I’m going to do something different today. I’m going to write the kind of post that I haven’t written in a long time. As I look back over the past few months, I see a lot of lighthearted, funny posts. I see some reflective ones, maybe even a few that are ahem, “helpful.” (Depends who you ask, right?) But there’s been a level of guardedness. Today I’m going to write a different sort of post. It’s a naked post. No, not that kind of naked. (Great, now someone is going to Google “naked bloggers” and find this post.) But it’s time for me to get real for a few minutes. If you’re not up for that, no hard feelings. Go get a coffee and I’ll see you next time.
I never understood what the big deal was about “finding balance.” It seems like everybody is looking for it, and complaining about how they don’t have enough of it. But shouldn’t it be relatively easy to strike the right balance in your life? Do the things that matter to you, stop wasting time on the rest. Do some soul-searching, read a few books, make a schedule, write a list of your life goals, talk to a therapist- does it really have to be so complicated?
Apparently so. I’ve written about my own struggles with finding balance, particularly in this energy-draining world of blogging. I’ve written about trying to stay present with my kids. I’ve written about wishing I had more time in the day so I could really do it all. This subject is not new to me at all.
But something happened on my road trip with the kids last week. All in all, it was a success, considering I spent 25 hours in the car with my two children over the course of 6 days. We were like a mobile Best Buy store with our DVD players, iPad, Kindle, Leapster(s)… but it worked. The girls were amazing in the car- they were cooperative, good sports, and kept themselves entertained. Sure, we had a few rough moments, but I knew what I was signing up for. We got to spend time with my parents, several aunts, a handful of cousins, and my 92-year-old grandmother. Memories were made, photographs were taken, and more tears were shed than even I was expecting.
Have you heard the expression “dark night of the soul” before? It’s generally used as a metaphor, but I had a literal one the last night of our trip. About three hours into our five hour drive that afternoon, it became extremely windy. Those of you who have been with me awhile may recall that my oldest daughter is terribly afraid of the wind.
This was bad- it took a lot of effort to keep the car under control, and debris was blowing across the freeway. We stopped at a rest area because my toddler (of course) needed to poop, and my daughter became hysterical. I knew we weren’t going to make it two more hours. I called the hotel, cancelled our reservation, and made one at a closer exit, all the while listening to my second grader screaming and sobbing in the back seat. I stayed calm, instructed her to put her headphones on with a movie so she wouldn’t hear the wind and make a blanket tent, and she eventually settled down.
The hour it took for us to get to the hotel was a rough one, but we made it. When we arrived, I frantically began grabbing the things we’d need for our hotel stay, and papers and wrappers began blowing out of our van. The automatic doors wouldn’t close because it was so windy. I kept dropping things. Somehow I needed to make it 50 feet across the parking lot with both my children, our overnight bag, the bed rail, the laptop bag, their pillows, and my purse while gusts of wind pummeled me. Swearing ensued.
When we arrived at the elevator, all three of us were laughing hysterically. Unfortunately, the moment of levity ended abruptly when I was unable to get into our room. Did you know that some hotels now have keys that you simply hold in front of the door and it unlocks? Yeah. I didn’t. I pried everywhere, trying to find the key slider part and inadvertently breaking the top off. I dropped all of my bags on the ground, mindful of the creepy hungover guy who was staggering around the hall like a zombie. When I finally figured it out, I began heaving our bags through the door. I snagged my shirt on the handle, bashed my back into the door frame, and watched grapes rolling across the carpet. I lost it.
I began uncontrollably crying as I herded my bewildered children into our hotel room. I stepped over the spilled bags, locked myself in the bathroom, and sobbed. I could hear my children crying on the other side, and I managed to get myself together after a few minutes and come out to comfort them and apologize. I’d stayed calm during the wind crisis, helped my daughter to cope with her anxiety, and got us into the building. The stress finally caught up with me, and I had nothing left.
I apologized while still blubbering, as my children ran around trying to pick up the spilled grapes and offering me various clothing items off their own bodies to dry my tears. I felt awful- what kind of mother falls apart like this and needs her kids to comfort her? I felt like a failure. I was so exhausted I thought I’d just go to sleep at 8:30 with my kids, but sleep wouldn’t come. I lay in bed for several hours, trying to come down off the adrenaline rush.
