Oh, There I Am: When Mommy Blogging Isn’t Just Mommy Blogging

by Gigi Ross on July 19, 2011

Today, my Summer of Love series takes a different turn – to the topic of blogging.

My friend Nichole from In These Small Moments writes a lovely, dreamy blog that chronicles just that – the small moments of childhood. But in the process of starting her blog, she’s found plenty of positive moments in womanhood, too. And that’s what Nichole shares with us today in her post. I’m happy to host  Nichole, and hope you visit her blog as well. You won’t regret reading her beautiful writing, I promise!

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I gave up my career when my daughter, Katie, was born. A career that I had so desperately wanted…one that took me years to earn.

And I gave it up happily.

I was ready to devote myself to Katie and then, two years later to her brother, Matthew, as well.

But in the process, I also lost a bit of myself. My babies came to truly consume me.

I had given up my job, with its measurable success, and replaced it with motherhood, a job with no performance reviews, no way to know how I was doing, really.

So, I obsessed and I became Smother Mother.

I measured my self-worth on how well I performed as their mother.

Surely, if I made all of their baby food from organic ingredients, then I was a good mom, right?

If I put ground flaxseed in everything they ate, then I certainly qualified as a great mom, right?

I was convinced that if I project managed their childhood, I could look back on these years and know that I had excelled at my job.

Each milestone they reached became my own accomplishment. Their successes, my own.

And as much as we all, as parents, do that, I came to realize that I needed something more…something that would allow me to engage my brain in different ways while remaining home with them, where I so desperately wanted to stay.

So, I began blogging.

Setting up my blog gave me something else to think about, a new way to use my brain in a non-mommy way.

I read everything I could find about blogging. I bought books, made notes, planned carefully. I had an additional sense of purpose.

Choosing my niche, platform, and theme gave me a way to express myself in ways that I hadn’t in so long.

Then, once I had done my homework, I dove in.

And it was heavenly.

Blogging during naptime recharged me. I found myself more fulfilled and was able to offer my children a bit of space in which to breathe.

I had something to think about aside from milestones and growth charts, flaxseed and DHA.

Slowly, I felt a part of the old me come back to life.

I created something that could be measured, something that I so desperately needed. Blog statistics, while fickle and somewhat arbitrary, helped me to measure success in one part of my life.

And now, 15 months later, I’m still at it.

The amazing comments left by my readers help me to feel as though I’m more than just a mother…that I have something else to offer.

The friendships I have made through blogging have made me feel far less alone. I adore the give and take and the sense of community in the blogging world.

It excites me that I still see areas in which I can improve and seeing my blog evolve and change energizes me.

Though I write about Katie and Matthew and what it means to be their mother, blogging has offered me a way to also be Nichole again and in the process, I’ve become, if not a better mother, at least a slightly less obsessive and far healthier one.

And I think my children will thank me for that one day.

{ 48 comments }

Paula@Simply Sandwich July 19, 2011 at 10:17 pm

I totally agree with you. What started out as just an outlet of information is slowly becoming so much , much more! Thanks to Katie and Matthew for letting us learn more about YOU! :)

Nichole July 20, 2011 at 8:44 am

Thank you, Paula!
What would we do without our blogs now?

Alison@Mama Wants This July 19, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Nichole, so good to see you here.

Blogging is truly wonderful. I’ve only been doing it for 3.5 months and I’m already reaping the many benefits of it, the best being the friends I’ve made, the community I feel part of, and the rediscovering of me.

Thank you for sharing & putting it in your lovely words.

Nichole July 20, 2011 at 8:45 am

So lovely to see *you*, Alison!
I can’t believe you’ve only been blogging for a few months! There’s such an ease to your writing that made me think you’d been at it so much longer.

Sherri July 19, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Perfect! I think we all lose a bit of ourselves to motherhood, and blogging is a great way to incorporate the “mom” part with the “woman” part.

And I always love reading your words…fun to see you over here this evening, my friend!

Nichole July 20, 2011 at 8:47 am

I can’t tell you how often I wish you had been blogging when M&K were small. I would have loved to read your stories and perspective back then, too.

Much love, Sherri. xo

Rachel {at} Mommy Needs a Vacation July 19, 2011 at 10:55 pm

LOVE this!! It is so true…I have found myself again through blogging and I am doing something for myself…all while being a better mom.

Nichole July 20, 2011 at 8:48 am

I’m so happy that you blog, Rachel. I can’t tell you how often your posts bring a smile to my face. You’re an original and I love the sass in your writing. Much love to you!

Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos July 19, 2011 at 11:01 pm

This describes exactly why I started blogging.

Except for the flaxseed. I never tried that. :-)

Four years of being a stay at home mother, and a part of me was missing, shoved away.

Blogging brought it back.

I’m so glad it helped you reclaim yourself too.

nichole July 20, 2011 at 8:49 am

Thank you so much, Kelly.

It’s amazing how writing reawakens the soul.
I often wonder why it took me so long to get back to it.

