About Baby Gates Down

About Me

Louise_Hayes_newcropHi!  I’m Louise.  Welcome to my blog.

I live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

I’m married with two daughters: a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old.

I have a Journalism degree and a Political Science degree, both from Carleton University. As a very proud grad who believes in community involvement, I am also currently the president of the Alumni Association. Go Ravens!

I work full-time for the Federal Government.

However, I also like to write, so: blog hobby.

Random Fun Parenting Fact: It took me five days to do this page because I wrote it under the same circumstances as my bloggy birth story. Namely, amidst the constant interruptions of two kids, Caillou and my husband.

About Blogging as Me

It’s the eternal question, yes? Use your real name or no? I’ve blogged before under a pen name and while it does give you some freedom, after a while I found it limiting. Also, shortly before starting this blog I read an article (which I. REALLY. WISH. I’D. BOOKMARKED) about how women can tend to spend a large part of their early adult life acting the way they think people want them to act; doing what they think will please; and not doing what they might actually want to do for fear of appearing silly, or being judged. So I decided I’d spent enough time worrying what others might think.

Hitting “publish” for the first time in my own name was a scary moment. But the world didn’t end. I’ve since linked my Twitter account and more recently brought my blog onto Facebook. Twitter meant that professional colleagues could find my blog. Facebook meant my dad now follows my blog. Again, the world didn’t end. Overall, blogging as me has been a positive and enriching experience. I struggle with the balance of what and how much to voice. But I like the possibility and the challenge of finding my place and saying my piece as me.

Okay! So now that you have a sense of who I am and where I’m coming from, let’s move on to the blog:

About Baby Gates Down

bb_gate_down.jpgMy total lack of a real “About Me” page until posting this explanation had prompted numerous (okay, 4) questions about the blog name.

Here’s the origin story.

I’d hit the point that I wanted to start blogging again when our baby gate broke.  At this stage, our youngest was about 10 months old.

That’s her, above, at the top of the stairs: the scene of the crime, if you will.  You can just sense the trauma she went through about the whole thing, right?

So we were literally, baby gates down!

If she was our first child, I suspect we would have rushed out and bought a new one.  Holding her close until the house was secure, once again.

But she’s our second. And we live in a bungalow. So the only problem area is the stairs to the basement off the kitchen. I of course think baby gates are an important safety feature when kids start getting mobile. However, ours had been mobile for a while by this stage and pretty cautious near the stairs already. So instead of rushing out to buy a new one, we just watched her more closely. We stopped her a few times from going down, and then she figured out she shouldn’t and would just stop at the top of the stairs and wait to be taken down. Then, as of about 14 months, she figured out how to get down them herself on her bum (with supervision).

So What’s With the Crying Dolly?

Blog_ButtonThe name is also about finding myself again after becoming a mother and about how overwhelming parenting can be sometimes. In July 2010 New York Magazine came out with a piece on parenting entitled “Why Parents Hate Parenting” and subtitled it “All Joy and No Fun.”  I never forgot it, because there are moments where that phrase has summed it up so incredibly accurately for me. All joy and no fun: those moments where everything feels out of control and you just want to let them do whatever. So the blog name is an homage to those moments when you honestly consider just giving up. As I was searching FreeDigitalPhotos.net for inspiration the evening I set up the blog, Theeradech Sanin’s photo of the crying dolly just jumped out at me as the perfect image for those moments of pure parental despair.

Also, as the mother of two daughters, dollies figure prominently chez-nous.

And, finally, in answer to the “should you blog as you?” question, before I hit publish, I tend to look at little judging, desolate dolly, and ask: “Should I?” And if desolate dolly looks up, smiles and nods, I turn the computer off, go to bed, wait until morning, re-read, and post then, and only then, if I’m still of the same opinion.

Graduation Day

You saw the bit about liking Buffy?  Sometimes surviving babyhood feels a wee bit like the end of Season 3.  Thanks to goodbyepiccadilly.tumblr.com.

I’m a Buffy fan.  If you aren’t, Season 3 ends with the high school getting attacked and destroyed, during graduation, by a big demon snake.  But despite that, they manage to survive and graduate.  Sometimes surviving babyhood feels a wee bit like that. The photo is from here.