When I finally fell asleep, it was for only two hours. I spent six hours awake until I finally fell asleep for one more hour in the early hours of the morning. Those six hours were intense. Hence the “dark night of the soul.” While I tossed and turned in bed, thoughts and realizations slammed into me, even though I tried unsuccessfully to push them out and meditate myself to sleep. One recurrent message seemed to permeate the rest of the noise- “Too much. Too much. Too much.”
It occurred to me how sick and tired I am of being distracted, overwhelmed, and stretched too thin. I am tired of typing at the computer or checking my iPhone when my kids are trying to talk to me. I’m tired of thinking about which blogs I still have to visit for the day, or how many comments have gone unanswered. I’m tired of staring at dry erase boards, notebooks, and spreadsheets, all reflecting different lists of things I am supposed to be accomplishing. I’m sick of the chatter in my mind. I have too much going on. Too many projects, too many ideas, too much screen time.
Such a unique conundrum, eh? Certainly nobody else has ever felt tyrannized by their to-do list. (Insert self-deprecating shrug here.) I love writing, and I love blogging. I have two books that I am dying to write, not counting the HerStories Project follow-up that is already in motion. (Very, very slow motion, may I add.) I have song parodies to record, and funny articles to write. I have an actual day job that pays me that I need to go to every day, and an upcoming curriculum project looming. What the hell am I doing?
Finding Balance for Bloggers- Is It Impossible?
And like many bloggers, I often get frustrated and think- “What’s the point?” There are literally thousands of other “mommy bloggers” sharing similar messages. There are freelance writers struggling with memoirs in every city of the world. Akin to my mantra for sweeping the kitchen floor, I often think “Why do I even bother?” It seems I have been reduced to the tired old cliche- I have been spending far too much time attempting to capture life and not enough time living it.
This epiphany of sorts left me feeling wrung out, sucked dry, and somehow relieved. It dawned on me that perhaps these stubborn ten pounds would melt away if I started to let go of some of the unnecessary stress and distraction in my life. Maybe I am holding on so tight to everything that even my physical body is refusing to let go of weight. Would I have been able to keep myself together that night if I hadn’t allowed myself to become so depleted?
I will not stop writing. I will write my books someday, I will keep blogging, and I will continue to pursue my goals. But on my terms, and while being mindful that not everything has to be done right now. My children are not going to be this age forever. I am terrified that ten years from now I’m going to hate myself for wasting months or years being disengaged with my children by allowing myself to be sucked into my computer screen. So I will stay present, for the sake of my future self.
I don’t know what this new “balance” thing will look like. Maybe I won’t post as frequently, or will recycle old posts. I might not do my ParentZ Bop videos as often, and I may skip Finish the Sentence Friday sometimes. (gasp!) I don’t want to “work” at night- I want to hang out with my husband on the couch. I will not deprive myself of sleep in order to be a better blogger. And I need to stop making myself crazy with invisible demands, the greedy pull of social media, and too many pie-in-the-sky ideas. It’s time to focus on only the goals that matter the most, and it’s time to really savor the time I have with my family. I give up- I cannot have it all.
Maybe you aren’t a blogger, and can’t quite relate to the lack of balance that often springs forth from entering that world. But maybe you are a stay at home mom who volunteers for every single opportunity because you think it’s your job. Maybe you spend too much time on Facebook and can’t focus on what’s in front of your actual face. Maybe you are working hours at your office that are too long and too intense but you feel you have no other choice.
We all have our energy-draining Achilles heels that prevent us from attaining that elusive balance. I’ve showed you mine- what’s yours?
Psst- sorry this post was so long. If you’re still with me, perhaps you’d like to read more? Sign up to receive my email updates. As mentioned, I won’t be posting very frequently, so there’s no danger of filling up your inbox.
This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday.
This week’s sentence was, “I never understood what the big deal was about…”
Next week’s sentence is,”If I could go back in time…”
Special Co-host: My beloved friend Katia at IAMTHEMILK suggested today’s fantastic sentence!
