Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Searching For Balance In Blogging


Recently our internet went down for a couple weeks. At first it seemed to be such an inconvenience and had me feeling some real “withdrawals”.
 As time went on though, I felt myself feeling so present to my life, so productive and just plain free!


After it reconnected I realized I was left with some fresh perspective. 
It helped me to honestly and humbly admit to myself how much of my real life was being given to my online life. It also helped me to consider the addiction that the internet world can be and to recognize my tendency to use time on line as an escape of sorts. ouch.

So I decided it was time to give up the internet completely ~ the blog, other blogs, facebook... all of it and just sink my teeth into life! I felt done sacrificing time with my girls, my love and myself to be on line. I spoke with Maureen about all of this and she shared that she had been feeling similar. We agreed it was time to jut let it all go and focus on our personal lives with more dedication and attention.
But then the flip flopping began…
Can I/ we really just let go of it all… Is this the right thing to do…. 
On and on my head hummed.


So I took this indecision and decided to run with it. literally. (I have recently started running again and find this time of my day is truly medicine for my soul ~ it seems to calm the chatter in my brain long enough for my intuition to be heard) And after one of these runs I finally had real clarity. My inner wisdom seemed to say that what I really needed to do was to learn discipline. That there was no need to be so extreme in my decisions but rather a need to use this new found clarity as an opportunity to exercise discipline in my life. 
Life as a blogging/homeschooling/working mama is such an intricate dance and requires real balance (something I feel I have been lacking) in order to be productive and peaceful.
But I feel there is a way.
So I am setting out on a journey to find balance. A journey that I hope can allow me to feed my love of being creative and being inspired by all of your creativity ~ while keeping myself focused and fully present to my moment to moment life.


One of the first steps I have taken was to buy myself an egg timer. I decided it will live next to the computer and will be wound up to a reasonable time each time I go on line and when that bell goes off… it is time to get off! Whether I feel “done” or not. 


I also decided that my time on line should be reserved for times when I know all my priorities are in check ~ after my life has been fed, my homeschooling is done, I have made time for myself to be active and I have had quality time interacting with the life around me!

I am grateful for the gift of my unintended internet fast and plan to revisit it again ~ whenever I feel like my real life is taking a backseat. 

I have been so inspired by the creative beauty being shared daily in this big bloggy world. I value being a part of this kindred spirit community and look forward to continuing sharing in it ~ with a new found commitment to moderation and discipline!


So I put this question to all you blogging mamas out there ~ How do you do it? How do you foster balance in your full lives?
Maureen & I welcome any words of wisdom you can pass our way….

With Love 
~ Shanti ~ 

35 comments:

  1. This is a great post and something I could have easily written myself (except the running part!)
    I felt the same when we went on holidays for 10 days recently that was internet free - it was great. When I came back I was ready to give up my blog, but like you, felt lured back to it. The egg timer is a great idea and something I could try. I can't give advice, as I don't have the balance right yet. The balance is very important though and something I'm working on.

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  2. I blog, but am always wondering at everyone who feels pressured to blog daily. When it is to busy to blog, I just don't blog. I was afraid you were going to just drop it all. As you said in the post, that would be another extreme decision. Moderation is a good thing. Scaling back is reasonable. I have been blogging for about two years, a wife for 30 years, a mother for 27 years with the youngest of six being 9 this year,homeschooling for 22 years, and a farm wife, tea drinking, queen of almost all crafts. I have pretty much seen it all. I think you are wise to moderate your life in all areas. Keep it up. I do enjoy your blog and follow it at artteajannell.blogspot.com.

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  3. But, I do feel compelled to apologize for the typos in my comment, especially the missing "o" in the second "to."

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  4. Hello Shanti, for me it's quite easy. I don't have my own computer, I have to use my husband's. He needs it in his office during the day. I can use it at night and I normally only use it when I have prepared my next day for homeschooling and have done my domestic chores. There isn't very much time to use it, but it gives me enough to write a short summary of our day. So I'm never tempted to turn it on during the day and the children have me present and not in front of a computer screen.

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  5. I have recently been feeling the same way too- but primarily about facebook. So after a big *sigh*, I deleted it, about a week ago. And even though I will probably be behind on what's going on now, I'm okay with it a week later. I read an article about how things mom's do in our spare time should benefit us somehow, since we rarely get 'spare time', and I realized that facebook was not benefitting me AT ALL. why was I wasting time online if that time could be spent in a nice hot bath with a book, or rolling around on the floor with my kids?! I say, good for you, and the egg timer is a fantastic idea!

