It’s my blogiversary! One year ago today I started Foggy Mommy with this post. As is the case with many aspects of parenting, it doesn’t seem like it’s been a year. I can’t believe LM has gone from being a one-year-old who couldn’t yet walk to a two-year-old who’s in school. One year ago I hadn’t yet ventured in the genre of parenting writing, and since then I’ve been published in The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode, Fit Pregnancy and The Washington Post’s On Parenting. I hope that doesn’t sound boastful, but I’m proud of how far I’ve gone!
Some observations on blogging:
- It’s hard to keep up with social media. I admit I probably don’t have time to tweet and Facebook as much as some of my fellow mommy bloggers. It’s just somehow not built into me — maybe I’m too old. Or maybe I just already feel like I’m too distracted from my son (this is something I’m working on as a mom). I can’t be tweeting every detail of my life. Not that there’s anything wrong with that if you can. I just haven’t yet mastered this — maybe that’s why I still need more Twitter followers. If you haven’t already, please follow me! I’ll try to tweet more in the future.
- I love blogging, and I love freelance writing. I love the flexibility to do it whenever and wherever. But, that flexibility often makes me feel that every available minute I have I should be writing, blogging, tweeting about blogging, etc. It’s not like I just stop working when I come home from the office. I write at midnight. I email during playdates. So I wonder if I just need to turn off sometimes.
- That said, I love that I get to be home with LM. Despite the multitasking, I do feel that I’m able to give more personal attention that I would if I worked outside the home and had to commute. I think our lives would be more harried and hurried. I think LM has benefitted from me being available and around most of the time.
- A note on “oversharing”: After a piece in Slate about the profusion of personal essays, the blogosphere has been abuzz. Are we oversharing? Are we going to regret oversharing? I do try to balance what I say and what I reveal with the repercussions: Is anyone going to be pissed that I wrote this? How will LM feel about this when he’s a teenager? So I do take that into account. But in general, I don’t see what’s wrong with talking publicly about the things one has gone through. I wholeheartedly agree with this comment from XOJane editor Emily McCombs (XOJane is on my writer’s bucket list):
I can’t tell you how often I have encountered the attitude that because these stories are about women’s lives, they are somehow superficial, silly, or unimportant. Women’s lives – our stories – are not unimportant. They often reflect the feminist maxim that the personal is political.
…to suggest that adult women aren’t fully capable of deciding when and where to share information about themselves denies them an awful lot of agency.
I write about my own personal life because I want to lessen shame and encourage connection. If people read a piece I wrote and say: ‘This writer has had this experience, done this thing and felt this way so maybe I don’t have to feel ashamed of who I am,’ it’s worth it.
That pretty much sums up why I write. I want to tell the truth about infertility, miscarriage, breastfeeding, parenting after loss, and just parenting in general. All parents are a work in progress, and this blog helps me (and hopefully helps others) become aware of the things we need to work on. People have said I’m brave to share my story. I don’t think of it that way. I don’t know why I should feel like I can’t share. I’m not ashamed of my story. That’s the point — no one should be.
Give me your feedback on Foggy Mommy, or just drop a note to say happy blogiversary! I look forward to hearing from you.
When Foggy Daddy and I used to take trips pre-kid, I had a strict no-internet policy. In fact, we purposefully picked hotels without television or wireless in the room. After all, we were going on vacation to get away, to “vacate” from our life. It made sense to unplug in order to reconnect with each other. No outside contact required.
Now, it seems harder to do that. Something about having a kid makes vacation seem less about “vacating” and more about creating fun times for our child. We are not on a romantic escape, and as it often is with a baby, vacation doesn’t even feel like we’re relaxing. Plus, along with each kid-friendly activity come ready-made photo opps, perfect for Facebook posting. It almost seems like they’re a requirement (after all, if it’s not on FB, it didn’t really happen, right? I kid).
But you could also argue that it’s even more important to unplug during family vacations than couples’ retreats. Shouldn’t our time away be about bonding together, without the distractions that devices provide? FD doesn’t agree – for him, part of salvaging any sense of relaxation is playing video games on his iPad. He’d be loathe to give them up.
I have mixed feelings about it. As a blogger, I feel that I need to remain connected. I need to know what’s happening in the mom-iverse. But if I consider blogging part of my “job,” shouldn’t I take time off while on vacation, the way I would from any other “real” job? Shouldn’t I unwind without the need to know what’s going on outside our little familial unit?
I also think it’s important to take a break from technology for LM’s sake. Even though I tried my best to adhere to the “no screen time before two” recommendation, I caved since he’s almost two and let him watch Peppa Pig. But now, anytime FD or I take out our phone or iPad, we are met with a “Peppa? Peppa?” request. He’s learning young.
Tonight we are leaving for vacation to my aunt and uncle’s lake house in rural Virginia. I’m debating how much I want to be plugged in while we are there. In many ways I think I need a Facebook break – I’m worried that I’ve become a bit addicted to it. Maybe I should try to remember what it’s like to actually talk to people, as opposed to sitting around in a room while everyone is on their respective devices. Of course, this would require everyone else to agree, otherwise I’ll be staring into space while the others are glued to their screens.
What say you, FD and family (and Foggy Mommy readers)? Are you prepared to give up technology for the July Fourth holiday?