Janine at Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic
Kristi at Finding Ninee
Kate at Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine?
Link up with us below, and share your favorite posts with #FTSF!
You already know that balance is truly my achilles heel too and if you find it, can you share how you did so, because I seriously have been trying so hard to get some here and many days I think I am just failing miserably myself. But I totally felt for you with crying in the bathroom. Trust me I have done similar and had these moments, too. So, yes I raise my hand and can truly relate. again it is how we can achieve balance that still very much alludes me, but willing to try to figure it out and find it. Still a total work in progress here though.
I know you get this. 🙂 Good luck to us both! xo
yes, yes and yes! I read it all and savored each bit because I feel your pain. While it is a pain, it was also my saving grace to begin writing and later blogging after devoting 110% of myself to motherhood. But, it has a cost and the only way to be satisfied is to be balanced and I have not found out how to do that. Because no matter how I try, I still will check a notification or reply to a comment in the “just a second” type of way. The only way to stop that would be to quit and I don’t want to do that. You are doing right by yourself and your kids by slowing down. When I turned off all email notifications switching solely to the Reader for WP, it saved me!
It’s all the “just a second”s that start to weigh us down, isn’ it?
Bawling. I almost hate where you are now, because I hate when I have been there but I hate where I am, too. Which is 1/2 way between where you are and still this sick thing of wanting to “make it” which will NEVER happen without the book. And, likely, not then, either.
I’m so sorry that the end of your road trip was so awful, but also glad for you that it gave you perspective. There’s something weird about blogging. We want to be huge and important, but it almost never happens to those most deserving (AS IN YOU). Ugh. Hugs and big hugs and know that forever, if you stop or break or whatever, I found you through this shit and am so very very grateful. FOREVER. AND FOR REAL. For real.
xoxo Me too.
I could totally feel your frustration at the hotel room. I’ve had a few days lately where I’ve felt like saying ‘Ah screw it” and go back to bed but alas I have a 21 month old so no can do.
I feel like I cold’ve written the last few paragraphs of this post. Lately, I’ve wondering why I’m still blogging. I like to write. I don’t want to get famous, but unless my posts are part of a blog hop, I feel like no one cares. I’m not sure what direction I’m going to go with my blog but it’s not so much fun right now.
Wow, Steph, I totally get this. I’ve had one of those hotel breakdowns, actually a few, but in my bedroom and in the car – just sobbing and sobbing. It’s so hard to keep up with everything and to not get sucked in by wanting to do more. I find the only way I can get away is to be completely disconnected. I’ve found some times where there’s no wifi around and we’ve set up rules about using the phone when we’re together as a family. That’s helped. Really, it’s the only thing that’s helped me. If I have an afternoon where my kids are playing and I’m on the computer, I get nothing done because I spend so much time on social media. And then my kids come in and I’m like, JUST GO GET A SNACK! Because I still haven’t finished what I initially sat down to accomplish. Yuck. I find that I’m regularly going back and forth between caring about my blog and not giving a crap. All it takes is a good stat day and I’m like, Oooh, people like me, and I’m back at overwhelming myself with more marketing. I don’t know how to find balance, but I’m excited to hear how things go with you and what works. Recycling is a great idea! Just cutting back overall is good. Promote what you already got – that’s what I want to do. Good luck, Friend.
I am so grateful to have your support and understanding. One of the most beautiful things to come out of my whole blogging experience was our friendship. I mean that.
I am reeling after reading your most recent blog. Hopefully we will have to dialog about this in the next week. Lunch? My treat…..
I think balance is elusive for everyone, bloggers or not. You have periods of time when the scales feel even, but then something tips them. My current balance buster, which I haven’t made public anywhere, is that I’m looking for what’s next in my career. It has meant lots of extra hours networking with people (online and in person), trying to build my portfolio (at this rate it’ll be ready in 2020), trying to do side projects (just for my development), searching the Internet for job openings, tweaking my cover letter and resume and, of course, applying for jobs and interviewing. It is *exhausting*. It’s taking me away from doing my current job as well as I could be, taking away from my time with my family, and just stressing me out. I’m at a point where I need to give it a breather. (On the plus side, it’s actually helped me realize that, while my current job isn’t perfect, it actually is pretty good for work-life balance, if not for career growth. Perhaps that’s enough for now.)