Mandy July 19, 2011 at 11:05 pm

What a gorgeous post. I love that you found that part of you again and used it to create something that your children will one day read and, then, know you.

nichole July 20, 2011 at 8:53 am

Mandy–thank you so very much.
I can’t tell you how often I dream of the day when they will read my words and know how much they were loved.
My writing is for them and I’m certain that it is one of the greatest gifts that I’ve ever given them.

Kimberly July 20, 2011 at 12:51 am

This is so so true. I have been able to find myself again through blogging. I’m able to connect with others and share that give and take of friendships again. It’s made me a better mother and a better me.

Nichole July 20, 2011 at 8:56 am

The friendships are so incredibly lovely, aren’t they?

Remember when people used to warn you about meeting friends online? How funny that I have made some of my dearest friends through blogging.

I love your blog…your voice. Keep at it, my friend! :)

Nichole July 20, 2011 at 8:59 am

(Ack…my original reply was eaten!)

The friendships that we make through blogging are truly amazing, aren’t they?

Remember when people used to warn you about making friends online? And now? Some of my dearest friends are women who I’ve met through blogging.

I am so happy that you blog. I love your blogging voice!

Kelly July 20, 2011 at 1:25 am

Add me to the list of “me too’s”! Blogging has become so therapeutic for me – which in turn makes me a better mom/wife/person!! Thanks for sharing!!

Nicole @MTDLBlog July 20, 2011 at 6:52 am

What a fabulous testament to why so many of us blog and how it nurtures our professional and/or creative needs while staying at home with our children.

Blog Rehab July 20, 2011 at 6:53 am

This is a great post. There are so many benefits to blogging. I’m getting a lot of satisfaction from doing my blog for bloggers. Just did a guest post for TribalBlogs.net comparing the journey of blogging to Dorothy’s path in The Wizard of Oz. http://www.tribalblogs.net/the-wizard-of-blogs/
So glad to have found you here!

ash July 20, 2011 at 6:59 am

The connections through the keyboard – yes! Those connections quite literally saved my life. Children are a blessing for sure, but being at home with them is isolating, to say the least, even with playdates and a rare treat of girls night out. “Meeting” other moms through blogging has made all the difference.

You Nichole (you too Gigi!) make a difference. Thank you!

angela July 20, 2011 at 7:20 am

See, it’s funny. I started blogging as an extension of my Smother Mother! It was a way to chronicle their lives, and it was read by their grandparents and a few loyal friends.

Only when I began to reach beyond that little sphere, to infuse my own dreams and thoughts and feelings into my space, have I truly been able to feel like a blogger. Now it is “mine” and infinitely more rewarding.

So, to make a long story short (too late), I took a very different path into blogging, but I absolutely understand every word of what you’ve written. “Meeting” bloggers like YOU has been one of the absolutely immeasurable gifts I’ve received from finding my footing (or beginning to find it.)

Varda (SquashedMom) July 20, 2011 at 7:22 am

Nichole, how perfect to find you over here! I could have written these words myself, so totally has this struck home. (Except in my case I didn’t find blogging until my kids were 7 & 1/2, what with the autism being so all consuming for so long & all).

And in spite of having many IRL friends? With 1 or 2 exceptions, the blogging ones are the ones I feel most intimate with.

(Speaking of which, can’t wait to see you at BH in your fashionable new clothing!)

Jen July 20, 2011 at 7:33 am

What an interesting perspective on blogging. I am have thought that blogging has made me a better mom b/c it helps me look at life through humor glasses and by doing that I get less stressed about the little things. They now because little stories I laugh at.

Kate F. July 20, 2011 at 7:33 am

Love the term “Smother Mother.” Your story sounds like my story to the T – with a twist of an added 3rd child. Isn’t it great to “find” yourself again? I also “… measured my self-worth on how well I performed as my children’s mother.” I used to get mad at my husband when he would question my parenting choices saying, “You don’t like it when someone questions you while at your job do you?” Being a mom defined me… but I lost myself too. In the same way that people use the term “work-a-holic” you might also have called me a “mom-o-holic”. It’s SO hard to find balance. I’m so glad to have begun to find myself again :) Great post!

Galit Breen July 20, 2011 at 7:39 am

Beautiful, thoughtful, relatable- just like you!

Gorgeous post friends!

XO

Kir July 20, 2011 at 7:45 am

I feel exactly the same way, that blogging, especially this year has given me something I needed again. I can recognize myself again.

I am just so glad that you blog, that you share all the wonderful thoughts in your head with us. Your blogging has made OUR lives better. xo

Natalie July 20, 2011 at 8:11 am

I cannot believe you’ve been blogging for only 15 months…you are such a pro! I am feeling the same exact way about being a SAHM…there is no performance reviews or results. I love being a mom, but I’m so used to throwing myself into my work and being successful. It has been a struggle for me to find somewhere else to put that energy. I feel like blogging has helped me too. Thanks for sharing!

MommaKiss July 20, 2011 at 8:37 am

While I blog for a totally different reason, I see your points. So so true.

Living the Balanced Life July 20, 2011 at 8:37 am

Even though I am at a different place in my life (kids are grown) blogging rescued me as well. It rescued me from a job I was drowning in. Well, I actually did just about drown in the job, but once I left it, blogging helped me find who I really was.
Thanks for sharing!
Bernice

Shell July 20, 2011 at 8:52 am

Blogging is amazing that way, isn’t it? I started on a whim and never guessed about the friendships I would make or how it would help me to feel like me again.

