This Is NOT Goodbye

I’ve been saying for months that I would take a blogging break as soon as I finished this-or-that book or when such-and-such month came. But there was always something waiting for me to finish up. There was always Twitter to distract me.

I’ve been stressed with some personal things, one of which is my son’s toilet training (if you are wondering, he’s technically there but oh my I’m tired of accidents). Add to that the fact that he does not nap most days and that he’s at an in-between stage as he adjusts to being a 2½ year old and no longer a baby. I have felt for quite a few months that blogging (reading, blog upkeep, twittering, and other online projects) was distracting me from giving him the attention he needs.

So I decided to drop everything and step away cold turkey for at least a week (I think it ended up about 10 days). The first day was very hard (I missed twitter especially), the second was a little easier, and by now I almost feel I could just stop blogging completely. I could give my son my undivided attention. I could start each day with his smiling face and not checking to see whether my post went up and how many comments do I need to respond to from yesterday?. I could continue my stay-at-home mother life without the distraction of the internet. I COULD QUIT BLOGGING!

But I have realized that I cannot quite quit blogging completely because there is a gap in my life when I stopped and in my subconscious, I’ve been writing this post all week. I will not stop reading. It’s a delight in the midst of toddler parenting. After two years of writing about my reading, I now feel that collecting my thoughts about the books is an important part of the reading comprehension process. I want to post my thoughts on my reading!

Beyond that, in a moment of genius insanity ambition last fall, I started the Classics Circuit, in which we highlight an author or theme each month around the blogosphere. I really do want to be a part of creating, following, and promoting that program. It is exciting to research for it and see where it goes. But again, it takes up time.

And the bottom line behind those two things is the fact that I can’t abandon all the friendships I have created with fellow readers. I feel I am a part of something. Because I’ve developed friendships with readers around the world, I feel I can relate and understand their thoughts on books, and I certainly know where I can find my next book to read. I love sharing my thoughts with real people and hearing their thoughts on what I’ve read, pondered, and suggested. Book blogging a necessary reminder that I am not the only person who wants to read the Boswell’s Life of Johnson and Soseki’s I Am a Cat, for example.

During my week and a half blogging break I’ve realized something that I think I already knew deep down: my priority in my life needs to be developing relationships that revolve around my son and our family. My life goal and purpose is not, believe it or not, to read every book that has ever been written. That said, I truly enjoy the camaraderie that book blogging provides, and while I freely admit now that I will probably not be “balanced” in responding to blogs versus mothering, I sure will do my best to remain a part of the book blogging world, albeit a less active part.

Part of the less balanced blogging will be I may post more than once a day if I have a backlog of posts. There is something stressful about scheduling posts and then wondering if it went up. I’ll post when I get a chance and go from there. I will try to keep such “backlog” posts shorter, and chances are I won’t post on weekends as much. (I warn about this because I’ve been reading a lot even while I’ve been quiet and I suspect there will be a backlog in the next few days!)

This post is hereby permission to you to unsubscribe, mark as read, or otherwise ignore this blog from now on if you feel like it. I’m doing what I can, but I realize that I can’t truly keep this good thing going as I have been. I’m not sure how else Rebecca Reads will change, but I may shift tone or style in writing reviews as well. I am going to work with it so that I will not have to disappear when I’m overwhelmed quite so often. Changes will come, whether I wanted them or not.

What keeps you blogging, or not blogging as the case may be?

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  1. A couple times lately I have considered not blogging anymore, but I keep coming back… I have been blogging for a few years now, so it is a part of my life and even though I am really bad at it at times I miss it and come back… I need breaks and sometimes they are long ones, but at the end of the time I am back and ready to go. Even when I am not blogging I am thinking about things I should be blogging about if I were blogging regularly… They don’t always get written, but I want to write them….
    .-= Kailana´s last post on blog ..My Weird Reading Habit =-.

