Monday, November 15, 2010

PerfectPost

I had a long talk with my husband yesterday about my blogging habits. It was long coming since he was never comfortable about me sharing so much of our lives over Internet. It was not the conversation I wanted to have on a gorgeous Sunday day. But it also helped me realize that I developed a serious blogging addiction disorder (also known as BAD). I am bending over backward figuring out “bloggable” activities, I am running around with a camera trying to capture a shot or two for my blog, and, the worst of all, I am not listening to my daughter or my husband. I am irritated when she doesn’t want to do the activity I so “thoughtfully” prepared for her, and yet again I am letting my own ideas dominate the time we spend together. I am not planning activities for the three of us to do together, since I know that I won’t be able to put them on my blog. Then I am surprised that my daughter always comes to me with What will we do now? question and marvel at how she is a lot more self-directed when my husband is in charge of her.

So here is what I plan to do. I plan to stop blogging daily. I will continue to keep WMCIR linky, and I will probably also keep “A Week In Review” post where I will try to focus on the things that were truly Anna-driven and not mama-organized. Mama-organized ideas and posts about them are great and helpful for many parents with younger children, but it’s time for my bright four year old to start thinking on her own and come up with her own ideas. It doesn’t mean that she won’t do anything guided, but to be honest, my guided ideas are mostly “borrowed” from other sources. When she creates something worth sharing, I will share it proudly.

This is not a goodbye, just a reflection post about blogging and life. How do you feel about your own blogging habits?

22 comments:

Anne@LittleSproutBooks said...

I have been in awe of your daily posting since the day I subscribed, but I discovered early that the only way I could enjoy blogging and keep my sanity was to not hold myself to standards set by others. I started thinking I'd post 3 times per week, and realized 2 is more often realistic. And I'm ok with that. I'm glad you're focusing on your family and their needs, and I think whatever you decide is best for them will be exactly the right thing for your blog. BTW, my husband has the same concerns...

MaryAnne said...

I love that comic! When I first started blogging I tried to think about things that other people might want to do, and I found that too time-consuming and stressful. Now I primarily share things I happen to like about my life, with more pictures and fewer words. It takes less time, and I'm creating memories for my family. And I only comment on a handful of blogs.

Of course, that's not to say that I always manage my time perfectly and never prioritize my blog more than I should, but it has helped. Right now all three kids do early intervention with Johnny (so he can work on sharing) and that's my blogging time, along with evenings when Mike is out of town; we'll see if my posts slow down once Johnny turns three and I don't have that free time any more!

Debbie said...

I am sure we can all relate to this. I see there are times when Selena asks for the camera and times she resists it, this tells me that we are looking at another problem here, like we did last year.

It is too easy to get caught up in the competitive edge that seems to take place with blogging, I think there isn't a one of us that can't say we haven't had times that we need to step back and ask, is the blog world stealing me from my family and home.

Christy said...

I feel your pain. I had that same conversation with my husband about this time last year. It was so hard to hear. I definitely changed the way I did things, but I can still do better.

We tend to spend two days a week doing all of the blog worthy activities. The other days are all about what they want to do and self-guided play. I want to do activities with them that are educational and directed by me, but I certainly don't want to do what I used to do. I used to follow them around with a camera and get frustrated when they didn't want to do what I planned. Now, I give them the option.

I have also decided (just last week) that I am not blogging on weekends anymore. Saturday and Sunday are the only two days that we are all home together and I discovered that I love not being drawn to the computer constantly to check for comments or whatever. I am probably the only person who is happy to have a cell without internet access because I know it would just further my computer addiction. I don't want my kids to think the computer is more important than they are.

Good luck with your new plan.

Joyful Learner said...

Funny, you mention this because I think I might need some time off as well. Right now, I'm eating my breakfast while JC is designing a castle ship with her Math-U-See blocks. I can talk to her and when there's a lull, I go to writing this comment.

Blogging hasn't ever been stressful for me but I do see the privacy concerns as the kids get older. Makes me think how long this blogging thing will last...maybe it will be more about homeschooling and not focused on JC so much down the line. But for now, I enjoy documenting the first years of her life this way so I can look back on it. I figure we'll be much too busy later on to document every detail.

You know, if you cut down on your posts, I think it will naturally cut down on my computer time. I don't get to comment much but I have enjoyed your consistent comments over time.

