I’ve been blogging off and on for ten years. My first blog was actually a joint blog with a few high school buddies. It was a private space where we would leave coded messages for each other to figure out.
Once a complete and incurable dork, always a complete and incurable dork.
At any rate, I stumbled across parent blogs shortly before I met my husband. At the time I was a single, young college student a million years away from having children, but something really drew me in. I loved reading about parents’ successes and failures, about the ways their children inspired and frustrated them. It was like an online love letter to their kids and I knew immediately that when I had children of my own I wanted to do the same thing. I loved the idea of sharing my parenthood with other parents – learning from them, being challenged by them, and building a community – and I loved the idea of my future children growing up with so many people pitching in. I knew that a community of like-minded parents would help me stick to my guns in the face of adversity and would help me get back on track when I fell off a wagon and would help me think about things in new light. I strongly believed that the more people there were involved in the rearing of a child (with at least one or two very consistent nurturing figures, of course), the better.
So that’s how I fell into parent blogging. As soon as I knew that my daughter was healthy in my womb, I opened BecomingSarah.com and started writing about her and about us.
This is a tough question because what I love most changes day to day. Recently I have really loved listening to the stories my daughter narrates to me. Our family is very big on oral storytelling and Charlotte loves to create stories of her own throughout the day. I adore listening to all of them.
I have a really hard time dealing with criticism of my parenting. I put so much thought into each decision and when someone tells me that they think I’m doing something wrong, I have a very hard time standing up for myself. It doesn’t matter if the decision is rooted in science or in family tradition or in simply following my instincts – nobody can make me doubt myself like another parent can.
And probably some diapers too.
And probably some diapers too.
This isn’t a great question to ask me. Our parenthood has been largely determined by a miniscule budget. A $10 used Moby wrap (my favorite for young babies) was cheaper than a stroller. I later won a stroller in a blog giveaway, but we almost never used it because baby carriers were simply easier. Strollers are a bit of a pain in the ass, you know? They’re heavy, bulky, you can’t exactly cut through crowds, and stairs are a nightmare. And I powered through breastfeeding problems in the early days because, quite frankly, we couldn’t afford to continue supplementing with formula. We cloth diapered (FuzziBunz) because we couldn’t afford disposables, and all of our daughter’s clothing were hand-downs.
Having made it through babyhood with less than half the crap that baby books told us we needed, I’m generally of the opinion that you need almost nothing. Some diapers, a place for the kid to sleep, a way to get the child from Point A to Point B, a handful of onesies, a blanket, and either boobs or bottles. That should carry you through six to eight months.
And probably a book about nutrition or discipline wouldn’t hurt because that’s basically all you’re going to think about during the toddler years.
Some good friends, preferably people who make you laugh.
Solid nutrition, because the better you eat the better you feel, and the better you feel the better a parent you are.
And a day off now and then. Because parenthood isn’t meant to be a one-person show.
I rely on a lot of people! My parents live four houses away and they see Charlotte two to five times a week. Because we parent very similarly to the way they parented me (although my dad says we’re a little farther down the “hippie” scale than they were!), I never have to worry about what activities they engage in or what they feed my daughter. The transition from one house to another is seamless for Charlotte. They even discipline her in the same way that we do.
Outside of my parents, we also rely on neighbors, siblings, and good friends to help us out. If we ever need help with something or we feel overwhelmed, we know that we have people we can count on. I cannot stress enough how important I feel that a supportive community is in our world.
Trust yourself. Nobody knows your child better than you, so trust what your gut says. It’s never a bad idea to listen to other people because sometimes you might learn something or two years later that advice you discarded originally might be perfect – but if what they say doesn’t jive with you then don’t feel bad about ignoring it. They don’t love your child the way you do and they aren’t familiar with your family the way you are. So just go with your gut.
Unless your gut is telling you to stuff your kid in a freezer or something. That’s straight up bad parenting right there.
Thank you so much to Sarah for your advice and thoughts on motherhood. I can completely relate to dealing with criticism. Before having Violet I pictured myself as a mother confident in my decisions but in reality I question myself and my decisions multiple times a day. That's difficult enough without throwing others' opinions into the mix!
Definitely visit Sarah's blog, Becoming Sarah if you are a parent or parent-to-be. Her blog is truly a must-read. And yes - she really is a super hero.