I was going to name this post “Shock and Awe” because I’m sort of numb about how widely my Mommy Wars Hunger Games post has been read and shared. It’s my first “big post” and I think the appeal is pretty obvious – all mothers – nay, all women – have at one time or another felt guilty about, or been made to feel guilty about, the choices they’ve made in their lives. The tongue-in-cheek chart illustrated the absurdity of how women in any situation can be castigated for their decisions. So, apparently, it struck a nerve.
Huge thanks to Liz Gumbinner of Mom 101 for supporting a new blogger on Twitter, and to Cecily Kellogg for giving the post a shout out in the Babble’s MomCrunch article “Don’t Call Me a Mommy Blogger.” But I was totally cool about it when the Babble article went up. I didn’t start jumping and screaming and bouncing all around the kitchen like a complete fool. Yes I did. And because my four year old likes to jump, scream, and bounce, she happily joined in even though she had no clue why I was celebrating. Until I’m like, “Let’s go look at the computer screen again! Let’s refresh my site analytics!” And that was totally boring and then she just wanted me to make shells and cheese and put on Blue’s Clues.
My eight year old, who is, in general, less enthusiastic about life events, looked at me the next morning and says, deadpan, “So are you still a real bloggist now or what?”
Kids. They will always keep you real stomp on your buzz.
When I started the blog, I just sort of dove in. I went with WordPress even though I didn’t (and still don’t) really have a clue how to use it. I decided I just wanted to write, and I would worry about design and technology later (clearly). Rather than having an initial post all about “Hi! Here’s my blog and here’s who I am and why I’m doing this!” I jumped in with a post about murdering bagged salads. And it pretty much deteriorated from there.
But now that people beyond my friends are maybe reading my stuff, it seems like a mildly reflective time. So I’m going to get a bit meta on your ass.
Here’s why I decided to blog: Every few years I get it together enough circa New Year’s to do something at least a little bit mindful, and this year I decided to come up with a “word of the year.” Some touchstone against which I could reference my choices and actions for the next 12 months. This was inspired by when I lived in Manhattan and my friends and I would “name” our summers. Those were more things like “The Summer We Might Finally Get Invited to a Hamptons Share” or “The Summer the Hot Investment Banker Guy Might Decide I am Actual Girlfriend Material Instead of Late Night Booty-Call Material.” You know, profound stuff.
As we age and think more philosophically, and consider our futures and our kids’ futures and the planet’s future and such, life can easily devolve into a hand-wringing nightmare. Especially during an election year. So instead of turning to my second and third favorite activities – ranting and crying – I chose as my word of 2012: LAUGH. To find the humor even in the difficult. As my idol Erma Bombeck once said, “There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” I wanted to see if I could – maybe even once a day – dissolve into those gut-hurting, tears flowing, uncontrollable inappropriate giggling sessions. And maybe, even, cause such outbursts in the lives of others. No matter what chaos is swirling around us.
I’ve always loved to laugh, and to make other people laugh, though I was hardly a class clown (I was editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper – funn-ay!!!). But I remember sitting in our den growing up – before LOL was even a gleam in some texter’s eye – watching the literally laugh-out-loud Saturday night line-up – The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Carol Burnett Show – tears in my eyes as Tim Conway and Harvey Korman tried, and failed, to keep it together once again.
I’ve been to writing workshops where the people are all “I just write. It’s like breathing. I don’t care if people read it or not. It’s a meditative process for me.” And I nod, knowingly. Knowingly, in the sense that I know damn well that I write for one reason: To be read. I mean, that is awesome for those people. I wish that I could be so, you know, without ulterior motive. But I write to make people laugh. Laugh through tears, laugh through anger, and laugh because life is silly and funny underneath it all.
So when I considered a “voice” for this blog, it came pretty easily. My voice. The one that brings me most joy and, I hope, spreads a little bit of light around to others. The voice of laughter – at the everyday and at the small things and at the large events in our lives and in our world, at the things that are outright awesome, and at the things we need to work a little bit harder to keep in perspective. To laugh instead of to cry, or to rant. I hope you continue to read and enjoy.
But maybe the “Mommy Wars Hunger Games” post was my “Funkytown” or “Afternoon Delight.” In that case, it’s all downhill from here…