For all you fellow blogging moms out there, you know what it's like to juggle whining kids, dishes, laundry, bathrooms that cry out for attention, lunches that must be made, kitchen floors that must be swept, gardens that must be weeded and watered, and dogs that must be bathed. On top of all this, there's the soft chirping of Twitter alerts, the chiming of Facebook updates, and the ever-present nagging of blogs that must be written before you fall into bed, exhausted.
What's a mom to do? How do you balance it all?
There comes a point where you're being too much of a "blogger" and too little of a "mom". So how do you know if you're spending too much time online?
Here are five ways to tell that your kids are becoming blogging orphans:
1. You remember every new Twitter follower you got that day, but forget what time your kids' dentist appointments are.
2. Your kids have to physically touch you to pull your attention away from the computer.
3. The first thing out of your child's mouth after you take their picture is, "Please don't put that on Facebook!"
4. You find your five-year-old sitting on the kitchen counter eating dry cereal because that was all he could fix himself for breakfast while you were checking blog stats for an hour.
5. Your husband has to read your blog in order to find out how your day was.
Now, I don't write these things critically. I write them because, at one time or another, I've been guilty as charged! The trick is to set media hours. We do this for our kids, so why not do it for ourselves? Here are some practical steps for limiting your screen time and increasing your face time with your kids:
1. Define your goals and priorities for blogging. If you are only doing it as a creative outlet, then it shouldn't take away major time from your day. If it is a source of income (through advertising and networking), then it must be taken more seriously, just as you would take any job seriously that you work outside the home.
2. Make sure you have a set work schedule. If you're a small-time blogger, like I am (for the moment), carve out no more than 2 hours a day with the laptop on and your mind in the networking zone. If it involves getting up early (we're talking 4 a.m., before the kids are awake), then do it! Most moms know, you do what needs to be done in order to get it done!
3. Take a vacation! Yes, once in a while, take a complete break from all media. For example, if you're planning a big camping trip this summer, leave the laptop, iPad, iPhone, Ipod, and any other i's that connect you to the web AT HOME. Snap pictures with a digital camera as much as you want, but realize that they will still be there to post on Facebook when you get home in a week. They will not dissolve, spontaneously combust, or otherwise disappear in that time...and neither will you. However, you won"t be able to retrieve that time with your kids again.
4. Make love to your husband at least twice a week. This may seem totally off-subject and ridiculous to some of you, but trust me on this one. The foundation of a strong family is a strong marriage, and this is one way to keep connected. Granted, I'm not saying sex is the only way, but it certainly opens the door for communication and intimacy.
I'm going to explain a bit about this one: I'm sure many of you have heard of make-up sex. You get into an argument with your husband, talk it out, then make love after everything is resolved. Make-up sex cements the deal.
I propose for you to reverse this. Physiologically, it's really not putting the cart before the horse, as it may seem. The break-down looks like this:
Now, I know a lot of women won't agree with this, and that's fine. There's the, "I don't feel like having sex when I'm upset" argument, which is totally understandable. However, I also don't feel like making a nice dinner for my kids when they''ve been rude to me all day. I don't feel like scrubbing the toilet in my bathroom when it's sunny outside. I don't feel like washing my car when it's dirty. I don't feel like drinking 8 glasses of water a day to stay healthy. But the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.
Speaking of which, why is my daughter tugging on my shirt again? Oh yeah...
(For more of The Cool(ish) Mom's blog posts, go to www.coolishmom.com)