Friday, November 12, 2010

Too Much of a Good Thing

Maybe you've noticed, but I haven't been posting at my usual pace. I like to keep myself to 5-6 posts per week. And this week? I think I'm up to 2. I'm almost forcing myself to get this one out. As a matter of fact, I'm watching my kids play Wii and wishing I could be a part of it too. But, instead, I'm watching them work up a sweat while doing the cycling game and my toddler is busy having a tantrum, which I'm ignoring.

Not that I'd rather be watching my toddler have a tantrum than be online, but that's not the point.

My point is that I feel like I'm watching life go by from the sitting position, getting a half-view of my family from over the top of my laptop screen. Sometimes my online world has become an escape (like to pretend I'm not listening to my children come to blows about who gets to read the next Diary of a Wimpy Kid book first, whenever we get it). Other times it's just been a way to avoid work (like laundry. Laundry is the bane of my existence.) And it's kinda evil in that way. Being online is so much fun and it sure as hell beats cleaning up a pee puddle on the floor or scrubbing the dishes in the sink. But at the same time, I've noticed my kids use this phrase quite often lately: Mom, are you blogging AGAIN??? Or, if I tell them I heard something funny today, they say, "Did you hear it on your BLOG?" And, whenever they say the word BLOG they always emphasize it, like "BLAAAHHHHHGGGG"

I think they may be jealous of the blog. Which totally makes sense. I probably spend more time reading blogs than I do reading to my kids. I spend more time researching SEO than I do researching answers for their homework.

The problem is... Y'all are just too damn good! I love all the things you have to say. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's opinionated, sometimes it's heart-warming. I love it all. Right now, I have over 200 unread items in my feed-reader and as much as I'd love to just "mark all as read", I feel like not reading those posts is like getting a phone message and not returning the call.. Or, like getting a Christmas card and just throwing it away without even reading it.

And, yet, I feel like there has to be some give somewhere. Undoubtedly I'll keep reading. I may cut back on commenting some, and I hope that the friends I've made online will not hold it against me! I've heard a lot lately about finding the right balance between time online and time in real life. I think that balance is different for every person - if I didn't have 5 kids (including 2 who are still at home with me 7 days a week) I probably could give more to my blog and more to my online pursuits. But I am comfortable recognizing that this part of my life, while really an enjoyable hobby, can't take precedence over my daily responsibilities. I've noticed it's definitely heading in that direction and while it's tempting to run away from my real life, filled with messes and complications, into the arms of my online community, it's not what I'm going to do. Even though being online feels so good, it also feels wrong. When I am completely caught up on my emails and my writing assignments, but my house is a disaster and I haven't fixed a decent meal for my family in a couple of days, I feel out of sorts. I can't shake the feeling that something is broken or unfinished. But, when I have a decent handle on the daily chores, like laundry and grocery shopping and all the other daily minutiae that creeps in unexpectedly, I feel like I'm doing okay. I feel like I've got a decent handle on my life and I'm not going crazy.

I guess I have just finally gotten to the point that I'm not going to be in denial anymore. For a long time now, I've told myself that being online doesn't cut into my family time and that it's helping me cope with daily life. I think it did for a while, then it became something more, and now everything is different. I can't imagine my life now without the wonderful friends I've met online. At the same time, there are many evenings that I long to go to bed without trying to clear my feed-reader. I get such satisfaction from connecting with people and even though I've never heard their voices or seen them in anything other than a 2D profile picture, their words have encouraged me and supported me and carried me when I felt so terribly alone. At the same time, I have to admit - finally - that I HAVE let my real-life relationships slip because of my online relationships.

I don't know where all this rambling is going, except to say that I completely recognize how much better my life has become since I've started my blog. And I also recognize how it's gotten worse. But really, isn't every experience like that? I'm not sure I have had ANY experience in my life - kids, marriage, growing older, moving, etc. - that has been purely good or bad. It's a combination of both. I think I just need to be careful to not be cynical about the bad parts and not over-romanticize the good parts.

So to you, my internet posse, I will give you the respect of leveling with you and being honest: I probably won't be posting every day. Unless I really get my panties in a bunch about some topic, then I might just go wild. But I am going to try to make my online life be just one part of my entire life. I want "Blogger" to be a description, not my identity. I'll be reading but not commenting every day. Blogging won't be my top priority anymore. I want blogging to enrich my life, not direct it. To that end, I hope I can get a good handle on what my role is in my family and if I'm doing a good job of that.

Texan Mama

14 comments:

Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop! said...

I completely understand and semi-relate. Your family does indeed need to come first. No one can fault you for having your priorities in line!

I, however, will miss your witty posts and gorgeous pics.

Foursons said...

I totally get what you're saying and I have cut back recently for a lot of the same reasons.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

really, really really... I"m not quitting. Not at all. I don't think I could ever quit at this point. But I just wanted to kinda recognize out loud why I keep making the excuse, "Sorry I haven't been around for a while... I've been so busy... I have so much going on..." really, it's never going to be any different. Right now it's the holidays. Then it will be kids going back to school. Then it will be Church volunteer activities. Then an upcoming vacation. Then family in town, then end-of-school parties, then summer vacation, then.... the responsibilities never end. And, that's what I'm saying: I dont' want to make excuses to anyone. I just want to quit doing so much, and I don't want to quit doing real life things to make time for online things, I guess.

Crystal said...

I envy your ability to make this decision.... that is all I am sayin! :)

Jennifer said...

I think this is really smart. I know you've been going back and forth for awhile. I think it is important to find a balance that you can live with and it sounds like you've done that. Good for you.

Mommy Mo said...

Exactly, you took the words right out of my head, except much more eloquently. Thank you.

Anna See said...

oh how i can relate! i need to think long and hard (and pray, too) about my priorities when it comes to blogging.
xo

misssrobin said...

Ebb and flow. It's all about seasons. Do what you need to do for you and your family. Maybe you'll be helping others maintain balance in their homes by posting a little less often.

Enjoy your family.

ridgely johnson said...

Girl, mark them all as read- a cleansing experience- oh, and you WILL feel better without the pressure of getting a post out every day ( I love my bloggers who post 1-2x week - feel like we stay in sync) ;-)

Gigi said...

I know exactly what you mean about finding a balance. It's hard to do. I don't post more than a couple times a week (unintentional - but still) but I find that I can get sucked in to reading and commenting for hours. And seriously? Who wouldn't rather play around online with friends than do laundry? I admire the fact that you recognize that your real life needs to take precedence.

Sarah said...

This post could totally have been written by me (except the 5 kids part, I'm only at 3 ;) ). I do spend too much time online as well...and am trying to work on a way to make it fit into my schedule for real instead of letting it be the primary focus of my schedule. I think we all understand...we've all been there.

Emily said...

I am totally with you. I think I've been averaging once or twice a week for about 6 months now just because I'd rather live my life than blog about it...and I don't have time to do both! Good luck finding your balance.

Lanita said...

I came to the same conclusion about 6 weeks ago. My blog and the surrounding activities had taken over my life. What had started out as fun had become a job with stress and deadlines...my own self-induced stress and deadlines. So, I cut back on the amount I was posting (I gave up trying to compete with Kris @Pretty All True awhile ago), and rather than read every single post in my google reader list, now I just hit and miss.

It feels easier now. It has become fun again. but it doesn't take over my entire day.

Kacie said...

Good for you. I think the best bloggers either blog in place of work, or else do damage to other parts of their lives because of how much they invest in blogging. My goal is balance. I use the blog to think, connect, learn, express..... and I try to avoid letting it take over.