Meet the Armstrong’s:
Heather B. Armstrong and husband Jon, live in Salt Lake City, Utah with their beautiful six-year-old daughter, Leta Elise, and gorgeous blue-eyed ten-month-old daughter, Marlo Iris. Don’t forget eight-year-old SuperMutt Chuck and their two-year-old miniature Australian Shepherd, Coco.
Maybe you’ve met the Armstrong’s on the popular mommy blog, Dooce.com, where Dooce shares all, and I mean everything, through her Daily Photo, Daily Chuck and Daily Style– not to mention detailed pregnancy stories and other mommy adventures. You might be one of her 1.6 million (yes, with five zero’s) twitter followers or facebook “likers.” Maybe this is your first time hearing of Dooce.
Heather has captivated her audience through unparalleled photography and an unprecedented sense of honesty, which are reason enough for why Dooce was my obvious blogger spotlight. I am honored and thrilled to present my interview with the pioneer mommy blogger, the creme de la creme: Dooce!
1. When and why did you start blogging?
I started blogging in February 2001 when I was working as a single web designer in Los Angeles. This was back when no one really knew what a blog was, and I didn’t think more than a couple of dozen of my friends would ever read it. I set it up to write about music and movies and life a single woman in the city never knowing or expecting that one day it would become not only my job but the story of my life as a mother and wife.
2. What’s the thing that has surprised you most about being a parent?
I didn’t realize how much more sensitive and understanding it would make me not just toward other parents, but toward all other human beings. We are all children. Everyone is the son and daughter of someone, and when I became a parent, I became a lot less judgmental of people.
3. As a mother what has blogging meant for you?
Well, I really thought I was going to give up my blog when I gave birth to my first child, but I found that writing and articulating my feelings during her first few months of life helped me work through some pain and confusion. I had a really bad bout of postpartum depression, and my audience reached out to tell me that I wasn’t alone, that I was going to be okay. I credit my audience with saving my life because they helped me get to a place where I was willing to check myself into a hospital.
I also feel like I have a written history of our family life. Having an active audience provides a lot of motivation to continue to write, and now I can go back and read about what I was feeling seven years ago when I was pregnant with my first child.
4. What does your own mom or dad think about Dooce?
Initially they had a really hard time with it, but that was back when I didn’t think they were ever going to read it. They found it on a particularly bad day, in fact, and I took down a lot of the writing I did in the first few months. I’ve since had to rework my boundaries, and now I write knowing that they read it every day. And they are proud of me, despite having to close their eyes from time to time. I get my drive from my mom and my sense of humor from my dad, so I know they can see than in my writing.
5. If this blog was written just for parents about to have their first child, what would you want them to know?
Be prepared for the ride of your life. Everything changes. You will never be the same, and that isn’t such a bad thing. Also, you’re not alone.
6. Is there any advice that you can offer to new Moms?
Yes! Find some way to get a break as often as you can. Once a week, three times a week, every day, something. If you can afford to hire help, hire it. If your mom is willing to help, take it. Or find a friend you can swap time with, or join a church and ask for pity! It’s so important to find some time for yourself however small or infrequent it is just to keep your sanity. Those thirty minutes can recharge you for days.
Photo Copyright: © Armstrong Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Photo Credit: Heather B. Armstrong