The year is 2010. The scene: my kitchen, where I am bouncing my baby on my hip while I wait for the coffee to brew and answer questions from my toddler about her breakfast.
Yes, you can have a waffle. No, it’s not the kind with the weird seeds. Yes, I will cut up you some strawberries. No, we can’t go to gymnastics right now, maybe later. No, we aren’t getting out the Play-Doh right now … just let Mama drink her coffee, please, child.
I am firmly, deeply, and, I admit, rather depressingly, in the trenches of early motherhood with my two under 2. After my second daughter is born, I spend most of my time crying through her colic, desperately hoping for a nap, and slogging through my night shifts as a nurse, wanting just to survive each day. I am, overall, not happy — struggling to enjoy my children and desperate for something to change in my life to help me see the light again.
And then, something does change: I decide to start a blog.
I’m a little behind the times, but not by much, and I quickly join the ranks of “mommy bloggers,” spending precious snatched moments between diaper changes and nap times typing away on my computer, connecting with other bloggers and navigating the new worlds of social media.
Before I know it, I am literally plugged into an entirely whole new world. I feel like I have purpose. I start making money. I have people reading my words, reaching out to me to thank me for sharing my stories, other bloggers connecting with me that I feel can be real friends.
The moments that used to weigh me down and make me feel like I was drowning — like the time my daughter had such a bad stomach bug she trailed poop through the entire house and I had to scrub it out of her actual eyebrows or the time I wore my pants backwards to an important meeting or the days I could nothing done but hold my baby — suddenly felt like they had a bigger purpose: I could share them and get immediate gratification and validation and “likes” that made me feel like I was not alone.
I was doing what I had always done as a mom, but thanks to my blog and the eventual writing career it led to, I also had something that felt like it had given me my light back.
Moms of my generation are pioneers in a way, and I had to learn to cope with the tools and resources I had available.
For a long time, I was almost ashamed of my mommy blogging past, especially after an article went viral that essentially blasted women like me who have shared about their families and children on the internet. I admit that reading a piece like that, along with my own personal hesitations I have had over the years, made me feel a wave of shame and guilt.
Did I exploit my children for a few measly dollars? Have I ruined them irrevocably? Will they hate me when they realize that I wrote about them and posted pictures of them?
The truth is, I may never have the answers to those questions, but what I have realized is this: I did the best I could back then with the limited resources I had.
Like a lot of millennial mothers, I was gobsmacked by how hard motherhood was and I struggled with how to make it work without the support system that many early generations had. Moms of my generation are pioneers in a way, and I had to learn to cope with the tools and resources I had available.
For me, blogging, writing and connecting online saved me and helped me survive those early days. And when I think about it, that’s really not something I can apologize for. Sure, I have regrets, and undoubtedly I made mistakes, but when I think back to that lost, weeping mom on the verge of depression, I just can’t judge her.
These days, with older children and the bubble of “mommy blogging” somewhat deflated, I just don’t need social media and the outlet of blogging like I used to. I am not the lost, lonely mother that I once was — but that doesn’t mean I'm sorry for doing what I had to do to survive my early days.