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I spent last Saturday evening at my supper club with some close college friends, and the subject of blogging came up. We were talking about blogs we love to read and why we love them, and one of my friends just doesn’t get the blog thing. Not that she was being patronizing; she definitely wasn’t. But she just expressed an honest curiosity as to why people read blogs and what is it all about anyway. On the way home, I was thinking about her questions, and they make sense. I mean here we are writing about our [somewhat boring] lives and reading about each others similarly simple tasks. So why blog and what is there to like?
- Gives Me Inspiration – Sometimes I get the blahs and look around my house or my life and feel pretty lackluster. Then I pay a visit somewhere and suddenly I have a million ideas of things to improve my house and my daily life. Feeling frazzled, overwhelmed, and disorganized? I head to Small Notebook. Wondering how to compile memories for Jude, I spent time looking at this fabulous photo book and left with a million ideas.
- Grants Me Validation – Parenting leaves you making lots of decisions, and God knows we all research and think and pray we do the right thing. These choices are not the same for every family, and you have to do what’s right for you. Sometimes our choices are uncommon. From the big things (laboring unmedicated) to the little things (cloth diapering), I don’t always know a lot of people “in real life” who chose to do the same things as I do. On the blogosphere, however, you are sure to find a person out there with a parallel view. Deep down we know inside that these decisions, no matter how varied they are, are right for our particular families, but it sure is nice to hear someone else say, “I do that, too!”
- Presents A New Perspective – I tell my students at school all the time that the true value of literature is that it exposes us to perceptions we might not attain otherwise. The world would be a lot better off with a little more empathy. Blogging does this. There are issues I have never experienced before, but thanks to blogs, I truly empathize and understand. Dooce’s story of postpartum depression changed my understanding of the disease. Kelle Hampton’s amazing birth story altered my perspective of birth and motherhood and special needs children forever. Her blog actually expands my perspective all the time as she encourages me to be grateful for the things around me, and every single one of you should read it, but that’s another story! The point is that there are a million different voices out there and a million different ways to look at life, and the internet is one huge shelf of autobiographies.
- Lets Me Chronicle Daily Life – Days become weeks. Weeks become months. Months become years, and life races past you so fast. Even if it’s details of the seemingly mundane, blogging is a way to mark the way I felt and the things I encountered. I know they are things I’ll miss one day, no matter how inconsequential they feel now. I usually blog at night after Jude’s in bed and they day is quieting. I look forward to this time as it allows me to write and reflect.
- Share Ideas and Advice – To say I don’t know everything is a ridiculous understatement, but I will say that I feel like I have learned A LOT since Jude came along last October. When I was experiencing my own breastfeeding struggles, stories of women who succeeded despite similar challenges really encouraged me. Now on the other end, it’s all I can do to hope that my breastfeeding story will do the same for someone else out there. Sharing ideas and advice with other mothers is invaluable. Blogs are like one HUGE parenting support group!
- Gives Me Product Reviews – If I am going to buy something, the best way to make a good decision is to hear reviews from other people. Blogs are invaluable for this. When I first decided to try cloth diapering, I was SO confused with too many choices. The Cloth Diaper Report and The Cloth Diaper Whisperer gave me great ideas and shed light on all the options. It’s not just diapers though. There are honest reviews on everything you can think of.
- Enriches My Kitchen – You have not lived until you’ve spent a lazy weekend morning eating homemade sourdough pancakes with bananas foster sauce. Would I ever have discovered this joy without blogs? Nope! Scott and I are trying so hard to cut down on the processed foods and eat better. Kitchen Stewardship and The Nourishing Gourmet are basically my online cookbooks I consult every single week when I plan my meals. Passionate Homemaking’s advice for healthier living is simple and encouraging and allows me to feel like I can do it.
- Makes Me a Better Mom – I mean have you even seen the stuff at No Time for Flash Cards, Unplug Your Kids, or Impress Your Kids? I can’t wait until Jude is old enough to do these things together.
- Provides a Sense of Community – This is where non-bloggers think bloggers are weirdos, but you really can find a community of people through the blogosphere. The funny thing is that I’m finding that most of the blogs I read daily also read the other blogs that I read daily. Does that even make sense? You all seem to “know” each other and we read the same things. Reading great blogs allows you to find other great blogs, too. It’s a circle of women who all care and have some really great stories, ideas, and resources. We can follow each other’s little happenings and everyday stories. Andi and I met through book blogs, for instance, and we kept up via Twitter even after I quit blogging. I had a baby 6 months before she did and now we can commiserate through Twitter about our lack of time to take a shower or the funny things Greyson and Jude do.
- Lets Me Keep Up With Real Life Friends – I have a few real life (meaning before blogs) friends who blog regularly. I love keeping up with Tami, Amanda, and Jenna among others. Life gets busy, and when else would we see each other to share about that time we had to resuscitate a baby chicken?
So what about you? What do you like best about blogging. If you don’t blog, you are obviously reading one. Why do you like reading blogs?