Thursday, September 27, 2007

Too much/too little

My friend Roo is coming over to watch Fly for a little while today so I can get some things done. I need to tweak my professional Web site and do some work on a new design project I took on for my church. That's super nice, but . . . .

The thing is, I know if I didn't spend time writing here at Growing A Life and reading blogs, I would have time for these things.

I lovelovelove blogging and the community of mamas I've come to know and love.

But it's getting harder to justify spending an hour a day on what is basically a hobby; unlike many successful mom blogs, I am not trying to make money with Growing A Life. Fly has always been a high-need baby, and I've complained chronicled how he doesn't like to sleep. Now Fly is growing into a high-need toddler who takes one short nap every day, and I'm worn down. If I spend his precious nap time blogging, then go to bed an hour after he does, that doesn't leave me much time for other stuff. (And if I don't go to bed right after he does in an attempt to get everything done, then I get six hours of sleep or less! Like almost every night this week.)

A month ago, JP offered to watch Fly more on weekends instead of doing the personal projects he wants to do. But two weekends of him not doing that (after which I reminded him of his offer) and two more weekends when JP freed me up for one hour each weekend, I can see I can't rely on him to give me more free time.

And so I'm just torn about what to do. I hear all the advice about making sure you're fulfilled as a mom so you can be a better person to take care of your family -- but I just don't know how to do that without help or without cutting something out. I hear stories of moms with two and more children, running numerous Web sites and seeming to keep their reali-world lives all together. I know a mom who has two sons, works as a nurse, takes classes toward an advanced degree and still finds time for herself every week. Many moms have successful home businesses. And I wonder how they do it!

If it was just a matter of writing blog posts, that isn't time consuming (for me). But, let's face it, to be a good blog citizen (blogizen?), you have to be a good commenter. And that takes a lot of time. I read about 80 blogs. I enjoy it. But maybe I need to focus more on my priorities. I don't want to stop blogging, but I don't know how to keep up this pace of all the things I have to do.

So I turn to you for ideas, help or criticism. Am I doomed to having zippo time to myself because I have a high-need baby? Should I just let him watch TV for two hours a day, as a friend of mine suggested? Or is it OK to let your friend/relative come and watch your child so you can blog (even if it's not that you actually blog while your child is being watched)?

How do you find time for yourself and doing the things you enjoy?

Or is there something I'm missing? I just need to get it all sorted out . . . .

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Blogger Guinevere Meadow said...

Well, I guess you heard my take on this at lunch today. :) I guess you'll just have to decide what's more important- blogging or your other pursuits. OR, as you said, writing blog posts isn't time consuming, it's the visiting other blogs. What is your reason for blogging? Is it the community that's important to you? If it's just for a creative outlet, then continue writing, but cut down the number of blogs you read. You say you read 80? Do all 80 of them comment here? Maybe just pick your top 10-20 and read those regularly, that way you can still blog without the huge time commitment.

Just my $0.02!

4:21 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Not to add to your "to-read" list, but I just posted about this exact same topic over at my blog, Adventures of SS: :)

Essentially, I sat down and did a "productivity analysis." As a result, I've cut down my list of blogs that I read every day to just eight. (P.S. Your blog is one of the eight!)

5:35 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I'm struggling with this as well. I have 41 blogs that I read and only have about 5 "regular" commenters. I blog because I like to write but I want people to read and appreciate what I write as well. I keep trying to increase my readership but I'm not very successful so far. I'm beginning to think I just stink at writing (which doesn't bode well for my dream of writing a novel!)

But to answer your question, I stay up ridiculously late at night trying to get everything done.

It doesn't work that great, but it won't always be like this, right?

8:04 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

Oh girl, I hear you. Some days I can't even manage to get my teeth brushed until night fall. I just don't know how these uber-moms do it all. As for reading blogs, I read them while I rock my son to sleep. I'm shameless. But I don't have 80 that I read...that does seem like a lot. Are there any of them that you can check in on once a week instead of every day?

8:47 PM  
Blogger Jodi said...

I blog at night, at work, at nap time, and yes, while Michael is watching tv.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Nadine said...

I too read many blogs about 20 or 30...but you definately got me beat. I've cut down on the ones I read frequently to the ones that comment regularly on my blog. I check the others about once a week. It has helped.

But please continue to write. I do enjoy stopping by here and reading what you have to say. You are one I read frequently for sure.

So whatever you decide, please continue to write at least.

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Melissa Garrett said...

