Last weekend was emotional. Eventful, and emotionally draining for all parenting bloggers. For those of us who expressed sorrow, or who shared another’s pain, and those who couldn’t contribute for lack of the right words. Emotional too for those bloggers who couldn’t join, support and share that pain because they were already committed to an exhausting trip to share a charity’s work in repairing other lives. I could have let the weekend’s events go unmentioned in this post – after all this is a celebration of new bloggers. I almost did swerve around the difficult and the painful, but then I read this: a new blogger who felt compelled to reach out and make a point; we are strangers in so many ways, and yet we are bound up emotionally in the lives of a community. What struck me was the emotional capability of strangers to care, to love, to support, and to reach out to each other. We all need that. We all deserve that support.
There are so many tough things to get through as a parent, from the angst of trying to conceive, through the constant demands on your attentions, the issue of safety and the all-consuming pursuit of family/work balance. On top of that there are those days when you really need to curl up and take care of yourself, the times when post-natal depression threatens to kick your butt into next week, but you can’t cave in, can you? Well that’s the absolute best thing about being part of an online community – no matter what you’re dealing with, there is someone there to talk to about it, someone who has been through similar, or knows a source of support, or can just lend a shoulder.
Which is just as well, given that there never seems to come a time when we think we might have the parenting lark all sewn up! Just when we think we’ve got through the hardest bit, WHAM! The next challenge presents itself: like, how do you explain to your child the lyrics of their favourite song (Gangnam style has a lot to answer for)?
Then there’s the problem of gaining a family, only to discover that you have lost half of your marbles. Seriously! Just when life needs you to step up and do more than you’ve ever imagined doing, you find you’re capable of less than half what you used to achieve!
A blogger who finds herself alone is far from lonely if she has a community of friends online. We may be the people in the computer to those who don’t understand, but we are real, not virtual. We can often find solace for the relationships we lack in our physical lives, in the support we gain from our online communities. When we struggle with self-esteem, there is always some discussion or advice we can use to help us come to terms with it, or learn a better way.
So in the spirit of community, I’d like you to give some support to bloggers with new ventures. Rebecca has started an online story for children. Not like a typical blog, Rebecca needs help getting the word out, so if you know a child who’d like to receive email instalments of a story as it progresses, it would be lovely if you could share the link for her. You’ll know Mary and MaryAnn from Keynko and Confessions of a Crafty Mummy. Between them they have started a non-virtual, very real venture to get British goods back on our high streets. You’ll find them blogging at Handmade about the trials and tribulations of retail, and I know they’d love a visit!
So as we hold our children close, we must try not to feel terrified of the world and what it does to us. Because for every terrible blow that life may deal, we are privileged to have a friend in our community who can listen, offer support, help us find perspective during emotional upheaval. And I know without a shadow of a doubt that thousands of us are silently sending strength today to those who need it.