Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Honesty is always the best policy... Right?

You know how I always promised I'd be honest with you? Well, I always am. Always will be. But a strange thing happened along the way—people started telling me that they love this blog (and the silly lifestyle blog, my first blog, Topaz Horizon) because I'm so inspiring. While that should make me feel super good, it's really made me feel trapped in this bubble of goodness.

Thing is life isn't always good. Even for a mother of three perfect kids, a wife of an absolutely amazing husband, a writer who gets to work from home in her ratty tees and shorts. My life is stunning in how it's everything I always dreamed my life would be (and more!), but not every day is a good day, and sometimes those days come one after the other, but I can't blog about them because people want me to be inspiring.

"What lesson can I learn from tantrums?"

I'm not mad at my readers. I love you all! In fact, funnily enough, it's the people who don't read my blog who insist I should inspire people. "You've been given a gift! Use it! Inspire! Equip! Encourage!"

I will. I will. This influence, while strange because I'm not even Somebody Influential, isn't wholly lost on me. But now, because of it, I think I need to be inspiring, when all I want to be is to be honest. If I'm having a fantastic day, I'm going to tell you about it without ending that post with "I must always remember to be grateful for this fantastic day." If I want to say, "I have the best life in the world!", I want to say it without worrying if I sound like a huge braggart and then feel a need to tone it down because other people aren't so lucky. Same way that when I'm having a terrible day, I want to tell you about it because, dude, I'm having a terrible day. And if I want to say, "Fuck this shitty life," I want to say it. Full stop. No silver lining. No moral of the story. No inspiration.

I just want to tell my story. The story of that day. A page in this awesome life which happens to have a few chapters now and then that are all messy and chaotic and violent and angry and sad and miserable. That's all blogging is for me—telling a story. My story. But now I'm grasping for meaning in every single moment. What is the lesson from all this poop my children excrete out of their cute little bottoms? What inspiring thought can I glean from my inability to take a shower for three days? My husband and I just fought so how can I make this a learning experience?

It's so exhausting.

Honestly, some days, I'm surviving. Many days, I'm exulting. It's a good life and I love it. I love that I'm living this life—all its shittiness and greatness. But every day, I'm just simply living this life. I'm still processing it so I find it difficult to extract lessons to share when many times, I myself haven't learned the lesson yet.

I don't know how to blog anymore. I've found relief in sponsored posts that allow me to be myself and share myself but I don't have to be inspiring. I'm not saying I want to be a useless person. I'm aware that I take your time and therefore I have a responsibility to make it worth your while. I just don't know how to do that anymore—making this blog worth reading—without giving up the reason I took up blogging in the first place—to tell stories as honestly as I can.

Is meaningful blogging the only good kind of blogging? Can't honest-to-goodness or I-have-no-clue-what-I'm-doing or this-is-just-fun blogging be just as good? Can't I just tell my stories and you tell me yours and we can be friends for a few minutes? I just want to be friends. I don't need to be anyone's mentor or life peg or shining example or role model.

Unless I become perfect, of course. And wouldn't that be a boring story to tell?

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46 comments:

  1. You can tell me your story and I will you mine. :) I will still read ur blog even if your ranting or just making kwento. Because u are a mom, I am a mom and we can get lessons from each other. And nobody's perfect anyway.

    ---

    nhengswonderland.blogspot.com

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  2. I used to revel in the "old" days when blogs are angsty-ridden digital-version of personal journals when the blogger revels in his/her own anonymity (but this was more than 10 years ago when the internet was still very young). Now there is so much pressure to keep up with "instagram-worthy" social media identities, especially because of some readers are living vicariously perfect "virtual lives".

    But from one mom to another, and as a long time reader, you're doing a good job Frances. I don't think an apology to your readers is needed.

