I can hear the chorus of mommy voices rising over the din of toddler tantrums. "Why is she putting her life on the internet for everyone to read?"
"Does anyone really care what her kid ate for lunch?"
"Isn't anything private anymore?"
"I really want to 'hide' her on Facebook. I can't believe she thinks we care every time she posts another blog"
So I'll sound the warning now. If you don't like it, don't read it.
And while I'm at it, let me explain why I am suddenly "Parenting in Public". Across the internet. Blasting the mundane and the every so often extraordinary delights of parenthood to mobile phones, iPads, and laptops from Cincinnati to Chula Vista.
I started this blog as a way to keep our far-flung family connected to my pregnancy. I wanted the grandmas in New Jersey to feel like they were part of every little flutter and kick that I felt. I wanted the grandmas in San Diego to know how every doctors appointment went, and what I was dreaming about as Max grew. I wanted my girlfriends to see how ridiculous my huge belly looked in trendy maternity jeans. And most importantly, I wanted to chronicle Max's beginnings, so that one day when he was old enough, he would know his story. I wanted him to be able to read what I had written, and know every single ounce of how very much he is loved.
And I think he's really fucking cute. So I wanted to share pictures. By the way, he is not picking his nose here. He is saying "shhh", and that's where he puts his finger when he does it.
Once Max came into this world, the reasons for blogging multiplied. I still wrote to keep everyone connected. I still used my blog as a cyber-baby-book. I still let my heart overflow in love letters to Max. But I also realized that this blog was a way to connect with other moms, who might be going through similar things. I started learning (and sometimes living) the lies of motherhood. You know, lies like "breastfeeding doesn't hurt if you're doing it right" and "your baby will sleep through the night by the time they're 3 months old". Even though I have been enamored with my son from the moment I knew he existed, I have at times felt depressed, lonely, and ridiculously fearful. I have felt like I'm doing it all wrong. I've felt like I super-suck at this parenting thing. I've felt like Max's health issues are my fault. And every so often I've felt like I am the best rock star mom on this planet, if only everyone else could see it. Then Max chokes on a cracker while sitting in his carseat and I almost crash while frantically trying to pull over and save him, and I'm right back to feeling like I may be the only mother who has ever mothered and fucked up this much. And I start laughing, because Max just came home from preschool and apparently the most important thing they taught him today was "A-CHOO! Bless!", and he is saying it over and over again, and being a mom is just REALLY FUNNY most of the time. Even when he has silently climbed to the top of the sofa and is lying very still along the highest back cushion, hoping that I don't walk in and see him. And especially when he is dancing down the block with his shadow, and I wonder what the neighbors must think as I am getting my groove on right next to him.
And I promise I won't tell anyone, that you've felt all of these things too.
Hearing from the hipster moms, the hippie moms, the career professional moms, the stay-at-home-moms, the old friend and new friend moms, the playgroup moms, the rich and poor moms, the naive moms and the grieving moms. Knowing that your kids are jumping out of their cribs and coloring on the walls during naptime too. It takes a village, an entire community, to teach each of us how we want to mother. And while a lot of that support comes from well-planned girls-nights and late-night phone calls, park playdates and private emails, some of it comes from the stories we share on Facebook and on our blogs.
I'm parenting in public, because we all need each other. I've read your blogs and felt a kinship with your experience, and my hope is that someone might feel a connection to my family, when they thought that no one understood. So yes, this is Max's baby book, but it's also my open invitation to all of you. I invite you to start a conversation, share your experience, and add your voice to this all-encompassing experience of parenthood.
So let me introduce myself. My name is Kim, I am Max's Mommy and Sean's wife. I am trying to laugh out loud about the chaos that is motherhood, and to be honest about our experience growing our family. I'm honored that you stopped by, and I hope you'll pull up a chair and have a chat. We'll be here if you need us, spitting watermelon seeds at each other and chasing bubbles down our driveway. I'm parenting in public, and I'm glad you're along for the ride!