September 25, 2009

I Don't Want To Miss A Thing

There was a moment yesterday that I was seated on the toilet with my laptop propped up on top of a tall laundry basket piled with clothes, and that was my work station as the kids took baths and showers.

I never imagined it would be like this.

Before blogging, I worked for my father-in-law a few hours a week for several years. Mostly at home and in his office on Saturday mornings. When he brought his business home over a year ago and no longer needed my help, I was very thankful that ads on my blog and writing gigs filled in for that loss of income.

It's hard carving out the time to get all the writing and editing done, but it gets done (in the bathroom, at the zoo on my iPhone, nursing at the computer like I am right now.)



I catch myself thinking about when the kids are a bit older, when I'm no longer breastfeeding, and the opportunities that I might have then. I've had to say no to quite a few cool things lately and it's bittersweet. Part of me really likes the trips and the flying to new places and the special treatments bloggers sometimes get. But the other part of me remembers my business model isn't set up for such things, my children are an integral part of my "office". It's stressful to plan their caregiving for me to leave even one or two days. And they need me.

Now that Ivy is one, I wonder what people think when I say I can't leave my baby because we're still nursing. Do they expect me to leave her more easily now that she is one? Because many people assume you only breastfeed up until age one? It's not like I am concerned what other people think, but it's just there.

It's an odd position to be in. Knowing that in this blogging tweeting world, if you get one day or one event or conference behind, you're eating the dust of those ahead of you. It can take a while to catch up, and some won't make it.

But in reality, in reality, the Internet will probably still be here tomorrow or in two years. Forget page views and ad impressions. My children? They are changing and growing and impressioned with every single blink of my eyes. I don't want to get behind on their life, my life, because I don't know if I can ever catch up.


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58 comments:

  1. Balance...I think it is all about finding balance and staying true to who you are and what you believe. And, as long as at the end of the day you are at peace with the choices and decision you have made, then that is all that matters.

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  2. Beautiful post, Steph - as always.

    As the mother of a nearly 13 year old, as well as the 6 & 2 yr olds, I can testify to the fact that it all goes SO fast. Enjoy it!

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  3. Life is full of those choices and everyone can identify on some level.

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  4. I know they are difficult, but I can heart the peace you have in your decisions. It's beautiful, and I am certain many of those who chose differently are envious of that peace.
    It's hard to remember sometimes but you have stated it perfectly, "the Internet will probably still be here tomorrow or in two years. Forget page views and ad impressions. My children? They are changing and growing and impressioned with every single blink of my eyes."
    :)

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  5. "Now that Ivy is one, I wonder what people think when I say I can't leave my baby because we're still nursing. Do they expect me to leave her more easily now that she is one?"

    I love this line in your blog. I am still nursing my 29 month old son, and when I tell people I can't go on overnight stays without Owen because I'm still nursing him, people look at me as if I have 2 heads. Owen needs me at this point in his life. There will soon be a day when he no longer needs 3 or 4 or 7 middle of the night nursing sessions. But until then, I'm his mama and I'll be here for him.

    A beautiful post today.

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  6. Steph, this ia another great post, it really is.

    hugs and love,
    CE

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  7. Amen! God will bless you for putting them first!

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  8. I'm still nursing my 16-month-old too, although she only nurses once or twice a day. I think some people think I'm strange too.

    You have your priorities straight I'd say. Kids first, then blogging stuff. Our blogs won't take care of us when we're old, will they?

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  9. I feel like you're in my head this week! And for people who think thing when you breastfeed past one? Blech. You know your baby. You're doing your best for her, other people do the best they can for their babies, and we're all just here, doing the best we can. (which does not involve passing judgment on each other. so there.)

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  10. One is big, but one is still baby. I think it is wonderful that you are still nursing Ivy. I plan to still be nursing my twins past one.

    I suppose there are some of us who will always get strange looks...I am one of them for sure, so you are not alone.

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  11. This is so incredibly true...and because it is... try to hold off the pressures I feel with this blogging tweeting world sometimes...because I don't want to miss anything either.

    :-) Lovely writing, as always.

