Lean on me. Or you.

Yesterday at the office (ugh yes, at the office on Sunday. I mean uh, yippee! It is an honor and a privilege of doing the noble work of making advertising on the lord’s day.) I had a lovely conversation with a woman I’ve just started to get to know who’s a mom too. She’s about my age -ahem, 29- with a preteen son and she asked me about blogs. Whether I knew any I could recommend.

“I know a few,” I smiled before grabbing a pen and completely filling both sides of a notepad sheet like a crazy person.

I went through the litany – this one is really funny. Oh, and do you know this one? Ooh, how could I forget this one…and this…oh, and if you like design…wait, want to read one from someone who…and hey, wait, scratch those, start with this one first!  Then I looked up to see the tears welling up in her eyes, the excitement giving way to pure emotion.

“It’s just,” she said, “I never knew this was out there.  All these year I’ve felt so alone. I just…I just didn’t know.”

And I wanted to cry too, thinking of all the working mothers of the world, cosmopolitan and media savvy as they may be, still looking for their tribes. Still trying their best not to talk about children over the cubicle wall. Reluctant to fill their bulletin boards with crayon-etched Valentines. Secretly rolling their eyes when employers try to equate companies with families and knowing that no, a family is a family and a job is a job. Even if you love it. Even if you do it on Sundays too. And trying not to feel like a pariah when you’d rather be home playing Rock Band Lego with your kid on a Friday night than pounding martinis at the fancypants after-work bar of choice.

I thought of all the working women who felt undeniably, unequivocably changed when they became mothers, but repress that side of themselves every single day.

And I wonder what my life would be like had I not sat down at a message board just about four years ago to the day, in time to see someone write, Anyone here read Finslippy? It’s really funny.

Our voices here are strong. They’re powerful. But I was reminded last night that there are still women out there wandering, struggling, looking for their people; even if they don’t know what exactly they’re looking for. Even if really, we were as close as the computer keyboard all along.

I was so pleased to be a part of the Parents Magazine Power of Mom article that just came out in the February issue, and see, for perhaps the first time, the mainstream media acknowledging that our influence goes well beyond  corn chip manufacturers and makers of new and improved wet mops. Thank God. We can create change in government. In policy. We can support families in crisis. We can band together over causes we care about. Whether they affect our own families directly, or not at all. It’s a really great article, and I hope you’ll take a look.

More so, I hope that women who are still out there thinking, “What the hell is a blog?” will take a look.

Because first, and above all–and this I think is where a lot of the media, and certainly the majority of marketers miss the point–I think that we are here for each other.


65 thoughts on “Lean on me. Or you.”

  1. Ah…finslippy. Holla!

    My very first blog love. I even emailed Alice, to tell her she saved my sanity that day, and has been ever since.

    Hard to believe there are still those out there who don't follow blogs. I'm so less lonely b/c of my blogs.


  2. Liz, this is wonderful. From now on when some mom I don't know on a message board disses blogs by saying bloggers are all narcissists (well, duh, but what else are we?), I'll put up a link to this article. Hard to believe I had never read a parenting blog when my son was two. Wow. I was sooo missing out.

  3. I honestly cannot imagine my life right now without this community. This neighborhood. I am so thankful to have stumbled upon it and made it a part of my life. A big part. So many people don't “get” it… I wish they did.

  4. Great post! I rely on my daily blog hop for laughter, inspiration, community, even yes, my sanity. I can't imagine what my life would be without this virtual network of friends, supporters, cheerleaders, and shoulders to cry on.

  5. It's so cool when someone outside of blogging stumbles in and has an experience like that. I've had a few people who don't normally read blogs tell me that they found comfort/laughter reading my blog and that is ABSOLUTELY the best thing I can hope for.

    I love your attitude here. And a great start to the week.

