Ode to Mommy Blogging

See, here’s the thing.

When I started this site, (May of 08)  I was kind of like an alien landing from Mars in the Blogosphere. In fact, I didn’t know there WAS a blogosphere. I just knew I was working on selling a book, I needed a website, the designer I loved (Hi Jenny! Waving.) said self-hosted WordPress was a good point of entry.

Frankly, she could have said Jibba-jabba wonk wonk and I would have nodded along- that’s how much I knew. But I picked a theme and graphics and looked at other blogs to see what kind of widgety-thingies seemed to be going on over there, so my blog wasn’t a nakey new baby. I wanted it to have the bloggy things that were de rigeur. In fact, I believe that’s how I acquired a Twitter account- in my new planet research, there seemed to be a lot of this thing called the Tweeting. I thought it was a requirement passed along in Blogger School. You know, where you get the secret handshakes.

Little did I know that on my new planet, there were existing tribes and communities and stories. And people. Not avatars, but like PEOPLE people. And I fell in love a little bit more every day, reading their stories and loving them and commenting on them.

The other week at Red Robin, I played Miss Pacman for the first time in a long time. My husband laughed at me from the table, because Miss Pacman is kind of a full body sport for me. I twist and turn, willing her to rush through the tunnels, controlling the sticky joystick FROM the core, as it’s so much more responsive that way. Frankly, I’m a dork for Miss Pacman.

My daughter wanted in on this- who could blame her?

So I hoisted her little five year old body up. I realized how very substantial she’s getting, and how seldom I need to lift her anymore. I supported her weight as she earnestly tried to navigate the dangerous maze that IS Miss Pacman.

And I realized how very many things there are to know about even the very simplest new thing. The bullets must be eaten. The fruits must be chased. The pellets must be secured to de-fang the ghosts, but then you must Hurry! Before they flash back to their house and come to get you. There are secret tunnels, but you must know where all the ghosts are before they go in- or they may get you when you think they’re safest.

Within 45 seconds, the quarters were finished and her shoulders slumped. “I guess you’re just way better at that game than me, Mommy.”

And I had to get down and look her in the eyes and say, “You JUST learned it, honey. It’s new. But next time, it won’t be new. There are things about it you’ll never have to learn again. AND you killed a ghost! You actually rocked it.”

And she smiled, as she enjoys being a ghost killer.

I have had the benefit of so much blogger largess, from plug-in tips to four hour phone chats about god knows what. WIth every person I’ve met in real life that I first knew online, the avatars shifted into 3-D, and my new planet became a little bit less lonely. I started to feel as though I knew my own zip code and could maybe find the grocery store.

I’ve always loved getting the mail, because from childhood, the mailbox symbolized an outside world. It had power. It was how I told the world what I wanted, and waited for a response. I ordered my Charlie Chaplin ventroliquist doll through it, and waited for the requisite 6-9 weeks for delivery. I invited Ronald Reagan and his Secret Service detail for supper, praising my mother’s crabcakes,  and still have the framed response. (Unfortunately, for National Security reasons, it was a no.)

I just never knew what might be in that mailbox in response to some long ago idea I’d pursued via my pen and camp stationery. (I STILL think the Washington Post missed the boat on dissing the advice column I pitched at twelve.:)

Blogging is like that on crazy steroids. I didn’t know or expect that. The lovely serendipity and variety and experiences having an online home has given me have been such a precious gift. And the people. Man, you guys have changed my world in so many ways I can’t even tell you. And I love you for it.

Being at three conferences this month have made me reflect on the different values people get from communities, and the value that they seek. But it all coalesced for me last night as I sat here at Mom 2.0 in Houston, by the book booth, far past when I ought to have gone to bed.

I read the Kirtsy book from cover to cover (I’m buying it too, no worries!:) and I just started crying as I read. Because I saw a piece of my own experience in every page. The mother who learned of her baby’s issues during a sonogram- I’ve heard that silence suck all the comfort out of a room, when my 1st baby was diagnosed with Turner’s Syndrom and stillborn at 27 weeks. The fears of not being a good enough mother, of not having enough time to do all the necessary things properly, but knowing that THIS IS THAT THING THAT MATTERS Oh my god this is the thing we care about most ever. Our babies. And we love them, but they take everything and a bag of chips.