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  12. So well said.... I've actually been thinking the same thing lately. Not necessarily about blogging but other things that I had committed too. Wondering how to find balance. Knowing that in a year or two, I'll have PLENTY of time to spend time doing THOSE things, but right now, my kids need me. Great post!

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  13. So so so true Steph. It is finding balance in it all. It goes so fast and if we blink it will be gone, you know?
    I have been struggling a lot with it lately also. I don't want my kids memories to be of the back of my head while I sat at the computer.
    At the same time, I am trying to build my blog and my business, so there is a bit of time that is required of me to sit at the computer.
    It is frustrating and hard and so critical (this raising of children) that I don't want to mess it up.
    I guess we all just do the best we can and be happy with that.

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  14. beautifully said. when we forget what we're really doing here...it all loses something, doesn't it?

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  15. That was wonderful :) I'm right there with you.

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  16. Nursing after 1 year - I am so glad that you brought that up! Some people in my husband's family are planning a trip to Vegas in March and they just assumed and expected that we would go with them. I told them that I can't leave Emily because she will still be breastfeeding, and they were all shocked because she will be a year old in March. Besides, there is no way that I am leaving her for 4 days! It's either both of us or neither of us (they don't think Emily should go and none of the others are taking their kids, but there is nothing that I plan on doing in Vegas that is not kid-friendly!) So I know how you feel. Stay home. Be with your kids. If that's whatis the most important to you, then do it!

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  17. I agree whole heartedly. I feel like I get one shot, one lifetime with my child--I want to make it count. Everyone thinks I'm crazy because I don't LIKE leaving my daughter. She is 15 months, and I will let her nurse as long as there is a need. It is such a brief time in the long run, and I don't want to rush it, even though it's flying by.

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  18. Of course your blog is a wonderful thing, as are the connections you've made and the opportunities it has given you. But of course, our kids always come first. I think you are finding a pretty good balance right now Steph, at least from my "outsider" perspective...

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  19. Jan Hunt put it very well:

    "In order for children to be independent, they must first be dependent."

    For the last few weeks, I too have been juggling Ina duty w/ work; I too, get those two headed looks when I say I will not take her to daycare.. and that she is nursing still.
    I hear you.
    What is today, will be gone soon enough, but our children are watching,and listening and hearing all that goes on around us. They will remember what we chose over them.
    Rock on sister!!!

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  20. Your office sounds a lot like mine. And I'm sure you won't be left in the dust --- no way, no how.

    Nell

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  21. All about Balance. I work hard at staying Balanced every single day -- sometimes it happens, mostly it doesn't!
    I'm doing my best :) And I think you're doing a great job!

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  22. So true! At this time last year I felt like I was on my way to having a strong blog and growing a following. Not necessarily something I set out to do but it was happening. Somewhere along the way I stepped back and couldn't seem to get back into it. I'm finally starting back slowly and I don't regret the time away though because I was able to enjoy my daughters that much more!

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  23. I am crying. You took the words right out of my mouth.

    I am not a well established blogger yet like you are, but I already feel the stress of constantly staying connected or you could miss something. I have a 2.5 yro and a 7 mo. old and I have to catch myself and take a deep breath and remember they are only young once.

    You are not alone.

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  24. I always have to remind myself of these very things. My blog doesn't make me any money, and I think only a select few will ever really be as successful as you are with your blog. There just isn't room for more :) So I try to stay content with just blogging a few times a week, when I feel I have the time and energy.

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  25. It's wonderful that you're still nursing. How long do you plan to do so? As a working mother, I leave during my planning periods (I'm a high school teacher) to visit and nurse my son Finn. It's a lot of running around, and it's tough to have to leave him TWICE (in the morning and then again after his late morning nursing session). Someone recently told me, "things will be much easier soon, when you stop nursing." The truth, though, is that although my "baby" turns one in exactly two weeks (something I almost can't believe!), I'm not sure WHEN I'll stop nursing. I thought I would be ready about now -- but I don't feel like either Finn or I are ready. He's my one and only -- and this is something I'm pretty sure I'll never get to experience again.

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  26. finnsgarden:

    I plan to nurse probably the next couple years as long as it continues to be a pleasant relationship for both Ivy and me!

    Steph

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  27. So true...this is all about living in the present. But that's hard when everything around you is so future oriented. Planning and projecting and more planning.

