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Thursday, February 7, 2008

i've been doing some thinking.

this morning my nano was missing, (more than likely the work of two little boys.) resulting in the opportunity for me to do a lot of thinking on my morning run. as they say in beauty & the beast "a dangerous past time, i know"... but, today, i probably needed it. lately i've been feeling a bit overwhelmed & i thought the time to ponder & self-reflect might do me some good - i might be able to come up with some solutions. yeah, it didn't really work up out like i planned. i'm still at a total lost & so i turn to you. how do you manage life? okay, i'll admit, that's very broad & a little vague. like all of you, i've got a lot going on in life. someone might look at me & see simply a mother or a wife, but there's definitely more to me than that. i'm also an accountant, cook, daughter, concierge, laundress, sister, secretary, entrepreuner, nanny, therapist, seamstress, friend, chaffeur, director of business development, gardener, personal dresser, decorator, handyman, dog walker, teacher, maid... & those are just the titles that spring to mind quickly. the point being, as i mentioned earlier, i'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. and don't get me wrong, i LOVE my life & wouldn't change it for the world. i'm not at all complaining, i just need help learning to manage it all. i mean, let's be honest here... i only have two kids, neither of them are in school & our only extra-curricular activity is swimming. in a couple of years i may (or may not) have a whole herd of children, i'm sure one or two will be in school & i'm almost 99% sure i'm be driving them to a whole slew of activities. so if i feel like i'm dropping the ball now, i don't even want to think about what it's going to be like then. so what are your thoughts? suggestions? any self-help books i should read?

& while we're on the subject... a little bit of an off-shoot i'd like to explore involves blogging. more specifically, how do you manage the whole blogging aspect of life? for example, for me blogging is definitely addicitive. i love having a place where i can post my "thoughts & ramblings about life." i love being able to conncect with people - friends, family & people i never would have otherwise met. i love being exposed to new & inspiring ideas & i love the connection i feel to the world around me. but, like everything in life, blogging does come without it's downside. lately i've been using a reader, definitely a handy little tool, but sometimes it can get overwhelming (for lack of a better word) when i sign in & i have 250 new posts to read. plus, i've found myself getting lazy when it comes to commenting, because it takes a little bit more effort. &, as much as i love reading blogs, i have to be careful. for one thing, it's so easy to go click, click, click & suddenly i've wasted hours, just staring at the computer. not to mention, if i let them, sometimes reading blogs can leave me feeling like i suck. (maybe you know the feeling? you aren't talented or creative enough? or you feel like a crappy mom, wife or friend?) anyway i've totally digressed. basically, i'm just interested in how you like to blog. do you post only when the mood strikes? do you read blogs daily, several times a day, a couple times a week? do you like to comment are you a lurker? what are you're favorite things about blogging? anything you dislike about it?

oh wow! this post is much longer & much more intense than i ever intended. hopefully i'll find my nano & will be able to avoid further thinking. in the meantime, what your thoughts on the subject(s)?


.caroline armelle. said...

all very similiar thoughts to 99% of mothers out there.
i just take it one day at a time... and the blogging thing.. yes, it is addicting and sometimes a waste of time, but like you said the connecting to people you wouldn't ever meet is great. plus, i like a creative outlet too.
but, for me i've made a goal to get some things done before i allow myself to turn on the computer.. it doesn't always work, but i try.
i try to make a list of things i need to get done, and as long as i accomplish at least one of those things a day i feel like i'm not a total failure.
but, there's no doubt your a great mom and will find the right balance that works for you... even if it's always a continual search.. you only hope that you progress in a good way.

Diane said...

I'm happy to read caroline's comment...I'm happy to hear that other people feel like I do (and I only have ONE child and work part-time). Sometimes I feel like there is nothing left of me. I used to have a blog but just like you mentioned, I started to feel like I had nothing to say that anyone would be interested in reading. So now, I mostly read others blogs and comment occasionally.

Debbie from Pennsylvania said...

