Monday, June 18, 2012

Blogging through the middle years

A year or so ago a fellow blogger and I were engaged in an email exchange of mutual admiration and encouragement and in the course of our conversation she observed that there were so few bloggers in our stage of life, that stage being parenting tween-agers, teenagers, and soon-to-be college students. We pledged to do our best to stay in the fray, to maintain our unique perspective, but, well, yeah, you can see how that's worked out for me. What can I say, life has been busy and only getting busier and blogging seems to come in fits and spurts. It is funny to me to reflect back on my earlier, more prolific years as a blogger, when the words and posts would strain for expression. So many ideas! So many posts anxious for publication! And, now... little and sometimes nothing.

I've been thinking of my friend's observation and I've decided there's some truth there. If I consider the more prolific (and popular) bloggers, at least those in my limited experience, it seems most of them are younger moms with younger kids. I know, I know, it's a generalization and generalizations can be dangerous if not condescending and perhaps even completely incorrect. Yes, of course there are exceptions. I know some empty nesters who blog and some grandmas with their own urls, but I would not be surprised if the largest demographic of bloggers are much younger and in the earlier stages of their parenting journey. Or a man in full time ministry but that's outside our current conversation.

A few weeks ago some friends and fellow Tweet-ers and I "discussed" (140 characters at time) this seeming void of bloggers with older children. They too had noticed the trend and we wondered amongst ourselves the possible reasons and ramifications. Truly, blogging about a teenager's rebellion is very different than writing about a two year old's and as it should be. Some things ought not be blogged so maybe we feel limited by the necessity for silence about much of our current life experience. Blogging as a medium has changed so perhaps the life cycle of our blog is reaching its end. Some of us in this stage have returned to work now that our kids are older. A lot of us are busy, busy. One of my friends expressed curiosity over whether the lack of audience (or the perceived lack thereof) keeps us from blogging which in turn would limit our audience.

We reached no definite conclusions but it was an interesting discussion.

So, for my part, I've been thinking about life as I know it here in the middle years and how it corresponds to blogging, or not. I cannot speak for any other blogger but this one and as such here are a couple of reasons I think may account for my sometime sluggishness in blogging...

1. As I said before, I'm busy. Right now, today, this month, next month, these past couple of years, especially so. Because my children are older, I have discovered the freedom to commit to volunteering at the Crisis Pregnancy Center on Wednesdays and to lead Bible study on Thursday mornings this past spring--both are time commitments I didn't have when I first began blogging. And I still have laundry as well as all other duties and privileges of stay at home motherhood. Not only that but I think I've mentioned my son is heading off to college? These are exciting times, no doubt about it. Happy times. Much to savor and much to enjoy. Also much (much!) to do.

2. I've heard it said that with age comes wisdom. Maybe. I think a more apt accompaniment to age is humility. I remember my former passion and zeal with some degree of wistfulness. Now I am more...unsure, perhaps? Not about the things that matter, issues of faith and doctrine, no, in those areas I am as firm in my conviction as ever.  Rather I find I am less apt to opine on secondary and lesser issues. I once had all sorts of pat answers and firm convictions (and quick condemnation) but now I see the wisdom of keeping my mouth shut. Instead of all the answers, I have but one answer: grace.  The older my kids get the more I see this parenting gig was so much less about me and whatever right I thought I had done or didn't do and more about the grace of a sovereign, sufficient Lord who delights to show me the end of myself so that I might gain the reward of all rewards: Himself.

What about you? Any other bloggers out there struggling with blogging through the middle years? Do you agree with my observations here? How can we encourage one another through this stage of life?

20 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you wrote about this, Lisa. It's been on my mind so much. So many of the popular female bloggers are not where I am not, and while their writing is a blessing, it's simply not where I am. I'm moving into the realm of parenting adults. It's a much different situation as I'm sure other older women can testify to.

