Friday, November 14, 2008

Some Thoughts on Blogging

He's what makes me a "mommy blogger."

There was a little blurb in The Wall Street Journal a few days ago about mommy bloggers that I found interesting, particularly since I fall into that category. There are an estimated 3 million mothers out there who are blogging about mom-related things and other various topics. Wow! A little over half of those women post to their blogs at least once a week (that would be me), and 500,000 blog on a daily basis. That's a whole lot of mommy-blogging going on in the country!

I've had my blog for a little over a year now, and I really enjoy it. I like having a public outlet to express my thoughts, opinions, experiences, and pictures. It's a good way to connect with and stay in touch with friends, and it's a great way of "meeting" people from all around the country and even the world who you would never know otherwise. It's fascinating to get a glimpse into other people's lives and see what life is like for them. I've always found that interesting, and it enlarges my world-view in a fun way.

That said, blogging by its nature can be very time-consuming: there's your own blog to maintain with your postings and pictures, and there are many other blogs to read and keep up with if you choose to. I enjoy doing both of those things. My problem is the big chunk of time it all takes. How do you find the right balance between maintaining your blog, reading and keeping up with all of the blogs you follow, and oh yeah, living your own life?

For most people, life is already busy enough. I have one child and I don't work outside of the home, but I'm still always busy. The daily tasks of a stay-at-home mom are a full-time job: being an attentive mother, keeping the house clean and organized, preparing meals, running errands, driving to preschool and other activities, taking care of the pets, doing yardwork, etc. Then add to this all of the other things involved in living life:

  • exercising and staying healthy, or trying to get healthy
  • having a social life and going out and doing things
  • reading newspapers, magazines, and books
  • reading the scriptures
  • working on your church calling
  • watching TV shows and the news
  • doing your hobbies (other than blogging)
  • working on various projects around the house
  • spending at least a little quality time with your husband
  • keeping your career skills up (in my case, by doing freelance editing work)
  • trying to get at least seven hours of sleep a night,

and the list goes on. How does blogging fit in when you want to do all of these things? I guess it somehow does if you want it to. But at least for me, it's often at the expense of other things. For example, I'd love to read for pleasure a lot more than I currently do, watch more movies that I know I'd like, learn some new skills, and spend more quality time with my husband and son. Sometimes I feel very guilty when I'm on the Internet instead of with them. Not that I need to be with them every waking moment, but there are times when my Internet habits have made me neglectful of more significant responsibilities in my life.

I like blogging way too much to give it up! I just want to figure out a way to get it to fit into my life in a more efficient, less stressful way. Because if it's stressful, why do it? Maybe restrict it to just two or three days a week? Become less of a perfectionist and don't edit and proofread everything I write as much as I do? I don't know. How do the three million mommy bloggers and other bloggers out there do it? What do you do to fit it into your life? I'm really interested in how other people who blog make it work (or don't!).


rachel said...

I actually struggle, because it can be really addictive. I attempt to only post once or twice a week. And in an ideal world, I would only check/make comments on other people's once a day when everything else was done. (I do alot more than that now ) I do my best not to be involved with it on weekends, but need to do better. Your post is very timely because I have been struggling to find a balance to it all, and I've been thinking about Elder Oaks' talk Good, Better, Best and thinking it really applies in my life. :)

Kristina P. said...

Yeah, I have 316 blogs on my Reader. It can be tough. This is why I've stopped posting on the weekends.

If I didn't have the job that I did, I wouldn't be able to keep up and comment on everyone's. I do enjoy it, but I've also gotten to the point where I try to not feel like I have to comment on every single post. But I still comment on most!

Blog Buddy said...

I've only been doing this since April, but I feel like now that I've started...I just can't stop! When do I find time? In between wash loads or vacuuming, while talking on the phone, after I do the dishes, and even when I'm picking up toys around the house :) I have a job interview on Monday...and I'll be sorta mad that I won't be able to blog-if I get the job on computers! (Customer Service)

*MARY* said...

I'm a stay at home mom too. But I'm a very nonbusy one. I don't have a social life, the kids don't have anywhere they need to go, and I don't even have a car.

Julie said...

I blog when my littlest is asleep in the afternoon and my others are at school. It's my "me" time. I figure it's an emotional outlet. If I were keeping a journal, I'd be spending similar time. I try not to do it, but I must admit that, if I feel strongly about posting something, I might sneak a minute in for it. That doesn't happen too often.

I only check a certain number of other blogs a day, and I make sure that I comment on each one I go to because I like to know when someone's visited me, so I figure I'd better do the same.

Once my little one's awake, blogging time is over for the day.

A New England Life said...

Hi Donna,

If I had little kids I'm not sure how I would find the time. It amazes me that some moms with toddlers blog on an almost daily basis, but like Rachel said, it is addictive. Women who are at home all day really crave that connection with other women.

