Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Moms Who Have Gone Ahead

When I was hugely pregnant with my fourth baby and had a 4 year old, 3 year old and 1 year old running around, I remember thinking "How do moms of big families do it?"  It wasn't just a general pondering, I wanted specifics.  I needed specifics.  I found out there was a family with 6 kids nearby (hi Michelle!) and I remember telling Phil that I just wanted to go sit in her house to see how she handles it all.  Not creepy at all since I didn't even know her back then ;)  Now we're the best of friends and she has 8 children under her roof plus takes care of my two youngest while I work.  Amazing.

Like, how do you take a nice Christmas card photo?
But where was I?  Oh yes, I wanted a glimpse into the secrets of parenthood, perhaps just some hope that these days wouldn't kill me and I wouldn't regret being open to life?  I wanted to walk side by side with moms who were in the same state of life so we could help each other and give each other tips and keep each other sane.  And then, Phil bought me this book for Christmas and I discovered mommy blogs.  Into my world came the likes of Danielle Bean, Rachel Balducci, Sarah Turner, Leila Lawler, and many others who don't even blog anymore.  These moms were so inspiring to me and so practically helpful with the day to day stuff.  I remember one blogger who wrote that when she feeds her kids waffles, she piles up a few waffles together and then cuts them into bite size pieces instead of cutting each one individually.  Little things like that I hadn't yet thought of as a young mom and helped me in the moment.  It not only helped me cut the waffles faster, but it reminded me that other moms were doing these same tasks for their children all over the world.  As lonely as it can feel being a mom, it was a nice reminder that there are millions of us doing the same work.

Where am I going with all of this?  I don't really know except to say that blogging/social media used to be such a great place to lift me up in my vocation.  But now, I don't know.  It seems like the blogging world is growing smaller, with more people (myself included) spending time on other platforms or only writing for the paycheck.  I miss posts about day to day life from my blogging buddies: Dwija and Cari and Lisa and Sarah and Aimee and Aubrey.  I think the combination of our children getting older and losing the freedom to write all about the babies they used to be is a big factor.  Also, there are always younger, newer, cooler, fresh bloggers out there that can make us older classically trained bloggers feel antiquated.  Seriously how do they raise children in designer clothes and have gorgeous homes with DIY decor?  Good for them, but sometimes it leaves me feeling left out and let down (my own problem, I know).

But it's exactly the moms of older kids, who have walked the path with me or are just slightly ahead to warn me of any falling rocks, whose ideas and opinions I want to read about.  Don't get me wrong, I will always love the mommy bloggers of babies and toddlers, as I'm still in those trenches myself!  But I can't read a post from a mom of babies who claims to know the without chuckling.  Maybe that's precisely another reason why moms of older kids don't blog much - because we realize after all these years of parenting all these different personalities that we don't know ANYTHING AT ALL :)

Seriously kids, I'm just winging it.

I realize I'm just questioning where all the older mommy bloggers are without helping with the solution.  Maybe this post is enough to get my own behind in gear to start writing like I used to, back when nobody knew I existed and I could pretty much say whatever I wanted without fear of anyone actually reading it!  Sadly, I don't think I can write that freely anymore, since I have to take into account that my bigger kids know I have a blog and Phil's students have discovered it.  I feel like an old lady wishing for days gone by and not wanting to give in to the notion that the blogging heyday may have come and gone.


  1. There are so many things I would love to write about but my kids frequently say, "Don't put that on your blog!" or some of the things are too personal for them that I wouldn't even consider putting it out there. I'm trying (like just started this week) to make a better effort to blog. If not about my kids specifically then just about day to day. I miss reading everyone's daily updates!

  2. Well if we are all finally admitting to ourselves that the bloggers "on breaks" are not coming back, it gets very sad indeed. I hope you continue to write with tips and advice on how you do it.

  3. I found the Catholic mom blogs a few years ago at a critical point in my life. I think I found Dwija's first, and through her to the link ups, a whole world of wonderful, funny, faithful women who wrote things that really resonated with me. It was wonderful! I do feel like many bloggers I used to enjoy don't write anymore, but given that life has a way of happening to people, I do understand why they drop off.

    Though I do still have little ones, I do find myself reading and enjoying blogs from more experienced moms (like you and and Normal Chaos and A Mom's Life and String of Pearls) simply because they have that seasoned veteran perspective,and have similar experiences with the older kids and are able to look outward from the diaper wars sometimes. (and a sense of humor about it all!)
    So I hope you keep blogging - your voice is an interesting one!

  4. I think part of it is that people keep having babies and once they reach a certain point (5, 6, 7, whatever) there's just no time for blogging anymore! And comments are sparser than a few years ago, which can be discouraging because it feels like nobody's reading. And it starts feeling weird blogging about older kids, too!

  5. I have a lot going through my brain after reading this post. I am not a blogger. I excel at writing work memos and policies but not my heartfelt thoughts about motherhood and my faith. I certainly wish I could. That is precisely why I embrace reading Catholic mom blogs so so so much!
    Your blog, is simply beautiful. It feels strange to write this because I swear that I am not a stalker, but I truly feel a one-sided friendship with you. I LOVE my kids and I LOVE my husband like you. Like you, I work for a Catholic school system and truly like my work. Like you, I miss the regular bloggers and wish I could know more about how they are parenting through the teen years. There really is no point to this post other than saying THANK YOU for writing and sharing. I especially appreciate your sharing about your faith as a mother. My husband and I so often feel as though we are parenting upstream. Although my children go to a Catholic school, a good portion of these Catholic students don't go to Sunday Mass. We live in a smallish town where it often feels like morals, religion, and values are slipping away on a daily basis. It is through your blog and others where I feel hopeful. THANK YOU!

