Friday, October 15, 2010

Birthday Reflections (a downer post, which gets better towards the end, if you make it that far) :)

blog sept 019

My birthday was this week.  I’m 38 years old.  Ack!  38?!  How did that sneak up on me so quickly??  Ah well, 40 is the new 30 you know, so no worries.   You didn’t know that?  Well, now you do because I just said so! :)  Sometimes it really comes in handy to be a mom who can say, “because I said so”, doesn’t it? ;)

I had some time to myself the day before my birthday and I was thankful to have a little time to reflect.  Introverted me always gets super-introverted on the eve of a milestone.  Seriously, I used to LOVE spending New Year’s Eve alone in a room lit with candles, just thinking, or sometimes journaling about the past year and wondering about the year to come.  Can anyone be more nerdy/anti-social than that?

I began thinking about this past year, and other than the passing away of my grandmother, it felt like a relatively uneventful year.  I accomplished pretty much NOTHING. 

The thought struck me that there are quite a few things I regret about the past year – not being on top of tasks; not being a perfect, patient, gentle, loving mommy; not being the world’s best wife (not by a long shot, let me tell you); etc.  I could make a very long list, but I will spare you.  The point is, I was focusing on what I’m not, and seeing very little good in what I am or have done this past year.

As I thought about how I’ve spent my time, I kept returning to the fact that a disproportionate amount of time has been spent online – blogging, surfing, reading blogs, planning activities for M – you know, all the stuff we do with the internet at our fingertips.  It’s been disproportionate in the sense that there’s not much in real life to show for it.  There’s a little. But not enough to justify the amount of time spent on it.  Or so I thought.

As I began thinking about blogging and the role it plays in my life (you know this is not the first time I’ve thought this whole thing over – it seems like I’m always needing a “break”, doesn’t it?), I began to think that maybe I don’t really like having a blog.  Maybe I don’t like rehashing every little thing we do; maybe I don’t like the time spent wondering if anyone is going to comment and tell me they just love my ideas and are going to use them (because the first time I got a comment like that I was immediately addicted to it and wanted more).  Maybe I don’t really like spending so much time thinking about myself.  Maybe that leads to a lot of time wasted instead of a lot of time… not wastedMaybe, just maybe I could be a better mommy, a better wife, a better me if I just got over myself!

And then I started down the path of “has blogging had any impact for good in my life?”  I’m talking here about blogging in the early childhood, mama, homeschool community of bloggers. 

And of course, there’s a lot of truth in that paragraph above about spending too much time navel-gazing.  But thankfully there’s more to it than just that.  If I can sort through the bad, I see that there’s some good mixed in there too. 

And it comes down to this: my view of motherhood has changed simply by the fact that I’ve immersed myself into this community of bloggers.  My view of motherhood has changed because all of you have changed my heart.  I no longer think in terms of “when this phase of M being such a needy child ends, I will finally have my life back.”  I’ve come to view motherhood as being my life, my role in life in this season of my life. 

The purpose of my life at this point in time is to raise my child (and children, if we are blessed with more – ahem, are You listening, God? Time’s a-wasting!) and love my husband (who, thankfully, is pretty loveable).  There’s something very liberating about viewing my role as a mother this way.  Maybe it’s partly the sense of peace that comes from having a definite purpose in life that I can know and direct my efforts toward.  But it’s more than that.  It’s an end to the struggle of finding that elusive “balance” between meeting the needs of my family and meeting my own needs.  One doesn’t exclude the other.  If I never saw raising my child as the purpose of my life (at this time) it would be easy for me to put my attention on other things, never really letting it rest on him and his well-being, his education, his faith, his behavior. 

If I never had this realization (and I’m sure many of you are rolling your eyes, wondering why I’m only now getting it), I’d still be trying to make myself happy.  I’d still be searching “out there” for fulfillment.  You know – the way I spent all my time before having a baby – happily living for myself. 

Oh wait… was I really all that happy back then, living and working and doing everything for myself?  I distinctly remember years of unhappiness in the midst of all that self-centeredness, because I wanted a baby so badly and then lost babies through miscarriages and grieved and then went back to trying and then… well, you get the idea.  I wasn’t very happy, not really.  Not until a little blonde boy came along and made me Mama.

