Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Jersey Moms Blog Retrospect: Why I blog?

Author's Note: I have been neglecting my duties of chronicling and reading the last reason why made me think I have to start doing this again.
Why I Blog
Besides being a full-time Mom, I am also a full-time public relations executive. As the resident "mommy blogger" at the agency, I am often asked questions concerning blogger relations. Questions like "would you like to attend this event?," "is this product review compelling enough?," and "would you consider doing a product giveaway on this product?" I always answer the best way I can, but truth be told I am probably not the best person to ask these questions they are better off asking the other resident mommy blogger who is WAY more influential than I ever will hope to be. Yes, I will admit it I am not the most popular blogger. I am not even sure what my VPM (viewership per month) is or if I really want to know. My personal site isn't very fancy. In fact, it is the standard polka-dot design on Not very original but I like it. I also don't have advertising on my site - not sure if I could convince a marketer to do so. And here is my biggest confession, I have never done a giveaway. Nope, not one. I guess I'm not considered an influencer. While these truths are a little humbling for me to admit, I still continue to blog.
Why do I blog if not for the fame and glory among my peers? For starters, I entered the blog world by the gentle nudging of a friend and client who told me to "just try it." I did and, low and behold, I loved it and became addicted to it! The same reason I started blogging is the same reason I do it today because I wanted to chronicle the life of my son and keep family and friends informed of the Kamienski's happenings. The "because" is somewhat of my blog's mission statement that I try to adhere to for the most part with a random commentary on other non-related items here and there. The funny thing is the more I blogged, the more reasons why I blogged became apparent.
New Reason Why #1 - Plain and simple, I love to blog because I love to write. From when I was a little girl, I enjoyed the art of writing. The year I entered into seventh grade my best friend and I spent our entire summer vacation writing a romance novel. My love of writing continued throughout high school with published short stories in the school's literary journal. The reason I chose the field of public relations is in large part because I get to write. However, I didn't realize how great my need to write creatively was missing until I started writing my blog. Blogging was like reuniting with a long-lost friend. Maybe I will never publish the "great American" novel, but I do have a really great story about the world's greatest kid.
New Reason Why #2 - I grew up in a home where expressing your feelings was a good thing. Saying the words "I love you" was heard often throughout my childhood home. When celebrating a birthday, anniversary or milestone event, I am known to pour my heart out in the small space given in a store-bought card. Before someone opens a card from me, the receiver can often be heard saying, "is this going to make me cry?" I am a big believer in letting those you care about know how much they mean to you. Blogging has given me the opportunity to create open love letters to my family and friends. Not only do I get to tell someone like my Mom how her unconditional love has shaped my life or how in awe of the kind of father my husband is to my son, I also get to share those feelings with all that read my blog.
New Reason Why #3 - The treasure that I have found blogging is with every post I write about my son, the more I fall in love with the person he is becoming. My son is my miracle and my blog is a constant reminder of just that fact. From my very first blog posts about his adventures at the seashore to my most recent post where I talk about how gaga he is over babies, I just can't help having my heart melt with every word I type about him.
Chances are only my friends and family will continue to read my blog. I may never change the design of my site. I also shouldn't hold my breath waiting for my first giveaway. However, knowing that I keep my friend working in London that I miss desperately up-to-date on things; knowing that after my Uncle read a post on my Dad, his brother, it made him cry; and knowing that my son can one day look back and know what a blessing he is to his Mom and Dad is all the reasons why I blog.
This is an original post for New Jersey Moms Blog. To find more reasons why Jennifer K blogs, check out The Kamienski Chronicles.

NJ Moms Blog Retrospect: Why is it children get all the praise when potty training?

