The Internet is full of trolls and rampant negativity. At times it can feel that people are their worst selves online. And yet I have found a portion of the world wide web that has provided me with heaps of positivity. The community of blogs, particularly those in the crafty mom niche, have provided me with so much. I've learned how to knit and sew, I've found countless ideas for dinner and home decor, but more important than all this creative inspiration, are the connections I've made.
The wonderful thing about blogs are their personal nature. If you read a blog often enough, whether it's about food or fiber arts, you begin to feel as though you know the person whose writing it. And with that friendly connection your eyes are opened to a different way of seeing the world. As I began my journey as a parent I looked to blogs for inspiration and quite honestly, company. What I found was a wildly diverse set of mothers who taught me so much. Not just the best way to make strawberry jam, but that I wasn't as liberal and forward thinking as I fancied myself to be. Here are a few key ways that blogs helped me be a less judgmental person.
I am more supportive of homeschooling. I used to think that only weirdos that wanted to shelter their children from the real world homeschooled. I thought that their children lacked social skills. And ultimately I judged homeschooling as a parent's desire to control all aspects of their children's lives. These were harsh and unfounded criticisms that disappeared after "getting to know" a few homeschooling moms through their blogs. I have since learned that people choose to homeschool for all kinds of admirable reasons. And the work that homeschooling parents do is difficult and profound. Homeschooling is still not the right choice for my family, but I whole heartedly support the families who choose that path.
Boy, oh, boy, did I have some ridiculous prejudices before discovering the wonderful world of blogs.
I am more understanding of extended breastfeeding. My previous opinion about extended breastfeeding was anything but open-minded. I was honestly a little creeped out by mothers who chose to breastfeed until their children were old enough to ask for it. After reading several blog posts about why one would choose to breastfeed a toddler I have much deeper understanding of that choice. Instead of being judgmental, I have learned to be understanding. I'm not sure this change of heart would have occurred if I hadn't read those beautiful, touching, and personal posts.
I am more open minded about religious beliefs. Boy, oh, boy, did I have some ridiculous prejudices before discovering the wonderful world of blogs. I thought that Mormon women wore long denim skirts and lived to serve their husbands. And I assumed that all devout Christians were secretly determined to bring me into the fold. Of course I am exaggerating, but I never thought that I would share much in common with deeply religious women. I am so happy to have been proven wrong. Reading blogs has taught me that Mormon women are stylish and funny and ambitious in following their own dreams. Through blogs I have become friends with women of all different religious backgrounds and they have never once asked to follow their faith. While I remain a non-religious person, I no longer let that stop me from connecting and sharing with those who are faithful.