I started my blog for a couple of reasons. About five years ago, when my daughter, Harper, was a year old, I found myself unprepared for how lonely it was. I felt isolated in southwestern Ohio, with my family far away in Wisconsin, not knowing many people my own age and at home full-time with a baby. While I’d taught first grade for four years before I had Harper, I found, needless to say, that parenting was harder than everyone made out—it certainly wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies.
By chance, surfing online, I stumbled on various parent-oriented blogs, like A Moment of Jen, dooce.com and Finslippy. I began reading them and feeling a bit better. Some friends I knew had started blogging; I found it was a good way to stay in touch and that I got a lot of support from reading them—they gave me a sense of community. When a friend from college asked me who my mom friends were, I realized that most of them were actually people I’d met online. These blogs didn’t glamorize parenting; they let me know I wasn’t the only one. And I also thought, maybe I could do that!
Keeping memories and keeping up
Starting a blog was also a chance to let my family know what was going on with all of us. I’d always liked to write; I’d kept journals, written poems, enjoyed the writing I had to do at school. I’d never tried to get anything published, though, so I thought a blog could be a great tool for reflecting—and for ranting a little about my frustrations, too. Practically speaking, it was very easy to get started with blogger.com—though I lost my very first post! The blog has been a great way to record things, too. When I look back and realize how many things I’ve put in the blog that I don’t actually remember, such as the first time my daughter wrote her name, I see that I’ve been blogging for myself and my family. Even if no one else ever read my blog, I think I would still do it.
My daughter, Harper, who’s six, is now aware of the blog—unlike my three-year-old, Michael, who, when discussing what everybody in the family does, says, “Dad works in the bank and Mom cleans up the plates!” That’s where I got the line I run under the blog’s title on my home page—”I clean up the plates.” Harper sometimes asks me, “Are you going to put that on the computer?” My husband reads it from time to time. I feel particularly great when I get some good feedback, though my favorite post is an old one: the letter I wrote to Harper on her first birthday.
Since I began blogging, apart from giving birth to Michael (nine weeks early), I’ve completed a graduate degree in library media education. Though I have no real ambition for the blog in terms of moneymaking, I’ve recently become an independent consultant for Usborne Books & More—you can buy their products directly through me. The blog is more of a habit now. I read lots of other bloggers, and I’ve noticed that the writing has become easier for me, it flows a bit better. Blogging keeps me sane!