I blog because otherwise I might explode.
Like many other bloggers, I started my blog because I had begun writing a book, and I had no idea what to do with it. It didn’t take long before I realized how much effort it would take, how much criticism I would have to endure, and how many query letters I would have to send, before I found a literary agent who could help me get my book published.
Then I got pregnant with my youngest daughter, after several consecutive losses, had a rather taxing pregnancy in which I threw up for months on end, and promptly immersed myself in the “baby fog” of the 4th trimester. I wandered out of the sleep-deprived mist (don’t be fooled- we continued to suffer from sleep deprivation for fifteen long months.) and realized that I needed to start writing again.
The idea of trying to find an agent and a publisher, almost two years later, was too daunting, and I had heard that it helped to have a social media platform to successfully market a book, so I bit the bullet and started my blog. About 4 years ago, when I began writing my book, I had entertained the idea of blogging.
But blogging seemed too self-indulgent to me, as though I was publishing my diary for the entire world to read, so I abandoned the idea. Ha- look at me now! How the mighty have fallen.
Blogging- An Outlet For Moms
I vividly remember the day I decided to create my blog. I was listening to a radio show one morning while driving to work. The DJs had asked for moms to call in and discuss whether they loved being a stay-at-home mom or hated it. Well, I worked part-time, but I had some very strong feelings on the subject. Namely, that I think many mothers simultaneously loved and hated staying home with their kids. That motherhood is a mixed bag- it is quite possible to love being a SAHM and still detest certain aspects of your daily life. I got through to the radio station, and I introduced myself.
Before I was able to share my thoughts, the line was disconnected. I was furious. In fact, my reaction was so disproportionate to the situation that it made me pause. In that moment, I felt like exploding. I needed my voice to be heard. My voice mattered! I felt as though I had been silenced. While it was perhaps a silly feeling, the next day I sat down at the computer and created my first website on Blogger.
It took me a few months to find my footing, but thanks to several important blog friends, including my blog guru, I found my niche, improved my overall design, and refined my style. I am still a very “small-time” blogger, but I am thriving in my own way. I have found that I truly connect with other bloggers, and we read and support each other’s work faithfully.
The book that I wrote (you know, the one that is collecting dust upstairs in my bedroom) is very similar in style and theme to my blog. I write about parenting, about the dichotomous experience of motherhood, about the “darker” side of raising children. My tagline is “A candid glimpse at the imperfect reality of surviving the daily grind with young children.“ I have always been more inspired to write about my own life, my struggles, my elusive moments of clarify, and even my embarrassments, than any other subject. And at this stage of my life, that means that almost all of my blog material is filtered through my mom lens. Whatever I write, be it funny, painful, or an attempt at inspiration, I strive to always be honest about my experience as a mother.
Connecting With Others Through Blogging
One of my favorite things about blogging is that it provides an instant outlet. When I have a challenging day as a parent, I can write about it. Even the most horrifying public outing can have a silver lining through my blog. Writing about my MOMFAILS maintains my sanity, releases the pent-up pressure of motherhood, and helps me feel genuinely connected to other parents.
When I read a comment such as, “Every time I read one of your posts, it makes me feel less alone.” or “I cried through your entire post because I finally felt like somebody else understands what I am going through,” it validates the time and energy I pour into blogging. I have expressed the conflicting range of emotions I feel about blogging- my awkwardness, my ambivalence, and primarily the guilt I feel that it takes up so much time, and the anxiety I have about whether I will ever truly “go anywhere” with my writing.
But when I write something that I find resonates with other people, especially other mothers, it immediately fills the holes left by my insecurity and guilt. Blogging makes me feel like I am doing something important, something that matters, something that extends beyond the work I do as a mother. Though it often causes me to feel pulled in too many directions, it is not an exaggeration to say that blogging is a sanity-saver for me.
