I wrote my first blog post on January 17, 2012. I had no grand aspirations, other than to chronicle my experiences as a parent of a child with multiple challenges. While I felt like I had a lot to say about my life with M, I certainly didn’t anticipate that I could find enough to write about to fill 100 posts.
In the early days, blogging was primarily cathartic. The two previous years had been a roller coaster, with some positive developments, interspersed with lots of calls from the school, multiple suspensions, meetings with school board officials and generally struggling to keep M safe and in school. M’s behaviour has always tended to escalate during the winter months – maybe too little sun or exercise. I was fully anticipating that we would see a repeat of this pattern last winter. In the first few months, I was working through a number of issues that I have experienced as M’s parent – mental health, behavioural, and just the day-to-day coping with an alphabet soup child (his particular potage being ADHD, anxiety and anger management). In the end, M had a relatively successful year.
The blog has given me a forum for expressing some of my concerns. Less about M, but about my parenting. I spend a lot of time worrying about whether I’ve made the right decision or whether or not I should be doing more to support him. By reflecting on particularly stressful situations with M, I am able to get a bit of distance. As much as I love my kid, some days are horrible and hit every one of my “I’m-a-terrible-parent” buttons. Writing a blog post helps me process situations and cut myself more slack than I might otherwise. Plus, blogging is way cheaper than therapy.
I have also used my blog as a way to push myself to be more creative. Making jewelry, cards and other crafty projects is a way for me to manage and reduce my stress. But working full-time and parenting doesn’t leave much at the end of the day. So while I know making a bracelet or a birthday card will help me feel good about myself . No matter what else has happened that week, I’ve used my imagination and created something tangible. But getting organized to actually do something has always been a challenge for me. Not only has the blog given me a forum for sharing my projects, but I’ve made things I never would have tried before, like a necklace for myself or a scarf for a friend’s daughter. I’ve discovered that the more I create, the more creative I actually am. When I am not making things, I don’t have many ideas. But making and posting a project or two a month keeps my creative juices primed. These days, I have many more ideas than time (no amount of blogging can make me any less disorganized or lazy).
Over time, I have come to realize that this blog has reconnected me to writing. For most of my adolescence and into my twenties, I kept a journal. Plus I wrote short stories and poems. I’m not sure I was particularly good at creative writing, but it gave me a great deal of pleasure. My journals chronicled many years of depression and unhappiness and as I got older (and I suspect, happier), I stopped keeping a journal. Writing is also a significant part of my professional skill set. I didn’t know how much I really missed writing until I started blogging on a regular basis. I am still finding my voice, but my pleasure in putting of sentences and paragraphs together has been renewed.
Through blogging, I have discovered some terrific blogs. My absolute favourites are Reinventing Fabulous and The Blogess, both written with brutal honesty by women who are struggling with a myriad of issues. The authors of both these blogs are excellent writers (also published) so reading them is pure pleasure. Plus, reading other blogs is educational in that it helps me identify what works and what doesn’t. Mini-tutorials for the new blogger.
Getting to 100 posts has been an adventure. I’m anxious to see what the next 100 posts will bring.