Now, I don’t want it to sound like M is my life (well, ok, I probably can’t fool you in regards to that); but let me make it clear that I don’t want this sense of his development being my “purpose” to create any pressure or stress for him.  That’s not what I’m talking about here.  I’m talking about a change that has occurred within myself,;, a change of perspective, I guess.  And I owe so much of it to you wonderful mama bloggers who take the time to write about your busy lives, and inspire the world simply by sharing your joy and love of being Mama.  Thank you for that.

It’s the same joy and love I felt when I was handed this on the morning of my birthday:

oct 2010 015Mommy happy birthday”

Have a beautiful day! :)



  1. I bet you save that card forever!


    And, we all seem to go through those times of reflection and introspection, mine comes in winter when I get depressed. I've figured out I have a bit of seasonal depression and needs to remember that when it comes.

    There's so many pluses and minuses to what we do in blogging, but it's the perspective that we need to keep, which is hard.....

  2. Wishing You A Very Happy Birthday Nicole!

    I too will 38 in the next few months so I know the feeling all too well ;-)

    Lovely post and I know exactly where you are coming from.

    There is definitely times that blogging just sucks it all out of you and you feel more focused on the blog than on life but I know that this community of bloggers has also helped me to become the mum I am today and for that I am ever so grateful.

    Have a wonderful day!

  3. Well said!

    I can relate to much of what you wrote. Actually, this past week I deleted my Facebook account. It was too much for me to keep up with so many people. I know that it's great for others, but for me, not so much. I go back and forth on the blog thing too. Sometimes I think I will get all structured and focus only on activities for kids and try to get more readers...and then other times I think, naw, I'll just let it be whatever it is. I did stop following a whole lot of blogs recently too. I only read a handfull of blogs now that are about homeschooling, and only ones that inspire me. Any that made me feel guilty, defensive, etc. - I deleted.

    P.S. Happy birthday!!!

  4. I'm 38 too, and thinking about 40 makes me a little nauseous. I have a cousin who I've always thought of as being 'my age' and she just turned 40. That's when it hit me and I freaked out... But I'm pretty happy with my life right now, so who cares about the age. It took me this long to figure out how to be happy... I struggle with the whole 'being a mommy is my life' thing too. This was never ever my plan - I was going back to work after Crumpet was born. Now it looks like I won't be going back for many years since we've decided to homeschool. It has taken a while to accept that this is what I 'do'. But what we do is very important, and you are doing a great job and raising a wonderful little man. So, you have accomplished a great deal this year. Don't forget that!!

  5. Happy Birthday!! I just wanted to share with you how inspirational your blog is to me as a mother. The activities that you have avaliable for free takes out the decision I have to make as a mother on spending money on food or a learning activity. I appreciate this more than you know. The cost of food is going up. Knowing your blog exist I can relax a bit and still deliver good learning fun at home. The title of your blog probably speaks for all mothers.LOL. Thank you for sharing and may you be blessed with many more years to journal and reflect.

  6. Happy Birthday, Nicole!

    You and I have been thinking many of the same thoughts about blogging, I see...

    I do love your blog and your sharing with us. You do have great ideas and I can "see" your love for your little boy in your words. It inspires me! :)

    Also, thank you for your sweet comment on my blog the other day. I needed it more than you may realize.
    (By the way, my oldest tells me all the time that 40 is the new 30. Good to know since I only have 9 months until I get there! Yikes!)

  7. Happy birthday nicole! I loved your post because I have thought of the same things (so much time spent online gathering activities, not enough time getting down to them, etc.) so I'm glad to know that someone else understands and dont quit blogging ever because i love your creative ideas! :) (n ur warm nature)

  8. That card will make a heart melt! Happy Birthday :-) Great post!

  9. Happy birthday to an amazing mama and bloggy friend!!
    I have been inspired by you time and time again. I truly appreciate how much you've shared with all of us - your kindness and generosity have not gone unnoticed.

    Hugs to you!!


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