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    1. Yes, I feel that pressure!!! And thank you for understanding that there is a change in the blogging world, a move towards perfection and I feel like I don't belong there. Hence, my awkwardness at this place I am in. Thanks! =D

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  3. I am surprised at why you feel the need to post something like this. You just blog about what you want to blog. No need to 'explain' yourself or justify your point of view. It is yours and no one else's. From the years I've been reading your blogS, i've always picked up a vibe that you are above that. I was single and in Manila when I started reading you, I am now married, with a kid of my own and living overseas. I always cringe when you post every once in a while, something like this post. I feel bad that you feel you need to explain yourself. You don't.

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    1. Thanks for reading all these years. It assures me that you've seen the early posts where I was just totally free of the need to meet expectations. =D

      I explain myself once in a while when I get letters asking me to inspire them. Pag pa-isa-isa lang, I ignore. But sometimes there's a lot of emails suddenly (I guess it's Mother's Day kasi?) and I feel, "Woah, I am not here to be your role model!" So I need to say that, just to make it clear why I do this blogging thing.

      At the same time, as the above comment mentioned, blogging and social media is now so BRANDED. Ugh. I feel lost in this new world of polished and perfect blogs. And while you despise my need to explain myself, again, this is how I feel and this is an emotion I want to express: I feel like I no longer belong in a world of blog brands and I wanted to express that. But, like you said, I shouldn't. I was just being honest but I guess I can't! Waaaaaaaah! =(

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  4. Waaaaaaaah indeed :D I get you now, so next time I see a post something similar to this, I will just skim through the post with the understanding that it's 'that time' again. It's tough this blogging thing, that's why I've never even attempted to start one!

    You're right, I've been a reader for many many years. I've seen those early posts :D

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    1. Blogging is also fun =) It was more fun in the early days, though! I won't deny that. But I still like doing it. Kinda weird lang now kasi parang bloggers have become celebrities na rin. Kasi dati yun nga ang masaya sa bloggers—they are one of us! Now... I dunno!

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  5. Just be you, Frances. At the end of every day, shitty or great, you still have wonderful children and a loving husband by your side. We all have our own burdens to carry. As Dory from Finding Nemo told Marlin, just keep swimming!

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    1. Swimming now! Although today, the waters are calm so it's easy =)

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  6. You can tell your stories Ms Frances, whether it's a sh*tty day or not. I visit your blog because of your personal stories. Sponsored posts are ok because I learn about new products and all but I always look forward to your posts about your life, esp. your family since I can relate so much. So please don't stop your honest-to-goodness blog posts. :)

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    1. Okay. Hooray! I guess I just needed affirmation from my readers!

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  7. I'd read your blog even if you are writing about your bad days Frances. I love your honesty! For me that makes your blog so much refreshing to read because it's your life's reality. It's not like a lot of blogs nowadays with content that's purely brand marketing and PR.

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    1. Actually, the blogs that are puros PR, hindi lang sila marunong mag-kwento. Meron din mga brands that don't get blogs and insist on sticking to the press release.

      For example, me, I have a lot of sponsored posts. Most of them, hindi mo mahahalata na sponsored so I've taken to identifying them at the top of the post. Many bloggers just report without adding themselves in the post. For the hits, I guess? I dunno.

      But then again, I've had the rare client who don't like it that I make maraming kwento. Kaya nga raw may press release, sinulat na raw nila, just cut and paste na lang! So I have to do what the client wants and then I never work with them again!

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  8. I enjoy reading about your life - imperfections and all. That's what makes you different from other bloggers. You're real and relatable! Yung tipong pag nakasalubong ka, your readers would want to greet you like a long lost friend. :*

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    1. My readers do that all the time!!! One time nga, someone hugged me suddenly and I was, like, "WHO ARE YOU?!?" Hahahaha =D

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  9. Hi! I'm sorry that you have to feel that way but I personally like reading your blogs kase sobrang totoo ka and I think kaya madami ka readers is because of that. You are one of the bloggers na I can relate the most kase what you write is a normal thing na one person or a family can experience. Your readers can relate to your stories. So please stay your writing that way.

    Thank you & Stay Blessed.

