, but that doesn't mean our full financial report is open for all to read.  My husband has a job that he works very hard at, and "self employed on ebay" is not some clever coverup for living off the system.  My husband works long, long hours.  In fact, much of the time I feel like a single mom because he works so many hours.  I admire his ability to remain self-motivated and continue to push himself to work harder, longer, more in what at times appears to be a very vain attempt to get ahead.  I marvel at his drive to spend so many hours diligently and redundantly repeating the same tasks over and over to earn an income for his family.  Was it always like this?  No.  There was a time that he made twice the money that he does now in fewer hours, but today that story is true for a lot of people and we are both very thankful that he even has an income.  And if you're tempted to wonder why he doesn't go get a "real job" we're both very certain that he makes more money doing what he does now than if he did go get a "job."  

Foodstamps.  The burning question.  It is asked by some and just wondered by so many more.  Just yesterday I was in town and there was a man with a fresh ear of corn.  I asked if he was selling corn and he replied that he would be in a week when it was ready to be picked.  Excited, I asked when and where he would be selling it, and after he answered I told him that I would be by, that I had ten kids who all loved corn, so we would want lots of it.  He swiped his brow at the "ten kids" part and then told me that he takes foodstamps.  When I stood there talking to him with only four kids huddled around me he said nothing, but TEN KIDS!! and he had to mention the foodstamps.  And you know what - I didn't confirm or deny our foodstamp usage because it's none of his business!!!  

And it is none of yours either.  It is rude to ask, imply or try to "get a feel" for an answer about a persons foodstamp usage.  People seem to be under the impressive that large families SHOULD answer this question.  They seem to think that since feeding that many kids is expensive that they have a right to wonder and even ask about it.  Personally, my thoughts are I don't see what difference it makes.  It doesn't matter to me if you have two kids, ten kids or even no kids and use foodstamps.  I don't even care if you use drugs or have a job or not....why?.....because there are SO MANY bigger financial problems in this country than FOODSTAMPS!!  Foodstamp recipients are an easy target, and while abuse is part of the problem, in my opinion, if I were to try and tackle our financial crisis.....foodstamps would be WAY down on the bottom of my list.  Honestly, there is so much turmoil in the world and our country today that foodstamp usage isn't even on my radar.

Some of you are wondering if I really believe what I just wrote or if it is just a smokescreen to avoid admitting the truth.  Yes, I do really believe every.single.word I just wrote, and.....wait for it.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................no, we are not on foodstamps.  Not that I should have ever had to think about making that a public statement.  And yes, it is expensive as hell to feed ten kids.  It is by far our greatest bill each and every month.

And I just broke one of my own rules even talking about foodstamps......twice in two days.....what next??...lol!!  

We've had so much support, that honestly, I've never said any of this before because I didn't think that I needed to.  Maybe, tonight, I wanted to.  I don't know.  I guess I just wanted to clarify:  negative/rude comments will be deleted.  If you don't agree with me/us/our life this isn't an open forum for debate....it is my little place in the www and no crapping on my floor is allowed.  Coming here and leaving negative comments when you know you don't agree with our lifestyle makes about as much sense to me as prancing into a church service and trying to convince the congregation to become atheists - now, that would be pretty stupid, whouldn't it?

Well, I think that about covers it, if not it's too late for me to go on. In just a few hours my bed will be scattered with little boys who one by one made their sleepy way to mommy's bed looking for a warm spot to snuggle and I will rise before I am ready just because there is no room left for me to get  comfortable......it's a beautiful problem to have:)

30 comments:

  1. I cannot even remember how I stumbled on your blog but it's been a bit now and I've been enjoying reading. I like your writing, I enjoy the photos and reading of your experiences. I also love that you don't get into drama stuff. I come here to feel like I am reading an old friend's letter. And that's refreshing :)

    People are awfully rude. I used to blog more openly but outsider comments can get so nasty it really pulled me down. Mine is now open to just a select few and that works for me.

    It's like you say, a place where your words are not going to get undone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for all the wonderful words:)

      I've been pretty lucky and the rude comments are very few and far between. I'm sorry that you had to close yours down - I know that's always a hard choice.

      Delete
  2. Never apologize for living a good life. Since I quit worrying about what other people think I have been way happier. good post. did you read my latest? the rat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm getting there, to that not caring part, but I takes a little time to reach the end, I think.

