Welcome to this month's Wednesdays with Wendy post!
The Mommy Blogger Label
by Wendy Bradford
Because some of you, after our initial introduction, have expressed interest in knowing more about me. Or more precisely, have asked, "Oh good grief, what is it with this girl?" I look forward to getting to know each other better.
I am, what you may have heard referenced in air quotes before, a mommy blogger. Or a "mommy blogger."
I completely understand the aversion many bloggers have to being called a "mommy blogger," and the discomfort that comes with labels of any kind. For some people.
I, surprisingly, am happy to wear labels. In fact, I have so many that my labels sometimes wear labels: twin mom, stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom, screaming mom, obsessive-compulsive mom, cheap wine lover, home-hair-color addict, failed spin instructor, caffeinated crazy lady. And the one I like to use to introduce myself: bad Jew.
Of all these, I am proudest and most pleased to be among the "mommy bloggers" that I know and admire. And the ones I don't know, but stalk relentlessly.
You see, before sticking this label to my tattered J.Crew tee shirt, I was mostly well-educated-becoming-very-depressed-mom. And that's a long label to wear across my chest every day.
I had left my job as an editor of a financial services magazine when my oldest was born. I then had three kids in two years. I told myself I'd go back to the one thing I've always loved to do--writing. But that didn't happen. Because it's easier not to do something than it is to face the possibilities--unknown, fantastic, terrifying--of something new.
I spent a great deal of time perfecting my skills during the first few years of my children's lives. Not my writing skills. But my skills at talking about writing, about not writing, about other people's writing. I went to therapy regularly and enthusiastically. And I spoke mostly about my shame and despair at not writing. For hours, for months, for years. The only writing I was doing was on very big checks to therapists.
I spoke longingly and endlessly (you may be sensing that just about now!) about writing poetry and fiction again. And I was becoming more miserable as a mother, a wife, and a woman.
And then a few interesting events took place in our lives--we moved back to Manhattan; I searched for writing groups; we discovered bed bugs.
These events were, clearly, a mix of good and bad.
The move back to my favorite city? Good. The writing group search? Well, my first attempt landed me among some very kind but aging poets. There was a significant number of wrapped hard candies exchanging hands at my first meeting.
And the bed bugs? Bad, bad, bad, bad, OH GOD SO BAD. But also good. The drafts I'd been writing for this "blog" I was going to start seemed less scary as I faced the months-long process of washing, drying, bagging every item we owned.
One night, alone after the kids were asleep, my husband still at work, I took stock of the situation. Our belongings were in garbage bags lining our new, barely affordable apartment. The timeframe for getting our home back to normal was unknown. A glass of wine in front of me, lap top open on the couch next to me, I wrote so that I wouldn't run. And I hit the publish button on my Wordpress.com site. I finally felt I had nothing to lose.
Beyond the rewards and frustration of writing again (and there are many of both), lay a community I couldn't have anticipated. The bloggers I know (and stalk) are authors, entrepreneurs, working parents, single parents, actors, playwrights, travel experts, military spouses, and full-time green-living moms and dads. Every one has taken a chance on something new, something scary. As with parenting itself, we learn on the job.
This is something about me. I came back to what I always wanted to be--imperfectly, unexpectedly, gratefully, and always surrounded by my self-doubt. This is my most fitting label.
Please share your own accomplishments and goals in the comments. I'd love to get to know you better.