Please note item #15.
Good thing my hair looks fuller and more vibrant when it isn’t freshly washed. And when things get really busy, thank goodness for dry shampoo. My favorite? Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo, but in a pinch the economical Batiste Dry Shampoo works well, too. I don’t mind its stronger smell, but I’m not sensitive to strong aromas (probably because I’m knee-deep in my children’s waste products).
Baby power does the trick as well, but you have to be careful to not leave white residue on your scalp because then people will be on to your laziness.
What’s the deal with talking about something as random as dry shampoo?
I opened with a small, everyday glimpse into my life and then switched gears to product placement simply because I don’t know what else to say. Or what’s really more accurate is this: I don’t know if I want to say what needs to be said and just be through with it already.
I mentioned to a dear friend the other day that I always felt like I was really good at time management, but lately I’m having trouble keeping all the balls in the air. That’s an understatement. Sometimes I don’t even know what balls are swirling above me, and I’m ducking my head afraid one is going to fall down and thump me on the head.
There are a lot of things I can’t drop, but some of the things that are keeping me feeling flustered are non-essential. Like blogging. Like engaging in social media.
My mind is churning over a lot of what-ifs lately.
What if I disappeared from the online world (with the exception of email) and just focused on building relationships with my husband, my children, and friends I can regularly hang out with at the park?
What if I used all the time I devote to blogging, promoting my blogging, and connecting with others in social media to exercise, to move my body, and to get those happy endorphins flowing?
What if I stopped making excuses about not having time for prayer and showed up to listen to God half as much as I showed up to blog, send a tweet, or check in with Facebook?
What if I never published another thing in Cyberspace and just wrote what I wanted to write when I wanted to write it in old-fashioned journals?
What if I just worked on my short stories and that novel I’ve been wanting to write for so long?
What if I completely ignored the siren song of all those chirps and beeps from my Smart Phone and showed my children I’m smarter than any phone because I know what’s really important in life?
What if I just went cold turkey on it all – blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – would I miss it?
What if I stopped thinking of God as my Xanax in the sky and really talked to Him instead of reading about Him or reading about how others relate to Him online?
Yesterday my husband encouraged me to get out of the “what if?” limbo and just take a sabbatical. Try it. It doesn’t have to be permanent. You might find your life is fuller. Or you might discover how much you miss blogging and the like. Either way, you’ll put an end to all the “what ifs.”
Okay. I’ll do it!
Last night I was all fired up, folks. Today not so much.
When I was getting therapy for my eating disorder, one counselor told me if I wasn’t obsessing about my weight, I’d find something else to go all OCD about. Sometimes it’s been my parenting. I must do everything right because if I don’t my kids will turn to drugs, promiscuity, hate, eating disorders, anything to fill that void my poor parenting left in them.
Right now it’s blogging, which is ridiculous on one hand but also a lot less stress-inducing than sweating the small and big stuff in the trenches of motherhood. Still, the fact that I’m giving so much thought to something like blogging is absurd on many levels. What a pampered life I live if a stressor in it involves deciding whether or not I should be logging on to my computer as much as I do.
There are mothers who are worried about what they’re going to feed their children tomorrow, and I’m struggling with deciding whether to blog or not to blog? C’mon, Kate. Get a grip. Get some perspective. Go eat a brownie. Do something other than worry about blogging!
Ah, but my blogging sabbatical decision only (not surprisingly) spawned further “what ifs?”
What if the publishers interested in having me write a new book ditch me?
What if the friends I “met” online – the ones who are really and truly in-real-life friends even if I don’t yet know their physical embrace – forget about me?
What if when I come back and return to blogging – and I will come back, right? – no one remembers me and there are no more relationships to build or moms to encourage or friends to laugh with or share only the most flattering photos of my progeny with?
What if it’s just back to my mom reading my words and I’m writing into a black hole?
What if, what if, what if…
But there’s another “what if” that’s nestled in my heart. What if I find my life is richer, more peaceful, fuller, less noisy, more present, and less hurried when I step away from this online life? What then? Will this hiatus turn into a permanent good-bye?
I don’t think so. But maybe. I just know the only way to make peace with these “what ifs” is to close shop for awhile.