Oh, the plight of *most* women everywhere! I just deleted a lot of feeds from my Google reader (obviously, not yours). I've really only kept the ones of readers who take the time to comment on my blog more than once in a blue moon. I know what it's like to feel tired an unbalanced; I've got a VERY active toddler to watch while I attempt to work from home. My time is so divided, meaning, anything I do is centered around her and happens in 15-20 minute spurts. I won't tell you how long it's taken me to write this comment! As far as blogging goes, continue to do it if it brings you pleasure. Just be very picky about who you read. And by golly, accept help when it is offered :-)

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Margie said...

A lot of the blogs I read (ahem, have bookmarked) don't post every day. I have a core group of favorites I like to check (including some that generally DO blog more-or-less daily), and then others I might check only once a week or less (perhaps some that favorite bloggers have linked to, that are on a sort of "probabtion"). I don't feel like I have to read every entry to enjoy the blog. So maybe work a little on re-organizing your bookmarks by priority?

Do you use a service like bloglines? While I much prefer actually going to the blog (so I can read it within their layout, see their blogroll, etc.), at least with one of those services I can more readily see which ones have been updated, and which haven't.

I've also found that my tastes have evolved over the years. Every now and then I'll delete a few that I just don't get into, or that don't post often enough (if they've gone more than a month without posting, I'm prone to give up on them--unless they're a close friend, then I give them more leeway).

Ultimately you have to balance what you enjoy and what you have time to do. I think it's perfectly fine to hire a sitter or get someone else to watch Fly on a regular basis so that you can have "me time" -- and then do whatever you want, whatever re-energizes you and makes you happy during that time! Although I would probably be pretty sheepish about using that time to read blogs, because my husband sees it as a big waste of time (*rolls eyes*). But if you have a laptop, you could go to a library, coffee shop or park and catch up on blog reading; maybe combine it with a few other errands.

Actually as Fly gets older and more independent and interested in exploring, it's good for him to be in the care of others.

We all have the same number of hours in a day. I have a lot of things I enjoy (mending, crafts, reading) that sit around waiting for me to do them. Some things are time-sensitive--like if I want to go to that play, I have to go when it's showing, but others can wait until one of those so-called "free moments." When I know I'm going to have to spend some time waiting around (dr's appointment, etc.), I'll bring something to read or perhaps a small portable craft project--or even bills to pay!).

I don't think there's an easy answer. We just have to try to find a balance. Exercise, eat, work, play, sleep--not necessarily in that order. ;)

9:00 AM  
Anonymous chelle said...

It is a tough balance. I have needed the community so I stay. I read who reads me first then work my way around. I do not have any other job besides being a mom, moving to another country and being a wife ... blogging keeps me sane. I have had to cut out tv though ... just no time.

Whatever you decide I always enjoy coming here & reading your comments :)

9:29 AM  
Blogger Nap Warden said...

Ugh, I'm in the same boat...I will be back to comment further, and see if anyone else has advice...There just isn't enough time in a day...

9:40 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I find this to be a cyclical issue and I have made a silent promise to myself and my family to follow a natural ebb and flow as my conscience dictates.

11:00 AM  
Blogger carrielouise said...

You've got to do what you're comfortable with. My kids (most of them) are much older than Fly, and if they weren't here to entertain the baby every once in awhile, I wouldn't be on the computer as much as I am.

But I'm also trying to sell portraits, so I can "justify" my time online for that. Most of the time. Ha ha.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

It seems to get easier to get that time, as the kids get older and more apt to entertain themselves.

Still, 80 blogs?!!! That's a lot of blogs. I would seriously consider cutting it down to under 20 that you love.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Jill said...

I agree with Janet 80 is a lot. I would par it down to the 10-20 range. Maybe visit the others every so often, but not everyday. A lot of people don't post everyday so it isn't really worth checking in on them everyday.

If blogging is taking up too much time, what if you did a blog fast from reading others. See which ones you really missed and cut out the rest.

Of course if mine happens to be one you read regularly, I think you should definetely keep that up. I have something very fun planned for Oct ;)

4:40 PM  
Blogger bubandpie said...

Well, I've got more than 100 on my Bloglines ... but I'm a fast reader. :) If reading blogs relaxes and restores you, keep doing it.

8:32 PM  
Blogger h&b said...

There's 107 blogs on my Bloglines, but I don't comment on all, all the time.

Sometimes I get really far behind, but I generally only comment on those posts that tend to 'grab' me, rather than feeling obliged to comment on EACH and EVERY thought someone has.

Sometimes I make up in a lot of backreading - i'm not sure if anyone ever reads my back-comments, oh well ;)

Anyway, I say 'don't feel obliged, and have fun. If someone's going to get snooty as you're not hanging off their every word, DELETE !


6:31 PM  
Blogger Lady M said...

