When playground chat isn’t enough, reach out to the world of parenting blogs for support, understanding and laughs because there’s bound to be someone who is feeling the same way you do.
“The common theme among all these women I know is that they are doing their very best. If you’re doing your best, it’s more than enough.” Amy Zempilas, on motherhood via www.absoluteamy.com
Currently on Amazon, there are 61,788 books on parenting. Multiple works on scheduling your children on a sleep plan (if only your newborn could read the book too, am I right?), wonderful suggestions for hiding vegetables in food (some are gobbled up, some end up dripping down the wall like some hideous ode to a plethora of mysterious vegetables) and how to ensure your little human beings end up being decent citizens (eventually… their frontal lobes are still developing until their early twenties, so pat yourself on the back if you have a good 25-year-old human on your hands, mum and dad).
Despite all this well-intentioned and often useful guidance from experts and experienced parents, the blog world provides something a dog-eared paperback simply can’t - a community. Which is why Amy Zempilas created her blog Absolute Amy in 2012, when her eldest daughter was almost one-year-old.
“Since becoming a full-time mum, I’ve really missed the social aspect of working,” Amy confides. “My blog is my happy place and I’m delighted it’s become a happy place for lots of other people too. It’s given me a platform to share lots of things from makeup, recipes and fashion – and it’s been incredibly reassuring knowing I’m not alone on my parenting journey.”
Conversations in the schoolyard or at mothers’ group are constantly interrupted by school bells and never-ending requests from the small people we dote on, making heart to hearts in these locations an almost impossibility.
“My blog allows me to discuss the things that are really on my heart and mind,” Amy says. “Topics about feeling guilty, being grateful or just finding parenting a bit tough.”
What can’t always be discussed freely at the playground, whether it’s due to time restrictions or the fear of bringing up a taboo topic, blogs like Amy’s are connecting mums through these honest dialogues. Whether readers simply find a post and connect with the content, or go further and leave a comment on their own journey or a message of encouragement, parenting blogs provide a supportive community like no other.
Fellow Perth mummy blogger Trae Flett, of award-winning blog Where’s My Glow, started up in 2009 and says she’s found ‘her tribe’ through blogging.
“I love my little community! Most the time they are there to share a laugh with me, but when times are tough they become an incredible support,” Trae says. “It’s like having a cheer squad saying ‘you can do it’ and they definitely buoy my spirits.”
While Trae admits to being a ‘what you see is what you get’ type of person (“I’m a chronic oversharer,” she says) and tends to share the same issues online as she does in her real life, it’s her readers who pick up the benefit of otherwise undiscussed topics.
“The most popular posts are the ones that people relate to but often are too afraid to speak about themselves, for whatever reason,” Trae says. “Seeing someone else in the same position gives them hope and courage to speak up too, or at least have some comfort in knowing they are not alone in their struggles.”
While her blogs on issues of mental health garner plenty of interest and resonate with readers, Trae often receives emails from parents with a child recently diagnosed with sagittal craniosynostosis (which her son was born with), reaching out for help.
“It is a lovely feeling to be able to help someone through the early days of diagnosis and confusion with surgeries, to be able to send them in the right direction for information and ongoing support,” Trae says.
For all the well-researched knowledge and guidance of those books, what could be better than a fellow mum providing a virtual hug and sharing her story with words that explain “I’ve been there” and convey hope that everything will be okay.
If you’re interested in starting a parenting blog, Trae suggests writing what you know, learning to prioritise your time and make sure you present the real you.
“People love real,” Trae tells us. “I’m aware that a lot of the time only the shiny, happy version of life is presented on blogs making people appear to be Carol Brady. I like to show our real life – that we go on fabulous adventures and do craft some days, but on other days I’m struggling to get out of the house without raising my voice and dealing with tantrums.”
In the haze of the parenting world, find your tribe and make the journey a little easier through the power of &.
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