As I listened to several inspiring speakers Sunday at the incredibly cool Chicks who Click 2010, I kept thinking "Damn, what if Mommy Blogging had been around 15 years ago when I had a 6-, 5-, 3- and 1-year-old hanging on my leg??" I had always fantasized about being the next Erma Bombeck. I'm not sure if it was because my mom adored her, and I wanted to be adored too...or if it was because her honest and humorous take on marriage and motherhood hit so close to home.
I love people who tell it like it is. They don't pretend that their spouse is a saint, or their kids are perfect, or that they eat a balanced diet. I must have been in tenth grade or so when I had the epiphany that girls liked me better if I confessed to an Oreo orgy than if I pretended to abhor sweets. Isn't that odd? How girls try to jockey for position with the popular gals by pretending to be perfect, while underneath it all, everyone aches to not be the only one who overdoses on Oreos?
Thank God that something happens between the Mean Girls of middle school and the magical good will of middle age.
It hasn't always been easy to convince my daughters that the day will come when their girlfriends will be their most treasured possession. But as Oprah says, I know this much is true. Whether it's the surprise attack of hormones on steroids when we hit 40, the realization that our spouse may never say the right thing, or the humbling of hemorrhoids after a 48-hour labor, our universal experience as women binds us in a way that we long to be bound.
When I laugh with my girlfriends it is medicinal. No matter how tired, angry, sad, burdened, or overwhelmed I am...sharing the human experience with like-minded humans is as close to a cure-all as you can get. Mommy bloggers have the right idea. By sharing the dementia of early motherhood and the demands of properly admiring while secretly reporting a toddler's proud announcement that her poop looks like a shark, they are empowering themselves, each other, and subsequently, their children. As everyone on the blogger panel confirmed, mommy blogging began not as a way to attract advertisers, but as a creative outlet, a connection with others, and a chance to talk out loud about what motherhood is really like. I think that may make it much more bearable. Instead of blowing up when the kids are sick, the DVD player is shot, your husband is traveling, and your roots are growing in...you write about it. And you feel better.
This morning I pulled out the file folder I have kept for the past 20 years. It is filled with sheets of scribbled rants, and printed-out potty-training stories of my own. (For those who heard the shark poop story, my own daughter's description was snake poopies). I always thought I would have a chance to share some of my inane insights, but except for the annual Christmas letter, I never did. Believe me, there was still satisfaction in writing them...but how much more satisfying if someone had been reading them and nodding, and laughing, and writing her own?
Maybe it's not too late to be a blogger. Sure, my kids don't call me "Mommy" anymore, (except when they need money), but my daily life is still alternately beautiful and beastly when it comes to the unique challenge of motherhood, not to mention womanhood, wifehood, sisterhood. Now we just need a name for blogging in middle age—how ‘bout "Been There Bloggers"?
If you want to join the ranks of this burgeoning blogger group, start by clicking on Bird Seed and submit your rants or reflections to us; or read Kathryn Bass' great intro to blogging in our How-To section. Maybe at next year's Chicks Who Click Conference, more of the clicking chicks will be MidChix!