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    1. Okay. I guess more than being inspiring, I want to be relatable =) Thanks!

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  10. You have always been honest. That's why I love you and this blog. You are my inspiration because you are honest, not because you are perfect. I love reading you because here, I don't feel inferior. I don't feel that I have to have instagram worthy house, or outfits or that I have to learn how to cook or plan meals, etc. You are perfect because you are not perfect. And i feel like, if Frances is not perfect then its okay for me not to. Hahahaha! Don't be pressured. Just be yourself always and please don't be perfect. Kawawa naman kaming mga ordinaryong nilalang.

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    1. Okay, okay, hindi na ako perfect!!! LOL

      Na-pressure ako lalo to be perfect hahaha

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    2. Hahahahaha!! Just don't be. :) Nakakatawa kasi just by simply being you, you have inspired all of us. Nakanamsss!

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  11. This is real life we are talking about. i also experience what you experience and same goes to all women in the world celebrity or not, rich or poor, class A or C… We are humans and it is just normal to experience high and lows in life.. It inspires and we get lessons from bad and good experiences and that's all that matters… You're doing just great Mommy Frances and I salute all mothers because I too am a mother and it is no easy. We are facing each and everyday challenges that no other person (even fathers) can equally handle...

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    1. Yeah, I guess what you're telling me is it's enough that I share my life. I don't need to tell you the lessons I learned. Enough na that I am living it and that in itself is inspiring. Because, yes, we ALL have to live through heaven and hell and the fact that we're still alive means we're succeeding in life! That's inspiring nga naman =)

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  12. Now thank you for writing this Frances. Really. Been reading your blog since the "baby monitor" giveaway and it was like 3 years ago if my memory is right. I follow you for one reason your OOTD hahaha I mean a mom can still look good even with 3 kids so ako tinatapik ko ang sarili ko pag hindi na ako nag aayos, I have one toddler.

    For the sponsored post I am really very careful na maniwala sa pinagsusulat ng mga blogger. Sometimes it's so disappointing to see breastfeeding moms then promoting formula milk on their blog. Isang bonggang buntong hininga. Kaya pinipili ko ang pinapaniwalaan kong mommy blogger. Sometimes I feel, Oh it's for the show lang siguro kasi bayad, I can't blame them. Yun lang bow

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    1. What! But I don't do OOTDs haha So minsan ka lang nagagawi rito? =D

      Anyway, I want to defend BF moms who then begin loving formula. We all have different stories. My breastfeeding story started with my son being on mixed, my milk and goat's milk formula. I love that goat's milk formula because I was new to breastfeeding and I was so scared and insecure about my supply. Knowing that may back up milk gave me peace of mind.

      But with my next two boys, alam na alam ko na ang body ko. I know I have enough and that my body can make more milk. So I don't need formula anymore. Although I give Vito and Iñigo NIDO now.

      Baka naman ganun din the other moms. They started as hardcore BF moms, then life got hard and they needed to resort to formula. Ewan natin! Basta malamang may reason sila =)

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  13. Hi Frances,

    You don't need to explain yourself to us. This is your blog. I always look forward to your honesty. When you have moments like these, I like you even more. The reason is because I realize I am not alone in complicated situations like marital issues and child rearing concerns.

    I don't want to read about perfect lives. More importantly, no one is perfect. I mean this in the best way possible: you are fine the way you are. Don't succumb to the picture-perfect expectations and people who are lost in translation.

    Love lots from another Mum,
    Mary

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    1. Thanks so much for the love lots. I feel it! =D Nope, no one is perfect, although we can make it appear so. It's good to know that it's not always expected of us moms! It's hard enough to get through the day sometimes without feeling everyone's eyes on you!

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  14. Hey Frances!