Since I've already posted enough posts until Friday, I think I'll take a short recess and enjoy the time off.

Enjoy your time with Anna and your husband and catch up with you later!

Kim said...

I understand. But I've told you that before about this subject.. There are times I feel pressure to get a post in for something specific, and I used to think about how things would work on the blog constantly. I've finally stopped thinking that way. I started the blog for myself, to keep a record of our homeschooling time. When I started getting comments, I went crazy and wanted more! Now, it's just for me again, and if others get something from what we're doing, I'm thrilled. But it's not what I live for anymore. I'm glad to hear you are not leaving completely. I learn a lot from you, and I think we have similar philosophies on lots of things. But I also think you will enjoy your time with your family a lot more now. Have fun!!

Mom and Kiddo said...

Well, as you know from my post today, I have had similar concerns although for slightly different reasons. It's important to not take blogging too seriously, especially when it is not a career. It was shortly after I started blogging that I realized things would not go well if I did things just to blog about it. Check out:
http://www.tartx.com/blog/?page_id=233

Aging Mommy said...

I am at this point Natalie too - or should be, I am just digging in my heels afraid to let go of what has become one ginormous crutch for me. I admire you for taking this decision, BAD is a great way to describe the descent into blogging addiction. I hope we can keep in touch, if you'd like, through email however. You are one of the bloggers who, if I quit, I would miss having contact with.

The girl who painted trees said...

Hehe. I have BAD too. My husband is constantly mentioning it to me nicely, reminding me it isn't my job, that I don't "have" to blog. He's right, of course. I started blogging when I was an isolated foreigner in Costa Rica and really needed an extended support group. Now that we are back State side we are so busy with life that blogging becomes stressful and competitive. I remember someone once commenting that I was so prolific on my blog and I haven't been lately. I've given myself permission to not post every day and not link up to every Tot school and Preschool linky, but many days I feel behind anyway. Now that Bear is in school too, it seems there is even less to blog about because I want to be able to let her play and not always do brilliant, mommy planned activities, especially after reading the book Hothouse Kids (which I still mean to post about but haven't yet).

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I'll miss your daily thoughts, and insights - but family harmony is far more important than any blog.

Every once and a while, I think about what a blogless life would look like - all the extra time there would be. The kids, of course, would love the computer to be free more - and they loved your comic, btw.

But, my husband encourages me to continue, in moderation. He thinks it's good for me to have a hobby, that takes me out of the house, even when I can't always get out physically. It's just mastering the moderation thing, that's difficult :)

Autumn said...

You've made a very courageous decision. Good for you for taking your husband's feelings (and Anna's, of course) seriously. We'll all still enjoy reading about the fun things you do with Anna, just less frequently! :)

Like you, I've recently cut back my internet time severely. Instead of having my laptop on all day and checking blogs, email, FB, etc, I keep all computers off during the day. When the boys are napping, I'll turn it on for 30 minutes, then shut it off again. I realized that it was taking up WAY too much time in my day...and it was making me short with the boys when they'd interrupt something I was doing. (Right now Mark and the boys are out of the house, so I have no obligations!)

As for my blog, I'm pretty casual about it. If we happened to have done something fun recently and I happened to take pictures of it, then I'll write a post about it. It's pretty rare that I know ahead of time that I'm going to blog about something and have the foresight to take photos of our activity (The Growing Vegetable Soup post is an example of an activity I knew I'd blog about).

Enjoy your newfound freedom!

Elise said...

I do like to take heaps of photos and our camera sits permananetly on our dining table. Whenever we are doing an activity I usually take a couple of photos of what we're doing. It does not seem to impede our activities.

I know that before I had Taleea I had a heap more time to blog. Blogging can be addictive and it is extremely time consuming keeping up with your own blog and commenting on others. My reality and choices (I only use the computer when my children are sleeping, or when Troy takes the children outside in the afternoon for a little while) mean that I comment a lot less than I used to. This of course has meant that people also comment on my blog less. But the bottom line for me is that my blog is a record for our family. That it not to say, that I am not thrilled to see new followers on my blog and absolutley delight in the comments that people do take the time to write. I appreciate that so much.

Finding a blogging balance is something I am struggling with at the moment. I like to keep up on all of my favourite blogs and leave comments - but this is not always possible. For me blogging is one of the very few things that I do that is for me, so it has to be about enjoyment - no pressure, no added stress.

