10 Things I Learned During My Two Year Hiatus From Blogging
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, or that’s what they say. And when it’s been two years since your last blog post? Well, at least there are some great stories to tell with that glass! Turning a two-year hiatus into an educational, soul searching and transformative journey; as parents we each have our own unique tales of adventure and what I’ve come to learn during my time off from blogging might surprise you. Or it might be REALLY boring! Whether it was the highs and lows of juggling work and home life, or the sweet realization that we may not know everything (gasp!), join me for this humble story about lessons learned on my own writing vacation.
“Starting over is as good a time as any to create the life you want.”
– Unknown, but an apt quote when you’re on a hiatus from blogging!
(Freaking SEO…”make sure you have AT LEAST 11 references to ‘hiatus from blogging’ or exactly 0 people will read this” Please count how many you find in this post and I’ll send a gift to the first person who comments’ CashApp)
1. Vacuuming is Overrated. And Dishes are too.
The Best Sponges Are Hands
Helping Mom Clean the Floors!
One gallon of Dawn Dishsoap later…
Folks, let me tell you, trying to vacuum with an infant and preschooler in tow, in a new city, a “new to them house”, with a 90-yr old grandmother, two dogs, a cat, and an ever revolving front door is like trying to cook Thanksgiving dinner with a toaster oven… it’s just not gonna work. And don’t even get me started on the dishes. Every time I tried to wash a plate, one of these darling dears of mine insisted on “helping” by pouring a gallon of soap bubbles all over the floor or “cleaning” the counters with a roll of toilet paper. (Real Life…this is real life) So my fellow parents, take my advice and don’t even bother trying to do housework with your little angels around. Unless you like the challenge of a never-ending game of “keep away” with the vacuum, or the thrill of cleaning up green slime from every possible surface in the kitchen. As for me, I’ll stick to my trusty robovac and paper plates for now. Thankyouverymuch.
2. A Hiatus From Blogging Was Necessary For Self Care
Forget the bubble bath, have you ever tried to take a relaxing soak with toddlers around? Or your husband? Or with three people and a preggers (me at the time) sharing a single bathroom? It’s like trying to meditate in the middle of an Urban Air Adventure Park.
And don’t even get me started on the 10-step skincare routine that all the “influencers” are raving about. Who has the time or energy for that when you’ve got little princesses spilling juice, sneezing in your eyeballs and wiping their ketchup-covered faces all over your clothes/towels/bedsheets/curtains?
So, what exactly did I do for my self-care during my blogging hiatus, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.
First, I indulged in some good old-fashioned retail therapy. I mean, what’s more therapeutic than buying a new pair of shoes that you don’t need but absolutely adore? It’s like a hug for your feet.
I binged some guilty pleasure TV shows. None of that high-brow stuff like “The Crown” or “Narcos”. Give me some trash TV any day. Have you seen “Love is Blind”? It’s a train wreck, but I can’t look away. Seriously, I know all the inner workings of these couples. It’s terrible. I’m happy to report that some ARE still together though.
And finally, I made sure to get some quality time with my family that I hadn’t been able to see often when we lived in DFW. That truly WAS and still IS, the biggest perk of our move back to Central Texas.
So, yeah, I took a hiatus from my blogging, and it was necessary for my self-care. And if anyone tries to tell me that I didn’t do enough because I didn’t take a bubble bath, they can go soak their head.
3. The Rewards of Going to Bed At a Normal Hour
But only getting four hours of sleep.
One of the MAIN reasons I took a hiatus from blogging – With three daughters ranging from six months to six years old, bedtime is a battle. After daughter number three was born, I decided to enlist my husband’s help for this nightly routine and we formed a plan to get everyone to bed by 9 pm. Bonus points for 8:30pm!
Well, let me tell you, our plans be damned. Our six-month-old still wakes up 2 times a night. Our two-year-old only uses her big girl bed as more of a starting off point and inevitably ends up in the middle of our bed with arms and legs draped over everyone. And the six-year-old thinks it is a good idea to practice her cartwheels in the play room then sneakily squeezes in with her sister in our bed. This is a relatively normal night for us and I’m sure many of you can relate!
So, the rewards of going to bed at a normal hour are those initial 1-2 hours you’ll get before the kids inevitably wake you up again!