And this place, this bloggy place, is where we get to show glimpses of who we were. And where people get who we are now. And where we all understand that it won’t always be this way. Because everything is transient, and one day we won’t be mommy bloggers. One day, god willing if we’re lucky, we’ll be grandmother bloggers. Or millionaire owners of real estate on Mars.

But while I’m still in the company of moms, lulled in a sea of voices where the cadence is familiar and warm and so, so comforting (And smart! Did I say smart yet?) I wanted to say Thanks, y’all. Thank you for sharing your stories and your pictures and your FlickR streams and your families and basically, your hearts. For putting the thing you care about most in the world out there and discussing what it means to be a mother and a woman every day, with all the nuances and topics and angles.

Thank you for blogging. Or, if you’re reading this and you’re not a blogger (HI, MOM!) thank you for supporting blogs. (Now, go sign up on Blogger or something and get to work!)

And thanks for making a martian kid feel at home. :)

And if you’re a blogger, how has it changed your life?

 
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Comments (17)

  1. jodifur Saturday - 20 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    For me, blogging has brought so many wonderful people in my life, like you, hi hon, we need to hang out, soon, and made me feel honestly and truly part of a community. Which I know is cheesy and trite but is true. And I simply just love it. I love the writing and the freedom and the expression and the friendships.
  2. JenniferG of Hip As I Wanna Be Saturday - 20 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    When people ask me how I find time to blog and why in the world I do it... well, I just laugh! I can't begin to describe to them this whole world and how much it means to me. How much it fills me up and touches my soul. As I reach my "first bloggy anniversary" I have been reflecting on the very things that you so eloquently wrote in this post. Thanks for putting it into words for me. I can't wait to meet you in real life some day. .-= JenniferG of Hip As I Wanna Be´s last blog ..Personal Branding IS Important. Yeah, Even For You. =-.
  3. Stephanie Smirnov Saturday - 20 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    Beautiful, my friend. I think what's drawn me so quickly and deeply into this community is that the mom bloggers I meet epitomize the qualities I treasure most in ANYone (of any gender, of any stripe): loving, selfless, fierce, harried, warm, talented, beautiful, hard-working, funny. Funny, funny, funny. Cool, interesting, interested. What's struck me about this conference in particular is how absurd all this nonsense about diva bloggers or celebrity bloggers is...please. Stop that. They are just a bunch of girls keeping the balls up in the air like the rest of us. So they have a few more million readers/followers than you. It doesn't matter. It's like that treacley scene in "Notting Hill" (which I kind of hate but kind of love too) where Julia Roberts does her "I'm just a girl standing in front of a boy wanting to be loved etc" speech? I thought that when I met Heather Armstrong for the first time. She's just a girl doing her thing. You go, my sister. All of you -- go do your thing. Go forth and be spectacular.
  4. Heather Solos Saturday - 20 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    As counter-intuitive as it sounds, blogging has forced me out of my shell. I know I'm still reserved, but I'm no longer crippled by shyness. I've found incredible, like-hearted, not necessarily like-minded, women who have become an amazing network of support. I've gotten so much more than I can ever give. PS Ms. Pacman = teh awesome and the next time I find you at a conference we're going to find some dive bar, a roll of quarters, and play to our hearts' content. .-= Heather Solos´s last blog ..How to Cook a Bread and Butter Beef Roast =-.
  5. rockrollmama Saturday - 20 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    You guys. Are so fun.:) Thank you. Jodi is one of the first online people I met in real life, and I remember nervously walking up to the door of her house and then being completely disarmed by her warm and wicked smaht ways. There are so many bloggers I wish I lived in state with, and the times I get to hanh w. Jodi and kid are why- it's just so fun to have a friend who knows both worlds. Jennifer- I really admire the way you're building the local blogging community, and once again, am lucky to be in state with you. :) We'll hang soon, I hope, and can't wait to hear more about what you're doing. Cause you are, indeed, pretty darn hip.:) SS: Just need to wander down to breakfast and give you a big hug. I'm so glad to know you, and love the light you are in this community. And those qualities you value? You possess in spades.
  6. rockrollmama Saturday - 20 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    HEATHER- As Jessica Smith would say, It's On Like Donkey Kong! Ooooooooh it will be Epic. And I def. can see how blogging would do that, and am glad it did, because you're way too amazing for a shell. :)
