Visible M(others): Inclusive vs. Intrusive, What I Blog About (Or Don't)

I've been selected to participate in a gallery exhibition over the course of the next six weeks titled "Visible M(others): Images of Parenting in Visual Culture." The show runs March 4 - April 11, 2010 at the Boise State University Student Union Gallery and is free to the public (go see it). I'm collaborating with Shannon Paterson over at We'll both be writing new posts on Thursday of each week, for the six weeks of the exhibition, exploring ideas of how our "mommyblogs" are a sort of "digital front porch swing," a place to share information and be heard, a forum for asking questions, showing off our kids and our skills. Mommyblogs act not only as an informational outlet, but a creative force in our contemporary maternal culture, as the blogs are loaded not only with verbal creativity, but photography, crafts, and other digital imagery, documenting our lives as mothers. Provoking complex questions, the exhibition presents new perspectives on traditional, contemporary, alternative or imagined parenting and how they operate in a visible/invisible landscape of maternal visual culture.

In my first post for this exhibition, Visible M(others), I wrote a little about the beginnings of this blog, about how I got laid off and wanted to keep my writing skills sharp. The layoff also gave me the time to devote to creating a blog, something that had been suggested to me by several friends who always loved getting my emailed family updates and photos and thought my writing was funny and interesting. In my second post, I mentioned that I have been an avid reader of blogs for years now, particularly mommyblogs. They have been a source of inspiration and relief for me as a mother, learning from their creativity in the home as well as their struggles. I also knew that there were literally thousands of bloggers out there writing. So, what was to make my blog different? Why would anyone want to read it? Better yet, WHO would want to read it? And what would those people like to read about? Well, those same friends who suggested I start a blog in the first place had great suggestions. But it was truly my dear friend Betsy who helped me flesh it all out in our hours and hours of phone conversations. In between her listening to my ranting and anger and sadness over my layoff, she reminded me that I am also a creative mother and thrifty homemaker with quirky tips to share on life and adventures in Idaho. And that became a sort of "mission statement" for Doin' It All, Idaho Style. I've always searched out the unusual museums and found great little restaurants off the beaten path, so why not share them with others? At the same time, my far away friends and family can see what we're up to out West and keep up with the growing girls. So that's mostly what I blog about - thrifty finds, offbeat adventures, architecture (because I love it so), art, crafts, fun with kiddies, and food (because I love it even more than architecture). Things like this little "roadtrip" I took the girls on last Friday to see the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile IN PERSON, Y'ALL. In Boise. Clear the hell out there at the Albertson's grocery on McMillan and Eagle Road, people. And you know I must be serious about my love of this fancy rig because WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND DRIVES ON EAGLE ROAD? EVER? ESPECIALLY AT 4PM ON A FRIDAY? Spoken like a true downtowner, the devil must've built that part of suburbia, it's that bad.

Now, I've been following the Wienermobile on Twitter for quite some time and begging them to come to Boise, so I couldn't wait to ketchup with them on their cross-country route. The Bologna Song was blaring from the speakers and Lucy, who is just learning to spell, loved the lyrics. But, come on, what kid doesn't, right?

And a giant car shaped like a hot dog is enough to give anyone the giggles, especially with that classic personalized license plate.

Of course, we sat inside and oohed and ahhed at the embroidered wieners on the seats and the squiggly mustard design on the floor. The drivers gave out wiener whistles to the girls but weren't grilling up 'dogs like we'd hoped. And were we ever craving them after our visit. If Albertsons had been smart, they'd have had a stand out front and made a killing. Or at least been selling them at the deli. (Just one more example of the brilliant ideas by Amy you'll find here on Doin' It All, Idaho Style!)

What I don't usually blog about is the more mundane chaos that is 90% of my life. Like the constant cleaning up of cat puke for the past THIRTEEN YEARS OF MY LIFE. Nor do I usually take pictures of it, but there it is, above - a big nasty blob right next to the orange Barbie dress and yellow hair clip, due north of a pair of my green striped mittens. None of which belong on the floor of my living room but ALWAYS SEEM TO BE THERE.

Nor do I write about how my house looks like someone did let The Pigeon Drive The Bus - right through my life. Or how I cuss like a sailor (imagine that) every time I try to walk to the kitchen to refill my glass with more wine from my box because those goddamn Little People hurt like a motherfucker when you step on them barefooted. I don't write about how I leave it like this because I'm too tired at the end of the day to care. And why waste my time? The toys better hide the orange Goldfish cracker crumbs crushed into my carpet anyway.

Also, I don't usually blog about very many other people in my life, with the exception of my lovely little Lucy and Alice. I occasionally write about my dreamy husband, Eric, but he is shy and wants to edit/approve what I post about him first. And most of the time I'm like, dude, I love you, but you live here with me in this messy little world of ours so, sorry, you're fair game. Only that I don't ever write anything bad or negative about him because there really isn't anything to say along those lines. He's amazing. And he drives me less nuts than those two sweethearts above, both who really do spend most of their time with no shirts or shoes on. But they don't really get a say in what I write about them. BECAUSE I GREW THEM IN MY BODY FOR A REALLY LONG TIME AND THEN PUSHED THEIR BIG, STRONG BODIES OUT. OF. MY. VAGINA. And that, my friends, trumps any sort of privacy issues they may or may not have with mommy's blog. Which is what this blog is really about - mommy. It's for me and, ultimately, about me.

And while I typically post about odd, fun, budget-friendly things here, the blog topics Shannon and I are writing about for this exhibition have pushed me out of my comfort zone. And the few comments I've gotten about my more personal posts lately have been positive and making me rethink and reanalyze what this blog is about and what kind of stories I may want to include in the future. It's an evolving thing, this blog is, much like me. And we're still trying to figure it all out.