Friday, April 24, 2009

shut up inner voice

Lately, I've been having little arguments in my head.

A very huge part of me loves what blogging represents ... an incredibly supportive social medium where I can share my opinions, observations and thoughts about my life as a mom to anyone willing to read my blurts and rants. The Good Man has his online game. Blogging is my way of decompressing at the end of the day. End of story. Right?

Not so. Because, besides doing crazy stuff like arguing with myself, I sometimes let the little cynical voice inside my head get to me. Yes, once in awhile, self-doubt creeps in and I wonder why I bother to blog at all. Why not just keep a personal journal? Wouldn't that serve the same purpose? Isn't blogging a bit self-indulgent and narcissistic? Like public displays of self-love.

Today, I feel an urge to quiet the inner voice that is questioning my motives for blogging.

The "social" in social medium
I didn't truly appreciate the social component of blogging until I received my first comment from a fellow blogger. It was a thoughtful and honest comment. It made me feel great to realize that I’m not typing in a vacuum. It stroked my ego. There, I said it.

Today, I find myself part of a couple of mom blog networks, a community rich in intelligent, funny mommies sharing (and, celebrating) their lives, as well as confessing their brain-farts and other mishaps. I think I spend more time reading and commenting on posts as I do writing my own. As one of my favourite parent bloggers (Momplex) put it so eloquently, "I feel like I have a free subscription to a great literary mag for creative moms with big funny bones and interesting brains." I feel privileged to engage in (internet) conversation with such women. Although I would never be presumptuous to think I come close to being in the same league as them, I feel a sense of belonging. And, isn't this part of what makes us tick?

To blog, perchance to be reminded I have a brain
I have mom friends that I have playdates or visit with but our conversations are interrupted, at best. And, who can really discuss anything profound when you've had less than 5 hours of interrupted sleep the night before, anyway? Not me. I can’t speak coherently to save my life on a regular day, but put me in front of a computer and thoughts spill out almost effortlessly.

When I worked at the Services for Students with Disabilities office in university, students were allowed to use a computer to formulate their answers for exams because it didn't require the same complex brain connections needed for hand-writing (and, I think, speech). This then begs the question: Is having mommy-brain a type of learning disability? But, I digress.

So there you have it, my skeptical, nagging inner voice. Yes, it is a little self-indulgent of me to blog. But why not allow me this one moment of ego-stroking to show myself (here and in my virtual interaction with other mommy bloggers) that not all my brain cells have died from 3 years of sleep-deprivation? Perhaps, one day they might even resurface in a face-to-face conversation with my adult friends.

So, shut up already!

For a truly intelligent discussion on the narcissistic tendencies (or not) of blogging, you should hear what Amy, from Milk Breath and Margaritas, has to say about it and read the comments that ensued.


  1. Well put.

    I like to think of my blog as a way to keep myself updated on my own life. If I don't write about it, I'm sure to forget the details of an event...or that the event itself even took place. The "social" aspect of blogging keeps me motivated to write about those events. Narcissistic? Sure. But I'm okay with that, even thankful for it.

    Although, like you, I also "think I spend more time reading and commenting on posts as I do writing my own."

    And I like how you pointed out that it is much easier to articualte your thoughts in front of the computer screen than in a playdate conversation...I definately relate to that.

    Great post!

  2. Keep doing it! Not only do I enjoy reading it, blogging allows you to have your time, something that belongs to you because god knows how life can become so busy when you're a full-time mom and wife:)

  3. Great post! I actually wondered about the same things 16 days into my blogger life. But now I realized not only blogging has become an important "me" time, it has helped me to be so much more aware of myself. My family and friends have understood me a lot more also through my blog. I am also archiving some of my posts for my children for posterity.

  4. I think everyone who blogs questions why they do it at some point. But don't be too hard on youself - it's a great journal to keep for your boys when they've grown up. And as for comments and feeling a touch narcissistic - who doesn't need a little bit of praise at some point in their life?? Especially as a Mother - when there's no monthly appraisal or weekly meeting or pay rise. It's good for the heart and soul to have people say nice things about you. And to get other people's opinions on things is invaluable. It's good that you're questioning it because it shows you care, but keep going - I, for one, enjoy reading your posts and you are a great writer...

  5. Strange that today's the day I decided to take more time to sit down and catch up on reading the blogs I like reading, yours among them. Strange that I randomly clicked on this entry, being that it's not your most recent, and found mention of my own words in it. (Thanks for the mention!) I think that blogging can be a purely narcissistic undertaking, and in some blogs, reads as just that. But I enjoy bloggers who are thought-provoking or entertaining or both, and to me, they are contributing something valuable to the world in the way a public artist would. It's so generous, in a way, to share a piece of yourself with the world and see if it reverberates, to expose yourself in that way for the sake of connecting. The reason I blog is that I am practicing my writing. I was a professional editor and sometimes writer in my former life, but I worked in an office and didn't get to write literary stuff and just really disliked it. My plan is to freelance for a living once my kids are old enough to make that possible, and to perhaps write a book of essays. It has been so good for me to get in the practice of writing creatively on a regular basis, to have an audience in mind, to write to that audience, and to accumulate all these rough drafts for essays (my blog entries!). And it is so nice to get feedback in the comments, to guide me.

    You, by the way, are an excellent writer. You keep it simple without being simplistic, and I just like your voice!

  6. Wow, thanks for the compliments. I honestly wasn't on a fishing expedition but I appreciate them just the same, particularly because I'm in awe of all of you. I do get frustrated with my daytime zombie state. My mind seems to be more lucid when my kids (and most people I know) are asleep. Blogging provides an outlet for my not-so brain-deficient thoughts, I guess.

    It's interesting to know what motivates everyone to blog. We seem to have different reasons. One thing I forgot to mention in my post is, although I'm not specifically looking for how-to's when I read blogs, I'm pleasantly surprised to find some useful tips and am learning to become a better mom and wife.

  7. Great post. Great questions.
    I enjoy getting comments not only because they feed my ego, but because it makes me feel that I am not alone. That there are other moms out there, who understand how I feel.
    And I have realized that since I started blogging, I have started looking at things from a different perspective. Things that used to drive me crazy, now make me laugh. Blogging has made life a little easier.
    And I enjoy your blog :)