    And you are very right about feeling less inclined to speak as we get older. Sometimes, I wonder why I posted anything, because I end up with pangs of doubt, thinking that I likely don't know what I'm talking about. I feel less confident as I get older and a prodding to be much more cautious. I think that is a good thing. I am consciously trying to speak less, although it is a struggle at times.

    The best encouragement for each other as we navigate these waters that are far removed from diapers and toilet training is that we are older women who can be encouragers in so many ways. We need to be cheering sections for those who are getting into new territory. I do wish, though that there were more older women. That being said, I'm blessed so very much by the ones I know.

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  2. Sorry, I just proofed that first part, and as usual, I sound incoherent. I just mean to say that many of the very prolific and popular blogging women are where I am not, i.e. raising small children.

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  3. Thank you for this post. -And thank you for blogging at your stage of life (it is so much of an encouragement to learn from you and others who have already been thought he little years.) When I often think on the same subject I remind myself that we each have realms of ministry from God. Each of us has a unique ability and audience that he can use us to encourage, challenge, and teach. I think that we get into difficult waters when our writing strays from Christ and the Word and goes into personal experience and personal standards. I have only blogged for about 3 years, but over those three years I have come to the conclusion that focusing less on *my family* and *my choices* and more on Christ and the wonderful truth of the Gospel as it pertains to every part of life has the potential to impact most women in most situations and keeps me from imposing my standards on others or setting a bar of motherhood higher than in needs to be. I don't know if all that makes sense...

    I think that most moms of little ones begin blogs to keep up with family and share fun stories/pictures/etc... but then feel the need to make them into ministries/money making opportunities. It can be helpful to have a set purpose for your blog and not feel pressured to do something that your time of life might not allow for.

    Also, I think moms of little ones are more desirous of community (which the online world has so wonderfully provided for them) since they are usually stuck in the house with none to talk to for days at a time :). Blogging becomes a kind of outlet and way to communicate while still being home with the kids (though this too can become destructive and divert attention from where it should be... i.e. the kids).

    Ok, so, lots of thoughts (I obviously wouldn't have done well keeping it to 140 characters :)

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  4. This really strikes a chord with me on several levels.

    First, now that I have older kids (and no longer homeschool) I find that I'm actually more busy (in other ways) than I ever seemed to be, back in my early years of blogging. Honestly? I don't have a clue where I found the time to blog every single day - sometimes more than once a day - and some really long posts at that (plus read everyone else's blog). Sometimes I wonder if I didn't neglect precious times with them due to how much time I'd spend online, even though it was usually when they were still sleeping or during school breaks, after school, etc.

    My oldest kids are all adults and my youngest 4 at home are between 9 and 14. They're in the years where they always need a ride for something or need us to be somewhere for them. Between the four of them and all the activities they're involved in, it's much less time plugged in and much more time on the go. It's a very good season in life and I'm enjoying it.

    Secondly, like you I find I am much less inclined to comment on things, or share my opinion on things than I used to be. I look back at some of my blog posts from years ago and think "oh wow" and wish I could just go in and shine them all up and make them pretty and sparkly. I don't think I blog more than a few times a month now but when I do it's something I hope is helpful, encouraging, or practical for whoever is still reading after 8 years of blogging. Funny thing is, it only occured to me today that I'd like to write a "happy blog-iversary to me" post sometime before the month is out, but I've got laundry to fold, custom designs to work on, deck chairs to paint, etc., so forth and so on, lol.

    I didn't really mean to ramble on, but your post felt so familiar.

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  5. For me, it's a combination of the two. Thus, my lack of blogging and commenting. I also find that many women (yourself included) are much more eloquent than I - and much of the time a post or comment I would write would be a mere echo of their own.

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  6. I absolutely agree. I'm busy maintaining relationships with my older children which takes concerted effort when they are older, and I'm realizing more and more every day that I don't have a clue what I'm doing.

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  7. Hmmm, and then there's the Mom who is still in both worlds. I'm parenting teenagers and getting ready to have my 9th child. It's a very interesting "in between" place to be when it comes to other Moms and relationships.