So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m listing the reasons a blogging sabbatical is necessary for me right now. This list isn’t only for me – to help me sort things out and feel better about leaving such a big part of my life behind (even if it’s only temporary); it’s for you, too, because some of you have been with me since I first started filling this blank, white screen with my ramblings (and typos) way back in 2007. Some of you are new readers who loyally read my random posts. New or old, you have blessed me with your comments, your emails, your prayers, and your insight. You’ve also blessed me with your oversight, looking past typos and things that don’t make any sense and posts that were most definitely NOT Spirit-led.
I know I’m leaving behind a good thing here. Remember that. And please pop in here every now and then to see if I’m back or at least to share your intentions in The God Box. This site isn’t going anywhere, and your intentions will still be prayed over.
Without further ado, 21 reasons why I’m taking a blogging sabbatical:
1. I can be a writer without being a blogger. In fact, I was a writer – and a published one at that – long before I’d ever even heard of a blog.
2. I’ve always believed that if I’m using my time wisely and in a way that God intends, He will gift me with spare moments in my day to do whatever it is I want to do or think I should do. Busy is just the status quo of most moms’ lives, so this decision isn’t really hinged upon the fact that I’m busier than before. The reality is I’ve always been busy. We all are. We just have to decide what the best use of our time is.
Recently, I can’t seem to find the time to blog much unless I stay up too late or shoo my children away. Hours will become free – or at least minutes – if I’m supposed to be sharing my words back in this space.
3. This doesn’t have to be a permanent thing. There’s a season for everything. I can sneak back in here whenever I want. I’m in the micro-managing stage of parenting. It won’t always be this hands-on. I won’t always have to include “shower” on my to-do list. (Although I’m pretty sure “having a blog” isn’t a just reason for avoiding pregnancy.)
4. I used to find it amusing to screen and read SPAM comments such as this:
“At last you have got your expected weight for which you have fought much. I am congratulating you for this. I think you are that woman who can fight and try and you are not a hopeless one. You have a tendency of becoming a winner. I like your tendency.”
I don’t like your tendency, Spam-er!
Or these ones:
“The kid was so cute. She sleep so well. Hope I can sleep also. Now that kid was sleeping all your works will be finish.”
“I think you are a great mommy. Your son is very pretty and i like his eating style in photograph. I hope he will make a good eating habit in future.”
Lately, I’ve just been finding it annoying and yet another time-sucker.
5. I’m tired of being sucked into Internet drama – like when some anonymous Twitter-er who rather than disagreeing with large groups of people (namely Catholics based on the accused hate-mongers he* follows), demonizes them. Yes, rather than accusing you of being in error, he accuses you of being in sin – of hating. (And he randomly chooses to do this since you typically tweet about tantrums, poop, and nocturnal nursing sessions – not exactly fodder for heated debates.) A priest during a homily once stressed that it’s not always wrong to judge – to assess a situation or another person’s choices providing we do it through Kingdom eyes – but it’s always wrong to condemn. I have never condemned. And I don’t take it lightly when someone accuses me of doing just that. In fact, one of the graces I’ve been given by writing online and facing some pretty severe criticism (and some crazies, too) is that I’ve grown in charity. I’ve been able to present my points and remain calm and logical while remaining charitable.
Last week when I discovered I was being falsely accused of “fanning the flames of hostility” I started getting all worked up because of this anonymous dude over on Twitter who is impervious to logic and unwilling to have a rational dialogue. Smart thinking using Twitter as his forum since one can’t defend herself in 140 characters or less as easily as one can accuse you of being a hater. And I’ll give him this: It is quite clever to follow people you hate (and falsely accuse them of hating) rather than follow people you like.
Anyway, I absolutely could not detach myself from it. I felt myself getting twitchy and anxious and before I could let it go, I grew snappy with the kids. It’s one thing to be short with a 3-year-old who is acting like a feudal lord and attempting to whip you into total serfdom submission. It’s quite another when your children are simply asking for their basic needs to be met. (“I’m hungry, Mommy.”)
I mentioned the drama to my husband when he got home from work. “Just block the person, and be done with it,” he advised. I did block him, but I kept thinking about it all. I actually woke up that night at a time when Thomas didn’t need to nurse because I was thinking about it. Ridiculous! Obsess much? Yup. It took up way too much of my time and energy and caused me to unnecessarily break emotional sobriety.