  2. Hi Rebecca! I’m glad to know you’re not quitting altogether, and I will keep reading your posts no matter once.

    To tell the truth, back when my kids were toddlers, I had nothing. No outlet for friends, for grownup time, for talking about anything I loved. I was so lonely and for awhile I went a little crazy and even thought about running away. If I hadn’t started my book club, then joined some writing groups, started getting online through myspace first, then blogger, facebook, and twitter, I would probably have done something drastic by now. I neglected myself really bad for a long while when they were young, thinking I could devote myself entirely to them, and that mis-balance didn’t work for me. Now, I probably am still not fully balanced, but I am much better than where I was 5 years ago.

    I look forward to hearing from you no matter how often you post.
    .-= Amanda´s last post on blog ..Once Upon a Time IV =-.

    1. Amanda, I think that’s why I’ll keep coming back to blogging. I just spent two weeks at home with my toddler thanks to the toilet training and I was starting to go crazy. But with everything, I needed to give him attention. I was happy to know that I eventually could write this post about how much I like and need blogging! I started my IRL book club too because I decided it would be good to have real-life conversations, not just online ones!

      But yes, I think it’s important for stay-at-homes moms to have SOMETHING. I’m suspecting my something will be blogging now and then.

  3. His childhood will go by so fast. You are wise to give him your time and attention while he still wants/needs it! Develop these bonds and you will form a relationship (not to mention friendship) that will last forever! :>

  4. Hi Rebecca,
    I hope you find that balance you are looking for. It is important to nourish yourself as well as your family…and in your case, fans.
    I just saw a tweet that said “There is no greater profession than parenting.” Another said “Parenting is the most important leadership position.” Here’s mine: “Parenting is a lifetime occupation…and a labor of love.”
    When your son gets behind the wheel for his first driving lesson, you will wish for the days of toilet training! We all do…
    Take care.

    1. Gary, thank you. Yes, not looking forward to teenage years, which is why I want to make sure I enjoy these precious little years! I love my boy!

      1. Enjoy your son. They grow quickly. I have two grandsons (5 and 3) and a granddaughter on the way (due in May). I see my 5 year old just about everyday. He loves books, just like his grandparents!
        Take care.

  5. Well, I for one am really glad you are still going to be around (and The Classics Circuit is brilliant – don’t stop!!). That said, I totally understand and you know what? It is okay to post more than one post a day (I do it all the time!), or be silent for a few days (again, that’s me). We all have lives outside of blogging that are important and anyone who doesn’t get that is probably living a pretty narrow life! Sounds like you are just adjusting the balance in your life, Rebecca – and that is something I completely respect!
    .-= Wendy´s last post on blog ..Honest Scrap Award – 10 Things About Me =-.

    1. Wendy, thanks for the permission to live a balanced blogging life. I’m glad you all understand so much, and I’m glad you find the Classics Circuit brilliant!

  6. Good luck on the toilet training–and I’ll be here whatever you decide to do in the meantime, and then after (and, yes, I know I’ve lurked too long: this is my first comment, methinks).

    Also: I’ve gone without updating my blog for about a week or so, and it was difficult the first few times I did that–I’m a fairly new blogger, and there was a time when I had to check my stats every other hour or so, haha. But now, I take it easy. That is, I tell myself, if I haven’t read a good book, or can’t bother to talk about whatever read, there’s no loss in not cluttering up the already crowded internetz. 🙂
    .-= Sasha´s last post on blog ..marginalia || And Falling, Fly, by Skyler White =-.

    1. Sasha, it’s really hard not to look at stats or at least stop thinking about stats, but I’ve been pretty good lately. Welcome to the blogging world! I hope you keep enjoying it.

  7. Although being a student is not nearly the same thing as being a parent, I think there are some analogies in the idea that you commit to doing something and being that person 24/7 and have to make space in your life to do both. Since I started grad school, I try to think of blogging as my little break in a day — I get to stop reading for school or writing or whatever and read books I want or read about books or write about them. It’s the moments when I stop appreciating blogging, when it starts to feel like an obligation, that I try to step away for a few days.