Sara @ Periwinkle Papillon July 20, 2011 at 8:57 am

This is so beautifully expressed and so very true. Now I find it a tricky balance of being a good blogger and a good mommy!
Thank you for writing this I really did identify with it.

Andrea July 20, 2011 at 9:38 am

Hi! I’ve now learned a new term: smother mother! Great post. Thanks for sharing about your past and your growth.

Becca Bernstein July 20, 2011 at 9:56 am

Great post. Beautifully written. And you’re right, being a mom removes all performance reviews and the acknowledged accomplishments. You have to find your own measurement of success. And it sounds like you did. Kudos to you!

Tonya July 20, 2011 at 10:44 am

I love Nichole and agree with everything she has said here. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without blogging in my life. I never knew how much joy it could bring me. I also didn’t know how time consuming it would be, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

NotJustAnotherJennifer July 20, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Good for you! I love that you found a way to maintain your identity within motherhood.

Kristin @ What She Said July 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Yes – to all of this. Only, unlike you, I still work full-time, but find that I get more fulfillment from my blog than my career.

What started as a virtual mind dump has evolved into a true joy and passion, not to mention a potentially new career path (i.e. with continued hard work and a fair amount of luck thrown in for good measure).

Blogging not only helps me maintain a sense of independence at a time in my life when I devote so much of myself to being a wife, mother, and employee, it also feeds my professional self-worth in so many areas – writing, marketing, networking, branding, etc. I’m actually *learning* from this little “hobby.”

It’s hard work and it is at times fraught with fear and self-doubt and maybe even a little stress, but in the end it’s so worth it.

Roxanne July 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Fantastic post. Perhaps if I’d known about blogging years ago, I would have started sooner & tried the stay-at-home thing a little longer. Oh well. It comes to you when you are ready.

Courtney @ The Mommy Matters July 20, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Love Nichole! so happy to see her featured here!

Blogging offered that same sanctuary of creativity after my son was born. In the beginning, I spent most of my blogging time writing about HIM and only him. Then I started to realize that this little space I had created could be about me, too. So I started to write about other things, about “me” things…and I’ve never looked back.

Rach (DonutsMama) July 20, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I’ve always felt that blogging is my outlet when I can’t leave my house easily. I can open up my computer and find my friends in an instant–on bad days and good days. It’s truly been a support.

Becca July 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm

wonderful post as fro me i started blogging to have somewhere to put the choas that was in my head somewhere and to be me. i needed an outlet fro the impertfection that was me. now a year later my blog is still in chaos and i’m still loving it

The Flying Chalupa July 20, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Yes, I think blogging has saved us all! What a reprieve from the physical and emotional exhaustion / joys / frustrations of motherhood.

And DHA – snort. Man, I will buy anything that says “DHA” on it.

Sandra July 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I so wish I had discovered the blogging community when my kids were little. It is one of the most welcoming communities i have ever discovered. Great post Nichole!

Ericka @ Creative Liar July 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Finally making the blogging rounds again and I’m glad to not only revisit Gigi but see that Nichole’s being featured, too! Love this perspective. It’s something that I blog about frequently, the not losing who you are. Because if we do, how will our children learn from us?

Great post!

Missy | The Literal Mom July 21, 2011 at 12:20 am

Completely awesome and so true. Thanks for sharing your words and perspective.

Erin I'm Gonna Kill Him July 21, 2011 at 6:09 am

Beautiful. But you forgot the millions. That’s why I’m blogging.

Truthfully, if anyone out there is doing it for cash, just stop now. It’s about the friendships and the portal to an outside world.

Good words.

kelly July 21, 2011 at 8:02 am

Nichole, this is a GREAT post!

The internet was just beginning when I had my kids. Facebook and Twitter Even Google was just a glint in the eyes of their creators…look how far it has come!

I wish I had this connection as many of you do now. It would have saved so much time watching Oprah and digging through my Mayo Clinic Baby book! :)

Yet, I will say this. Blogging has saved my dream of writing. A dream that I held close for many many years. Now that I have been “living the dream” so to speak, my kids can see that my words are legit: you can do or be anything you set out to be…

Katie July 21, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Oh how I love Nichole.

This is sort of what happened to me too. I was blogging for two years before Eddie came along, but once he was here, blogging changed drastically for me. It wasn’t just to update my family anymore, it was to chronicle our life…my feelings and thoughts…going through this thing called motherhood.

I still work full time, but being a teacher is draining. It is being everything to hundreds of students. to teachers. to parents.

Then coming home and being everything to a son and a husband.

Blogging has kept me, well…ME.

Lyndsey July 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Good for you Nichole! I love checking in on your blogs daily!

Sue the Desperate Housemommy July 21, 2011 at 8:31 pm

I relate to a lot of this post; What I really marvel at is the preparation and research that you did before getting started. Your writing is so emotional and free-flowing…I find it intriguing to learn that there is a certain science behind it all. Great read!

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