4. How To Keep The Peace
Keeping the peace in a family with young children is a delicate art…like walking on eggshells.
Keeping the peace in extended and immediate family units can resemble… a circus balancing act.
Imagine trying to keep two little girls with different interests and powerful personalities happy while great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all gather around the dinner table…most nights. It’s like orchestrating a roomful of bouncing balls, except the balls are related to each other, and they all have opinions, and none of the opinions and beliefs are necessarily the same.
To achieve peace, you mustn’t show favoritism, make hasty decisions or lose your cool. In other words, you need to be part diplomat, part juggler, and part cucumber.
So when you’re flying by the seat of your pants, remember that a sense of humor, some good snacks, and an iPad can work wonders. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.
5. Busting Parenting Trends If They Don’t Work For Your Family
With three daughters ranging from six months to six years old, I have tried my fair share of parenting trends. From co-sleeping (see above!) to baby-wearing, cloth diapering, gentle parenting and everything in between… I’ll admit I got caught up in the latest craze more than once!
But eventually, I realized that not every trend works for every family. Just because something works for one parent doesn’t mean it will work for me, my husband or our kids. So, during my hiatus from blogging, I started busting parenting trends left and right, without any regret and kept what did work for us.
I no longer feel guilty for not following the latest fads or for doing what feels best for our family. I no longer feel like I HAVE to post on social media or make a blog post about some parenting fad that we tried once and have photo documentation of, so now I’m an expert…I mean…what?!
Instead, I focus on what works with my husband, what feels right and not forced, and when it all boils down to it, what makes my daughters happy.
And that, my dear friends, is the ultimate parenting trend.
“Positive parenting isn’t about being permissive; it’s about being appropriate.”
6. Moving Is Hard (and we did it twice in two years)
I’m all for a change of scenery, but moving with kids? And being pregnant on top of that for the second move? It’s like asking for a disaster of epic proportions. Fortunately, nobody was seriously hurt other than our poor sweet wallets.
We had an 8-month-old and a 4-year-old when we moved in with my husband’s grandmother for move number one. And if you’ve ever had kids, you know that they come with a ton of stuff – clothes, toys, sippy cups, you name it – it’s all gotta be packed up and moved. God- Forbid you misplace the McDonald’s Happy Meal toy they played with once but magically remember after you throw it out.
Moving is already a tough gig, but add in the stress of pregnancy and a demanding new career and it’s like a whole other level of madness. I was constantly tired, snappy and achy, but still had to pack up the entire house and deep clean that bad boy. Fun times.
So why did we move in with my husband’s grandma, you might ask? Well, let’s just say that adulting is hard at any age and sometimes you need a little extra help, so she asked us to help! Plus, who doesn’t want to live with a feisty lady who’s seen it all and has the best stories?!
But seriously, moving is a pain in the…
As a military kid who’s had PLENTY of experience in the moving department, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
So if you’re thinking about moving with kids and being pregnant at the same time, just don’t. Trust me, it’s not worth it. Save yourself the headache and order in some pizza instead.
*peruses realtor.com for the next house*
7. Joy In The Mundane
You know what they say, ladies: the mundane is the new exciting! (Do they?)
Take, for instance, changing diapers. Yes, it may not sound like the most glamorous activity, but there’s something strangely satisfying about seeing a clean and happy baby after a successful diaper change and in fresh buttery jammies, ready to wake up in 2 hours at 11pm!
And let’s not forget the endless entertainment that can be found in watching your kids play. From their hilarious screaming attempts at making a tower with Jenga pieces to their creative storytelling skills during imaginary play, it’s a constant source of amusement, wonder and shrill tiny arguments to referee. And when they finally tire themselves out and fall asleep, is there anything more peaceful than hearing their gentle snores or feeling their little breaths on your fingers as you make sure they’re actually still breathing?
Even mundane household chores have their silver lining. Folding laundry can be a therapeutic activity, and seeing a neat piles of freshly laundered and folded clothes all over your couch and countertops is oddly satisfying. And don’t get me started on the satisfaction of organizing a pantry – you’ll feel like a Marie Kondo-level pro in no time.
So, let’s embrace the mundane, ladies and gentlemen! Find the joy in the little things and revel in the simple pleasures of life. Who needs excitement when you have a happy baby, playful kids, and a clean(ish) house? Alright, I might be exaggerating a bit, but you get my point. And hey, it’s all worth it for those moments of pure bliss in between the chaos.
