When I began to blog, almost a year and a half ago, I didn’t have a clear audience in mind. I was torn between several. I could not decide so I kind of…didn’t. I just started blogging and hoped that everyone would like it.
This is not the best way to proceed with anything in life, really. I mean, specifics make for happier audiences, happier students, happier parishioners, friends, directors. This was especially not the best way to proceed with something where one goal was to find lots of people who like reading my stuff!
I began the blog for several reasons, one of which was that I wanted to WRITE – to exercise that need – and to see if people actually liked what I wrote. It appears that people do, which is gratifying. But now I am faced with a focus issue…which is – even after 17 months – still not a decision I want to make.
You see, I’m a people pleaser. I like making everyone happy even though I know, intellectually, that this is impossible. I wanted my blog to make everyone happy. I wanted men, women, writers, moms, grandmas, aunts, uncles and cousins to find my posts irresistible. I wanted travelers, photographers, locals, internationals, liberals, conservatives, sports fanatics (okay, I knew I’d never please the sports fanatics!), dreamers, friends, theologians, to like me.
Yes. I ought to have known better.
I think that my resistance to “box myself in” to one particular audience all boils down to this: I am 42 years old, the holder of a master’s degree, the dreamer of extravagant dreams…and I am a stay-at-home mom.
Don’t get me wrong: I honestly love my life. I do not regret my decisions, I love my children, I do not WANT a 9-5 job.
It’s just that I don’t enjoy washing laundry and dusting. I do not embrace the house-wifely things that I feel like I ought to embrace. I don’t get all hot and bothered over sentimental mommy things. Yes, I keep tons of their drawings and I write down all the cute things they say.
But that doesn’t mean I adore the PTA.
It is hard for me to JUST be a mom.
And so I began writing a book.
I always imagined that I’d be a writer.
And yet, the things that I know, the things that I, apparently, write about the best, are mom things. But I fight tooth and nail against writing a Mommy Blog. WHY? Because I always thought I’d be more than that. And, to claim that title makes me feel like I’m giving up. Giving up on all of the potential – and real – audience members out there who don’t fit that category.
And yet, I’ve been told – by a person who knows this stuff – that I write a good “mommy blog”. And, I admit, the most feedback I get is from moms and grandmas who can relate to the things I post. And this is not a bad thing – I mean, I LOVE THAT FEEDBACK, AND I LOVE THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE GIVEN IT TO ME.
So why is it so hard to admit that that is where I belong? Because I don’t want to lose readers. I don’t want to displease anyone. UGH. Just make a decision already.
I envy those of you who have strong, focused blogs – cooking blogs, sewing blogs, travel blogs, local blogs – I envy your ability to be specific, your readers who look to you BECAUSE they want those specifics. I also admire the hard work you’ve done to gather those readers. And it is work, I know.
So why am I writing about this? What is my purpose? Well, I suppose that I’m alerting you that there may be a few changes around here. Not huge changes, but, as I learn to accept this role in my life, I probably will write about it more.
However, in this process, I have discovered something that I didn’t realize before: it appears that, as a mom of elementary and middle-school aged children, it is impossible for me to ignore that in my blogging. I hadn’t thought about the fact that writing a post about walking with the Girl Scouts in a local parade was a mommy post – I just thought it was something kinda fun to write about. But, it turns out, the very fact that I was in the parade at all is because I’m a Girl Scout leader, which I wouldn’t be if I wasn’t a mommy trying to help out with something my daughter loves. So, what I took to be just a random post…is actually a mommy post.
This is actually encouraging to me because it means that I don’t have to change my posts all that much! I suppose what it proves is that I’ve been writing a mommy blog all along even if I didn’t realize it. That I can’t escape who I am, where my focus is in life. I am not a reluctant mommy, per se…even if I’m a reluctant mommy blogger.
So what does this all come down to? I guess it means that I need to accept who and where I am in life. I need to be okay with the fact that I don’t have some marvelous job that defines me. Yes…I know what some of you are thinking: “Being a mother is the most wonderful and fulfilling job you will ever have.” Or, similarly, “Mommies don’t get paid in money, they get paid in kisses and hugs.” Okay, whatever. I’m not schmaltzy. And, while I may agree in principle with those ideas, I’m not going to start being all sentimental and adoring diaper bags.
Because, after all, I may be a mommy…
…but I’m still me.