As of today, I will have been writing a weekly blog post for CTWM for one year – and what a great experience it’s been! Before joining CT Working Moms, I had been following the site for a few months and would drop in every few days to read the honest, touching, and devastatingly funny posts. As a freelance writer, I was intrigued by idea of blogging, but wasn’t 100% certain that I felt comfortable putting myself “out there” – it takes guts to admit your faults on a public forum. And as someone who is a somewhat private person, I didn’t know if I could do it. Tentatively, I reached out to Michelle, the creator of this site, and asked if they were looking for any bloggers. I was apprehensively excited when she sent me an email saying that, yes, as a matter of fact, one of her bloggers had just stepped down and she had an open time slot on Friday mornings…was I interested? Fifty-two weeks later, here I am!
I would have never have guessed that I would learn so much from readers through their comments and from the other bloggers for this site. That has been, and continues to be, such a joy. CTWM has created an amazing community of women and so much more. During this year, I feel so proud to have participated in an important campaign to end the “mommy wars” and I had a post picked up by the Huffington Post (that was kinda cool!). But, most of all, blogging has given me the opportunity to think more deeply about the way that I parent my son. Having to write a weekly post about motherhood forces you to rewind and confront your own behavior – you know those moments that you look back on and think, “yhea, I totally overreacted there…” or those more infrequent moments when you’re mentally high-five’ing yourself and thinking, “Nailed it!!”
Those weekly self-directed therapy sessions have helped me to make some conscious changes to the way I handle myself as a mom and our family is better for it. Here are four ways blogging has made a difference in my life and parenting:
1. I yell less – which makes my household much more harmonious and me much happier. I feel like there was a time when I was constantly shouting because I felt stressed out and then felt guilty because I overreacted. After the first few weeks of blogging, I realized that I was yelling quite a bit and did some research on the effects of yelling on your kids psyche – and didn’t like what I read. So instead of yelling, I developed strategies that would prevent getting to the point that I would yell – counting to ten, switching up our morning routine so that we weren’t running around at the last moment looking for shoes/backpack/papers and even tossing the shoes in the backseat and having him put them on in the car on the way to school. Lately, I’ve started asking him to walk the dog in the morning (which, requires shoes) so they are already on his feet and ready to go. And I don’t have to walk the dog myself (winning!!).
2. I’m letting go and feel much less tightly wound – if “A” is late for school because he didn’t pull himself together in time, HE suffers the consequences of having to rush before his first class at school – something he really despises. If he doesn’t check his schedule and see that he needs to bring his violin to school for orchestra, he has to sit out during practice. After experiencing these natural consequences a few times, he’s made changes on his own (my baby’s growing up!!!). And I feel much less stressed about keeping everything in my head and being on top of every little thing all the time – most of it doesn’t matter that much anyway.
3. I have fewer judgments and more confidence in my own parenting choices. There are so many ways to raise happy children, why lock yourself and others into just one way? I’ve come to the conclusion that women judge other women for two reasons, ignorance and fear. As parents we’re always wondering if we’re doing the right things for our kids, and I think that sometimes, when we’re feeling insecure and observe someone doing something differently, it rattles us to the point of fear. I can understand that, but what I don’t get is the public displays of cruelty and finger-pointing. Confront your fears, decide what’s right for your family, and move on.
4. Consciously practicing thankfulness. I know it’s kind of cliché, but I feel so lucky to have a healthy, vibrant kid and I’ve stopped taking that for granted. There are so many people who are dealing with so much with their children’s physical and mental well-being, life-threatening allergies or diseases, and academic challenges, that I feel aware and grateful that (right now) we are in a good place…and pray that it stays that way.
So thank you readers, fellow bloggers, and Michelle, for creating this supportive community of parents. Tonight I raise a glass of Champagne to all of you and look forward to many more blog posts to come! Cheers!