Hi Kelly, My sweet hubby bought me a book a couple years ago when he noticed I was feeling a bit overwhelmed: "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff with Your Family." It came just in the nick of time for me....I was really about to lose it. I'm a perfectionist so my home needed to be a showplace, every dish had to be put away before I could rest my head. Once I stopped obsessing about everything, my everyday life started being more enjoyable. As for the computer, "just walk away!" it will still be there when you get back and all your blogger buddies, fans and lurkers will still be checking in for a new post. I don't have a blog of my own but it does get addictive reading others. In the back of my mind I keep saying I have this to do and that to do. I did find myself glued to my seat for way too many hours reading about everyone elses life and adventures and missing out on my own. Some days I just literally jump up from my seat, that's the only way I can refocus on my own daily life. Then when I eventually get back on-line I just backtrack to previous posts. I do notice that some bloggers only blog 2-3 times a week. You are definitely not alone in feeling overwhelmed wearing all the hats that most women wear. I would just take a step back and look at the whole picture and take care of the important things. Yes, I have learned to go to bed with the dishes piled up next to the sink, so they didn't get done because I was helping my son with a school project or something. My husband does pick-up where I leave off and we have a 50-50 marriage but sometimes the dishes just don't get washed. Your kids are still young, live in the moment with them. Freeze your mind from worring about other stuff when you are with them like what your next blog will be about and taking photos to post on your blog. I was addicted to selling on ebay, the photos, the listing, the emails, etc. You just need to find a way to prioritize your daily life - ask yourself how important is this or will the world end if I don't do that. Enjoy Life!

Kristi said...

Hi Kelly-

I've been reading your blog for a little while now and I really enjoy it! I am horrible at commenting- unless it is someone I know in real life. I'm trying to be better about commenting if something really moves me or impresses me. I have 228 blogs on my Bloglines and so I can't comment on everyone's. Because I do waste more time than I should just keeping up on my blogs. I try to discipline myself to do X before I can get on the computer and then spend only a set amount of time and then I need to go get busy again, but it is really easy to get sucked in.

Jessica said...

I keep thinking that I'll figure out some kind of better time management skills, but it doesn't seem to happen. And my list of 'roles' is not nearly as long or varied as yours.

As far as blogging goes, despite the fact that I have 2 of them, I enjoy reading and commenting more than posting on my own sometimes. Sometimes I can't wait to blog about something, but then there are times where I think, "oh, better post something, haven't in 4 days", ha. Although I am lucky enough that I blow through down time at work (we'll pretend it's down time, and not me ignoring my work) via blogs so it isn't so much a burden to read them.

Marty said...

I've just been reading a journal I kept from the time my first baby was born until my last one was 15. Some version of all your concerns came through in every entry!

It's hard to be a mom and have so much expected of you, and then have your own interests and expectations piled on top. I felt lost or invisible, wondering if there was any of me left.

I can't explain it, but the Bible scripture that says "he who loses his life in the service of others shall find it" is totally true. A mom loses herself, and at the end there's much more to find. I didn't ever get the meaning of that until after my kids were grown up. I felt resentment a lot of times because I was giving up so much. I thought I'd have to wait for heaven to get my reward, but I feel like I'm getting it now. There's more depth to me, somehow. And I have time to pursue a lot of interests now, that I had to postpone in those days.

But I think you have to fight to keep as much of yourself as you can. You'll know what's most important, and you can trust your gut feeling. With all that you're doing for your kids, don't feel guilty when you make them sacrifice for your needs.

About the whole blogging thing. I see it as a means of communication. Even though we aren't pioneers out on the prairie somewhere alone, we can feel lonely. Young moms feel isolated from the rest of the world a lot of times. There are different solutions for different people.

When I was a young mom there was no such thing as blogging, but I spent hours on the phone with my sisters, mom and friends. Everyone watched Phil Donahue on TV because it connected them to other adults.

Blogging is also a hobby. My mom spent hours sewing and other women spend hours in their garden, or reading, or cleaning, or re-decorating, or baking...I personally don't think any hobby that interests a person is a waste of time. I do think everyone thinks their OWN hobby is more valuable than other people's hobbies. I also think we're programmed somehow to feel guilty about doing anything we enjoy.

If your kids are bathed, fed, and dressed in clean clothes occasionally, and they are safe, and you're teaching them to pray and to love each other, blog on.

This has got me going. I obviously have tons to say on this topic because I've thought about it all for 39 years. This is what happens when you find yourself!

Steph said...

Hey Kelly!

I've been reading your blog for a while as well (and I think you have been to one or both of mine a few times too) and I completely agree with you. If I let myself, I will spend hours sitting here, reading blogs. I started off with a blog specifically for my baking that blog turned into another and now I have two blogs to keep up with. Sometimes I will have a million things to post about and I just never actually do it. I want to comment on people's blogs but I find myself being lazy about it.

I definitely think that some blogs out there can make you feel like less of a person. I know that I read some people's blogs, people who have quite a bit more kids than I do and I think -- how do they do it? How can they manage all of these things and I can barely hand my one and only two year old? A lot of people leave the negative side of their lives out of their blogs - and I understand that - but it can make you feel like you aren't as good of a mother or as creative. I try to draw inspiration from people and look at it as a way for me to learn something new. Hopefully someone learns something new from my blog too!

