I have avoided this as long as possible, though I should have known it was inevitable, what with my inherent love for writing. And for this desire I give credit to my third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade teachers. I remember learning the writing process in Iowa as a kid and loving everything about it. The brainstorming process, outlining, drafting, editing my piece, revising, re-editing with a classmate, revising, re-editing with my teacher, until my stories were sufficiently reworked into succinct masterpieces and bound together, very officially, by a black or white GBC comb. I would open the cover of my newly “published” book and read the title on the cover page followed by my name, feeling a great sense of pride in what I had accomplished. I loved the process of transforming my ideas into a rough draft that eventually became a tightly woven story with eloquent word choices, descriptive phrases, and sometimes even danger, suspense, and intrigue.
And though a blog seems like a natural fit for someone who loves to write, I had disliked the idea of blogging for years. Perhaps because those I had encountered were either terribly written or were simply self-promotions about one’s life, business, or product. I would read blogs of people I knew really well, but, after reading them felt I did not know them at all. The way they would describe every detail of their lives with such vigor in a language that was so inauthentic, not only did it reinforce my belief that bloggers were not credible, it altered the view I had of the authors, which really made me just plain sad.
Now there was a time when I contemplated starting a blog. I had received an email from an old friend from high school who had just had her first son and was hyperventilating amidst the mass confusion and overwhelming responsibility that is also known as motherhood. She was having trouble nursing and wanted to wean him, but was stressed and completely lost when it came to the whole process. Since my boys were young and memories of the experience were fresh in my mind, I typed up a thorough response to her questions fairly quickly. She replied with an appreciative response thanking me for the information I had provided and support I had given her. I felt a sense of satisfaction knowing I had at least somewhat prepared her on how to get through, what can be, an extremely challenging and equally momentous event. I thought back about the number of emails over the past few years that I had received from friends, acquaintances, and old classmates who had asked me various mom-related questions. I thought about how I used my painstakingly-acquired knowledge to respond honestly to each and how the feeling of contentedness inside of me grew knowing I was turning my own learning experiences into helpful information for others. It was after this that I thought about blogging about all things mom-related (aka just mom matters), but at the time I called it The Mom Spot. I started with the free blog service and got just as far as fine-tuning the look and feel and writing one post before I stopped. I was busy with my two boys, just found out I was unexpectedly expecting my third, had been working on the idea for a children’s birthday party business with my sister, and quickly convinced myself I had no time to dedicate to writing a blog. I realize now those were only excuses and my main reason was just pure fear. To put myself out there for the world to know, to read, to judge, to criticize, I realized I just couldn’t do it.
In 2007, my children’s party business had opened and closed which was, coincidentally, the same year my third son was born. I was feeling defeated and antsy at the same time and something inside of me was needing a change. Two years later, I came across an ad on Examiner.com needing freelance writers to cover their pregnancy section for the Houston area. I thought it looked interesting, applied on a whim, and got the position. It was nice to write about general pregnancy and family-related concerns and activities in the Houston area, but the pay was next to nothing. Still, I thought about the years earlier when I had started to blog about motherhood and couldn’t help but be a little pleased with the way things had come full circle. As I continued to write for Examiner (and still do), I came across another freelance gig for a company that is often lovingly referred to as a content mill. I didn’t realize this at the time, but quickly became aware that content mills are not necessarily well-respected in the writing world. In any case, it provided (and still does when there are good titles to write) a steady, fixed income for me and helped me develop my researching and writing skills further.
And now, I am here. With 34 in my rear-view as of about 3 weeks ago, I am completing my one and only New Year’s resolution–start a blog. Start a blog that I said I would never write because I thought blogs and their authors were not credible and were inauthentic. Who knows what will come of this blog, but I hope it supports Mom’s of all ages and backgrounds with interesting and useful information, as well as funny, relatable stories. I hope it helps Mom’s to realize that they aren’t doing that bad of a job even on the worst of days. Maybe it will become just another one in the blogosphere that oozes cotton-candy-filled days and idyllic, starry nights. If it does become the latter, I ask someone to smack me back into reality by giving me honest feedback about my inauthentic posts. And if I can’t get it together after that, I will resign from blogging. At least I know I have some great starts to a few solid short stories to fall back on.