Why I’m Not a Mommy Blogger

When talking both about my writing and about things I’ve learned about parenting, I’ve had a few friends say to me, “OMG, you should be a mommy blogger!” I do love to talk about motherhood, including birth stories, nursing/feeding, sleep schedules and tricks, and the weird things that kids love to play with that are not toys. I’ve recommended tips, tricks, and products that my friends who are parents or parents-to-be have reported back on, saying, “this saved us! Thank you!”

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite from Pexels

But I am not going to become a parenting blogger. A few reasons:

  1. My kid has been (so far) pretty easy. I do not say this to brag, but really, in his whole 22 months of life, he has had maybe 4 weeks of really bad sleep. And with the exception of when he is teething, he eats like a champ and is pretty happy. We have some toddler meltdowns over here, but they really don’t seem like anything out of the ordinary, and once he lets it out, he’s back to playing happily. He has not yet faced any developmental issues, and he has been on track (if not well ahead of the curve) on growth milestones. I’m not saying he’s perfect by any means, but with the exception of the funny things he has started saying or doing, or the dumb parenting mistakes we’ve made (ahem, being smug about how easy your kid is? IDK), it’s not that interesting! He eats, he sleeps, he poops, he says funny things, he’s fine and pretty delightful! But what I’m more interested in writing about is how parents’ identities (especially moms’) change when they welcome a child into their lives, and the conflict there, not what I fed him for breakfast (oatmeal, for the 243rd morning in a row).
  2. I’m not a “stuff” person when it comes to my kid. This child outgrows things in mere weeks sometimes, so we tend to not buy him a lot if we can help it (hand-me-down clothes and toys have been our saving grace here). This is not to say I don’t like stuff. I am not immune to the high that comes with the perfect new pair of booties or the random kitchen gadget you didn’t know you couldn’t live without (that my husband makes great use of). But I can probably count on two hands the number of things that I felt were must-haves for my son in the past almost two years of his life. Will I maybe do a roundup of those things at some point? Sure, why not? But could I talk about a product or service I liked for my kid every week or even multiple times a week? Probably not, and I don’t want to force it, when there are so many people who are already good at it and who do it genuinely. But for those curious, I will say: Taking Cara Babies, Peanut changing pad, and maternity leggings worn well after your baby is born for those who hate nursing tanks but also dislike being cold.
  3. I want to write about other stuff. And not have to tie it back to being a mom somehow. When I’m writing, I first and foremost think of myself as a writer, as a person who tells stories and works through things with words. And sometimes, those stories are about my son, or I work through my complicated feelings about motherhood in my writing. But my writing has never been about one thing, and now that I’m a mom, I don’t want that to change. So while I have huge respect for the women who have carved out a niche for themselves in the parenting space (and I have benefited hugely from your recs and experiences!), that is likely never going to be me. I will write about being a mom, but I will also write about high school and college memories that I’m excavating and examining later in life and about the struggle to determine what exactly I want to do with this life I’ve been given. For some parenting bloggers, writing about this one, somewhat broad topic is so freeing and life-affirming. For me, it’s limiting. Both are OK.

So being a mommy blogger is not for me, despite being a writer who happens to be a mom. But bless the moms (and dads!) that can write about parenting and their kids every single day, when I can barely get out a post a week about whatever the hell it is I think about on a daily basis.

35

I am starting this blog one month and one week after I turned 35. I technically started it earlier in the year, but in my typical perfectionist/procrastinator fashion, revised and rewrote and backed out more times than I can count. But now, here we are. 

I didn’t think 35 would be a big deal, but as it approached, I realized that, to me, it really was. 

I had zero qualms about turning 30. Not because I had everything figured out or knew exactly what I wanted out of life. It was actually quite the opposite, and maybe that was just it. Everything was uncertain, up in the air, wide open. Scary, but freeing. 

My friends who were married with careers were terrified of leaving their 20s. We discussed over drinks, during weekends in our college town, with our coffee at work. Dreading turning 30, lamenting getting older and what that meant for our biological clocks, our careers, our metabolisms, our energy levels, our skin, our tolerance for cheap alcohol. 

But I didn’t feel that way at all.  I was on the edge of the cliff of the previous decade, ready to swan dive into maturity and new possibilities. At 29, I was a grad student without a job lined up yet. I had been dating someone (my now-husband) for a few months, and it seemed to be going well, but wedding bells weren’t ringing just yet. I was going to have a lot of debt from school, and kids were a long way off. I hadn’t really loved most of my 20s (another story for another day), so my 30s felt like a fresh start, a time to really become who I wanted to be. I had time, I told myself. We all did. 

But 35. Oh, 35 felt different. I’ve always been a late bloomer, and I now found myself where many of my friends had been at 30. I’m married, with a career and a kid and a house. I have really enjoyed my 30s for the most part, and now they’re halfway over? How could that be? I love my life, but sometimes I found myself looking around and wondering how I had gotten here. I felt lost and like I was running out of time – but for what I didn’t know.

I know that this existential crisis was (probably) not just about turning 35, but 35 really kicked it into high gear. I had always told myself I would make my way back to being creative, to writing, to something mission-driven, but I was working in health communications and PR, where the most writing I did was in responding to the 200-plus emails I received a day. Where I was so anxious and exhausted by day’s end that I could barely write a half page in my journal, let alone take on a creative project for myself. Where I felt all of my energy went to appeasing difficult clients and taking care of our toddler son. I was starting to feel stuck – after job hopping throughout my young adulthood, I finally had a career, but I was scared that if I kept going down this path, I might not be able to turn around. 

So, in the middle of a pandemic, four days after my 35th birthday, following countless breakdowns and weeks of crying (trying to split childcare with my husband while working 50-hour weeks was going great), along with many hours spent agonizing over it with my husband, friends, and family, I gave my two weeks notice. I had (and have) no plan, other than taking time to hang out with our son (and not just plopping-him-in-front-of-a-TV time so that I could attempt to work – thanks, COVID!) and figure out what I felt a little more called to do. While we are not a household that can exist on one income long-term (hello, living in DC and loads of student loan debt), I do realize that it’s a huge privilege that I can take this break at all, and I want to make the most of it. I want to actually feel like my taking a breather was not in vain, that I can find work I can see myself doing long-term, that 35 is not the dead end, the wall, the point of no return I felt it was. 

So here I am starting something new, giving myself a project and a means to thinking through my life and the world around me that isn’t just my hastily scribbled-in journal. An outlet to learn new skills and revive some old ones, to take my notes on what I observe, and turn them into something a little more cohesive while I figure out my next move as a new-ish 35 year old.