*He might very well be a she, but for simplicity’s sake I’m using the male pronoun.
6. I’m tired of stumbling across Internet drama even when it doesn’t involve me personally. People can find controversy in everything, including dogs. As an aside, I joked with Rachel that we should write a post about a nursing dog. Imagine the outrage, especially if we included a photo of a dog nursing an older puppy with the words: “Are you [insert name for female dog that is also a bad word] enough?”
(For the record I am very much a dog person.)
7. I’m also just plain tired.
8. All moms need a release, an escape from the day-to-day and constant mothering, but we all only have 24 hours. I was lamenting to my husband that I just have too many interests. I used to sing, perform in theatre, horseback ride, train for marathons, read novels, write fictional short stories, volunteer, and still have time to freelance write. That was before children came into my life. Now I have to choose prudently what soul-soothing extras to pursue. Lately, blogging and more specifically putting myself out there hasn’t been bringing me enough joy to make it worth sacrificing other soul-soothing extras.
Right now I really want and need extra sleep. My family’s well-being depends on my well-being, and I’ve found that I really should go to sleep when the kids climb into bed because I’m guaranteed to be waking up several times in the night. Part of our routine is me resting beside them after we read books and pray and giving them “Twenty.” Twenty is supposed to be about 20 long seconds of back-rubbing. It frequently turns into longer. Two nights this week I passed out with one my kids. And despite still waking up in the night, I felt better in the morning. I still hit the afternoon wall, but it was more manageable.
I really have no right to complain about my lack of shuteye. I should offer up my fragmented sleep (it’s a small cross to bear comparatively) and also recognize that it’s partly my fault since I’ve never sleep trained any of my children and just can’t get myself to do it. When my baby cries – even if it’s every two hours – it conjures up something primal in me. The nocturnal and seemingly endless cycle of need and comfort isn’t always a picture of sweet primal maternity, although oftentimes it is, especially with the baby whose needs and wants are blurred into one.
But any of my kids’ crying provokes a response from me, and I can’t focus, sleep, or do much of anything when a child is upset – even if it’s at 2 am. Sometimes what I experience is more like primal rage, especially when I’ve just soothed the baby back to sleep and then the 3-year-old is up with growing pains and then the 5-year-old tries to take my place in bed. Either way the reaction is strong and keeps me from lulling myself into a peaceful slumber.
I’ve just found that lately my soul-soothing extras – the things that make me really happy – are exercising, reading, and writing in a private journal. Blogging used to be fun, cathartic, and a release. More recently, it’s felt more like work, and I didn’t choose to stay at home with my children to have a blogging job.
9. I don’t need to blog or be involved in self-promotion to help support my family any longer. For most of my marriage, I’ve needed to contribute somehow financially. Early on I was the total sugar mama. However, we are very, very blessed to have arrived at a place where my husband’s income is all we need. I am very grateful this. I also know how hard we worked to make this happen. There have been plenty of sacrifices to get here; there still are.
I still expect to get paid when I do offer my writing services. This might seem greedy. I see it differently. I owe my family my time first. Anyone who is going to take some of that precious time away from the people I love need to make it worth my while – and my family’s while. I don’t squander any of my freelance income. We have college tuition to think about and huge student loans (think six figures) from my husband’s expensive medical training to pay off.
Likewise, if I’m willing to write for free, what does that mean to the man or woman who is trying to support a big family with his/her journalism degree? Why should a media outlet pay him/her if they can get my work for free?
At any rate, I asked my husband recently how much income I really was bringing in with freelancing, blogging, and book-writing. Well, it almost made me cry when he revealed that we have to cut whatever I make by about 40 percent because of taxes. Thank you, Uncle Sam, for giving me the motivation to NOT contribute to the economy.
“Wouldn’t it be great if we could pay you for the child care you provide to our children and stash it away in our retirement savings?” my husband remarked. Indeed.
***Please note: I have NEVER blogged because of the money. It was icing on the cake – the pittance I made for blogging. I launched a blog not thinking I’d ever make a dime or snag a book deal out of it. However, I do admit to feeling like I now have to keep blogging to promote myself as an author, etc. I don’t want money to be my primary motivation for blogging, especially now that we are financially stable.