  6. Well as a mom following in your footsteps and looking into the sometime daunting future, I'm sure glad you're still here!

  7. You are that mom with wisdom to those of us with the little babies now! I hope you'll continue blogging.

  8. As someone without a huge local community, I was glad to find an online community with Catholic mom blogs a few years ago.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one going through withdrawl! I actually emailed Dwija asking for her to list her favorite blogs because I miss reading hers. Unfortunately there wasn't a response.

    I was hoping for a "if you like X (who isn't posting regularly), you'll love Y (a newish blog you might not have heard of with similar topics/tone)." Would that be disrespectful to the bloggers who aren't posting regularly?

    I wonder if I could come up with some sort of list like that. Now that I've typed my thoughts, I can think of a few off the top of my head...

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

  9. This is why I just eat up your blog, you have been very helpful to me over the years. I totally agree with you on the new bloggers lately. I get really tired of seeing the professional pics of them in the same silly poses day after day promoting a new product. Maybe you can do a blog series on tips for moms of many. You could have guest posts too.

  10. I hope you do continue blogging. I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog since I found it a couple of years ago. My oldest is a little younger than your oldest, and I have 5 boys. I have learned a lot from you and appreciate your reflections on life and motherhood. Thank you for sharing of yourself!

  11. I miss all the old blogs too! It's so fun to read your blog- I just eat up your wisdom about mothering! You're a seasoned pro with so much to offer!

  12. I have a little different perspective. I have only one child (wanted more but that's another story) and she has 4 children now ages 2, 6, 7 and 11 years old. A few years ago after having her first one she had the 6 and 7 year old girls back to back and had a hard time coping. I had initially found camppatton from Jen Fulwiler and from there other mommy bloggers including you. My daughter didn't feel quite so alone after hearing tips, strategies and stories that I'd relate to her to help her because she felt like she didn't have the time to read them herself. That's why initially I read these blogs but now I feel like I've gotten to *know* some of y'all and have seen your families grow over the years so I'm still here!

    I miss Dwija blogging but I'm glad you and Grace along with some of my other favorites still blog on a regular basis! You are so funny and I love the way you write. Thank you for taking the time!

  13. I was just thinking of this the other day. Many of the blogs you listed here are the ones I stumbled upon when I was a new mom, and started to read those kinds of blogs. And it does seem like once kids start getting to a certain age mom blogs become silent, which makes me so sad! Not that these bloggers owe their readers anything but it is comforting and helpful to know others have been in the place you are now, and to read some things they struggled with or succeeded at...and in homes that aren't immaculately curated.
    All this to say, please keep writing, Colleen!

  14. On paper - my life isn't at all like yours: I'm not Catholic, I'm divorced (now remarried), I only have one child, etc. But, I enjoy your blog not for any of the labels that I've mentioned but more because I like what you have to say and sometimes, I just need to see another woman is successfully navigating life, too...

  15. This post (and the comments!) are so encouraging. I have been blogging for five(?) years now and almost yearly, I consider shutting it down. My photography isn't the greatest and I don't have anything particularly note-worthy to say...I just enjoy it for the creativity it inspires and for jotting down those little notes about the kids. It's comforting to hear that there are still some readers out there who like the non-curated, everyday notes of a SAHM.

  16. I'm not a blogger but I love to read blogs. I'm a young mom of 2 (ages 2 and 4) and reading blogs like yours gives me hope. Your emphasis on faith and raising great kids is what I need--I'm not interested in blogs of women who care about their house being perfect, styling their hair, or picking the perfect white t-shirt. I appreciate your realness. Plus, its good for me to see a strong marriage of people who love each other deeply--having 2 little ones has changed our marriage (for the better, but it still has changed). Anyway, know you are at least reaching one young mom on the internet!

  17. I'm one of those bloggers who doesn't blog so much anymore. A lot of it is because my kids ARE older and you just can't talk about older kids the way you talk about younger kids. Plus, my older girls read my blog. So, naturally that sorta limits what I want to say.

    Really though, I just don't have time. I started a WAH job over a year ago, so that pretty much sucks up all the free time I have. And, I had a baby 3 months ago, so that sucks up a lot of time.

    I really miss blogging though and keep meaning to get back into it.

  18. Thank you Colleen and yes I think you are SO right and it's a combo of many things. There is nothing like raising teens to make one question whether we know anything at all-or to make one eat a large rather chewy piece of "humble pie" in the process. There is the thought of "who am I to give advice" and also the privacy issues. I also think time constraints have a lot to do with it all-and for me questioning participation in an internet/blog world that has changed hugely from when I started out and not in a good way.
    I often feel very alone in parenting also-my age spread is one reason and having six kids is the other. I wish I knew someone who was raising young adults down to toddlers and who also misses terribly having the chance to have more babies. (I know you have written about this before also-just being a "crazy" mom to want more children.) And I was just thinking about all this last night-sometimes it is hard for me to read blogs when moms are still welcoming new ones into their homes because I feel intense loss at that part of my life being over, as happy as I am for them for their joy.
    You have always been and will be a favorite blog read of mine as you are so darn to earth and "get it". It is apparent you are doing the nitty gritty of motherhood and raising Saints in the process.


Talk to me...