winter, and blogging.

January 29, 2013 |  Category:   life me rambling


We’re at the point in winter where most people are totally over it. Funny how even the complaining is predictably cyclical like the seasons, isn’t it? But even though the weather is a drag I haven’t minded winter much. I admit that I’ve been in a bit of a hibernating (hiding?) mood where I haven’t been going out at all (the girls have noticed too and have asked why I’ve been home every night. Like I was constantly going out all the time before??), but I’m pretty content with my boring life right now. I’ve been really busy with work, but I won’t deny that winter strips away most of the motivation to leave the house after dark.


Things feel pretty good around here. I’ve been having one of those parental stretches where I look at the girls and can’t get over how big they’re getting. I know it’s such a boring cliche, but it all does go by very fast and I’m realizing that they’re entering into more independence every day. For the first time, I can catch glimmers of what their life might be like without us – it isn’t really all that hard to imagine anymore. And then when Claudine starts reminding me every week that it’s time to do laundry because the basket is overflowing or when Mia squints while looking at my face and asks if I’m wearing eyeliner (“but you never wear makeup!”), they start sounding more like my mother.
All of this has me thinking more about blogging and kids and all that stuff in general, a continuation of this post from September. I questioned where the line needed to be drawn then, but I know the answer now. The girls have their own identity; it’s not mine to express. While I may have never identified with the whole “mommy blogger” label (actually, I don’t know a better way to piss me off than calling me that, ha), my role as a parent fills many aspects of my life including what I write here, but as I’ve written in this post a few years ago, being a mom doesn’t define who I am. It’s part of who I am, but it doesn’t define me. I think I’ve always tried to take that approach with this blog, but it’s time to shift things even farther away from the girls. It isn’t about removing them from the blog, but more about shifting the posts to focus back on writing as a parent to 2 girls, a designer, a freelancer, a New Yorker, and less on the girls specifically – or at least I’m going to try and think carefully about what I post from now on. Maybe it won’t be as interesting here, but I’m ok with that. I’m also ok in saying out loud that I have less readers than I did 2 years ago. I’m fine with going back to small. Sometimes things just happen without you realizing it, you know? And then you and your family are being spotted in every city that you travel to. I’ve enjoyed every single personal encounter with blog readers and that is the truth, but we aren’t attention seeking people. I think when many of us early bloggers started writing over 10 years ago, the online world felt smaller and maybe a bit safer. It’s a bit naive to think that it’s stayed the same 10 years later. I’m not sure where any of us will be in the online world 10 years from now either, but in many ways we’re forging ahead while still in uncharted waters. Are any of us looking ahead while looking back at what we’ve left behind? That alone is enough to make me pause and at least think of my purpose here.

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  • Claire January 29, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    I like this. So much of my day to day life is wrapped up in my kids, but my oldest (9) is beginning to question why I write about him so much. I need to move away from that for him, I think. When we first started blogging I don’t think it occurred to us that this would be a way of life for a whole generation. My kids will likely blog themselves in some way, it’s just too great a way to communicate not to, right?

    But at some point what is out there about them needs to be because they decided to put it out there, not me.

  • Noelani January 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    I often struggle with the same thing. To share or not to share? I want to document, but, to what extent?

    What a great post. I admire you for standing your ground and not letting your count of readers distract you. Something that I feel most bloggers now-a-days lack. Whether you blog often about the girls or not, I adore your writing and will always stick around πŸ™‚

    Have a lovely week.

  • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag January 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    First I have to comment to the above Noelani ~ I almost named my daughter Noelani, but then didn’t, and then my good friend asked me if she could use the name and I said Sure! Such a lovely name. “heavenly mist”.

    Anyway, Miss Jenna, it’s your voice and photos that draw me here to your space, regardless of how often you feature or mention your kiddos. I have had to back waaaay off in how often I use photos of my daughter. She is nearly 7, and started to say, (if I took a photo), Don’t use that on your blog! I ask her permission now, but compared to how much I used write about her and use photos….that has really declined. But I find I still have lots of things to talk about!

    I wonder what she will think about all of this when she’s older. I hope she knows it all came from a place of love.

  • Jeanne January 29, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    I love reading your blog and not simply for the kids. I really enjoy hearing your voice on everyday topics. I think the choice to share the girls less is a prudent one for obvious reasons. But also, life changes as children change. When my kids were young, they took up the vast majority of my day and thoughts, and naturally almost all subject matter revolved around them. Now that they are much older, they are independent and neither need me nor want me around as much. My friends with children entering college (which sounds so far away but I know it will pass in a blink..sniff) continually remind me not to lose myself, to find interests and passions that are my own. I need to remember to take their loving advice. I’ve been enjoing your blog even more so, this past year because of what it is. Simple, straightforward, candid and clear. It is a joy to read and I thank you for enriching my day.

  • Claire January 29, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    Hi Jenna,

    I thought I’d just chime in with all your other readers about what I enjoy about your blog/ why I read it. Obviously, one should blog for one’s own reasons, but if your readers are one of those reasons, then here’s my two cents:

    I began reading your blog when I moved to Brooklyn and came across whimsy&spice. I continued because it felt really honest – about thoughts and slices of life, not about products or sort of the “here’s what I’m into right now – what about you?” kind of writing. As a teaching artist/ drama educator, I liked reading about your kids and about your creative process/ projects. As a food-lover, I enjoyed your food posts. And as a person interested in/ doing work around race and ethnicity (hello, theses), I loved reading the bits about how that plays into the everyday life of a mixed race household (and love The Mixed Race Project). As a New Yorker, I loved seeing the city through someone else’s eyes.

