Starting a Blog is Like Having a Baby
I know what you were thinking when you started your blog. You had a kid. It was hard. It was boring. It was stressful. So you decided, hey, I'll start a blog! That'll make me feel like my life's worth living again.
But what you didn't know was that all the hard, boring, stressful stuff you were trying so desperately to escape wasn't going to end at your laptop. Oh no. It was only the beginning. Because having a blog is exactly like raising a kid.
*Minus certain body fluids and the fact that you're responsible for the future of an actual person who could be taken away by social services if you forget to feed it. Him. Her...
Image: David Goehring via Flickr
The Baby Years
Everything is new! And cute! And interesting! And takes for freaking ever! Who knew getting ready to go to the grocery store would be like that time you packed for a weekend in Napa. Before you had a kid. When there was sleeping...
It's just like that with your blog. You're picking out themes and names and colors. "I wonder what it's going to be like? Nothing like my mother, I'm sure." But every post you put up takes forever. And every new thing you try is, well, new, so there's that darn learning curve.
Sometimes it's really, really fun... "Look how cute it is! Can you believe it got it's first photo attachment today?"
Sometimes, you're wondering what the hell you got yourself into... "WTF? It's 2 a.m.! Just upload for the love of god! You've been uploading straight through for weeks! Everybody else says they get their stuff to upload just fine by now! It's me, isn't it, it's me. I'm a bad blogger. I knew I never should've become a blogger."
You collapse into your bed without brushing your teeth. You tell yourself that this too shall pass. You fall asleep reminding yourself to catch some of the good moments.
First Years of School
Just about the time you're thinking, "Damn, there's no way anything could be harder than this baby stuff," some bastard starts talking about how stressful parenting gets when your kid has to interact with other children. Other nasty children. Bullies, mean girls, hitters, biters, sand throwers, toy stealers. You name it, and you have an anxiety attack moment for it. Who knew mean girling started in kindergarten. Or that schools were crazy enough to practice red drills where kids learn to go hide in a corner and hope for the best.
For the first time, you start researching how hard it would be to learn Swedish.
Your blog is growing up too. You're an old pro when it comes to working the stuff on your dashboard, so getting a post out the door is like tossing a bag of goldfish crackers into your purse and knowing you'll be able to clean up most accidents with the clump of napkins in your glove compartment. But now you're stepping out into the rest of the world -- Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest.
For the first time, some random jerk actually shows up and says your blog sucks for absolutely no good reason. Just sticks his tongue out at you and runs away.
You have a glass of milk and a couple of cookies and tell yourself that some people in this world are just mean. And that's their problem, not yours.
No one's kidding themselves here. This is where awkward and ugly make their living. Sure, you did what you could to make your kid into a thoughtful person with a strong sense of self. But that all goes out the window when she gets sucked into some group of girls who convinces her they should all dress alike and shorten their adjectives when they talk.
Your blog is no different. You're finding your place in the "sphere," and that may take falling in with the wrong crowd. You may suddenly change your writing voice or start thinking it's a great idea to put ads on your site in every. single. available. space. You may find some fantastic friends and then get lured away by some popular chicks who suddenly pay attention to you (and then dumps you when you get boring). You may think you've found a BFF and then watch in stunned silence as she freaks out on you all over social media, like the crazy girl who throws your lunch tray across a crowded cafeteria and starts yelling at you for reasons you don't completely understand...
You hang out in front of the TV, watching old romcoms and eating popcorn. You tell yourself that sometimes you have to try on a few different hats to figure out who you want to be.
Just when you thought you were out of the woods.
Your kid is past the uglies, friends are set, and school is going okay. Sure there's driving, but there's also Xanax. And suddenly, you can't stand to be in the same room together. When you talk, you fight. And if you aren't fighting, you're not talking. Every interaction is exhausting.
This is the time when you really want to just throw in the towel. You're tired. It's gotten old. The reward is minimal. You're out of tricks. You've stopped having fun.
Every post you put out seems like a chore.
A comment. An email. A tweet. "Thank you so much. You don't know what this meant to me. This made my day."
You sit on the couch with a glass of wine and a piece of dark chocolate. You tell yourself that it's the hardest stuff that's worth doing. And the next day, you get up and do it again.
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