Lately

I think it is time for a spring cleaning post, dusting out the cobwebs that seem to be forming in my mind, and figuring out where to go from here.  This winter was hard- long, lonely, isolating, exhausting.  The boys rarely nap at the same time, and since I am a stickler for a good nap schedule as opposed to napping on the go, that means endless hours at home.  Vik naps in the morning, as he is getting up, Vijay goes down for his nap, and shortly after he wakes up, Vik goes down again.  Down and up, up and down.  It’s not until around 7:30, 8 at night when both boys go to bed that I finally have a minute alone, and then there is laundry to be done, dishes to wash, bills to pay, emails to catch up on, and general tidying to attend to.  All in all, it makes for long days, at home, passing the time while one of the boys sleeps and the other demands my attention.  In a way, my life feels like groundhog day- the same scenario playing out day after day, without a light at the end of the tunnel.  The online world can be a dangerous place for someone in this stage of life- while I feel restless and often bored to tears, the rest of the bloggers and twitterers and instagramers that I occasionally check in on seem to be living lives full of excitement, both personal and professional.  “Hey- I’m writing a book, teaming up with a cool company, traveling to exotic locals for photoshoots.”  Oh really, well I’m up to my elbows in shitty diapers, and dirty dishes, and mounds of laundry and if I dare to rest while the boys overlap naps for 10 minutes, dust bunnies might come and carry me away.  So I better keep on keeping on.  In a recent post, a commenter noted that being a mother and keeping house is like trying to bail out a sinking ship with a sieve.  I love this analogy as it feels so utterly and completely true.  There will be a moment during the day when everything is done, tidy, clean, neat and in its rightful place.  I take a deep breath and drop into the nearest chair, looking forward to knitting, or blogging, or doing something creative, and without fail, someone cries.  I go upstairs and sure enough, one of the boys is up from their nap- they need to be fed, and changed, they spill their lunch, their bed is wet and needs to be washed.  As I’m trying to manage the situation, the other awakes with a poopy diaper and needs a bath, and he’s hungry and the other is wailing downstairs because his juice spilled all over the table….and just like that, there are endless chores to be done.  The chaos has won.

At the moment, I’m struggling to find where blogging fits into the equation.  My camera doesn’t see much activity, and I’m not someone who is comfortable just posting pictures of my kids all the time- I have plenty of those, but they are just for us.  So I’m not sure where that leaves me…where that leaves this space, which has been a constant in my life for years and which I have worked so hard to build.  Perhaps I am imagining it, but I don’t feel much enthusiasm coming through when I post- not many comments these days, which brings out my feelings of inadequacy, especially when I see how many comments other blogs with similar type posts get.  All of this is to say, I’m not sure where I’m going, and I’m not sure where I am- but I am lost, lost in an in-between space.  I need a project to sink my teeth into- but the projects I have been working towards are not coming to fruition (we’re talking 30 page book proposals that you have poured your heart into being given a simple “no”- it can be devastating).  Nothing seems to be falling into place in the way I hoped.  And I don’t mean to complain- really, I fully know how blessed I am to have a loving family, two healthy, sweet children, the support to stay at home with them, a writing gig that occasionally allows me to engage my brain cells, and the stability that my husband’s job provides.  Am I lucky, and extremely fortunate?  Absolutely.  Was this a hard winter, and am I feeling pretty damn lost?  Absolutely.  One truth can exist with the other.  That’s what I’m learning.

So I ask you this- what do you do when exhaustion, and the tediousness of life with little ones threatens to overtake you?

Why do you visit me here?  What do you get from this space?  Is there anything you would like to see more/ less of?

How do you decide when it’s time to move on from blogging?  Have any of you shut down your blogs?  Was it a good decision, or do you regret it?

64 thoughts on “Lately

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Christine,

    It's funny timing, but I was thinking the other day how your blog is one of my favorites of the many blogs I read. As another reader said, I read your blog in my feeder while I am on the train on my way to work or in the dark while I am putting my baby to sleep, and is really hard to take the time to write a comment. I am also a little shy and think that my comment is going to sound silly or that I don't write very well. I guess the reader role is a little bit more passive than the writer's role and sometimes we forgot how much our feedback means to the one who is behind the blog.

