OFFICIAL LIVEBLOG – MommyBlogging: “Balance” is a Big, Fat, Lying, McLiar LIE for Moms who Blog (and the rest of us too)
By Terra Atrill on July 21, 2009
Session Description: Let’s chuck the usual work-life balance discussions out the window and talk about how we get it done, what we don’t get done, and how we reconcile ourselves to the chaos. Oh, and that little blogging habit? How does that help us, and what do we do when we think it’s actually not helping at all? Come find out if balance really is a lie, and how we battle that lie
Lisa Belkin, who blogs about parenting for the New York Times, moderates this discussion with Angela Tseng, a mother who works in corporate America, Pauline/OHMommy, a busy mom who stays at home with her children full-time and Rita Arens, a working mom who authored a parenting anthology, Sleep is For The Weak,
last year. This is the place to share your tips and tricks for battling
the lie, and for picking up insider information from those who've beat
the lie by creating some sort of balance in their lives.
Lisa: New to blogging, finds blogging completely redefines her prior work-balance practices.
Title of blog/session came from a post she once wrote after reading
something similar. Perceives balance doesn't mean equal scales, it's
equivalent to balancing on a beam, compensating where necessary so as
not to fall off. "You can have what you want, maybe not all, but
you're going to have less [at one time]" and as women, we should be
honest about that.
Lisa: What is the equation of your life?
Works full-time as well as a family at home. Can't come home and simply
blog. Has learned to prioritize, ie. quitting watching tv and uses the
time to blog instead. Finds herself struggling sometimes with putting
priorities above sleep.
Pauline: Feels sorry for her third child,
because she was 4 months when she started blogging - 3rd child hasn't
gotten the same memorabilia as the first two did. Started blogging to
keep far-reaching family aprised of home life.
Angela: has moved some of her tanglible hobbies, such as photo books, online.
Hasn't replaced anything with blogging, because she's always been
writing, has transitioned from poetry and fiction to blogging, and back
Lisa: How big a part of your life is your blog? Are there specific hours, or...?
Rita: blogs nearly everyday, spends one day with intent of pitching articles for magazines, etc.
Has a stay-at-home dad to pickup housework slack. She schedules
everything, so as to get the most value out of it, even her 'quality
Pauline: Online mostly in the evening, finds herself
getting sucked in [to Twitter, or blogs], finds herself going to bed
Rita: finds that she's cut back on blog reading, because
of the ability to get sucked into reading and getting less
accomplished. Mobile browsing has helped her to read more often.
Lisa: How much angst does this cause?
Pauline: Doesn't get out with her husband as much - needs date nights. Tries to post 3-4 times a week.
Feels guilty for seeing a friend and not being aware of what is going
on in their lives because she hasn't kept up-to-date on their blog.
Also, needs more time with her husband.
Audience: What are our kids watching us doing? Checking out blogs secretly?
Made a rule for herself re: mobile media that she will not be staring
at a screen when she is supposed to be present with her kids.
Remembers her mom cleaning all the time when she was growing up. Thinks
it's healthy for them to see you engage in something that makes you
Rite: Wouldn't worry about it, as long as it's not being
done to avoid the kids and it's not going on for a lot of time. Being
alert and engaged while writing is fine, consider involving kids in the
process. Daughter is supportive of her writing.
Angela: Kids are very excited about it.
Lisa: Will be interesting to see how kids respond, having grown up with this.
Audience: Does working on writing cause a lack of relaxation or down-time,or even family time?
Rita: Finds reading blogs relaxing, but finds that family time should still be a priority.
For a lot of women, she thinks our own time is the thing that shrinks.
Tries to pay attention to how much time is being used, and how. Finds
the morning not being used for work can makes her day a little less
Angela: uses exercise as 'me' time. Finds it hard to break her kids out of a video game to go, say, to the park.
Audience: How do you express what is valuable to other people?
Angela: Her husband knows that not blogging makes her a little cranky, and he will give her time to ensure she can do so.
