so, here’s the thing: i’ve decided to quit my blog.
when i started it almost six years ago, blogs were hardly novel but there weren’t nearly as many as there are now. and most blogs i read these days have a hook—a set perspective, a mission, a theme. (mine has none of the above.) i’ve also noticed on other blogs that readers constantly comment or e-mail the writer or interact somehow. (me? i hear crickets.)
it’s making me wonder if i’m really benefitting anyone or accomplishing anything. do i really need to keep putting my thoughts and opinions and embarrassing moments out there on display? i could easily write all the same things in a personal journal (which i used to do religiously until a couple years ago) when i feel the need to vent or process.
i’ve had a longing over the last few months to keep simplifying my life. getting away from Facebook was one thing—and a big thing, silly as it sounds—but i’ve also found myself turning the TV off more often, going hours without looking at my phone and opening my laptop less and less. my husband thinks i’m going a little loony. i swear i’m not going to move to a shed in the woods and build letter bombs, but i’m really feeling the need to get rid of all the excess stuff, you know?
i’ve been reading a book called “Simplicity Parenting” (sent to me—you’ll find this funny—a few weeks ago by an ex-girlfriend of my husband’s i haven’t seen since we were all in college together who now reads this blog and thought i’d enjoy it…she couldn’t have been more right).
it’s not that this book is so revolutionary (although it might seem so to certain, especially plugged-in types). and i’m not learning any wildly amazing new parenting philosophies or fail-safe tips by reading it. i’m just enjoying it, mostly because it’s validating both my worries and hopes about raising a child in today’s world.
i have felt passionate about Matthew growing up in a calm, predictable, safe-place-to-fall environment. not some fantasyland where nothing remotely negative ever happens and not somewhere that feels antiseptic. just a place free of chaos—both the emotional and physical sort. a place where he can play and build his imagination and feel like he’s listened to and understood and appreciated, even on his crankiest, crabbiest, most difficult days.
i want him to just be a kid. to get dirt under his fingernails and permanent grass stains on his new jeans. i want him to make a sandbox his universe, to explore his world on a bike, to watch the sky as a storm is rolling in, to squeal and shriek as ocean waves chase his feet. i want him to draw and paint and build and read and bake and make messes and splash in puddles and play flashlight tag and climb trees.
i don’t want him to have an iPod or an iPad until he’s old enough to earn the funds to pay for it himself. i don’t want him to know how to use my Macbook before school requires him to. he has the rest of his life to be obsessed with—attached to—grown-up gadgets. he has the rest of his life to stare at a screen.
so maybe this is me wanting to lead by example. maybe i want to live more like i want my kid to live. i used to think there was some kind of warped romance in being crazy-busy, in working late and forgetting to eat and multi-tasking. it used to make me feel productive and important and worthwhile. i wore the ‘overworked’ badge with honor, even as i felt deep-down there was a better way to live.
i found a blog last week called Hand-Free Mama, created by a woman who realized she was missing her girls’ childhoods by being over-scheduled and chronically stressed and too type-A. she started the blog as a way to keep herself accountable, from what i can see, as she began the process of eliminating distractions from her life—both internal and external.
reading her posts, along with “Simplicity Parenting,” has only added fuel to my fire.
the other night i took Matty to the park after work because it was beautiful out— a warm breeze gently blowing, a cloudless sky turning sorbet colors as the sun slid behind the city. we played on the slide for a bit and shoveled some sand. just before it was time to leave, we stopped at the swing set. i slid Matty into one of the swings and started to push him. every time he swung forward, i pretended he kicked me and propelled myself backward, Goofy-style. he laughed and laughed so i kept doing it. a little girl about Matty’s age was in the swing next to us. her dad was there, too, pushing her half-heartedly because he was talking on his cell phone. i noticed her staring at me with big, brown, sad-seeming eyes, so i smiled and waved at her even though my heart was aching.
eventually her dad hung up and started pushing her on the swing in earnest, and i heard her start to laugh, which made me feel better.
“she’s laughing at you,” her dad said to me a minute or two later, as i was pretending to flail backwards again. “she’s watching you.”
i thought of telling him that she’d probably be watching him if he paid a little more attention to her. instead i smiled and zipped my lip.
my point is: i really want to focus now on being a good mama. i want to keep writing, too; i just want to do it more thoughtfully. rather than continue put my irrelevant stories and random thoughts online and pray that someone sees them and offers to pay me for over-sharing, maybe i can funnel all the words swirling in my head every day into something more meaningful.
i’m not really sure yet. but i think, right now, this is the last chapter here.
onto simpler things…