The Blog Effect : Have you experienced any of these?

This blog hobby has been a blessing to me, especially over the past year or two. I've found wonderful, inspiring women, made a little money, documented the highs and lows of parenting, improved my camera skills a bit, and I've learned a lot about myself throughout the process. The idea of personal blogging and "mommy" blogging [although I still hate that term] is fascinating to me. Imagine the horror of women 70 years ago, at the idea of sharing intimate details of our pregnancies and relationships with complete strangers? Some people, even today, find it uncouth. I've been told that I have too much time on my hands, that I blog because I have no one to talk to, and that I'm seeking attention. Considering that I live in a house with five... FIVE... other people, all three of those are more funny than offensive, so I let it go.

What I want to say is that I wish I had enough time on my hands to go out for drinks with other adults every week, join a gym, and take a vacation. That's a person with free time. Anyway, a little snark never hurt anyone. Besides speculation that my life sucks, therefor I blog, there have been other unexpected side effects from joining the blogosphere, even with my lil' personal blog. Tell me if you've experienced these: I noticed that some people I know in "real life" warmed up to me after reading my blog. I heard a lot of "I didn't know you felt that way" and "I never realized that this was your background/story/reason for doing something". It was proof to me that first impressions can be so misleading. How often do we think a woman is being an Ice Queen when really she's feeling intimidated or going through something behind the scenes? Hearing that other people had what they realized was an incorrect impression of me, taught me that when in doubt, be kind and reach out. The saying is true:



I've also had strangers send the "I feel like I know you" message from time to time. I think it's great, because I can completely relate. A few of the blogs I read, some I don't even read very often, are so candid that I feel like if I saw that person at a party, I'd walk right up and start talking about life as if they had some clue of who I was. I even feel that way about some readers of my blog who comment regularly. I've never met anyone that I originally came in contact with through blogging, but I see now why some people develop friendships this way. 

There's a downside to the familiarity and heavy sharing as well, and I'm not talking about web stalkers, pictures thieves, or people that pass judgement. It can turn relationships into one-sided affairs. There's a sense that because I'm sharing so many photos and stories, that we're all caught up. We're not all caught up. I don't know shit that's going on with you. I haven't seen pictures from Thanksgiving, or know what your Easter was like. No, I don't know why she isn't speaking to her anymore. And I had no idea that you got a new job. Recently, a family member asked me to contribute some pictures for a photo book she was making for another family member, and I said I'd like a copy too. I think she was surprised and not inclined to have an extra made. "Well there are pictures of so-and-so, and shots from such-and-such event in there".  Yea, I know. I wasn't there, thus the request for a copy.

At some point, if you've started accepting product reviews, you'll look around and realize that you've collected a mountain of things you absolutely don't need. Each may be a useful, well-made product, but you don't need it. This is especially true when the items are all baby related. I'm having an impossible time finding a 6 person picnic basket. If you make 6 person picnic baskets, I'd love to review your product. Otherwise, I'm all stocked up on 4T dresses, onesies, boppy pillows, gyro bowls, and monogrammed sippy cups.

By sharing so much of our life, and re-reading old posts from time to time, it has given me a better perspective on how balanced we are. I used to feel like we didn't do enough with our kids, which isn't true at all. I used to think I was failing at motherhood, but I see that our kids are growing up to be great little people, and the affirmations from other women about my parenting style has boosted my confidence. In the past I felt like just being a stay at home mom wasn't something I could be proud of. I felt blessed to be able to do it, but shamed by those who say staying at home with children is a cop-out. Browsing through the past few years of our life, I see that it's not a cop-out at all. We live a full, busy life and I manage almost every detail of it. When the people in your family are succeeding, that's something to be proud of.

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