Andrea said...

First I agree with some of the other comments...all mother's probably feel like this. I know I do frequently, but I think that is one of the motivators for me. I was surprised by my first child and at first I was so overwhelmed by the events that are never finished like laundry and picking up and dishes, etc. But I have learned that having an urge to be a better wife, mother, cook, crafter, etc. has given me that goal or reason for continuing to do all those things.

As far as blogging, I just do it when something strikes me (although sometimes I do feel guilty for not doing it more). I do use a reader daily and it is wonderful. I read what I can and if I have extra time I comment. I think that it is key to not feel too obligated to read everything all the time. If a post is about something not as interesting to you or really long and you are really busy then just 'mark as read' and move on. Trust me, us bloggers will not be offended if you just skim over a post or two. :) I think you blog is wonderful and through it we can see you are a great mom and wife so just keep working through it. Good luck!

gab said...

Hi...good thought provoking post!

I know how you feel. I don't feel like writing my own posts is ever a waste of time. Sometimes going around blog-hopping gets to be a time-sapper, though. (Although not you!)

It's always a tricky balance between family, housework, and self. Let us know when you figure it out!

kathryn said...

Hmmm, I can totally relate to it all and I don't really have any solutions for you, sorry. Usually it's reading your blog that leaves me thinking, "man, if only i was as talented..."

The past month or so I've been in kind of a doldrums mood (post-holiday blues, I guess) and things around the house were getting terribly ignored while I lived vicariously through other's blogs. Finally after a week of not getting the kids dressed until the late afternoon, I decided to take a break (albeit a small one) from blogging and browsing the internet in general. And it was a breath of fresh air. Like a slap in the face reminding me that I do have a life. So I think it's good to take an internet vacation (and for me a t.v. vacation, too) and just focus on the tangible parts of your life. So, now I'll step down off my soapbox and see what others have to say. Time management has never been my forte, despite the fact that my dad was (is) pretty much the biggest Franklin Covey fan EVER. Too bad it didn't rub off on me!

sew-funky said...

a very thought provoking post - unfortunately I'm too tired to comment much more than that! But it has me thinking!!

Kloth & Bolt said...

oh you took the words right out of my head! i don't have any great solutions, but i would say, i only comment on what i really like or what i think is really different, somtimes i find myself flicking through quickly looking only at pictures, other days i read every word on every blog i subscribe too. when do i post, only when i have something to share, i would like to share more but somehow life gets in the way. ok now i am going on and on, basically what i am saying is i hear you! -kb

mama jo said...

from all the comments...everyone feels the same way...that's what you find out when you talk to people...and a good reason for blogs is that you stay in touch with others...but, everyone feels overwhelmed, inadequate...and even if your children are grown... you feel the same forgot one of your titles...a sounding board for your mom...but, as your mom, i think you're doing a fantastic job...and when you have those 10'll fit in what ever you have to do...just try not to lose one at the grocery store or whatever...keep on keeping on...i used to call my sisters...they had more experience and could tell me what to do...maybe you should call them too...

Ashlee said...

Don't try to be super mom is all I can say. It never works out the way you plan it to anyway, and kids don't remember half the stuff you try so hard at anyway. They just remember if you are there. :0)

As far as blogging usually depends on the day. I have about five blogs I look at every day {friends and family} and the rest are just if I feel like it. And sometimes I comment, other times I don't. It's only usually if I have something to say. Sometimes there's not much you can add. But I know that I LOVE getting comments! And most of my friends that blog love getting them as well.
I don't think I actually answered any of your questions. I just blathered on. I'm really tired. So, I'll stop now. :0)

love.boxes said...

You can't do everything. You can't be perfect. It's impossible. I think about this all the time because I have this trouble myself. I always wonder when watching the news how people have time to get themselves into trouble.. there is no time for jail.. I would be so behind :) Ha! But seriously all you can do is pray that you will be directed to be where you are needed most at the time you are needed there. That's the best you can do.. and then follow your heart.

love.boxes said...

PS.. Thanks so much for hosting the fun swap.. it was really fun.

i'm kelly said...

thank you! thank you! thank you! i am so appreciate of everyone's comments. it's nice to know i'm not the only one feeling like this. i mean i figured i wasn't, but it's wonderful having a little re-assurance. and you all have some really wonderful advice. life is a crazy adventure, but i'm so glad you are all with me. this is what i LOVE about blogging. this "sound board". i love being about to post my thoughts & get response, ideas & suggestions! keep the ideas flowing! thanks again!

