Congratulations! We have been together for five years!
In the course of more than 1,300 blogs we have discussed the mundane – do we like the white-shirt family beach photos? — to the serious – should a mother kick out her teenager when she’s had enough? We have fought, disagreed, judged, but also often supported and cared for each other. We have shared intimate details about our lives, our families and children, and hopefully some people have learned from the stories. I know I have.
When I proposed this blog and column five years ago, I thought I would simply be writing funny stories about my family and gabbing with other mothers online. But the blog has become a much bigger part of my life, one that I use as a touchstone. Am I making the right decisions? Am I doing the right thing for my kids? Am I the crazy one? (Often the answer is yes!) I appreciate everyone’s input and think about the community’s advice as I go about my daily life. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without the outlet and support system that this community provides.
For the next eight days we are going to flashback to some of our favorite blogs and columns. Some of the stories made people angry, others touched their hearts, but all of them got a reaction. When possible, I am linking to the original discussion so you can see all the comments.
As I was selecting old columns and blogs for our flashback I enjoyed seeing how much some things have changed and how some things have not.
The biggest change was that we added a whole other child to our family in the course of the blog. It was a joy sharing the on the blog and even her birth! (That story will run next week.) I cried re-reading milestones in Lilina’s life that I shared and was so glad that I have will have a written record of my feelings and worries about her birth, her laugh and milestones from walking to the first time she talked back. (I did a terrible job keeping a baby scrapbook for her, but I have everything I need in the blog.)
I think that my relationship with my husband is actually stronger because of the blog. I worried that we would end up getting divorced because we were sharing so much, and often being judged by others. However, because we developed the rule that if it was about him he had to read it before it ran, the blog actually helped us air our grievances in an organized, unemotional way. We are better communicators now than we were five years ago, partially due to the blog.
It was also heartening to see times when the community helped a parent in need of information or support. We had one mom who didn’t know how to stop her daughter from stealing. Another mom had kicked her rebellious teen out and was looking for reinforcement that she had done the right thing. We’ve talked about how much help to give with homework, if it was OK to spy on our kids online, how to discipline all ages and whether to use medicine for kids with ADHD. We were there to offer our experiences and give support whether we agreed or disagreed with the decision.
We talk a lot about how to make our children independent and strong. Thanks to all of you, I have finally gotten it through my head that I AM a helicopter parent. But I am working on it, and I think of you guys often as I confront things – can I let them play in the game room at the Y without adult supervision while I work out? Can I let Walsh walk up the street alone to deliver a note to a friend? (Yes, Theresa you can. Let them do these things!)
Besides thanking you guys for being such an awesome community, I want to thank my husband for being such a trooper through the last five years. Our whole lives have been out there, and he took a beating for it from his friends and co-workers! (Sometimes I think half of my page-views are from his co-workers searching for what new embarrassing facts I revealed each day.) He not only was willing to laugh at himself, he sometimes he even helped write the jokes.
It is true that we haven’t always agreed on the blog, but I think we are better, less judgmental parents, for the discussions we have had. Maybe we have seen things from a new viewpoint. Maybe we have learned things from each other. I know I have. I am grateful for all the input from my blog family and appreciate all your ideas and support. My oldest is getting ready to enter puberty (I kind of think she’s already in it.) so I need you all to stick around to help me through it. I think we have many wonderful years ahead to share and discuss (and also to judge my husband).