What I’ve Learned Writing About Parenting For Six Years
By Laura Mullin
Photo © imagesourcecurated/Envato
Oct 12, 2022
When I was a young teen, my Auntie Dena gave me a gorgeous giant diary with big white-lined pages to write out my deepest, most secret thoughts.
There I wrote notes to my future self about my life growing up in the '80s.
I scribbled about silly fights with friends, dramatic crushes on guys and my desperate love for singer Paul Young — if only he’d give this 13-year-old half a chance!
Writing has always had a way of helping me sort out my thoughts.
Notes on Parenting
I began writing for CBC Parents when my daughter was nine.
Today she is on the verge of 16.
Over the past six years, I’ve written more than 60 articles about the joys and tribulations of raising a daughter in today’s world.
When I started writing here, my daughter went on playdates, was into slime and liked toys.
"Parenting is and always will be a community."
Now she’s in Grade 11, has a pierced belly button and is gearing up to get her driver’s license. She’s changed a lot over the years, and I realize I have too.
To keep up with the whiplash of caring for someone who seemed to morph into a different person every time I turned around, I’ve had to become several versions of my mom self. I’ve been the strict mom, the cool mom, the mean mom, the fun mom and one hell of a tough-love mother.
All of these versions of myself have the same goal: to raise a girl who will one day become a young woman capable of thriving without me. We all share this dream for our children, regardless of our backgrounds and beliefs.
That's the beauty of having a place to share these experiences, to track how you grow and how your kids are growing.
For me, CBC Parents has been a place for me to share personal stories with other parents. A community where I can relay my fears, questions and hopes. It reminds me that we’re in this together; none of us really knows what we’re doing and we are all learning on the job. Parenting is and always will be a community.
The Public-ness Of It All
I sometimes would forget that I’ve written about my family life in a public way.
Then I’d find myself running into somebody I know and be startled when they mention things I’ve said in my articles.
Sometimes strangers have reached out to me to keep the conversation going.
"I’ve learned I’d rather have people disagree with me than have no response at all."
I write these pieces from the safety of my keyboard; I can express things that I can’t express anywhere else. It’s a surprise and delight knowing that I've reached people in some small way.
There have been uncomfortable occasions when people piled on in the comment section when they disagreed with what I wrote about. The first time it happened, I wasn’t prepared for such public scorn and was horrified. But then I wrote other articles that barely commanded a peep.
I’ve learned I’d rather have people disagree with me than have no response at all. At least it got a conversation going. I’ve grown a much thicker skin.
Writing About Kids
Writer Nora Ephron famously said, “everything is copy,” meaning anything that happens in life is fair game to be written about. I don’t think that’s true when writing about your kid.
It’s a delicate tightrope to walk to be authentic while sharing personal stories about your family with strangers. I signed up to write about parenting, but my daughter was too young to agree to be a silent participant.
I talked to her about it when I started, and her only question was, “Mommy, when you write these articles, will you be writing about me?” I told her I’d share our experiences, but I wouldn’t include her name or write anything too personal about her.
She was disappointed.
She was excited at the possibility of being the star of articles on a national website.
"It’s a delicate tightrope to walk to be authentic while sharing personal stories about your family with strangers."
As the years went by, her enthusiasm turned into mild tween embarrassment and, ultimately, teen indifference. She’s been a great sport, even as my husband started writing articles. Together we’ve written a lot about our one child.
We have an affectionate catchphrase in our house, “That’s an article!” My daughter rolls her eyes and then adds her own two cents.
Writing about parenting has been a bonding experience with my parents. One time my mom Susan caught a typo in an article and offered to become my unofficial editor. She has a keen eye for mistakes, and we’ve enjoyed discussing all the topics I’ve written about. My dad John, a writer himself, weighed in from the sidelines.
Writing here has made me think more deeply about parenting. It has allowed me to slow time to pause and reflect on what kind of mom I want to be. It has deepened and enrichened my personal parenting experience, and I’m so glad I got to share it with you.
Thank you, CBC Parents. I’ve got one heck of a record of my kid’s childhood.
I Think Men Should Stop Making Comments About How Women Look — Especially My Daughter
As A Kid, Church Wasn’t a Choice — And It’s The Same For My Kids
Are The Thousands of Dollars Spent on Lessons For My Kid Worth It?
Why I Won’t ‘Hustle Hard’
I’m Teaching My Daughter To Be Respectful But Not Nice