Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Change is in the Air

I truly think September is my favorite month of the year. The days are warm and sunny, but the nights are crisp and cool. You can still wear your sandals and show off a pedicure, but you can also bring your jeans and sweatshirts back out. Routines are beginning. Festivals and fairs are abundant. Farm stands are stocked and apples are ready to be picked. Pumpkin lattes and muffins are back (along with pumpkin everything else, but we'll leave that argument alone for now). You get summer and fall, blended together in a perfect way. Fall is in the air, even though summer's not quite gone.

I've had this blog for over three years now. Crazy, right? In July of 2012 I had a baby and just-turned-two year old. I wrote about toddler stuff and sleepless nights and milestones and baby gear. I'd just left my job, which had been a deep part of my identity for ten years, and I was craving something else to help define me. Something more than just "mommy".  Since I loved to talk and I love to tell stories and I was craving interaction outside of my house, I settled on this site. A place where I could share stories about the girls, reflect on my changing life, and connect with other moms.

In those three years, I've had some amazing opportunities. I've been featured in multiple anthologies. Best selling anthologies, where I've been in the company of some pretty amazing writers. I've gotten to write snarky pieces, funny pieces, deeply introspective pieces and heart tugging pieces. I shared the stories of Madison's blood condition and Reagan's lost twin. I've shared successes and failures. I've gotten my writing featured on Scary Mommy and the Huffington Post. I've expanded my network and been to blog conferences. I've connected with some brands that I'm proud to partner with. Pretty good for someone who just wanted a way to tell her stories during naptime.

Now we're in September of 2015, and there are some definite changes.

My parenting stage is different. I don't have babies anymore. I don't even have toddlers anymore. I have a preschooler and a kindergartener. They still do some funny stuff and give me some great stories, but they're growing up and out. They're coming into who they are as people. Their stories are their stories. Madison's stories involve her friends and Reagan's involve her school. They're both finding their groove. Reagan has reached the stage where she really wants to try things, and she's become a great student in her dance and gymnastics classes. Madison is a definite dancer. Three years ago she was walking into her first ballet class. Today she's on a competition team with a solo coming up this season, and she carries a bag with multiple pairs of shoes and tights and snacks into a class that's over two hours long. She turned me from a "mom who has her daughter taking ballet" into a real dance mom.

Three years ago I did fun activities with Madison, and later Reagan, but today, I'm a full on homeschooling mom. Every morning Madison and I gather our things and settle in at the kitchen table to learn. This past weekend I converted our craft area into a school area. The art supplies are still there, but they've been consolidated and moved to make room for notebooks and math manipulatives and dry erase boards. I'm planning her lessons and tracking her work and noting her progress. I'm searching for new ideas on how to teach her. I'm finding our place in the homeschooling community.

I still talk to the best friend who I started blogging because of (she needed a break from being my only outlet for stories) and spill out my stories to her, but it's different. We used to talk almost daily while we cleaned up from breakfast and got ready for our days. She's taken on more jobs as her boys are growing up and moving into full time school, and my time after breakfast is spent teaching. We still talk often, but often a few days will pass now before we catch up.

Three years ago my goal was to have a place where I could be MEREDITH, not just mommy. I wanted a place to share my stories and connect with others. Over the past three years I've gone in a few different directions. For a while the girls were providing me with some hilarious material, and I was actually considered a "funny mom" and made a Top 25 Humor Blogs list (what??), but that was never going to be an area where I settled in for the long haul. I'm not consistently funny and you don't come here because you want to spit out your coffee from laughing. I've dabbled in lots of areas, and now we're at a crossroads again. I've never wanted to paint myself into a niche, and certainly never wanted to paint myself as an expert, so I've stayed in the safe "general" area, but now it's time to find my place.

Change is in the air, and you might start seeing it here too. I don't plan on stopping, but I do plan on shifting my focus. The more I talk to people, the more I realize that the blogging world is changing. Readers are putting their time into different things. They're looking for different things. I'm looking for different things. I'm not scouring the web looking for new posts to read while I'm nursing a baby. I'm searching for things to make my life easier. Homeschooling, managing a dance kid, meal planning, housekeeping, parenting, taking care of myself, the best products for things - I want advice and suggestions. If they're part of an anecdote, even better. That keeps me interested. But I'm not consistently following blogs where the stories are about finding stickers on your yoga pants at Target or open letters to whoever irritated me or whining about pool bags or snow days...so I don't know that I'll keep trying to write them.

Don't worry, I'm not making any abrupt or dramatic changes (you'll still hear about the girls and their shenanigans), but you may notice some new features popping up as I try - again - to define who I am. I'm not who I was three years ago, and that's good. I'm happy with the evolution. And I think that over the next few weeks and months, I'll like the evolution of my place here on the internet. Maybe by the time the seasons change again, I'll have a place where I'm comfortable and happy to hunker down during the cold months.

Until then, thanks for sticking around, and I hope this is a place you want to come back to.

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