Saturday, October 6, 2007

On blogging and balance

The last couple days I have been creeping back tentatively into blogging. Lurking quite a bit, commenting occasionally, writing not at all. There were many things I wanted to accomplish this week, on my blog-hiatus: Getting my home back to some semblance of order, decorating for fall, catching up on the two time-intensive Bible studies I am involved in, and most importantly - being less distracted with my children.

My home is still an epic disaster, the boxes of autumn decorations are still in the attic, but my Bible Studies are caught up. And my children? My children and I have had a great week.

We went to the park, the playground in our neighborhood and "Old McDonalds". We visited Gymboree and the playplace at the mall. We went on a leaf hunt (which was difficult since the leaves in Georgia are still only hinting at changing colors), we did puzzles and built train tracks. Ben worked on his cutting skills and we made artwork with paper-shapes. I took Allison shopping for new accompaniment tracks and a new Bible. I slept more and thus had more energy and was a bit less snarly.

Granted, some of these things would have occurred anyway, but without the blogging moratorium others would have been neglected. The inevitable result of morning hours slipped away unnoticed, as I attempted to pacify my children between my efforts at introspection and wit.

I know this is true, because it is happening now, as I write this. My littlest ones are being bribed with Sesame Street and sugary snacks in hopes that they will give me 'just one more minute'. Time to finish my thought, find that elusive word. And then the next one. Until eventually they will be hanging at my knees. Only then will I get up, irritated and reluctant, to get what they need, which is so often, just me.

But today, contrarily, I don't feel guilty. Because it's Saturday. And because of the wonderful week we spent together. And because making them wait occasionally is easy to justify. I certainly wouldn't want to raise a pack of narcissists just because I jumped each time they asked me to. Because I had the nerve to not be interested in anything but them. Ha.

But neither do I want them to remember me as a stay-at-home-mom that was always distracted, disinterested, or perpetually yearning towards more than mothering them could offer. Always wishing I was doing something other than simply enjoying this fleeting time together.

This parenting thing is a bit of a tightrope walk, isn't it? And I guess what is required is balance. That's the key to so much of life.


And therein lies the problem. I've never been good at balance. My self-discipline is flighty and ephemeral. And so, in what was sadly predictable, my blogging got too big. The minutes I could carve out for 'my hobby' didn't come close to covering my new desire to write, and read, and write some more. Each day I was inundated with new post ideas and continually frustrated with my lack of time to write them.

Darn those four children and their need for perpetual attention, and bathing, and chauffeuring, and listening, and reprimanding. And food. Turns out I am supposed to feed them too.

So I stole the time. A few minutes here from my children. Some there from my husband. From my Bible Studies. From Oprah. From my sleep. From my housekeeping. Okay not really from housekeeping. We all know I didn't actually spend any time on that.

But in my week off I realized that it was just too much. Too many minutes. Too much stress and guilt at things not done. Too much sacrificing. And this is why I have been reluctant to return. Because I am not sure how to fix that, and find a balance in it all.

But I am going to try.

Because I love this hobby that has allowed me to feel creative, connected, smart and even occasionally funny. Attributes I would never have ascribed to myself before. I am just going to have to try to do it in a smaller, less time consuming way. And so I will be reading less, commenting less, and yes, writing less. And I ask you - you crazy people that come here and read the blather I put out - to understand. And to not take it personally if I don't come by your place quite as often as I did. Or if I am a bit quieter when I do.

And to know that I am just trying to find a way to keep all the balls in the air so I don't have to drop this one completely. Because I have become quite attached to it, and it's little voice. And to you that bother to listen to it. And all of your unique voices. And the oddly magnetic cacophony we make together.


Veronica Mitchell said...

I was thinking this week what it would be like to give up blogging, and decided it would be almost physically painful. I hope you find your desired balance, or at least more comfort with imbalance.

Chrissy said...

Very well written, and very good point. It is so easy to get out of balance. You hit close to home for me when you said you don't want your kids to remember you as distracted. Even without the blogging, I am guilty of that. Thanks for sharing.

Christine said...

oh you.

i totally understand. you do what you have to do and post when you can and comment when you can. no pressure. friends don't pressure each other. they give them space as needed.

we'll all be here.

Anonymous said...

I always found balance challenging as a mother of four. And I already understand the temptations of blogging. For the last three months I have been caring for my grandson Nate about 20 hours a week. Until I started reading all your great blogs, I gave him my complete undivided attention when he was awake. I usually held him when he slept. Now for the first time, I am thinking, "maybe he is fine playing by himself for a few minutes while I check my Google Reader."

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Kyla said...

I cannot imagine giving up blogging for a week. I think I'd get the shakes. It is the one thing that is mine, all mine. I hope you find that balance, and we're just glad to have you any way we can. No pressure from us.

slouching mom said...

This is THE issue for me right now. I wish I knew how to work this better.

I understand. I so understand.

bubandpie said...

I love the part of this post where you talk about what's going on as you write - and I love that you can blog without guilt when you know that what you've invested in your kids this week is building something that can withstand a program or two of Sesame Street. It's not easy to find that balance, but this post makes me think you can do it.

painted maypole said...

i understand. I am wrestling with time management myself.

Anonymous said...

I understand completely! Let me know when you figure out how to keep all those balls in the air. I struggle with the perfect balance, too.

Lori said...

I understand this need for balance very well. But, there is also the balance within yourself you need to consider. It is important to give yourself hobbies, and activities, that you enjoy. You need to be a balanced person too! :)

Sometimes it has worked for me to work within a schedule. Give yourself a couple of windows when you anticipate it will be to the least detriment to your family, and then go ahead and treat yourself! The rest of the time, turn that darn computer off!! :)

I hope we still hear from you. I love reading what you write.

The Egel Nest said...

The best solution is to only blog what is best for you and your family...some people blog daily, weekly, or even all depends on seems like you are finding yours...and that is good :)

By the way, I found your blog through blogrush!

The Egel Nest

Jenn said...

You are witty and funny and smart.

And the balls in the air?

Sending you some might help.

Wonderful post. Hope to see you soon.

Lisa writes... said...

"creative, connected, smart and even occasionally funny"--you most definitely are all of those things!

Listen, girl, I am so walking that tightrope with you. May God grant us both discernment as we seek the very best He has for us, in parenting, in blogging, in housekeeping (maybe! *wink*)

noahs_ark_debbie said...

I enjoyed your post. I just started to home school my youngest son and also recently starting blogging. I enjoy writing my little post but love gettin thoughts, encuragement, and ideas from others, but I can see where it kids of takes over. Well I am off to do the math lesson. Blessings!
Debbie aka The Real World Martha