Thursday, June 17, 2010

What It Is To Me.

**Special thanks to Allison from O My Family for today's guest post.  Allison and I also met at CBC, but we had been tweeting and reading each other's blogs for a while before.  We hit it off immediately and really bonded in a Karoke Bar while having a deep theological discussion.  She is a gem as I am sure you will find for yourself.

The mom-blogosphere is a lot of things to a lot of people. For some it is an outlet, others it's a way of connecting socially, or a record of your family's life, to some it's all a popularity contest, or perhaps it makes them money as their small business... I've even seen it described as "dull daily diaries of the uninspired". (In case you were concerned, yes, I resisted the urge to hurt the person who called it that. But it was close.)

For me, this blogging culture has helped me become a better person and mother because it has connected me with women who inspire me to do so.

It's interesting, this phenomenon of sharing our lives on the interwebs, because really we are more apt to blog about the awesome trip to the children's bookstore than the feud we had with our husbands last night over the price of professional family portraits (I mean, hypothetically speaking). Even on my blog, where I am very open about how difficult it has been to be a brand new mom struggling with postpartum depression, it's hard not to paint our lives in a skewed way. There will be 4 or 5 happy posts filled with pictures of my smiling son, and then one here and there about my battles. Many blogs are the same way. Some could look at that and say that we're all just putting on airs and pretending like we burp butterflies, and maybe that's true. But I see great benefit in sharing the good stuff:

It encourages me to foster good stuff in my own life.

Seeing another blogger share how she makes her own homemade cleaning agents and soap inspired me to clean up my own cleaning act (although admittedly I do not have the kind of time or domesticocity that is required to make my own; I just buy better stuff now. Baby steps, y'all).

Baby wearing is a huge one for me because I frankly wouldn't have even known of it's existence if it weren't for some wonderful bloggers out there, including Kim, Mrs. Prairie Mama herself. Her video tutorials and frequent discussion of the ins and outs of babywearing on her blog made someone who lives over 1,000 miles away feel more comfortable strapping her first-born baby on in a ring sling and going against the stroller trend. I am so immensely thankful. Knowing that I could wear my baby and how to do so easily has made me a happier mother; I can't imagine raising my baby any other way.
Another way that my blogging experience has improved our lifestyle is the bottomless amount of information available on cloth diapering. If you cloth diaper you have undoubtedly faced at least one nay-sayer along the way. One person who thinks you're nuts-O for throwing out all the "progress" available to us in disposable diapers. (This is the part where I restrain myself from going on an all-out lecture about what's really nuts-O about diapering these days. ::ahem::) Similar to babywearing, when our family decided to go against the grain and do cloth diapering, we did so because we felt comfortable with the amount of support and information available to us on the internet, much of it in blogs. Just last week I used twitter to talk to Kim about good laundry soap to use now that we are in the solid-foods stage (ifyouknowwhatImean).
Blogging and reading others' blogs has opened my eyes to supporting handmade items with my purchases. While I am still learning to do this affordably and more thoroughly, I have begun to be intentional about buying handmade when it is appropriate for our family. Seeing the beautiful and useful items that many bloggers make themselves (like these ring-sling beauties) has helped me along that path. I believe that where I decide to spend my money matters and the culture of the blogosphere has helped me make more informed decisions.

While I am still completely open to my son weaning when he would like, the sheer amount of support for breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding in the mom-blogosphere has spurred me on to want to nurse longer than I otherwise would have. Seeing beautiful, intentional mothers so passionate about the good that comes from nursing well past the first birthday makes me want that good for our little family.
Are you starting to see a trend here? I have learned that "lead by example" does not only apply to face-to-face examples. Our family has quite directly been impacted for the better because women took the time to share what works for their families on their blogs. Isn't that amazing? Because I can see first-hand the positive results of sharing the good stuff of our lives on blogs, I make it a point to do so on my own. While you won't find me frolicking barefoot through the forest being serenaded by robins (I live in a city of over 300,000 people without a forest in sight), you can find me talking about my positive birth experiences, taking my son on 8 flights in 10 months, and having a natural view of baby-led weaning.

I do not share those things on my blog because, Hello! Look at how awesome I am!, but I share them because perhaps just one person will stumble upon a post about what has made life better for our family, and it will do the same for theirs.

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