I’m rambling, but stepping away from something to make room for other spaces in our life is hard. I still try to “have it all,” too (whatever that even means), but I know in my heart it’s not possible. At this point, for me, perhaps it means faster career growth isn’t in the cards. Perhaps it means I should be focusing my energy on my family. I don’t have the answers. You may not either, yet, but here’s to baby steps to getting there — wherever “there” is.
I don’t really worry about balance too much, maybe because I’m a man. Or maybe I do, but I call them priorities instead of balance? Anyway, I’ve not been blogging that often or reading blogs as much, just because I can’t. I have a lot of work to do and I need to coach tee ball and be a dad, so I’ve actively chosen to make blogging the thing that I neglect since there are only 24 hours in the day. I feel bad a bit because I truly like my blogger friends, but I have to force myself to remember that I don’t really know these people and have more important real life obligations to deal with. Still, there’s a place for blogging in my life, and I’m hoping to find where it fits more comfortably some day. Well, I’ve rambled. The girls are beauties and you sound like you had a great trip, other than the sobbing. Lol….girls.
I have a naked post in my draft folder that I have been ignoring, thinking no one wants to read that kind of post. I was riveted to this story, seeing myself in many of your struggles, understanding how it feels to break down in front of the kids, and I’m seeing my neglected post in a different light.
Thank you for sharing your dark night. I’m sorry for your struggle, but am happy to hear you have a plan for finding your balance.
I hope you write your naked post. I would love to read it. 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment and support!
I have been spending far too much time attempting to capture life and not enough time living it….yes…
Perhaps my perspective is different since I do not work. I am a full time patient though which means driving to and from appointments. I know that sounds ridiculous because it isn’t a job but it is considering I spend hours waiting in offices and getting poked and having to rest when needed. So yes, balance is elusive, not as much as the working folk though 🙂
I do spend more time in my head trying to pick out details so it is hard to be present enough. Thank you for reminding me to do so xoxo
Oh Stephanie! I soooo get this! For the past few weeks, I feel like I am frantically treading water, just trying to keep my head up and not drown. I find myself thinking, “If I can just get through this day/week, THEN it will slow down.” But, then, the next day/week I find myself saying the same thing again. There was a time when my editorial calendar for my blog looked empty and I was struggling to fill it. Now, it is overflowing with “obligations” as is my work calendar, my “volunteer at the school” calendar, and my “keeping up with the chores” calendar. (Metaphorical, of course. I don’t actually have that many calendars.) I seem to have completely neglected the “Spend time with your family” calendar. I accept that the perfect balance is not possible to attain, but I need to stop doing as much as I can and start doing more of what is truly important.
I’ve been thinking about you, actually, and your juggling acts. It’s so much harder than it looks, isn’t it? xo
OMG…YES! You said it for us all…We all feel like this and you put it into words. I think our kids do need to see that we are not perfect and balanced, it makes them realize we are human and make mistakes just like them. At the same time those precious moments need to be lived in at the moment, totally agree with you.
You’ve said it perfectly, Stephanie. As bloggers, and parents, we all have these moments. There’s always this voice in our head saying we’re not doing enough – either for our blogs, or our children. That stupid voice never shuts up! Sometimes, it gets overwhelming, and it’s never a bad idea to choose what is more important to us and take a step back.
I totally relate to this post.
1. I break down in front of the kids all the time. I have to. I’m never away from them enough to break down without their eye witness account. People who get that luxury need to realize it’s a luxury because what’s going to happen is if my kid says something to the teacher about it, the teacher WILL most likely judge me for it, the teacher who gets a break from kids at the end of the day and gets to sleep most of the night if she feels like it. In fact, anyone who judges you for breaking down in front of your kid will only do so because they are so pampered, they get to break down in solitude. Notice I don’t assume for one minute people don’t break down? That’s because we all do. Everyone has a shtt level.
