I read a lot of blogs (only some of which are linked on the sidebar). Some single mom blogs, some mom blogs, some dad blogs, some blogs that have nothing at all to do with children, some blogs that are just photography, some food blogs. I may have issues with some things about the internet, but I am and have always been a nosy chicken, so blogs are just a way for me to look into other people's windows. So to speak.
I have to be very careful, however, to just read the blogs... not to take anything in them to heart, in either direction.
I shouldn't feel superior to anyone else because of something they say that I disagree with. On the flip side, I shouldn't let other people's lives make me feel less than. Someone lives in a fabulous house with a pool? Good for them. Someone spends thirty hours a week teaching their child to (insert skill here)? Wow, that's awesome. Someone has a ginormous birthday party for their daughter and even has personalized labels on the root beer bottles? Damn, that's cool.
That last example, by the way, is for real. At the time I was still planning Elle's first birthday party, and I truly had a couple of days of completely feeling like some kind of derelict parent because I was planning a potluck picnic at a park, rather than a party with cleverly-named food, personalized party labels on the root beer, elaborate goody bags, and a pony. I truly thought, for a little while, that clearly I should not be a parent. A pony! Why the hell was I not having a pony?
(Because a pony is overkill for a one-year-old, that's why. Arguably, it may be overkill for a four-year-old, but that's not my call to make.)
So I was feeling like roadkill about how my daughter's first party was going to be crap on a stick, and I shared that particular blog entry with a friend. The friend shot me an e=mail, the gist of which was "Holy crap, that's cute. But seriously, who has that kind of time? Please."
And I felt better.
It was a really good lesson. I'm going to be the parent I'm going to be. I'm going to be better than some parents, worse than others. Richer than some, poorer than others.
It's not a contest.
But I still reserve the right to be dreadfully jealous of the gorgeous, gorgeous photography over at Peonies and Polaroids. I wish they lived just a touch closer than Scotland. Also that I could afford to have them take pics of Elle.
By the way, Elle's first birthday party was terrific. There was a huge crowd of people who love her. Everyone enjoyed all the food and the cake and the playground and the sunny day.
And not a single person asked why there weren't custom labels on the soda.