One of my most rewarding experiences in recent months is my collaboration with Jessica Smock to create The HerStories Project: Finding Support, Staying Sane, and Reinventing Yourself During New Motherhood. Though Jessica and I have very different styles as bloggers, the topic of reducing isolation and making connections to help women thrive during motherhood is one we are both passionate about.
We have read so many moving essays by other women about the friendships that have changed their lives and the isolation they initially experienced in motherhood; this project has definitely affirmed the fact that writing, blogging, about motherhood is something that matters.
At the end of the day, if I have questioned my parenting choices, or engaged in a discouraging interaction with my children, or sat down and cried out of sheer exhaustion or frustration, I instantly know what to do to find clarity and catharsis. I sit down. I write. I blog.
Welcome Back to Finish the Sentence Friday!
BLOGGERS– link up below with your post about why YOU blog. If you didn’t write a post, we’d love to hear your thoughts about blogging in the comments!
We have a special guest host this week! One of my blogging besties, Kristi, is just joining us as a co-host! Go check her out at Finding Ninee– you will love her! Funny, insightful, hilarious pictures- what’s not to love?
Me from Mommy, for Real
Janine from Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic
Kate from Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine?
Dawn from Dawn’s Disaster
- Follow Your Hosts, If You Like, and Anyone Else You Find On the List!
- Make Sure to Read and Comment on at Least Two Other Posts.
- Share Your Favorites on Facebook and/or Twitter Using the Hashtag #FTSF.
- Link Up Your Posts Below with This Week’s Sentence Prompt.
- Hop around and have fun!
Next week’s sentence is: “My favorite movie of all time is….”
So with you on writing and blogging specifically making me feel more connected to my own feelings, as well as others that are going through similar experiences. And you know I have had so many of those moments reading your blog, because I can so relate to many of your experiences with your kids and how you parent. So, I thank you for that tremendously!!
And I thank you! We’re all in this together, right?
You! You you you are SO doing something important! One of these days, friend, you will get to that book. And you will be famous.
I love your writing. I love your honesty. And! I love that photo of your daughter doing the mean-face in the bottom left of your awesome collage.
I am so lucky to have you as one of my supportive blog friends- you always make me feel better than I had been feeling…and I love that photo too!
I love that story about the radio station…it’s amazing how a moment like that can literally change your life and motivate you to start something new. I too agree that blogging is my sanity saver…I NEED to write! So happy to be linking up with you gals this week!
Those moments of clarity don’t happen very often, so I’m glad I was paying attention! Glad you linked up!
Well said… If you approach the book the way you have approached blogging, I have no doubt you will get it published. PS I love this FTSF prompt! Thank you, whoever came up with this!
Thank you so much! And it was me! My first ever sentence idea! 😀
OK, you had me at My Sanity Saver and then at every consecutive word. I think it’s so amazing that you’re able to pin point the exact moment when your blog was born and that you have total clarity on the circumstances leading to it. That shows great self awareness to me, whereas mine is always in retrospect. I love your writing (and singing 🙂 ) voice and consider you one the twin souls I’ve found through writing. I am always curious to read your entries and always comforted to know I will find some sort of support in reading them. Totally great post, as usual!
I think it is very amusing that we both give each other such credit for our self-awareness! 😉 Kindred spirits, we are…
Awesome!! What you’re doing is awesome. You are helping so many people. The comments you quoted are amazing. I’m so glad I met you through blogging and can’t wait to meet you IRL! You rock! And you need to make that book a priority. I want to read it!
Right back atcha, friend!
You wonder if your blogging will ever go “anywhere.” It has, Stephanie, it totally has.
That made me get teary Jean. Thank you for that.
This is a great post, and a great explanation about why you blog and I think also resonates with so many of us. What is a blogger if not a writer? It is not “just a blog” it is a necessary expression. Thanks for saying it so well!
Thanks for that encouragement- it means a lot!