2. I escape family life with the computer. That is why I blog. I knew that’s what I was doing when I started to blog. It first started out with college homework, then My Space, then Facebook, and now Blogging. So in my case, it’s not an accident. I always had a job up until pregnancy. Sometimes two jobs. Housework is not a job. I have to have something where I’m using my mind, creativity, and learning something that I get to do while sitting on my butt. School trained me to be this way. This is what an educated person thrives for. But also, I don’t get breaks from the kids to go out with friends. I can’t even get through a phone call uninterrupted, not even when the husband is home. So my only socializing and friendships at this point in my life are virtual ones. When I think of all the time I spend on my computer, if I compared that time to what my friend spends on the phone with friends, watching television, playing Candy Crush, and being out with friends, plus what she spends at work, I’m engaged with my kids more often than she is. The point? Sometimes you have to look at things from a different perspective to realize you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
Oh Stephanie, as a Road Warrior myself, I can honestly say I’ve had MORE than my fair share of hotel room breakdowns:). I admire you for holding it together until then. I think the combination of the wind (I think you were traveling in the Midwest? which would have given me tornado anxiety) and the crying would have sent me over the edge.
I’ve never had my life in balance, I don’t understand how people achieve that. This was my first Spring Break as a “full-time” blogger (what does that mean?) and it was hard. I kept checking my site and was trying to stay on top of my Bloglovin feed and my comments to others and I had another outlet contacting me for edits and it seemed like every morning was lost to the blogger world, while my kids kept asking, “Are you done yet?” I don’t know what the answer is, because a year in, I too get the feeling “What’s it all for?” I had no idea how hard and how much work was involved – and I have done very little “book writing,” which is why I started this all in the first place. I am so glad to know that there are others (based on your honest essay and the comments) that feel the same.
Oh, Allie, I definitely get it! I found that in my first year, I pulled out all the stops and poured my all into my blog. I posted all the time, interacted constantly, commented on hundreds of posts a week, was a social media freak, submitted to every different place i could… I made myself insane. I met all my “goals,” but then I crashed. This second year is much slower as reality sets in and I am becoming more aware of my limitations. It sounds like you are going through many of the same things I did in my first year. Let us “sophomore” bloggers light the way to you! Thanks for the solidarity, sister!
Oh, my friend… 2 things first. 1) Wind is ABSOLUTELY MY LEAST FAVORITE WEATHER. EVER. Mainly because it messes up my hair, but it just sucks and makes everything worse. 2) What kind of mother loses it in front of her kids like that? EVERY ONE OF US!
I hear you…. It is so hard when we want to do 800 things and we still only have 24 hours in the day, and to spend time away from our children so we can write about parenting can create a very uncomfortable cognitive dissonance (“Kids, leave me alone! I’m writing about mindful parenting!”)
Sounds like that rough night was exactly what you needed…. take care of yourself and enjoy your littles and you’ll figure it all out. You’re very wise, you know 😉
Your parenthetical convo made me laugh. Um, yeah. I feel that big time. Thanks for that, my wise friend!
Oh I love this post. I’m there too, wondering if I was actually a happier mom before I’d started blogging and getting involved with all the social media stuff that goes along with it. It’s just so damn hard sometimes to know what choices to make, what things to let go of, what things to prioritize. And sometimes it’s not, and you just sit in the sunshine and eat ice cream 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your struggles – I hope you find better balance in your life and I’ll work on doing the same.
I totally relate to this-I work full time, come home to be a mom then try and find time to blog, relax, have a hobby, etc.
Total craziness. Sometimes I wonder if trying to juggle all of this IS my balance. Maybe I need unbalance to feel balanced…I’m not sure that made sense but for some reason I read this post and had this profound thought.
I’m halfway through my coffee and your points just blew my mind. Thank you for shedding some light on the battle for balance. I loved this post!
