Name: Becky Woomer
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Online Home: Suburban Matron
Kids: Laura (9) and Hank (4)
Becky at Suburban Matron knows how to turn a phrase-- and her insights into the wackiness of suburban life will make you laugh out loud, smile knowingly, and maybe even shed a tear.
As a mom, a wife, a neighbor, and now a breast cancer patient, Becky observes things we usually overlook and magically renders them insightful, educational, and often hilarious. Her reflections on her eccentric neighbors (whom she's given fantastic psuedonyms, like "Frenemy," "Conspiracy Guy," and "Rebel Yelling Mom") are both relatable and enormously entertaining. (Check out her thoughts on a neighbor's choice of birthday party goody bag material here.) She retells her adventures in parenting with relish, including the time her four-year-old asked her, "Mom, why did you want to grow up and not do anything?" Even her relationship with Matt, her husband, gets a dose of analysis, often with amusing results. Recently, Becky was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she posts about her treatment with humor and grace. When I read her thoughts on telling her nine-year-old daughter about the diagnosis, I marvel at her composure, judgement, and integrity.
Here's what Becky had to say about the blogging life.
1. When did you start blogging and why?
One night when my daughter was in first grade, I found myself down in the basement at one o'clock in the morning, digging through boxes of winter clothes. It was April, but her class was having a mock snowball fight the next day and the kids were supposed to wear hats, scarves, and mittens. I was exhausted and I wanted to go to bed, but I was ransacking our basement looking for a lost mitten, so my child wouldn't be the only one in her class without proper snowball attire. In April. And I thought, "This is crazy. Am I the only one who thinks there is a lot of strange work involved in this whole suburban motherhood gig? Are other women handling this stuff just fine or are they down in their basements in the middle of the night too?" I wanted a way to write about that kind of mama work and make it visible, have fun with it, and get ideas from people.
2. Tell us a little about your blog and your favorite topics to post on.
Before we moved to the Atlanta area, we were living in a tiny two-bedroom apartment in California. Then we had our second baby and moved to a big house in the 'burbs all in the same week. Suburban Matron has been my place to make sense of that change and of our growth into being a family with school-age kids. Beyond parenting, I'd say my blog spends a lot of time on the sociology of my neighbors. Seriously, I have some weird (and wonderful) neighbors and I never get tired of investigating their manners and mores. Sometimes I feel like an embedded journalist. Of course, over the past three years the blog has evolved and reached into all kinds of areas. I love to talk about books, housekeeping, marriage, and the perils of being a room mom, among other things.
3. You've recently been going through treatment for breast cancer. How do you think blogging has affected that experience?
I was not expecting that my blog would be such a steadying thing for me the last several months. Through the early days of my diagnosis, and all the uncertainty that came after it, and then through surgery, chemotherapy, baldness, and now radiation treatments, it has been a true comfort to share my experiences with my readers. Somehow, explaining it to other people keeps it from being overwhelming; when you make a narrative out of something, you don't feel so powerless in the face of it. And I know other bloggers have said this: you find yourself thinking about how you'll blog an event even while it's happening. When I'm doing something that could be scary, like having a full-body scan, thinking of how I'll write about it is like having a hand to hold. I know I'll get to tell it to the readers of Suburban Matron and we might even be able to laugh about it.
4. Where do you go on the internet for inspiration or a good laugh?
Honestly? When I need a little mini-escape, I go read Richard Lawson's recaps of the Real Housewives shows and laugh my head off. I don't watch the shows, but the recaps kill me. I also am really digging Catalog Living, Unhappy Hipsters, and My Favorite and My Best these days, as well as classic mom blogs like Finslippy and Mighty Girl. When I need a little inspiration, I head to A Day That Is Dessert—her photographs are like taking a deep breath—and design blogs like Design Mom. And there are so many more that I love. I am always looking for new places to visit.
5. What's one great piece of parenting advice that someone has shared with you?
Once my dad told me about a time when he was taking my sister to college, and it dawned on him, as he said, "You have a finite number of days to spend with your children." That has stayed in my mind: when your kids are little it seems like the time you'll have them is unlimited, but it's not, so try to enjoy it. Don't wish the time away. Especially since my cancer, if I find myself stressed or frustrated with the kids, I'll stop and think, "This is one of the moments for which I wanted my life to be saved." So I'm just trying to be present and take it all in.
Read more about Becky, her family, her neighbors, and her life's adventures over at Suburban Matron.
Since our inception, we have loved hearing from all of our readers as well as reaching out to several in the blog community. You are mothers, fathers, wives, husbands all writing about your families, style and what makes you tick. To continue fostering this great blogging community, we'll now begin featuring close-ups of our favorite family and design blogs as part of our "Big Blog Family".
(Images: Becky Woomer)