Monday, May 6, 2013

My Final Blog Post?

When I started this blog nearly two years ago, I was doing it to scratch an itch to write that captivated me during college and inspired my move to Los Angeles 12 years earlier. I really didn’t think anyone would ever read anything I wrote. Even the lovely Mrs. Dude rarely even reads my posts unless I specifically point one out to her. It’s not that she’s not interested, it’s because she’s busy. And so am I, which is both the reason I haven’t blogged much lately and also why I’m not sure if I will continue to do so for very much longer.

My first blog post was written when the Little Dude was 19 months old and still napped in 3 hour blocks every afternoon. He continued that pattern throughout my first year of blogging, which always gave me plenty of time to write about the hi-lar-ious things toddlers do. But last summer everything changed. First, we moved him from a crib to a big-boy bed. And second, his brother, the Littler Dude, was born.


At face value, I assumed that neither of those events would have much impact on my schedule but I couldn’t have been more wrong. When no longer bound to the spatial limitations and high walls of his beloved baby cage, the Little Dude deemed that naps were no longer necessary, much to the chagrin of his mother and me. But there was nothing we could do. We tried forcing the issue, but if he fell asleep it was for a very short time and we usually had to spend a longer period just trying to get him to go to sleep than the duration of the actual sleep. So we cut out naps and instituted an afternoon chill period, which usually consisted of watching Toy Story or Toy Story 2. Every freakin’ day. And as someone who is easily distracted, I have a hard time focusing with a lot of external noise nearby, even if it’s just Buzz and Woody, so I started writing at night after he went to bed. That time block was subsequently eradicated a month later when the Littler Dude arrived. Goodbye, blog.

In a Facebook post shortly before baby #2 arrived, I asked my page what to do to prepare for our new arrival. Beyond countless people urging me to sleep, sleep and sleep, a blogger friend named The Robot Mommy suggested I stockpile blog posts for when I had no time to write. I shrugged that off, telling myself that #2 was bound to be the good sleeper his brother was, so I’d have plenty of free time.  And the Littler Dude is a decent napper, but there is only one problem: his brother is still awake during those nap periods. And with energetic 3 ½ year old toddlers there is minimal downtime. I’m just thankful for the Pixar DVD catalog for some small respites it has brought me and Mrs. Dude over the last seven months.


So my struggle to find free time has definitely hindered my creative productivity. And I hate that. But I’ve been thinking a lot about a “chicken or egg” conundrum that has furthered my inactivity around these parts. The big question is: should I spend more time away from my kids to focus on my blog about parenting, or should I spend that time actually parenting my kids so that I have something to blog about even though I’ll subsequently have no time to write it?

I started this blog at a major crossroads in my life. My mother had recently passed away. I was just starting a promising job opportunity. I had started writing again after an extended break and inspiration grabbed me like a whirlwind and wouldn’t let go. Oh, and I had a spirited pre-toddler on my hands. Seemed like a Royal Flush, but now two years later I have a Full House and don’t know what to do.

That job didn’t turn out how I thought it would and now I have begun searching for a new opportunity. My blog has seen its share of ups and downs. I’ve had several exciting blogging opportunities come around, but haven’t hit the big time yet, not that I ever expected to. But I am responsible for 3 mouths to feed, beyond my own which is the lowest priority, and now must begin anew. Again. I have started putting out feelers again, but haven’t yet found that great job that will send me to Hawaii on a monthly basis to write about the quality of massages at luxury hotels. So now I have a greater conundrum on my hands. Do I spend my time focusing on raising my family and blogging about it or finding a better way to support this family, so that we can move onward and upward and finally begin living the life we’ve always wanted. Mrs. Dude and I have got the two great kids and our health and those are two remarkably lucky things. It’s just everything else that we now find ourselves searching for. Will I find it on my computer screen after another endless web search? Or might it be lurking in the satisfaction of helping the Little Dude learn to read?

