, , , , , , ,

Blogging_KidspicSo it’s a big day over here at Baby Gates Down.

Today is my one year blogaversary.

Yup!  One year ago today, after mulling it over for a few weeks, once the kids were in bed, I finally landed on a blog name, found my desolate dolly banner and decided, Yes!  I’m going to start a blog!

Let’s party, shall we?

Ready?  Set? Go!

Wait.  What?  Right.  I have kids.

So more like this?


That’s my then one-year-old with pure WTF face. And me? Well, I’d spent the previous day cleaning, making a bazillion cupcakes, and prepping for a party, so – yeah – that about sums up my face.

Maybe we can meet in the middle with (not so) equal parts this:

But pageantry aside, it’s been a great year.

I’m so glad I decided to start blogging again.  The community and creative outlet – and space for myself – that I have found through blogging, was truly something I was missing and something I needed.

And that’s what I want to focus on tonight: the space for myself that blogging has given me.

Because, for me, at this stage of life – the stage of first decade married, home-owning, parenting young kids, working full-time with a spouse that does the same – my personal space and personal time suddenly shrunk exponentially.

Where pre-kids I could generally spontaneously head out with friends if I needed to unwind, I can’t do that now.  So blogging has truly become my space where I can have some fun, while also discussing and thinking through who I am and how I feel about this stage of life.

Which honestly?  Is one of the most challenging stages I think I’ve faced.  Raising young kids?  (Kinda mostly) like New York Magazine said: All Joy, No Fun. Trying to figure out how to make everything in my life fit is, at times, honestly beyond me.  Swing by my about page, or this post if you need further thoughts on this point.

And the stakes are suddenly so much higher than my twenties/pre-kid life.

Because my life isn’t just about me anymore.

It isn’t even mostly about me anymore.

And therein lies the identity struggle.  The matching of expectations of what was suppose to be … with how it is.

It’s not like I didn’t consciously take every step to get here, because I did.

I just didn’t think the transition would end so … bluntly.  Or traditionally (for lack of a better term).

The end of my 20s was a whirlwind of exciting beginnings: engagement, marriage, homeownership …

The first half of my 30s were basically spent pregnant, breastfeeding, or in prep for being pregnant and breastfeeding.

There was the build-up to happily ever after and then, really about eight years (from buying home – engagement/marriage – babies) of whirlwind love/new/wow/transcendence to … now.

Where … okay.   Like my tagline implies: now what?

We’re here.  We did it.  Happily married, with kids.

What happens now that I’ve gone through the milestones of finding the love of my life; designing the perfect wedding centrepiece; tropical honeymoon; childbirth; and baby bonding?

What happens now that we’re just back into day-to-day … life?

If I have to pinpoint what motivated me starting a blog, it’s that question.

And more specifically?

How I feel about it.  And where I get to be me in our life.

So while this blog is very much centred on my kids and my family and their very central role in my life and who I am….

….it’s – or I want it to be – also about me.

Where I can honestly ask questions like:

  • How come the women I know now invite me to book club potlucks with three-week’s notice instead of spontaneous pub nights?  When did that happen!? And why does spontaneous pubbing seem to still work – in my experience – for men with kids, but not women?
  • Why, when I was pregnant, did I get multiple people asking if I’d be staying home with the kids despite the years they knew I have invested into career?
  • Why are people nicer to me now that I’m 30lbs skinnier than I was between pregnancies?  I have realized that I was apparently then, for all intents and purposes, basically invisible.
  • How can I honestly balance work and raising my kids?
  • How do I go about being a positive role model for my girls and teach them about how to be a woman in today’s world?  Is it more important to show I’m successful in my job, or more important that I be present for school pick-up?  While I am happy, and I know they are happy, with our daycare provider (who is truly wonderful) I know there has to be a better way to do … this stage … than the present daycare-work-daycare circuit that is our life, but I currently don’t see the solution.
  • How do I go about advancing a career I’ve invested both years of education and years of career work into while balancing that with the reality of the so very finite phase with young kids?  No matter what I choose, I feel like I’m shirking responsibilities on one side.  I have no delusions, pragmatically, that life choices impact career advancement, and equally impact time available to spend with my kids, but I find it tough to swallow against the ’90s rhetoric I was raised on that “I can have it all.”

So where should Baby Gates Down be, at a year?

Well, like with every baby milestone, I suggest we turn to BabyCentre.ca to give us guidance:

Courtesy of my ... wait for it ... Babycentre.ca newsletter!

Courtesy of my … wait for it … Babycentre.ca newsletter!

Hello, Louise!

And a happy birthday to your baby! Can you believe a whole year has gone by since you gave birth? A lot has happened, in his life and yours. If only you had a dollar for every dirty diaper like, every juice-stained shirt follow, and every precious baby smile comment, you’d be able to buy yourself that great big bunch of flowers that every parent blogger deserves! Your little one is probably toddling around now, or on the verge of that crucial physical milestone. The next step is independent walking, talking and curious toddlerhood. You’ll love seeing his growing sociability and vocabulary but prepare yourself — his budding independence goes hand-in-hand with those first temper tantrums.

Aside from making my blog a boy – when she’s so obviously not – I’d say otherwise, it isn’t too far off.  For what it’s worth?  I’ll try to do my terrible twos justice.  But I was never very good at following along with that sort of template.  Let’s just say I was a temperate teen and a late bloomer.  I like to be comfortable in my space before I start questioning my surroundings.

I wrote a post back in January of this year titled Be the Blog You Want to Be where I listed my blog goals for the year.

At that time they were:

  • Comment more and focus on community.
  • Get 100 followers (and if I was being honest? 200).
  • Figure out how to incorporate gifs into posts (that was foreign to me six months ago).
  • Successfully post independent of blog hops and link ups.
  • Make it to my one-year blogaversary in June.

So, how am I doing?

Well, I hit 200 followers on May 27th. I like to think I’m a “good” commenter.  And today is my blogaversary.  With gifs.  So, all told? I’m pretty happy with the state of affairs at Baby Gates Down.

As far as posting independently of linking up to, well, any sort of link up or prompt?  I do sometimes, but I still enjoy the (toddler?) security of comments back from a group.

Perhaps it speaks to where I am, developmentally, as a blogger.  Maybe babycentre can weigh in?

Perfection Pending

It’s Monday!  So I’m joining in with Meredith’s Manic Monday Parenting Blog Hop.

Developmentally read into that what you will.

On that, and cake, and all things deep, interesting or even spurious, funny or just generally self-validating (for either one of us), I forever welcome your comments!