At the age of 21, I went from being a single, fun-loving, do what I want when I want kind of girl to an Active duty military wife and mother of a newborn. Oh yeah. You read that correct- marriage and motherhood in one year. Marrying into the military meant a move…a BIG move to somewhere I had never been; somewhere that would take me 450 miles from my mother, my family and all of the people I called friends. And it was here in this new place that I would have to make my own way, discover my own maternal instincts and figure out how to raise my newborn son.
I’m proud to say that I learned a lot from what I know, through blogging.
Yeah, yeah, I know. There is this huge hype right now about how “inappropriate” mommy blogging is and how we “mom bloggers” spend all day on the computer being bloggers instead of parenting our children. While I cannot speak for other mommy bloggers out there, I can speak for myself and state that the supposed and completely inaccurate assumptions do not apply to me.
Let’s look at it from this perspective. Say I had been at home, nestled in the quiet little countryside of Southeastern Alabama where I grew up. Say that I had given birth to my son there, with all of our family around instead of 450 miles away at a very large and sophisticated Magnet Hospital with entire wings and floors devoted to each medical specialty (I worked in the medical field for two years. Please overlook any medical jargon). Had that been the circumstance I was in, I would have turned to my friends and family at home to give me parenting advice and listen to me whine and cry about how bad I was at motherhood in the initial months of parenting.
But that wasn’t the case.
There were no friends living next door; no parents or grandparents within 10 minute driving distance. It was just me and a baby…and thousands of other women who were dealing with the same things that I was dealing with.
My blogging “career” really began in college. Back when MySpace was the cool thing and they offered a teeny tiny little space above the “About Me” box where you could write to your heart’s desire. Then, in late 2008, a friend from church turned me on to blogger- this big, huge online journal where I could say what I wanted and keep record of my thoughts. So that’s what I did. When our son was born, I turned to blogger to keep our families and friends back home posted on what he was doing, how much he weighed, and it was the place where I uploaded current photos so that the Grandparents didn’t feel as if they were missing as much of his life as they really were.
Then, when the colic and the teething set in, my blog turned into something more. It turned into a haven-a place where I could just be me for a little while. It was somewhere that I could let out my anxiety, my worries, my fears, and my excitement without feeling like I was alone. I slowly began to discover other mom blogs and found that I wasn’t alone in everything. I wasn’t the only mom out there attempting to successfully raise a newborn with no one else around. My husband and I weren’t the only military parents who were stationed away from home that had just given birth to a child and had no ideas on how to deal with some of the everyday baby issues.
I’ve been a mommy blogger for a little over two years now. And there is a lot that has changed. When I got started, there were very few “professional bloggers” and I had never even seen a Proctor & Gamble ad on a website, much less on a blog. The rules have changed and so have the players. There are mommy bloggers now who are bringing in a steady income from writing about their children and letting the world in on their lives. There are mommy bloggers who turn their homemade recipes into NY Times Bestselling cookbooks. And they all got their start from blogging.
So my question is the same as that of many, many others: When do we reach the point where mommy blogging actually begins to take away from our “mommy-ing?”
Again, while I cannot speak for other bloggers, I know what works for me. It’s about scheduling, prioritizing and making time for what matters the most to you. I consider myself to be a semi-professional blogger and a semi-professional photographer on the side. I sell prints online through Etsy; I offer advertising opportunities and do product giveaways on my blog. The income I bring in through these two markets is not much, and definitely would not be considered a steady income, but it’s there. And most of it goes into savings.
I have a very detailed schedule that just seems to work for me. I am a wife and mother over everything else. My husband and our son come first no matter what else needs to be done. Blogging and photography are two hobbies that enjoy thoroughly. I have always been a creative mind and these two passions allow me to pursue and practice my creativity whenever I please. To me, blogging is no different than painting or running or whatever else there may be that someone enjoys. It is an outlet.
To make sure that I keep things in order, I have designated blogging time. This usually falls during the times that my son is napping, watching his TV shows, or when he’s in bed at night. Over the past nearly 7 months, I have had a little bit more blogging time because of my husband’s absence for school, so I blog a lot at night, usually late, when our son is asleep. However, when my husband was home, my time varied depending on what we had planned. Sometimes he had work or studying and I would blog beside him on the couch. Or if we were having one of our movie date nights, the computer would sit silently on the desk and no writing would be done.
I also use my “me” time to write and schedule posts for future use. Most everything that goes up on my blog is written a good three or four days before it’s actually posted. I keep a notebook in my purse all the time and when an idea comes to me, I take it out and jot it down. It isn’t as though I spend all day every single day on the computer just hoping that I can come up with something to write about. If I am low or completely empty on creative juices, then I don’t post. I also reach out to other women often to guest post so that I can take a little blogging vacation if I need to.
Mommy Blogging doesn’t have to be either or. You can have your cake and eat it, too. It’s just a matter of prioritizing, organizing and keeping your life in order. Next time I’ll touch on the debates of blogging content and how social media and networking can affect our children later in life.