    Also, I really like what you write about because I can totally relate, even if it's not about exotic adventures or a new project every week. I am not a stay home mom but i fell overwhelmed with motherhood sometimes too. And I love seeing pictures of that beautiful city where I used to live and I really miss, and hearing about that campus where my husband is a student now as well (I can relate even more!).

    I can't help with all your questions, but at least I can say that I am here, even if I don't comment very often, and that I really like your blog. Don't give up!!

    Jenn

    Reply
  2. Gwendolyn

    Hello Christine, I would add myself to the many here who have been following your blog for years but don't comment. Ironically, my lack of comments is because I am so often inspired and find myself turning to my husband or 17 year old to share an idea or photo and a mini-burst of creativity occurs in my household as a result of your thoughtful post. When my son was very little I think the hardest part was that he was so precious that I often fell in the trap of thinking that everything had to be to his benefit. Meals became only his favorites and I rarely made things or went places that I did not think he would want or use. But through trial and error I discovered that what he truly loved was to experience and learn who his parents are through our interests and activities. Every parent has their stories of when things went haywire and the things they can't believe they did or said. Please be kinder to yourself. Choose what is really important and let the rest go. For me, I don't like clutter and so I keep on top of that but the dust bunnies…well…I'd rather go canoeing with my 17 year old than round them all up.

    Reply
  3. Eve

    hello
    My english is not very good and that is why I usually don't comment on english blogs.
    But when I read your post, it took me 9 years ago, when my sons were 26 and 2 months old.
    As you can see in the other comments, you are not alone at all. It is difficult to raise children, especially when they are so young and when they need you all the time. I remember being depressed, being scared of hearing a sound from their room when they were asleep. I remember that I was waiting for my husband to come back from work : I just wanted to put the kids in his arms and go away !
    What helped me :
    -going outside the house as often as possible : to the park, in the streets…just being outside made me see things in another way.
    -talking with other adults : on the phone, in the park…everything became easier when my first son went to school : I met other mothers, and we supported each other !
    -making things that I could show to my husband and friends : changing the decoration of a room, knitting…
    -listening to the radio to keep in touch with the world
    As others said, if you could have more time for yourself ( a baby sitter, a house cleaner), I think it would be easier (even if it is difficult to do it)
    Don't look too much at the other's life : they often only show what they want . I love your blog because it's beautiful, full of colours, peace, mindfulness, and because of your honesty
    I'm sorry that with the problem of the language, I can't say all I would like to…I just wanted you to know that I am with you, you are not alone

    Reply
  4. Nan A.

    I found your blog via Amanda Soule's blog too and keep returning too. I decided to comment after reading this post (love your honesty) and then I read all the comments too, which are amazing — so much kind, thoughtful and good advice coming out of the Internet “void”. I don't have kids so I can't speak from experience but I CAN say that it was indeed a hard winter. I like a Rabindranath Tagore quote: “Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it” – this works for me even on a very small level and of course in bigger ways too.

    Reply
  5. Amy

    It was a hard winter for us, New Englanders.
    My 3 kids are in school full time(although with all the “snow days”, they don't seem very full time) and yet I relate to your pain.I work only very part-time, don't have a blog to keep up and I still struggle to find moments to do my creative work between the drop off and pick ups, chores, and taxi cabbing my children around.

    Hang in there and once the warm weather arrives (and decides to stay for good) the opportunity just to breathe in the fresh air will do your body and soul good!

    Reply
  6. Linnea

    Though I'm not sure I've ever commented on one of your posts before, I can promise you that I've read and enjoyed every single one. It's been beyond fun watching your life and family grow, and the fact that you eke out any time at all to follow your interests inspires and motivates me.

    Though I completely understand that when life gets crazy, something has to give, I do hope that once we're finally out of this hellish winter, you'll feel refreshed and invigorated enough by the warmth that you'll decide to continue posting here. I follow a fairly small circle of blogs to begin with, and I know that at least on my end, the internet would be a little less beautiful without your words and photos.

    Best wishes!