    I’m glad you got a chance to be away for awhile, but also that you’re not going away totally. Good luck 🙂
    .-= Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)´s last post on blog ..Review: The Magicians by Lev Grossman =-.

    1. Kim, I think back to my school days and I wonder how on earth I’d have blogged! I had three jobs, full schedules, and only dial-up internet with five roommates who always wanted the phone…

      So yeah, anyway, I’m glad that you, as a student, get to blog, and I think we all understand when it’s hard! I’m glad my struggle for balance is universally understood!

  8. Like everyone else, I am also very glad that you are not going away completely (I love your blog!), and I also understand that your family needs your attention too (duh). After all, a blog is something one does for the fun of it, not for want of an extra chore.

    Your post reminded me of the Blogging without Obligation manifesto: 🙂
    .-= Kay @ Kay’s Bookshelf´s last post on blog ..I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak =-.

  9. I’m very glad to hear you’re not quitting altogether, because I’d miss you terribly. At the same time, I completely understand the need to step back and find a new balance. My life circumstances are really going to change later this year, and once they do I have no idea if I’ll be able to keep blogging. I think just knowing you *can* quit must be reassuring, though, no? Maybe I should give it a try myself 😛

    What keeps me going are definitely the connections I’ve formed with others. I’d so miss the bookish conversations (as well as the more personal ones) if I stopped. Which is why I think that whatever happens, I’ll stick to Twitter after September. I want to stay in touch with you guys.
    .-= Nymeth´s last post on blog ..Henrietta’s War by Joyce Dennys =-.

    1. Oh Nymeth, I’ll be so sorry to see you less around the blogosphere but I obviously totally understand. Definitely give it a spontaneous try. As I said, it was hard for the first few days to avoid twitter — I kept thinking of tweets to send but I absolutely wouldn’t let myself — and by the end of the week it was much easier.

      It’s not to say twitter is bad or blogging is bad but my self-imposed break was a way of making sure this isn’t turning in to an addiction.

      I think you’re right, the twitter and connections make it satisfying even if the blogging gets to be too much. Definitely still be around, even if you need to stop blogging! I’d miss you, Nymeth!

  10. I definitely reached that point myself and had to step back from my blog for a while. I’m glad you’re not fully leaving, but don’t feel guilty at all for deciding to chuck being a “balanced” blogger out the window. This is after all a hobby, and your son is way more important than this.
    .-= Christina´s last post on blog ..Lost and Found =-.

  11. Being a new mom is a tough job. Potty training is pretty frustrating. So I can see why you needed a blog break. At the same time, Mommy needs her outlet too. I think that’s why there are so many Mommy Blogs.

    I really did miss you when you were gone. A few times I was going to mention something to you on Twitter and then I remembered you were taking a break. I do think the friendship we make online are important.

    Anyway, I was so happy to see your post today!
    .-= Chris@bookarama´s last post on blog ..Reading Together: Coraline =-.

    1. Chris, mommy blogs confuse me. It doesn’t seem like a break, because then I’d still be stressing about being a mom even when I’m blogging? right? That’s why I love book blogging. Something completely different.

      Aw, I’m glad to hear that I was missed, even though I feel bad knowing that I can’t keep up with everything…

  12. Sorry to hear that you are cutting back on the blogging – I really enjoy your blog.

    My youngest son is a similar age to yours, but he goes to nursey four 1/2 days a week so I have lots of free time to blog. Prioritising your friends and family is very important so you are making a good choice. Hopefully you’ll be able to come back to the blogging when he heads off to school.

    I hope you keep in touch and don’t disappear completely.
    .-= Jackie (Farm Lane Books)´s last post on blog ..My Driver – Maggie Gee =-.

    1. Jackie, that would be so nice for my son to go to daycare! But I do love having him home with more, for the most part, just need my outlet afterall, I decided. I won’t go far…

  13. I completely understand the need to step back and to re-evaluate. But you’re in my Google Reader already, so whenever you post I’ll be here to read it – once a month or five times in a day. I’ll miss your regular presence but I commend your decision to spend more time with your son. I never could have had a blog when Kiddo was a toddler, so you’ve done great in my book!
    .-= Heather J.´s last post on blog ..My Answers (A Flock of Readers for The Sparrow) =-.