I think the balance is yours alone. You have to find what feels comfortable to you and not feel guilty if you can't blog or comment on a regular basis. Just yesterday a woman I met on blogger said she doesn't have time to comment anymore so she just blogs. She's hopeful others don't have hurt feelings, but I understand her point of view.

I tend to be more of a reader than a commentor. However, I try to comment on my favorite blogs at least once every 2-3 entries. I do love your blog but don't feel pressure to post too often. Once a week should be good enough, especially if your busy. The little ones grow all to quickly!

Sharon : )

Sondra said...

I really liked that post. I feel it is very addictive too and I try to balance it out. At first while I was learning all the ends and outs of how to do it, it took quite a bit longer then it does now.

Like Julie said about a Journal - that's what I think it is. I feel it is a great way to capture the moments that you many forget later (like a journal or scrap book).
I feel like I enjoy each moment more and take more pictures because I get to blog them. It's been a positive thing for me to journal about my life in the blogging world. I print it off and put them in a book like a journal/scrap book.

I don't comment often on other blogs either, that in itself could be very time consuming and I might feel obligated to always check a certain blog each day to comment. I usually don't have the time in my day. I only comment if I feel it's an interesting subject.

When I have extra time, I do look at Mormon Moms who blog - and get inspiration from other Moms like you.

Even if you blog only once a week - in 5 or 10 years as your son grows, you will be very thankful you took the time to journal and post pictures along the way. It's a good thing. (Sorry about the LONG comment).

Me said...

It really can be a difficult thing to balance. The computer can sometimes be like a black hole, that sucks me in. I have yet to find the right balance and do find myself over-whelmed. When you figure it all out, please share with the rest of us!

Alyson (New England Living) said...

That's a tough one, but I do think everyone has to make their own decisions on what the balance is. For me, my blog is an outlet for my hobby of photography, so I want to post as often as I can so I can watch as I get better and grow and perhaps one day make photography a career.

Also, since I love to write it is my own way of "keeping up my skills" in a similar way that you try to find outlets to keep up your editing skills.

As a mother of 4 kids though, I'm extremely busy, but blogging is my outlet.

Alyson (New England Living) said...

Oh, and I NEVER blog on the weekend. I hardly ever look at blogs on the weekend either.

Laura said...

I always justify my addiction----as I know one day, we will treasure this "journal" of our lives. I want to remember these moments, so I make blogging a priority. I would've loved to have my Mom blog about my early childhood! (I have just got to print out my blog. It's relatively inexpensive to have it printed and bound.)

buffyvandabailey said...

Just never commit to blogging every single day for an entire month. It's taking over my life and stressing me out! I think once this month is over, I'm going to stick to two days a week MAX.

I also want to limit the other things I do on the internet to only a few days a week. Like banking, shopping, checking other blogs.

Donna said...

Thank you all for your great comments. I found them to be so interesting and helpful. I'm glad I'm not the only one out there feeling like this! I used some of your suggestions and thoughts to determine what I'm going to try and do to make blogging fit into my life better.

This is my Plan of Action:
1) post when I feel like it, whether it's something small (like a picture with a few thoughts) or something bigger and longer, but don't feel pressured to post any more than about twice a week.
2) check everyone else's blogs on a regular basis, which I like doing, but don't feel the need to comment on every single post I read.
3) I'm not going to do much blog-posting or reading on the weekends. I didn't do much before, and I think I'll probably keep it that way. For some reason it just feels right!

Trying to Stay Calm! said...

I love the ideas so great! Balanced blogging is the way for me :) ♥ Hugs!

Karolynn said...

I don't keep a journal or a scrapbook. This is my way of doing both. :)

Lisa K said...

I either post on my own blogs or read others in the morning (my son is an early riser and I'm not) when I can't function enough to do anything really productive (i.e. cleaning, exercising, etc.) or at night after Colton is asleep and my husband and I are just relaxing before bedtime.

It also helps that I have a laptop so I can sit next to my husband and be online while he's watching something boring on TV. That way we're still together.

Sarah Laurence said...

Donna, good question!

That's why I only post weekly. Blogging is candy to a writer. I squeeze my blog and blog visits into early weekend mornings, while everyone is sleeping, or in the early evening while the kids should be doing homework. There still wasn't enough time for blogging, seeing friends and doing errands so I've devoted Wednesdays to that. The other 4 weekdays I try to devote to writing my novel. I won't touch a blog or e-mails until I finish writing a chapter.

I'm still a bit overwhelmed. I never have time to read all posts because I have such a big readership, but I do try to visit after a comment if not always on the same day. I really enjoy it, but my family and work have to come first. I also walk the dog daily and swim laps 2-3 times a week . Then I need time to read books.

You are right that the key is finding a balance. Let me know if you find it!

Anonymous said...

I am trying to figure this out. Love the connection but it's hard to keep up. Great comment advice.♥

Anonymous said...

I too and still trying to figure out the balance...I don't even have kids. I wonder how moms find the time at all!