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Yes. I’m blogging yet another post this week, even though I announced a few weeks ago that I was taking an extended blogging break.
I’ll get to that in a moment, but I promise, there is an explanation, and it’s a good one.
I knew when I finished my blog series on legalism that I was going to have to take a step back from blogging to spend more time with my family and my household, and to prepare for Allume (heart, body, mind, and soul).
I kicked off said “blogging break” with a long weekend with my family at the beach, which was so restful. I caught up on some reading and tried to wrap my head around organizing my life for the upcoming school year, which for us doesn’t actually mean school, but does mean that a lot of our social activities start back up because they run with a typical school-year calendar.
I sat down with a blank piece of paper divided into a weekly schedule and tried to fit everything I wanted to do into the empty spots. And I knew then that some hard choices had to be made.
Because I’m only one person. And I can’t go to MOPS, MOMS, two Bible studies, and the gym as well as keeping up with housework, blogging several times a week, preparing and executing super-awesome homeschool preschool activities, grocery shopping, paying bills, resting, reading books, and cooking for my family – all while giving my son adequate personal attention and lots of playtime out of the house.
Um, no wonder I feel like I’m always behind?
I’ve been trying to do way too much. So I took scissors to my schedule and started cutting:
I cut MOPS.
I cut blogging down to twice a week (shh, today is actually a laundry and show-watching day, but I’m giving myself a tiny bit of wiggle room on this first week).
I made sure there was space for the gym twice a week.
I added an afternoon to focus on reading and feeding my soul.
I added an afternoon to focus just on catching up on emails, reading blogs, and managing social media.
I decided that unity-study style homeschool preschool was great idea and well-intentioned, but that I have been focused FAR too much on preparation and perfect execution. From now on we will be recycling old material, using Dollar Store flash cards, and not stressing so much. (And using a lot less printer ink because daggone that stuff is expensive!)
I actually put spots on the calendar for family time, housework, laundry, and play time for Ezra, instead of pretending like it will just happen on its own while I juggle the rest of my life.
And I put naps and watching TV on the schedule to to make sure I get a lot of rest time too.
(my “schedule” – I don’t do hourly slots or mommy printables)
I’ve also worked together with my husband to share a lot of the housework – dishes especially. I still help a lot with dishes, but it’s now Russell’s priority. He tries to make sure the dishwasher gets loaded and run almost every morning.
I’m endeavoring to being much more focused with my time instead of sitting on the computer for hours without intention. I’ve set myself office hours (ish) and am doing my best to stick to them. I’ve set an alarm on my phone for 0730 to remind myself to not spend all morning wasting time on the internet. I never get off right at 0730, but it’s there to say “Okay, time to wind down and focus on getting done other things that you need to do.”
I’ve sorted through my Pinterest recipe boards so they don’t just sit there uselessly – printed off recipes and stuck them in my binder so I can actually work on trying out a new recipe every once in a while.
I’ve cleaned out my email and “blogs to read” inbox and am trying to maintain a zero balance on both of those by dealing with emails and reading blogs AS they come in instead of letting them sit.
And above all, I’m trying to give myself grace and remember why I’m doing this. Not just to be a better (read: perfect) wife and mom, have a cleaner house, run a better blog, and not feel guilty and overwhelmed all of the time – although, there is that. But to commit to having a more minimal schedule and being intentionally focused with my time out of a heart that is motivated to do the right things for the right reasons:
The heart is also the source of our passion. Pursuing change without passion leads to burnout. There’s simply no way to stay engaged and motivated over the long term without our hearts being part of the process.
Why does your heart really want to make this change in your life?
The answer is more likely to be something along the lines of “To have more energy to invest in the relationships God has placed in my life” or “To be able to meet more practical needs in the lives of others through giving.” (Holley Gerth, The “Do What You Can” Plan, chapter 14, Keep Your Heart in It, excerpts)
I’m not going to give you a whole exhaustive list of exactly why my heart wants to make these changes, as I’m still sort of working through some of those things.
But here are a few:
- To not look at that “list of books to read” list with despair that I haven’t picked up a book in a month
- To not constantly be overwhelmed with the mess and be behind on housework
- To have time for myself, for relaxation, for recharging and infilling so that I can better serve my family emotionally and physically
- To not feed a recovering addiction to social media by obsessing about my blog
- To balance time out of the home and time in the home well so that neither one is lacking
- To make my son’s education a priority without making it an obsession
- To balance excellence with grace while recovering from perfectionism
- To have margin in my life for God to work and hugs and kisses to abound
I write all this 1) for my own benefit because I process and think through writing and 2) because I wanted to explain why I’m blogging during an announced blogging break. While I’m definitely taking a huge step back in the quantity of time I expend on my blog, I still am making it a priority at least twice a week. That might not mean two new posts a week, but I’m still granting myself the privilege of being able to write when I feel led.
I am hoping that being more focused and intentional in all areas of my life as well as taking more time for self care will result in much better and deeper content as opposed to frequent scatterbrained posts written just for the sake of maintaining this space.
I want to take this moment to publicly thank Leigh Ann and Nikki over at Intentional By Grace for their passion for organization, scheduling, and keeping things balanced while being intentional and disciplined with your time. I have to admit I resist a lot of their great ideas because I really don’t like structure – but over the past few weeks I realized I really needed to make some changes, and their sites have definitely given me a lot to think about and stepped on my toes with grace.
And thank you readers for giving me grace as I put my foot in my mouth about taking a blogging break and fumble through getting my mess organized.