Hi from Minneapolis! I’ve taken just a short, totally unacknowledged hiatus from Hey Eleanor.
Like 10 months. Oops! Or, as we say in Minnesota, “Ope!”
Though I have received some really nice emails and comments from readers, I don’t expect that people noticed my absence. I always think it’s a little presumptuous when internet people skip, like, one measly newsletter and profusely apologize for it. Pssst… didn’t notice or care! Scharry.
So if you care to know what’s been going on, I’ll explain.
I had a baby in July of 2016. Arlene is a doll and I am obsessed with her. She’s smart, funny, she is my world.
If I’m being totally honest, I didn’t quite realize just how much having a child would change everything.
My husband and I recently had an in-depth conversation about how much our lives have changed since kids. I told him I feel like my life today is about 8% the same as it was three years ago. His number? 70%. Being the default parent is rewarding, but it’s so, so hard.
In the nearly two years since she was born, my hormones have been a mess. I’m constantly tired, overwhelmed, and unable to handle even a sliver of the stress I could before kids.
My exercise routine dwindled from CrossFit three times a week to a walk whenever I could squeeze it in. I’m pretty certain my pre-pregnancy body, one that I didn’t really love at the time but now totally miss, is buried in some Folger can time capsule in the backyard.
And then, there’s my job.
As a freelance writer and entrepreneur, my path is unique. I’m not a stay-at-home-mom, but I’m also not officially working full-time. Even though I have lots and lots of work to do every week, not having a 9-5 that requires going to an office makes it feel like I don’t “need” a full-time daycare situation.
For the past two years, I’ve been trying to cram all of my non-momming tasks into about 20 hours a week. Work, doctor appointments, exercise, life.
Surprise! It wasn’t working.
For months, it took me hours to fall asleep. I was exhausted, and yet couldn’t stop my mind from racing. Work deadlines. Emails that needed responding to. Appointments to schedule, guilt about the classes or story times I wasn’t bringing my kid to, how many days had passed since my dog got a proper walk.
It felt like that scene in PeeWee’s Big Adventure when PeeWee keeps running into a burning pet shop, saving animals on every trip… eventually collapsing when he finally rescues the snakes, which he left for last because obviously snakes are scary as shit.
I had to make some hard decisions. And one of the biggies was to cut myself some slack when it came to non-essential tasks.
So I gave myself a pass on keeping up Hey Eleanor. I had so many other deadlines, and spent nearly every weekend between October and March working at makers fairs for my other business, Namakan Fur. I fell out of my writing routine and couldn’t get back into it.
Much like leisurely weekend brunches, gel manicures, regular showers and weeknight excursions to TJ Maxx, Hey Eleanor seemed like a thing the “old me” could allocate time for. I don’t really make much, if any, money on this project. It seems like a “frivolous” thing to allocate my precious childcare hours.
Here’s the thing: I never started this blog to make money.
It’s always been a place where I could hone my voice as a writer and build a regular writing practice. I mean, great, if you want to buy things from my affiliate links (I’m currently obsessed with these sandals…), but Hey Eleanor was never about money. And if it was, I can confidently say I’m failing at it.
Hey Eleanor also gave me a great excuse– an extra push, really— to try new things. I’m not the kind of person who naturally gravitates outside my comfort zone, but I am for sure a better person when I do.
In some ways, cutting back helped me manage my life.
But I’m actually not sure it was the right decision.
Aside from being a mom/wife/friend, Hey Eleanor is the most fulfilling thing I spend my time on. Part of me believes that an outlet like this would actually help me feel like a person, not just someone who’s either “momming,” working, cleaning or sleeping. Hard to believe, but that’s not exactly the life I dreamed of.
So in an attempt to reconnect with myself, I am going to try to regain my writing practice.
Will it be multiple times a week? No. Multiple times a month… maybe? It’s probably a dumb time to even consider it, as I am having another baby in six weeks (!). But one thing I’ve learned since becoming a mom is that it is soooooo easy to lose yourself in the process… and it’s sooooo important for you and your kids to not give up on who you are outside of parenting.
So, here I am, giving this another shot. Wish me luck!
Molly, aka Hey Eleanor