Lastly, Baby Gates Down as a blog name worked when I launched the blog in 2013 because we were leaving the baby years. Our youngest was firmly a toddler and my eldest was starting kindergarten. So we’d packed up the bouncy swing, the exersaucer and the (broken) baby gate and entered the next stage.

As they got older, I wondered if I’d need to consider a name change. I’d watched other bloggers go through that next, purely blog-related, parenting struggle.

However, I find it continues to work. For me, I continue to reflect and work on and through the challenges of both working motherhood – and how being a mother impacts and relates to other aspects of my life – even now that our baby gates are long gone. As for my daughters, I also find it continues to resonate, both as we deal with all the challenges and adventures of young childhood, and as I observe and reflect on their place in the world as they become young women.

So three and a half years into my blogging experience, I find this blog remains pretty true to where it started. It’s a mix of posts bringing you along on my parenting journey as well as providing me a space to write and have some creative freedom. That freedom was something I was missing before I started the blog.

Thanks for visiting!


58 thoughts on “About Baby Gates Down”

  1. findingninee said:

    LOVE your new About page! I’d not heard “all joy and no fun” but love love love it. What a perfect parenting saying!!


    • Yay! Someone noticed my new About Me page! I feel so validated 😉

      In seriousness – thanks for the kind comment. As for “all joy no fun” if you have a few minutes, the whole article is pretty good. The other saying from it I also remember was a quip about the Children’s Museum in NYC being great, but that it could use a bar. Every now and then I find myself wondering about the liabilities involved in getting a liquor licence at our local playgroup…. Hope springs eternal and all that!


  2. I absolutely LOVE your blog name and your About page here – great stuff.


  3. Hi Louise. I’ve really been enjoying your blog so when I was asked to nominate blogs for the Liebster Award, you were one of my nominations. I don’t know if you have decided whether or not to accept Awards for your blogs but just in case you do…
    the details are on http://fisefton.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/liebster-award-2/


    • Thanks so much! I really appreciate it – always nice to know there’s someone out there reading 🙂 I’ll try to get a response post up in the near future.


  4. Morning! Congratulations – you are the winner of my New Year competition and have won a week of free advertising on my blog. Have a lovely week!


    Liked by 1 person

    • This is great! Thanks so much. Crazy work day – but I will be sure to check out the others and visit when I have a chance.

      And try to step up my bloggy game thus week 🙂

      This made day – appreciate it!


  5. I’m sure you’ve already been nominated for the Sunshine Award but, just in case you haven’t, I’ve nominated you for it. Your blog makes me smile and you can never have too many awards..


  6. You’ve got a fabulous blog!


  7. Hello! Not sure if you play along with blog awards, but I nominated you for a liebster award because I greatly enjoy your blog.



    • Thank you so much! I did do a great big “Thanks” post a few months ago for those who had given me awards – so perhaps it is time for a follow up. And thank you again for positive comments – I enjoy reading you too,


  8. I really enjoy your blog — so much that I nominated you for a Sunshine Award. Now that I’m reading through the comments, I see that this happened already for you (many times!) But, it’s there if you feel like going with it! Either way, I look forward to reading more of your stuff. 🙂


    • Thank you so much! Actually, I got this comment right when I could use some sunshine so I really appreciate it. It’s always good to know someone enjoys what you’re putting out there on your blog. Thank you!


  9. A Buffy kindred! Yay! Pleased to meet you. Beautiful blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for coming over to my end of things! Your blog is so fun and I LOVE your “about” page and blog name! Looking forward to reading all about your journey without baby gates! 🙂


  11. Love your about me. Love the title and the meaning behind it


  12. Hi, Louise–nice to meet another Ottawa blogger! Found you through Jackie DeMuro…what a roundabout route! 🙂 Your blog looks like great fun, and I’ll be back. ~Karen


    • Nice to “meet” you as well! Through Jackie is a roundabout route given our location :). Thanks for the kind comment! I’ll be back to visit your blog again as well – enjoyed the piece from today!