Author's Note: Benjamin had a major set back and didn't pick up the potty training thing again until he turned 3. I don't miss the diapers - at all. Never did get a pottymoon.
Why is it that children get all the praise when potty training?
Why is it that children get all the praise when potty training? New toys are awarded by grandparents for potty prowess. Spontaneous outbursts of cheers can be heard in bathrooms across America when a toddler relieves themselves on the toilet. High fives are handed out like they are going out of style when number two is found in the potty and not in the diaper. Admiration is constantly bestowed on the potty goer but what about the actual trainer? When do I get my share of the praise? When will someone tell me "good job"?
Don't get me wrong. My son is doing a stellar job at this potty-thing, but how do you think he got to be so good? It wasn't like a potty training fairy came down from above and with one wave of her magic toilet bowl brush my child was diaper free. While that fantasy would have been nice, very nice actually, it is just that -- a fantasy. Nor did my son just wake up one day and say, "hey, Mom and Dad these diapers are so pedestrian, so beneath me. Next time, you are at the store pick me up some big boy underwear - I am so over diapers," and with that turned on his heel headed to the bathroom with a copy of War and Peace. No, not that either. How my son got to his mighty throne is from the blood, sweat and tears my husband and I have put in to make him the Potty King. While I am not looking for a shiny, new toy truck for my hard work, I am looking for a little acknowledgment when I am cleaning the poop up from the bathroom floor that has missed the toilet completely. I think I at least deserve a pat on the back after that humbling task.
Thinking about it now. In my opinion, there should be a section in Hallmark dedicated to just this very thing. Never mind congratulating Little Johnny for not peeing on the floor. Big deal! What about, "Congratulations You Taught Your Child How To Aim High!"? After having gone through this and still not having completely finished the mission, I would love to send a friend in the same predicament words of praise and encouragement like, "I realize you are having a hard time with the training, but know that I am here for you in your time of need." Receiving a card like that would at least give me the strength to face another day in the trenches of training. Or what about a card from my son that says, "Thanks for the wipe, Mom. You always make my bottom feel fresh as a daisy."
How about a Pottymoon? There are honeymoons for celebrating a marriage and babymoons for celebrating the upcoming birth of child but what about a celebration for parents who successfully complete potty training? Maybe that is going too far but if you have ever stepped in a puddle of pee on multiple occasions a vacation is what you deserve!
Maybe my dreams of a Hallmark card or Pottymoon will not be realized in this lifetime, but I don't think it is asking too much to give a small kudos, a "way to go" to the Mom or Dad whose kids went on the potty for the first time. Is it? Being a potty trainer is, for the most part, a dirty, thankless job. Even with hours spent on training a little nugget from time-to-time sneaks into my son's underwear leaving me perplexed, angry, frustrated, defeated and just plain exhausted. However, even if I am not being praised or consoled for my efforts, I can take comfort in the fact that diapers will soon be out of my life forever and that beats a million celebrations, congratulations, words of acknowledgment any day of the week (though a shiny new toy for Mommy wouldn't hurt)!
This is an original post for NJ Moms Blog. To hear more potty talk from Jennifer K, visit The Kamienski Chronicles.

NJ Moms Blog Retrospect: The Day I Realized Parent's Don't Live Forever

Author's Note: I still don't like to think about this subject but who really does?
The Day I Realized Parents Don't Live Forever
When I was a kid, it never even crossed my mind that my parents wouldn't be here one day. Like most, in my childhood days,I saw my parents as invincible, untouchable, protectors of the (and my) universe. My younger-than-most parents would live forever, right?
In my teens, I got my first dose of reality when a friend's mother passed away. Her mother died suddenly one evening of a heart problem. When I attended the wake, I felt as if I was playing a role in movie of the "supportive friend". It seemed to unreal to be real. During that evening, I put on a brave face and held my friend in my lap as she cried but my thoughts weren't about her mother they were about mine. Later that evening as I collapsed into the lap of my Mom, I cried for all that was lost that day. As my mother's arms encircled me, I was confident that my mother would always be there. In my still youthful innocence, I continued to believe in my parents' eternalness.

But, all things most come to an end. Over a year ago, as I attended the funeral of a friend's father, my innocence was finally surrendered. I watched my friend bury her father who was of the same generation as my parents. It hit me. One day, this horrible time would come for me. Morbidly, I thought of what I do and say but more importantly how I could go on without two of my most favorite people in the world. I grieved that day not only for my friend but for innocence lost.
In the past month, I have been reminded of mortality over and over again. From a childhood friend's father dying suddenly to a colleague's mother losing her battle to cancer, I was never more aware until my Dad was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. Like a hard smack in the face, I had to admit to myself that my otherwise invincible father is mortal -- a hard fact no Daddy's Little Girl wants to acknowledge. As my Dad sat next to me and said, "looks like I am ready for the boneyard." I told him, "we won't let that happen." I know I have no control over fate and destiny, but for that moment, and now as I type it, I believe it. Maybe I am burying my head in the proverbial sand but I need to believe in innocence.
As I look at my son, I am a tad bit jealous and happy at the same time because he has the sheer joy of not knowing the concept of life and death. However, I believe the emotion of fear has crept in. From time to time, he asks me the question, "will you protect me?" and my response is always, "I will protect you forever." I know now that there is no such thing as forever but I have decided, for the time being, to live vicariously through my son and believe that there is a forever.
This is an original post for NJ Moms Blog. You can find more writing by Jennifer at The Kamienski Chronicles.