This is Happy Helmrath’s 100th post! I wanted to title it ‘”I got 99 problems but this post isn’t one,” but that barely made sense and has absolutely nothing to do with this post at all. How else am I supposed to commemorate 100 posts other than with nonsensical twists on top 40 hits? Anywho.
I read (and by read I mean “skim”) a LOT of blogs, and every so often something jumps out, grabs me by the throat, and yells, “PAY ATTENTION!”
Yesterday was one of those days. I was reading this post by Ali Edwards (I follow her mostly for the scrapbooking eye candy, but she also has some great posts about parenting and life in general) when I got to this line:
If we always waited for the end to tell a story we’d miss so much.
That line hit me like a Duplo to the face. Browsing through my own blog archives I can see great big holes where I’ve avoided writing about certain things: sleep training, the month-long battle with leaky cloth diapers at night, and, most glaringly obvious to me by its omission, my own struggle through the winter with anxiety, isolation, and finding myself again as Natalie moved out of the newborn phase, just to name a few.
I didn’t write about any of that because I was waiting for a resolution. I smoothed over the empty space with quick, throwaway updates once I was able to say, “this happened and it wasn’t great, but then we did this and it worked and it’s all better yay!”
(But on the flip side, I don’t want this blog to be a space where all I do is whine about how haaaaaard things are. That’s just not my style and no one wants to read that anyway.)
I’ve never looked back on anything I’ve written and said, “Hmm, I really wish I hadn’t told that story.” I have 99 posts from my first year as a mom and I’m SO glad that I do, because it helps me maintain a sense of perspective. We’ve encountered challenges, yes, and I love looking back at things that seemed completely insurmountable, but are now complete non-issues. Like…sleeping through the night. How OBSESSED was I with Natalie’s sleep? What parent isn’t? And now that she’s been sleeping for 11 hours in a row for more than a month, it doesn’t even register as something worth writing about.
But I want to do more. I want to write through the tough stuff, the happy stuff, and everything in between. I don’t want to be afraid of some drive-by commenter telling me that I’m ruining my child by doing whatever it is that we’re doing.
And maybe that means more private writing. Not everything needs to be posted on the internet, and trust me, I have VERY clear lines about what I will and won’t write about. I’ve started (for probably the 400th time in my life) writing in a journal before I go to bed at night, and it’s a little bit like releasing a pressure valve in my head. Even if it’s just a few paragraphs about what we did that day, it feels good to get something on the page.
This is exactly the kind of post that I’m tempted to delete and replace with something funny about Natalie’s crazy hair. I’m uncomfortable with writing about being in the middle of things, because, well, I don’t like not having all the answers. Does anyone, really? If you do, can I please have your phone number? That would really be handy.
Writing in a public space is tricky, particularly about parenting. EVERYONE has an opinion and no matter what you do….ur doin it wrong.
At least I haven’t done that.