I know a lot of bloggers who describe their husbands as their "biggest fans." I have always been so jealous of these women. My husband was a fantastic cheerleader when my blog began humbly nearly 14 months ago. And then it began to evolve, taking on a life of its own that I could have never predicted. My blog slowly became the "other man" in my life, and my husband did not appreciate it.
Image: Robert S. Donovan via Flickr
While many describe their relationship with their blog as love/hate, my husband's relationship with my blog was hate/tolerate at best. Over the past year, we have tried many strategies when dealing with the hungry animal that is my blog. Our favorites have been avoidance, denial, stubbornness, head-butting, yelling, overreacting, and shaming. As you may have expected, none of them have been terribly effective.
Not surprisingly, honesty was the best policy for us. It was difficult for my husband to confirm my suspicion that he in fact hated my blog. He denied it at first, pointed fingers in other directions, tried to villify the time-sucker of social media, but at the end of the day, he was able to admit that he resented my blog.
And who could blame him? Let's be honest -- these days it seems that writing is the only thing I am doing well, and even that is questionable on any given day. I distractedly prepare meals, wrenching my head in the direction of my pinging iPhone, wondering if someone has just RT'ed my hilarious joke about my parental incompetence, or perhaps I've received a comment on my thought-provoking exposee on PTA awkwardness.
I've been known to hurdle over a pile of baby dolls, slip in a pool of somebody's spilled breakfast cereal, and sprint to the bathroom with said iPhone, all in an effort to make sure I haven't missed any opportunities or discussion happening in one of my 14 Facebook blogger groups. I will admit, I am cringing a bit just writing these embarrassing confessions out loud.
I'm sure many bloggers can relate to this all-consuming obsession; there is so much pressure to produce regular content that is high quality and engaging, maintain an online presence so as not to oust yourself from the inner circle you worked so hard to squeeze into, log the requisite hours of reading, commenting, sharing, and promoting. It can so easily become an additional job -- albeit one that is unpaid. Those who have shed their rookie blogger skins may have found a more stable balance, and have likely established some priorities and structure that help make their blogs more manageable. I am struggling to follow in their footsteps.
Though I fought hard to defend my blog-baby, it was not difficult to understand my husband's reluctance to accept the needy new addition to our family. While it fed me considerably, it wasn't feeding him at all. Perhaps it needed to be sleep trained. (Too soon?)
In the past months, I have worked hard to dislodge my iPhone from my greedy palm, to spend fewer hours hunched over my MacBook, and to remember the other pressing things that need to be taken care of. You know -- like my two children and our hectic household? I am slowly remembering how much better I feel when my life is in more balanced alignment: I am less rushed, the house is tidier, our meals are planned, my body is stronger, and my marriage is undoubtedly happier.
As I have toned things down on the frantic blogger front, my husband has gradully begun to tone down his battle against my blog. He is able to feel some pride at my accomplishments as a writer, he asks questions about things I am working on, and I feel his support returning to me.
Here is my advice to any other bloggers who don't belong to the "My Husband Is My Biggest Blog Fan" club. Meet him in the middle. Make a good faith gesture that shows him you are able to be slightly less rabid about being online. Maybe post fewer times per week, and make sure the posts you do publish are excellent. Prioritize the things that matter the most to you -- making connections, finding advertisers, or submitting to paying publications -- and stop spinning your wheels with your compulsion to comment on every single blog post that was shared on Facebook today.
If you are able to bring yourself back to him in small degrees, you may find that he actually doesn't hate your blog after all. Perhaps he is merely anxious about his place in your world, and maybe he even misses watching mind-numbingly bad TV with you at night when you are busy tweeting in the kitchen. It's not necessary to abandon the other man in your life -- your blog -- to keep your husband happy. But it's probably not a great idea for you to bring him to bed, either.
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