Blogging motivation: #NaBloPoMo edition

Well, I obviously didn’t blog yesterday, per my NaBloPoMo obligation. (So *shucks* I can’t win any BlogHer prizes. Let’s face it, I didn’t really want them anyway. As much as I like blogging and reading some blogs, I think the BlogHer conference seems like a big sorority party and I’m SO not that kind of girl. Ahem.)

So, I have been feeling more connected to blogging. Writing daily has made it easier to think of things to write about, generally, and I think the process of writing and sharing (and conversing through comments) has been fun and useful. Even though I won’t be able to claim *true* success on #NaBloPoMo since I missed a day, I do think the ultimate purpose of it is still taking hold for me.

It is hardest on the weekend, as I assumed it’d be since I spend little time in front of a computer on Saturdays and Sundays. No big surprise there. I also have hardly any readers on the weekend, which is another blow for my motivation. Did anyone even READ my post Saturday? (Well, 25 of you…) Sunday was this insanely hectic day of going from one thing to the next and doing laundry, cleaning, making dinner in between… I collapsed after Margo went to bed. Anyway, excuses.

It sort of made me think about what my motivation is for doing this daily blogging thing. At many times in my life I’ve been a journaler and it’s been useful in working through stuff I was feeling or going through, but I feel like, only 12 days in, blogging is sort of proving its worth a little.

I like the sharing part. I think my failure to launch yesterday was due in large part to not wanting to blog to no one. I think that’s been part of the issue all along – since I’m so inconsistent I don’t have a strong following.  While I don’t need to be the most popular, branded mommy-blogger in the world, it is nice to have readers and that process sort of reinforces the blogging through comments. And pressure (<- that’s the part I’m less sure about. Never really seeking out added obligations.)

I like the writing freedom as well. I’m a writer by trade, and I don’t have freedom in that. I’m very constricted in the style and topic. I like it, I’m okay with it, but I also have more to give and it’s nice to share that. At times the blank post is maybe TOO free… but like I said, the process of coming up with good topics IS, in fact, becoming easier the more I do it. Just like they said it would!

It’s nice to have my own little space. Even though everyone CAN/COULD do it, not everyone does. And the process makes me have more respect for those of you who do have the branded, professional looking mommy (or otherwise) blogs because HOLY CRAP when do you do it? While I’m not as overwhelmed as I assumed I’d be doing this daily, it’s a commitment.

I’m sorry, I know you were all like “NO POST FROM JAMIE ON SUNDAY!? What every shall we DO?!” Or not. But thanks for sticking with me anyway 🙂

A sappy post about Twitter & #runnerds

As I’m relaxing and reflecting on my marathon & training (and, you guys, I have so much more time & energy during which to do that! *high five*), I think I left one big thing out of my recap post.

My #runnerds. That’d be my twitter friends who I spend hours with daily, some of whom I’ve never even met. We share a love of running and understand it overlaps with nerdiness at times (who doesn’t LOVE to analyze their Garmin paces and charts!) They’ve been so supportive along the way – posting “atta girl” tweets after I tweet about a morning run, or “it’s okay” encouragement when I had a stinky run. They helped me reach my goal for my Girls on the Run fundraising! No really. I didn’t verbally ask anyone for money and raised $1k. I am so grateful for all of that support (& you can all rest assured those asks are over for a while now.)

And, maybe in the biggest, most awesome manifestation of support, they cheered me on through Frankenblister. As you guys know, I had a major super-blister that was bugging me for the last 16 miles of the race. During a walking break, I tweeted:

@jamiemcq15 Nursing a major toe blister. Send positive tweets. 5 mi left.

The responses, quite honestly, helped me finish. It’s like I had 30 spectators on the side of that stupid bridge to Crystal City in DC with signs made specifically for me. Your little online nudges gave me IRL motivation. If that makes me sound like a loser, I don’t really care 🙂 Scrolling through the responses sort of made me tear up just now.  I didn’t have the energy or presence of mind to reply or even say thank you the day of the race. So, thank you so much for your encouragement; it made a difference to me.

All of the social media community we’ve created around the silly #runnerd hashtag has come to mean a lot too, motivating me to be accountable to my training, and also it was never far from my mind that my splits were being updated to twitter (and texted to a lot of #runnerd friends). I only hope I can give as much back to my friends as they’ve given to me. Being a runner and a nerd are awesome things to be in such good company!

