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)