I didn’t stop reading because we had a riff in our friendship, or even because her blog became less interesting to me. The fact of the matter is, I stopped reading all my favorite blogs about two years ago.
I didn’t have that many to begin with—somewhere between five and ten that I would check on a semi-regular basis—but like I said, I gave them all up, all at once. (Okay, maybe I had to slowly wean myself off a couple of them over a few months.)
But why? These were good blogs. Some of them were the extremely popular ones everybody reads (and for good reason), and some of them were just the blogs of personal friends I adore. Why give them up?
Let me just say upfront that it had nothing to do with them. It was me. I don’t mean this in the classic It’s not you, it’s me breakup kind of way (which really means It’s you). It really was me. Let me explain.
We’ve all heard athletes talk about focus and keeping their eye on the prize. That’s not just a figurative statement. There are myriad examples of athletes literally taking their eyes off the goal in front of them to look around and see what’s going on, and the next thing you know they’re on the ground having lost the competition.
A religious parallel can even be found in the New Testament. Upon receiving the invitation from Jesus, the apostle Peter leaves his fishing boat to try to walk across the water of the Sea of Galilee to where Jesus is standing. After initially succeeding, he ultimately fails and begins to sink. Why? Some say it was because he feared, but more specifically (in my mind) it was because he stopped focusing on Jesus and started looking around him at the waves. Essentially, he took his eye off the prize.
In this case, the prize is my home and family, and I find that when I spend too much time reading other moms’ blogs, I end up thinking about their homes and their families instead of my own. And because I have contentment and comparison issues (despite having a pretty marvelous life), I often walk away from the computer feeling “less than,” wanting more, and thinking about all the things I “should” do/have/be in order to have a home and family like that. It took me awhile to figure it out, but I finally learned that feelings of peace and contentment come quite naturally to me when I simply keep my eye on the prize and focus on having a family like this.
You see? It really is about me.
I understand that many moms read blogs for ideas and inspiration. I get that. I really do. Where moms used to only have Creative Memories and Pampered Chef parties to connect with each other and get ideas, now there is this great cyber-sharing that happens from the living room couch while babies are napping or from the palms of our hands while waiting in the pick-up lane. Technically, the internet existed when my fifteen-year-old was born, but it wasn’t anything like it is today. Back then, all we had were those parties, parenting books and magazines, and the occasional park day or phone call with friends. But there was a certain comfort in my world being so small, and I think I definitely relied more heavily on my mother’s intuition back then—something we give up all too easily in this era of information overload. (We’re just sure someone out there in cyberspace knows more than we do.)
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not telling anyone to stop reading mommy blogs, and I’m most definitely not suggesting that mommy blogs are bad. I’m just doing what works for me. I have a blog of my own, primarily meant to chronicle my family’s history and entertain my mother in Iowa, who suffers from separation anxiety. But since it is a public blog, I sometimes wonder if I’ve ever made anyone else feel like their life was “less than” after reading something I’ve posted (because like I said before, I really do have a pretty marvelous life). If this is the case, I sincerely apologize and hope you’ll follow my lead and stop reading, because chances are you have a pretty marvelous life of your own. You’re just not focusing on it.
The thing is, in all our efforts to glean ideas from other mothers, there’s a potential to lose touch with our own intuition. As fantastic as it may sound, what’s great for one mom and her family may not be what is needed for your family. And if you have a personality like mine, you might want to try and incorporate every last great idea out there and risk not doing the most important thing for your family (whatever that is). Worse yet, you may start wishing you were living someone else’s life. And that’s so not fun.
My decision to stop reading mommy blogs was about nothing more than a need to simplify my time and my mind, focus on my family instead of someone else’s, and learn how to be grateful and content with my own life. I like the idea of bringing things down a notch when it comes to outside information, and I love the idea of getting to the core of what is really needed for my family by listening to my own heart.
Maybe you have one or more things in your own life you could give up (or cut back on) that would reap the same benefits. Mommy blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, shopping, unnecessary work or social obligations, toxic relationships, over-volunteering at the school, too much time at the gym, too much TV. There are a million and one ways to get distracted from living a simpler, satisfying, and authentic life.
I’m sure if I dropped an email to my old blogging friend today we would pick up right where we left off. The truth is, she is one of those bloggers who does a great job of keeping it real while putting an emphasis on simplifying. It really is my kind of blog. That being said, I think I’ll stick to following my own life.
But maybe I’ll start reading again. Maybe.
Question: Do you have anything in your life that prevents you from listening to your mother’s intuition and living a more satisfying and authentic family life?
Challenge: Once you identify what that is, try cutting back this next week and see how it feels. You may not miss it at all!