So, the first quarter of 2014 is almost over. I know it’s been very quiet here at Mommy Café. It’s because I had gone on a blogcation. It wasn’t planned, it’s just one of those things that happened. At one point, I was wondering if I need to announce it. But in the end, I felt I don’t need to explain my absence. After all, my blog is a personal space.
The few months that I was away, lots were happening in my life. Many times when I sat down in front of my laptop and tried to type a post to share about what’s been going on, the many rich lessons I’m learning, the words kept slipping away from my fingers. So I walked away from the desk time and again, letting the words simmer in my heart, trusting that when the time comes for them to be released, it will happen.
And now, the time felt right. While I’m not writing a 5,000-word post about what I had experienced the past few months, I felt a need to share what had impacted me in a deep way, so it’s still going to be longer than my usual post anyway.
It all started at the beginning of the year when I purchased some planners and began working through them. Though I was focusing on business goals, the process and exercises began to lead me to examine other aspects of my life.
I soon found myself journaling frequently and to my surprise I started experiencing some mental breakthroughs.
I also decluttered my home, dumping stuff I had held onto for years and freed myself emotionally and mentally. I felt lighter, happier, pleased that I am making room for new blessings to enter my life.
Best of all, I let go of commitments that are either not in my flow or do not add value to my life. By doing so, I’m able to focus better on the real goals and living a life that’s aligned with my values and purpose.
And this letting go includes blogging.
My Blogging Journey
In the last two years as my blog grew, I received more and more invitations for media events and reviews. It was fun being able to try new things and enjoy new experiences – often before the public gets to do so.
While I’m thankful for all the opportunities, I felt I am moving further and further away from my real purpose for blogging.
I didn’t start blogging to get into the limelight or to win some awards. Neither was I after the money.
I started it for my son. I wanted to be able to capture the precious moments of his growing up and my joys (and sometimes pain) of motherhood. Along the way, I also began to share about my interests and passion. It was that simple.
Yet as the blog grew, I soon found myself drawn into the social media and PR side of it.
The thing about all these is, it takes time. For someone like me, it takes a lot of time.
To begin with, I am not one of those writers who can churn out a beautiful post in a twinkling. Plus I put in a lot of time to edit the photos too.
I would often stay up late at night to write. After all, when you are doing a review or are going to host a giveaway, you just HAVE TO write that post. At one point, my health was affected by the lack of sleep and it was one of a few wake-up calls I had about how I am spending my time.
I also learnt that blogging is a social activity. Besides the obvious social media aspect of it that most readers know of – the whole gamut of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more, there’s also the ‘hidden’ or less obvious social part of blogging. That is, to grow as a blogger, to get more traffic for your site, you also have to socialise with other bloggers. So you join communities, you read and comment on other blogs in the hope that others will reciprocate and do the same for you. It’s not a bad thing. Many great friendships are forged this way and I have been blessed with good friends I made from online communities.
BUT… as much as I like to make friends, I just don’t have to time to be online all the time. I don’t know how others do it, but I simply can’t. I went through a short period where I would feel guilty for not having the time to read and comment on other people’s blogs.
Now I have learnt to let go of those feelings. More importantly, I want to be more present in life and to have more time for my family, so I choose to live by my values and recognise that spending time online is not my priority and it’s alright to let that part of my life slip.
As I reflected on those times when blogging encroaches on family life, I knew I have chosen to do the right thing. I’ve made my husband frustrated on quite a number of occasions, such as when I stopped him from diving into the food so I could take a photo for the blog or asked him to help take a few more photos because those he just took “weren’t good enough”.
Most importantly, what really hit me was when I read a friend’s post about how our actions online may affect our kids’ future (and it’s not just blog posts, but what we shared on FB too). It made me so much more cautious about what I write and share.
Before you think that I am saying blogging is a bad thing, it’s not what I meant. Blogging has opened many doors for me which would otherwise not be possible. For that, my heart is full of gratitude.
However, I also need to acknowledge the fact that spending time on my blog means less time for something else.
So for this new year, I want to focus more time on my family and work. When I drastically reduced blogging time the last few months, I think I’ve gained at least 3, 4 hours a week.
In the past, I had mentioned that I’ll cut back and be more selective about the products and services I’ll review, I hadn’t been very disciplined about it.
But looking at how much freer life feels in the past few months, I don’t think I’ll have a problem with that anymore. Stepping back from this blog and has given the clarity I needed and helped me to know where I am going next.
I am evolving as an individual and so will this blog – after all, it’s a reflection of the writer.
Some of you know I have another blog, MomMe Circle. It’s my passion to encourage moms to continue to nurture themselves even as they raise their kids. I don’t believe that motherhood means having to give up our dreams. In fact, I think being a mom gives us greater imperative to pursue our dreams because we hope that our kids will do the same with theirs.
So I will be spending more time over there than I did last year.
In freeing up more time and space in my life, I’m also keeping myself open to what God will lead me into as the year unfolds.
Meanwhile, I am happy and content to savour the moments and focus on my goals and plans for 2014.
I am also ready to come back to this blog, back to what gave me joy as a blogging mom, back to what really this place is about.
What you are doing differently this year, be it for your blog or life?