As the urban legend goes, blogging makes you a bad parent. Time spent scrolling the internet instead of soaking up Sunshine’s every little ray can never be recouped. Um, by that logic any and every job would make you a bad parent. So there’s that . . . but we’re also pushing back with this: blogging actually has the power to make you an even better parent. Just soak that up for a minute.
If there was such a thing as a parenting genie who would grant our wishes with a rub of a magical sippy cup, we would ask for two things: a mystical rear view mirror and a telescope into the future. With the rear view mirror we could relive those fleeting childhood moments of chubby knees and downy heads. With the telescope, we could gaze into that fuzzy future to see how our every parenting decision impacts our children’s growth into adults. But we don’t need magic because we have something better: blogging! Unconvinced? Let us present our case.
1. Improves our Time Management
All parents know time is THE hot commodity. Learning how to use those precious minutes wisely is a better gift to the whole family than a subscription to Netflix (although our kids might not immediately agree). Like most mothers, our schedules were jam-packed . . . and then we decided to blog. The idea of shoehorning a new job into our already overflowing schedules seemed crazy. Right?! Dash away visions of abandoned children sacrificed at the Temple of Blogdom because a miracle happened! Budgeting our time for writing and promotion spurred us to mindfully carve out minutes for what matters most, and to put our phones down during those moments.
2. Develops Us into Better Role Models
Good parenting is telling kids what to do. Better parenting is modeling it. We talk a good talk with our kids about taking advantageous risks to put themselves out there, but it wasn’t until we started blogging that we put the proverbial money where our pie holes are. Putting our words, beliefs, and advice out there for the world to see—and critique—takes a fair amount of hitching up our big girl britches. Blogging makes us doers, not just preachers.
3. Expands Our Horizons
Stepping outside our comfort zone was one thing, but launching into different time zones was unexpected gravy. Conferences and summits and advocacy, oh my! Blogging is not about isolation, but opening up the world in a whole new way. We’ve gotten lost on our way to yoga in Chicago, promoted a foundation in Atlanta, spoken about podcasting in Baltimore, and advocated for global vaccines on Capitol Hill.
Don’t start lamenting over our precious little ones left behind. They have actually gotten to tag along on some occasions, been sponsored by our employer to go to a leadership conference, and have been published on a sponsor’s website. Not too shabby.
4. Introduces Us to New Things
Social media may conjure up visions of moms staring at their phones while their kids beg “hey Ma, look at me!” from the monkey bars, but we found that blogging and the attendant social media required, blasted open a window into our kids’ worlds. We were beyond savvy before any of our kids even asked for an Instagram account. The social media boot camp gave us some serious parenting stripes.
5. Gives Us Time to Reflect
Never underestimate the power of the pause. The discipline of writing weekly means we are also processing our lives as parents each week: the good, the bad, and the disappointing. Our blog is not about cute kid stories, but focuses on analyzing our experiences on the parenting crazy train. This “pause button” has prompted us to actually reset our practices at times because no job needs chances for a do-overs quite like parenting.
6. Introduces Us to New Friends
Yes, we have friends in our computers. Yes, we’re sure they’re not trolls of the 50-year-old unshaven Limp Bizkit fan variety because we’ve actually met them. Our internet tribe has some of the most intelligent and kind-hearted women you would ever be lucky enough to have in your corner–professionally and personally. Wherever our kids decide to attend college, they will be within thirty minutes of a blogger friend—no, a surrogate mother. You can’t buy that kind of peace of mind.
7. Gives Us New Ways to Talk to Our Kids
Want to talk about sex, drugs, and alcohol with your kid? Of course you don’t. But if you have a writing deadline, suddenly you can broach touchy topics with very little preamble. Our kids are conditioned to respond without flinching to questions like “Hey, I need to write an article about kids and alcohol, come talk to me!” or “Hey, do you know anyone who abuses cough syrup?”
Interviews notwithstanding, our kids retain rights to their stories and hold the right to veto us sharing them. Our writers’ hearts hurt for the tales we can’t tell, but these discussions stress the importance of maintaining healthy boundaries between private and public lives. For a generation cutting their teeth on social media, and for their moms who need to keep up, this is the greatest prize of all.
8. Encourages Us to Model Good Friendships
We were friends before we were business partners, but blogging took our friendship to a new place. That new place was the world of compromise and generosity. While we think the United Nations would appreciate our skills in diplomacy and cooperation, we know our kids are learning from them every day.
9. Gives Our Kids Fodder for Their Own Memoirs
Our blog is not a baby book, but it is peppered with memories that will last as long as their digital footprint (as long as we keep paying our website hosting bill). In the final analysis, we hope our kids see that blogging is another way we share our experiences not just with each other or the internet, but with them.
10. Gives Us Another Dimension
Hear that noise? It’s us roaring. We’re proudly showing our kids what women can achieve. We have become coders, graphic designers, speakers, advocates, and parenting experts. We’re professionals who have learned to negotiate and put a fair price on what we’re worth as we cobble together an income. Blogging has prodded us to lean all the way in.
So basically, blogging has made us happier, more skilled, and more greatly fulfilled moms. To flip that annoying saying to the positive: everybody knows if momma’s happy then everybody’s happy.
The evidence is clear. We rest our case.
Ellen and Erin
Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”