What maybe you know is that Grace and I have become friends over the past few months. What many of you don't know is that I completely forced myself on her the day she had Phoebe by frantically responding to an email announcing her birth with OOOOHHHHMMMMYYYYOUNEEDTOTEXTME!!!!
Isn't that what everyone hopes to hear from a kinda e-mail friend when you've just had your fourth baby?
But for some reason she texted me... and that was that. And guess what? She is really, really, theeee best. I feel like our weekend at The Hundred was a crash course in friendship. She shared her room with me, we sat in the bathroom talking about deep life things until late at night, she let me borrow all her clothes and deodorant, she tried and couldn't wake me up for the first morning's breakfast (awk) and she even fell asleep in the middle of me giving a seminar on my days in a pop group (how dare she!!) What you should know is this- she really is a hero when it comes to wifing and mothering and blogging (but she will brush it off and say no, no, no). I like to think of her as a mentor/blog-life manager and advice giver but even more, so much more, a friend that I am so absolutely grateful to know. I still have so much to learn from her (including how to perfectly tousle my hairs see below) so, just like always, I said please do this, pleeeease and, like always, she said of course, yes!
All hail, Queen G.
I've been blogging since June of 2010. Right after I retired from (my one year of) teaching and a few months before I had our first baby, Julia. I had been religiously reading Rachel and Kayla's blogs for well over a year (while passing the time at a super boring desk job and then later while I licked my teaching wounds during my "planning" period) and felt like I knew them. I would relentlessly check for updates if they missed days of posting and while it seemed really intimidating to try my hand at writing even 1/5 as well as they did .... I couldn't resist. Short story, long. Brevity is my strong suit.
Hmmm. I think the blog growth has happened very, very gradually and the time investment has sort of crept up on me. What I used to manage during the kids nap has spilled into some night time blogging and weekend time. I'll always feel a nagging guilt for not responding to every single email from readers (because I love and appreciate them so much) but it's so easy for me to just pop on my phone or computer and stay on and on and on and on and ignore the kids and Simon so I have to keep myself in check. But still, the guilt is there! Simon is really supportive of the blog and is always (mostly ;)) happy to take photos and is always encouraging me to leave the kids with him on the weekends he is home to go and catch up on computery things. If he wasn't on board, the blog would absolutely not exist.
What inspired you to participate in hosting the Hundred? What was your biggest hope for the weekend?
I've read Lauren's blog for ages and she was (is!) kind of a celebrity in my mind and I knew she would put on a phenomenal weekend. I found Bridget and Megan's blog through Lauren and was so flattered to be included as a host! I was just excited to meet bloggers I follow in the flesh and hoped that everyone would connect with fellow attendees and take away some new knowledge and a renewed sense of blogging purpose.
Do you ever feel unsure of how to integrate blogging into Patton life as your life changes? New babies? Simon's schedule? How do you manage those feelings?
Every day! Many days I don't feel like blogging fits into our lives at all because I don't feel like I'm on top of anything in my role as wife and mother so what business do I have pouring so much time and energy into the internet? But I feel like the cathartic outlet I get from writing posts littered with fragments and run-ons helps fuel me through the difficult days. I've "met" so many great friends through blogging and keep in touch with a lot of them daily. My life would be a whole lot lonelier without blogging.
What is the most rewarding part of this (blogging)?
Getting emails from a huge variety of readers (stay at home moms, working moms, grandmas, nuns, one grandpa :), dads, and single gals) hands down! It's so fun and surprising to hear that my boring old mom blogging resonates with more than just my mom and grandma. Ah - okay have to make it two things. I really love reading back through the blog's archives and reliving the good + bad times these past few years. Whenever I'm tempted to think that our four years in St. Louis are just littered with stress and frustration (cynicism is my cheery temperament) it's so good to look back and see all the happy memories we've made here. And that even the worst weekends were actually pretty comical in HINDSIGHT. It's also good to read about the more difficult periods because now I'm on the other side of those and I know that I can make it through potential future rough patches.
What is the most difficult part of this?
Knowing that there are a lot of critical eyes reading the blog. It makes me quadruple guess what I post and sometimes I get a little nauseated checking my email for fear of finding a cruel comment. I'm still on the hunt for some thicker skin especially because the positive feedback FAR outweighs the negativity. I'm hoping one day it will sting a tiny bit less!
What would your advice be to the novice blogger (me)?
First of all, you're not a novice! Post often! Be spontaneous! Not every (or any, in my case) post has to be long and polished. I think the beauty of blogging lies in our willingness to be honest and vulnerable to our readers by giving them a peek into our true life. Obviously we don't have to spill all the nitty gritty (guilty!) but striking a healthy balance is so key, to me. We should treat readers like valued friends, not like an audience. And I know it's so much easier said than done but don't compare your blog to others and don't read blogs that make you feel bad about your own. Imagine if every human had the same exact personality - how boring! There's ample internet room for loads of blogging personalities!
(You da best, girl.)
Just like always, I stole photos from Awake Photography for The Hundred and Camp Patton.
Megan Graham here. Bridget Hunt there. Lauren Knight riiiiggght there.
Thanks to all four of you for letting me bug you with questions!!! We, the people, are grateful to you. Xox!