This Is Why I Blog
By Mama By The Bay on April 11, 2012
I suck at staying in touch. I do. If you know me in real life, you have probably sent me an email that I’ve ignored. It wasn’t intentional….it was just….well… ..buried somewhere underneath a pile of mismatched toddler socks and hidden in between the couch cushions that I’m currently wiping peanut butter off of. (Don’t ask. It was a terrible horrible no good very bad plan to buy white leather sofas when we have a toddler. Which of course I let him eat on. Because I am that kind of mother.)
But if you really really know me, then you also know that I was terrible at staying in touch even before I had Max.
I like being alone.
When cell phones first became popular (good gawd how old do I sound when I say that?!) my mom was very clear that she didn’t want one. She said she liked not being able to have anyone find her. Not surprising, considering she had already raised two kids who, even as teenagers, were quite fond of screaming “Moooooom!!! I need…..”
OK, even as young adults we did that. OK, we still do it now.
But she had a point. It’s nice to hide away.
I like being alone.
Yet here I am, with my little blog, putting my shit on Front Street (as one of my old clients used to say). I’m parenting in public. I’m crawling out from under my “leave me alone” rock and reaching out to shake your hand. I’m twittering you (now that just sounds borderline obscene….tweeting you?….oh lordie, I am so bad at this!) asking if you’re going to BlogHer ’12 because OH MY GAWD ME TOO!!! CAN WE BE FRIENDS?!
I’ve found a safe place here. So sometimes I forget what the boundaries are. I’ve heard that your blog is your “voice”. Well shit. That means that mine is unfiltered, embarassing, uncensored, and laced with big fat F-bombs…..on a regular basis. You see, I don’t think about how I’m going to present myself here. There’s no pretty presentation. It’s just the voice inside my head, being typed out for everyone to read. And then I hit “publish”.
Some bloggers have talked about feeling terrified to hit “publish” after particular posts that expose them. Me? The fear is replaced by a huge whoooosh of adrenaline. A release. Writing, for me, has always been a rebel yell. I like to think that I’m an open book, both in real life and in blog world. It helps that I just try really hard not to think about the fact that my father-in-law reads every.single.post. I mean, he loves the Max posts, but how does he feel when I’m talking about my crazy ex-boyfriend or the fact that I spent way too much money on nursing bras that I subsequently never used? It’s sort of like the time that I thought it was a great idea to see Spring Awakening, the musical, in NYC. With my husband sitting on my right side and my father-in-law sitting on my left. Yep….that nude sex scene featured the one and only Lea Michelle, and that sound was the sound of me dying inside while watching said nude scene with my father-in-law. Dying of embarassment. A thousand times over. Though it is an amazing musical. But I digress.
Hi Dad! More posts about Max’s silly sayings coming soon!
I suppose what I’m trying to say here is bear with me. Bear with me as I figure out what is too much. Bear with me as I share what old friends already know about me, and what new friends might be shocked about. I’m making business cards for BlogHer ’12, and that just feels weird. Hi, my name is Kim….and I write a BLOG. Aaack!! I’m going to use my REAL name, and it’s going to be on the same tiny piece of cardstock as my BLOG name. The blog that I kept private for sooo long. The blog that I never used my last name on until now. The blog that most of my “in real life” friends didn’t even know about for a while. The blog that I ended up announcing at the best “Mom’s Night Out” ever last night….because I was drinking wine and having fun and started feeling really comfortable…and suddenly I became “Hi, my name is Kim and I’m Max’s mom and I write a blog. Do you read blogs??” Oh lordy. I’m nursing an embarassment hangover this morning. I’m sandwiched between really wanting these new friends to still like me and not think I’m a big lame dork, and maybe a tiny bit of pride because I’m not just Max’s mom. I am a writer. I am a feminist. I am a wife. I have a rich, sordid, thrilling history, and I want to share it with you. Because naps and sandboxes matter, but there is so much more to this mothering thing.
Have you ever noticed that when you start a new mother’s group, or meet another parent at the park, the “getting to know you” questions are “How old is your child? What preschool do they go to? Do you stay home? How’s potty-training going?” Now think about what those questions looked like before you had kids. “What type of work do you do? Where did you go to college? What do you think about the election results? Where do you get your hair done?” I realized somewhere in between “Hi, my name is Kim and this is Max, he’s six months old” and “Yes, he’s having the hardest time with teething TOO!” that no one asks you about your old life once you have kids! Your identity shifts from being centered on YOU, to being centered on this tiny, helpless, drooling yet so freaking adorable you want to eat their cheeks anyway little human. I love my new mommy friends, but I have to admit, it took months for us to even discuss what we used to do in our “former lives”. We all had careers, we all had passions and dreams. Some of us were able to continue that path while raising our kids, and some of us, well, we just blog about it now.
Don’t get me wrong, mothering Max is the best job there is. I love
every almost every minute of playing “Rescue Fireman” and building forts for dinosaurs. But it’s only part of my identity. And while the “old me” part has had time to morph into something well-loved and heartily worked-on, the “new me” is still evolving. I carry the “old me” around like a security blanket, stuffed in my purse diaper bag. I don’t have to see it to know it’s there. It just makes me feel better to always be close to what once was. But sometimes I pull the tattered blanket of my old life out, and I run my fingers through the frayed edges. I borrow some strength from the tightly woven patchwork that covered me while I was young, and then I gently return the blanket to it’s hiding place. The threads of my “old life” help me to weave together how I feel about this “new life”. Do I believe “gentle parenting” is better than time-outs? Do I value teaching my son academics or focusing on emotional intelligence? Do I love parenting in our tiny town, or am I craving a move back to the land of the living big city? Does my mothering reflect the woman I once was, before I had Max, or am I a newer, better version of someone I never thought I’d become?
It’s a good thing I have this blog, isn’t it?
So that y’all can help me figure it out.
I write a blog. I live here. Welcome to my home.
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