Today, I have the pleasure of hosting Shailaja Vishwanath on my blog. I first met her through her blogs. She shares great fiction at The Moving Quill and musings on life and parenting at the Diary of a Doting mom. She is warm, friendly, intelligent and affectionate, and I instantly hit it off with her. She is just the same, even naughtier in person. Yes, we still have to do that full-fledged meetup, Shy. She is methodical, organized, a wonderful writer and a lovely person. Glad to have her here in my space today. Over to Shailaja…
They say parenting doesn’t come with a manual and that you’re constantly learning on the job. Now, blogging DOES come with manuals-sometimes way too many of them, if you ask me, but what I love about both of them is that you can always learn, are always taken by surprise and come out of it wiser and happier.
It’s a Team Effort:
Make no mistake about this one. Those days when you are sleep-deprived after spending 10 hours rocking a colicky baby to sleep, you are more than grateful when your spouse or significant other takes over the wailing kid, smiles and says ‘You’ve done enough. Go rest now.’ You look at them with something akin to love, but it’s probably sheer gratitude that you can now catch that much-needed nap.
Blogging doesn’t work on a very different principle. After slaving for an hour, crafting that blog post to perfection, checking for typos, adding the hash tags and maybe sharing it on social media, we are overwhelmed with gratitude when people come over, pat you and say, ‘I know how much time you’ve put into this post. Good job.’
Good cop and Bad cop:
Ever noticed how when the kid messes up, one parent plays the disciplinarian and the other soothes and comforts? At home, we typically take turns doing this, because, in our book, children are better off learning from their mistakes at home first. I must admit though, I seem to play the bad cop more often; probably that’s something in my mental make-up.
When you blog, ideally, you should have a couple of close friends who will look over your post and say two things: what you want to hear and what you need to hear. We need the good cop to boost us, motivate us to write more and continue to blog. The bad cop is equally relevant, because it is that critique that will help push us towards becoming a better blogger.
You’ll make mistakes:
You are going to use the wrong-sized diaper, that terrible lotion which will cause a rash, those foods which will trigger an allergic reaction and you’ll panic every single time.
Similarly, as a blogger, you will goof up initially by not attributing quotes or pictures, or drop links when you aren’t supposed to, directly tweet to people to read your posts or completely screw up on font size, background colour or template of your blog.
But, the good news? You’ll learn. You’ll come out of those mistakes and build upon them, striving to be a better parent or better blogger. Even better, you’ll understand it’s not the end of the world and these things happen for a reason.
You’ll learn from those who’ve been there:
Advice is rarely taken well, especially when most of us suffer from the ‘I knew that already’ syndrome. Try telling people that there’s an alternative way to doing something and you’ll find them up in arms, defending their stance.
But, on the rare occasions that they are receptive, you will find that people can take suggestions and even apply it to their situations. You will find yourself opening up to learn things from other parents/ bloggers.
A seasoned mom will sympathise and suggest that you don’t need to wrap your baby up every time there is a nip in the air. A veteran dad will smile and show you how to rock the whole teenage phase, when the child seems to defy everything you say.
Likewise, when you want to move your blog to a custom domain or need help with how to add alt tag to your images, you’ll find helpful souls who will go out of their way to walk you through the nitty-gritty of the process.
At the end of it, you’ll notice a growing sense of kinship with these people who share their wisdom with you.
You’ll let go:
This must be the hardest lesson of all, but probably the most valuable.
We have this incredible attachment to our creations, whether they are our kids or our blogs. We feel a certain sense of quiet pride when we see them take shape, morph into something with minds of their own, grow in stature and maturity and finally evolve into forms of expression that can hold their own in reality.
It’s tempting to hold on, take credit for those wonderful outcomes and continue to cling to your idea of what was great about them at first. But, letting go, now there is something that can truly help you grow- as a parent and as a blogger.
We stop worrying about what people will think or say, stats don’t matter anymore and the child/blog is a brand in its own right. All they need from us is a gentle nudge every now and then.
So, those are just five ways parenting is exactly like blogging. It’s hard, it’s exhausting and it’s glorious but they are the two most fulfilling things in my life today.
How about you?
In what other way is blogging like parenting?
Do share your thoughts in the comments here.