An Essay on Parenting Essayists (by Lauren)

I read a lot of blogs. Maybe too many. I read mostly what you might hear referred to as ‘mommy blogs.’ I’ve tried to decide why they’re so attractive to me.  It’s certainly not hard news and it’s not great literature…(no offense if you have one). I think I enjoy the little glimpse into the lives of women I’ll never meet, whose children I’ll never know. And I use the term ‘little glimpse’ loosely. Some of these women give you a great big glimpse…there’s even some debate as to whether they share too much of their children’s lives in such a public way…often with little or no input from the kids themselves.

Every once in a while, I’ll happen upon a blogger who doesn’t spend a lot of time on style, decorating or cooking…(not that there’s anything wrong with those things)…but uses her time and her space to delve into the mostly joyful…but sometimes dark and difficult…realities of parenting.

Some of these women develop huge followings…thousands of readers daily…they write about everything from temper tantrums to spiritual formation to drug addiction…oftentimes with uncomfortable honesty.

Recently, I read an editorial about one of these very popular bloggers that described said blogger as an ‘essayist on parenting.’ The rest of the editorial was brutally hard on her, perhaps rightfully so, for robbing her children of any potential privacy during a particularly difficult time in their lives. The part that surprised me though were the comments that followed. One person actually burst out in virtual laughter (‘hahahahhahahaha’) at the notion that anyone could be an ‘essayist on parenting.’

Is it so hard to believe that one could be an essayist on parenting? If we need essayists on culture and politics and religion and business and relationships….why not parenting? If you have chosen to become a parent, I don’t have to tell you how it overtakes every aspect of your life. And I mean that in the best possible way…most of the time. Certainly the physical responsibilites are huge….first of all, you’re in charge of keeping them alive…for a long time. You’re in charge of putting them to bed, (‘I am the only one in my class with such an early bedtime!’) and waking them up, (‘It’s sooooo early!  I’m sooooo tired!’)  or not waking them up (‘Why did you let me sleep so late? You know I hate to sleep so late!’).

Parenting is a roller coaster when it’s good. On the other hand, it can feel like trudging through really deep, really wet, muddy sand when it’s hard. And it doesn’t matter if you’re racing along the wild tracks, screaming with glee, hands flying in the air, or trudging through the sand, tired and aching and worried that you might not find your way…or theirs…you can’t quit. You do try desperately however to remember the roller coaster when you’re pulling yourself through the mud.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Being a parent is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I don’t always know how to do it right. When I am at a loss, which is often, I do several things. For one thing, I pray for guidance, probably not as fervently as I should. (I’m not sure if “Help me!” constitutes fervency.) I talk to friends and family. And I read…a lot. One thing I’ve learned is that if anyone tells you being a parent is easy, they’re doing it wrong. And the first time that notion struck me, I’m pretty sure I only had one teenager.

Sometimes what I read are the essays of women (they are mostly women…sorry guys…if you know any male parenting essayists, let me know…I’ll add them to my list.) who’ve been where I am.   Sometimes they’ve been places I’m deathly afraid I’ll have to go. There’s rarely any judgment and they’re sometimes uproariously funny. Truth be told, they can be slightly narcissistic from time to time. But the best gift they have to offer is a few pages worth of You are Not Alone.

And whether you’re on the roller coaster or in the deep, wet, sand…that is a gift.

Published in: on July 10, 2010 at 2:37 pm  Comments (3)  

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great insight Lauren! Thank you and I agree!

  2. Parenting is a hard job — rewarding but hard. My wife has commented that 2 am feedings and diaper changes was so much easier than training the kids to be decent human beings. For my wife especially, parenting can be lonely, because she misses adult contact during the day. She has found blogs and message boards to be a way of easing that isolation.

    Thanks for the post, Laruen.

  3. Lauren,

    I really enjoyed your insights! Boy, what you said is so true. Parenting is the greatest thing I’ve ever done, but most assuredly the hardest. Just the day to day stuff, and the things you could never predict, keep life both interesting and frustrating and crazy! I often also don’t think I end up doing it very well, but I rely on a God full of grace, and hopefully, kids who have lots of grace too! I was just looking at a book a friend gave me several years ago, which she inscribed “to the best mom I know,” and I had to laugh–I love her to death, but if she only knew!!

    I just read that KVTT is going off the air–boo hoo! But I’ll listen when I can online & look for you guys very soon on another Dallas/Ft. Worth station. Boy, do I miss the old schedule on KWRD! I hope you are doing well. Take good care & God bless!

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