“Do you blog every day?” my husband asked. When I replied with an enthused “YES!” he said, looking a wee bit concerned,“You do know you don't have to, right? I mean, the blogging world won't implode if you don't post daily.” Duh.
He doesn't get it. He doesn't understand why I blog. I have been asked recently by a few people why I blog. I have to admit this answer hasn't come easily. It is not just a simple answer like, “I like it.” There is so much more to it.
When I started blogging, I had just given birth to my third child. I was learning how to be a Mother of a 2 year old and new baby while still reeling with the grief of losing my oldest child just three years earlier. I was living in a basement apartment in Utah and getting ready for yet another long, cold, dark winter. I was reaching out – searching for something I didn't know I needed – friendship, belonging, community.
I really had little to no idea about blogs and what was involved with them. I had been active in online forums for years and had made some amazing friends. We chatted daily and really enjoyed each other's company. But life got busy and crazy and I didn't always have the time necessary to devote to forums. I watched many of my dear friends retreat from our forums to their blogs and followed them there. I enjoyed seeing pictures of their children, reading about what they've been doing, and catching up in a new way. We could still have conversations like always, it was just a different form of communication. I liked this blogging thing!
My sister-in-law and I are knitters. She introduced me to a few pretty famous knitting blogs and I was completely and totally hooked. I started reading those blogs and meeting people from all over the globe. I learned new knitting techniques, got new ideas and had adult interaction.
That last part – adult interaction – that was the most important I think. You must remember, I was alone in a small dark apartment with two small children all day long. It was crucial that I had adults to “talk” to whenever I needed to.
Later that year, we moved to a new town where I knew only one person – someone I had met through blogs. She and I hit it off immediately. It wasn't really very surprising since I wouldn't have read the blog of someone I didn't think I'd like. She helped me adjust to this new town and showed me around a bit. She helped me find the local knitting groups and I started to make friends.
About this time, I started branching out in my blog reading. I started to read craft blogs and slowly they turned into, GASP, Mommy Blogs. I had always had a negative connotation of the Mommy Blogs in my head. I thought that they were places where parents would just gush about their kids who can do no wrong and talk about what great Moms they are. Either that or they would complain all the time about their kids and their life. I couldn't handle either extreme.
What I found though was so surprising and refreshing. There were the extremes and everything in between. I found women who loved being Moms, but admit that it's hard. I found women who would talk about poop and puke in one sentence and in the next about how there was nowhere they would rather be. I found that I understood these women and, more than that, they were encouraging me to be better. I found women being real.
I also found a community. And what a community it is. We have worked together, shared hopes and dreams and when one of our own fell from the sky, we all came together. There were auctions, benefit concerts, and Etsy sales. Bloggers made quilts, hats, and toys for her sweet children. The most important things offered though were prayers, hope, and love.
These women have become my friends. My attitude about mothering has changed because of them. There are homeschoolers, pubic schoolers, cloth diaperers, disposable users, sewers, knitters, crocheters, crafters & non-crafters. All of us combine to make a very unique group. We offer perspective, hope and challenge. We offer encouragement, love and gratitude. When there is a problem or question, we don't hesitate to ask about it on our blogs, knowing we will get a variety of ideas and answers. We find that all-important adult interaction that so many of us desperately need.
It gets lonely being the Mom sometimes. Sometimes it is frustrating and you feel as if you are the only one who is fighting with your toddler to eat, potty training your stubborn one, or crying in the night when you just don't know how best to help your child. You feel like you are the only one who has walked this toy strewn path. Knowing that there are others there who are doing it too gives strength. Reading about their challenges and laughing with them is more than a band-aid, it is a cure for your heart.
Blogging has been compared to inviting someone into your home and having a conversation with them. You get to have someone over for tea and you don't have to worry about the Legos and books all over the floor. You can have a meaningful interaction amidst peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and sticky hands. You can get ideas of activities to do with your children and inspiration of what to do with those long rainy/snowy/hot days when you can't go outside. You find out what works for other families and learn about new products that you might not have otherwise known about.
Does this mean that we no longer need flesh and blood friends? Not at all. I need both. It spurs dialogue for when we do get together. We talk about different ideas of things to blog and it strengthens those already existing relationships. I will often be talking with my girlfriends and something happens and we laugh about it being sure to “blog it”.
So why do I blog? I blog because I love to write. I blog to stay sane. I blog for friendship. I have found such an amazing community and I blog to be a part of that community – to make new friends and keep up with the old. I blog to document my life, to share my feelings hopes, fears, strengths and weaknesses. I blog because I love people. I love their stories and love to tell mine. I blog to remember the past and share my hopes for the future. I blog because I live.