You are older now, but as I write this letter, you are 4 and 2 years old, and it’s been a particularly rainy fall. We’ve been enjoying many an afternoon of reading books, playing Old Maid, having dance parties, drawing pictures, and making stuff to display or eat. I’ve been giving some thought to my dream of becoming a successful blogger lately, and that has brought you two to mind quite a bit. You are, after all, my sidekicks, along for the ride as I bake, craft, decorate, and take on projects big and small, while writing about all of it. I’m wondering…did it ever occur to you to wonder why I used to take pictures of your dinner plates or the things we baked? Did you wonder why so often when you awoke in the middle of the night or got up from a nap, you could find me tapping away on our laptop? Don’t worry, I’m not having some kind of existential crisis as I write this, but I am giving some thought lately to why it is I do what I do.
We made some cookies the other day. You may remember: they were sugar cookies, but I let you decorate a couple yourself with leftover frosting I had at the back of the fridge and some Halloween candy corns. When I proposed the idea, you would’ve thought I’d just offered to take you to Disney World. In fact, it was one of the first things you told Dad when he came from work: “Guess what Mommy let us do?!” Anyway, I took some pictures of them (as usual) but then started wondering if they were really blog-worthy. So, as I often do when considering such things, I went through a mental checklist. Were the cookies beautiful? Uhhh, not really. Were they unique? Probably not. Interesting? Nope. They were, however, cheap and easy and they made you guys smile. Check, check, and check. But was I proud of the creation? That was the sticking point. And here’s where I remembered one of the goals of my life (and this blog): to create ways to make the everyday special for my family. The cookies (pictured above) wouldn’t win any awards and certainly didn’t belong on a magazine cover or foodie blog. But they made your day and I hoped, created a memory for you.
When I started on this journey, Olivia, you were just an infant. Like all new moms, I struggled with common things like lack of sleep and an adjustment to the idea of being a parent. But for women who’ve decided to leave their jobs, the loss (or change of) identity can be a particular problem. I really just wanted SAHMs to see that, although not glamorous or high-paying, being at home with our kids gives us an opportunity to express our personalities through the jobs we have to do anyway, like making meals, giving gifts, nurturing our kids, and making a home. Sure, I could only buy pre-packaged meals, eat takeout more often, buy bed-in-a-bags with coordinating lamps, curtains, and wall decals, and just generally make other uninspired choices, but I’ve made a conscious choice to live differently. We live unobserved lives, us SAHMs, and so it felt good to me to be creative and then write about it, even if the only people reading my blog were friends and family at first. At times, it even felt self-indulgent. But I’ve come to realize the benefits to blogging.
I discovered the first added bonus to blogging, particularly mommy-blogging, when I scrolled through my posts for the first time. I started to see how my blog had become a record of all the days I got to spend with you. Reading through past posts reminds me of how much you have grown and how much we’ve done together. It’s kind of like my love letter to you. Now that you’re older, I hope you can see how much fun we had together and how wonderful these early years of your lives have been so far, at least for me.
Sometimes I worry if you’ll remember any of the things we did together, or if you’ll just recall the times I asked you to entertain yourselves while I put the finishing touches on something I was working on. Maybe it’s not the individual projects I care about you remembering, however, but the takeaway lessons from those projects instead. Sometimes I show you the posts of specific things we’ve done, and I can see you delight in recognition of the things you helped me make or eat. It occurs to me in these moments that I should be proud of what I’m doing, even though I’m reluctant to promote it, and sometimes even feel guilty about devoting so much time to it. You’re proud of our little triumphs, and this makes me feel good. The truth is, though, I’m often intimidated by the beauty, ingenuity, and creativity I find all over the other blogs I follow. And while I try to emulate this high-end, high-design stuff all the time, you don’t care how stuff turns out, as long as we have fun doing it. You’ve helped me remember, especially on days when projects have flopped, that it’s about the journey not the destination. In turn, I hope this helped you see that failure is just part of life sometimes. By watching me fail, you hopefully learned that it was OK for you to fail, too.
On the flip side, you are witnesses to how excited I get when I successfully repurpose, recreate, make over or make something new, and I guess this is a good thing, too. Yes, it takes me forever to decorate because I like to make stuff myself, and there are probably easier ways to cook, but you are watching all of my successes (and failures) and hopefully soaking up the idea that our surroundings are important, and that home is the place to be just who you are.
As I said, my primary motivation was initially just to inject some personality into my daily tasks in an effort to remember who I was; but, now I see that you may be learning a couple of things as you tag alongside, taste-testing our creations and trying new projects. And here’s perhaps the biggest thing, if I may be so bold to suggest it: The most awesome by-product of this adventure is that it may just show you, my beloved daughters, that your mom took the time to work towards something that made her happy. And that’s all I want for you. While you two have certainly served as my inspiration, Home Made Modern is an outlet for me. It’s a way to be creative, feel productive, and work towards a bigger goal. I often think how odd it is that I’m a person who takes pictures of our food, or that I have a calendar of projects and activities planned a month in advance so I can make sure my blog posts are timely. (You have questioned this stuff, too: “Mommy, why are you taking pictures of my sandwich?”) The end-goal of every day is to, of course, enrich your childhoods. I’ve come to know that the best way for me to do this is through projects and activities that help me retain a sense of myself and feel productive in the process, and yes, sometimes calendars and cameras are required. But I’m really blogging for me and me alone. I believe in my little blog, but not more than I believe in you. And I do love my blog, but not more than I love you. You, my girls, are the reason for it all.