Thank YOU for that comment, Ryan. I really appreciate it. 🙂
Yes times a million. We had a similar experience in December when we took the holidays off. We took them off, honestly, because we had hit the wall. And now we are finding our way back…differently, this time. More on our terms. So far, so good. This was an amazing post Stephanie, and we related to every single thing you said here.-The Dose Girls
I had a feeling you girls had gone through something similar. We’re all in this together, eh? xoxo
I won’t tell you I understand completely, because you already know that. I have a different situation on my hands because THIS is my day job and honestly– I have no idea how I could do it if I had to also work on top of it.
That said, I’ve been making some changes to my blogging game, as a result of the continued “Mommy blogger” pressure that comes with Blog hops, commenting, etc. Basically, I’ve stopped entirely.
I turned off all my blog comments so I didn’t have to worry about not responding. I’ve determined to comment only on the blogs that truly grip me, and nothing else.
I’ve also been blogging less, and instead of saving everything for my next post, sometimes I just mini-blog on Twitter or Google plus, and I’ve stopped worrying about making sure my stats are perfect and steady and rising.
The result is that when I am on social media, I’m enjoying myself and connecting with others. I’ve decided that my blog is equal to my other platforms, rather than nursing it like a favorite child.
It’s made a huge difference (for me anyway).
Like Kate said, I bet you could recycle old content (add a new graphic, etc) and not have to blog for another month or two. Remember, the people who follow you now, haven’t been following you forever. Dig in those archives Miss!
So there’s my unsolicited advice 😉
Actually, I was SO hoping you’d weigh in on this, so it’s sort of “solicited” advice. 🙂 I really appreciate hearing your wisdom. I do envy that this is your day job- it’s so hard for me to focus on both things at once. And, duh, my kids. :p xoxo for being such an inspiration to many of us. And a light.
You simply need to ask my two. They will happily tell you of all those times Mom “ate dinner on the back steps because she couldn’t sit and listen to our bickering any longer,” “vanished to her room and shut the door to cry on her bed which made us suddenly stopped shrieking,” “slammed the steering wheel all the way home to pick up the bunny my brother left at home on the kitchen table.” Oh the list goes on and on and on. I have had your locked in the bathroom moment oh so many times. They are now part of our family lore. My two could dine out on “Living with Mom stories” let me tell you.
Love the suggestions folks are giving you here in the comments. Especially Julie’s option of focussing on blogs that really grip her. Yours is one of those for me. Hang in there.
Kelly, that meant the world to me- thank you so much.
I have had this, and I am not even a parent. I read this, and saw myself in it. That’s why over the past few months, I cut way back on blogging. No one died. I still have readers (though maybe not as many). But more importantly, I reclaimed my life. I make an effort to be more present in the real world. I put down my phone for entire days, and consciously unplug, which is truly regenerating. And I feel like when I do write, the quality is so much better. I have time to be inspired, and that shows through.
Also, on an unrelated note, I think that parents that are human once in a while and demonstrate this to their children allow them to know it’s okay to cry, everyone does it. It also gives them a chance to learn how to comfort others. My two cents.
Thank you Natalie. Your approach is SO much healthier. I appreciate your perspective!
You have good points Steph and the fact that being aware of finding balance is an amazing find in your life.
alas, we have to draw many lines out there with regards to our work, family and our priorities.
Welcome to my world where I am still juggling with priorities vs responsibilities 🙂
Yes, my friend you cannot have it all. I’m not sure what super woman decided to lay that guilt on the rest of us mortals, but if I find her I have something on my to-do list that will be moved to the very freaking top. I don’t have balance, obviously. I never comment enough to boost readership of my blog. But see I don’t blog for the masses. Yes, I want to change the world with my blog but I find that so many people don’t comment. I wish I could blog hop and comment and read everything but well, there is the mortgage paying job, the husband, children, dog and cleaning the bathroom (only b/c there is no maid).
I guess what I am trying to say is you cannot be super mommy but you can be a mom that is real. A mom who shows her children when she breaks that she gets put back together again.
I commend you! It can be so easy to get drawn into this virtual world we have going on to the point of missing out on our actual lives. I appreciate your openness about your need to be more present (physically AND mentally) in your life. I will also add that I think it’s healthy to break down in front of your children sometimes. It will help them learn that it’s OK to get overwhelmed and cry…the important thing is that you let it out and then pick yourself back up again and make the changes you need to make.
