Deciding to Keep Writing

It tuned out that it wasn’t just a crappy week when last I wrote, but that April was an entire month of just garbage.  I was quite glad to see it in my rear view mirror. 

Lots of stuff just went wrong.  None of those things was major, but all the little bits added up to me feeling frustrated and anxious and overwhelmed.  All those negative emotions combined and by the end of the month, I had to stop writing.  I just couldn’t process how I was feeling.

The nail in the coffin came when I wrote a guest post on Design Mom about the experience we’ve had with the school my kids attend here in England.  Many of the responses on that post were so negative and it took me by surprise — commenters virtually rolled their eyes at our enormous “privilege” and dismissed the content of the article because the school isn’t a typical British school.  I really struggled with that feedback; it felt personal and it hurt my feelings.  It made me not want to write even more.

Writing here for the last six months has also felt a bit disingenuous.  It’s hard to write about our happy family trip to Ireland, which was major and awesome and worth discussing, but to skip over anything more substantive, like what’s actually happening in the world.  I love sharing our family experiences, but in truth I’m walking around the house most days muttering about reinstating lifetime limits on health insurance and dismantling a free press and inhaling political news like it’s a bowl of brownies with ice cream.

Back in the day, before I was a wife and before I was a mother, I worked in politics.  And I LOVED it.  I did an internship on Capitol Hill when I was 21, which parlayed into an actual job on the Hill.  Then I worked in the district office of a different Congressman when I went back to Boston for my senior year of college.  Marriage and children and life steered me away from that path, even though it was something I really cared about and loved.  The last presidential campaign brought me screeching back into the fold of political news, and I remembered how much this used to matter to me.  It felt really weird not discussing things like that here, like I was deleting a huge part of my personality.

After weeks and weeks of going back and forth in my head about whether I should just throw in the towel, I realized that I simply don’t need to let other people’s negative reactions control my life.  I want to write.  I don’t need to care if other people like it.  The other truth is that I’ve been writing scared; I have been trying not to be too opinionated and I’ve avoided writing about things I feel strongly about in case they turn off a certain demographic of readers.  In trying to appeal to everyone, I lost my voice.  I wrote vanilla and my heart wasn’t in it.

If I’m going to invest my precious time here, I’m going to come away from it feeling happy with the result — to do anything else would be a waste.  I have strong opinions.  Get ready to hear them, cozied right up next to stories about our trips, my crazy children, our amazing school here in England, the best ways to get your kids to do their chores, and the all-important birthday letters (we have one coming up this week, in fact).  This blog is about the many layers of motherhood and that means ALL of it — the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

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