    I started reading your blog when I was looking for tips on how and what to prepare for my child's dedication. That was a couple of years ago and I'm still here reading your blog. You have inspired me to work from home. I know that "inspire" is not our favorite word of the day but I just feel the need to use it. Anyway, I still read your blog because I like the way you tell us stories of your life, the good and the bad. Your stories convey that you are still an ordinary person having the same experiences that we have. Real life unfolds in your blog. I like it and I feel that I can relate on some of your thoughts and experiences. I'd choose your blog anytime over an I'm-so-perfect-why-can't-you-be mommy site.

    Cheer up, dear :) God bless.

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    1. Wow, you are now a work-at-home mommy because of me?! That is big! I hope you are enjoying it and find yourself super lucky to be earning money and be with your family at the same time =)

      And thank you for appreciating my stories—the good and the bad =)

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  15. I get you. Totally get you. This is the very reason why somehow I've kinda felt like you need to be "inspiring"to be read. While good content is important, I kind miss my old blogging style where I just write what I feel, what I learned, regardless if there is anything "inspiring" in it. I just want to be me.

    Keep the authenticity and we will still love you for it. Heck, love you even more. :)

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    1. Yey, you get me! You feel it, too? Like everything now is so sleek and Pinterest-y when life—especially family life—is so messy!!! But let's take comfort from what everyone here is saying, that it's okay to be real. It's inspiring, too =D

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  16. You are doing just fine, Frances. I just had the worst fight with my hubby too last week and I felt like crap I almost wanted to give up everything including blogging, because blogging makes me feel like I have a perfect life in an ideal world (because I only choose to write the good stuff) when in real world I have a crappy life (well, not really but that's how I felt after the biggest fight i had with my hubby).

    We are entitled to feel like crap once in a while and it's just one of those crappy moments that will soon be covered by great ones. If you need a friend, I am here for a few minutes! Haha!

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    1. Ya. This summer was hard for my marriage. I think we're out of the woods now. I'll tell the story one day!

      I hope you and your hubby are better now. Hugs to you!

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  17. Frances, I think it is actually in your honesty that you are inspiring. Moms need honesty...we all have shitty days and we need to know we aren't the only ones. The same way we need to know that the exultant days do comes and we can revel in them 100% no matter what shittiness happens before or after. Also, I think honest blogging the the only kind of meaningful blogging (if it's not honest, how can it ever be meaningful?). You inspire because of who you are, how much you love your kids and your husband, and how you are not scared to admit that you don't have it all together 100% of the time :) I also don't have a clue what I'm doing probably much more than you...hahaha!! Big hug Frances!

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    1. Thanks so much for the big hug and the affirmation! Yes, we need honesty every day because the struggle is REAL and we need to know everyone is going through the same things (or at least something similar) so that we can stay sane! =D

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  18. Hi Frances! Let me share with you my definition of INSPIRING. To me, a person is inspiring when she goes through challenges & difficulties but lives to fight another day. A person whose life is always perfect isn't relatable.

    Case in point, I've been a reader of your blog for some time now. Like you, I have a baby who is a month older than Piero. Whenever I see pictures of perfect, happy baby Piero I feel happy but at the same time insecure. Sometimes I think, why can't my baby be happy all the time like Piero? Seeing his picture having a trantrum is a relief to me. You and your baby are human just like the rest of us.

    Honesty is a dying trait nowadays. In a world where everything is not what it seems, a little honesty would be really appreciated. Keep on being honest. You have to trust that your readers accept you for who you are and admire you for it. To me, it makes you a better blogger.

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    1. Thank you, thank you. I promise to be honest always!

      Haha, okay, Piero is really a happy baby. It's his default mode. But he has a temper that will not quit either. He has like two moods: happy, mad! Crazy kid. Definitely not perfect!

      Happy birthday to your baby!!!

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  19. Just continue to blog honestly about life's ups & downs. We understand as we go through it ourselves. It's never easy but try not to be be pressured. Cheers to honest posts!

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    1. Thank you for the reassurance that you will understand. Many times kasi, I blog because I'm struggling to understand myself!