(So readers, I’m going to do my best to unplug during vacation. This will mean no Foggy Mommy until next week. Happy Fourth!)
Hold on a sec, baby, just let me finish reading this… I know you’re crying, I’ll pick you up in a minute…
I’ve said these things to my poor child. Why? Because I’ve been on Facebook. I’ve admitted before to sometimes being a distracted parent, and I fear it’s only getting worse. Now that LM is 16 months and is more aware of what’s going on around him (there’s no fooling him anymore), I’m worried that he sees me constantly glued to my iPhone, watching it instead of him. By doing so, am I telling him that it’s more important than he is?
Apparently, Facebook is no longer “cool” among young people. They use other social networking sites, most of which I’ve probably never heard of. Facebook has been taken over my moms (and dads), who’ve filled it with nothing but pictures of their kids. And I guess that’s OK, considering that, well, I am a mom. I like having a place to go to connect with other moms. In addition to my regular FB friends, I’m also a part of several – OK, more than several – mom groups. There are no less than six post-infertility groups I’m part of, plus a local county group, a breastfeeding group, and one for my real-life mom group (this is the only group in which I’ve actually met all the members in the flesh). It’s a lot to keep track of.
But I like reading parenting information and tips, discussing parenting issues, and getting ideas for blog posts. As a stay/work at home mom, it gives me some sense of connected-ness that I don’t always have while at home alone with LM. But, I wonder if it’s taking up too much of my time, if I need to designate certain times as Facebook-free so that I can focus on LM.
The other people around LM are just as bad as me. Foggy Daddy is obsessed with his iPad (he’s usually playing a game on it), and Grandpa is attached to his as well (usually reading a news website). I worry that when LM looks around all he sees is us glued to our individual screens.
Sometimes I try just putting down the f-ing phone and paying attention to my kid. But then he starts playing nicely, by himself, and I’m just sitting there. My mind wanders. I wonder if anyone’s posted anything on Facebook, I think to myself. And so I take a peek. And a peek turns into 15 minutes of me reading linked articles and responding to the latest controversy over car seat installation. And then LM sees me and starts whining for my attention.
Hold on, just let me finish reading this…
There’s also the feeling that, looking at everyone’s kids in all the Facebook photo opps one needs to do these days, everyone’s life is better than yours. Which is complete BS, because I could post a ton of photos that make my life look fantastic – not that it’s not, but there is more going on than meets the eye in my newsfeed. I find myself comparing my life to others’, and too often it makes me feel bad. So-and-so is going to the gym. So should I. So-and-so is on vacation. I wish I was. So-and-so is going out to dinner. I’m still in my sweatpants.
This is my fault, not Facebook’s. My confidence is just not helped by social media, where it is oh-too-easy to make it look like your life is fabulous. Much self-promotion happens on Facebook.
But still I can’t turn away. It’s an outlet that I don’t want to give up, but I do want to learn how to balance it better, if not for my own sake then for LM’s.
Do you feel like you spend too much time on Facebook? How do you curb your habit?
My son is already into devices. He knows when I’m looking at the iPad, or our phones, or the computer. He’s utterly fascinated with them. And while I have heard some people say they want their kids to use technology early so they won’t be “behind,” my mommy instinct says to keep them away. Not sure why – screens are bad and cause ADD? No TV before two? – but in any case, I seem to have failed to do that. I think that’s because I am fascinated by them too…or dare I say addicted? And I’m worried it’s making me a distracted parent.
When I’m playing with LM, or watching him play, I feel the constant urge to be “doing” something. Apparently playing with my child is not enough. My mind starts wandering. It’s been an hour since I looked at Facebook. Maybe I should see how the site stats on my blog are doing. I should definitely check email to make sure my editor isn’t trying to get ahold of me. So I casually pull out the phone…maybe LM won’t notice. I prop it on my leg, hidden from his view. But somehow he knows. It’s like he can sense it. So he stops what he’s doing and comes to me. He stares at the phone and smiles. He wants it. So I reluctantly put it away.
It’s not just technology’s fault. Technology has just made it easier. My mind is really too blame. I’m constantly making mental lists of things I need or want to do. I find myself biding my time until LM takes a nap, when really, shouldn’t I be enjoying the time I have with him, focusing on him, not waiting until he conks out to feel like I’m living my life? Stop thinking, I tell myself. Stop trying to multitask. Be mindful. Be present. He is only going to be a baby for a very short time.
But it can be isolating being a stay-at-home mom, so another aspect of distracting parenting for me is to feel connected. Hence the need to check social media a million times a day. I connect with a lot of moms in the Facebook groups I’m a part of, and sometimes I think they help me keep my sanity. We discuss our kids, things going on in the world, books, movies, you know, adult topics that I don’t get to talk about all day with a one-year-old. Maybe I just get a little, well, bored sometimes.
I hate that I missed his first year in a mommy fog of sleep deprivation. So why I can’t I just pay attention to him – real, undivided attention? If I don’t, I’m going to miss his second year too. And eventually, he may pick up on my multitasking mindset and think he’s not enough. And yet sometimes I think that what I’m doing isn’t enough, that I need to worry about advancing my freelance career, or writing this blog, or paying bills, or cleaning the house. If I don’t get those things done in a day, I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything…except raising our son. And shouldn’t that be the most important task of all?
Do you admit to distracting parenting too? How do you try to avoid it?