Friday, September 3, 2010

Get a blog!

(Reading with Harrison, January 2010)

Most nights, my husband and I settle into our evening ritual. After our 18-month old baby has gone to sleep and the dinner dishes are drying, he takes command of our only remote and flips through the channels. I curl up on the couch opposite his chair and reach out into the blogosphere.

While Aaron is certainly an amazing husband and father, who listens carefully as I detail the giggles, meltdowns and massive poops that dominate my day with our son, it is to these bloggers I turn for amusement, camaraderie and information.

Since leaving my full-time job to be a full-time mother, my real world has become increasingly small. I used to read blogs as a brief escape from my desk job, but I had plenty of personal interaction with co-workers and friends. Now, as I’ve tailor my days to accommodate naps, meals and playtimes, blogs increasingly have become my lifeline to the outside world. I’ve realized babies aren’t really conducive to a healthy dose of daily adult interaction.

Stating this makes me a touch sad…. Before the Internet and blogs, people were more likely to talk to each other – at the supermarket, at the park, at the library. I remember my own mother being social in the checkout line at market. I met my first group of girlfriends when I was three years old because our respective mothers became friends at the library playgroup. Now, I watch as many mothers furiously tap on their handhelds, while pushing a stroller or oftentimes ignoring a screaming child, never mind interacting with me. I’m just as much at fault here. Eye contact can be much harder than enduring BlackBerry thumb.

So while blogs are being blamed for the demise of traditional journalism (i.e., newspapers, network news, cable news networks, etc.), it’s the demise of human interaction that is more unsettling to me. Instead of discussing in person, picking up the phone or, God forbid, writing a letter, more and more people are blogging about their experiences and throwing them out into the world for anyone to read – doesn’t matter if those readers know the author or not.

At the same time, I’ve turned to blogs to bridge a void in my life. As a new mother, I felt every emotion imaginable, including ones I didn’t want to say aloud. I searched on line and found countless mothers – bloggers – who were feeling what I was. I discovered mothers who also cried every day despite their perfectly healthy, much-wanted and adored babies. I read about women who felt like their identities had been stripped away when they gave birth. I read blogs about mothers questioning their decisions to stay at home full-time with their children and how they transitioned to this new role.

Any of these issues I could have broached with the real women in my life. But I was scared. I was embarrassed. I couldn’t even verbalize some of the feelings I was having. But those blogs helped me get through those early months of being a new mother. Even though I had never met any of the bloggers I followed – never even posted a comment (gasp!) – they felt like they had become “friends” to me.

The writing isn’t always the best at these blogs. And as a former editor, the grammatical and punctuation errors that abound make that crease between my eyes grow ever deeper. But I’m not seeking perfection – and I would venture to guess that their other blog followers aren’t looking for Pulitzer-prize winning writing either. What we’re searching for is a voice that is similar to our own – a voice that speaks to us like a friend would.

And sometimes, after a day of chasing Cheerios and reading “Goodnight Moon” yet again, it’s comforting to read a post by someone who knows exactly what you’re feeling.

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