I was filling out my nomination form for the Mom 2.0 Summit Iris Awards this week. In the second line under Honour and Achievement Awards, the form asks to nominate your favourite parenting blog of the year...
And I was stumped.
If I was filling this out five years ago, I would have said Tanis Miller at Attack of the Redneck Mommy, or Annie Urban at Phd in Parenting, or Alice Bradley at Finslippy, or Julie Cole at The Yummy Mummy Club. Because I used to read these blogs religiously. Eating it all up like the sleep-starved mother of two tiny beings that I was. These bloggers fed me my late night, 2 AM feedings worth of words and laughs and advice. Words and stories that sustained me throughout those long nights and well into my days. These women spoke to me, they made me feel OK with what I was doing, assured me that it was all going to be okay in the end. They were ahead of me on the motherhood train and were showing me which tracks to follow.
And follow those tracks I did, all the way to blogging myself. I started to write my stories, share my advice and my parental nuggets of wisdom along the way. I actually became friends with all of the bloggers I mentioned above and they are all just as funny and amazing in real life as they are on the screen and I continue to look up to them in all things blogging and living.
And yet, I am still stumped as to who/what my favourite parenting blog is THIS year.
This year, when my kids are six and eight years old, and we are done with breastfeeding and babywearing and potty training and making organic baby food and worrying about them only playing with handmade, wooden, non-toxic-paint-covered toys. This year, that I have looked forward to for so long, when they are both in the same school for full days and I FINALLY have all this time for myself again and then I mope around because I miss the little buggers. This year, when getting my son to talk to me about anything is like we are in some kind of cold war interrogation room and he is not gonna crack! This year, when my daughter is getting asked about her weight (SHE'S SIX) and is constantly worried about people thinking she is stupid - FYI, some kids are really mean. This year, when questions and conversations about God, divorce, sex, death and whether the police are good or bad, are topics that just pop up, in the car, at the dinner table, on the way to dance class and rock climbing, and you have to roll with it, find that line between telling them enough and not too much for their young, curious minds to grasp and hope you get at least part of it right.
I feel as if there is a hole in the parent blogging world. Maybe it is because, "OMG! We are all so damn busy!!". Maybe it is because I am not looking in the right places. Maybe it is because we get so distracted by all the other big events and news going on in our world. Who knows? What I do know is that if you thought the baby and toddler years were the busy ones, the ones where you had all the questions, you were wrong. Now is the busy time: make the lunches, get them to school, go to work/gym/grocery shopping/etc..., make dinner, pick up from school, take to activity A, B or C, do homework with them, get ready for bed, read, sleep, rinse and repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.
Now is the time when not only are the kids asking you questions, you're wondering about a whole lot of new slew of parenting issues too. And there just doesn't seem to be a lot of time for reflection and writing about all the trials and tribulations of the regular 6-10 year old kid phase. That phase doesn't even really have a name. I mean, we have whole websites dedicated to The Baby Year(s), The Toddler Years, and then it all kind of skips ahead to the Tweens and then the Teens. What the heck do we call this time anyway? School-age? Childhood years? Somehow it just doesn't have the same ring to it and this time in our kid's (and our) lives also doesn't seem to get the same kind of press.
I need the post telling me that the weird forced laugh and the 10 decibels louder in public that my 8-year old son now speaks at is completely normal. I need the post reassuring me that quitting an activity that all three of us dread on a weekly basis is not going to be the downfall of my kids personal development and deprive them of some essential life skill. I need the post letting me know that my own inner worries about my 6-year old daughter's weight are normal and tips on how to deal with both my body issues, while also helping her develop a healthy sense of her own body and self-worth. I need the post letting me know that I am not the only one who HATES making lunches, and if I see another Pinterest board full of ever changing, rainbow-filled bento-box bounty, I am going to fucking SCREEEEEAAAAM!
I also need the post talking about school reforms and new research into standardized testing and the pros and cons of alternative programs and community-based educational initiatives. And the one about the best way to initiate an allowance schedule for kids at this age. I need that post that somehow finds the happy medium between the care-free "come home when it gets dark" era that we grew up in, with the helicoptering "I must plan all of your time and activities and play dates for you and be there to supervise it all" exhausting (and anxiety producing) thing we are doing now. And that one talking about why the word FART is somehow the most hilarious one in the English language and is the topic of conversation at least 48.7 times a day!
I get it though. I mean, I am not writing these posts either. My kids can both read and use Google now and that combo is a scary one for someone like me who opens up her life and her family's life to the internet. And there is the whole digital footprint thing to consider as well. If I write about them or post their pictures online, am I telling stories that aren't mine to share? Where is the line that says, this story is OK to share and this one is not. And why did all of this not seem like such a big deal when they were babies and toddlers?
All of these words to tell you that I really don't have a favourite parenting blog this year. I don't have a go-to resource or someone who is telling the stories that I can relate to right now. Which is also a bit depressing, because if I am feeling this way, there must be others feeling it too? And then I wonder who is relating to me and my journey as a parent and as a blogger? Am I speaking to you? Are you getting what you need from this blog?
Please, I want to know.
And if nothing else, I guess if I can't find the kid-zone (that's what I am calling it) parenting posts I am looking for elsewhere, I suppose I have just given myself a nice little editorial calendar of topics to write about for the next few months.
P.S. In an odd kind of ironic twist of fate, I just found out late last night that I have been nominated and short-listed for a local Social Media award in the category of Best in Family and Parenting.