    Reply
  7. Rabbit Is Wise

    So many others have commented with such sincere feelings regarding your post… I felt moved to do the same. I've not been reading you long… I am one of those who was looking for inspiration in other blogs and started following you after your visit to Amanda's. I only recently starting using a reader to follow blogs (which has made it SO much easier to find and follow blogs, rather than just sticking with following a handful) and have only recently starting blogging myself.

    I had always been a reader prior to starting my own blog. I was intrigued with the idea of blogging, but saw, through many other's posts, that it can be very difficult at times to keep up blogging, and at times, there are trolls that make the experience a tough one.

    However, now that I took the leap to blogging, I can totally appreciate what you say about the void. I know some people are reading, but so few (if any) comment on my posts – and I don't even see all the readers because not all read me directly. I'm new enough to the process to not be discouraged by it, but I know I'll get to the point where I will be.

    One of the blogs I follow, Progressive Pioneer – she has taken a hiatus a few times… and I keep coming back because I love her posts.

    I think writing a post like this also makes the readers realize that it kinda is their responsibility to engage and not just be lurkers… these bloggers are putting themselves out there – and want and need the encouragement of others. It's a way to not feel alone. And I guess not all blogs get the same level of engagement.

    I appreciate your honest comments. Like others have said, many blogs out there only focus on the good – and that certainly has a place… but if you don't understand that there is a side not being shown, it is extremely easy to think that is how it is all day every day for that family. I'm actually happy to be finding some blogs that have the beauty and creativity I crave, with a bit of the honesty and reality I need to know that I'm not alone in the struggle. Your blog in one of those that, in the short time I've been reading it, I've started to cherish for that very reason.

    And, now that I'm blogging, I've gotten better at posting – so I'll try to post more often so you know you aren't talking to a vacuum!

    Reply
  8. Professoressa

    Hi Christine,

    Some blog for self fulfillment and others blog to build brand loyalty/traffic to sell something.

    Years ago, I began blogging for myself and I ended up building a career as an online marketing strategist!

    I already had a successful f/t career on top of writing fiction, but I stopped blogging to maintain both “day jobs.” I loved the challenge and still do.

    Blogging was amazing, but I didn't miss it because I was moving forward and discovering new areas.

    Change can be a bit scary, but it has also been extremely rewarding for me. http://www.alexandraswistak.com

    Reply
  9. Marla

    Christine, I really enjoy visiting your website and reading your blog. You are a talented writer and photographer. You are doing so much with two little ones around. Please don't compare yourself to others who might have a lot more support from their family, including extended family members that are nearby. I hope that you keep blogging. Thanks for all that you give to your readers.

    Reply
  10. Kerry

    Christine,
    Hang in there mama! I have 5 kiddos – 10, 8, 5, 3, 9 mo. – and I hear you loud and clear. The transition from 1 babe to 2 is huge and seems to take a good year before things feel like they are falling into their proper place. Every time you are feeling overwhelmed just remind yourself that it is only temporary. Winter definitely is a piece also. I really enjoy your blog – I starting checking it out after your visit over at Amanda Soule's. It's interesting because I thought to myself how do these women do it all? They publish books, and start and finish hand knits and have time to keep up beautiful blogs all while caring for a family and a home. It is okay to feel the way you are feeling. Allow yourself time. Every day you are doing your best – some days your best can be better than other days. With my babes it seemed like just when it it got to the point where I had totally lost identity to being a mom something would shift and everything would suddenly be alright and so on and so on. The ebs and flows of motherhood. Don't go away – you are a true artist. I am inspired to try harder each time I check in at your blogspot. Thanks!

    Reply
  11. Arah's blog

    Christine, I have a 3 yo and another one on the way . I relate to you in many ways, long, hard winter, struggling to balance work,and family and being a good mom for my kids as my first priority. Looking at your blog inspires me to think more creatively, tap into my hidden talents I had forgotten for years and have the courage to be with my kids after working professionally for 6 years. My husband travels often as well for weeks and you were the only woman I knew in the years who had the same situation. You are an inspiration for me and I keep on looking at your blog as a ritual. Keep up the good work and good luck with the motherhood.