10. It’s not all about me, but I’m making it all about me lately. And that’s a problem. Look at that second set of “what ifs” above. Behind almost everyone is insecurity. The need to be remembered, praised, and considered is rooted in a tormented fear that we won’t be any of those things. Insecure people are afraid of losing – an audience, notoriety, friends, love. I don’t want to do anything out of fear. I want to write, blog, live, parent, do everything out of love.
Any time I’ve considered taking a blogging sabbatical or just bagging the whole thing (and yes, I’ve considered all of this many times), I’ll get a note from someone saying that something I wrote encouraged them or that I have a gift for ministering to others via the written word. These notes have always blessed me (and still do), but sometimes I take them as a sign that I’m supposed to keep blogging in this space.
Truth is, I’m an affirmation junkie. Although I long ago recognized the fact that I shouldn’t look at blog stats and stopped paying attention to page views, etc., every comment is like a little narcotic hit to my ego. I do blog to encourage mothers, but I have less noble motivations sometimes, too. Sometimes because motherhood is so hidden and just feels so unappreciated I might be tempted to turn to this online world for pats on the back.
When I was younger and before I had children, I did big things with my life. My life now consists of little things. It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that little things don’t matter, but these children matter. Changing diapers, folding laundry, sweeping up truant Cheerios, kissing boo-boos – every little action I take has the potential to have eternal impact. It all matters. Big time.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do big things as a mother. I know in my heart that I want to be a good steward of my gifts and may one day do bigger things again. But I can’t do anything at the expense of my children just because they’re little and because the menial tasks that come along with them sometimes drive me crazy.
Blogging can’t be an escape from the ennui of motherhood. It can’t be all about me. I have to examine if I desire praise from people more than from God. If I do, then I’m blogging more for my glory than His.
Not that it’s not acceptable to blog as a me-time project providing it doesn’t cause me to fall into slothful habits that detract me from my primary mission to serve my husband and these little and, yes, needy people under my care. But like I said, blogging hasn’t felt like the fun hobby it once did over the past few weeks (months?). So if it’s not giving me joy but only espresso shots of praise that leave me always wanting more, then it’s time to take a break.
Bottom line is I have to ask myself this about any pursuit that’s outside my primary vocation:
- Why am I doing this?
- For whom am I doing this?
- Would what I’m doing please God?
- Does it please my husband and my children maybe not directly but somehow benefits them? (For example, I used to really get a release from blogging, which helped me to be a more relaxed wife and mom.)
11. Let’s say I’m being way too hard on myself, and I really am blogging out of a place of love and wishing to encourage others as well as help me sort out my own feelings so I can be a better mom. That still doesn’t mean that’s what I should be doing with my limited free time.
Discernment is difficult because it frequently involves choosing between two good things – like being a writer/blogger who tries to piece together words that encourage other moms and being “just” a mom. Maybe there doesn’t need to be a choice. Maybe I can do both – be a mom who also blogs about being a mom. I need some quiet time, some space away from it all to decide if I can do both and more importantly, if this is what God wants for me. I kept telling myself I could just post once a week or so while I was thinking about it, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it and there was blog post fodder everywhere. The only way to make a prudent decision is to walk away from it all for awhile.
It is worthy to serve the underprivileged, but it would not be good for me to abandon my family right now every evening to volunteer at soup kitchens. Several months ago I was approached about going on a mission trip and reporting from the faraway country. Oh, how I wanted to say yes. I loved the idea of reaching out to others and bringing love to places touched by poverty and disaster. I also love travel and adventure, and the trip would provide both. Above all, it would give me a chance to be Jesus’ skin – to touch and minister to others. It would also require me to leave a family behind, including a nursing baby, who need me. So I had to say no to one good to protect what is now a greater good in my life.
12. Blogging blesses me with relationships, but some of these relationships can be draining.
This site of mine really and truly grew into a ministry I’m passionate about, which is why it’s so hard to admit some of these things and to take a step back from it all. But I’ve realized that one of the dangers with social networking for women in particular is to become too involved with all the people we “meet” in Cyberspace. My husband spends his share of time online, but men are different. He reads forums or does research. He doesn’t build relationships. Women are more relational creatures. This is our gift, but it can be tricky in the world of social networking because I think it sets you up to try to be everything to everyone because you have all these new “relationships,” and you don’t want to let anyone down or ignore anyone who “approaches” you.