In an ironic coincidence, as I was typing that last sentence and trying to think of a way to wrap this up, the Little Dude just arrived home from the park and excitedly ran in to see me, so my writing time is over for today. But one look at his smiling face makes it all worthwhile and reminds me why I do the things I do. All of them. I’ll be back soon to tell you more. . .


What would you do if put in my position? 

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18 comments:

  1. I hear the irony - writing about parenting or parenting. If you can't find a way that you are content with both, then I think the answer is both. Go to that smiling face. The blogosphere isn't going anywhere.

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    1. Thanks, that's good advice. I don't think anyone will take my seat at the keyboard. It's the juggling that's the tricky part.

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  2. I write less and less with each passing year, but I still like that I have a place to capture the trips, milestones, and pictures that I'll want to remember one day when they're older and are a pain in the ass.

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    1. Good point, Muskrat. I was pushing hard to blog more than I really could and was sacrificing quality for quantity. For it's really the myriad poop stories that my kids will want to reflect upon when they're all grown up.

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  3. This is the chicken and egg question of parent bloggers. And the easy answer, or what has worked for me, is leave the blog up and write when you can/want. Who cares if weeks turn into months without a new post? It's your space, your outlet, and your life—the sharing of which is part of you, and it will work itself out. That will be two cents please.

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    1. Excellent points, Whit. Thanks. I was making myself crazy trying to "stay on schedule", and then had a hard time getting back on track with my changed schedule.

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    2. And I believe Muskrat will cover those two cents for me, Whit.

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  4. Jay, don't miss a minute with your kids. When they're in school you'll have blocks of time again and a stockpile of things to write about. I'll still count myself among your audience whether you publish once a week, once a month or take a two-year break. I stopped writing when my first baby was two and didn't start again until he was ten. You'll find your way. . .

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    1. Thanks, Louise. That means a lot coming from you. I appreciate the kind sentiment and reassurance. I'll be back...

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  5. I like and agree with Louise's response. I couldn't even think about daily writing, reading or blogging until my older children were 11 and 5 years old. There was too much to do, too much to enjoy with them. Once things got settled, and I looked around for something else to do, there was blogging, waiting for me. Your blog will be here when you get back.

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    1. Thanks, Erica. I can barely manage daily showering at this point (joking), but it has definitely been a challenge. One thing that I've really missed is the whole YW community. It just got to be too much to keep up with, which is too bad b/c I enjoyed it so much and got so much out of the experience. Hope to get back to the group at some point.

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  6. That Robot Mommy is wise. You should listen to her. :)

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  7. Life is what happens when you aren't blogging. While we'd all love to write every day, sometimes it just doesn't/can't happen. Find that balance that works best and go with it.

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  8. If you were interested in model trains, you would have found the time. "I love my family, but now go watch Netflix for an hour--daddy's got some railroads to build." And you wouldn't have felt guilty for taking time away from your family if you worked on your hobby for an hour. It's YOU time, and you need it. When it comes to blogging, either because we expect something to come out of it or because of the irony of getting away from the kids to write about fatherhood, we feel guilty and we stop.

    I think the problem with blogging is that bloggers and non-bloggers think of it as a pathway to riches or to a related career, but maybe we should think of it simply as a hobby that helps us keep some balance in our family-self lives.

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  9. I just finished the book, The Interestings, this weekend. And toward the end, one character says to another -- he gave up pursuit of music after college -- words to the effect of this: you can do something you love just because you love it. You don't have to make money at it. You don't have to blame your career for not letting you.

    It was actually a kind of epiphany for me, about my own writing. So I guess I'm saying that if you enjoy writing, then find time to do it. I think we're always better for our own people when we're finding time to do things that bring us satisfaction.

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  10. Thanks for sharing your struggle. I seem to have the same thoughts and writing struggle myself. I am trying to just make a good schedule to juggle it all, but it's not easy. Write when you have time, even if it is just once a week. Good luck and I can't wait to read more!!!

    PS- Welcome to the Social Fabric Family! Glad I found your blog and I can't wait to 'see' you around :)

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  11. I really love reading blogs like this im so inspired :D Pinky's Seattle Plumbing

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