    Reply
  12. Lee

    As a mother of two, the youngest one of whom is 19, I know where you are. Being at home with small children is the hardest thing I have ever done. You don't say whether you have any time away from those babes but I would stress that even a couple of hours a week to be yourself and not Mama is very helpful. You need time to wander with your camera, sit in a coffee shop, see a friend. The you can come back to your children refreshed. Remember too that though the days are long, the years are short. It won't ever be as hard as it has been this winter. And spring is coming!

    As for the blog, well I would miss it if it weren't here but you must do what is right for you. Whatever you decide to do will be creative and interesting.

    Reply
  13. Paige Ryan

    A few years ago a friend of mine started her own farm. I was farming at the time also, and was really happy (and – admittedly – occasionally jealous) that she had been able to start her own operation. During the season itself we were both pretty busy, but I got to make the two hours drive to see her while the growing season was winding down.

    I don't think I'll ever forget her leading off the recap of the first year experience with, “I mean… it was good. There were only a few times when I wanted to set the place on fire.” I almost peed in my pants. It was just so spot on.

    Even when we're doing things we love – things other people dream of doing (she was/ is running a cut flower farming operation. is anything more idyllic?? could anything possibly have greater potential for day-to-day satisfaction? bringing meaning to one's life?? it's flowers!!!) there are still those moments when you want it to just disa-effing-ppear.

    I really enjoy your blog. You have talent, and it seems like you are grateful for the gifts and successes that have come your way and that you have worked for. Blogging is weird though, and I hope you find the blog-groove that feels right for you where you are right now.

    Reply
  14. Anonymous

    I know that it is hard to imagine this time in your future, but let me describe it for you: your babies are teens & pre-teens, and you click through blogs like yours to find weary and teary moms who are in the trenches of the baby/toddler years: knitting while holding sleeping babies, or dreaming about knitting (or doing anything that isn't babycare, maybe even showering) while changing diaper after diaper and sweeping up more cheerios than they even had in the box in the first place . . . . because, while you thought it might never end, that you might never sleep again, and you might never have clothes that didn't have milky baby mouth marks on them, alas it has, and you do, and even though everyone told you it would happen before you knew it, you didn't really believe them when they said it because they looked like they had had some sleep recently.

    It is bittersweet. I love these years now, the teen/tween ones when we share books and music, and travel together, and I marvel at what interesting people my babies have grown into. I help them with science projects and research papers, and with negotiating the insane world of middle school interpersonal relationships in our mobile-device heavy landscape.

    But my arms and my heart groan at the fact that I can't lift any of them anymore, that they let me sleep in on weekends and start their days without even needing to wake me, and that they can all feed and entertain themselves, buckle into carseatless cars, and call home or text me to ask if they can sleep at friends' houses. I like checking in on your blog and Amanda Soule's to remember the days of sticky hands and semi-controlled chaos.

    None of that makes your day to day easier. And I am sure the unreal world of dream-like blogger's home images, selective/idealized parenting facebook posts, and craftaholic pinterest birthday parties provide the very opposite of the comfort and company that you seek when you click. But know this: your writing, your voice, your photos, and your honesty about so many things (most importantly your honesty about the exhaustion, the frustration, and the sheer grrr of a kid who won't wear your handmade) is an incredibly valuable one to hear. You capture both the beauty and the reality of life with littles. And it is absolutely not always pinteresting. Any of us who have been there can share that 🙂 But it is real, and it is motherhood, and it matters. And if you don't say it, there is one more mother out there who only sees perfection online and doesn't know that there are exhausted pregnant mothers crying at their baby's cribsides begging them to sleep just once before their sibling is born (oh wait, that was me). Your honesty helps one more woman think it is okay to be honest, to say aloud that it is hard and that it doesn't always look like it does on every natural parenting website, or other media outlet.

    And that honesty is as beautiful as the equally honest moments of genuine breath-taking “I can't believe I made these kids”ness.

    But you know what? For today,you get to lean in right now and smell the sunshiney scent of your boys' hair. And that, right there, is the essence of awesome. And for today, even if the yard is a demolition zone, and your baby is trying to eat a chick, and your house is totalled, and you can't even remember what you actually like to do anymore if you had some free time to do it, do that, because that is a smell that doesn't last.

    Stay strong and know that you are a gem to so many you don't even know.

    Reply

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