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Death of a Mom Blog

“…Her feed is filled with pretty objects like cooling pies and evergreen sprigs tucked into apothecary vases, with hardly any chaos in sight.

This is the “mommy Internet” now. It’s beautiful. It’s aspirational. It’s also miles from what motherhood looks like for many of us — and miles from what the mommy Internet looked like a decade ago.”

A decade ago? Decade?! In the vanity of my aging, it was that word that stuck in my craw when I first read Sarah Pulliman Bailey’s piece in the Washington Post. Did this blogging thing start that long ago and has it really changed all that much? Am I that old? 

In answering those questions, and actually reading the rest of the article, I had to accept a few things that were frankly, a little hard to swallow.  Could holding a mirror up, answering those questions, also mean the death of a mom blog, this blog?  

I sort of fell into blogging. While listing to the radio during my daily route as chauffeur to four kids, one in middle school, one in elementary school, one in preschool and one still on the boob, I caught a segment about technology that featured a popular blogger. Blogger? Um, what is that? I honestly had no clue, there weren’t any bloggers on Sesame Street after all so why would I know? 

That day I went home and Googled the term. What I found out was that a blogger was just a person with a keyboard and a penchant for over-sharing. Hey, I could be a blogger. The next day I was. And I loved it to the point that I’d sometimes post several times a day. If I couldn’t have actual adult conversations with actual adults in the real world, I’d take to the interwebs! 

Somewhere along the way, I found my voice and my community. And then, I lost it. 

In those early days, it was mostly about the kids because, well, having kids makes most everything mostly about them. But, it wasn’t always. Some of my more popular posts came from series I ran like, Fit Pitchin’ Fridays and guest posts by guys during Manuary. Somewhere along the way, I started to talk about what it was like to live as an expat and to travel with kids. That may be where things started to change. 

I began to make money from the words I’d share, the pictures I’d take, and the skills I’d been building. This blog would take me across the globe, into the White House, onto the pages of the Washington Post and USA Today. It would open doors and give me and those that read this blog glimpses into places rarely seen.

Somewhere along the way, I lost that sense of community, my voice – though still honest – wasn’t as open and unedited as it used to be.  The blog had become business, and that isn’t a bad thing just something different from what it began as. 

The only thing that is constant is change ~ Heraclitus

I’m guilty of sharing an edited life, online. I take beautiful pictures of food in a kitchen that is part of a house that is nearly always a hot mess. I brag about my kids but I no longer believe that the ultimate measure of my success is how well-adjusted my children are. I go to amazing places and take shots with a very narrow lens. I eat too many carbs, drink too much cheap wine, and have a wardrobe of yoga pants that have never seen a minute on the mat. I curse like a sailor (because I was one, so I get a pass there) but fuck if I’ll do it in writing. I hate that my husband is aging better than I am while I have watched hair fall from my head only to migrate south, taking up residence on my upper lip and chin. 

I am not perfect. My life is not a curated Instagram feed. I suffer from so much self-doubt that I could probably use some therapy.  All of that said though, I still love this blog and hope at least a few of you will keep reading even through a few sponsored posts and a whole lot more unedited me. 

On the Eve of History

Loitering low on the horizon, casting slowly spreading embers, the sun has begun to set. It sets on a day that will never again be. On a world that will change forever come tomorrow. Tonight we sit on the eve of history, the sun glowing brilliantly upon us all in equal measure. 

I rarely use this space to talk about politics – unless it’s in the form of championing veterans causes or prodding you to think about ways to do social good – but today the sun sets. Tomorrow Americans head to the polls to cast their ballots in an election that, no matter the outcome, will be historic. I’ve a few things to say about that. 

In life choices must be made, the consequences lived with. Some of those choices lead us to wonderful things like love, puppies and winning lottery tickets (not that I’ve ever chosen one of those, dammit!) Others choices can take us down some dark and winding roads. The one thing all choice has in common is that it is something that must be decided upon from within. 

