I recently celebrated a very important anniversary. It was the five-year anniversary of my very first blog, Three Peas in a Pod. I started this family blog in May of 2006, shortly after the birth of my first child, William.
My original goals were to 1) capture all the funny, happy, sad, frustrating and illuminating things that went along with becoming a parent for the first time, and 2) keep my writing skills in shape. I had recently proposed a Rookie Mom column to my editor at the newspaper where I’d been working as a reporter. While he considered the proposal, I figured I could practice and work through some of my ideas on my personal blog.
I also decided that a family blog would be a good place to post pictures and funny anecdotes to entertain my mom and my mother-in-law, both of whom lived thousands of miles away from us and longed for news about their first grandchild.
As someone who’d been writing her entire life, starting a blog was not a particularly daunting enterprise. I figured that the blog was mostly for my own enjoyment anyway, so I decided to enjoy working on it and not worry too much about whether it would net any interest from potential clients or make any money for me. (For the record, it has generated some interest from editors, but I have never used it as a money-making venture.) I had fun putting up pictures of my new baby and discussing how sleep-deprived I was and writing down the little stories of our journey that I might not remember otherwise.
Fast-forward five years. I now have three blogs: the original family blog, this one, and a faith-based blog that I recently started called The House on the Rock. I also blog regularly for Nashville Parent magazine’s website and for a friend’s new blog called Bringing Up Nashville. For a year or so, I also blogged regularly for a wonderful consumer blog called Go Get Your Jacket, which was owned and operated by my friend Andrea.
(I also write regularly for the award-winning national nursing website NurseZone. Most weeks, you’ll find a new article with my byline there. Last week, in honor of Mother’s Day, I wrote about three women who juggle nursing careers and motherhood. The week before that, I wrote about nurses whose work as innovators has earned them some much-deserved attention. And just last month, I wrote an article about the pros and cons of social media usage by health care professionals.)
But I’m proud to say that I still regularly blog at Three Peas in a Pod. I am still writing down all those funny little stories about my son William, and I’m also now capturing the details of the life of my younger son, Andrew. I’m still posting pictures of our family all dressed up in costumes for Halloween and all covered in sand at the beach.
Just last night, I was feeling nostalgic about my older son. I went into the archives of my Three Peas in a Pod blog and looked up the entries from July of 2007, when he was about 14 or 15 months old–the same age that his little brother is now. I read what I had written about the day when he took his first steps, and I smiled so hard that my cheeks hurt afterward. I couldn’t remember all that detail on my own, but I didn’t have to. I’d already captured that day in my own words. I immersed myself in memories–my own memories–and enjoyed remembering what our lives were once like.
When I was a child, I got frustrated with my mom when I asked her to tell me stories about when I was a baby and she claimed she couldn’t remember very much. But now that I’m a parent, I understand. There’s just no way to cram all that information into your brain and expect it to stay sharp and focused, like a high-resolution digital photo. Especially not when you’re exhausted most of the time. Many of my memories from the early months of my older son’s life are more like Impressionist paintings now. I remember the gist of things, but I mostly remember the feelings, not the minutiae. Yes, there are a few days and incidents that have been burned into my brain, but the rest is mostly softer now.
So my blog is my key to remembering those sharp details that time has started to smoothe out. It is my journal of thoughts and stories and questions. And I’m so glad that I’ve stuck with it, so that I have that record. (I think my mom and mother-in-law are pretty glad, too.)
If you don’t keep a journal or have a family blog, I encourage you to consider starting one. You can password-protect a blog so that only people you invite can see it, if you’re worried about privacy concerns. You can give your family members silly nicknames if you feel hesitant about using their real names. And you can (and should) make sure that you don’t write about anything that would really embarrass one of your loved ones. My general motto when it comes to this sort of venture is: If you wouldn’t want your mother (or your boss–or a potential boss) to see it or read, you might not want to post it.