Sunday, June 28, 2015

Thoughts on Blogging - and some updates on what's happening in my brain

Did you know I started this blog 8 years ago? And I was pretty darn good at blogging up our family adventures, our every day life, and some of my thoughts and ideas with at least three blog posts a week for many of those years. I was looking back at some blog posts the other day (while finding photos for the tribute I did to my dad in the last post) and found some great posts with photos and stories and ideas from long ago and I felt so glad I'd taken the time to do those posts.

After taking a walk down memory lane through this blog, I started to feel pretty conflicted about the current state of this blog.

I didn't really consciously decide to stop blogging so much. I just started using Instagram a lot and then blog posts about our regular daily life and special events seemed sort of redundant if I was capturing things on Instagram. Then I started feeling extra overwhelmed with life in general and felt like something had to give - and perhaps that something was being so conscientious about journaling via this blog. So I decided to just write a blog post whenever I felt like I had something to remember and/or that needed to be written out and didn't really work on Instagram. And the more I didn't blog, the more I got out of the habit. Which I generally think is fine. But seeing those old posts that I value so much got me thinking about what I should be doing with this blog moving forward. I don't really have any conclusions. But I do think I'll start trying to blog about my thoughts and ideas and keep track of more of an overview of what we're doing as a family more often.

So anyway, here are a couple things that have been on my mind lately:

Importance of kids interacting with nature

After a crazy hiking adventure a couple Saturdays ago (we tried to climb Mount Ogden - a goal we've had for a while - and we lost the trail. What was meant to be a 4-hour hike turned into a 9-hour hike with some pretty hairy moments and some pretty exciting adventures - serious family memories built in the end!), I stumbled across a podcast on Radio West (I always listen to podcasts while running) that solidified a lot of things I've always thought about parenting and made realize how important our crazy hiking adventure was for our kids.

Here's the podcast I listened to:
How to Raise a Wild Child (featuring the author of a book of the same name)

And here's the podcast I made for Power of Moms that details our crazy hiking adventure plus interesting research and statistics about how important it is for kids to interact with nature:

Putting more Nature in your Nuturing

I'm so glad we live in a neighborhood where all the parents are quite united in supporting lots of outside adventuring for our collective kids. And I invited the whole neighborhood down to the nearby river for an afternoon of serious fun interacting with nature last week - loved seeing the kids explore cause and effect and test limits just have a great time together as they built boats of leaves and sticks to float in the current, swam against the flow, found bugs, and splashed each other with the cold cold water on a hot hot day. We're going to go down to the river a lot more (it's only 5 minutes away!).

How to "be" more by "doing" less

I'm realizing more fully that I can't be all things to all people. I can't act on every good idea (and can't seem to control the fact that I have so darn many ideas come into my head, most of which seem viable, helpful and important!). I need to spend a lot more time thinking and being - right now I spend almost all my time doing. As someone once wisely said, we are human beings, not human doings.

For years now, I've been trying to figure out where to draw boundaries. There is always PLENTY to do for Power of Moms. I used to think that at some point, Power of Moms would sort of start running itself more and I could stand back a bit more and enjoy watching it continue to move forward. But I'm realizing lately that Power of Moms is like a needy baby that never grows up - brings lots of joy and goodness and is totally worthwhile on so many levels but involves constant attention and has so many unpredictable and urgent needs. It's been 8 years now since my Power of Moms journey began and I'm just pretty darn tired and my kids need me more than ever as they go through puberty (I thought the hardest time would be when I had 5 preschoolers but nope, having 5 teens and pre-teens is harder in many ways - so much mental and emotional energy required!).

Our numbers of newslettter subscribers (50,000), podcast listens (6000+/week), and pageviews (120,000+/month) are solid and growing. Our Board of volunteer moms do such a great job running social media, editing content, and more. We get beautiful letters saying that Power of Moms has changed people's lives and we've seen so many moms sign on to our programs in the past year. But managing the overall functioning of the website and all our great Board members, figuring out what opportunities to take and which to leave, planning and executing marketing, writing the weekly newsletters, overseeing customer service, making new podcasts, and much more falls squarely on the shoulders of me and April. And sometimes it's just so heavy and overwhelming, especially when all our best efforts don't seem to be leading us to a place where we can get ourselves out of the hot seat of having to do so much ourselves.

I love Power of Moms and I know it's an important part of what I should be doing. But I have to figure out how to do what I uniquely need to do for Power of Moms and pass off or eliminate the things that I shouldn't be doing - and that maybe no one should be doing. Easier said than done!

I've always felt strongly that as long as I was doing my best, everything would be OK. The big problem with that, though, is that I don't know what constitutes doing my best. For much of my life, I've thought that doing my best means working efficiently every possible minute on something totally productive and tangible. I've protected my sleep and my exercising pretty well (because I've learned the hard way that I'm a disaster if I neglect those things). But I haven't protected hardly any time to read and learn, to relax, to laugh. I know I need to come to a new and more healthy understanding of what it means to do my best. And I'm getting there - but I'd love any insights you care to share in the comments! What does doing your very best mean to you?

I'm prioritizing more time to think and learn and search and pray and just be there for the people who matter most to me - rather than just doing, doing, doing when it comes to Power of Moms. That means I push back some deadlines and adjust some committments (I used to be such a stickler with myself on doing exactly what I said I'd do in a super-thorough way by exactly when I said I'd do it - even if it meant putting in way too many hours and squeezing out sleep and family time for a period - and personal time, what's that?). More time to think, learn, search and just be also means I don't get around to answering every email - which used to make me feel so very guilty but now just makes me feel mildly guilty as I admit that all I can't do it all and should stop trying so hard to do everything.

Still, I have a lot more questions than solutions right now. I'll let you know any ah-ha moments I have moving forward!


Eyrealm said...

It seems that we all come to those same conclusions over and over again. Interestingly, I have done the same thing....cut back on posts and tried to quit doing things that don't matter. But for many of us, the struggle never really ends. Maybe that's because we need a certain level of busyness to feel happy and productive. Keeping it in check is the challenge because ti's so easy to let things escalate and burn us out! Good thoughts Saren. Your awareness is a good sign! I just have to say say you are amazing!

Helen said...

Hi Saren, love your blog, especially your keeping it real posts. It's interesting to me that your previous post includes that "good is the enemy of best" quite because I can't stand that quote! Not sure how it became so popular on blogs recently.
Anyway, I always try to keep in my mind which (few) things need to be done to the very best of my ability and which things (most of them) just need to be done.

Kris M. said...

I think the way you feel is the nature of being in the Eyrealm family. That is not to be offensive. But everyone is extremely high achieving (in a very good way), but it has to effect you and your expectations of yourself.

cheryl cardall said...

Sometimes good enough is enough. Sometimes it doesn't have to be our very best, it's enough. Certain things deserve my very best but many things are good enough just to be done.


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