Blogging is a journey of sorts, and I am glad that ours has been a journey of self-discovery and of inner growth. I've been reflecting more about the purpose of this blog recently (more about my blogging process here). This blog was started mainly to chronicle the story of our family, but grew to include sharing our interests in crafts, learning and home decor. As the boys grow older, I think the issue of privacy would become more pertinent, and the focus of this blog would shift towards sharing about homeschooling and our other interests, and less about our personal journey. Whatever the case, I am very thankful for this journey thus far, and our very kind community of readers who never fail to encourage me.
Some time ago, a fellow mum blogger Christy penned a piece on blogger envy, which shared about her feelings about her purpose of writing and her views on sponsorship. The post resonated with me, because I knew the feelings she was going through: of comparing my blog and sponsorships with other bloggers, of wondering why so-and-so managed to get this and that deal, of pondering about popularity vs. privacy.
Reading her post reminded me of our stand to prune this year: to be focused in writing useful and relevant posts, and intentional in the reviews and sponsorships we do. I admit that while we have been extremely selective in which collaborations we have taken up, I have had difficulty saying "no" sometimes. I found myself saying "yes" to companies wanting to send something for us to try, with no obligations needed to share about it, only to find myself feeling bad that I didn't feel impressed enough to want to share the product with others. (I know, it's just me!) I would then keep the products and note them down in my To-Do list to share, which increased my mental clutter and physical clutter. I think it's time for me to stop accepting these "freebies", and only say yes if these are things that we would really use or are things we needed in the first place. (On a side note, this post on not accepting freebies made a lot of sense, and is one reason for my decision.) While I'm grateful for these gifts, and we might perhaps miss out on some revolutionary new product along the way, I think we really lack nothing.
I've been thinking about enrichment classes and activities too. I've constantly battled thoughts of whether we were short-changing the kids by not letting them go for various classes, events or trials. In Singapore, children have lots of activities to choose from, and we've been invited for various meet-and-greets, trial classes, and events. Thus far, we've only tried one June holiday class, which both boys enjoyed, as their co-op mates happened to also attend the same class. However, we've more or less decided that our schedule is filled up for now, with two co-ops and swimming for the boys, as well as piano class for Junior J. Our weekends are blocked off for family time, which means no blogger events, since that would mean Mama would be "working". We want to consciously slow down our family schedules. Our schedule now works for us, with plenty of time outdoors, time to play and learn with friends, plenty of free time (at least for the boys!), and we don't have the rushed feeling of bouncing from one activity to the next. So unless its something that we really love, or something the boys really need (like a great Chinese programme), we're going to say "no".
I am very thankful that the hubby has kept me grounded with regards to these matters, even though I used to feel a tad annoyed that his first instinct was to say "no" for almost everything! His stand is very clear: We try to avoid accepting assignments that require deadlines, since he knows I can get stressed trying to rush those posts out, and we don't review things or experiences that ordinary middle-income folk would balk at spending on. In a sense, while it would be lovely to share about some high-end dining experience, I wouldn't feel good writing about it, knowing that most of my readers will feel that these things are beyond their budget. As how the hubby puts it: "If we won't buy it if it's not sponsored, then perhaps it's something we don't need". His clear-mindedness has really helped me to focus, and it is in a sense liberating to be clear about what we stand for, and why we say "no" to certain tempting offers. Please don't get me wrong: there is no harm in accepting sponsorships and doing reviews, and I have great respect for bloggers who do it objectively to help readers get a feel of what is available in the market. It's just something that we've decided we won't be doing much of, though I admit sometimes I do still struggle with blogger envy.
Thinking through these issues have guided me to fine-tune my own direction in life. I am reminded through the blog to share what is hopefully helpful and useful, because words are powerful things and can have an impact on others. Grappling with blogger envy, identifying our priorities, needs and wants have helped me to realize what my heart has known all along: that we are really blessed, and I do not need to ask for any more. Where we are and what we have is truly enough.
PS: A side point on blogging: We're thrilled to be selected as a finalist in the family category in this year's Singapore Blog Awards! If you've enjoyed reading our posts, or found this blog useful, we would love to have your vote here. (You can vote for 10 bloggers across all the categories each day, everyday until the 6th of July.)