      I did read your last post and I emailed you. You're a sweet man, even if you go by the name of rat.....lol :)

      Delete
  3. There will always be people who criticize you for having ten children, either backhandedly or overtly, just as there were those who criticized me for having four biologically and one through adoption. There will always be those who cannot imagine a frugal life and who think that foodstamps are a foregone conclusion for anyone with more than one or two children.
    Mohave Rat is absolutely correct. You are living a good life and are bringing happy and loved adults into this world. The world could do with a bit less criticism, and a few more people raising children who were truly loved and truly wanted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a saying in large family circles: children aren't expensive, lifestyles are. While that is not 100% true, there is a lot of truth to it. I'm not sure that a lot of people really get it, like when they talk about being "poor" or "cutting back" and that means things like scaling back on cable or taking one less vacation a year (people like that don't even count a weekend trip as a "vacation"....lol....you know I would do a lot of things for a weekend away!!!), or going out to dinner less. I know that I used to be the same way, but a point came that there really wasn't any extra money and we had to make some serious lifestyle changes, and now we know in a more real way what it means to be "poor," but honestly, in the USA most of us that think we are poor really aren't. We are still very blessed and lucky to have all that we do.....and yes, it is a good life.....a very good life :)

      Delete

  4. You've said in the past that this blog is partially about self expression and personal regulation of your state of mind. It looks as though you broke your rules today because you needed to break them. You needed to say these things, if not to us, then to yourself. That is perfectly okay!

    I'm looking forward to the next round of garden pics. The pictures are by far my favorite part of your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point, and ya know - I hadn't even thought of it that way, but you are spot on. The mom in me just thinks that rules shouldn't be broken, like....ever.

      Pics will come soon :)

      Delete
  5. You know, I've NEVER thought about how you and your man provide for your family. I've NEVER thought about how much money you do or do not have. I've NEVER thought about who works, how much or where. I've NEVER thought about how many kids you have or mouths you have to feed each day. I've ALWAYS admired how much love you both have for your kids. I've ALWAYS admired how you do so much with just basic things and how I'm so selfish about my "stuff". I've ALWAYS admired the values and morals your children have. I love reading your blog, I worry when I do not see a post for a few days. I love how it makes me feel and how I chuckle about your escapades. I don't get how anyone can judge you EVER. If I had 1/11th of the love you give your kids on a daily basis my childhood would have been the best ever. Those that judge are just showing their own insecurities. Just because it's not for you doesn't mean it can't work for someone else. I pray for you and your family each and every day. Thank you for making my day a bit brighter with each blog post. ~ Debbi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know that not everyone thinks of those things, but plenty of people do in my experience, and really, I'm "over it." I gave up getting all worked up about that stuff years ago - I HAD to or it would have made me a bitter person. I'm happy with what we have as a family and I feel good about it.....there is peace there for me and so I worry less what other people think. Just like the man with the corn....I didn't feel like I had to answer him or declare that we are not of foodstamps because it really doesn't matter what he thinks and he will find out soon enough when I buy corn from him. I also didn't say anything as my silent show of respect for all of the people that ARE on them. If I made sure to deny it, in my mind, it would be like saying that there is something WRONG with it, and I really don't think that there is or that it is important.

      I appreciate all of your kind words and it makes me feel good that our story brings you some happiness. People are right that love does not put food on the table and caring for children requires more than just love, but I wish they worried more about the bigger problems and attacked foodstamps less. There are too many good families right now that have ended up in situations they never imagined and that kind of harsh judgement doesn't help. Focus on the bigger problems and then when those get solved worry about foodstamps, that's my opinion, anyway.

      And thank you for saying that you see my love for them. That is THE MOST important thing for me as a mother. No matter what we have or don't have I have always believed that if I gave them 110% that they would see that and know that I did my very best, and not "my best" in that way that people say but isn't really, really true, but in a very sincere way, and that love would be the dividing line between them growing into good people who always tried as hard as they could no matter what or them being the kind of people that laid down to life when it got hard and gave up. And diligence in the face of adversity is one very important trait to me. I WANT them to have that, I believe that they will NEED it in this life.