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  28. It sounds like you have your priorities on straight. I can understand the push and pull of things though. It's hard to keep saying "no" to things in order to put your family first. However, I think that the smart brands and marketers will appreciate the moms who do so. We're moms first before we're bloggers/ twitterers/ whatever.

    Conferences, trips, recognition, etc. will come and go but (hopefully) our families won't!

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  29. Love that last paragraph; you totally summed it up. Whether it's the blogging world or any other venture we struggle to cram into our agenda, we do well to remember the brevity of our kid's childhoods and not take them for granted.

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  30. Wow!! Well said. When I quit my 40+ hour per week job to be a SAHM, the first thing I did was make a list of my priorities to help keep me focused.

    That list would make a good blog topic...thanks for the idea!!

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  31. I don't think it's abnormal for her to nurse past age one. One of my former employees told me that she nursed until she was 5. She nursed until she was 2 and then when her sister was born the next year she got jealous and started nursing again so her sister couldn't.

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  32. People and their looks! :)
    People are making all these comments about all these things I can do when Dave gets back and guess what? I'm still going to be nursing! The reaction I'm getting? Silence. Oh well.
    When it all comes down to it, what do you want to remember? Kids or that blogging conference? Who is going to be remembering you? Don't think it'll be the conference . . .

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  33. So well said. I love your posts. Whether they are a sentance, just photos or paragraph upon paragraph it always seems that you are sharing straight from your heart....like a conversation between friends.

    John is 14 months and I am still nursing. We're quite happy with it. He also eats steak, past, burgers...etc. I've had a few comments directed to John about how he's a big boy now and doesn't "need" it. How annoying. I just smile because I don't know how to deal with it. My daughter weaned herself at 16 months because she was ready and wanted to. I will nurse John until he is ready to be done too.

    I bake cupcakes, make sandwiches and attempt to blog to supplement our income and often I hear from others about what I could do to expand (blog/baking etc.)...I would love to expand someday but right now? I can hardly keep up while I try to still enjoy/raise my little ones and that is my primary focus.

    This post really reasonated with me. Thank you for sharing.

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  34. You'll never look back and say, "Man, I wish I had had more readers," but you don't want to look back and say, "Man, I wish I had spent more time with my kids."

    You are doing the right thing, mama. And that's why you're doing as well as you're doing.

    Wow, that's a lot of "doings"

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  35. This captured my sentiments to a tee! I wanted to be there among the "more" famous bloggers but then priorities sets in. Yes, you are right, after all these had passed, the internet will always be around. Like a wheel, our turn to shine will come! And when it comes, I want to be there next to you :)

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  36. Investing in our kids is investing in eternity...can't say the same about the internet. I feel ya on the pressure to say not to things due to nursing. Still nursing my 23 month-old--exactly why I won't be attending the overnight women's ministry conferences offered by our church for yet another year. This fleeting season of Mommyhood!

    Dr. Dolly
    drgarnecki at gmail.com

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  37. I love how you let yourself be vulnerable here.

    For many of these reasons, I'm grateful I had the means to step away. Just wanted to let you know I understand that little twinge of regret as everyone else jets off somewhere fun.

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  38. I am going back and forth and back and forth on BlogHer next year. My son will be 2. The likelihood is very high that we will still be nursing. I nursed his sister up to that point and beyond, so unless he has different plans in mind I doubt we'll be finished. I know I don't want to bring a 2-year-old, but I also don't want to leave him. And I'm conscious of the fact that I'm in a bit of an unusual spot.

    But you know what? You've just got to do what feels right for you and your kids. They will be bigger before we know it, and you can't get this time back.

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  39. Great post - You summed up the brilliance of babies vs. the love of all things bloggy... Isn't it hard when your kids are expected to grow up and be awesome and hold it all together while you live your life just because they turned one... It is indeed a sad, sad world we live in!!! That being said - I love reading about your life and little ones and would hate the story to change too quickly so just keep on plodding thank-you very much!!! Nurse that baby, wear that baby... and snuggle that adorable toddler going on teenager man you live with!!!

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  40. yes, steph! in REALITY....you have that perspective, you're living that wonderfully. not because you always do it perfectly (we CAN'T), but because you know to check yourself and to balance and to, above all, LOVE.

