Chaos Theory

Published in The Gazette March 17, 2007

Blog: Chaos Theory
URL: andromeda.qc.ca
Author: Sherry, 32, mom
First post: August 12, 2005
Updated: About once a day

“My main day job is Mom,” Sherry says. “It’s my 24-hour on-call position,” and she’s always writing about her work.

Though she started writing online long before she became a mother (“My first journal type of post was back in 1998, and it was probably unspeakably lame,” she says), now the main stars of her blog are her daughters, 4-year-old Hayley and 15-month-old Breanna.

“I try to avoid being overly saccharine about it,” Sherry says. “The worst lie about parenting is that it’s easy and everyone is perfectly happy like on some 1950s sitcom, and it’s great to have this whole community of parenting blogs where people are honest about it.”

Sherry also likes to balance her stories with a bit of humour, to keep them interesting.

Because she has two adorable daughters, and she’s “addicted to my digital camera,” Sherry’s blog is full of pictures. “Visiting my blog is kind of like being stuck in line at the bank with the chatty stranger who has a wallet stuffed full of pictures to show you,” she explains.

For Sherry, it’s those strangers she meets who keep her blog going. Most are fellow parents who attach comments to her posts.

As for her daughters, they’re still too young to enjoy her writing. When they get old enough, she hopes they’ll be impressed by her stories, but admits “they will probably roll their eyes and sigh: ‘Jeez Mom, this is really lame!'”

Sample post: “Although I still despise the season and loathe the snow, Hayley loves it. Personally, on a day like today, where it was snowing in the morning and then sunny and cold in the afternoon, I would be very happy with a blanket, a couch, a cup of tea, and a good book. Sadly, children rarely agree.”


Bonus questions

What is your day job?

My main day job is Mom. It’s my 24-hour on call position. I’m also always available for hire for freelance writing, web design, and graphic design.

Why did you start your blog? When was the first post and what was it about?

I started writing online because it was amazing to me that you could write something, put it up there, and someone would actually read it and give you feedback. It was incredible to self-publish. I actually started doing it back in the really early days, before blogs even existed as they do today. My first journal type of post was back in 1998, and it was probably unspeakably lame. Actually, I think one of my earliest entries was about the Garth Brooks concert I had gone to see.

What do you write about? What makes your blog unique?

I’ve been known to write about (and mock) pop culture, including television shows that I enjoy. I also write about Canadian happenings, because it seems to be of interest to the non-Canadian readers; many people liked it when I finally broke down and wrote a bit about politics during the last major election because they were interested in how our election process worked. Mostly though, I write about parenting. They always say to write what you know, and I know my kids, so that’s the main topic. I try to avoid being overly saccharine about it; the worst lie about parenting is that it’s easy and everyone is perfectly happy like on some 1950s sitcom, and it’s great to have this whole community of parenting blogs where people are honest about and admit that sometimes it’s really hard and complicated. At the same time, I don’t let it become one negative entry after another. I try to balance everything with a bit of humour too.

Do you have a favourite post or series? One that got a lot of attention?

One of my favorite posts was a reflection back to my own mother and how I deal with the constant clutter of my home in the same way. It was all about balancing the priorities, and how no matter how frustrated I might get over the mess, I would rather have a pile of toys in the living room and a basket full of unfolded laundry if it means that I’m having fun with my girls.

What do you not blog about? What do you have absolutely no interest in?

I would never blog about my sex life because that’s beyond too personal to me (I’m willing to explain the births of my girls in great detail, but I won’t discuss the actions that lead up to those moments!). I also won’t write about any arguments I have with my husband unless there’s something incredibly funny about it; it would be unfair to write about that sort of thing because of the obvious bias since it’s my website.

Finally, because a lot of people who know me offline read at least occasionally, I try to take their privacy and feelings into consideration as well. That might sound like a lot of censoring but really, I have more than enough to write about even without those topics.

How has the blog changed since you first started it?

When I first started actually blogging, it was really just a collection of links to external sites with some commentary by me. Eventually it became a place where I posted little snippets of my day. Now it’s more like a journal. I write some short entries, I write some random entries, and sometimes I write longer, introspective personal entries.

It’s never going to be every little bit of me; some people read it and assume they know me 100% inside and out, and they don’t. They only know a part of who I am, the part that I am willing to share. But my blog is definitely a reflection of who I am, a slice of myself.

Who reads your blog?

My mom used to read me on her lunch breaks but once she started a new job without internet access, she can’t be bothered to use the computer at home; I think she just gets the highlights from my dad who reads it at least a couple of times a week. My sister reads it too, and also has her own blog on my domain ( http://andromeda.qc.ca/amanda ). I have a handful of cousins and offline friends who pop in once in awhile to read it as well. Mostly though, the people who read me are all folks I’ve never met. They’re from Canada, the US, and overseas. A great deal of them are parents like myself, but some aren’t. I’ve “met” so many incredible people because of this blog. I’ve also been lucky enough to receive offers of free products in exchange for reviews (books, DVDs, etc), and sometimes people are incredibly generous and send me things as gifts. In December, someone was actually kind enough to send me her digital camera after she upgraded to a high end model, for no other reason than she appreciated my stories and the pictures that accompany them.

What else should people know to understand your blog?

I am really addicted to my digital camera so visiting my blog is kind of like being stuck in line at the bank with the chatty stranger who has a wallet stuffed full of pictures to show you. Also, don’t be alarmed and think you went to the wrong place if you pop over and everything suddenly looks different; I’ve been known to change my blog design on a regular basis! Apparently this drives my dad a little crazy, but I can’t help it – it’s the web designer in me, I guess. And finally, the most important thing to understand is that comments really drive a blog – if I didn’t want feedback or interaction, I wouldn’t write online at all, so people should never be reluctant to click that comment link!

What will Breanna and Hayley think when they read this stuff decades from now?

In my happy, fuzzy, Technicolor fantasy, I’d like to think that they will be really impressed that I wrote such poignant, funny, wonderful stories about them as children and say, “thanks Mom, you obviously loved us very much!” In reality, they will probably roll their eyes and sigh, “JEEZ Mom, this is really lame!” :)

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