  6. Liz,
    Thanks for this- and sorry yours was a working weekend. I think that the media and marketers get it- what they struggle with is duplicating it! And that is because they simply cannot. The result is painful at best sliding quickly to criminal and worse! So the work of those of us who place ourselves in the middle is to preserve all that is good, right and powerful about this amazingly organic community of Mom Bloggers and the vast unknown what's next…and of course good to know that you will be there to guide us on…

  7. What a fantastic post. The blog community saved me, from my diagnose with lupus, to my son's struggles, and just today, I blogged about issues with weight and body image. My blog became and outlet for me and turned into the place I made some of my closet friends.

  8. Beautiful blog. Thank you for sharing. We (Mom's) search for community through blogging and social networking. I for one and so grateful these resources are available to me!!! 🙂

  9. Yep, it took me well over a year to find the blog world, mostly because it seemed like the mommyblogs I heard of were written by people who couldn't do anything BUT talk about being a mom, and I desperately wanted to still be myself even after my son was born. I love finding people out here in the ether who are looking for balance, too. Thanks!

  10. Liz,
    This is a great post, I have only been blogging and reading blogs for almost a year. I can honestly say that this year has been completely different from any other. I honestly do not know what I would do without my bloggy world. It has made life so much different than it was before.

  11. This is so true. It seems like we (bloggers) talk to each other all the time and discover new blogs constantly that we sometimes forget other people don't even know they exist.

    Come to think of it, I have 4 close friends of mine that don't blog but happen to be in unique situations (special needs mom, mom of multiples, battling addiction, etc) that could probably really use this community for connection- do you know if there's a list somewhere that “categorizes” parenting blogs like that?

  12. Well put, very sweet.

    I'm one of those cubicle moms and my blog keeps me sane. Plus I get to meet all kinds of other (mom) bloggers to share things with. Consider it the new-mom's playdate group.

  13. The best part of being a blogger is never feeling like I'm truly alone in no matter what it is that I'm going through. THAT is community.

  14. Such a great reminder to those who are reticent to start their own blogs: We all can meet someone's need for connection. And as you illustrated well, there are far more women searching for that connection that many of us realize.

  15. This is one of my all time favorite things about the internet today… women, moms, sisters, friends are being able to find their village – even if the members of the village are 1000s of miles away. We no longer have to feel like we have to know all the answers all on our own… and thank goodness for that!

  16. VERY TRUE! I'm so happy, that a friend of mine directed me to a random blog that led me to all of you.

  17. Can't remember who (someone super articulate, but also dead) who said, “We read to know we're not alone.” And we who write (whether it's in print, or the dot moms who are redefining community every day) write so that we're not alone, and because we believe that what we have to say may, just maybe make a lick of a difference, both in our lives and in someone else's. (Damn is that supposed to have an apostrophe?)

    I've been using the word “tribe” for awhile now, ever since I saw such a group of women arise and show up for me after my cancer diagnosis. It's an accurate term. So, amen.

  18. How often have I set goals and thresholds for myself? If I can't blog regularly, if I don't increase my readership by x amount, if I can't make a little bit of money, then I'll just stop blogging. That's all. And I never do.

    This is why. Thanks.

  19. Oh, Liz. This has been heavy on my mind for days now, and I couldn't have put it better if I tried. Thank you.

  20. I can't imagine how I would have coped with motherhood had it not been for the mom blog community I fell into early on. I've had support when I needed it, and been able to provide that same support for others, too.

    Now if only I could be as eloquent as you in describing this to my coworkers who ask what this “blarg” stuff is all about.

  21. This post speaks to exactly how I'm feeling right now. Being a part of this community has been so validating for me. And you, Liz, were my first. And still are the one I return to for guidance. For laughs. For tears. For companionship. To know I'm not the only one.

  22. So, so true. Even when you love your work, when you chose to live your life this way, it's still not easy and sometimes really hard. And that's when you need to hear other voices who understand.

  23. You really captured why I blog. I have a little blog, and am never going to influence the makers of anything. But writing about things helps me process them, and the community I've found in doing this has helped keep me sane.

