Sunday, June 03, 2007

Groceries + Blogging = Empowered

HBM issued a challenge to her readers - to talk about being empowered.
I struggled with this concept for days. What does it mean and how have I been empowered?
I'm not HBM, or Motherhood Uncensored, or Dad Gone Mad. I don't have a zillion readers and I don't affect a million lives.
I've never made someone cry upon meeting them.
I've never blogged about my life choices, because as a married mother of one, I fit into the "norm".

But tonight I understood why blogging has indeed empowered me.

I was in the grocery store. I had a cart full of cleaning supplies (plus some jelly beans), I had a pissed off husband and a child screaming "bum bum" at the top of his lungs. It was not a shining Mommy moment. It was a typical Monday evening.

And then someone walked up to me and said "are you Laural?"

It turned out that she reads my blog. We'd never met. She recognized me from pictures, and she wanted to say hello. We chatted while I paid for groceries (Mike and Matt had gone to another store). We talked about getting together for wine and card making. It was just a friendly exchange. (Hi Kerry!)

And then it hit me - this is why blogging has empowered me. People accepting me for who I am - with my eccentricities and failures - has made me accept myself. That's something I would never have expected.

Prior to blogging I was struggling. I started blogging because I felt like despite how well all the pieces fit together, I felt out of place. I was too relaxed with my child. I was young(ish) and was tired of people assuming that it was therefore easy for me or that life was perfect.

Probably the worst parenting moment for me was when I was attending a playgroup that I enjoyed. Matt was about 9 months, not sleeping much, and really a difficult child. I was exhausted. We were having major financial struggles. And, I went to this playgroup, and said to someone "I'm just finding it all really hard right now."

Her response? "well, I'm 40. I have a toddler and I'm pregnant with my second. You young people have no clue what this is like."

Do you know what I did? I left that playgroup. Stunned. And I never returned. I felt powerless and immature.

For me, parenting was HARD.
I went through PPD, breastfeeding killed me, I weighed about 50 lbs more than I wanted to, we were broke, our marriage was suffering. And every time I tried to talk about it I got answers like "yeah, but at least you are married." or "your child is beautiful and so many have disabilities".
By the time my son was 18 months I felt like I should shut up and never complain.
Blogging showed me the opposite. Life is difficult. Talk about it. Blog about it. Ask for help. And BE HONEST!!!!

What I've learned - it's honesty that people respond to.

Am I the perfect mother? No. Not at all. But, you know, I like me. I love my son to death, and despite all my quirks and flaws and errors and downfalls, I'm not too bad at this parenting thing!

This is my response to this (though I can't go to Blogher - I just wanted to answer the question)


ali said...

it feels great to admit that you are a good parent, doesn't it?? :)

great post!

Her Bad Mother said...

I'm so glad that you wrote this, L. This really does sum it up.

SciFi Dad said...

You got recognized at the grocery store?!? That's awesome!

And I really liked this post. It was well-written and excellent.

Dad Gone Mad said...

For the record, I've never been recognized at the grocery store either. I guess that's a good thing because I'm usually there to buy flavored lube, cheap beer or breath mints.

sam said...

Yay Laural! Great post!!

That would feel great to be recognized!! I can't believe you ran into someone that reads your blog. So cool!

Mouse said...

That's definitely something I've gotten out of blogging--feeling not so alone, other people who will admit to parenting struggles, discovering that they don't make us bad parents.

And cool about being recognized!

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

That is really cool that someone approached you--knowing you from your blog!

That is a horrible thing that the woman said to you at your playgroup. That is one thing that I have learned as a parent that we can never criticize how someone else is feeling or dealing with a situation because every situation is so unique and everyone deals with things differently. Some people can cope really well with some things while others have a hard time and no one should be judgmental about that!

Kerry J. said...

It was great to meet you Laural! I love that you are so honest - it helps me look at myself in a different way.