Our Homeschool Fun said...

I think this is an awesome decision Natalie! I think it is totally best for you and your family. It may be hard at first, but you will truly reap some wonderful benefits from this new outlook on blogging. You will also come to see that your blog and the blogworld in general is so insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I am speaking from my own experiences with my blogging.

I have emailed you with all of the blogging addiction disorder:-) battles I went through, and I can honestly say, my blog takes a back seat now over my family and I am ashamed that I ever let it take priority over them.

I know exactly how you are feeling, have been through all of these feelings myself, had this same talk with Jamie way more than once and I know you are doing what is best and what will make you happiest in the long run!

Even though I don't read or comment on many blogs anymore, I'm actually way happier when the ones I try to keep up with post less-- means less for me to read and comment on:-).

Ticia said...

As you know I go back and forth on this. Right now I'm at the point where I mostly do things because they're fun not because it's bloggable, and I've decided if I don't have a post for that day, I don't have a post.......

I'm also trying to work out on what to do for posts that just aren't writing themselves. There's things I want to share, that end up feeling forced when I do it, and that never ends up being a good post to my mind. Hence my changing the way I do preschool corner posts

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Enjoy the time with your family. You have a very bright, happy, wonderful little girl, and I look forward to reading your weekly updates!!

Counting Coconuts said...

I think this is something most - if not all - bloggers can admit to, to some extent at least. Earlier this year, I started thinking very seriously about ending my blog altogether for the reasons you mentioned. I was shocked and disappointed at how I let it rule my life! I took a long break and spent that time thinking it over. It was really helpful to step back and put things into perspective.
Since then, I've made some "rules" for myself: I very rarely take photos of James "in action" anymore because I feel it disrupts the flow of our schooltime. I also decided to limit my posts, comments and blog reading. It has helped immediately and I no longer feel governed by my BAD. :) However, it can be hard to stick to my rules because like any addiction, it seems/feels great to do it at the time. Every now and then I have to stop and check myself. I think this kind of thing is the nature of the beast of blogging.

I hope you find a good balance for you and your family. I look forward to your posts when you do share them.

Hugs,
Mari-Ann

littlewondersdays said...

I always enjoy reading your posts. They are well written and thoughtful in content. I completely understand where you're coming from too. Blogging can take over your life if you let it.

Jackie H. said...

I totally have BAD and I have to work not to let my blog overwhelm my life. It is a good hobby for me since I'm at home with 2 kids 2 and under and I don't get a lot of adult time outside of church 2xs a week. I think it's good to keep yourself in check and even have your husband hold you accountable. It's so hard being a mom, isn't it? We have to deal with so much mom guilt and wondering if we are doing the right things for our kids while taking care of ourselves. Good luck to you finding a balance!!
And I would miss you if you were gone from this space forever.

Anna said...

I'm sorry to hear that you've been blogging less, because I've loved reading this blog and following Anna's progress ever since you led me here in response to my complaint re: Anna pictures on your Facebook.
Anyhow, I hope you can strike a balance between sharing with the community and extended family and friends and keeping your family happy. Much love from Atlanta :).

love2teach2day said...

I had a "blogging crisis" last week. Nobody said anything to me. It was just one of those "what are you choosing to do with your time and WHY?" moments. I'm in mini-crisis over not wanting my almost-5yo to be my last child. Then I started thinking about all the time I'm wasting, blogging, not spending with him...

So right there with ya. Last week I basically decided that blogging has to drastically reduce in priority or I have to quit! ;)

Thanks for saying it out loud!

Eva said...

Well said, I believe this is what I was having trouble with too. I decided to continue blogging after all but it's a lot more sporadic and I don't try to force activities on my daughter anymore. As a result I have come to realize how amazing her imagination is on her own, like a simple caterpillar toy can become a bracelet, or a hockey stick, or bended to resemble a number. :)

Pathfinder Mom said...

I can really relate to how you're feeling. I had to make the choice in September to only post my required items and use the rest of the time to work on my health and my family. I don't regret the decision at all, but I did find that I took far fewer pictures of activities with Tornado Boy over that time and I don't have much "documentation" of our first "semester" of actual homeschooling. What I do have are great memories of our cherished times together. You won't ever regret that time focused on your family.