Tag Archives: Blogging

Insert Welcoming Remarks

May 7, 2015

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Hello friends.

It’s been a long time since I’ve talked to you like this. As I’ve mentioned before, blogging has changed a lot over these four years. Personal narrative blogs have been replaced with niche blogs, affiliate links, Instagram, Buzzfeed, and what I call “worldview pieces.” Readers, including myself, skirt to and from blogs so quickly that it’s hard to continue any sort of story, making it necessary to write essays that can stand alone.

Sometimes I’ll read a random blog, click around, and still wonder what is going on. Where do they live? What do they do? Why are they always at the beach?

I thought this might be a good time to clear things up.

HELLO. My name is Kate and I like Friends reruns and sandwiches featuring complicated mayonnaise. Technically my name is actually Kathrine, inconveniently spelled without an “e” in the middle, which means a bunch of KathErines with gmail accounts get a lot of my “urgent” Old Navy emails. Enjoy the maxi dress! Now an entire 25 cents off.

I live in a small town in Eastern Pennsylvania, a day’s trip away from New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. My kids are Waylon (3, almost 4) and Eva (1, almost 15). My husband’s name is James but he goes by Austin. I guess both our parents liked things super confusing. Next weekend he’ll graduate from medical school and in June start a five year residency in Radiology. This first year will presumably be the hardest, with work weeks averaging over 80 hours a week. I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me.

At the end of the month we’ll be married six years.

In case you are wondering about the mild home renovations referenced on Instagram, we live in a modest three bedroom house Austin’s parents bought at the beginning of medical school. Because we rent from them–we can make renovations as we are able. When we matched to Penn State Hershey this Spring, we decided not to move (thank you Jesus) and just upgrade a few things. So far we’ve painted everything white and bought 100 items off Craigslist. We hope to own our own home someday, but for now paying a low mortgage on a house that’s not ours is actually pretty great. If the garbage disposal breaks, I just call my father-in-law. Please don’t tell him how to block phone numbers.

If you’re wondering what I actually look like (not just what I look like with 17 filters), here is an all natural photo I plugged into the age predictor site everyone’s been using this week.

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It identified me as 12-year-old. Bonus: I still dress like one too.

Things you’ll find on this blog: Real writing on Babies, Bodies, and Womanhood + Pop Culture Posts + Book Reviews + Music.

Friday posts are links to things to read, watch, or check out with some light PR.

If you’ve been listening to my playlists, you’ll notice Grooveshark shut down without warning and all my music vanished forever! I was sad too. After many recommendations, I’m learning Spotify and loving it. It reminds me of when I read The DaVinci Code ten years late and everyone was like I KNOW. Slowly rebuilding playlists and setting up camp under the Music tab. All you need is a (free) Spotify account. So far, so amazing.

Two years ago I gave in to the self-indulgence of two Q&A posts. It led to one of my most read pieces on Church. Many new readers later, I’m wondering if there’s anything else you want to know. Did you stumble here and now you’re wondering why I’m constantly talking about cheese? If you have questions, feel free to leave questions in the comments below or shoot me an email. I’ll either respond personally or put together another vainglorious Q&A post. (You can see the first ones here and here. So much has changed!)

Thanks for reading, listening, responding, and double tapping. All the heart eye and dancing girl emojis right back at you.

xo

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Four Years Of Writing On The Internet

March 10, 2015

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Next month will mark four years of writing on the Internet. Four years since I sat down at the computer and tried to write something worth reading online. At first it was awkward and unpleasant for everyone, like having sex for the first time. No one knows where to put their hands or when to stop pretending to be someone they’re not. Then, as time went on, I fell into a rhythm and tried to create a space where we can share our parenting and human struggles while also laughing at Jimmy Fallon videos on YouTube.

Blogging has changed a lot over these four years. Personal narrative blogs have been replaced with niche blogs, affiliate links, Instagram, Buzzfeed, and what I call “worldview pieces.” Readers, including myself, skirt to and from blogs so quickly that it’s hard to continue any sort of story, making it necessary to compose essays that can stand alone.

None of these changes are inherently positive or negative, the landscape of the internet will always change. The difficulty lies in recognizing when it’s time to change.

Popular blogger Sarah Bessey touches on this in a post about changes to her site. She writes, The hard thing is trying to figure out when to “change with the times” and when to stand your ground in the place you’ve establishedFor instance, I still love to tell stories about the daily life and simple joys, even though those don’t get the page views or comments or shares of other posts. I won’t stop telling those stories or writing the way I love to write because it’s not popular. But there are other aspects that I need to embrace – running ads to pay for the upkeep of this site which has become prohibitive, being aware of the power of social media, creating regular content that is relevant, and so on.

A few weeks ago I submitted a pilot for HBO via a fellowship for diverse writers. Along with the actual pilot, the application also required a personal statement. The writing prompt was simple, “What influences your writing?”

As I fumbled around trying to come up with an answer, all I could think about was you. The community of women I’ve found through writing for an audience. When my post about being tightly wound went viral last year and recently again this month, so many of you wrote to me about the struggles of parenting young children. If you read through the comments on that post, what sticks out to me the most is the overwhelming desire to be heard. For someone to acknowledge that while this is all so very wonderful, it’s also really, really hard.

