Friday, January 24, 2020

New Year, Who Dis

Oh, this neglected blog. I hate writing about writing. I don't even really love reading about writing, although maybe it is very good advice Anne Lamott gives about writing a shitty first draft, and sort of fascinating to know what pieces Stephen King considers vital to his writing toolkit.

The meta aspect to writing about writing just bugs me. It tends too navel-gazy for me, I guess. Don't write about whether you're writing. Just write. Or don't.

And lately I've been falling in the don't.

January started with my job transition (let's call it... tricky). It's had some lows (week one was rough) and some highs (oh yeah... these are the things I thought I'd like and I do like them). I got an important reminder yesterday that emotions often feel like they are going to last forever even when we know logically that they won't... that times of transition feel never ending but they aren't... that life is full of options even when I can't see them clearly from this vantage point.

That sounds like I'm all optimistic and great-attitudey about things, which... do you even KNOW me? I am not exactly those things, though it is my nature to problem solve rather than problem dwell.

I was recently listening to this podcast about whether to put kids on social media and why we post on social media at all. It's a conversation that doesn't really interest me, as my social media settings are private and I share often for the Chatbooks record which is at present (and possibly forever) my only form of printed record keeping (sidenote: will someone for the love of God let me know when Shutterfly does their free extra pages photo book offer?)), but it came on automatically when another podcast ended and I was driving in the snow and needed my hands at 10 and 2 so I just listened. Anyway, the discussion included the way moms quit writing/blogging about their kids at a certain age (7-10ish) because the kids need more privacy and "it's not my story to tell." The caveat to that is that, of course, it IS the mom's story, too. All these shared stories, all these experiences that we want to put out in the world but we feel vulnerable and fearful of judgment.

As much as I thought I wasn't interested in the conversation, I found myself nodding along. I could put really personal feelings out on the internet when it's about grieving Eliza because those are my feelings and I don't require approval of someone else when it comes to grief. I am not nearly as confident when it comes to parenting living kids. Honestly, I WANT people to tell me I'm doing a good job. And when I fear that I'm not doing a good job, or my child's behavior is baffling (read: bratty), it's harder to brush off commentary. Even when it's a choice I feel confident in (like talking frankly and honestly to my kids about the biology of baby making), criticism feels exponentially painful when it's about my parenting. My tiny corner of the internet doesn't attract a lot of randos and I've mostly been spared rude commentary (Although a few have wormed their way in... Howdy, there, Anonymous!). But I still fear judgment, even though I'm sure the worst things people would say are the very things I've already thought myself.

And of course it's hilarious to think writing about writing is navel-gazy when writing a blog is... exactly that? Let's just word vomit into the internet and see if someone shows up to read it. But then again I won't really know! Because commenting is so hard on a phone! And I turn on approval-only comments to avoid the spam but then I forget to check for comments! So the reassurance or conversation or--occasionally--thoughtful disagreement that invites careful reconsideration of a previously held assumption is kind of lost.

But I'm reluctant to shutter this blog. Even though it's no longer serving its original purpose, and I'm not sure what I want its new purpose to be. It's not the scrapbook of our lives the way I envisioned it when I first began writing over ten years ago. It's no longer the grief journal and point of connection that I so desperately needed after Eliza died. And it's not the baby book document of sorts that it sometimes functioned as after Zuzu and Coco were born.

I know there are some folks still reading (more than I expected, honestly!) and I love that so much. I just wonder what it is that I want to say, although I find myself wanting to write and itching to say things and wondering what's the best medium or forum or is there even an audience for that? Do I need to save my energy and submit things for publication? Should I be writing private emails to my daughters instead of public blog posts? What am I trying to say or do here? Should I write a monthly newsletter? (I mean, a lot of cool kids are doing it.)

Ugh. Shut up. Nobody wants to read about your blog's existential crisis.

Which is how I end up not posting at all.

Well, that and the fact that I have a needy baby and a full time job and three kids going three different places on any given day and also I want to do some other things like finish my book for book club and go to dinner with friends and plot to dismantle the patriarchy.

