New Mom Advice: Get A Thing
When I was pregnant with Evan oh those many moons ago, I first discovered blogging. I mean, I “discovered” it the same way Columbus “discovered” America, since there was already an entire world of people who were like “Nice going, you found this big giant thing that’s been here for a long ass time”. But for me, it was all new and exciting. I wrote words on the internet. Then I moved up to pictures. I found other people’s words and pictures. I blogged and blogged and talked about blogging and read articles on blogging and read actual blogs and when I found one I liked I’d stalk their archives back to the birth of their children and I know more about some of those people than I do about my own siblings’ lives.
Blogging was My Thing.
My Thing kept me connected to people when I was too tired to get off the couch. It gave me something to think about when I couldn’t think about my crying baby any more. I learned the shorthand and the big players and the culture and made friends who I still talk to literally every single day. The internet connected us but I’ve now hugged them in person and slept on their couches and can’t wait to see them again.
If I could give pregnant women one piece of actual, helpful, universal advice, it is to get A Thing.
Obviously your baby will be Your Thing, but there is a lot of busywork with babies. You are up with them in the middle of the night, you are trapped on the couch feeding them, you are so so so tired you can’t even sleep. You need A Thing you can read about and think about and learn about and talk about. Thanks to the internet, it’s easy to find other people who share Your Thing and also want to obsess about it, so you’ll never run out of ways to waste your time. Even if Your Thing is something you can’t really do as much as you’d like, you can still obsess about it online. Like running. There are about fifty zillion ways to learn about running that don’t actually involve running.
Here is a brief list of Things you might try: blogging, photography, baby wearing, cloth diapers, knitting, crocheting, breastfeeding, scrapbooking, gardening, knitting, couponing, crafting, cooking, conspiracy theories, tv, computer games, video games, puzzles, art, eBay, Etsy, painting, sewing, puzzles, running, paleo, cross fit, hair, make-up, monthly subscription services, fashion, YouTube, nail polish.
Any of Those Things have a million deeper levels and sub-levels. Not just cloth diapers, custom-made WAHM diaper covers. Not just Etsy, handmade baby moccasins. Not just running, long distance marathon training. Find a Facebook group or forum about Your Thing and dive in. Don’t worry, you will never know more about your thing than ANYONE else, so just start somewhere.
Most Things are going to cost you a lot of money. Even if they seem cheap and harmless now, there is a collectible version or a new version or a fancier version or an exclusive version and you WILL want it and you WILL find yourself spending what previously would have been a crazy amount of money on it.
Try to find a way to get involved in Your Thing in real life too. Meet-ups, conferences, swaps, or even just one friend you can have coffee with. But even if you just have internet friends from Your Thing, they will easily become real friends (just not in-person all the time friends).
You can have more than one Thing at a time, but it’s best to focus on one and then let it become less intense while you move to another. I still tweet, but Twitter isn’t my go-to Thing. I can still knit, but I don’t hunt down a babysitter to go to the weekly knitting group. Photography will always be A Thing (your thing can often lead to an actual business), but the forums aren’t holding my interest they way they used to.
Clearly blogging is something I still love and do regularly (well, semi-regularly) but it is not longer my thing. Currently, My Thing is woven wraps for baby wearing. For real. I’m just now discovering baby wearing goes far beyond the Moby and the Ergo. Waaaaaaaay beyond. Insanely beyond. I’ve joined four different Facebook groups and formed a real-life wrap group that meets every other Friday (which was easy to do, thanks to mama friends I met through Stroller Strides, which was My Thing a few years go). I can browse the Facebook swap group any time of day or up at night with the baby and there’s new stuff to look at that I can google and learn about fiber content and warp and weft and brands and makers. It’s INSANELY boring to anyone who doesn’t care but right now I can’t get enough.
So tell me what’s Your Thing? Just don’t make it too interesting, I don’t have time for much more.