Anonymous said...

First of all, I love your blog. But your post about life being an adventure really got my attention today. I had just finished reading a note from a friend. She is 50+, adopted as an infant to a wonderful family--and received a letter this week from her birth mother--what an adventure. She has never been interested in finding her birth parents--and now at this age, is surprised with this letter. Life, indeed, is an adventure. Jancd

crystal said...

I really love what Debbie said--to learn to let go of perfectionism. The only way I feel like things are in balance is if I just do a little at a time, a little each day, and not try to maintain my house perfectly at all times. NOT going to happen.

I found myself joking about the mess in my kitchen once to my babysitter as I brought her in the house to watch the kids for the night, and GET THIS: Here's what she said, "I love your house! It's homey. I don't walk on eggshells when I'm here." (her mom is wonderful, I love her, and their house is ALWAYS IMMACULATELY CLEAN)

Anyway, that comment was insightful to me. Keep up on the basics, laundry, dishes, by doing a little each day and let it go if you feel like it has to be perfect. Your kids won't remember or care about that. They'll remember that their friends felt welcome in your house because you weren't obsessed with mess. (just an example)

It sure DOES get overwhelming, though, doesn't it? I know just how you feel & it was WONDERFUL to read your post and know that you feel this way sometimes, too, and I'm not alone! Sometimes I feel like I'm juggling 10 plates in the air, trying not to drop & break all of them! :)

Darilyn said...

This was so interesting to read. The funny thing is that I was actually thinking a couple of days ago to post something on this very topic. The time people spend blogging. I was feeling that I was spending too much time on the computer so I decided to set an amount of time every morning first thing to check blogs. It's been working great for me. I don't always get through checking all the blogs I want to but like Debbie from Pennsylania said, they will still be there when you get back. The next morning I just start where I left off and go on. Every couple days I get to everyone's blog and, like I said, It's been working for me. As far as when I post, I post when the mood strikes me.

AS far as feeling overwhelmed with your life's resonsibilities, I don't know if I can help you with that. Just reading all these comments has helped ME. I'm right there with ya!

Lacie said...

I just read your post and all your comments! It was so nice to read the comments...I was encouraged right along with you!

I have no answers- no surprise! BUT I have learned the more I relax and don't put too many restrictions or expectations on myself the smoother things seem to go!

As for blogging. i am trying to do better commenting. i would rather have a few blogs to read and make more connections-but that is just me! I have also set certain days for certain has helped.
I love to blog.

Dancin Queen said...

Well, ditto to what everyone else said. I feel overwhelmed, well, everyday of my life. I finally started having panic attacks, and realized, what the heck! That's not worth it. So now when I find myself getting too worked up, I do take the time to breath, pray, find something calming, and enjoy my life.

As far as blogging, writing has always been a fun release for me. I like to read other people's and comment if I have the time, but I don't always. I don't feel an obligation to read every single post everyone I like has written. If figure they're writing for themselves, not me, anyway.

You're an amazing woman, you know?! We all do!

Laurie said...

I've also had to redirect my time and manage blogging. It was taking over my life as well. I love the 'girl power' and all the inspiration I feel while reading others blogs.

Personally, I try to post 4-5 days a week and take the weekend off. I use Bloglines and usually only read blogs one day a week. I have my blogs catagorized in 4 sections so I read all my favorite blogs first and read until time is up. I also don't worry about missing anything because Bloglines is keeping track and I'll catch up when I have time.

When I read other blogs I keep in mind that people are usually sharing the best part of their lives and that's only 1 thing that happened that day. Therefore, I'm able to feel excited for that person and not feel like I don't measure up.

As far as managing life - let me know if you figure it out. ;) I'm a structured person and I have certain things assigned to certain days. I have a toddler at home, so I have scheduled play dates (swaps) to help free up chunks of time. But even with all that, life gets overwhelming and uncontrollable at times.

I loved this post. Thank you for letting us in and being so honest. That's how I felt during December and I've made some major changes and things have been a lot more manageable and fun.

theespinozafamily said...

Ditto... to everything everyone else has said! I am a new blogger. But am completely ADDICTED!!! I can't stop reading people's blogs - friends, families and complete strangers. I love to leave comments, because I want people to know I hear them - and I like to know that they have heard me, too! Being a mom is the biggest and most important career there is! Keep up the good work. P.S. This is the first time I've visited your blog, but will be bookmarking it. I love your style! -Shannon