My dearest friend, I can so completely relate to this (no surprise here. Has that become my regular opening line to comments on your blog?). I think that you’ve perfectly captured that depleted feeling and the sense of “too much, too much, too much”. You are right to decide that you’re doing this on your own terms from now on and I’m completely with you. Yesterday my four year old asked me to put the phone away (after writing a similar post a couple of months ago) and I felt like crap. This was a great reminder and solidified some feelings I’ve been carrying around with me. Thank you so much for this post.
Yeah, my seven-year-old commented that “Mommy works a lot… for our family,” when I was at the computer last week, and it made me want to cry and vomit simultaneously. The “for our family” thing seemed like such bullshit and I felt awful. I love you, my friend, I really do.
I’m not linking up today (still balancing over here!) but I did want to comment, because this post is relatable to me, as I’m sure it is with so many and especially us bloggers. I just wanted to share what worked for me and in my case, I had something REALLY important come up in my life (my son’s health) and so that suddenly became the #1 priority over everything else. The positive to come from that (if there can be any…) is that having a super important priority makes everything else so much less important. In other words, it took the pressure off. I still blog, but I blog when I want. I set my expectations lower – I now have a blogging goal of once a week (instead of 3). If I do it, great. If I don’t, that’s okay too. I gotta tell you, I’m so much happier this way. I still love to blog and write, but since I don’t have that self-induced pressure to keep up, I am so much more relaxed. My husband and kids are MUCH happier too. 🙂 Hope that’s even a little helpful — I’m not sure my life is considered balanced, but rather I admitted that I couldn’t do it all and that whatever I could do would be enough…sounds like you’ve come to the same conclusion. 🙂
Thanks for this. I’m relatively new to blogging but I already see what you mean. I started my blog as a platform for my fiction writing and yet haven’t really made much progress on that because I find myself doing all the other things. I am enjoying blogging though, and I hadn’t realized how much I would. But when I find myself saying, “Just a minute, baby, Mommy’s working,” I have to stop and remind myself why I’m here. Thanks for the reminder.
It gets addictive, and it becomes a total energy vortex. Sure, it has its good points, but… 🙂
Oh, Stephanie, first of all – your title of this post, FANTASTIC and hilarious and so so spot on. “Elusive Bastard” is right!
Second of all, thanks for such an honest and heartfelt post. I can relate SO very well. I’m a blogger, though not a very regular one, though I used to shoot for once a week, and during a particularly nutty phase, twice. Both became too much pressure for me, and one day I was like, why am I making myself insane for something that is supposed to help feed my soul? So I stopped putting the pressure on.
It’s insanely ridiculously crazily hard to find any sort of balance when you have a life – let alone, kids, a blog, a paying job (in your case), and other projects/dreams, etc.
It’s really, really hard for some of us Type A personalities (um, speaking for myself here, even though for the past decade I’ve been more of a Type B, if that is actually a thing) to let go of anything. But when we finally do, release the Darth Vader grip, and see what happens, it can be so liberating.
So, I say, let go, fly by the seat, do what feeds your soul and helps you get through wind storms relatively unscathed (though, wow, that was a really hellish night, I’m impressed you kept it together as long as you did!).
Post when you want, if you want. I’ll read the ones you do without judgement. And please, no worries about responding to this comment 🙂
Ah, but I’m going to comment. Just to tell you how much that meant to me. Thank you so much, Dana. xoxo
All this stuff you talk about has been in my head for awhile, Stephanie. You can see from your comments that you are not alone in feeling the way you do. Balance is an elusive bastard, but it sounds like you’re making a decision to find what works for you and your family. I respect that, and I’m going to try to follow your example.
And your girls trying to comfort you through the bathroom door? That doesn’t mean you are a failure. It means you are raising two compassionate daughters who are modeling the behavior you have shown them all of their lives.
