Back when I actually had time to regularly read blogs, I’d frequently see bloggers apologizing for the lack of substance in recent posts or even for an extended silence. I often, especially lately, feel like I should be apologizing, too, for having nothing pithy to say or for just posting only the most flattering photos of our most recent addition. When I was on bed rest, words just flowed from me. I felt inspired, and it showed. I also had a lot of help and more time to hash out my feelings.
But ever since Thomas was born, I’ve been in a writing and blogging rut. I have plenty of ideas, but I can’t seem to get them past the embryonic stage. I just don’t seem to have the energy, time or creativity. I’ve also been napping more with our little man. None of my babies get the “It’s time to sleep through the night” memo, so my nights can be long, my shuteye fragmented. I’ve found what restores me right now more than anything is taking an afternoon snooze with Thomas. It’s been good for the older girls to have quiet time, too. None of the girls nap anymore. If they do, they won’t go to sleep until after 10 p.m. I marvel at children who take two to three hour naps and fall asleep by 8 p.m. at night. My kids just aren’t like that.
I have a friend, a doctor like my husband, who once told me that that’s what I get for marrying a man who could survive the crazy, 90-hour workweeks of residency and on-call nights without getting forty, much less one wink, of sleep. Just last weekend he worked over 40 hours in three days (and that was after a long week of regular work). He can get by without much sleep. The same seems to be true of one of my kids in particular and none of the rest have been amazing sleepers. Both my 2-year-old and 4-year-old still get up in the middle of the night a few times a week.
So there’s the lack of sleep thing that keeps me from writing more frequently (or more brilliantly). There’s also been a lot of marketing opportunities for my book and related new writing projects coming my way, many of which I’ve had to reluctantly turned down. I’ve joked with more than one editor that I probably shouldn’t even think about taking on any new regular writing gigs or writing a second book until taking a shower becomes non-negotiable.
I can’t keep up with laundry anymore either. It’s endless. That heap of unwashed clothes taunts me.
Where do the hours of my day go to? To my children. To my nursling. To my husband.
Honestly, I’m not unhappy writing less in this space, but I do feel guilty. I enjoyed my brief blogging hiatus, but I felt like a slacker, too. I’ve recently picked up a few new blog readers who generously told me they enjoyed some of my posts. It always bring me joy to discover that my words resonate with people or that people find a morsel of inspiration in the thicket of my verbosity. I thanked them for encouraging me.
Then I started apologizing. “I used to write so much more. I’m sorry I don’t write much, and I’m sorry I ramble and have typos sometimes.”
Shortly after Thomas was born, I was desperately trying to churn out a blog post while he slept. My Rae-Rae stood beside me and asked what I was doing,
“Writing,” I told her without taking my eyes off of the screen.
“Why?” she asked.
At that moment, I wasn’t writing because I felt inspired. I wasn’t writing to cement a precious moment with my children forever in my journal or in cyberspace. I wasn’t writing to help supplement our income or to add to our children’s college funds. I wasn’t writing as a means of catharsis or prayer.
Frankly, I wasn’t sure why I was writing at that exact moment when I felt tired and had a stuffy nose from a cold. I just felt like I needed to get a blog post out there. It had been too long. My handful of everyday, regular readers (whom I really and truly am very, very grateful for) would want to hear from me, right? I owed it to Google Reader to produce something new.
Kids ask tough questions. They force you to look at yourself, your motivations, your habits. Instead of apologizing to others, many of them strangers, for my uninspired writings, my dearth of posts, or my inability to take on any new writing projects right now, maybe I should be saying sorry to my family for forgetting that they are my number one priority.
It’s necessary for me to take care of myself in order to be a good mother, but exercise, prayer, writing (bad) poetry – these are the pursuits that are just for me, not for any audience other than maybe God. Blogging is not obligatory. I seriously doubt I’ll ever be a professional blogger. I’m too long-winded. I’m not a talented photographer, and I don’t even make beautiful things (besides children) to photograph; and I don’t write about enough controversial topics (other than reasons for nursing a toddler, perhaps). Sometimes I write to get paid; not so long ago I had to write for an income to get us through some very lean years.
But that’s not why I write in this space.
I blog to inspire, to encourage myself and others, to make people laugh, to laugh at myself, to remember, to grow spiritually, to sift through my mountain of feelings. But I don’t want to write out of a self-imposed obligation or out of guilt. I don’t want to squeeze in blogging at the expense of my family.
I hope you, O faithful remnant, will be patient and stick around, but I can’t promise to be a prolific blogger. Not now when there are so many other works in progress vying for my time, energy, and attention. And their stories keep changing; these littles keep me on my toes.
I wonder how some women do it all. Then again, there have been people tell me they wonder how I do it all (a good, dependable babysitter helps and she’s just returned to us from an almost month-long break). Sometimes I make sacrifices, and sometimes those sacrifices – like ignoring a four-year-old’s request for a story on my lap or nursing while typing instead of just nursing while staring at the wonder of my little boy – just aren’t worth it.
I don’t want to wake up 20 years from now with grown children and a heart full of regret. These children of mine are growing and changing with every stroke of the keyboard.
It’s up to me to make every second count.