No matter how blogging changes, I hope we can continue to create a space to be honest. To be heard. To laugh over our three-year-olds talking about sperm with the grocery cashier and cry over our complicated relationship with thighs. A place to stand together and say, “I want more,” even if wanting more is simply time to eat a sandwich alone.

Our best chance for motherhood, for being human, is to lift each other up. To walk beside each other and say, “This is my truth, what’s yours?” My writing is influenced by you. The relationships I’ve formed with women who walk beside me and share their truth, no matter how dark the valleys. Our most important work.

Thanks for walking with me.

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Hello Halloween

October 30, 2014

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Last Winter I stopped writing these kinds of posts.

I took down all the monthly kid reviews and cliché photoshoots of my babies in suitcases and moved them all to their own personal sites so that only the truly delirious can keep up with them. But for some reason, the Halloween posts have remained here.

I think it’s because I enjoy holidays, which sounds annoying because everyone enjoys the holidays. What I mean is that I like sharing in each other’s traditions. And while I am not a lover of scary things, I do love playing dress up and eating all the chocolate, making Halloween something to look forward to.

This Saturday we’re throwing a Halloween party (repeat!) which is exciting because a) Fancy eye makeup and b) Adult conversation and wine spritzers, no kids.

Austin doesn’t have a costume yet (I don’t want to talk about it). I will be going as a fairy who went goth for her boyfriend. I might pull it off, but will most likely end up looking like Rufio circa 1991’s favorite movie Hook, which is fine too.

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A note to my future teenage daughter: May you never dress up as an undressed firefighter, nurse, policeman, or teacher. Because girl, we can do better than that.

Happy Halloween, weirdos.

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Last Year

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3 Years Of Writing On The Internet

April 16, 2014

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Three years ago on my 26th birthday I lost my job. My boss called a meeting, and while I was eating my chocolate birthday cake, he announced that our non-profit school simply couldn’t survive anymore. We were going bankrupt. There was no money. Please clean out your desk by the end of the day.

I was seven months pregnant at the time, about to move for the third time in one year, and unsure what to do with this information. Should I look for another job? Go back to nannying? Be a barista again? My current situation wasn’t exactly marketable. Can work for two months. PS: Super pregnant.

So I did what any other millennial girl with an English major would do, I started a blog!

At first it wasn’t great. I knew nothing about blogging and it showed. I called it Motley Mama and for three years I crawled along a steep learning curve. I made silly posts, boring posts, completely stupid and asinine posts. I tried and failed and tried and failed a hundred million times.

Great things happened too. I found community and they found me. My writing improved, I made friends, I learned how to do simple coding.

It was, and it is, great.

People sometimes ask for blogging advice and I shake my head. I’ve only graduated blogging kindergarten this week by getting a new domain and figuring out how to customize widgets. The technical parts of the Internet make my head spin.

Some general tips: Never, ever write about your mother-in-law. Check your stats once a week or less. Keep it positive (there’s a reason Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t have a dislike button). Give credit where credit is due. Don’t blog about the weather unless it’s really, really interesting. Mostly, be yourself and try not to use the word “literally” more than absolutely necessary.

Blogging in 2014 is changing. It’s becoming both narrower and wider. It’s looking a lot less like “let me tell you the details of my day” and a lot more like worldviews and Instagram. And that’s okay, we bend and move with the shape of things. As long as we remember we make the rules, that our self-worth is not controlled by the opinions of others, and that creating is a hard but good work–we will be okay.

I started this blog when I was pregnant with my first baby. And even though I have outgrown its sloppy title and format, I treasure those old posts. Posts about my newborn son, my new mom self, and that unbelievable lady of colic. Farewell with love, Motley Mama. You served me well.

Today marks a new chapter of my life on the Internet. It is cheesy but it’s also true. May our creative journeys never stop changing.

Let’s keep moving forward.

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Yes, I saw my toddler on Buzzfeed. No, I’m not going to take it down.

March 11, 2014

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Yes, I saw my toddler on Buzzfeed.

No, I didn’t give them permission.

No, I’m not receiving any money.

No, I’m not going to take it down–for now.

I admit my initial reaction was panic. My sweet baby boy put out there for the world to see, to laugh at, to maybe judge, like one of those toddlers in tiaras. Except instead of a tiara it’s a drawing of a baby bahgina.

Then I remembered I’m the one who put it out there in the first place and that most of my panic is coming from worrying about what other people think.

Look, my two-year-old son got a sister for Christmas and learned a little about the female anatomy. He drew a picture, I happened to be close by, I took a video. Austin and I think it’s adorable and decided to share it. If you think it’s horrifying, I suggest you do not watch the video.

Kids are curious. Kids are funny. Kids draw pictures of their baby sister’s vaginas on the chalkboard and then immediately forget about it and go back to destroying the house plants. It is really no big deal. If you’re worried about privacy, then this whole blog is very worrisome. Rest assured, I plan on making all videos and personal posts about my kids private as soon as they get to grade school like every other well intentioned blogger.

It’s been a weird day. My toddler threw up all over the carpet and then a video I posted a month ago was being watched all over the country. I’m very tired.

If you’re curious, despite the 65k+ views of this little gem, this little ol’ blog has received no residual attention. It’s still just us right now, and if this video is anything like the fifty billion other viral videos before it, it will be forgotten by Thursday.

And that is all I have to say about that.

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