Hellllooooooo San Diego, and welcome to my blog, Bumblebee Sweet Potato. The Bumblebee is my daughter, who's turning 6 in September. The Sweet Potato is my son, who's turning 2 next week. As to how they got their nicknames, you'll have to ask their father, landisdad (although at the moment, he doesn't have a blog, so you're SOL there). In preparation for writing this post, I went back and looked at the initial blog posts of the last four people who've been writing you missives, and, shit, they're a lot funnier than I am. Sorry about that. But what the hell, maybe you'll learn something.
So who am I? Well, I'm in my late 30s, married with two kids and three cats, and I work as a community organizer. My daughter, the Bee, is about to enter first grade, and my son goes to daycare full time during the workweek. I'm practically a native Jersey girl, although I can't say born and raised, because I wasn't born here. I lived in San Diego for a year in my early 20s, and in Northern California for most of the rest of my 20s. We moved to New Jersey when we decided to start a family because we wanted to buy a house that wasn't in Tracy, or somewhere equally irrelevant (sorry Central Valley).
For years after we became parents for the first time, I struggled to find a community that supported both halves of my brain...the parenting side and the working side. When we decided to move across the country, I didn't realize that that choice would mean we put ourselves in a situation where we lost our whole community of equals, right when we were about to need them most. Our friends in California were starting families too, and all of us, in the struggle with the steep learning curve, lost touch. At the same time, we started to make new friends here, but very few of them were people with kids of their own. I found myself, often, the sole working mom in my groups of women friends. Because so many women take time off when they have kids, I basically missed out on the time to develop friendships with people before they had kids...most of the women who were my age, and my experience level, were on maternity leave, or just back from it. And it just isn't as easy to make friends with other parents...partly because there's never time to have coffee or take a long lunch...we working moms don't have time for that kind of stuff during the day if we've gotta leave at 5 on the dot to make the daycare pickup. And because my husband and I are progressive parents, who choose to do things perhaps slightly differently than the mainstream, it makes it that much harder.
In searching out an Internet community to replace this real-life community that I felt I was missing, I joined an e-list of other moms who were due in September of 1999. That listserv still exists, although it's somewhat diminished in participation since we're all parenting nearly six-year-olds now. I bounced around a number of more mainstream parenting boards, and finally stumbled across the parenting boards (now blogs) at hipmama in early 2000. It was at hipmama that I first found a group of moms who, if not just like me, were more like me than the folks at iParenting, or other early parenting sites. From there, I leapt to various other parenting blogs. One of my early favorites was Ayelet Waldman's now-defunct Bad Mother. At this point, I read a number of different blogs daily, and I find that some of my favorite sites are actually those written by dads...hat tip to daddychip, metrodad & laid-off-dad. I've always been an avid reader and a somewhat sporadic journal keeper, and I find that in keeping a blog, I've developed a few friendships, mostly with other parents, most of whom I will never meet. It goes a long way toward my sanity, when I come home and find that parents with whom I have everything but geography in common, are commenting on my blog. Of course, by now we've made more local friends too...people in the neighborhood, other parents from my kids' schools. At this point, I'm even a valued resource by some of the younger activist women that I know, who are starting families of their own now. But I'll always value my online community as the place where I first found advice and support from people like me.