When I was at last Friday's BlogHer party, where I did not win a prize, but as usual was standing next to the person who did, I met a guy who asked me why I blogged. I gave him my reflexive answer, which is that I used to be a reporter - a real, paid-a-living-wage-to-write person - but quit when I realized I couldn't work full-time and feed a baby sufficiently so that she'd stop crying long enough for me to call someone for an interview. Typing while wearing a sling is not as easy as it sounds, either. After my daughter's sleepy head conked into the desk a few times, restarting the crying, I started to lose my mind just a little.
A blog is the first step back into the real writing world, I said. I have a (self imposed) deadline and people make unsolicited cranky comments about content. Minus the paycheck, it is pretty much like work.
While that's true and the reason I finally took out my credit card to open a Typepad account, the precursor was that I read blogs for years and I was finally ready to join in. I still remember the first blog I found in 2000 when searching online - pre-"Googling" - for a specific storage bin. (And I still read and love Jenny's blog.) After reading blogs for so long, I felt that I was missing out of part of the exchange by not writing myself. Like many other bloggers would attest, there is a whole community out there that blogging has allowed me to tap into. I've made a lot of friends, read sad stories and inspiring stories, been made to feel better about my parenting or more often than not, motivated to be a better parent, been invited to fun parties and been given some great stuff to try out. It evolved into so much more than I expected. Several times my husband has said "Who would have thought that blogging would have led to...(fill in the blank of the awesome stuff that has happened)...?" The Disney party? City Mama's Wii parties? The professional head shots? The party at Guy Kawasaki's house? It has all been positive, even if it does take a day or two to shake off a really biting comment.
Trying to remember a project I did with my kids last year, I Googled for some of the keywords and to my surprise, my post came up, bringing me to another unexpected benefit: a journal of my kids' early years. I'm no Doogie Howser with insightful entries full of thoughtful life lessons and some of my posts are likely to make me and/or mostly my kids cringe when they are older, but it's there, a living record of how we spent these years. I have no idea what my mother did during the day when she was home with me and my two sisters - other than watch General Hospital and fold clothes, because that is one of my strongest childhood memories: the ambulance at the start of General Hospital while my mom sat on the couch folding wash cloths. But my kids will be able to read my version of our lives and I hope that I will be able to re-read my posts when I am old and dementia has set in. Conversely, I fear my kids will print everything out and hand it to a therapist as background material explaining what went wrong.
It ends up that the project I did with my kids was two years ago, which makes me even happier that I have been documenting the time, because it passes quickly. Now I need to go talk to my husband, who is undoubtedly stuck on the first line above when I said I met a guy at the party Friday night.
This post was for a contest being run by Mabel's Labels to send one blogger to BlogHer, which is equivalent to a spa weekend for a mommy blogger. I have four sets of Mabel's Labels - two for each kid: one set with first name only, the other set with both first and last, because I am neurotic like that - and I love them, so I would especially love to blog for them this summer.