Rita Arens started her blog, Surrender, Dorothy, while on maternity leave with her now-eight-year-old daughter. In celebration of her new book launch, we asked her to look back in the wayback machine to share how she found support in the blogosphere.
I remember those early days — and my desperation for connection at odd hours — vividly. The transition from married-professional-on-the-side-short-story-writer to MOMMY was quite jarring for me, and my new-mommy friends seemed to be handling it a lot better than I was. In fact, I was sort of afraid to level with my new-mommy friends and tell them how lost and lonely I felt. I became a voracious blog reader, and after about a week of reading, I decided I needed my own outlet. Surrender, Dorothy was born.
Blogging quite simply changed my life. I went from anonymously chronicling my baby’s poop habits to using my real name and becoming a contributing editor for parenting on BlogHer.com. Around that time, I also got the idea to pull my favorite posts from a bunch of bloggers and put them in a notebook so I could stalk the bloggers at the BlogHer conference and get autographs. Then it occurred to me I might not be the only person who would like such a thing, and I started working on the proposal for what became the parenting anthology SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK, which came out from Chicago Review Press in 2008 — the same year as Heather and Whitney’s The Rookie Mom’s Handbook!
In 2009, I joined BlogHer full-time and started writing a young adult novel, The Obvious Game (now available!!). My daughter is eight now, and my thoughts have turned from colic to Charming Charlie. The bloggers who taught me how to take my baby’s temperature with a rectal thermometer are now giving me advice about when to give a tween a cell phone. That’s the great thing about blogging — if you follow a blogger whose kids are around the same as yours, you can share your parenting experience all the way through.
I’m still shocked my career has taken the trajectory it has, and I’m excited to be still writing in my little corner of the Internet a few times a week. If you’re a new mom, the poop is still there — just check the archives.
Thanks so much to Rita for sharing her journey through parenthood with blogs. Make sure to check out SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK for an entertaining collection of new-parent essays and The Obvious Game for a true-to-life young adult novel.
Both books will make you laugh and cry but for totally different reasons.