How do we find the time?

Posting this before I decide not to, and promising to return with more musings... whatever 2020 brings, this little blog has been such a bright spot in my life and I'm so grateful for it being what I needed when I needed it.

Now, here are some things I want to evangelize:

I'm reading Amor Towles A Gentleman in Moscow and loving it. I'm listening to Dolly Parton's America, which is the best podcast. I'm watching The Morning Show on Apple TV. And I'm 24 days into Yoga With Adriene's January 2020 series "Home" and it's probably the best thing I'm doing for myself this year so far.


  1. Free extra pages now thru Sunday on Shutterfly. I'm finally buying 6 books. So behind.

  2. If you've got things you're itching to write about, this random San Francisco mom would love to read anything you have to say. I care that you exist. I love that somewhere back in my beloved Midwest, there's a woman just a little older than me who's been through hell and came out of it with hope, wisdom, anger, and a sense of humor (though acid-black at times). I love that you too have complicated feelings about being a working mom, but ultimately know that you're happier striving for your career. I love that your humor comes out in almost every post, even about the most banal things.

    Don't write just to please your fanbase (LOL), but don't hold back because you're worried about being uninteresting!

  3. I was just thinking the other day how I wonder if I should still be blogging about my older kids because of their ages. My oldest is 13, then I have the 10yo, then my little ones are 4 and 1. But I LIKE blogging about them because I can ask what their favorite thing we did on that day was and get their opinion and they can look back on it later. I never post anything that's TMI or something that would embarrass them (I even try not to post about negative things so I'll forget them lol), but I agree that it's still your story as a mom. You are still raising them and I guess when they move out, you can write about your at-home kids with the occasional update on the moved-out ones. I even worry what will happen to all my entries if google ever shuts down! I think it's your blog and you do what you want. It's not going to hurt your kids feelings to write about a bad day of brattiness. TBH, the blog is like keeping all your memories as well as so much baby book info in one convenient place.

  4. Oh, this post! I've had the same feelings about blogging lately. Partly, I'm too busy. Also, now that I am out of the habit, every time I want to write something, I question why I feel the need to post it and what purpose it serves. I do love interacting with my few readers though!
    I just checked out "A Gentleman in Moscow" from the library though haven't read it because I am crying my way through "The Bright Hour."
    And I've been doing Yoga With Adrienne as well. Basically, we're sharing a brain.

  5. I've been a frequent reader, rare commentor on your blog for 10 years. Please, please, please dont stop writing. It would feel like loosing a friend lol.

  6. This blog has been a bright spot for me, too! I appreciate your voice and hope your continue to share it!

  7. Adding my voice as a random UK mum, although I actually started reading your blog many, many years ago when I was bored at work and blogspot had the feature to click on 'next blog' (not sure if it still does!) and I found yours and stopped clicking. Your writing is wonderful and the stories and ideas you talk about are interesting and powerful and also shot through with humour. The internet/social media is a weird thing and I completely understand the concerns around sharing stuff about your children as they get older (I feel it too, about sharing photos and stories about my son on Facebook - at the moment I still do it but I can see there will come a time when it feels more wrong than right, if that makes sense?) but honestly I would happily read your writing about anything (even writing about writing 😁).

  8. I have no idea how I'm still blogging, 12 years after starting my blog -- which was already 6 years after stopping infertility treatments & 9 years after Katie's stillbirth. I think part of the reason I felt the need to start a blog was that that big 10-year anniversary was looming large on the horizon and I recognized I needed a(nother) outlet to work through the ongoing grief of being an involuntarily childless mother. I don't blog exclusively on those topics anymore (if I ever did?) -- I do a lot of book reviews these days, for one thing. ;) I figure it's my space & I'll do what I want with it, and if people like reading it, that's great. I go through the occasional dry spell where I have absolutely no inspiration to write, but it always passes (at least it has so far). I will add my voice to the others above: I understand why you might feel less comfortable or inclined to write about your girls as they get older, but I love your blog and your writing, and I sure would miss you here if you ever stopped, even if we're in touch elsewhere. :)