      So, that got long....lol!! Thank you for your prayers. They are always appreciated :)

      Delete
  6. I have been anonymously reading your blog for a while now and you being on food-stamps never once crossed my mind. Not that it would really make a difference but you continue to grow your family and I guess I assumed the other way. That if you couldn't afford to eat you wouldn't have more children. LOL Once you blog people feel like your life is up for debate they forget you sharing doesn't mean they get to be controlling. Personally I love reading about the dynamics of a big family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For the most part, 99.9%, people have been so supportive. I guess I learned that it can take just one bad apple to open a can of worms....lol Thanks for you comment :)

      Delete
  7. Michele - this IS your place. a place to share whatever you want to share and whenever you want to share it. or not. i am sorry for any negative comments or emails that you have received. i commented on your post from yesterday after reading through some pretty hateful comments - i did not join in because to do so would give power to someone who seems to really enjoy spewing hate around our interwebs. ignore him and ignore any other hateful comments. i know - it is easier said than done.

    that being said - i have never in my life seen happier-looking children and i know that they will grow up to be exemplary adults. ok. maybe not the feral 5yr olds - bahahahahah! but i have already told you that i would take them in a heartbeat!

    lots of love to you and yours. always. your friend,
    kymber

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surprisingly, they are few and far between and generally I think that they say more about the commenter than they do us. But that doesn't mean they don't come with a certain shock value to them. And you're right about the power part - it does give them power to respond.

      Those feral five year olds are two of my most favorite people in the world. Some people may take "feral" as negative, but to me they are just two very busy and (at times....like DAILY....lol!) wild little boys and I don't know that I would want them any other way. I just wish that they would share a little of their energy!!!

      Lots of love back to you :)

      Delete
  8. Once a group of people came to our church, invading the adult Sunday School class. No matter what the lesson was about, they tried to convince us to start speaking in tongues. We tried to be firm but polite. My husband was the minister. He was not as annoyed as others were. Finally, after the fourth week of their interruptions, I said, "We don't believe that way. There are other churches in town that do. Why don't you go there?" I just knew my husband would be fired, but the people clamored to thank me. Some days, you just have to scrape people/attitudes off your plate. We thank you.

    I don't understand why people would go to a blog continually to criticize. A personal vendetta aimed at your piece of the www is puzzling.

    As for criticism about having too many children, believe it or not, my brother complained when I had two in two years. When his wife had three, one every two years, I wondered but said nothing. He did not dare say anything when I had my third. Three was all either of us had, but there was still criticism in the worlds of the 70s about us overpopulating the earth.

    When you decide to rid the country of welfare, start with corporate welfare, all the perks corporations get, tax breaks and such.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See, now WHY would people do THAT!? Just stupid as far as I'm concerned. I actually go to forums that I know I won't agree with and read them because I find another point of view interesting, but I never, never comment. It would be counter productive and just cause problems, and it's my choice to go there but that doesn't give me the right to stir the pot while I am there. Some people must just do it out of boredom.

      You totally get my point on welfare......foodstamps are nothing compared to big business and government, and lets not forget war and foreign aid. It's all corrupt and attacking families just trying to feed their family is not the answer. They are the easy target but not the big answer, imo.

      Delete
  9. Wow! Wow! Wow! I guess I missed a few comments. Wow! again.

    I find it amazing that one sweet little picture (soon to be framed, I'm sure) can bring out the trolls. Kymber and Debbi said it all. You don't owe us any 'splaining. I get enough of the harsh world and all the BS that's going on. MM is a relaxing and even comforting place to come read and see what's up with a favorite family of mine. You have a wonderful and special way with words that only a few people can put to pen. I hope you know we feel (BBC excluded) like distant relatives getting a newsy letter from home. Keep on, keeping on. The trolls will fall away because they can't stand happiness, sweetness and a good life will lived.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, right!! Of all the posts that was the one to "go there".....how the heck did that happen?.....lol.

      Thank you for your sweet words, you are always so kind and supportive and your comments make my day :)

      Delete
  10. It takes courage to speak your mind. Kudos! Pass that on to your great kids. I have been following you for a short time, and have enjoyed looking through that window into your life that you provide. Your homesteading way of life is a great way to live and will teach you and your children more than "conventional" living ever could. Hold on to your dream no matter what. Those who don't agree can go elsewhere....they are of no importance. I admire you for choices. There will always be critics on anything and everything....ignore them. You certainly do not have to defend or explain your life to anyone. You are living the life you want to live...how many can say that? What you have or don't have or what you do or don't do is really nobody's business, is it?

