I published my first blog post three years ago today. WordPress put a little “Happy Anniversary” badge in my notifications to celebrate. Woo!
My kids were born almost exactly three years apart, so Younger Brother is now the age that his brother was when I first started blogging. Little Boy goes to preschool and my spouse goes to work, so it’s just me at home with the baby most days. I get a strong sense of déjà vu sometimes, which couples oddly with the feeling that we weren’t supposed to stay here this long, here in this lovely rented house with the bright windows and the big garage.
It’s interesting to look back on my old posts about parenting with the experience of a second-time mother. I can think of several more things to add to the list of what not to say to new parents. My tips for newborn sleep are still generally good advice, but I laugh a little at the confidence with which they were written. I’ve pulled the running stroller back out; where Little Boy used to get loudly grumpy about running, Younger Brother just falls asleep. (In related news, I’ve discovered that some newborns really do have “quiet awake” time.) And while we’re still struggling to find the right balance of TV time for our older child, we are way more relaxed when it comes to the littler one getting the occasional glimpse a television screen.
There’s been another change to my family, one that I haven’t talked about much on the blog, that also casts some of my older posts in a new light. More than a year ago, my spouse revealed that he wanted to be a woman, and, with my support, began the long and nonlinear process of gender transition. I have seen how hard it is for him in the in-between times, as he deals with a deeply internalized sense that “feminine” fashion can’t be paired with “masculine” physical features. It has reaffirmed to me the importance of making sure our boys aren’t limited to “boy” things as they grow. My spouse’s true gender identity also makes our earlier fight against falling into traditional husband/wife roles even more striking—turns out we aren’t a traditional heterosexual couple, and yet various factors kept pushing us that way.
I don’t know what the future holds for my blog. I’m most active on Twitter these days, enjoying its faster, more fleeting nature and greater interactivity. I can type a tweet with one hand while nursing; a blog post, not so much. But I’m still glad to be here—and if you’re reading this, I’m glad you’re here too.
It’s now been two years since I wrote my first post—happy birthday, little blog! *Blows noisemakers and distributes virtual birthday cake.* My posting frequency has been more erratic this year, but I’ve noticed something: my views-per-day never drop to zero anymore, even when it’s been weeks between new posts. It feels like crazy grad mama has found its little niche on the internet, and that’s nice. (Or maybe it’s just that the spambots know where to find me. I prefer to look on the bright side.)
My biggest post this year was the one about why I hate attachment parenting. It got shared by someone—I don’t know for sure, but I think it was the Skeptical OB—when it was posted in April, and continues to get new views nearly every day. I like to imagine that new moms are finding it through search terms about their own frustrations with the expectations and pseudoscience of parenthood.
And speaking of traffic, a big shout-out to nicoleandmaggie, whose Saturday Link Loves have been my biggest driver of views after social media and search engines. I was reading their blog long before I started my own, and it continues to be consistently excellent.
It’s been a big year outside of blogging, too. I got another research paper published, and we put out a little press release that got picked up and repeated by the standard science content-reporters (IFLS, Gizmodo, etc.). So now more people have read about my research than have read my blog, although I’m still quite sure that more people have read my blog than have read my actual research papers.
This coming year is going to be… well, it’s going to be full, and that’s about all I can predict with any accuracy. Expect posts about pregnancy and new babies, about gender and identities and finding one’s place, and about the stress of finally finishing a PhD. Oh gosh, what am I going to do about the blog’s name when I graduate? Maybe it’s time to invest in a fancy header.
Thanks for being here for the ride.
One year ago today, I published my first blog post, a short introduction to myself and to the theme of this blog. My baby son was going on six months old, we’d just moved to a new house, and my mental health was slowly making the long climb back from the darkness of postpartum depression. (Of all the things that signify the passage of time, the one that my mind has the most trouble wrapping itself around is the house. We’ve been here for over a year?!? How did that happen?!?)
My posting frequency has ebbed and flowed over that year, but I keep coming back after the gaps, because the writing helps. I’ve often talked about this blog (and its short-form sister, my Twitter account) as the places where I can say the things that I can’t say elsewhere. But it turns out that they’re more than that: they’re a place to discover who I am.
You see, I’ve spent my life trying to be the person other people want me to be: a good daughter, a good spouse, a good student, a good mom. This is going to sound a bit melodramatic, but I forgot who me was. And when I didn’t forget, I took who me was and hid it away, lest it pop out at an inopportune time and scare off other people.
It’s been a long, slow, and weird process trying to reverse that instinct to hide myself away. It’s hard to explain, too; it’s not like there was one grand epiphany that set me on a better track. Many things went into it: having a safe space to express myself; coping with the fact the fact that I can’t please everyone and that’s OK; treating my depression, which blogging helps with; and reading and connecting with others’ similar experience.
It’s still very much an ongoing process, too, and one that isn’t likely to end anytime soon. Still, being able to answer a question about my hobbies with a list of some actual hobbies that I enjoy and do regularly—that’s huge for me.
So who is me, right here right now? I think one of the best ways to answer that is to share my favorite posts from the year. Some of these were popular at the time they were posted, others weren’t, but they were all meaningful to me.
My favorite posts about being crazy:
My favorite posts about being a grad student:
My favorite posts about being a mama: