This summer, at the ripe old age of 38, I became a mom to a baby boy named Jasper. To be honest, I never thought it would actually happen as for many years I was ambivalent to child bearing. I roll my eyes at baby showers and utlrasound pics. Minivans scare me. The thought of becoming a hyper competitive helicopter parent made me want to throw up.
But in the end, it was the love that got me. I didn't want to go through life without having that bond with another person, being a mom, and possibly finally understanding my own mom.
I've only been a parent for five weeks, and by no means an expert in parenting. So far, my baby is still alive, and growing. He seems happy, but at this stage, they don't really show emotions yet. However, the whole experience has changed my perspective, not only on life in general but about my work, and blogging. It will probably change over time, but here is what I've learned so far.
Not all advice is good advice.
As soon as I started telling people I was pregnant, I got all kinds of advice. Granted, generally advice is well meaning. People love to help, and it's great to hear what's worked for other people, but not all advice will work for you. Maybe they don't have all the facts, or their advice is out of date. When I would hear something, I would think about it, and research, and maybe try it out. But just because someone has more experience didn't always mean their advice would work for me.
My baby will not sleep in his crib. As soon as we put him down, he wakes up and starts screaming. This has been going on for five weeks, every night. Even though some experts say it's dangerous to sleep with your baby (although most of the world sleeps with their babies), the baby sleeps with us. It works. I'm not going to kill myself sleeping less than I'm already sleeping over it.
When it comes to blogging, if you are doing something, and it's not “conventional wisdom” and it's working, do it. Just do it. It works for you and that's what counts. If you're growing traffic and you're not engaging with anyone, great. If you have to reply to every. single. tweet. comment. email to build your following, do it.
Do what you can, and if it's working, keep doing it.
After watching “The Business of Being Born” I was CONVINCED I had to have an unmedicated childbirth. Everyone thought I was crazy, I started thinking about home birth, water births, etc. I read hypnobirthing books, and went to birthing classes because I was going natural. To be honest I felt a little superior about it.
When labor started, it went on for 40 hours, I didn't sleep for two days and I had back labor which is painful. Around 35 hours I caved, asked for medication, and got an epidural. Let me tell you… it was magical. Thank goodness for modern medicine!
Anyway, when it comes to blogging, there will be bloggers who make mistakes, who do things that aren't the prettiest, or by the book. But it works for them. Who knows, maybe one day, it'll be us that goes down that path.
Be gentle with yourself, with others.
Before I was pregnant, I was so hard on myself, especially when it came to my body image. I never felt “thin enough.” When I gained 50 pounds from pregnancy, and looked back at those prepregnancy photos I felt stooopid for being so hard on myself.
We are all our harshest critic. It's hard to see, particularly in the moment. So when you're feeling like you're not good enough, stop it. You are good enough… believe me!
Put a lot of love into it.
When you love what you do, you put more effort into it. Whether it be blogging or child rearing, love is the key do being happy about putting so much work into something. I haven't slept through the night yet, this baby is attached to me 24/7 and I love every second of it, even if motherhood's one of the most demanding things I've ever tried to do. When you love something, you go the extra mile, you enjoy it, and brings meaning into your life. The same goes for blogging, if you love your blog, and love what you do, all those little tasks and the hard work has meaning to you, no matter where your blog takes you.