Blogging – it’s lots of fun, don’t get me wrong, but has anyone else noticed that there are some disturbing similarities between blogging and being a parent. Here are seven… can you think of any more?
1. There is a lengthy gestation period
Did anyone else fall for one of those ‘Start a blog in five minutes or less’ posts? And actually think that that was all it took? I’ll admit I was completely clueless as to what was involved in setting up my own blog – and it was probably just as well, because if I’d known I might have been scared off before I even started. From working out what you’re going to be blogging about, to deciding on and registering a domain name, to choosing what child theme you’re going to have, to figuring out what the hell a child theme is, to deciding on categories, to working out how on earth to put those categories in, to getting your head around WordPress or whatever your blogging platform is etc, etc, etc… so massive was the learning curve that I found myself unable to sleep at night, as I lay there with my head twitching from side to side, with foreign terms like SEO optimisation and RSS feed deliriously running through my overloaded brain. Much like the dreaded insomnia of the last few weeks of pregnancy – but with fewer trips to the toilet.
2. The birthing process can be daunting
Finally after all that initial prep work (five minutes MY ARSE!), there came the time when I knew I had to set this puppy free. Go live. And I’m not lying when I say it was almost as terrifying as the prospect of pushing out a small child from betwixt my loins, as I grappled with similar questions. Am I ready? What will happen next? What if it all goes horribly wrong? What if I’m useless at this? How will I feel having the most private parts of myself out there on display for all to see? (Turns out that, much like parenthood, there will be no clear-cut answers and ‘muddling along’ will feature heavily. Which leads me to…)
3. You won’t know what the hell you’re doing
I remember leaving hospital with my tiny firstborn son and feeling mostly relieved (because hospital food and skinniest bed ever and tiny TV at unnatural head angle and all the GODDAMN BEEPING), but also vaguely terrified because DON’T THESE PEOPLE KNOW I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING?! Starting a blog is not dissimilar – I was a few weeks in and starting to feel like I had the whole thing vaguely sussed, when someone kindly pointed out to me that my Home page still had the Demo content from my theme on it. Nothing like having your ignorance on display for the world to see. (Fortunately hardly anyone in the world was looking, but still…)
4. You’ll often feel overwhelmed
Sometimes it feels like the longer I blog, the more I realise just how little I know and how much there is to learn. I’ll start to read an article on blogging then stop and have to start breathing into a paper bag because it feels like it’s written in a language other than English and how am I ever going to figure it all out and there’s just so much to get through and I barely have time to write the odd post as it is and… (pant, pant, pant). It reminds me of how I felt as a parent of a newborn when friends with older kids would tell me about toddler tantrums and issues with schooling and I’d break out in a sweat thinking, ‘I’m barely coping with breastfeeding and getting all the laundry done, I canna take in any more!’
5. You’ll suffer sleep deprivation and have no time to yourself
News flash: parenting brings with it a hefty side dish of sleep deprivation. I know, who knew, right?! But I wasn’t prepared for how much starting a blog would also affect my sleep and personal time. Again, probably because I was STUPIDLY MISINFORMED about just how multi-faceted this whole blogging caper is. In between keeping the kids amused, cleaned and fed, working three full days a week, squeezing in other freelancing jobs where possible on the other days, soccer games, swimming lessons, play dates, the laundry, the cleaning, etc, etc, yawn, snore… spare time is about as elusive as finding that matching sock when you’re in a hurry. Throw a blog into the mix and you may as well just hang up your pyjamas for good. The planning, the writing of the posts, the taking of the pictures, the fiddling with the design when you really don’t know what you’re doing (see point 3), the reading and commenting on all the fabulous blogs out there, the reading of the blogging articles, the paper bag breathing… Some of my more seasoned blogger friends tell me that their prolific output of posts only takes them a few hours a week. I’m clearly doing something wrong here. Must read another blogging article to see if I can figure it out.
6. You’ll learn a hell of a lot
After reading thus far, you might well be thinking, ‘Why the hell are you bothering?’ I should point out at this time that I’m actually thoroughly enjoying all of it, overwhelm and lack of sleep aside. If someone had told me a year ago that I’d be using code and enjoy fiddling around with my blog’s back end (no, I’m not being filthy, this is techno blog speak with which I am now DOWN), I wouldn’t have believed it. Not since becoming a new parent have I picked up so many new skills. (Who knew that cleaning up back ends would feature so heavily in both?)
7. You’ll feel immense pride in your new baby
My blog is definitely a work in progress and I still have a LOT to learn, but I am rather chuffed with my rather techno duncey self that I set up the whole thing and that the occasional person is actually reading my posts. So forgive me if, like when my children were born, I clog up your Facebook newsfeed showing off what I’ve created.
Have you come across any other similarities between blogging and parenting? Was your experience of starting a blog similar to mine?