I might never get over the sense of connection that blogging gives. Besides connecting as mothers, we connect as fellow writers near bursting with ambition. I believe certain kinds of people are drawn to certain professions (it’s stereotyping, I know, but if you met the cops in my family…) and in the last several months I’ve felt the most amazing sense that I have found ‘my’ people, my place, my purpose. I am always amazed by your writing, and that we can feel so similarly.
First of all, that cops comment made me snicker. I definitely agree with your sentiment about having found your “people.” And I loved “bursting with ambition”. And I can’t WAIT to meet you in person! xo
This is one of the most insightful posts I have read about why a blogger blogs, Stephanie. The words you chose – feeling self-indulgent and validation in particular – are ones that I couldn’t find in my own head but I was nodding as I read.
You are doing great work here on your blog – so glad you are here!
That compliment means so much coming from you- I really respect you and your writing, so thanks!
I’m glad you are part of this FTSF community!
I love the story about why you finally bit the bullet and started blogging. Just think, those radio hosts have no idea how they changed your life, and you will never know how many people are changed by your blog.
The HerStories is one of my favorite things to come out of someone’s blog. I so enjoy reading every one of them, even if they make me cry or become jealous. It was a great idea.
And now for a little teacher in me…
Keep up the good work! 🙂
Thanks so much, Christine, especially for your support of HerStories. Your words meant a lot to me, and I really loved your post today!
I love your voice and I’m so glad you blog! I finally joined this week’s blog hop, too…Your words are so awesome and I have enjoyed what I’ve read. Have a wonderful Friday. 🙂
I could say the exact same to you- I really enjoy your voice, and I’m so glad you joined us Cyndi! Thanks!
God, I love this post so much I can’t even stand it. IT.IS.AWESOME. And we cannot wait for next Friday’s prompt! :)-Ashley
You guys! You are going to give me a big head! I love your comments. Love them. And you.
“But when I write something that I find resonates with other people,…”
The amazing thing about your blog (fmp*), is your ability to provide insight into (a) life. That is not to say that mommyblogs are ‘specialty blogs’, because they very much are.
The gift that you have in your writing is to be able to create insights that allow the Reader into the emotional side of your life.
I get something every time I read ‘…for Real’ simply because it is about people and family and no matter what our individual status is, we are all those two things.
*(from my perspective**)
**( yes, he *did* have the nerve to invent an acronym for the sake of a clearer Comment)
That means the world, Clark. *fr
(For real.) 🙂
I never thought of it until now, but with all you Mommy Bloggers out there, new generations of moms coming up will no longer be able to lament about kids not coming with a handbook … now they have one of sorts. 🙂
Wow, what a great comment, Chris! Thanks for that!
We blog because our voices matter. Yes.
Aaaah this post was like something to eat. I ate it up and LOVED it! I can relate to so much of it. I wish that I had known about the blogging world when Christopher was an infant. I wrote in other places but there was no interaction. I love your story of how you came to blog and why you continue.
Thanks Kenya. You are one of those writers I am so glad I found in this big ol’ blogosphere. The interaction combined with the writing is the perfect recipe, huh?
It sure is! And fat free too. Well as long as you don’t eat while blogging 😉
OHHH. Oops. Better put down this lemon cookie. 🙁
I love this honesty. I found the mommy blogging community in the midst of severe post partum depression in 2010. It truly filled a void for me and I am now proud to be a part of this powerful community of strong women who aren’t afraid to put it all out there for the world, in the hopes of touching another mom’s life. Thank you for your blog and your wonderful writing!
Thanks for such a great comment- I read your blog for the first time today and absolutely loved it. Talk about beautiful honesty!
This is truly and amazing post. It’s not just real but it’s honest. Very excited to have found your blog. It’s inspired me to write more about everyday life and include more personal experiences in my writing. It’s sounds like you are an amazing person to connect with and I hope we can do that!
Oh, thank you so much for that, Heather! This is a great community, and I would love to continue connecting with you! Glad we found each other’s blogs through FTSF!
It’s blogs like yours that make me feel like I’m not such an insane mommy. I can especially relate to your first line, “I blog because otherwise I might explode.” That is exactly why I created my blog!
