I blog about motherhood. But sometimes, my blog makes me a bad mother.
These observations came to me slowly over the course of several weeks. I've only been blogging for six months now, but my competitive drive to inflict my writing on the eyes of others, to showcase every funny story or present informative product review videos, sometimes clouds my ability to 'mom' appropriately.
Just one last tweet… I'll tell myself. But one tweet becomes ten, and a Facebook post, and an Instagram photo, and a few comments on fellow bloggers' latest contributions to the internet world. Then I have to edit the video I filmed yesterday. And check the e-mail. At that point enough time has passed that I have to check my Twitter one more time. All the while, my poor son just wants me to read him "Long Johns" one more time.
Reading it in black and white now makes my stomach turn. I have an idea of what kind of mother I want to be, and the kind with her laptop plugged into her intravenously just isn't it.
The whole point of starting my blog was to enjoy my son; to share in his adventures, which I could chronicle later in word form. The point was to make silly videos with him, so that others might experience the hilarity of his soul in the same way I do. The point was to be with him. Have fun with him.
I'm ashamed to admit that I've spent more than my fair share of daylight hours networking and creating content, knowing full well I could have waited until 8:00 p.m., when the allure of sleep claimed my son and freed me from my parental duties. I try my best to blog at night now… to separate 'Me Time' from 'His Time with Me'.
It wasn't until after a lot of recent thought that I realized this: If I spent all my hours engulfed in the growth of the blog, then what will have been the point of creating a child-focused blog in the first place? I mean, it doesn't get much more hypocritical than that, right?
Please do not think that I'm knocking any parent blogger who invests a great deal of time in their work. On the contrary, you're awesome! You're putting great stuff out into the world! We all need something that is ours, separate from our children, a piece of a thing that we can pour our own individual hearts and souls into (the parts that are leftover, that are not lovingly engaged and entwined with our offspring). Art has always been that for me, but blogging has joined the ranks as a new and interesting hobby that creates almost as much inner reflection as art does.
I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea here. I love blogging, and of course, I can't snuff out 28 years of accumulated competitive behavior in just one day… nor do I want to. Being competitive is great; it's a driving force that helps one accomplish all the goals they set for themselves. But it can be as much a personality flaw as it is a positive trait.
So, please… if you're like me… put the laptop aside, just for a little while. Read them that book again, even though you already read it thirty times today. To them, it's like reading it for the first time, every time, especially when you read it to them.
Play that weird game with the toys, even though the rules make no logical sense and defy every law of physics. Take joy in the imagination you helped to create.
Take them for a ride in the wagon down the block, even though you've walked that same path more times than you can count. Experience the walk through their eyes. You'll probably see things you never saw before.
I'm convinced The Errant Parent will grow to great heights one day, because I love achieving what I set out to do… I just refuse to keep doing it at the cost of my presence with my son.
I may not always adhere to a schedule in regards to the releases of my content. Some days I may make a blog post and social media updates by the hour. Some days, I may post nothing. But every day, I'll be trying extremely hard to make the most of my time with my son.
Of course, some days will be harder than others. I'm sure I haven't experienced my last tantrum because mom lingered on a product review for too long… but I'll be making an effort. That's the best any of us can ever hope to do.