Just don’t be too mad when the dog kicks all of your piles of folded laundry onto the floor because they’re “in his way”.
8. Healthy Boundaries
As an ambitious working mom with three little ones and living in my husband’s hometown, I know a thing or two about needing some space and looking for a bit of internal “Om” in my life.
Let’s talk about work. Your career does not define your worth – not monetarily nor as a human being. Don’t let your career take over your life. They WILL replace you if you die (ok, that was extreme and we ALL know of the hiring freezes across the nation). That being said, set boundaries and make time for yourself and your family. Hopefully you luck out like I did and find a company that advocates for taking mental health days. Trust me, no one on their death bed ever said, “I wish I had worked more.”
Next up, let’s talk about these precious kiddos. Being a mom is such a rewarding job, but it’s important to remember that you are also a person with needs and desires. It’s okay to say no to your kids every once in a while (gasp!) They will survive if they don’t get to go to that birthday party that falls on your only free weekend or if pizza every Friday night DOESN’T happen. Take some alone time off, have a Netflix day, or just read a book. Trust me, it will make you a better mom, wife and human in the long run.
Lastly, living in your partner’s hometown can be a real challenge. It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to fit in and make everyone happy, but remember, you are an individual with your own thoughts and opinions. Don’t be afraid to speak up and set boundaries with your in-laws, friends groups or the bustling community. You are a badass and deserve respect and space.
9. Balancing Career, Motherhood and Creativity
Some days I feel like I’m juggling chainsaws while standing on a tightrope. But hey, that’s just another day in the life of a modern mom!
As someone who is both a proud mama bear and a fierce career woman (self-proclaimed), I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs and balancing these three particular things can be a real challenge. It’s about learning to prioritize and being okay with the fact that sometimes – you just can’t do it all. (Work in progress there…)
When it comes to creativity, well, that’s where things get really interesting. For me, writing has always been my outlet – my way to escape from the chaos of everyday life. But finding the time and energy to write can be tough when you’re already juggling a million things at once. I mean hello…this post is literally titled “10 Things I Learned During My Two Year Hiatus From Blogging”. I could never completely cut out writing though, so I’ve learned to capture my creative moments whenever and wherever I can – whether it’s jotting down ideas in my iPhone notes while waiting in the driveway of my house for a dash of alone time or stealing a few moments at night when the kids are asleep to journal for ten seconds before I crash from sleep deprivation.
At the end of the day, it’s all about finding your own unique balance. Yes, it’s a challenge – but it’s also one of the most rewarding things you can do. So go out there and show ’em what you’ve got, you badass you!
10. Torch It All and Start Over (maybe by taking a…hiatus from blogging?)
Listen up, people! Burning bridges might seem like a drastic measure, but sometimes it’s the only way to move forward. I know a thing or two about starting over. Sometimes, you just have to say “screw it” to that toxic job, a bad friendship/relationship or that dead-end town and take a leap of faith. And let me tell you, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns up here in the unknown. But when you’re following your passion or in your self-integrity, you’ll climb mountains, cross oceans, and build those bridges that go straight to the moon. So go ahead, take your own hiatus from blogging (or come back!?) or light that torch and burn that bridge. Just make sure you have a plan B, and a plan C, and a plan D, and plans E-Z because life isn’t “EZ”, it’s unpredictable and sometimes you have to pivot like a boss. Trust me, when you finally find your tribe, your dream job, and your happy place, pour a little cement into all that ash and rubble to create the solid foundation you can restart living on.
Having taken a two year hiatus from blogging I’ve come away with plenty of valuable life lessons, but the most important ones I live by are to embrace the mundane moments and reject perfection. Doing dishes may feel unglamorous at times and starting over is hard, but beyond those initial hesitations there’s something quite lovely and restorative about the everyday-ness of life. Finding joy and creativity in your regular experiences is one transformative thing that can happen during a break from a hustle-mode mentality. Plus, it’s often during these slower moments that new creative inspirations can be formed! Whether you take a break or continue pushing onward, take comfort knowing that wherever you are right now is exactly where you need to be.
Did this resonate with you? Let me know in the comments!
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