    1. Heather J., I know, it’s hard to look back on other times of life and imagine adding a blog in it, that’s what I was just saying to Kim re: blogging while in school! But now it’s here, and I can’t imagine it gone….

  14. How timely this post is! I was just wondering what you were up to, thinking I hadn’t seen a post from you in a long while.

    I understand needing to strike a balance between your family and your blog – obviously your family should come first! And I tend to blog because I feel like it enriches my life, and heightens my reading experiences, but when it begins to feel like a chore, or like it’s interfering with the rest of my life, I know it’s time to scale back.

    Don’t fret about posting regularly. I will not unsubscribe from your blog, and will be happy whenever a post from you should pop up in my Google Reader! And good luck with the toilet training!
    .-= Steph´s last post on blog ..“The Sea, The Sea” by Iris Murdoch =-.

    1. Steph, book blogging definitely enriches my life since otherwise my conversations are with a two year old, minus some phone calls and/or conversations with strangers at stores…. ah, I have missed it!

  15. I honestly couldn’t believe how much you have been able to do with all you have going on in your life — you definitely deserve to take it back a notch or two. I’ll look forward to your posts whether they are every day or every week or every month.
    .-= Suzanne´s last post on blog ..Ulysses — come join me =-.

  16. Oh, Rebecca, what a wonderful post. I think a lot of people are going through the same thing. I am glad you aren’t quitting completely (and of course I won’t unsubscribe!). Like Nymeth, I too will be returning to school in the fall and am not sure where blogging will go. That’s why I’m moving away from review copies and am really enjoying rediscovering my bookshelves.

    Whatever works for you is what will work best 🙂
    .-= Aarti´s last post on blog ..Sunday Salon: Do you fall for the hype? =-.

    1. Oh no, Aarti, another blogger that may go away? I hope, like Nymeth, you stay around somewhere. And enjoy your bookshelf rediscovery in the meantime 🙂

  17. I wrote a similar post with even the exact same title a few months back, haha. I am still thinking about it EVERY SINGLE DAY. That I should just quit blogging and stop adding more pressure into my life. In fact, the only thing stopping me is the fact that I had committed to group reads with other bloggers, which will make me feel really bad if I didn’t follow through. I will never take you off my reader, and will be here whenever you post.. or not. 🙂
    .-= claire´s last post on blog ..Once Upon a Time =-.

    1. Claire, I sent you an email. It’s hard to just NOT THINK about it but I’ve decided if I go a day or two without it it would be great.

      I do like the group reads. I’m thinking of letting go of so many challenges and just enjoying group reads more…

  18. I’m glad you’re not leaving! I always enjoy your posts and of course I loooove the Classics Circuit (thanks for starting that!). Finding a balance between life-life and internet-life is, as everyone has noted, a challenge.

    (Good luck on the toilet training!!)
    .-= Jenny´s last post on blog ..Review: Secret Keeper, Mitali Perkins =-.

  19. My feeling is that blogging, for most of us, is something we do for fun, and if the pressure to do it a particular way makes it stop being fun, then it’s best to just ignore that pressure and blog in the way that you want to.

    I’m happy for you to post whenever you can get to it and still feel like you have time for yourself and your family. If that means once a week or once every two weeks, or five posts one day and nothing for three weeks, I’ll still keep your blog in my reader and be happy to see your posts when they come.
    .-= Teresa´s last post on blog ..Hush =-.

    1. Teresa, thanks, I’m glad to know that sporadic posting is okay with you (and apparently so many others!!) Here’s to ignoring the pressure!

  20. It’s so hard to find balance in our lives, and identify which activities are enriching our lives versus which are just adding pressure & stress. Good luck to you in finding that middle ground, Rebecca.
    .-= Emily´s last post on blog ..The Confidence Man =-.