    Much love,

    Shooz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the kids alreay have enough of my outspokenness.....lol. Thank you for your kind comments. xo Michele

      Delete
  11. Thank you for just being you. I am that mother who is humiliated to use that card but is trying to keep her children fed. My hope is people will not judge unless you have walked in my shoes. Thank you for educating us sll in being a human being. much love...
    Amy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Amy, you have NOTHING to be ashamed about. Please, the next time you buy food for your family remember me telling you that you are doing the right thing, that what is important is that they are being fed and that you love them enough to do whatever it takes to care for them. Ignore those other people who may be giving you looks and judging you and imagine me by your side and we are laughing so hard you don't even have time to notice them. They have not walked in your shoes and they have no right to judge, and if you told them your story I would hope that they would understand, but you shouldn't have to tell them anything, which makes it their issue and not yours! You are a strong woman and I admire you, and you and the kids will be fine because of your strength!! You are always in my thoughts and I only wish you well. Love, Michele

      Delete
  12. I just read or heard that every baby leaves stem cells behind and helps to protect the mother, that mothers of many children live longer than other mothers of fewer children. So, there! Okay, I don't have a citation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol....at this rate I might meet some great-great-great grandkids then???

      Delete
  13. I love following your story up on the mountain top. Each and every one of your children are precious!

    :)Vicki

    ReplyDelete
  14. If you don't agree with me/us/our life this isn't an open forum for debate....it is my little place in the www and no crapping on my floor is allowed.

    Hear! Hear! You've said here exactly what I have wanted to express on so many occasions. My blog is *my* blog and people can read it or not. They can disagree with me or not, but I don't have to explain every little detail of my life to people who are only trying to find a chink so they can poke it. Seriously? I've lost a lot of readers because I basically told them to pound sand.

    And I am very political, and I talk about homeschooling, and I talk about not-vaxing and drinking raw milk and avoiding GMOs and about how I don't shop at Walmart - ever! But it's my blog and my opinion, and for those who want to pick fights, blogger is free - set up your own blog and express your opinions until you turn blue ;).

    That said, though, after almost ten years as a blogger, I've found that the best thing you can do is to ignore the trolls. Eventually, they do go away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hate it when it's like people see the obvious sore spot and then go for it - what is the point in that? To me it's just so weak and the saying "just because you can doesn't mean you should" always comes to mind.

      I think that it is great that you write about those things!! They need to be talked about. We need people out there getting those topics into the minds of as many people as we can.....I just don't want to be one of them right now.

      It's funny that you mentioned never shopping at Walmart because I woke up this morning thinking about Walmart and their evil ways! Seriously.

      Delete
    2. I think you should continue talking about what you talk about, because it's also very helpful. I love your thoughtful way of just sharing. You are never condescending and never self-righteous - i.e. behave as if *your* way is the *only* way.

      By the way, I have five children (the oldest is twenty-seven and the youngest is ten) and four grandchildren, and when I tell people that, they look at me sideways as if to say, "don't you have a hobby?" I'm actually quite proud of my family, and my kids love that they are part of a "big" family. I'd have had more children, if circumstances had been different for me ;).

      Yeah ... I won't get started on Walmart.

      Delete
  15. One of the things I've had to learn over the years is that everyone does things differently. I know it's difficult some times to accept people's differences, but forcing your way or my way on anyone else won't work. I think we are exposed to this people to learn something from. I think we all dip our toes into certain topics, while other topics we jump right into.

    I can say that I admire what you do and I personally can't judge you for what you do and how you live, just as I would hope you wouldn't do to me.

    I learn from your experiences and it brings me happiness when you are happy and I can "feel your pain" when you are going through difficult times as we all have our difficulties.

    I am not a blogger and I can rattle a list of reasons why, but I am drawn to people with a desire for simplicity, so I read several homesteading blogs. I am also drawn to people who express their faith in God while attempting to achieve simplicity.

    Learn from the "trolls", and keep enjoying your life.

    Lisa

    ReplyDelete