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  6. SO funny! i've been having this same discussion lately... with no pat answers. i want to be more present with my kids! yet living so far away from friends and family, the internet is key to keeping in touch. also, i appreciate the writing outlet that blogging has become, and the wonderful inspiration i find on a select few blogs and websites. recently, i went through my "i follow" blog list and cut down DRAMATICALLY on the blogs i follow.
    someone suggested assigning different "internet tasks" for different days in an effort to keep me from getting side-tracked if you will. i haven't incorporated this yet, but i sure will! hmmm... maybe today. :) i get side-tracked easily.
    i (like Eva) share the computer with my husband who needs it a lot for work and school (distant learning masters program). this is a very handy "inconvenience" indeed! :)

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  7. those were wise words. balance is everything. if WE are not balanced, our whole families get out of order...
    i did try the clock-trick too, but it did not work - i just took an extra minute online, another one, another one....pfff, i was not disciplined enough.
    what works for me is a schedule. it looks simple, but that way i get everything done. we have an everyday routine and a weekly routine and everything takes places in a way, that it will be stopped by things that cannot be postponed. e.g. we stay outside on the playground until shortly before lunch (what means until my littlest is that hungry we can not stay there longer). the preparation for this is: we do not go outside as long as everything isn't done in the household (which is about 9:45 in the morning). with the internet i chose it that way: i take a small time online during her naptime (half an hour, an hour or so) and if there is anything left i wanna do online i do it after the kids are asleep, so that noone bothers me if i take to much time for it. the preparation for this is: everthing has to be done in the household before i can get online. so i do kind of push myself into discipline - and it works, so far...

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  8. Oh that's easy, I don't sleep ;)
    Hahaha. I limit mine to when the kids are asleep. So early mornings (we have late sleepers around here so early is relative) and after 9pm or so. And when I don't feel like it, I don't do it. I get sucked in when I am stuck in a seated position (sick, nursing, eating alone, etc). But if I have my get up and go in me I like to get up and go.
    We all atruggle to find balance though. I always kick myself for spending my precious moments of alone time reading online tidbitd rather than that stack-o-books by my bedside. It's like al candy and no veggies.

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  9. This has recently been an issue in our house, with my husband feeling uncomfortable with the fact that when he comes downstairs from putting the kids to bed and finds me on the computer...within days, our internet went down and now I'm thinking I may not even try to reconnect. Having some time away from my blog was painful at first, but it's been increasingly frustrating with having no camera (to say the least)...then I realised that the frustration was due to the pressure I was putting on myself, the way I was comparing myself to other bloggers who post more frequently...and I was making myself crazy! When I feel rushed in preparing meals or spending time with my kids, or have no time to exercise, it's definitely time to take stock! You've expressed what I think so many bloggers experience. It is surely a fine balance.

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  10. Dear Shanti,

    I try to blog when I am by myself. I get grumpy if I get "interrupted" by my child. That's messed up! I say, be where you are, and be with the real live people who are in your presence! I don't want my child to learn to ignore people because of computers, cell phones, and ipods, so I shouldn't do it myself. And the computer and blog world are very attractive, so it does take discipline! But on the upside, it is good for my creativity to be expressing my love of life, color, art, crafts, and children, and it gives me energy. I am also energized by visiting the blogs of other creative people, like you! Good for you...striving for balance. I think balance is what we all need to head for. love, Beth

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  11. Yes, yes, yes. I feel the same. And ditto to Knitty Gritty too! The changes in blog technology updates so fast...can't keep up with the sophisticated looks of some, better photos, etc. It was so exciting when I started and I love the connection between the mums out there. I have cut down on posts...and try not to surf each night for ideas! How many lists of ideas can one have? Balance is easy on some days and harder on others....but much easier once the old routine has really been broken. Love you gals xxx

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  12. Oh, how I feel the same about the internet!! I'm a stay at home mom, with a 4 and a 5 year old, I work part-time, my hubby works away for 14 days at a time and only has 4 days off to spend with us when he's here so everything around the home is my chore when he's gone, and I recently started taking an online course as a holistic nutritionist.

    As if all that wasn't enough, I recently decided to write a second blog, dedicated just to food and nutrition. I've been going back and fourth on that idea for months, and now that I started it, I was still wondering if it was the best idea. Reading your post, just made me realize that I wanted this other blog to represent the business I will open in a couple of years when my studies are done. But in the mean time, why put myself though the stress of having to write extra posts?!

    Thanks for the great insight! And good for you to want to spend more time in your real life, we all need to do that more I think, especially me :)

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  13. It's always a work in progress. Equilibrium is not a static state, it's dynamic. Ebb and flow, rise and fall, inhale exhale, this is the pulse of all nature.