Yet, why do I feel as if anyone who needs help or approaches me about something is my responsibility? I can’t save everyone (anyone?). I can’t even be a friend to everyone or help each person who might be struggling with an eating disorder or who maybe just wants to break into the publishing industry. Relationships take time and energy. They need to be nurtured and as my social circle has expanded, largely due to my online life, I can’t possibly be the kind of friend I want to be to everyone. I also sometimes find myself feeling guilty when an e-friend comments on my blog, especially if I haven’t commented or even visited her site for some time. So I click on over, and then I’m reminded of someone else I really need to touch base with. I could spend all day connecting with wonderful people! In doing so, however, I’d be disconnected with some pretty wonderful people right at home.
Nor can I meet the needs – even when they’re simply professional – of everyone who contacts me via my blog or some other social network. I certainly shouldn’t feel guilty when I don’t respond to the countless random people who want to advertise on my blog something that has nothing to do with my readership (like sex toys, I kid you not) or people who want to post some random guest article.
My take-charge personality can be a blessing in many situations, but it can be a burden when I start to try to be a friend/spiritual director/mentor/helpmate/business partner/cheerleader/PR person/confidant to anyone and everyone I “meet” online. I want to give everyone the charitable response they deserve when they contact me, or I want to answer all the questions they ask. But I can’t, and until I can set some boundaries and get over the guilt I need to take a step away from it all. A good friend of mine keeps telling me I need to read Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life. It’s on my wish list along with a library of other books, but I might need to move it closer to the top.
Building all these relationships also allows some of us to get hurt far too easily. Being online makes you very vulnerable. While vulnerability is good to a point because it helps to keep us from hardening our hearts, becoming cold and distant, or refusing love, we don’t need to endure attacks from strangers who really don’t know anything about us. I’ve shared a lot in this space, but I have some crosses I’ve never mentioned or only in passing. Very few people know all my secrets, burdens, or even joys.
But people size you up pretty quickly when you’re visible online. People also inadvertently hurt you. Here are just a few scenarios of how social media can injure us:
- You email someone you admire, and you never hear back.
- You click on over to the blog of someone you thought was a friend and they distort something you know to be a truth.
- You let some faceless guy who knows nothing about you other than that you’re a pro-life Catholic get under your skin.
- You receive a glib comment beneath a post you felt passionate about and take it very personally.
- You “met” someone online and then you have a chance to meet her in real-life at some event, and she barely talks to you and doesn’t even seem to remember the fact that you shared many email conversations.
- You find yourself growing jealous of someone who has a far more popular blog than you. Or maybe you grow envious of another mom who seems to have it together so much more than you do.
There’s a lot of room for charity and connection online, but there’s plenty of space for hurt and jealousy.
13. Ah, jealousy. I really don’t want to admit this one, but lately when I’ve clicked over to a few of my favorite online spots, I haven’t felt encouraged or hopeful. I’ve felt jealous (for stupid reasons, too, although all reasons are stupid when it comes to jealousy). I don’t like jealousy. It’s a big, destructive emotion that makes you stop being grateful and drives you to live in fear that others have what you don’t, and you end up feeling threatened or angry or hopeless. I don’t have room in my heart for any of those feelings.
14. I’ve always tried to offer an authentic representation of motherhood, and the most authentic thing I can do right now is admit that I can’t do it all and that something has to give. I recently was making some homeschooling plans for next year and I started to panic thinking about how I’d have to be schooling two children and then managing two littles. How would I have time to blog? Yup. I actually thought that, and that’s when I realized it’s become too big for me right now. I’m not going to send my children to school just so I can find time to blog. Please, please don’t infer that I’m saying that other moms who send their kids to school do it so they can blog. If and when my husband and I do make the decision to send our children to school-school and I did happen to have more time to blog (although I doubt it since last week I was schlepping two girls to two different activities and wondered how you school-school moms do it), my reasons for stopping to homeschool would not have anything to do with more time to blog.
