Dina L. Relles

writer. editor. curious + common.


“Always do what you are afraid to do.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why blog?

I struggle with this.

I’ve always wanted to write. But I find myself trying to justify writing about my life, as opposed to simply living it. Privately. For myself and my family.

Is it presumptuous to think my little life has something to offer others?

I worry about how to meaningfully contribute my voice to the highly saturated field of “mommy blogs.” But then, I worry about everything. I’ve been biting my nails for over 20 years. I like to think my nervousness is a good motivator, inspiring me to work hard and improve. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it keeps me from doing things – like dancing.

It’s scary to start to take on what I really want to do in life. Because I don’t want to fail. If I do this writing thing, I want to do it right. I don’t want to be fluffy or irrelevant. Or mediocre.

And it’s a bit uncomfortable to be putting myself out there – hell, I don’t even write product reviews on-line!

But I’m a knowledge-sharer and a people-connector. I love how the internet makes the world seem small. I follow bloggers all over the globe and feel as though I know them well. I am grateful they let me in.

Even though you’re scarcely ever alone as a mother, mothering can often feel lonely. My husband is a surgeon. Often, my boys and I “go it alone.” Reading, writing, blogging, tweeting, texting, sharing, and posting can serve as powerful ways for us to connect across space and time as we muddle through this parenting thing together. I’d love to be someone else’s remote company. And benefit from yours. I want to be a part of this little experiment that’s bringing us closer together.

I must remind myself – beginnings are hard. This will get easier. And more comfortable. I’m a big fan of comfortable.

I must slow down. Enjoy the process. I often fixate on the destination—and miss the journey. This won’t be a fully-populated blog overnight. And that’s ok.

In high school, I typed the words “Live Deliberately” on a little 1×3” piece of paper and taped it to my computer monitor – you know, the clunky TV-sized things we used to have in the 90s (kids, they used to look like this). The Thoreau quote still speaks to me.

When I catch myself getting too focused on where my gang is going and how quickly we can get there, when I’m rushing my kids into their kicks and coats and out the door for no good reason, when I’m antsy about getting them fed, washed, and into their beds, without slowing things down and appreciating time as it passes…if I remember, I say this phrase (“live deliberately”) quietly to myself, and it (usually) works.

For years, I prided myself on the ability to get to my desk at work, only slightly disheveled, with minimal evidence of the morning madness that preceded my arrival. Now, it feels good to have my professional and personal lives in better sync. To have the headspace to be more thoughtful about my mothering. To shed the stress and negativity and focus on the simple and good. To not just live for getting through the day, but to go through each day really living. To not sweat the small stuff. So I can appreciate the small stuff. To be better about putting down the dustpan and being present. Because what’s it matter if everything is clean if we’re not content?

I want to live, to parent, more deliberately.

Writing helps. And maybe, I thought, my writing could help others live more deliberately, too? Perhaps even just taking the time to read these words could help you slow it down, in whatever way is possible for you in your life, and appreciate, think, put on nail polish…feel grateful.

I’m not there yet. I’m a work in progress. But I hope you’ll join me.

And I hope you don’t mind if I ditch the heels and pencil skirts for a while and come to you with mussed up hair, sans makeup, and smelling faintly like spit-up. I think better that way.

But this transition is not without its growing pains. The other day, my oldest asked me “what I do,” and, trying on my new SAHM persona, I responded, “Well most of all, I take care of you!” He then encouraged me to “do two things” – like Daddy, “who is a daddy AND a doctor.”

Ouch. It got to me more than I thought it would. And as I chased after him into the next room frantically explaining that I’m also a lawyer, I realized just how hard it will be to adjust to this redefinition of my self-worth. (Stay tuned for more on lawyers-turned-SAHMs!)

So who am I?

I’m a mother of three sons, recovering lawyer, writer, aspiring doula, caffeine addict, and general Northeasterner. I have a B.A. in Ethics & Political Philosophy from Brown University and a J.D. from Fordham Law. But my real street cred comes from countless hours in breastfeeding and parenting discussion groups (like seriously—I’m a mommy group junkie), years of day care experience, and having pushed the whole working mom thing nearly to its breaking point. You can learn more here.

I know having three kids in three-and-a-half years hardly qualifies me as an “expert” in anything really – except maybe changing diapers. But I love helping people navigate birth and parenting with empathy, honesty, and humor. And I hope, over time, this site can become an online community that fosters dialogue, connects and supports people, and provides a space for us to slow down and be more deliberate. If I even affect one person out there, this will all be worth it.

I intend to write here on:

  • pregnancy and parenting;
  • women trying to have it all;
  • replacing my inner litigator with inner peace;
  • making the world a little smaller;
  • ordinary “common things” that bring us together;
  • raising three little boys;
  • being a surgeon’s wife;
  • religion (if I get the nerve)…

…and everything in between.

I hope you’ll come along.

Please feel free to drop me a note to let me know what you’d like to hear from me as I get going!

8 thoughts on “On Blogging

  1. ajummama says:

    SO much of this resonates with me – I don’t even know where to begin. I have an acute need to connect with folks and maybe that’s why I never loved litigation. I need to write and pleadings don’t count.

    Ever since I became a mama and an at-home mama, at that, I have been thinking a lot about my worth. Probably before that, too, but it’s become so much more in my face now that I don’t bring home a paycheck. I’ll stop here for now as this comment may very well evolve into a blog post of its own.

    Please write about how you decided to go for a third child. I SHOULD be done for TOO many reasons and yet…

    Happy 2014 to you!

    1. I’m so glad you found me! Isn’t it the best to read something and feel like you could have written it yourself? Instant connection. Pleadings…hah. I always loved writing a killer brief (the research? not so much), but in a very different way. I will definitely be tackling the topic of what it’s like to be a litigator as a mother with young kids, so stay tuned…

      As for going for a third–that was a no-brainer for us, as we always wanted a big family. Everyone has to do what’s right for them (of course), but I did come across a couple of good articles lately that you may want to check out. See http://www.scarymommy.com/have-a-third-child/ and http://shortwinded.net/so-you-would-like-to-have-three-children/. Having three is definitely hard, and (in my opinion) much harder than two, but it’s also incredibly wonderful, and we loved adding another little personality into the mix. You’ll hear more from me yet! Happy to have you here.

  2. Bethany says:

    I can completely relate to this post. And admittedly my blogging ebbs & flows with how self conscious vs confident I am feeling. But mostly I blog because I want connections. Real human connections which are hard to find when at home with young children. Plus I hope that my writing resonates with someone…other moms, other wives of medical students, anyone really:) I hope by being real and putting myself out there…the real me…that someone will be encouraged and a connection will be made. But unless we make the first step and put ourselves out there it won’t happen! Keep on writing! Put yourself out there! And lastly, I wish we could meet at the playground:)

    1. Yes! Can definitely relate to the self-conscious vs. confident sentiment. Thanks for the encouragement! Maybe one day our paths will cross…

  3. Dina, I am so glad I found your blog (via Ari’s facebook post). As another Brown educated feminist turned SAHM of three boys I look forward to reading your blog. (although I am in awe of you having them so close together). I also blog as way of finding my identity and connection among the days filled with small shoes and diapers, but for me that means blogging about baking. Your writing is beautiful, I look forward to seeing how your blog evolves.

    1. Shoshana! So nice to reconnect. And so glad you found me here. Thanks for your kind words…I look forward to “following” each other. But I’ll definitely leave the baking (and the blogging about baking) to you!

      1. Annette says:

        I have five boys and it is crazy and hard… But at the same time a lot of fun!

  4. Very descriptive post, I enjoyed that bit.

    Will there be a part 2?

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