A platform is your tribe. People who share your passion and want to heart from like-minded people. -Michael Hyatt
What is a platform? I define "platform" as your unique angle or voice within a subject matter. It's what sets you apart from all the rest.
Within the realm of "successful blogging" a platform is essential. My goal here isn't necessarily to be classified as a "successful blog," but to simply convey our story- our homemaking story. But, I began to consider the concept of platform as it relates to this blog and more so as it relates to life itself. What is my platform? What defines me/us? What shapes my/our story?
I considered three characteristics that I often feel set me/us apart. First, we live at a distance from all family. We've never parented with grandparents nearby. There's never been a moment in which we could call on a family member for help or simply spend time casually with them. Time with grandparents and other family members involves lengthy trips once or twice a year. More often than not (or ever), I encounter mothers who are far more relaxed and refreshed than I and wonder their secret. Then, it's apparent that they have a "village" in raising their child(ren). To those who have grandparents watch the children while they have a date night, run an errand, clean the house, or give exclusive attention to one child etc.- I simply cannot relate in the slightest degree. I have no concept of not doing and being everything for everyone all the time. Although I'm sure there are many people who live at a distance from family, there are few resources. Could I be that one?
A second characteristic I considered was the fact that we have two children now two years old and under (they're 17 months a part in age). There is a distinct difference in raising children close in age versus ones further apart. Even spaced two full years a part is a difference! Perspectives on the three year old+ and newborn just doesn't apply. A child of this age has greater independence and abilities. My situation has been one in which both children are complete dependents, both children require constant attention, and in general ... all of me. Again, I've not found many resources on mothering closely-spaced children. Could I be that one?
The final consideration was in regard to personality. I am a strong type-a personality. I'm also a strong introvert. (And for anyone interested in Myers Briggs personality typing I'm the rare INFJ). My personality thrives on order and always strives for excellence. To those who say "embrace the mess"- I simply cannot relate. For me, "calm the chaos" is a more suitable goal. I'm not necessarily condemning the other type(s), I'm simply learning to embrace and work with my own personality type. We're going to view and approach areas of life differently. There are resources that align with my hightly-ordered approach, but they are few. Could I be that one?
I suppose if I were to determine my "platform" then those would be them. However, the problem with platforms is that they elevate and as such portray a sense of mastery. I feel incredibly ill-equipped for that level of position. I'm still trying to figure most things out (and fumbling along the way!)!
How do I be a voice for living at a distance from all family when just today I ached so badly and cried for the ability to simply visit the children's grandparents to allow myself to breath out my stress and relieve my exhaustion? How do I be a voice for two children two years old and under when I yell out of exasperation and my child withdraws..crushed (the other child appears to be unaffected as she seemingly never stops crying or screaming anyways). How do I be a voice for a strong type-a, introvert & infj personality when very often I contend with this strength also being my undoing. Womanhood... motherhood... parenting...marriage...faith...(future) homeschooling ...homemaking- I have the interests, but honestly- haven't got a clue.
I'd love to write poetic words of faith, but the only words I find are the repeated prayers "please forgive me" and "thank you for loving me still." I'd love to share homemaking skills, but I pulled out a packaged freezer meal for dinner yesterday and today we had fast food burgers because I simply couldn't bear the thought of anymore cooking and cleaning. I'd love to share about the deep love and friendship found in marriage, but that flame is now but a dim flicker (though we both continue to determinedly hold onto the candle). I'd love to share of the warmth of hospitality found within the walls of my home, but, instead, you'll find a frazzled and fussy woman who honestly would much rather you stay in a hotel and merely visit briefly. I'd love to share of the sheer joy in myself, our home and our family. But, you see, I think I've forgotten how to smile and simply have fun in life.
Do I really have I platform after all? I share of ideas and approaches that I've seen to be successful. Perhaps someone in a similar situation will also find them helpful. Yet, none are so deserving of warranting the consideration of "mastery." I cannot legitimately stand on any platform, I believe.
What I can do is reassert to myself yet again that this page and this life is but a journey. It's a journey into the sweetest sight of a new life. A journey into the despairing ugliness of silence. A journey of failing and falling, and then getting back up to try again time and time again. This is more than a platform...this is our story. The good and the bad. Uniquely ours.