Ah… tears coming now. Thank you so much, Dana. Really. 🙂
What a great post! And breaking down in front of your girls isn’t all bad…they now know that it’s okay to let your feelings out, that you don’t always have to keep things inside. Sounds like it might have been a learning experience for all of you!
Oh Stephanie! I know how you feel…since you pretty much wrote what I’ve been feeling too. I loved reading these comments too. It’s interesting that we all feel it to some extent. I think I need to form a bloggers anonymous group for blog addicts. You have achieved so much in what you’ve already done! I look at bloggers like you (and a few others on this list) who have already accomplished what my original goals were to set out to do. Yet, it seems that there is still a feeling with even the bloggers that are “successful” that it is too much. It is a sacrifice. It has made me question whether or not that’s the kind of sacrifice I want to make right now. Because, these precious babies are only babies for a little while. The blogging can wait. Really, everything can. xoxo
Whew! I get this, and I bet I’m one of many. MANY. I had to come to the SE conclusion recently. I’ll blog when I can, but it must come second. Or third, or fourth. 🙂
Please forgive me for not replying to each of your individual comments- in light of the nature of this post, I’m sure you can see why! 🙂 Please know that each and every one of them means SO much to me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the support and solidarity! xo
I’m glad the majority of the trip went so well, Stephanie. There is nothing wrong with letting the tears flow when you have reached your limit. My life is feeling pretty balanced right now, but my son is grown. I think that makes the most difference. I remember working overnight shifts when he was small and falling asleep at the dinner table. You’ll find the right path for you and your family. Be patient and forgiving of yourself and the rest will fall into place.
Okay, you had me sobbing. In an amen kind of way. As you know, I have made the same decision. It’s been harder than I thought. If you had asked me if I was addicted I would have said no. Now I’m not sure. It’s that sickening combination of addiction and guilty obligation.
So I have started to actually remove myself from FB groups. And have had to consciously tell myself NO.
I have spent time with Isaiah just sitting and watching Hogan’s Heroes. I haven’t been checking twitter and FB during the day. It’s been really amazing. And also weird. I wander a little, wondering what I shoud do. I was so used to being attached to a screen or my phone it seems weird not doing it.
Tonight Isaiah is at my mom’s, and so I wanted to check in with my sisters. I love you. I support you. You are doing the RIGHT thing. Our kids are only going to be – this – now. I didn’t realize how much I missed him until I started paying more attention to him. Which made me so sad. Somewhere along the line blogging became work. Write when you feel it. Hang out with other bloggers when you’re feeling it.
Taking care of you and your family has got to be #1. I’m getting highlights!
i loved this so so much. i have been way happier since i cut back. my back is out and i want to write more but cant. in my move i recently had a similar breakdown where my effing 2yo had to comfort me. you are not alone. lines i loved: realizations slammed into me – yes, that is what they do, isn’t it. (ooh, i can use my other hand now! yay advil!) also too much time spent in pursuit of life, trying to capture it, and not enough living it. yes, yes, yes. super love the photo of your kids with your grandmother. xoxoxoxoxo
If you have a secret for finding balance ANYWHERE, please let me know!
BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL!!!!! I could picture every minute of your meltdown and I would so have been doing the SAME thing!! That night- that dark night of your soul… I know, I get that. I am constantly battling the same thing- feeling stretched to the point of breaking. I MUST do something about it…
I so get you. I get this. I love love love that you shared our heart with us- and from my heart to yours… I am with you, and I do hope and pray we both figure this gig out- called life.
Pulling back myself… trusting that my ‘mission’ will unfold as it should, in its own time. This hamster wheel is depleting and discouraging… nothing good comes from those things.
I think that every single one of us has felt overwhelmed at one point or another. You’re not the only mother to cry in front of her kids. That’s okay though because it just lets them know that you are a human being with limits. I have two kids and a paying job outside of the home too so, while I enjoy blogging and social media, I try not to let it take over. Some weeks, I’ll do one post and other weeks there will be two or three; whatever fits without stressing me out. I try to get around to all of my favourite blogs and leave comment love but don’t feel too bad when it doesn’t happen. Basically, blogging and social media should happen when they fit into your life not when you bend your life to fit them.