 

Raising My Girl

I follow Pigtail Pals on Twitter and love their fresh message that little girls don’t have to be all pink and princesses… there are many ways to be a little girl that don’t involve butterflies, Cinderella and ballerinas. They recently asked “What terrifies you most about raising a girl today?” Since 140 characters wasn’t NEARLY enough (is a blog post even enough?), I decided to dive deeper.

In short? I’m afraid she will struggle to find an identity that embraces the fun and exciting things about being a girl and confuse that with sexualization and pop culture’s brand of girlhood. I’m afraid she’ll feel pressure from other girls to conform or feel “uncool” if she isn’t obsessed with princesses or Bratz dolls. I’m afraid of how different her girlhood will be from mine.

I recently read Cinderella Ate My Daughter which kind of awakened me to the task before me. If you are a girl mom, READ THIS BOOK. It was chilling and eye-opening and empowering. We say things are so different “these days” about so many things, but girlhood today is a different world from the good ole ’80’s. It’s an engrossing, entertaining and well-researched read and got me thinking about so many different things. Here are a few resulting resolutions:

Be Aware of Gendered Toys
WHY does a girl need a pink and purple doctor kit? Or a pink flowered baseball mitt? (hey, that rhymes!) The answer is she doesn’t, but you know why they exist? Because we’re buying them. And then we buy them again when we have a son. Annnd, long story short, we, the excited girl moms, are enabling this genderization of EVERY LITTLE THING. So, my resolution, which I’d been doing as much as possible even before reading this, is to keep it neutral. This is a fact of life that I’ll admit is probably worse for boys. If a girl plays with a truck (a “boy” toy), it’s okay but heaven forbid a boy picks up a doll. I hope to foster an environment where she can play with pink or red or blue or whatever. Recently, I bought
her a sippy with cars and a sippy with butterflies.

Embrace Girlhood
But, here’s the fine line. It’s OKAY to be a girl. It’s actually healthy and I don’t want to lose focus of that in a crusade against princesses and too much pink. In the end, I think diversity is the best policy. If she has a princess doll, fine. But I need to also be supplying other fun options and reinforcing positive messages, even critically discussing the princess stories. Like, is it okay to give up your voice for a man? (Ariel, I’m looking at you and your coconut bra.)

Leading right to my next resolution…

Body Image
It might sound like this one is more for, oh, 12 years from now. But the emphasis our culture puts on looks and appearance are going to affect her way sooner. I even started to think about how often I put bows in her hair or call her my “pretty girl.” Even something as simple as painting her toenails can reinforce that what she looks like is overly important. Another big takeaway for me from this book was how influential MY body image can be to my kids. I’ve resolved to end self-criticism completely (haha, at least verbally ;)). Looking in the mirror and saying “I look fat in this” or sarcastically saying that when I’m at the pool it’s a whale watch? Even jokingly, it ends now. Incidentally, I think the Princesses can negatively impact this aspect of girlhood, what with their too teeny waists and demure smiles… and not much else to contribute to the world.

Stay Social Media Literate
Though the princess chapters were disturbing, the most awakening part of CAMD was the discussion on the new landscape of teenagerhood… specifically social media. Think about when you were 16. We all did stupid stuff, stuff we’re happy no one remembers or talks about. What if there was a picture of it online? And we all know we can “say” more online than we can in person, making bullying easier to consent to. Staying on top of what the kids are doing and teaching my child how to respectfully and responsibly use the tools of the day are a key priority. It’s crazy to think about the rate of change in technology… Margo is going to grow up always having had it there. Heck, an iPad 2 is going to be “from when she was a baby.” Putting that up against a tape recorder from 1981, my “when I was a baby” time, it’s eye opening.

Raising a girl is a constant battle for me in my head. I want her to be strong, smart, independent and kind (which I’d probably also want for a son.) But growing up these days, you know she’s going to get invited to a spa birthday party in elementary school. You know she’s going to ask me for a princess doll, or be “out of the loop” among other girls if she doesn’t have a princess interest (or obsession…) You know she’s going to want to wear something “too sexy” way earlier than when me and my generation pushed that envelope. And even though she’s only 18 months, I think about how I’ll handle these inevitable milestones.

Having a baby girl is a tremendous blessing and I’m so excited to see the girl she becomes. I feel like as a girl mom, if I stay informed and keep my eyes open, I can handle it. Bring it, Cinderella.