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  41. I struggle with this, too, and my blog isn't even as well read as yours! But no matter the "distraction," you're right about the fact that professionally, you could always carve a new niche; however, you can never catch up with your kids once they are away from you. Totally get this.

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  42. what a wonderful post Steph. I think in the long run you are making the right choice for your family. Not to say that others are making the wrong choice, but their family situation may be different.

    ((hugs))

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  43. Nice post. I struggle with feeling like I'm missing out, too. I have a 6 m.o. & a 3 y.o. & am a freelance writer. I've had to say no to so many opportunities & I feel some guilt & resentment about it. That said, I love being the one to experience every milestone in my kids' lives. I would hate to miss a single second.

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  44. ah, written truth, there.

    It's hard. Sometimes, when you're getting affirmation online, it's tough to tear yourself away. Because really, 3 year olds aren't that hot at the affirmation thing. But then again, if given the chance, they can say things that make the drudgery fade in a heartbeat.

    Thanks for the reminder.

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  45. Well said...I can definitely relate and thank goodness I have my DH to remind me occassionally that home comes before internet business...

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  46. It sure will all be there tomorrow. Enjoy today!

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  47. I am feeling the same way right now. I keep thinking that would be cool...but how could I leave my baby? and will people think I'm weird for not being willing to do that? or judging those who are willing? and why do I care anyway?

    There's lots I want to do in my life but plenty of time for that...and only one time to enjoy my babies.

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  48. "Knowing that in this blogging tweeting world, if you get one day or one event or conference behind, you're eating the dust of those ahead of you. It can take a while to catch up, and some won't make it."

    Eh. I have so much more freedom to enjoy my life since letting go of trying to stay in the swing of things. Like you wrote in that last paragraph - THIS time with our kiddos, THIS is where I want to be invested. Someone could take all of this bloggy stuff away from me tomorrow and though I am sure I would miss it, life would go on.

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  49. "Because many people assume you only breastfeed up until age one? It's not like I am concerned what other people think, but it's just there."

    Thanks so much for this. Since my son turned one, we've run up against some naysayers, especially among my friends that don't breastfeed. That said, I continue to follow my gut/heart in the matter!

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  50. "Now that Ivy is one, I wonder what people think when I say I can't leave my baby because we're still nursing. Do they expect me to leave her more easily now that she is one?"

    I am still nursing my baby girl who will be 2 in about a month. I always get weird looks and comments from people (even family!) who know this. but we do what we feel is best for our kids.

    you are a great mom, and God has a plan for each and every one of your days.

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  51. This is how I feel lately too.

    I just received my 8th invitation of the year for an all-expenses-paid blogging event...but I said "no." It's just not the right "season" of my life for that right now. I don't want to be "eating the dust" of other bloggers (as you said), but I also don't want to miss this time - these moments.

    World traveling will have to wait. I have two beautiful girls that need me - and it's nice to be needed. They're growing up fast and I don't want them to remember me as the jet-setting, always-traveling type. I want them to have memories of me - listening to their stories, going on walks, playing the day away, baking cookies, laughing together. I want them to know that they are important...more important than blogging, work, money, or material things. Much, much more important.

    stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

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  52. This is really interesting and it captures exactly why I've been hesitant and even a little conflicted as I get into blogging.

    I only started about 5 months ago, although I've written my entire life. I had NO IDEA what I was getting into. It's so easy to get sucked into this subculture and even get overwhelmed a bit by the sheer numbers of blogs out there.

    Blogging has led me to spend more and more time on the computer, and although I've discovered some great writing out there, I have to say I find myself not being fully present with my kids as often as I had been. I've been steering clear of twitter for that very reason - I don't know if another internet distraction or self-imposed obligation to read and respond to people will serve me or my family well. (and that's not even getting to the issue of stealing hours away from my writing time.)

    But the downside is then, how do I introduce myself or my blog to this internet world without fully immersing myself in it? Not that I'm asking you specifically. Just rambling here, writing a post-length comment on my first thorough visit to your site. ;)

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  53. Hey I just want to let you know that your post has inspired the post I'm posting tomorrow. Let me know what you think :) Thanks!

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