  7. This Belle Rocks Saturday - 20 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    Ah....I've had both good and bad things come of blogging. Definitely more good than bad, though! Here are two instances, one good, and one bad. First the bad: I have to admit, it causes my jealousy to often rear its ugly head. Whether I'm jealous of someone's far superior writing abilities and subject matter or jealous over a new blogger's rapid rise in readership numbers when I've been plugging away at this blogging thing since 2001....well, it's there. I often find myself wondering "Why didn't *I* think of that?" or "What is wrong with me?" I don't like the jealousy, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't let stupid things get to me. On the flip side, at least I haven't had any stalkers or trolls, so there is much to be said for having a quieter blog :) Now, for the good... For someone like myself, who NEVER seemed to have any close friends or share much in common with anyone else, blogging afforded me the opportunity to find similar people. This, of course, has enriched my life in so many ways. I don't think I'd have been able to hang onto my sanity for as long as I have if I hadn't had a blog to write in at the end of long, difficult days, and having blogs to read so that I knew there were indeed kindred souls out there. I have really enjoyed yours, so I am glad you started blogging. I hope to learn a lot from you! .-= This Belle Rocks´s last blog ..Yesterday was not a bad day. =-.
  8. Lauren Monday - 22 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    Blogging is cathartic for me and it's almost as important as my precious 'script for Zoloft. I need to write. I didn't know that there was this huge and amazing community out there when I began my blog last February but I am grateful that it exists because it led me to have relationships with amazing people like you Linds! Anyone who doesn't blog doesn't get it. It's like our little secret. And I love it.
  9. mom101 Monday - 22 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    I love you so much I forgive you for having invited Reagan to dinner. .-= mom101´s last blog ..Inspired. =-.
  10. rockrollmama Monday - 22 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    Lauren- Exactly! It didn't make sense to me till I was in it for a while. Liz- I have no excuses.:) I was under the beltway influence of whoever of whomever's in power gets the dinner invite.:)
  11. Jenny86753oh9 Monday - 22 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    Blogging has given me my mojo! And what's a girl without her 'thang'? Nothing I tell ya! ;-) As great of a community blogging is, I didn't fully grasp this tribe until Blissdom. Going to your first blogging conference after blogging for so many years is like going from Howdy Doody Time to Avatar in 3-D!! What's not to love? .-= Jenny86753oh9´s last blog ..What is a booger? =-.
    • rockrollmama Monday - 22 / 02 / 2010 Reply
      EXACTLY! There's all these people we know one facet of, and then all 300 trillion are evident in vivid color. i love it. I especially love how many of the ladies I meet whom I've know via blog and phone are exactly who/how I pictured, and we pick up seamlessly as though college roomates re-uniting. It really adds so much- and I LOVED meeting you at Blissdom! We gots to hang.:)
  12. wormdrink / Kristy Monday - 22 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    OK...I'm jealous of all of you and hope I get a chance to meet some other mommy bloggers and attend an inspiring conference someday ;) I have yet to actually "post" a blog, but I've gathered lots of info and have some great stories and links to share that will (hopefully) generate some fun ideas and laughter...Now if I could just focus on shaking my fear of rejection and "jump in"! (I think I can, I think I can...)
    • rockrollmama Monday - 22 / 02 / 2010 Reply
      You can do it, Kristy! I want you in our bloggah world.:) Just write it and throw it out there and don't take numbers as validation- they may take a while to build, or they may be there from the get go. But what will matter is that you took a step to do something YOU wanted to, and you straight up built something. And if it's not a friends and family secret, post the feed to your Facebook page- that way you KNOW you'll get some insta-feedback. Or, if you want to paddle around without your mom disputing your blig facts, keep it on the DL. I know it's scary to hit "Post" that first time- but it's worth it.
  13. Blair Tuesday - 23 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    Sometimes, it's how I get through the day. Through the hour. Just knowing that somewhere, to someone, I am making a difference by simply telling the story of my life. & knowing that at any given moment, I will stumble across another woman & we virtually high-five & say, "ME TOO!" What can feel more amazing than that? .-= Blair´s last blog ..& now I have to remind myself to eat. =-.
  14. Boston Mamas Wednesday - 24 / 02 / 2010 Reply
    Beautiful, my friend. I adore you and I'm so glad to live on your alien planet. -Christine .-= Boston Mamas´s last blog ..Fancy Yet Easy Mini Crab Cakes =-.
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