Though we may tell ourselves that we’ve been forced into making choices, the simple truth is that just isn’t possible. You choose. Yes, you may have had to make some pretty crappy choices, but in the end the choice was yours to make. My opinions, what your partner says, brow-beating by the media, none of those truly matter in the end. Choice is a solitary endeavor. 

This is the bedrock of democracy. One person. One Vote. Your choice. 

Those who live in democratic societies have been given a rare gift of choice. We are allowed a voice in the shaping of the country we live in. That isn’t to say that our voice is often heard, that we always get what we want, or that our countries conform to our ideals. But, we do have a choice. One that a large swath of humanity does not have.

I can’t say that I joined the Navy to defend your right to make choices. At nineteen I was mostly just looking for a way out of the one-tumbleweed town I grew up in, and to escape some of the youthfully irresponsible choices I’d made.  Again, I chose. 

That said, I can tell you that seeing places during my service and in my subsequent decades of travel, where many choices were denied to women, those with little means, those who love differently and entire ethnic groups lit a fire in me to exercise my right to choose whenever I could. Not just vote but to choose the type of person I wanted to be, the types of people I wanted to lift up and admire. I understood that by doing this I may have an impact on the world I’d one day hand down to my own children.  Again, my choices. 

Tonight we sit on the eve of history. Tomorrow I’ll go to the polls and take my children along to witness history.  No matter the victor tomorrow, my children will know that I made a choice. I can only hope the majority of us choose wisely. 

What Makes it a ‘Travel’ Blog Anyway?

The heart beat quickens. A quiver runs through your being. You’ve a bag at your side, a ticket in hand. That first step toward a new discovery has been taken and the thrill is an inescapably rapacious. You are a travel junkie.  And I sympathize. 

what makes it a travel blog
take the world with you wherever you go

Of late in groups I belong to, across small tables laden with half-drunk coffee, in checkout lanes and on welcoming sofas I’ve experienced a marked increase in conversations about travel blogging.  Some are of the mind that to travel you must have a dogeared passport filled with ink blotches blending together into barely readable smudges. Others are a little more philosophical about it. They subscribe the idea that the minute you set foot outside your comfort zone, you’ve gone somewhere. Per usual, I seem to fall somewhere in the middle. 

When I started writing this blog years ago it was a whole different being from what it is today. And yes, a blog is a living thing. You might even have guessed that simply from the title. Let’s be honest, I totally get that “Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom” doesn’t scream travel blog. 

Much like travel itself, blogging – or writing of any sort– is a journey. In the early days I wrote about the chaos of life as a mother to four with an ever lessening grasp on her sanity. At one point I had children in high, middle, elementary, and preschool all at the same time. To wine or not to whine… that was the question. Often times the answer was, both.

In sharing those stories of maternal struggles and the rare triumphs, I found not just an audience but a community. What I didn’t find as much of, was a reason to talk about the things I got excited about, that I loved doing. Which pretty much mirrors the experience of any mom with younger kids. 

What, mom wants to do something other than feed us and drive us around? NO WAY! 

and then they grew up…

One day things got easier. The kids could all use a toilet {if not always managing to flush the damn thing – seriously, I must have failed at potty training these people} and the world was our tidy bowl. 

what makes it a travel blog
oh the places we have gone. now to go to all the rest!

I’ve always been a wanderer, never liking to sit still for long. I was – and am – sure there something new to see if only I could get there. Now I could take the kids along, make travelers out of them. And I did.  So I started blogging about it – after all this was always a blog about ME! Give me a minute, have to adjust my tiara.

Okay, maybe it’s about more than me. I’d like to think that the two people {not related to me} that read every post have gotten a little something out of it. Maybe it was that sense of community from the early days, or the inspiration to visit one of the places I’ve fallen in love with. Either way I know one thing for sure… the journey continues and I plan to enjoy the ride.

Come along with me!