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  20. Frances, your posts are always worth reading. Be it a sad or happy reflection on Motherhood, a product review, your family activities/milestones, your silly thoughts and even your random video picks! :) we read your blog because of YOU as the whole package. So don't apologize for being you because we all love you for that :) *hugs*

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    1. Aww, thanks, Chrissy! PLAYDATE NAAAAAA!!!

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  21. THANK YOU. That's what I really want to tell you. You took the words right out of my erm...mind. Sure it's nice to read inspiring blogs to lift up my spirits as a mom but it's always always good to read a genuine post like this to tell me that hey, I am not alone whenever I feel I want to run away from motherhood (for a good 60 minutes maybe). Sometimes din I do not want to read blogs na iinggitin lang ako kasi their lives seem so perfect and mine's full of messy hair, baby vomit and preschooler's tantrums. I'd rather read stories, like your stories both the happy and the not-so-happy ones. You might find it weird pero when I do get to see you in person kahit sa mall or what, please don't be surprised if I say hi and thank you for your wonderful stories that inspire and bring comfort to real moms like me. :)

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    1. Yes! I feel that, too—a desire to run away from motherhood and when I feel that, I get crushed by guilt and terror because of course I can't imagine life without my kids! That is unthinkable. But the thought creeps up when I've had a terrible day and then I feel even worse because I's rather have a terrible day with my kids than a truly terrible day without them. Thank you for being brave and honest, too!

      Yes, please just say hi! =D

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  22. I read your blogs but tbh, not all posts naman ay inspiring. Everything's entertaining, yes. Proof that you are an awesome writer and blogger. But your reflections as a wife, as a daughter, yun, yung mga yun ang inspiring for me. Kasi nandun ang hugot, nandun ang truth. Yung reality na lumaki ka na hindi mayaman, na hindi ganun kabuo ang pamilya mo pero maayos ka ngayon at ang mga boys mo. Yun, astig yun. As your reader and blogger myself, I prefer variety. Nakakaumay din naman talaga ang all goodness, all perfection. Kasi hindi yun ang totoong buhay. Pero ako, may sagot ako diyan eh. Personally, I don't blog when my emotions are too high even if I know it's creatively good for me 'cause chances are, I will write the sad stuff. Since my blog's my online journal, I prefer to write the happy happenings in my life only because I don't want to remember the sadness. Lalo kung walang lesson na natutunan sa sadness na yun, talagang worth na kalimutan. Pero kung meron naman, sinusubukan kong isulat. Therapeutic din, may nai-share ka pa sa readers mo. Isa pa pala, our readers are waiting for our posts. Siyempre, better if we can make them happy. Kung walang readers, walang sponsors. Hehe.

    Lastly, marami ng malungkot na bagay na nakakalat sa internet, mas maigi ng nakapahinga lang sa bahay natin yung shitty days natin.

    You have a choice, Frances. It's your blog, anyway. But I super hope you choose to always take the high road 'cause you are a lot better than your blog's brand. :)

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    1. Yes, gets kita when you said you don't blog when your emotions are running high. That's why I've avoided blogging also these past two years. I had a difficult pregnancy with Piero, the stress of three kids is wearing down my marriage, I encountered blogging bullies... I just wasn't very happy recently. But I am joyful! Does that make sense? Underneath all the stress and exhaustion and hurt, I know I am beyond blessed to have what I have! And I am grateful.

      But while I'm living through these stressful times, it's hard to blog without sounding ungrateful! Kaya siguro nakaka-pressure ang "inspire us!" na request! =)

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    2. I guess what your readers meant by "inspire us" was to keep being you and then blog about it. Whatever it means was up to you. Your real reader will take whatever you will write here (raises my dry hands). We've seen how your kids grow up in your eyes, it's one of my favorite parts of being your reader. I don't have sons, you have three, and your posts make me want to have at least one (but tbh, just for a day or week, haha, I'm okay with one kid).

      Like what I said in Martine's post in MiB, I hope you and her will come up with something blissful and authentic! :)

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This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!