I’ve seen recent online discussions about moms of little ones who feel like they’re very close to drowning and are tired of treading water barely keeping their heads above the surface. These moms sometimes wonder how someone like me who has a more public life and appears to have it all together so effortlessly keeps all of the balls in the air. I don’t. Not effortlessly. And sometimes the ball to drop is the one that I would be the most devastated of all if it were to break. These sweet children of mine don’t need a mom who is anxious about what someone on Twitter thinks of her or a mom who stays up later than she should because she HAS TO BLOG. They need a peaceful, present mama, and right about now I’m not sure I can do that and be so present online.
Sometimes I wonder how some of the moms I admire are able to blog with regularity (and not make ridiculous typos), but many of them have older children. When they were in this season that I’m in, they didn’t even know what a blog was. I keep forgetting this whole mommy blogging thing is a relatively new phenomenon.
Other moms might have husbands with more flexible schedules. Or maybe they have kids who sleep a solid 10 hours every night. Whatever the case, it doesn’t matter. I’ve only got to examine what I can and can’t do, and I can’t seem to find time to blog right now unless I sacrifice sleep or sacrifice time that my family deserves first.
15. I advocate simplicity parenting. I work hard to limit my children’s activities as well as to not feel like I am limiting them by not having them as involved as most of the other kids I know. I believe in unstructured playtime, the gift of boredom, and lazy afternoons watching the clouds drift along in a sea of blue. I find the kids and I all get antsy when we’re doing too much outside of the home. But I have to take a look at my own activities as well. Just because my busyness might take place within the walls of our home in front of a computer screen or an iPhone doesn’t mean it’s any less distracting or soul-sucking. It should be soul-soothing, remember?
Several weeks ago I’d put all the younger kids to bed and it was just 7-year-old Madeline and me sitting on the couch. I asked her if she could read for a bit while I worked on a blog post. She happily obliged and curled next to me. But what was supposed to be “a bit” turned into a half hour.
“Mommy, are you finished yet?”
“Almost,” I mumbled distractedly.
“You said that awhile ago. Why do you have to blog anyway?”
I look back to seven years ago when she was born. I still wrote. I regularly contributed to Pregnancy magazine, and I wrote two regular columns for other publications and also did PR work for a big company; yet, I didn’t feel as hurried or harried as I have lately. Granted, I had just one baby, but this was a baby who NEVER slept at night or during the day. My Thomas is thankfully a great napper.
Now so many moms I know of young children start blogging. If So-and-So can do it, then I can find time to blog, too! But at what expense? What are we losing in exchange for writing brilliant posts? What are our children losing?
I’m not suggesting all women who blog who are also moms ignore their children or that their children are suffering. We should not be expected to be recreational directors or to play with our kids 24/7, but we are missing out if we don’t embrace the simple moments with our children and work to create an atmosphere of wonder and simplicity where we react with our kids in real time, face-to-face without the enticing buzz of technology anywhere around to lure us.
Less is more, especially when it comes to technology and children. I’m not campaigning we all chuck our Blackberries (I’m keeping my Smart Phone) and embrace a new life as families of cheesemakers or beekeepers, but I suspect almost all of us could use a little less technology in our lives and a little more focused attention given to our children.
16. I don’t have as much extended family support as I once did. My mom is sick. My mother-in-law used to work close by to our old townhome and would stop by after work. While I do have a regular babysitter who is wonderful, it’s not the same as having family nearby to help. So I just don’t have as much time to write/blog.
17. I’m going to use this time to really think about pursuing speaking more. Speaking just feels like a better fit for me at this season of my life. I still get to write. Then I talk to actual faces rather than a computer screen or a gravatar. It’s not a weekly thing. I can pick and choose which speaking engagements won’t disrupt our family life too much. BONUS: No trolls accuse me of participating in hate groups.
And I’ll tell you when I traveled the Illinois for the Behold Conference last March, I felt a preternatural calm, and it wasn’t because traveling with a baby isn’t stressful and trying to nurse him while a line of people wait to talk to you after your speech isn’t multitasking at its finest. It was because I truly believe the Holy Spirit was guiding me and God wanted me to be there. I was glorifying God in my body, in my words, in my life, and I know this because of the sense of calm I experienced even when things weren’t perfect. I haven’t felt that way about blogging for several months now.
18. The only thing wacky in my life I want right now are these two girls all dressed up for Wacky-Tacky Day at soccer camp.
