Retirement is not for the faint of heart

So I went back and forth, back and forth, back and forth about this whole retiring from blogging business.  The thing is I REALLY like writing. Even though I know my actual words and ideas are probably not ever as insightful, witty, and charming they sound in my head.

What I don't like is trying to decide what I should and shouldn't write about.  Trying to figure out what other people will want to read.   I was tired of wondering....will so and so stop reading my blog if they know xyz about us?  That's like writing 101.  Who is your audience?  What do they need to know?  What are you telling them with your words?  All of that sort of stuff.  I've had some time to think about it and I've decided this particular rule of writing 101 does not necessarily apply to blogging.

When I posted that I would be retiring from blogging, I was 100% serious.  So serious in fact, that Tim paid money for some app that downloaded my whole blog and zipped it up into some file in fancy computer magic that I don't understand.  I can now still have everything after my domain eventually expires and no one else can see everything I've written over the years.  I didn't even open my laptop for an entire week.  My retirement announcement was no hair-flip attempt to get people to beg me to keep writing.  (I would have been disappointed if that was the case...)

This week, however, I have been doing the single parenting thing.  I did the single parenting thing last year for 5 days over Mother's Day and I have to admit I wasn't really looking forward to this year's trip (which incidentally started on Mother's Day but not until much later...like after the kids went to bed so that was ok).  Something completely unexpected, however, has apparently happened in the last year.  My kids have grown up!

Shocking, right?  Who knew.

Between pet care not falling to me, help mowing the lawn, an oldest son who can hold down the fort for 10-15 minutes on his own so I can buy milk (and lacking that, good friends who provide driveway delivery of melatonin when you realize that you are out and the only place in town to buy it has closed and your son absolutely cannot sleep without it), and a million other things...  I have to say this trip has actually been somewhat easy (dare I say that with 24 hours remaining?).  I have not had to get up in the night even once to put a baby back to sleep or nurse.  I did have some (very) early morning visitors today but I sent them downstairs to watch a movie and when I fell back to sleep someone else came to wake me up, completely respectfully without being asked, so that Caleb wouldn't be late for school. Our one bad morning (don't ask- it involved a three year old and a huge bag of brown sugar and his bedroom), I told Aidan I needed him to hold down the fort so I could get on the treadmill for a half hour and take a shower so I could have a little reset and that's exactly what happened.

In the meantime, Tim has been in Utah working on his dissertation, visiting our old parishes, and seeing friends as time allowed.   He had coffee with one of my two favorite priests and was able to go to daily Mass three times with the other.  In hearing from him I will admit there has been a little bit of jealousy.  I haven't been to daily Mass three times period since we moved....

We had it so much better than I ever knew.  Even when the Utahness of Utah was driving me absolutely insane, life was very good.  Abundantly good in fact even.

For the last year, I will be completely honest, I have struggled.  I have struggled with adjusting to life in a small town.  Truthfully, I'm not entirely convinced I like it at all.  The smalltowness of small towns is driving me just as crazy as (possibly more than) the Utahness of Utah ever did.   I have struggled to find the balance between reconnecting with old friendships and accepting and building new ones.  I have struggled with Tim working crazy hours and not being as available.  I have struggled with putting Caleb in school and I really struggle with the fact that he likes it so much and is doing so well.  I struggled (and am still struggling in all honesty) with my recent(ish) miscarriage, much more so than my other losses in some ways. I have felt lonely and unsupported in real life.  This is gonna sound silly, but I have gotten to the point that with the exception of one person (who should know exactly who she is- thanks for the muffins- the kids let me have exactly half a bite of one), I feel like if I just stopped showing up, no one would either notice or care.  

If I'm being honest, which is of course the point of this whole thing, I'm probably battling a bit of depression.  Which to be even more honest, really ticks me off more than anything because I know that's just not who I really am.  I'm more of a kick butt and take names later kind of girl than a sit around and feel sorry for myself person.  Granted I used to be that feel-sorry-for-myself girl but I kicked her out of my life years ago and I don't like when she rears her ugly head and she is not welcome back.

As Tim has been gone for the past few (4) days, I've had a lot of time to think and I've realized that in life, and in blogging, I have gotten far too concerned with my audience.  I'm not talking about, you know, making sure I have my makeup done before I pump gas...to be perfectly honest I don't own even a single item of makeup past some very kindergarten girl colored nail polish.  I'm talking about trying to fit in instead of letting people see who I am and letting them decide if they think I'm someone they might like to get to know (or a blog they might want to read).  I let people see the piece of me that is relevant to their station in life and assume they don't want to know the rest.

Since this blog was supposed to be about homeschooling, specifically Monessori homsechooling, every post that wasn't about that has come with at bit of guilt that I wasn't delivering the "product" that I promised.   In adjusting to a new place, I have worried too much about if I had enough in common with a new person rather than giving friendships time and place to develop.  When I think about it, in making those judgements I was judging them equally as unfairly as I was worrying they would judge me.

There are some things that I will never be (rest assured I'm not some creepy closet ax murderer).  There are other things that I will always be.

It isn't up to me to decide what someone else may or may not think of the fact the sometime we eat pizza three times in the same week or sometimes have donuts for breakfast in the middle of the week for no reason.   It isn't up to me to decide what someone else may think about the movies that we watch or how many we watch or anything else.  I mentioned one of my reasons for retirement as feeling burdened by what readers might think of choices and decisions we make.  I said I wanted to simplify the decision making process by trusting myself first, instead of worrying what someone else would do.

Can I do that and still keep writing this blog?  Because ultimately I like writing.  I like having a voice.

I honestly don't know the answer to that question, but I'm gonna think about it some more.

Right after I go put the baby back to bed, because I so jinxed myself.....


3 comments :

Discovering Montessori said...

I can totally relate to a lot of things you shared here. I love it whenever s writer keeps it real no matter what type of blog it is. Thank you for sharing.

Heather said...

Hey Heidi,
I think you're awesome!

Brenda G said...

First off, I think that the "realness" of your life and not just the fact it's Montessori based is what draws me to your blog.
Second, I think we mom's, especially stay-at-home mom's, go through identity crises at times. Who are we really? Are we still Heidi and Brenda or are we the mom's of kids or someone's wife. It's very easy to get sucked into that and I remember I had to fight hard to force myself out of my comfort zone (and out of my house) to try and build friendships. The funny thing was that when I did, I found that a lot of other mom's were feeling the same way. ;)
I think it's completely normal to be a bit depressed. You have had your entire life packed up and moved, you are settling into a new house, town, life and the miscarriage was a devastating blow. It doesn't make you less of an amazing person, it makes you normal.
You are a wonderful, kind, thoughtful, beautiful person and this cloud will lift. The weather is finally better and the sunshine always helps. :)
In the meantime, you will continue to be in my prayers. Sending you a lot of love, too!!

PS - thanks for always being honest when you write. I know sometimes it's hard to write the truth on how we feel because it seems to give it a voice once it's typed and that send button has been hit. <3