That is such a nice comment- thank you so much!
Stephanie, maybe you should dust off that book again. I like your style and your voice.
Oh, Maggie, wow. Thanks so much for that. Really. 🙂
Blogging is definitely an outlet! Impressive that people have connected with you on such a level.
Well first of all, I’ve always loved your blog from the moment I read your first post. I think you have a voice that so many women and mom resonate with. You’ve done so much in so little time. Kudos to you!!! And thanks for the shout out. Love my nickname. 🙂
Julie, thanks so much for that. You know it means a lot, coming from you! Oh guru, my guru… Oh wait, it’s Captain, huh? Anyway… thank you for your support and encouragement!
I feel the same way about filling the holes of insecurity with validation from another mom. Makes me feel less alone and…normal 🙂 Your HerStories project is fantastic! I don’t know if you read Kim, Let Me Start By Saying, but she asked for new projects/FB pages to be listed in her comments today so her readers could show them some love. I listed HerStories in hopes that you ladies would get the attention you deserve–here’s hoping it worked just a little!
Oh, you sweet awesome thing! Thank you so much for doing that- I owe you BIG! I do read Kim but I have fallen off the face of Facebook this week, so thanks for catching it for me!
Oh, YES how the might have fallen!
The instant outlet drew me in, too. And the quick feedback that often comes.
I’m so glad for your blogging and mine and the resulting connection 🙂
Cheers, LTYM friend! So happy you joined us this week. Yes- instant outlet/instant feedback. Well put.
I loved this post. I started tearing up while reading it because I so vividly felt what you were saying. Thanks, Steph. Thanks for sharing, thanks for hosting this prompt and thanks for being awesome. Hugs.
It’s amazing what blogging can do for a person’s sanity. There are days I feel so disconnected to the rest of the world…until I read some of my favorite bloggers’ blogs and then I don’t feel so alone. 🙂
I have always been a person who wrote stuff down. When I got too stressed or overwhelmed I drug out a notebook and wrote. But blogging has given me the ability to put it out there for others and hear I am not the only one.. sometimes that is ALL we needed to hear..
When I started, I had no idea how many mommy bloggers there were out there (not to mention “other” bloggers). Making connections has been a wonderful bonus for me that I really enjoy!
I nodded and agreed and yelled “YES!” at this entire post.
Except at this line: “I am still a very “small-time” blogger…”
I’m calling BS on that one. You are far from being a small-time blogger. And I look forward to meeting you at the book signing of your book. Because I know it’s happening. And I’ll be first in line to buy a copy!
I blog for many of the same reasons as you do. It’s my OUTLET. It gives me another purpose than to wipe asses and cook dinner and fold laundry. It keeps me sane. And while it takes up every free minute of my personal time, it’s so worth it!!!!
Hi there, lovely post! Such a lot of worthwhile effort goes into these blogs, and from the outside, Mommy blogs look so easy! Reading your posts and those of other fellow bloggers, has been an enriching experience for me! So blog on, you are not alone!
I completely agree with your tagline. And I recently used the word “dichotomy” to share what I thought about motherhood! It’s great to hear your voice. Glad you started blogging!
Stephanie, I relate to this 100% . . . it is so close to my story from the looking for an agent, to having a baby (for me #3) right as I was going back on forth on revisions with an agent . . . on building a platform . . . eventually feeling not up to that part of the business of publishing at that point and also not believing in my novel anymore . . . and blogging soon after. As soon as I started blogging and had that immediate gratification of conversation with other writers after a few years of writing a novel alone, WELL, I couldn’t really go back to the solitary writing.
Blogging fits my voice. It just does.
Nina, I can’t thank you enough for that comment. During those “low-morale blog weeks”, which happen to me periodically, having the validation from a successful writer like you is particularly comforting. I agree- blogging definitely fits your voice, and I feel that it might be the right fit for mine, too.