Someone asked me over the wedding weekend what it meant that I wrote a “parenting blog.” Do you write your blog everyday? Do you chronicle your parenting? Does it include how-to youtube videos? were a few of the followups.
It took a few minutes to sort through my own mind of what it is I’m doing here, and why, and how to answer this polite person who was genuinely interested in unearthing what on earth I meant by “parenting blog.” Or sometimes I respond to the question And what do you do? with the answer that’s simplest: I’m a stay-at-home mom, expecting my third. Or I do the whole: I’m an attorney who’s on hiatus home with our children (which begs the question of when this hiatus will end). Or sometimes if they really seem to want to know what I do, I say all three: I’m a stay-at-home lawyer mom taking a break from legal practice who runs a natural parenting blog and organic goods etsy shop.
It’s so convoluted, they usually have only one follow up question: what’s etsy?
In response to this person’s question, and my own that I pose in the title, I had to eat a bowl of mint chip ice cream (hey, Fat Tuesday is tomorrow. Our Jesus-induced diet of Lenten no sweets is coming up in just mere hours), survey my very dirty studio floor, the insane amount of indoor seedlings my husband is growing right next to my computer and practically on top of my sewing machine, my sorted/not/folded laundry and think.
I started blogging because my mom thought I should share the research I’d done on unmedicated natural labor. And then breastfeeding. And then whatever else I’d over-researched (circumcision, teething care, registry options, whatever). Lawyer much?
Then I continued blogging because I thought the photos I took of my kids were sweet.
Then for a while I blogged because I was dealing with the world’s more mostest terrible two year old tantrum flinger. And I thought if I shared what didn’t work, I might save you all some time and tears.
Then I blogged because I loved promoting the small businesses of friends and family and I could share about them as sponsors.
Maybe in the middle somewhere I blogged because it made me feel important. Like I was still a “contributing” adult. Like my voice meant something, and truly, really, could help and inform. Then I realized I wasn’t an Op Ed writer for the Times.
Now I blog because I am loving this community of mommy bloggers I’ve met and continue to meet through it. Other women who share about their lives. No one claims to be an expert (at least not the bloggers I follow). They share about the diapers. (Something I promised I’d never write about–changing poopy diapers. Guess what? SweetPea’s today? It was a doooozie. There. I did it.) They share about guilty pleasure TV shows they’re watching (Brothers & Sisters right now. Can’t get enough of it). They share about surviving and thriving as mothers and wives (because it’s day-by-day over here). Some of them share about fabulous clothing & home decor ideas (this is not me, but I likey). Some share recipes (flops & fantastics). They just share.
So we’ve now established I blog because I too want to (over?) share. Why do millions of women love to follow & engage with mommy blogs? Maybe we’re all reaching out to be amused or distracted or affirmed. In a way you can’t when you’re mostly at home, in your house, with your no-neck monsters, all the day long.
Having my little weekend away to be a bridesmaid and hang with girlfriends who aren’t moms & wives (now one is!) reminded me that my life is very very different than that of me as the single woman, or dating woman, when I was more like them. My concerns are genuinely about how many wet diapers my daughter has made–and if my son had a tantrum that day. I do talk a lot on the phone with my husband when I’m away from the kids (felt a little self conscious about this in front of others!), and mostly checking to see if they’ve noticed I’m gone yet, and when they did finally notice, how badly they wanted me back–a little for reassurance that I’m not disposable, and a little for intervening so they don’t melt down completely all over him. I care less about ideas than laundry stains. I make decisions and judgments quickly because I’m used to having to head off a tantrum train, or ward off another night of infant screaming. My creaky pregnant bones waddle. My thighs rub together. And I’m concerned about my underparts–not for my bathing suit line, but for whether or not something is a sign of early labor. We live in our forever house. We drive a car with a latch-system for carseats. I refer to myself in the first person plural, too, apparently.
Blogging is more than an online journal. Maybe parts of it are to ensure I’m still me, that single woman, pre-marriage, pre-kids. That woman’s just rounded out more, metaphysically and physically. That woman still can have a fabulous weekend with her single girlfriends, despite our differences, and remember how to relate to people who are in different stages of their own lives. That woman still has things of interest, and things of amusement, or things of chaos, that are worth sharing. Diapers and all.
And a happy Ash Wednesday! Hope that if you celebrate Lent, the 40 days before Easter, you do it well. Remember not to just give things up, but add things in. Like SuperBoy says, he wants to give the toys he doesn’t play with away, and get more toys to play with.