The following post was written by Kirsten of The Norwindians - my sister and my inspiration for starting my own blog. That inspiration is the best gift she's ever given me.
Recently I wrote an article for my local mother's club newsletter. At the end of the article it said this:
"Kirsten lives with her husband and three children in Hillytown, Ca. In her spare time she writes about motherhood among other things at www.thenorwindians.blogspot.com."
I am starting to regret that little blurb. I feel sort of exposed. It was one thing for a few family members and some close friends to know about my blog. But now I sort of feel like I've exposed myself to my whole community. There is nothing on there that I am ashamed of, or regret writing. But it still feels a little strange.
Several people told me after the article was published that they liked reading it. It was nice to get actual face to face feedback on something I wrote. Something I was proud of and came from my heart. A few people had questions about the blog. A handful said they thought it was "neat" or "really great."
It could very possibly all be in my head, but lately I've been feeling a little bit judged at preschool pick up. At Raj's end of the year preschool picnic I overheard a conversation between three moms. I couldn't hear it all, but the snippets I did hear went something like this:
"If you have a blog, you have to know who your audience is."
"You know, they get paid. Every time you click on their page, the advertisers pay them."
"I'm not a writer, but some people just feel the need to be heard."
I have no idea if they were talking about me. They are moms that I am friendly with, but not more than a hello at drop off or a casual comment here and there. It bothered me for at first, but I was over it by the time I got home that day. Then recently another mom that I am actually fairly good friends with made the comment that she "had neither the time nor the inclination for mommy blogs." I'm not sure why I took offense. She is well aware of my blog, and she may read it occasionally.
After mulling it all over for the day, I feel the need to just get this off my chest. I remember the first time I heard the word "blog." Jay is always aware of the latest and greatest trends in technology. I remember when he told me about a small start-up company about 10 years ago that sounded to me like a glorified flea market and was sure to fail. I thought it sounded ridiculous. That company was called Ebay. Anyway, he started a sample blog, just to see what all the buzz was about and wanted to know what I thought. Of course, I thought it might be a good way to keep in touch with out of town family, but other than that, it looked sort of stupid. I didn't get it.
Four years later, I was showing him my new blog. I don't really remember the first blog I started reading, or how I came across it. But I've always enjoyed reading personal essays and getting a small look into someone else's life experiences. I find comfort in reading things that I can relate to. I have learned a ton and been exposed to whole other world's reading blog posts by people I have nothing in common with. I totally get it now.
I started my blog in part because of my relationship with my own mother. I've always wondered what her life was like when my sister and I were little. What did she think about? How did she feel about being a mom? What were we like? Did she ever get frustrated? Was it all sunshine and roses? Since I will never, ever be a scrap booker in the traditional sense... I wanted to create a virtual scrap book. A scrap book of words. The good, the bad and everything in between of my motherhood experience. I want to remember that Raj calls guacamole whack-a-moley. I want to remember days like this and things like this. I also want to document my thoughts about things like this and this.
And let's face it -- I am a straight up mommy blogger. I'm not a great writer, writing on a blog to hone my craft. I am just a mom sharing my stories on a blog. I post lots of stories about my kids and endless photos. It is what it is. Maybe I am a little geeky, but find reading about other people's lives interesting. I don't think anything bad can come from sharing our motherhood/life experiences and getting feedback from each other. And isn't that really the essence of blogging? It is for me anyway.
And the money/ads question. Much to my husband's disappointment, I make enough money off ads on my blog to be able to take my kids out for frozen yogurt once a month. I am not in this for the money and honestly, product reviews are not my cup of tea.
Maybe it will all backfire on me someday and my kids will not like my virtual scrap book at all. I am hoping that they will someday appreciate this little record of our lives. I am hoping that sharing my "journal" with them when they are older will make us closer.
I am not really sure why I am not comfortable posting this on my own blog. I have been feeling very tentative there lately since the article in the newsletter came out. I think I was a much better blogger a year ago when no one was reading me. I realize I am preaching to the choir here when it comes to why we blog. But I needed to get it out anyway. In a lot of ways I am more comfortable with myself on my blog. I find it much easier to express myself in writing than in person. I can say things on my blog that I would be terrified to tell even my sister in person. If that makes me strange, or geeky, or whatever, so be it.
I understand that lots of people don't "get" blogging, especially personal blogging. It's the same thing as me not really "getting" Facebook (even though they are so similar, go figure). I know it may seem strange to some. They can't imagine spending a weekend in Chicago talking about blogging and meeting virtual strangers in real life.
But you are not strangers to me at all. I gain a lot from reading your blogs. If you gain something from reading mine, great! Who is my audience? The only audience that really matters to me are these people.