Pauline: Similar. Her mom is now without daytime activities, now that her kids have all grown.
Rita: Taking the time is necessary so as to not become bored or question what she will do with her time.
Angela's mother - complains that her daughter's schedule is too filled.
Finds comfort in her blog and keeps up to date when they can't have
Lisa: Her mom has started communicating via her blog.
Rita: Her mom was leaving pseudonym comments because she doesn't want her identitiy out there.
Lisa: Maybe our moms think of us as too busy and stressed. That we're not having fun, we're fitting things in.
Last year was the hardest, with 3 children napping at various times,
from 10am to 4pm. Her mom thinks she's too stressed, but appreciates
Rita: A lot seem to start blogging when we feel isolated in some way.
Lisa: Are women the only one having this balance conversation?
Rita: Men have the same problem, but is unsure if they're talking about it. Rita's husband has talked about it.
Lisa: Thinks men are talking about.
Audience: thinks it's a generational issue. With this, there are gender issues that are equalizing about balance issues.
Audience: doesn't believe that men are talking to each other, but are aware and some times talk about.
has found that asking a men how his new life in parenting is going, she
find that they open up. If she's talking to them about balance, they
open up. BElieves happiness comes with finding a compromise of 'me
Lisa: Blogging is becoming the norm, so men are feeling more able to join in the dialogue about it.
Thinks that employers will afford flexibility when they are asked for
it. People are willing to talk about work-life-balance, but not willing
to make changes.
Audience: Spents one night a week for each marriage partner, for them to justt hemselves.
Technology is a curse. Now, there's been a cultural shift in that you
can use the technology 24 hours a day and so we need to prioritizing.
It was less common for family to live wide-spread. Simple things that
family might have been helpful with, may become more dependant on
outside people and services, such as fixing a fence. Inviting a friend
to help on a task can help.
Audience: Finds that men are newly struggling, as they're being more prevalent.
Lisa: Thinks men don't find blogging their natural outlet, so they're slow to feel as much pressure.
Rita: Doesn't feel men are as comfortable sharing their feelings about parenting.
Audience: Husband can't write a blog, since it would be seen as effeminate, ridiculed or passed up for on promotions.
Husband understands the life-balance issue, but her husband isn't
interested in blogging. Thinks dads would benefit, but are too shy to
Audience: Thinks more men are talking about parenting
online, as job roles, wages and responsibilities are changing.
Forecasts more daddy blogs. Thinks that the more accepting we are of
dad blogs, the more forthcoming they will be.
Rita: Thinks personal comfortability is a good measure of whether dads will blog or not.
Lisa: In regards to relationship-balance - How do you balance the blogging life with the real people in your life?
Audience: Finds husbands guest posting can often be a great spin to the usual content or comments.
Lisa: Do you have rules about what to tell readers about your life?
Deosn't blog about her husband and barely mentions her real life
friends - too personal. Her kids are 'fair game' but she does try to
give them privacy.
Pauline: There's some things that her
husband doesn't want her to write about, and especially those about his
feelings. She simply respects his wishes, but wishes that she could
write about it.
Rita: There's a sense of transparency even when
fictional characters and places were used (because they're often based
a bit on some figment of real life), because everything could be a
story. Blogged more freely when not using her full name. Finds blogging
some times to be a good communication device.
Lisa: Asks her
teens whether figments about them are okay to post, sometimes even via
texting. 'No blog post is worth a relationship', but, you must still
explore territory and be open.
Rita: Thinks asking people's boundaries is important, because if uninformed, hurt can ensue.
We lose perspective of being priviledged to even get to have the
discussion. Blogging buddies have helped her deal with her mom's death
last fall - it's been life-changing for her - without it, she might not
have been at BlogHer.
Audience: Found taking photos all the
time was removing her from the moment, so decided to set aside the
camera once she became aware of it. Also, chooses to guest post on
other blogs if something isn't possible to post about on her own blog.
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