It's definitely hard to balance. I usually read every day, but only comment on some days. I've been so exhausted lately that I'm catching up with a whole week!

2:49 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

I could have written this post myself. As others have suggested here, you might want to divide the blogs you read into those 5-10 you "must read" every day and comment on, those 10-20 you read a few times a week and may or may not comment on, and then have the rest of the blogs fall into the category of those you read one a week, but don't spend the time to comment on unless you're really compelled to do so.

Time-management is not one of my strengths, and, like you, I would love, LOVE the opportunity to spend more time on my interests hobbies (in fact, the only reason I have time to comment here now is because my mom is visiting for the weekend and is watching Isabella).

But here's what I think: our babies are not going to be super-needy forever (right?). In a year, maybe less, they'll be able to entertain themselves for longer spurts of time, and then us moms can start spending more time on our interests. In the meantime, just know that there are so many moms (me included) in the same boat you are.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Nap Warden said...

Well, I have put all my blogs on Google Reader (yours included). Let's see if that helps save some time...

3:14 PM  
Blogger Mom of a munchkin said...

Wow. I can TOTALLY identify with this post. My daughter is also high need and I feel exactly the same way about blogging and time for myself. I wish I knew the answer too.

Thanks for your comment on "Breast Bond" by the way. And on the facebook note, I just foudn a group of facebook that has tons of breastfeeding pictures and supports it and a friend of mine has a breastfeeding pic as her profile pic...SO the ban must be lifted.

Thanks also for your comment on "pain for a good purpose" I'm really hesitant to do those shots. I still haven't made a final decision but I wouldn't be surprised if we at least wait til she is older.

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Jewelle said...

I know what you mean - I have 2 kids about Fly's age and I'm still trying to find a balance to do things too. To me, prioritizing is crucial. When I go online, I try to do it according to a schedule, morning for checking and commenting on blogs that I follow, afternoon to blog and strictly no reading anything else and so on.

As the others said, use a feedreader and you can cut down on the number of blogs you have to read in a day.

Well, a few more years then when the kids starts going to school, we'll have a different story then!

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Laura Lohr : My Beautiful Life said...

I haven't got it figured out, but each week, I try to get a list of things that are important to me written down: exercise 5x a week, write my list of extraordinary chores that need to be done (outside the "normal" ones).

I find myself blogging and commenting at strange hours, but often leaves me tired the next day. I read my blogs through google reader and comment when I can.

If you get it figured out, let me know. :) I think most moms have to play the balancing act! We live far away from any potential babysitters and I say that if you got 'em and they are willing, let 'em help. Your time with your little one is better quality when you aren't burned out!

Hang in there, you aren't alone!

5:36 AM  
Blogger groovyoldlady said...

The truth is, we all go through seasons in our life. TRying to accomplish dreams/goals and plans "out of season" can really drain our tanks! Your #1 priorities right now need to be Fly and the man. However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking time here and there to rest and rejuvenate yourself. Every once in a while, I look aat Mulletman and say, "You don't work tomorrow. I NEED to get away or I'm going to kill someone. I want/need/am taking a day off. A WHOLE day!"

He can usually tell by the maniacal look in my eyes that disagreement is a non-option. Then I take off and spend the day reading in a park or window shoping in stores I never get to with the kids.

Now, because I don't have a laptop, I'm more inclined to say, "I need a day off. Tomorrow I want you and the girls to GO AWAY for the whole day." That one doesn't always work as well, though...

If your hubby isn't as cooperative now, he may be when Fly is older and that will be a new season for you. So hang in there and DO occasionally beg a friend or pay someone to give you respite.

8:13 AM  
Blogger oh amanda said...

It's a hard call. For me, I have to do it. It's my one real hobby. However, I don't have a million other jobs, commitments IRL.

I think someone else said it ebbs and flows. I know my life goes in seasons. Maybe your blog will too.

On the selfish side, you can't stop blogging! I love reading you!

6:40 PM  
Blogger Mama's Moon said...

I'm not sure how I missed this last week, but I'm glad you linked it today because I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone. It takes a lot to be a good 'blogizen'. It adds to the complex role of being a good mama. In the end, those who love to read you and have come to appreciate your comments will truly understand that at this moment in your life you need to be able to focus on something else. We all go thru jags (just as our kids do), and this just happens to be yours. Go take care of Fly, yourself, and family life. Post a few short posts to let us know you're okay, and don't beat yourself up about it. Just because you go and take care of all of this doesn't mean you'll be blacklisted from the community. It's just choosing priorities without killing yourself.

Big hugs to you! I hope it all works out for you...

11:33 PM  

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