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  8. I'm not sure.........but I know I've quit reading most blogs, the older my boys get for all the lessons in humility you listed. Your blog is one of the few still in my reader for I value your careful choice of how often you blog.....so when you do, it's about Jesus and truth. As a young mom and blogger, I wish blogs like yours were more plentiful. Too many young moms leading too many young moms is dangerous. I value your mentorship through the screen!

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  9. julie hufstetlerJune 18, 2012 2:09 PM

    i signed in wrong up there....typing one handed with sleeping baby. :)

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  10. I actually thought of you, Trisha, when I read this post. You are in a very unique place to encourage.

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  11. And I so love that you commented typing one handed with a sleeping baby! :)

    Thank you for your encouraging words. It means a lot to me knowing you're "out there"!

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  12. Yes, encourage us, Trisha!

    Seriously, I thought of you as well as you have a foot in both worlds, so to speak. I had a dear friend whose youngest was the age of my oldest and they were best of friends. She also had two teenagers at the time and I found her perspective to be invaluable!

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  13. We clueless types need to stick together! :)

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  14. You are quite eloquent and I always appreciate what you have to say whether via blogging, Facebook or commenting!

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  15. Ramble on, sister! And I too have many posts from years past that I read and think "oh wow" as well as "how could I" and "I'm so embarrassed" and...

    Well, you get the picture. Thankful for sanctifying grace!

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  16. Thank you for sharing your wise thoughts here! I completely agree and I earnestly desire the same focus on Christ and the Gospel rather than my own opinions, however firmly they may be held :)

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  17. I completely understood! And I completely agree. I hope to push through these middle years with blogging excellence if not profusion and I am thankful for others like yourself who are alongside me on this adventure! :)

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  18. Well, I appreciate your ramblings if for no other reason than it helps me to appreciate and plan for things to just go right on changing in my own life. Oh wait...now I'm echo-ing MYSELF in your comment section!

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  19. Hello! I've only recently starting reading your blog but I love it. I am so encouraged by the way you clearly use your time so well to love and serve God. And that you are seeking to grow in your knowlegde and love of Him by reading such good books.

    This was a really interesting post. Our kids are 6 and 9 so not quite in the middle years...but some days it feels like we are drawing very near. :-) But I am certainly in my middle years, having had children a bit later on in life!

    I think one of the things that happens with blogging - I have certainly noticed it myself - is that in the beginning there is so much to say so blogging happens apace. Also maybe there is a need to keep blogging frequently to attract and keep some readers! But once the initial flurry is over and there aren't 20 potential posts waiting in the wings because we have sprouted off on all our favourite topics already and a readership is established (or we get over ourselves and stop worrying about attracting a readership!), then the pace does slow. This is accompanied by the passage of time which brings, as you have said, some wisdom and discernment (hopefully), older children (about whom it would be unwise to put things on the internet because they have internet savvy friends who may lack discernment given certain information) and also growth in our own relationship with the Lord (which helps us to realise what is really important and also completely humbles us.)

    And I guess some women go back to work and suddenly don't have so much time for such things, which might account for some drop off.

    But I think there is definitely a place in blogosphere for bloggers in the middle years as we keep growing and learning and seeking to be the best we can for Him in new situations, learning from those who have gone before us and hopefully encouraging those coming up the ranks behind us. You said in a comment "I hope to push through these middle years with blogging excellence if not profusion." Way to go. Thank you. Enjoy finding your new stride.

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  20. I've found having older ones reminds me to remain consistent with the younger ones, allowing, of course, for applying what I've learned in parenting the older ones and trying not to repeat mistakes. (And learning daily that it's all grace) BUT, as an older Mom I crave the maturity that older Moms have, and yet, seeing that I have little ones, they don't always want to interact with me for different reasons. So, I'm thankful when I find Moms my age who are serious about their walk with the LORD and welcome me into their lives and conversations, while knowing I'm still learning as I parent the Littles. :)

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