There’s just a lot of gunk Cyberspace as well as wacky people who would never accuse you of being something you’re not to your face but have no problem doing it online. I’ve gone through phases where it doesn’t bother me to be picked apart or to receive negative feedback, but clearly I’ve been struggling with detaching myself from it all lately.
19. What I want more than finding myself engaged in some online discussion – no matter how meaningful it is – is to meander my way back into the cozy heart of my home where unconditional love is freely given. Am I being wimpy? Maybe. Am I being overly idyllic about my home life? Definitely. Things aren’t always peachy and perfect here. But they’re real, and you can touch the ones you love and look them in the eyes and feel the warmth of their bodies. So even when things get shaky, there’s that and that counts for a whole lot.
20. I have four kids now. There’s just more chaos and busyness and sleeplessness. But there’s a lot of fun, too. I want to spend more time enjoying my kids than blogging about them.
21. And let’s not forget I included “shower” on a recent to-do list.
So there you have it. An epically-long post about why I’m taking a blogging sabbatical. (I actually have some other reasons if you can believe it, but I’ll spare you.)
I’m not disappearing completely. I’m sure I’ll still be on Twitter occasionally, and I’ll still be posting some photos on Facebook. I’ve enjoyed doing that more lately. I’m also committed to being a regular guest on some media, including Relevant Radio’s Morning Air Show (next guest spot is on Monday, June 18th at 8 a.m. EST. Please tune in!).
I promised a guest post spot to Marisa. I never used to be one to break promises. I’m saying yes too much and behind every yes there is a no to my family. I have stacks of books to review, but I’m not sure I can get to them all. I also said I’d write a review of the My Consecration app before I arrived at this decision. I’m not sure I’ll write a formal review, but I will Tweet about it or post something on Facebook. It’s a free app for completing the beautiful 33-day St. Louis de Montfort’s Consecration to Jesus through Mary (something I did last year while on pregnancy bed rest).
This site will remain. I’ll still be on email.
Thank you all for sticking with me here and reading your way through this mess of words. My regular readers have always been so kind to me. I wish I was better at detaching myself from the small amount of negativity I’ve experienced because the positive has surely outweighed it. I’m confident I can get better at it as well as get better at finding balance with online v. in-the-flesh life. I just need to work on some virtues, and I honestly just want to have a fun summer before we hit the homeschooling routine again come fall. I love my children so, and they’re growing up so quickly. I’m tired, often in a fog, and it takes a real presence of mind to remember and to savor.
This feels an awful lot like a good-bye, but I’m really approaching it as a sabbatical.
I’m having trouble ending this post because then that’s it. I’ve got to stick to my guns and become little and hidden for at least a few weeks. My husband advised trying it for one month and just seeing what happens and how I feel and if I’ve been able to discern anything more clearly. I don’t want to set a strict timeline, but I think he’s right. I need at least a month to see how I’m doing, how my children are doing.
Darn it. I’m crying. There are are tears dripping onto my keyboard. If my computer shorts, should I take it as a sign? Only kidding. Sort of.
Seriously, that’s the trouble isn’t it? We usually don’t get any big, conspicuous signs. Discernment is easy if you’re choosing between something obviously wrong and something virtuous. It’s not so easy walking away from something that has blessed you, and yeah given you an ego boost or two. But more importantly, this online life of mine has given me friends who will last a lifetime. It has given me the honor of praying for people in need. It’s also frequently provided me with a morale boost and introduced me to “momrades” who’ve got my back. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
For some reason as I wrote that last paragraph John Donne’s “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning” popped into my head. I loved that poem as a melodramatic teenager (some things never change, eh?). Somehow it seems fitting here (even though I got all tearfully sentimental on you, and this is exactly what Donne wants to avoid when bidding farewell to his bride).
by John Donne
As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
“Now his breath goes,” and some say, “No.”
So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.
Moving of th’ earth brings harms and fears;
Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.
Dull sublunary lovers’ love
—Whose soul is sense—cannot admit
Of absence, ’cause it doth remove
The thing which elemented it.
But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fix’d foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th’ other do.
And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.
Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th’ other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.
*Oh, and I’ll feel like a total hypocrite if I respond to comments after this post. And if I only respond to a few, I’ll just feel guilty. But know I’ll hold your words close. God bless you!