  21. I will enjoy your reviews no matter how often or seldom they come! Good luck with the potty training. I’ve been through it four times, and the accidents are definitely much harder to deal with than the actual training!

    1. Shelley, re: toilet training. I think he wants to be in control, not let mommy take over. so i’m letting him take over. It’s a lot less stressful that way!

  22. I totally understand that you are feeling you need to spend more time with your family. And, potty training is very stressful! My kids are older now; I can’t imagine having had the time and energy to blog when they were younger. However, you do need something that is for yourself…and if that is blogging, go for it. Even if blogging only once a month works best for you. You are in my google reader (and will stay there), and I will look forward to reading your posts however often they show up!
    .-= Valerie´s last post on blog ..Life is Good! =-.

    1. Valerie, like I said to Kim, I also can’t imagine blogging during those other stages of my life….like college. But now that I started, I just can’t imagine stopping! thanks for your encouragement and understanding!

  23. Balance is a hard thing to come by. I’ve struggled with it since I started my library school program. While grad school will end you will never cease to be a parent so yours is the more difficult job and I admire that you are able to do so much. You and your son and family come first, blogging, I’m glad you aren’t quitting, but we will still be here whenever you have the time to chat about books 🙂
    .-= Stefanie´s last post on blog ..What Am I Doing? =-.

    1. Stefanie, Thanks. I can’t imagine doing this while in school, but yeah, I’m seeing how the busy-being-a-parent stage is NEVER going to end. So I’m trying to enjoy it!

  24. I so totally get where you’re coming from. Finding that balance between blogging and your family is definitely important. I was actually lucky this past year when my (at the time) 2.5 year old started preschool three days a week for the winter. It gave me the time to work on my site while he wasn’t here and still give him the attention he deserves when he is. There was a time where I felt that he was getting jealous of the computer and I don’t think he’s there anymore.

    Now that the summer is coming up, I’m going to have to start rethinking my schedule as he’ll be out of preschool until this fall. I already do not blog on the weekend as that is family time, but finding time during the week is going to be tricky. Something tells me I’ll be blogging in the dead of night again.

    Good luck with finding that balance!

    As for the potty training thing, I just got my son there. Have you tried using the training underwear and nothing else at home? Even during the naps he does take (I wish mine still napped). Whenever we were home, I wouldn’t let Ian where a diaper at all and he got the wet feeling a little more than in a diaper. Yeah, I had to change him every so often the first day or two, but by the three day, he was figuring out what that little tingle meant.
    .-= Jackie (Literary Escapism)´s last post on blog ..Little Critter by M. Mayer =-.

    1. Thanks Jackie, I avoid blogging on the weekends too, but here I am answering comments! Always so much to do if I feel like it. I’m feeling better about the non-balance I have now!

      Mine doesn’t really nap and I’m kind of talking a potty training break until he tells me he wants to do it again. He’s resisting but is perfectly able to use the toilet. HE just wants to be a baby. Ah well, for now it’s okay.

  25. Completely understand where you’re coming from, Rebecca, but I can’t break with blogging, either. I love the discipline of it, though lately I’ve been off due to surgery and a difficult – and sudden – death in the family.

    I’m not as focused as you are, and I so, so admire you for what you do. I don’t get over here as often as I’d like, but I always love reading your posts. The breadth of your reading astounds me!

    When I had a toddler I had Barney brain, though I did participate in online book discussion groups I didn’t have a blog. I read all I could, sometimes at the risk of ignoring my kids, so I also know the guilt/responsibility associated with that. It’s tough, and you amaze me. Do what you need to do. I’ll never stop reading your blog, no matter how long it is between posts.
    .-= Lisa Guidarini´s last post on blog ..Tragedy too deep for words. =-.

    1. Lisa, so sorry to hear about your difficulties. I saw your post — how so very sad!

      I have Thomas the Tank Engine brain most days, but that’s why I love this little break called reading and blogging! I’m working on finding a non-balance that works for me, and I’m trying to avoid any feelings of guilty for any of the things I choose to do!

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