  13. Hello Louise. I’m just circling back after meeting on #SundayBlogShare and to thank you for the visit and follow on my blog. Always happy to follow back a fellow Canadian on here so you too have a new follower.
    Cheers 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Louise, thanks for stopping by my blog. You have a great ‘about’ page. Well done for managing to write with young children looking for attention and not letting a busy life stop you. I put off writing for a long time due to family commitments, but maybe the time wasn’t right anyway. If I had wanted to do it badly enough I would have made more effort. Looking forward to more of your posts.


    • Thank you for stopping by as well. As for writing, I’d love to have more time to put more into it, but for the moment this is where I’m at, and I’m hoping catching the moments at this stage will be something I will enjoy looking back on a few years out. I will enjoy following your blog as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Hey Louise, thanks for following Now This Is What I Would Call Music – enjoy the sounds! Steve…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Louise, I love your about page (and blog). You caught my eye because I also have two daughters (though they are teenagers now) and I have degrees in both Journalism and Political Science. And, while we live in Washington state, we just got back from a trip to Canada. Ha ha! I’m new to blogging and just finding my way around. This is my first blog comment ever! I hope you feel honored. 🙂 I’ve been having trouble with the decision to blog under my real name or not, but for now, I’m going for it. Best, Julie


    • Thanks very much for the kind words on the page and my blog. I saw from your blog you recently did WordPress Blogging 101 – this page is the result of my assignment when I did it last year. Every now and then I do a few updates, but it’s stayed pretty constant since then.

      As for our lives – they do appear to have taken quite similar tracks with degrees and daughters – although staying home wasn’t in the cards for me.

      And I am indeed honoured to be your first blog comment! I hope to see you again and look forward to following your blog too.


  17. I wish I had a desolate dolly to give me a nod. My posting routine involves, hitting “Preview” a thousands times, then adding more tags, then hitting “Preview” again a thousand times. I look forward to reading more!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I love that your “blog name is an homage to those moments when you honestly consider just giving up.” I remember distinctly such a moment when my son was 4. I even called my therapist and told her I just couldn’t take it anymore. With her considerable wisdom and a referral to see a child psychiatrist the next day for ADHD meds – better than waging war, somehow our family has made it through another ten years. Thanks for your honest portrayal of modern mothering.


    • So glad to hear you made it through that stage and the next ten years 🙂 And that’s my goal – an honest portrayal of modern mothering – or at least my experience with it. I think it’s definitely worth the sharing and discussion and blogs are a great place to find that happening (and support on those days where the compassion from desolate dolly just won’t cut it!)

      Liked by 1 person

  19. A very interesting choice of blog name! Yes parenting is totally absorbing and this doesn’t change whether they are babies, toddlers or young teens/adults, like my two are fast becoming!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much for visiting and following! I can’t imagine my kids as young teens/adults yet – it’s exciting to think who they are going to be, though – and changing with them as a parent as we move along 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Hey Louise, next month Monkey Rock Music will be having a special FREE day of classes and sneak peek into our summer camp- just so we can meet and greet the local Ottawa Community of Mommy Bloggers. If you are interested please send an email to info@monkeyrockmusic.com.


    • Hey Monkey Rock! – I sent you an email with my contact info. Thanks for getting in touch. I look forward to hearing back from you with more information.


  21. hi, Louise. you’re a recipient of the sunshine award here’s the link https://kintal.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/the-sunshine-award/ thank you for sharing lovely posts and cheery thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hi Louise! I am challenging you to the Love/Hate challenge. You can see what it is all about at my blog, ficwriterwithablog.wordpress.com. I hope you do it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. hey!! looking forward to reading more of your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I understand about using the real name – I am not doing it now. I was afraid to reveal my name as I write some sensitive blog posts. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Hope you have a good day! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Love this, “but she was our second.” And you totally spoiled the entire ending of season three and thus the entire Buffy Series experience for me that I’ve only had 18 years to catch up on!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Hi there, I’ve nominated you for a Mystery Blogger Award as I’ve enjoyed your blog so much! Accepting the award was actually quite a lot of effort so I completely understand if you don’t want want it 🙂 If you do, all the (quite detailed…) instructions are on my blog. Cheers, Barb.


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