    And every time I check my stats and see that someone has found my blog searching on something about being a working mom, or baby sleep issues, or anything at all useful, I get a happy feeling. Because it is absolutely amazing if my little blog can tell even one person something useful or make her feel less alone.

    Blogging has also given me the confidence to be more “real” when I talk about motherhood in real life. I'll admit how hard the first year was, or how I am glad I went back to work… and every once and awhile, I can tell that this really resonates with someone I'm talking to. And that is great, too.

  24. Liz, it is wonderful how quick you are to promote other mother's blogs.
    I think you're helping to keep the spirit of “Mommy blogging” unified and collaborative.

  25. Yes! Well said. I'm continuously amazed at the power of blogging. The connections, support, friendships are wonderful.

  26. This is a great post and hits close to home for me too. I have just recently become a part of the blogging community. I love being able to read what goes on in other people's lives and how ours are all intertwined in some way. I am also amazed at the huge support system that there is. I wish I would've discovered this world 4 years ago when I had my daughter and felt like my life was falling apart, but I am better now and I am so glad to be a part of this community!

  27. Great post! With the internet and all the blogs out there, its amazing how you can develop friendships with other moms who know and feel what you do! It makes you feel less alone, and that someone out there understands you.

  28. Oh, I loved this post. Discovering the blogging community when I was on maternity leave with my firstborn was such a breath of fresh air … kept me sane during that time at home and sane back in the workplace to read about other mamas out there and get 5 min here and there away from the corporate world. I absolutely love it. Thanks for writing!!

  29. Oh Liz. This is one of the posts that keeps me from walking away. All the things you mentioned, grandstanding etc., are things that almost had me hanging up my keyboard for good. I've let the bad apples ruin the whole barrel and I need to stop thinking that way. There's so much good here! I wish I'd found this community when I was a working mom. Better late than never though. Thanks to all the good apples out there!

  30. Well said! This is just soooo soooo true.

    I'm so glad I found the parenting blogosphere. The community, friendships and posts that resonate with me and my experiences have kept me sane. I'm very thankful to have found other parents going through the same types of things I am, especially when the moms I know IRL aren't strugglign with the same things.

  31. well said,
    and yes, my life has changed in ways I could never have imagined.
    I have grow and learn and laugh , cry, roll my eyes, and love. In the blog world. It is not an optional part of my community, it is a vital part.

  32. Well, there's always two sides to everything. What we sought as avenues of information and companionship is also the dwelling place of malice and corruption. Thank goodness for spam filters and anti-viruses.

  33. I've just been blogging for about six months, but I have to say, its my lifeline.

    Great post. And here's to all those awesome moms out there.

  34. Blogging is better than ice cream, it's better than anything else that I've tried… (Sorry, an old Sarah McLachlan lyric was randomly dropped into my head this week!)

    But really, blogging is where it's at. I started around two years ago, and it's been THE best thing for me. Sadly, I haven't had nearly as much time to devote to posting lately (a toddler, an unfinished thesis and a pregnancy will do that!), but even if I can only spare 3.5 minutes to take a break–I visit this blog and Motherhood Uncensored. Y'all have been great women/mothers/wives/writers/humans/etc. that make me laugh, cry, or simply grant my sanity an extended stay. 😉

    I'm so glad I found y'all!

  35. Thank you for your post on Cool Mom Picks about Soles4Souls… because of you we're doing a shoe drive this week in my neighborhood and at my church! BTW, I quoted you in my blog… hope that was ok. 🙂

  36. thank you for this perspective. I can always use good reminders on how to stay powerful as a politically minded mother who makes important decisions about the good of ALL even when there are tragedies like election results that unfolded last night here in Massachusetts.
    I don't feel powerless, I feel more determined to make my power LOUDER next time.

  37. Love, love, love this post…I still feel like I'm searching for my tribe…maybe I'll meet them at Blissdom or Mom 2.0…maybe I'm already an honorary member and don't realize it? maybe I'm just part of the larger tribe of 'blogger.'