    I am reminded of my scientific background - which led me to my spiritual understandings - where an equilibrium is an equation with arrows pointing to each side of the equation. The relationship describes changing quantities on each side that continually re-adjust to each other to maintain the balance.

    What works today, may not work next week. I am always tuning in to myself and my family to feel how things are and trying to make adjustments accordingly.

    And oh, WOW, isn't life amazing! I keep telling myself that I'm always learning/changing/growing. Because I believe that if I am ever done on those journeys, then my time on earth must be done. So I try to live in JOY and be present.... but I'm still human and I'm still here working alongside you.

    I feel you, mamas! In Lak'ech (means I am another yourself)

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  14. I just had to come back and add to my comment... Shanti, thank you so much for inspiring me! I just wrote a post (and linked back to here), and decided to shut down my second blog. It was too much work to keep up with and I had been wondering the whole time if it was a good idea. Your post made me realize that I didn't need more online time. Just more living time. if you want to read what you inspired me to write and share, I posted here: http://petalsandsunshine.blogspot.com/2011/03/finding-balance.html

    Thank you again!
    Stephanie xx

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  15. Funny you should post this...like everyone else who has commented, i too have been struggling with these same issues. I just started my blog and we have already had discussion in my household about the time i'm taking to write my blog. I too worry that i don't post enough and then sometimes i think i post too often and i try to hold off for a few days. I do think balance is the right answer...it's finding that balance that is the tricky thing. Good luck to you and to all those that are struggling with these issues. I hope to continue to see all of you online...even if it's not as often. I love reading your blog and others i follow and would hate to see you all go.
    http://lifesbestdays.blogspot.com/

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  16. I have blogged since 2006, as part of my childcare business. It is how I communicate with parents in a much more effective way than the old weekly newsletters. I now also use it to connect with the global staffroom that has developed. This is a nice change from the isolation one can find in doing in-home childcare.
    I set up a Google reader and social bookmarking (diigo) to help organize and control my time on-line. These 2 tools allow me to access information as it works for me. I can be away for days or just minutes. I can spend a free 10 minutes or hours. It's all by choice.
    I really enjoyed the thoughtfulness of this post and I understand not only where you were, currently are, but are also going. Once we can see we have reached an imbalance, then we can fix it. I look forward to reading future posts about all the creative things you do as part of your life with your children.

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  17. I don't blog. But recently I started reading several blogs, mostly to do with craft. I do it once a week. And I would be really sad if you stop blogging, because I find your words and project very inspiring.

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  18. I know exactly how you feel! I thought I had to blog/read bogs each day and I would sit with my laptop and be reading while "talking" to my husband....who was i fooling except myself. I don't blog as much as I did before and I can go a few days without even checking my blog. i think you have to be careful not to get caught up in "blogland". Moderation is the key, also I really like the idea of an egg timer, I am a pre-k teacher and they are great for my kids, never thought of one for myself but it is a super idea!

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  19. Well stated, dear thoughtful and wise friend. Now, can I cheat and just ditto Julie's comment? Balance really does involve frequent recalibration -- with the tools that are right at the time. And I think an egg-timer is a nifty tool.

    And yeah, I'm standing right beside you in this, for ever-evolving reasons. Searching for the right tools.

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  20. I blog/read blogs/download my camera one-handed while nursing, or when other kiddos are sleeping and I'm not yet too sleepy-eyed, or when I feel particularly inspired. I find that when our lives are full and away from the house a lot, I'm less likely to overdo it. However, I have definitely put off doing dishes or house-cleaning to blog, but I chalk it up to time needed to re-organize my thoughts. I equate it to journaling, and feel good about it as long as it's not taking time away from my kids when they need me. It's all about priorities, but I'm (selfishly, 'cause I enjoy your blog) glad you're not giving it up all together :)
    ~Nikole

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  21. I get to it when I can...sometimes not for several months and I am fine with this! I want to savor every moment with children which goes by so quickly...there is only so much time in the day and night...what will I remember and what will my little ones remember...me on the the computer all of the time which blogging and surfing the internet can become OR attending to them while interacting, smiling, singing, dancing, educating, and then there is the cleaning, cooking...well you get the picture...I guess for me it is what is more precious and I stick with this...keep smiling :)

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  22. I LOVE YOU BOTH for your beautiful honesty!!!!!!!!

