Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A time to write and a time to wait ...

When I first started blogging, I was expecting my sixth child, and all my children were still in elementary school.  We lived in town, on the other side of the state, and were eagerly looking forward to someday moving into Steve's family homestead.  None of my children had an on-line presence, and neither did their friends. As our family has grown, and our internet presence has grown, I've found it harder to blog about our family.  I used to blog about our daily life, keeping an on-line journal for our family to keep up with us.  I soon discovered that not everyone wanted to read the minutiae of our days and not many would seek out our blog to keep up with us.  We now use facebook to keep in touch with extended family instead.

As our daughters grew into teens, I realized I needed to be more careful what I posted.  They didn't need me posting their teenage angst and our arguments all over my blog, which thanks to my reviews, now fed right into social media where all our family and friends could see it.  And we definitely had angst, arguments, and lots of emotions running through our home.

As our homeschool began to include the high school years we began to struggle to keep our teens moving forward on schoolwork. We had curriculum changes, arguments over how to handle a transcript, and lack of faith.  Sometimes we lacked faith that our too-relaxed teens would finish the work they claimed was "no problem" and they sometimes lacked faith that we actually knew what we were talking about.  Heated discussions over why they couldn't go to public school settled down into occasional resentful jabs.  We've graduated our first student, but while we are proud that we succeeded in homeschooling her "all the way through" she would rather no one knew she was homeschooled.

On the other end of the spectrum, the more public nature of my blog, and the growth of our family's online presence even made me sensitive about writing about my 7 year old daughters' reading struggles or behavior issues with my sons. I didn't want our local friends or our family to judge them based on what I might write in a moment of frustration.  So I wrote less. And my blog started to turn into something I didn't want it to be, a review-only blog.  Oh, not completely, but the reviews are not balanced out with enough personal posts, in my opinion.

I suppose one solution would be to disconnect my blog from social media again and manually link up my reviews as needed.  But I don't think that's the right choice.  With 9 kids at home (for a few more months), more active involvement in our community, and increased chores that come from living in the country, it's hard to sit down and just write about our daily life the way I used to. Some of the big issues weighing on my heart aren't things that I can share without betraying the confidences of my children or my husband.  I want to still be open here, and I want to be real, rather than taking on a secret blog identity.  I just have to figure out how to balance my desire to write and be real with the needs of my family for my time and for their privacy.

There are things I ponder, and even write blog posts in my head about, but I can't share them here.  Either because they might betray one of my children, or because they are still too personal to me.  I am not tripping along so glibly through life, through parenting, through homeschooling as I once did, and I feel much more somber about many aspects of my life now. There are issues I am sorting through and working out that aren't ready to be shared with the world.  So I don't write.

As my blogging has decreased, I'm sure I've lost readers - especially since I had to move my blog awhile ago.  I could probably just fade away and not necessarily be missed, except I still enjoy writing, when I can.  I'd love to write honestly about the harder side of raising a large family, being a Christian wife, and homeschooling in today's world.  I'd like to write about the ups and the downs and how we keep going when criticism comes from your own children, and not just those outside the home.  I'd like to write about how to keep your marriage going when a busy lifestyle and stress often leads to miscommunications and snippiness with each other.  I'd like to write about the disillusionment that comes when you realize homeschooling isn't the magic pill that will create perfect children, and that there is no formula for parenting no matter what certain books may say. But how do I do that and still respect my family's privacy and their reputations? 

I am hoping God shows me either a new direction for my blog, or shows me how to balance out these different issues -- because deep down I feel like I still have something to say, and that God wants me to say it.  I am sure there are other moms out there who are also finding out that the reality of life isn't as picture-perfect and rosy as they thought it would be.

In the meantime, I'm quiet here.  If you've been peeking in and wondering why I haven't posted much lately, I'm sorry.  I'm not depressed or anything.  I'm just trying to take care of my family, keep up with a hectic calendar, and still figure out some of these deeper issues. 

Still here,
April E.

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