Life with kids is…special. It is hard, it is tiring, and it is crazy in ways I would never have imagined 17 years ago. I don’t know if my strangeness was inherited by my children, if it is a result of “nurture” and they pick up the weirdness from our environment, or if kids are just inherently odd. Likely, it is a fun combination of all of the above. I have caught myself saying things that no one should ever have to say. “Please stop coloring your nipples with that sharpie marker and finish your homework!” for example, or “Who drew this picture of a butt on the baby’s butt?”
In the course of my 17 year parenting career, I have read dozens of parenting magazines, What to Expect When You’re Expecting books, child development textbooks, and mommy blogs. It is only the latter, and only recently, that the authors ever “got real” about parenting. All the books and magazines prepared me for how to pack a labor go-bag, explained the physical changes during pregnancy and the developmental milestones of babies, and gave me Pinterest-worthy toddler craft-time ideas. No one ever explained what to do when my 5 year old sticks a Lego head up his nose, or how to mitigate the damage when my 3 year old loudly explains to his new friends at the library how Daddy likes to wrestle Mommy in the nude, complete with descriptions of body hair and funny sounds.
To that end, I decided it might be fun to write a themed blog post every once in a while addressing the humorous but weird side of child rearing. This morning, I was inspired by my four year old daughter. She proudly exclaimed that she had drawn me a picture. The conversation went like this:
H: Hey, Mom! I drew you a beautiful picture. Guess what it is?
Me: Ah…people in bunny ears dancing around a big…um? With a bunch of smaller…uh…heheheh…
“Those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it. I don’t know all the keys to success, but one key to failure is to try to please everyone.” -Rick Warren
I’m really getting into this, guys! Maybe because right now I am using it as a glorified diary. That isn’t what I intend it to be, at least not forever, but it is helping me get off the ground. If you read my last entry about fear, then you know I started this blog partly to function as training wheels for my writing. I spent too long thinking about writing, not enough time actually doing the writing, and had worked myself into a good (un)healthy fear of trying. I’ll let you in on a secret. This isn’t my first time. At one point my husband bought me a domain, I had a nifty website, and for a short time I blogged. Like most of my pet projects, I was super stoked for a little while, and then I wandered away. I guess at some point the hubs stopped paying for my hosting and now maybe mayasmind is floating about in the internet ether. So, here I am again, fumbling my way around WordPress.
How does this relate to the quote I started this post with? I need to find my niche. I am a mom. Is this a mommy blog? I don’t quite think so, but so much of my experience in life is tied to raising my own small army. Is this a blog about writing? I would like that to be an aspect of it, yes, but I’m not a professional and there are people out there who are doing that much better than I can. My last blog site was entirely based on my twisted sense of humor and unconventional parenting style. It got to the point that I felt so much pressure to be funny all the time, I didn’t feel like I could post anything that defied that expectation. I have some pretty helpful (I think) ideas about things that other parents might find useful, but I don’t want to make this a series of lists, either. Just to really mix it up, I like to illustrate comics about some of my misadventures as a housewife/mom/student, and I would love to eventually share some of those here, as well. Is that too much?
How did you find your niche? How did you decide on a theme? Did you pare it down and decide to be consistent with your posts, or did you let the wind take you and just post whatever you felt like talking about? Is it possible to be successful in the blogosphere if you don’t have a focus? Maybe I will go the other direction and really squeeze myself into my own little niche. I’ll be the “Mom/student/aspiring writer who is also sometimes funny and can make lists of low-cost family activities Blogger.” One lesson I have learned in life is that trying to please everyone is only going to lead to disappointment. When I do the things that are right for me, when I am being authentic, people seem to relate to that on a deeper level. What do you look for in a blog?
I’m just kidding! I know where I am. I’m unsuccessfully trying to hide on my porch and write something witty while being yelled at by a four year old with an attitude problem. I have been working on this paragraph for at least an hour, during which time I have put the dog out twice, mediated an argument between 2 out of 4 kids, and tried to look concerned while my husband had a nervous breakdown over auto insurance quotes.
I’ll be 35 next week, and today I attended a college orientation I scheduled in May of 1999. I was only 18 years late! Let me fill in a little background: I graduated High School when I was 17, the perfect age for making life altering decisions. About a week before my college orientation, I decided that I would learn a lot more hitchhiking down the southeastern coast with a 26 year old felon, so I disappeared for a couple of years. I did get a heck of an education, but it cost me my dream of earning a PhD in Psychology before the age of 30. I lost the felon to a traveling carnival, gained my beautiful first daughter at 18, and set off on a very long and bumpy road to our future happiness.
Last year, I finally got my school-related shit together and earned my first degree as a 34 year old wife and mother of four. Somewhere along the way, I realized I like books much more than people, and writing more than talking, so I got an English degree. It’s a stepping stone to a Master’s in Library Science… only partly to justify the ridiculous amount of time I spend in libraries. My grown-up plan is to become a children’s librarian so I can show children the world of knowledge and adventure that waits within the pages of books, and also set up really cute seasonal book displays. My self-indulgent fantasy plan is to become a published author and see my name on a library shelf one day. In the meantime, I’ll do the very 2017 housewife-needs-a-creative-outlet thing and write a blog.