Hi! 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. You can find out more about my professional background here.
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
My 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?
The 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.
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!