To all the moms that blog, and more
I began blogging almost accidentally. I had never planned to keep an online record of life with WonderBaby; in the early weeks of our life together, I was pretty preoccupied by the incredible challenge of pulling that life together. My psychiatrist had suggested keeping a diary as a way to sort through my thoughts on and experiences of new motherhood, but I had dismissed this as a fantastic suggestion for a brand new mother. All of my literary energies were devoted to reading the same pages of What To Expect The First Year over and over and over again, hoping for some hidden insight to leap off of the page at me and reveal the secret of How to Keep Your New Mother Shit Together, and to recording the details of every last spit, shit and nursing session in a little notebook that was dedicated to these subjects. I did spend a lot of time on-line, but that time was spent clicking back and forth between kellymom.com (why is baby spitting up with the force and volume of Linda Blair? why does breastfeeding hurt so much? is new motherhood going to kill me?) and askdrsears.com (co-sleeping is okay, right? I'm not messing up baby forever, right? immediate crib sleeping isn't necessary to avoiding Electra complexes, right? right?) and googling “nipples falling off breastfeeding ouch.”
I had never heard of a mommy blog. I did not know who Dooce was. If you had said to me, 'go read Dooce,' I would have boggled at you and wondered who in their right mind looks for enlightenment on feminine hygeine product packaging.
(Then again, if someone had told me that reading Dooce would reveal the secrets of surviving motherhood, the knowledge of which I craved with the desperation of a dehydrated hippo, I would have been camped out in the feminine products aisle of the local pharmacy scrutinizing every last Summer's Eve box and the Monistat boxes just for good measure.
But I digress.)
One day, during a google search on “extreme baby gas help,” I noticed a link to a page that I hadn’t seen before. Amidst all of the links to pages advertising Gerber Gas Drops and gripe water, there was a link to something called JezeWhiz, where somebody was saying something about the gas my god the gas what is UP with the baby gas thank god I had the foresight to stock up on gas drops. Intrigued, I followed that link, and in doing so, tumbled down a virtual rabbit hole, and arrived in the mommy blogosphere. And my life changed.
The page that I had arrived at was Jezer’s blog. And the first words of hers that I read, referring to the challenge of a new baby, were, “this gig is hard, dudes.”
I may have gasped audibly. Somebody else knows. SOMEBODY ELSE KNOWS.
In an instant, I realized that I was not alone. I spent the next hour - hours - reading through her wonderful blog, laughing and wincing and nodding and goggling at the pictures of her adorable baby boy. (Go look! You will hyperventilate from the adorableness!) Then I started following her links. I linked to Amalah, and discovered another new mother who was babbling hysterically, brilliantly, about having a new baby and making with the funny my god the funny. And then I followed another link, and discovered that Dooce was not a feminine hygiene product. And then I linked to another blog, and another, and another.
I was totally sucked in.
Women – and men, and men and women – were writing about having babies. They were writing about how hard and amazing and exhilarating and painful and awe-inspiring and crazy-making and wonderful it is to have babies. (Okay, sorry, I cannot even begin to sort out the potential linkages for the preceding sentence. And? Baby on tit. So here's a game for you: check out my sidebar links, read some relevant posts at those blogs and then take that sentence and play Match The Adjective To The Post. And when you run out of adjectives, make up your own.) And their voices sounded like my own. They sounded like me. Scared like me, amazed like me, bemused like me. Determined to suck every moment – good and bad – out of every day with the new little beings that had changed their lives. Like me.
So I started my own blog. I called it 'the first days of the rest of my life.' It was just going to be an online diary. I hadn’t yet discovered comments or inter-blog communication; I was writing just for me and for WonderBaby and for the Husband and for friends and family. But when, during one of my daily visits to Jezer’s blog, I realized that I could comment on her posts – on anyone’s posts – the rabbit hole opened up even further. And when she came to my site and left a comment on one of my posts, I landed at the bottom of that hole and recognized this whole new world for what it is: a place to not only find joy and solace in one’s own words, but to find those things in the words of others.
And although Jezer was the first (thank you, Jezer!), there are so many others that I don't even know where to begin - or end - in singing their - your - praises. So I'm not going to start. I can't. I can't do each of you justice in one short post and I would almost certainly forget somebody and then I would wake up in the middle of the night tonight in a fit of guilt and self-loathing. You know who you are; I visit you whenever I can and when I'm done laughing or crying or gasping or nodding my head so vigorously that my teeth rattle over what you've written, I tell you so. (And if it's not every post, it's not that I'm not reading; sometimes I have to play catch-up.) You all make a huge difference in my life as a new mother. An extraordinary difference.
KoolAid Moms, I salute you.
(And KoolAid Dads and KoolAid Friends, I salute you too. For helping us all to be the super-crazy-hip-awesome moms that we are)
Speaking of which, of whom... I lied when I said above that I can't single anyone out (Carol-Kane-in-Princess-Bride-voice: Liar! LIE-urrrrr!) . I do have to do a teeny bit of singling out. Not because these blogs are any more special than all of the others that I simply do not have the time and space to appropriately fête here, but because I want to single out a particular type of mommy/mom/mama blogger for celebration: the mama-blogger who blogs as part of her parent team, with her husband/partner. The mother who not only puts her life as a mother on the screen, but her life as a wife, friend and lover on that screen as well.
We all, to some extent, share our marriages and partnerships through our blogs. But the shared parent blogs do something really special with what and in what they share: they put the marital and parental partnership right up there on the screen to inspire and reassure. They celebrate, daily, the love and collaboration and struggle and love that define the extraordinary work that is Mom-and-Dad. So, Wood? Thank you for sharing your life as a mother and as a wife/partner/friend with us all, and for doing so so articulately and honestly and with such good humour. For showing us what love really looks like from all sides, so that we can see ourselves in that love, or aspire to that love. And Mo-Wo? Thanks for putting the struggles and triumphs of motherhood and pregnancy and womanhood firmly within the context of shared struggle and triumph, within the context of family.
Thank you both for standing up alongside your husbands and proclaiming loudly that you have your own unique powerful, beautiful voices as mothers, as women and as writers, and for demonstrating that those voices ring all the more powerfully when raised in concert with the voices of your men.
So there you have it. One small contribution to what I hope will be - what is shaping up to be - the Biggest MommyBlogger Group Hug Ever. Keep posting, and sending me your links.
Word to you mothers...