    Now I’ve moved away from NYC and continue to read because, frankly, I look forward to all the above. I continue to work in arts education and I miss New York like crazy, so your blog is part of my effort to experience it vicariously, I suppose.

  • Helle January 30, 2013 at 3:46 am

    “The girls have their own identity; it’s not mine to express” – how true, and how I wish more parents, my mother included when I was a kid, would heed this. Your blog is one of my favourites, and I have enjoyed reading about the girls, but also about the many other things you write about, and I’m sure there will be many other things to read about and enjoy in the future.

  • Jenna January 30, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Thanks for your comments guys. They mean a lot. I often wonder if I sound confused…maybe I am a lot of the time. I guess questioning is always ok…

  • Mary January 30, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Wonderful post, and I definitely understand it. When I first started posting, I definitely included a lot of pictures of my boys. As they’ve gotten a little older (they’re still only 3 and 6), I’ve reduced the number of pictures and the amount of information I share about them. It’s my blog, and I am more than my children. And I do love your statement that their identify is not yours to express – how true. I’m a loyal reader and love reading your thoughts on lots of topics, and I’ll look forward to more in the future.

  • SY January 30, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Love this post…my not quite 12 year old has a friend whose mom posted his middle school choice on Facebook…this did not go over well with her son. Needless to day, I think that once the kids are at a certain age, their emotional well being is what is important. Tweens are so “fragile” emotionally and I think that by treating your children with respect will only bolster their confidence. On the other hand, by reading your posts I feel like I’ve become an extended part of your family, so I hope that every once and a while a picture or two will show up of the girls…Thanks to you, Mark, Mia and Claudine for sharing some of your memories with us.

  • Jane January 30, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I love reading blogs that help me imagine life in another place – I love your writing and pictures of New York, its so different from anywhere I’ve ever been, and I love experiencing it vicariously!

  • Jenna January 30, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Hi Sy! Oh I don’t think I will stop posting photos of them, but they won’t be as frequent as it was before (I think I started pulling back already since the summer). Also will start thinking twice about posting certain photos.

  • jen January 30, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    whatever happens, 5, 10 year from now, this blog is a treasure trove to you and to your girls. as long as you keep posting, i’ll keep reading. and honestly, i never saw this place as a mommy blog, only a journal of life.

  • Jen January 31, 2013 at 12:02 am

    I’m a fairly new reader, and plan on sticking around. To me you’re a unique voice on the internet because we’re around the same age. After discovering SFD I slowly made my way through your “favorite posts” section, and even though we grew up on different coasts, are of different ethnic backgrounds, and had really different upbringings, I immediately felt a kinship when looking at those old photos from the ’70s, and reading your references to music, fashion, and other pop culture. Sometimes I feel a little alien on lifestyle blogs because, although I truly enjoy and get a lot out of content written by those who are a good chunk of years younger than I am, there’s always a small sense of being…a little bit of an outsider, I guess? Like, it’s a little disconcerting to be reading about how much X blogger loved Nirvana….when she was in 7th grade! In any event, your voice and perspective resonate for me in a unique way. And I really, really respect how thoughtful you are about the role your girls have played, and will continue to play in your blog. I wish more people questioned as much as you do.

  • Liz January 31, 2013 at 8:17 am

    I’ve read this post three times now. I read the other comments today and I’m pleased to be part of a disparate group of readers who like your writing for what it is rather than a narrow definition of ‘mommy blogger’.

    I started reading your blog a couple of years ago. I stumbled across it – probably via your etsy shop – and was hooked. I was missing New York and keep telling myself that I’ll try some cookies when I’m next there. I find your take on the world interesting. Your writing is honest and open without being too much for a British stiff upper lip. And the photos… they make me want to get my camera out.

    One final thing. I thought Jeanne’s comment about keeping our sense of self was spot on. It’s easy to become defined by one thing – a family role (mom, wife daughter..), our occupation, where we live, what we look like, our race… the list is endless. No one thing defines any of us and we are all more than the sum of these different labels. For me the best bloggers are exemplars of this; yours certainly is.

  • Jenna January 31, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Hi Jen! I totally know what you mean about the music thing, haha!

  • mays khoury January 31, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Hi Jenna!

    I’ve been a long time reader, and I’ve always found all your posts so relatable, even the ones about your adorable girls. Though i’m not a mom of 2 girls myself or a mom of any kids yet, there was something about your approach to writing about your 2 girls that always felt so easy and fun to read, It never felt like a ‘mommy blog’ AT ALL and that’s why I related. Thanks for that!

    I initially stumbled across your blog a few years ago just after my husband and I decided to work together and open up a bakery. Him as the baker and me as the designer, so obviously, I felt like your blog brought more sense to this crazy venture we were on. I’m not sure how much time you and Mark spend with each other doing business stuff, but I spend everyday, every hour and minute with my husband. We commute together from Manhattan to NJ (where the bakery is located) EVERYDAY! It’s tough stuff, and I’ve been searching for blogs, articles, …anything, to read because i’ve always wondered how other couples do it! Have you ever posted anything about working with your spouse on this blog? I might have missed it…but I’d love to hear your perspective on it and what you think is a safe and happy balance. If you’re not interested in writing a post about it, would you mind a quick chat over email? …just a thought.

    anyway, keep doing what your doing, because you’re just pretty awesome at it, and for that I keep coming back πŸ™‚

  • Jenna January 31, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    @mays khoury Hello! I have written about working together here and there, but never in a dedicated post. Perhaps I’ll do that, however, our situation is different than yours because I don’t work in the kitchen or the markets with him. In that sense, it’s like he goes to his day job and I go to mine, which is freelancing, and a totally different business. So we have that separation that maybe other couples who work together don’t.