Today is a special day here at Not Your Average Mom.
On March 31, 2012, I purchased the domain name for Not Your Average Mom, figured out how to set up a (really simple) site, and the blog was born.
And today on March 31, 2016, the blog’s fourth birthday, I’m publishing my 1,559th post.
Happy fourth birthday! Or anniversary! Or whatever it is you say when your blog has been around for four years.
A lot can happen in four years.
Four years ago my husband and I were taller than all the kids.
Now? Not so much.
Four years ago Number 7 looked like this:
Well, she still has that same look in her eyes, but she’s all grown up.
And so is the blog.
Four years ago I published my first post (it was terrible) to a tiny audience of less than 100 people.
It was really only my relatives and close personal friends who read what I wrote in the beginning.
But I always had the same goal.
Eventually, this blog would support my family.
People laughed at me and rolled their eyes.
Yeah, right. Support your family with a blog.
Back in 2012, I had no idea what the heck I was doing. But I decided I’d write a post every day for, um… well… ever.
At first I kept it short. Light. Funny.
I wanted to blog to be a respite from the monotony of motherhood.
And I wanted it to be a place where moms could go to realize that while some of us may pretend to be, none of us are perfect.
The more I wrote, the better I got at writing.
The better I got at writing, the more people started reading.
Bit by bit, the blog became a little more popular.
The more popular it got, the more I reminded myself why I started writing the blog in the first place.
It wasn’t just to tell funny stories. It was also to create a place where women could go and realize they were not alone. Where there was at least one person who could relate to them.
So I didn’t just write about funny stuff the kids said or did. I wrote about my shortcomings and failures. Because although we may feel like no one else could possibly have failed or fucked up as badly as we ourselves have, that’s totally not the case.
We are all in this together. And we are all experiencing successes and failures together.
And then when the Sandy Hook shootings occurred, I wrote my first really serious and extremely personal post.
I just felt like I needed to. In that post, I shared my battles with mental illness. Depression. Borderline personality disorder.
Once I did that, all bets were off. I started writing about whatever I felt inspired and compelled to write about.
While more and more people were telling me I was helping them and that they appreciated the raw and honest qualities of the blog, I was really helping myself, too. The more I put out there, the less weight I felt I was carrying on my shoulders.
The more vulnerable I made myself, the less I had to hide.
The less I had to hide, the less I felt like I had to keep up with everyone else.
I had no secrets. When you don’t have any secrets, you don’t have any shame. You aren’t pretending to be anything you aren’t. It relieves you of tremendous amounts of stress.
Rather than being embarrassing, it’s freeing.
Being a parent is stressful enough as it is without adding the (unnecessary) need to pretend to be perfect.
And so then my mission with the blog kind of changed.
I wanted to not just provide a little comic relief, but to help people.
I wanted to make sure people knew they weren’t alone.
Writing about my struggles and failures and not being anywhere near Pinterest perfect also helped me to take a look at the things I wanted to improve about myself.
It wasn’t about trying to achieve perfection.
It was about evolving.
And staying the course.
I wanted to accept myself. But I also wanted to be a better version of myself.
And I wanted to inspire other women to do the same thing.
So I shared a lot.
About how hard I think marriage is.
I shared my weight loss journey(s).
Readers of the blog completed my first (and second and third and fourth and fifth) triathlons with me.
You ran my first marathon with me. The New York City Marathon!!!
You also ran the Hartford Marathon with me. The one that almost killed me.
You ran the Cape Cod Marathon with me. The one where I managed to pull off a huge surprise for one of my dearest friends.
Last year you ran the Boston Marathon with me.
I wrote about having to file for bankruptcy and then having to go on food stamps.
I wrote about our house going into foreclosure.
I have written about a lot of shit in the last four years.
Last year, over 949,000 people read my blog.
Almost a million people! Holy shit!
What started out as a place to share some funny stories has grown into something pretty big!
Like I said before, a lot can change in four years.
I get emails and messages from women (and sometimes men!) telling me I’m an inspiration fairly often. And so many of these messages say something along the lines of “thank you for being real.”
Initially, I never, ever set out to inspire.
It was more about letting other women know they aren’t alone. I guess the inspiration thing came accidentally. Or as a by-product.
But however it came about, that’s the direction I feel the blog and I are meant to go.
I want to inspire women to do or be whatever it is that they envision for themselves.
And then I want to be able to help them make it happen.
That’s what I have been envisioning for Not Your Average Mom in the next four years.
But I wasn’t sure how I would be able to go about actually doing it.
And then, on Monday, Tyrone called.
And my whole world changed. It opened up.
And with this new opening up comes an unexpected opportunity.
A really big opportunity for me.
And what I should/could/wanted to do all became clear.
My tagline for the blog was, at one point, always evolving, never average.
All of me is always evolving.
I’ve said it before. I’m not striving for perfection.
My goal isn’t a Martha Stewart-Pioneer Woman-June Cleaver-Restoration Hardware-Pottery Barn level of parenting.
But it is to be happy and fulfilled. Even with all the bullshit that comes along with being a parent and life in general.
I think there were some times for me that the goal was just to wake up, keep the kids alive, keep my self alive, and then get myself and the kids back into bed as soon as possible.
That’s not a fun way to live.
And so I am going to seize this opportunity, this four year birthday gift, and I’m going to use it to create an even better place for women (and men) to escape. Or evolve. Or both.
Don’t get me wrong.
I still want to tell funny stories and say fuck and all that non-Pioneer Womany kind of stuff.
But I also want to create a place for women (and men) to go who need help. Advice. Direction. Education.
I want Not Your Average Mom to be not only an escape or a time out during those shitty parenting moments.
I want it to be a resource.
So what’s the opportunity?
Wouldn’t it be great if you knew that everyday, there was a place where you could go to talk to your best friend? A place to laugh? To feel connected? To find women who can relate to the same particular situation you are going through, whatever it is? A place where you can find an answer to all of your biggest parenting questions?
Not just a blog, but a total resource for moms?
Not Your Average Mom is gonna be that place.
Because you guys have all helped me and supported me, and I want to help and support you.
Not just with stories.
But with an overall experience.
Not Your Average Mom has become a community. A really fucking cool community.
If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that at one point or another, we all need someone to lean on.
We need support. We need help. We need reassurance.
We need caregivers and we need teachers and we need coaches and we need cheerleaders.
We need to laugh. We need to cry. And we need to know that when we are doing all these things, we are not alone.
And my birthday present to you, for starters, is a new platform.
A new foundation that we can add just about anything onto. A new foundation where we can create an even better experience for each other than the one that is here now.
I want to continue to build a place where we can laugh and cry and grow and evolve. Together.
(That’s why you’re gonna have the opportunity to get on the early list of people who can give feedback and input).
And just as you have all been a part of making this site what it has become so far, I’m really excited for you to be instrumental in creating a place that doesn’t currently exist anywhere else on the internet.
Happy Anniversary to Not Your Average Mom!
Happy Anniversary to this community! And here’s to the next four years!
They are going to seriously kick some ass.
Experience it First!