Submitted by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill
Please welcome, Jenna Pelias to our little spot here on the web!
Thanks for inviting me to join your conversation at We Are His Daughters. I’m Jenna. I’m 32 and have been married to my husband Glenn for going on 12 years. We have four kids aged 10, 8, 6, and 4. I’m a stay at home mom dreaming of going back to school, which is a goal that looks to be happening this fall. We are Canadian and love our beautiful corner of the world. Writing is my quiet joy and that’s what I do, or try to do, online. I keep a blog that I named Troubleface Mom – after the look of pure mischief that my kids get on their faces when trouble is under way. Those moments when you know you should be owning the disciplinarian role because you are a grown up and you are the boss of everyone, but you bust out laughing at your kids instead? That’s Troubleface.
Full disclosure: this is not an exciting story. 😉 Troubleface Mom started when I began posting notes on Facebook that were too long for status updates. I would post stories about my kids, marriage, faith, or whatever popped into my head to share. If someone said or did something funny I’d write about it. If Glenn and I had a dumb fight, I’d write about that. (One time I posted a note about a fight we had over nail clippers. True story.) If someone tagged me in a survey that asked me 25 questions about myself, even that was fair game. Over time I decided that an actual blog would be a better way to share my stories (or at least give my Facebook friends the ability to opt out of seeing everything I posted on a whim) and so I started Troubleface Mom. It wasn’t an especially intentional decision and there wasn’t a plan or goal for the blog. I just wanted to write things down and sometimes my friends and family even humored me by reading it. For me, writing was and is a way to process the ups and downs of our life. It kind of shocks me that people have stuck around and keep reading, despite the infrequency of my actual posts.
As the name suggests, I mostly write about kids and parenting. One of our children has an autism spectrum disorder, and so I do write about autism sometimes. Once upon a time I kept another blog about faith, and that was called The Jesus Story. In order to simplify things I sort of joined the two together and write about my faith on Troubleface Mom as well. It’s kind of impossible to separate faith out into its own space when it is such an integral and complex part of who I am. That said, there’s not a lot I won’t talk about. Marriage, porn, sexuality, kid issues, church issues, family stuff – there are a lot of topics about which I feel I am called to speak up about. Some of them I haven’t yet. The day to day things of life get posted on the blog’s Facebook page and that’s where most of the activity happens. Quotes, arguments, outings, insights, happenings – it’s kind of amazing how sharing simple things has friends and strangers alike raising their hands and saying, “hey me too!” or “wow you’re an awful person and I hope I never meet you!” I love that about writing. It’s unpredictable.
To be honest, the very modest success (if we’re calling it that) that this blog has seen, kind of happened by accident. After Halloween in 2012 I was kind of annoyed by something I read or what someone said about Christians and Halloween. So I wrote a blog about Halloween, because that’s what I do. I write and I rant and then I forget all about it. Fast forward a year later and about two weeks before Halloween my obscure little blog kind of blew up. I had no idea people (Christians) were so passionate about Halloween, having not grown up in church myself. At first I thought my blog was being trolled or hacked or something. It took me half a day to realize that people were actually reading it. Voluntarily! I think there were over 350,000 views in those two weeks with 70,000+ on Halloween 2013 alone. My Facebook page went from under 100 of my most kind, long suffering friends to over 1000 people I’d mostly never met before. I still don’t know why they stick around when there are much more engaging Facebook page operators out there but I’m thrilled to have them be part of the fun. If I’m guessing though, I suppose the mild “success” of the page or writing is more because of the conversations people have. I’m really happy for people who have their life together, but I am not one of them and I hope that makes my blog a safe place to show up to. Also my kids are quirky and I think that’s something people can relate to. We are not a sitcom family. We’re weird and honest about things that make people uncomfortable, and the ones who stay seem to not mind that so much.
One of my favorites was when I wrote about why I stayed in my broken marriage. We have been through hell and I suppose I should probably start sharing more about that, since we are not at all there anymore. It can be found at : https://troublefacemom.com/2013/11/05/why-i-stayed-an-apologetic-for-my-marriage/
Confession: I’m not sure if I have a vision for it yet. I have some single, no-kid friends who read my mommy-ish blog and that kind of throws me off my game a little because I haven’t figured out what the appeal is and I’m scared to ask them. My goal though, is to just try and be honest. Nobody can share their whole self online, or even in person. We all have filters and of course I am careful about that for the sake of my kids. They haven’t even started telling their own stories yet. So within whatever boundaries seem right as we go, I tell whatever is the truth. And then I hope it resonates with someone who needed to hear it. Or that I am set free in the telling of it.
Yeah. Just do it. I want to write whole, actual books and share my story on a larger scale someday, but if I waited for someday I’d never have started or written anything down at all. And also be okay with knowing that not everyone is going to love you or even like you. Your passion is not meant to function like an internet dating service, trying to win people over to you. If that’s the goal we better all quit and go home because favor is fickle. It comes and goes in a moment. Just tell the truth. Also, despite the fact that all I have is a blog that had one post see some attention one time, I still call myself a writer. Writers write and I write, therefore I am a writer. Whatever it is you want to do, call yourself that. Creation ex nihilo (creation out of nothing) and all that. Call yourself by whatever name you’re made to become and then become it.
Twitter: I think I have Twitter. I don’t use it. But you can probably find me there as troublefacemom still. 😉 Perhaps we’re due for a Twitter resurrection.
Answers to this questionnaire are copyrighted © 2016 Jenna Pelias // all rights reserved.