I haven’t been doing much writing lately, but I have been thinking about my writing. I appreciated each and every one of your survey responses, and they were wonderful fuel for this meditative, creative fermentation process that has been going on behind the scenes. I want to write for the sake of writing, yes, but I also want to write about things that matter to me, which are also helpful to others. So thank you very much to everyone who responded.
During this process I’ve also been combing through my site looking for and fixing 404 errors, weird links, and other strange things behind the scenes that have been building up like dust bunnies behind the fridge. Most mornings this week I woke up at 6am, made myself a cup of tea and spent an hour fixing broken links – it doesn’t seem like a recipe for happiness but I loved it. I loved being up before everyone else, I loved witnessing the slightly greyish morning light that indicates the later autumn sunrises these days, and I loved spending time doing a task that can be ticked off a list.
While I was combing through my site, I noticed that my writing here at The Parent Vortex falls into various epochs. The early days focused on parenting resource reviews, then I branched out into articles about birth, breastfeeding, gentle discipline and toddlers. There was a major shift during the year of Playful Self-Discipline, when my focus was directed more towards myself than my kids. Then I spent a year writing about gentle discipline and parenting while I was working on The Parenting Primer, and the last year or so on the blog has been mostly about personal reflection and homeschooling.
I haven’t been writing as much, but life continues on. Kids grow and change, we discover new challenges and continue working on the ones we’ve known since toddlerhood. Parenting is such a humbling thing to undertake, more humbling than anything else I’ve ever done. I write about my “ideal parenting” here; like my ideal self, it is the way I want to be but not always the way I actually am. When I feel like the disparity between my “ideal parenting” and my “actual parenting” grows too large then writer’s block sets in. How can I pose as an expert when I’m far from it?
The truth is that the more you know, the more you know you don’t know. In the early days it was easy to write articles outlining the 5 easy steps to help your baby sleep alone, or 10 ways to make cloth diapering more affordable. Parenting has become more nuanced and more personal as my children grow up. It’s less about doing the right things or checking all the boxes, and more about a journey of self-discovery. The bloggy irony is that the list-based posts are the ones that bring in the most traffic. Looking at my site stats reminds me of just how many people are looking for a checklist of things to do that will make them good parents.
Out of all the posts I’ve come across in my blogging meta-analysis dust bunnny cleanup process, the ones that are most compelling to me are my Playful Self-Discipline posts. This is the journey of self-discovery, documented and shared. This is something like the direction I want to take with my writing – my experience, shared in a way that will be helpful and encouraging for others.
All photo credits in this post go to my kids. Giving a 4 year old your fancy camera feels a little scary, but every now and then there is a gem among the hundreds of blurry photos.