    I saw that article. And as I've pointed out in the past, you rule.

    Thank you for being a resource for moms, bloggers and friends.

  38. My oldest is nearly 12. Way back when he was a babe in arms, it was Salon.com's now defunct Mothers Who Think column that kept me going late at night. Then it was Andi Buchanan's Mother Shock and Brain, Child magazine that kept me from feeling alone (plus my very awesome IRL book group). Finally, momblogs came along. I can't imagine life without momblogs, without what my husband terms “imaginary friends.”

  39. I returned to school yesterday after seven years at home with my boys. Not as much by choice (yes, I love it and I love my vocation and the needed improvement to it, but, well….love them MORE) as by necessity and was sitting here in a heap having spent the day trying to field questions about “high school” from my 4yo. Needed this…rescued my whisper-thin sanity.

  40. So glad you posted this. I'm a recent-enough entry into reading and writing blogs (8 months) that I still realize very much (on a daily basis) that most new moms I know do not read blogs. Little by little, I have shared posts (of yours and many others) through email or facebook, and I love being able to share these stories and insights with women who would never have discovered them on their own.

    This post is such a good reminder to all of those who have been in this forever that they still have many people in their life who they can share this with, who they can introduce to a people who are right there with them.

    And I love your point about finding the voices of the working moms in the blogosphere. There are voices for all circumstances out there, it's just not always easy to find them if you aren't plugged into the blogging/twitter community.

    thanks liz.


  41. I'm a Blog Virgin, and feel a resurgence of energy for life especially and mortherhood as well. Reading others blogs and writing my own, may just help me through as I “retire” from full time mothering in a few years.

  42. exactly! When my oldest was a wee babe, someone mentioned Dooce and of course I was all “what's a dooce?” or a blog? ….5.5 years later…

  43. You are so right. There are loads of moms who haven't connected with other moms who feel the same way you do. Just last week I was with a mom's club who had never heard of a Mom blog. I remedied that situation quickly. Mom Blogging is such a great way for our generation of moms to be heard. And you're right again, it's so much more than identifying the latest, greatest product. It's important, life-changing stuff like how to value ourselves!

  44. I think the blog is the only way women will truly have a united voice. A way to change policies and views about parenting. I feel so lucky to be a mom in the age of blogging!

  45. I, too, can be almost evangelistic when anyone asks me about blogging, particularly advice-for-struggling-parents blogs. You probably just changed her life.

    And clearly Alice is a gateway drug. She was my first blog love, too.

  46. Oh I love this. Love, love, love this. You so nailed what I have been trying to explain to people for ages. But never found the right words to do so. Thank you for articulating it so well.

  47. Well you mom-101 are my first blog love. I am trying to will myself back now so this could not be a better post to have read today!

  48. I have mixed feelings about your post. Yes, reading about our common experiences IS helpful, and fun. But what I think makes us truly feel connected and part of a community is to have friends face to face. Blogging, Facebooking, responding to blogs DOES NOT help my feelings of isolation. I need the real friends, who live nearby, and I worry that our culture is growing more and more isolated and lonely the more time to spent shut up in our homes.

  49. Joy, the blogging community has a strong offline component as well. There are meet ups, tweet ups, and at least three blog conferences this month alone. Cross-country message board groups get together once a year. New mom community groups founded online move to actual face-to-face meetings.

    One of my greatest joys is that my online friends have simply become my friends.

    But of course, I live in NYC where there are whole lot of women right out my front door too. I feel fortunate to have both options in my arsenal of lean-on-me's.

  50. I am glad to hear that you're making this work for you. Actually becoming face-to-face friends with someone you meet on line is great. I guess what I feel we are missing, as Americans, is the ability to know and befriend our neighbors, invite local friends over for dinner, etc. Should more of our time and energy be spent trying to make local friends? I will never go to a blogging conference, (time, money, etc.) and making long-distance friends (more than the ones I already have from school, college, etc.)doesn't seem practical. Nor ecological.

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