The author’s beloved, yet all too often, ignored, family
At a recent party, I was introduced as a mommy blogger which prompted one attendee to relate the story of a mommy blogger of her acquaintance. This blogger, apparently had ten children and was a real posting dynamo, never missing a day.
“Of course, in her last post, she mentioned that while she was writing her last post, one son broke his leg and one sustained serious burns while trying to cook some mac and cheese.”
Ah, the exciting, yet hypocritical life of a mommy blogger.
I don’t care what your mama status is: Stay-at-home, work-at-home, stay-at-work, work-away-from-home, blogging with children underfoot is fraught with irony.
For one thing, mommy bloggers, like most people, can only be in one place at one time. Eight-year-old Cooper longs for the day teleportation is a reality, but, until then, the laws of nature preclude that. Meaning that I can either live, or write about living. I can either run down the slip and slide, or sit on the sidelines, plotting my next post about slipping and sliding. Mommy blogging becomes the art of being both participant and observer, splitting the personality in a way I’m not sure is healthy.
Another factor is time. How much of it is spent blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, Pinteresting, or otherwise promoting one’s written word? How much time is spent in research, in staying up with current events via the news or other blogs? Any blogger who claims to be one knows that consistency is king. Blogging once a week doesn’t cut it if you’re trying to build a readership. But what is the mommy blogger to do when the flu hits, when the new baby arrives, or when a move/crisis/diagnosis/dishwasher repair puts extraneous events (ala blogging) on the back burner? Crises aside, what is she to do when her choice is between spending the early morning hours deep in prayer or blogging? When choosing to spend the lunch hour between connecting with the children and marketing? When deciding what to do in the post-evening hours, procreating with the husband of one’s youth, or tweeting?
And then there are the aforementioned children. When I wrote ‘The End’ on the book I’ve spent the last two years procrastinating through, I made the big announcement, to which one of the kids said, “Does this mean you’re back?” Yes, dear. Except for the marketing piece. Surely THAT won’t take much time. I sometimes fear the memory emblazoned in my children’s memory of their mother will be the top of her forehead and the back of my computer and a distracted, “Uh-huh, yes dear” ringing in their ears. How much do we miss while tippy tapping away, our backs to our babies, our minds miles away? And yet, giving it all up would be the grave of writerly hopes, Twitter followings, Facebook friendings, and platform buildings, flames writers are advised to fan at all costs.
In my three-year-long blogging career, it’s this that causes me the most unrest, the dilemma between the burning desire to communicate, and the burning desire to be a good mama, a present mama. A better woman might do both and with flair. But I am not that woman. I am limited, tired, and getting older as I type. My kinetic resources are not what they once were and I find it increasingly difficult in this season of life to split them between living and writing about living. I don’t want to be an observer to my own life; I want to be a participant, fully living and breathing each precious moment, not sitting back, watching from an authorial distance, and wondering what the first sentence will be in my next post about this or that beautiful familial moment.
So, what say you, fellow mommy bloggers? Do you write with guilt sitting on your shoulder or have you found a way around that? If so, please share. If not, you’re in good company. Pull up a chair and let’s chat.
The culprit at work.