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  23. I am right there with you. I took a semi-blogging break for the month of March, and then my internet went out for about a week (just got it back on today), and I have definitely been more relaxed. I am also seeking to find balance, because I do love the blogging community, and have grown so much from the ideas and inspiration from fellow bloggers. Also, blogging is such a great way for me to keep me mentally on task and organized. I just don't need to put pressure on myself to where it feels like another "to do". Thanks for your honesty!

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  24. I think every blogger faces this :) For me, I've decided to post just a few times a week and not reply to all of my comments. And now that it is spring, I've taken up running again too! It makes me feel more in balance. XOL

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  25. I think that I'm getting a nudge to learn running. This is the third or fourth post about running clearing the mind! I find it difficult to prise myself from the internet. I think I need to be more disciplined about it too, maybe I'll buy an egg timer! I came into this year with the word 'Nourish' as my word. I have been doing a weekly post on what is nourishing me to try and find time for myself and to balance all the giving, (check out the posts here http://thedivinefeminine.blogspot.com/2011/03/nourish-me-week-six-bite-me.html). It seems that you are doing something similar. Great minds and all that. LOL!

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  26. I recently came back to blogging. I gave myself limits of how many post I would write a week and how much time I would spend daily on the computer, so that it doesn't become my focus. I am working towards that balance you are speaking of. I hope you find yours also, selfishly because I do so enjoy reading your blog.;)

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  27. This is dear to my heart - so many times I have thought of letting go - however, our family's income is nearly 100% of our online shops... but, we only have dial-up internet and this prevents me from really spending too much time visiting that many blogs, etc. as it takes forever to load - (right now I am the library).
    It is true, that being present in our "real" lives is what matters. But on the other side, I am so grateful to learn about how others are leading similar lives or working toward similar goals,etc.
    Thank you so much for sharing. Wishing you peace.
    Tonya

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  28. Thanks for sharing, Shanti. Sounds like you really struck a chord in people...

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  29. Blogging gives me headspace, and focus, and makes us concentrate on having even nicer days... like today
    http://dreamingaloudnet.blogspot.com/2011/03/cherry-blossom-picnic.html
    But balance is key, and it can be very all consuming, in a nice way- I love my mama headspace time. And I love writing - cos I'm a writer - I have been feeling so much happier since blogging. And am so inspired by others. But yes, balance, I remind myself quite frequently, because it is very addictive, and more appealing than tantruming toddlers!

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  30. Thanks for sharing your heart with all of us, Shanti. Balance and moderation sound so simple and yet are so difficult to achieve. I think the egg timer idea is brilliant. I have a one year old who is probably as good as an egg timer... ;)

    I am new to the blog world...but I can definitely see how it can be time consuming. What I do love about blogging, however, is my ability to connect with other "kindred spirits" from around the globe. It helps me feel less isolated and keeps me encouraged and inspired! Hopefully then I can be a better mom... a more "present" mom.
    Love you, sis! Becky
    www.heartfeltmama.blogspot.com

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  31. I love posts like this =)

    I only blog during naptime or when my husband is laying my daughter down for the night (sometimes he falls asleep, which gives me extra time to e-mail photos to my grandmother, and if I have time leftover then I might blog then too). That's it. So when less napping happens, less blogging happens. And naturally as my daughter has grown older, there has been less blogging - less commenting, less e-mailing, less writing, less of everything. I think that's okay. I'd rather look back and say 'I was there' then say 'I had a blog.'

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  32. Thanks so much for this post. It's perfect timing as I have been thinking about this all day today. We are going to try to do screen free week which is coming up april 18 - 24 and i can imagine we will have tons of free time on our hands. Of course it also helps if the weather is nice. :)

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  33. Lovely Ladies... Thank you for your words of wisdom, kindness and new ideas. I am grateful to be a part of this inspiring world of talent and love. One other way I recently discovered that has helped me on this journey of balance is to simply keep the computer shut down instead of sleeping. This seems to deter me from stopping in "just for a quick peek". I shall take all this new found inspiration and let it nestle its way into my day to day life. Thank you.

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  34. Very important post. I tend to live in the computer world far more than the real world. I like your egg timer idea. I make a rule that I cannot get on the computer until I have the beds made, breakfast given, and played a little with the kids. It just feels like somedays I want to see what is going on first thing and then it sucks me in and before I know it the day is almost gone. So with that, I am turning this off and going to be with the kids!

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  35. What a wonderful post. Although I don't blog, I do run 2 internet-based businesses and spend a silly amount of time online, and am often guilty of letting the computer take over time that would be better spent elsewhere. I'm feeling inspired to follow your lead and do computer stuff only after all the other stuff is done, and I love love love the egg-timer idea!

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