This past week has been jam-packed with all the feelings. While I’m no stranger to openly weeping at a slightly sentimental commercial, the back-to-back combination of Olivia’s first ballet recital coupled with AJR’s pre-k graduation has tested the very limits of my emotional well-being. I reveled in all my dance mom glory watching Olivia make her ballet debut with a two-minute performance set to “When You Wish Upon A Star”. My smile was stretched to its limit as I did my best to record her pirouettes through eyes blurred by tears. Then, a mere two days later my voice literally caught in my throat as I hugged AJR following his graduation ceremony and tried unsuccessfully to dam my tears that fell from a combination of pride and heartbreak for this major milestone.
Despite battling acute dehydration from all the crying, it feels right to keep my emo train rolling and make the end of my blog official. That’s right. After three years of pouring out my heart and soul, I’ve decided to shut it down. Last August I had doubts about the ethical nature of a blog that was rooted in sharing intimate details of my children’s lives. Is it truly fair to them to use their lives as fodder for a blog that doesn’t yield any sort of monetary success – only personal satisfaction? That thought has been in the back of my mind this entire school-year as I pondered the potential ramifications of continuing to write. Perhaps I’m envisioning a worst-case scenario here, but in a wonderful, yet small, town such a personal blog feels like I’m making myself and my children vulnerable to criticism. I don’t want to expose the kids to any judgment and I certainly don’t want to be known as the woman with the blog that has so many feelings that really it’s sort of ridiculous. People talk, it’s natural, but I’d prefer to fly under the radar at PTO meetings.
While I think it’s the right time to stop blogging for the sake of the kids’ privacy, there’s also a part of me that feels as if I’ve outgrown the need for the blog. I love writing and I love being able to capture these moments – both good and bad – but I’m no longer drowning in the overwhelming responsibility of stay-at-home-mothering and desperately seeking an outlet to maintain my sanity. My children are not grown by any stretch of the imagination but oh how they’ve grown since I began this blog. Back in June 2014, Olivia was a relentless blob of a nocturnal baby that refused to sleep. Now she’s become this precocious 3-year old with a personality that often times feels too big for her body. In 2014, AJR was in the midst of his terrible twos…and now, well now I look at him and hardly recognize him: those chubby cheeks have chiseled out to a long lean, big kid face. He’s still energetic, although I think he’s outgrown his serial-killer like tendencies, and delights us with his sweetness and the intensity in which he applies himself to his newest passions. We’ve hit a sweet spot and life isn’t easy, but dare I say it’s easier? This sweet spot has manifested itself in the shift in blog topics I’ve covered this past year. Yes, I’ve vented frequently about Olivia’s mean girl streak, but for the most part they’ve seemed less frantic and whiny.
All of this doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye. This blog has been a much-needed lifeline. I needed this blog. It was a matter of my survival. Not in the physical sense, but for my mental well-being. When I first started writing, I was seven months removed from quitting my job to stay home full-time and care for a two-year old and newborn. Spare my in-laws, I was states away from my side of the family and feeling the hollowness of raising my children without them. I had just begun to plant the seeds of friendship with other moms in my town yet still hadn’t found a “village” to offer the support I needed. I look back at those early posts and while there is that same sarcastic humor that keeps me afloat to this day, there are absolutely those darker emo posts that expose a mom with fraying nerves and a lost sense of self. A mother who loved her kids, but also felt stifled by the burden motherhood can often times feel like. This blog became a way for me to cope and deal. It allowed me to connect with other people that saved me with a “like” or a comment commiserating with my current pain.
I will greatly miss this blog, especially with kindergarten and the big kid world on the horizon. It’s been a way to ground my thoughts and give myself something solid to hold on to. I feel a lightness while writing. The tension from my shoulders cascading down my arms, sliding into my fingertips, and finally exploding out from my fingertips onto the keyboard, pounding each letter and transforming my woes into words. It’s also provided a way to connect with other people and construct a virtual village that makes life more manageable. These connections have provided the much-needed validation us moms so often crave. Simply hearing someone else say that they feel the same way as you allows you to let out a too-long held breath and release the guilt that made you feel inadequate as a mother.
This blog was never anything grand, or impactful, or even widely read. But it was mine. It’s been my raw thoughts and feelings about everything I’ve been going through the past few years with absolute brutal honesty. I love writing. I’ve always loved writing. I may not be as masterful at it as others, but it sparks joy for me. It allows me to carve out space for an identity apart from wife and mother, even if every post has only ever been about the three people who know me as such. The words I write are mine. The feelings I feel are mine. The dialogue I enter into with other people about my posts are mine.
I have no regrets about shutting the blog down. While I may employ some questionable parenting practices (one only needs to search how often I’ve used “fruit snacks” in my posts to recognize this), I am protective of my children and I think that stepping back is allowing them to write their own story, rather than have others view them through my lens.
I do want to extend a most sincere thank you to anyone that’s ever taken the time to read even a single word of what I’ve written. I appreciate the warmth and open-mindedness that my drivel has been welcomed with. From the moment of my first post, Joe expressed concerns that there were be repercussions for being so open and honest. I didn’t agree with him. I told him that I think parents, moms in particular, all feel a similar way: we all love our kids but MY GOD ARE THEY ANNOYING AF. To my relief and delight, the response to my writing has confirmed what I thought all along. We’re all just trying to do the best that we can in a role we’ve never had. We all fiercely love our children but secretly just want to run away to a five-star resort on a remote island. We all just want a dose of honesty in a world filled with picture-perfect Instagram posts and parenting articles with contradicting advice that can only seem to agree on one thing: all parents are doing it wrong. Three years ago I wrote about why I was starting a blog (read it here) and it’s gratifying to see that I stuck to those reasons. I’ve loved documenting this crazy journey of ours and I know I’ll continue to write privately. Godspeed, parents. Sending you love and lots of wine.