And on The 5th of June, She Created Quiet Because She Didn’t Want to be Like That Kardashian Mom

Have I told you that I automatically wake up at 5am almost every morning?  No alarm?  Actually, that was before Tanzania.  Since Tanzania it’s been 4:30.  It started January 1st. NO LIE.  Is that odd? Do you think Someone is trying to tell me something?  I do my best writing while the sun is rising and I’ve been trying to work on a project.

I was watching that Kardashian show last night and the mom was all whiny about how much work she has to do and had to leave dinner with her girls early because she didn’t have cell phone service. The girls (three of which were grown, two in high school ~it’s a total rerun because what? Kourtney is all pregnant?) anyway, the girls were all “mom, relax, let’s just enjoy dinner together.” And the mom was all “you all don’t understand I have WORK and people are trying to get in touch with me, and I need to be available, things are happening, Gah!”

All I could think of was “Oh my GOSH Kardashian Mom, do you NOT see how much your girls want to just hang out with you while you are not preoccupied with your work? And people you don’t even know” it is SO obvious. Duh!  Then I thought about myself and y’all, all DAY yesterday I was so preoccupied with my work and my schedule. Did I even make eye contact with my boys?  I am the Kardashian mom.  We’ve all done it.

I have more control over quiet than I like to think.

I know how to quiet the house, but am I willing to quiet my life?

I like to think I’m being noble by having so much on my plate but it’s not noble, it’s foolish.

I also struggle with feeling like something is wrong with me, why do I require so much more margin and white space than my friends? (read in your Nellie Olsen voice, insert dirty look and dramatic hair flip complete with ribbons).

So I put up my summer automatic email response.  It kills me to do it every year. And every year I think this year will be different and I won’t need to put it up because now I am a grown up and I can handle my boys out of school and returning email in a timely manner.  And every year it’s one of the best things I do::


Then I sign it like this;

–The Nester

18 Summers

Apparently I wrote that post so I could link to it as an excuse all summer.

The truth is my work is writing. (OH MY WORD, I JUST ADMITTED IT!)  I can do my job if I can just write good stuff.  None of you really care if I’m on twitter or facebook or email you right back within 24 hours.  The part of Nesting Place I need to protect the most is the words and the creativity.  And those can’t flow if I let my schedule build up and if I let my time fill up.

A big part of doing your work is defending your time and your attention so you can do your work.

–Seth Godin

Am I the only one who struggles to defend the time I need to actually do my work?  What are your secrets because I desperately need them.  And, if you are feeling chatty–how do you run your blog or business or life differently in the summer?  I read all the comments (even in the summer) and I’d love to hear from you.


  1. Oh Nester, you speak wise words. Just the other day I wanted to punch myself in the face because I too was being that Kardashian mom. My kids were begging me for stuff all around me and I kept saying ‘in a minute–just a minute–I gotta do this first.’ I think I turn to the computer when I’m too tired to do anything else and just want to zone out and pretend I don’t have a zillion physical responsibilities. But that’s gotta stop. And so I planned a vacation with my family for the 18th-22nd of June of pure sunshine, relaxation, and playing with the kids. And hopefully I can convince my husband to unplug with me because I think I might break if he doesn’t haha! Have a great summer.

    • This is me lately – evil mom… The “OK, just a minute!!!” I so need to vacation myself from these things, get a bit more structured and choose times I’ll gift myself with computer time. Priorities, priorities.

  2. I’m not one who requires a lot of margin WITHOUT my kids… I like to do most things with them. But I start to freak out a little when my days are hurried because it makes me a bad mom (well, my own sinful heart makes me a bad mom, but I can avoid some situations, right?) We are building a house right now, and are almost done. Whew. I’m so done with being a designer/contractor and ready to focus my attention back on what I love to do… wife, mom, church member, homemaker, home schooler. Too much more than that makes me a little crazy :) This summer has not been the funnest for the kids so far, but I hope it’s a memorable one of the 18 summers in some way, shape or form.

  3. Love it. That’s so wise of you. My husband has been on my case for months to put together my own auto-responder so that I can stop feeling all of the obligation and the shoulds and oughts that go along with overflowing inboxes. I really need to do it.

    This summer, I’m actually giving myself a month off of writing. I had my 4th baby back in Feb, and my goal was to give myself a full month’s rest, but it was less than 3 weeks in reality, and even that wasn’t near enough. It’s been a super busy spring for our family and I just know deep down that both I and my children need for me to be really present this summer and take time to just rest and enjoy and be. I’ll do guest posts, ask my readers questions, etc. but no fresh content for a month. I cannot wait. I’m hoping for plenty fo sun-soaked days eating drippy popsicles in the backyard.

  4. :) You are amazing. I so needed to hear that. Almost like I need “permission” to rest.

  5. I applaud you for putting your family first. The post about how many summers we have left with our kids, really hit me, and will try to remember that at the beginning of each. Time flies by, and the older they get, the faster it goes, so enjoy your time with your boys. Have a great summer.

  6. I love this post a thousand times over. In my own circle of friends, I often feel like the wimpy one because I need so much more white space than most. I need to quit feeling like I have to apologize for that!

  7. I wish I had something profound to say. I just so love the last paragraph and quote from Seth Godin. I think I forgot I’m supposed to write. The social media can get overwhelming. And I forget to write.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    • “I think I forgot I’m supposed to write. The social media can get overwhelming. And I forget to write.”

      preach it Amanda, yes, I get so distracted with the things I think I need to be doing in order to do my “job” that I don’t have time to do my job.

  8. Wise words that I needed to hear…thank you Nester! I, too, am one who needs a lot of “white space.” Too much activity/noise/socializing is so draining for me, that the quiet helps me recharge. I wish I had some words of wisdom to share, but I’m right there with you trying to figure out how to “do it all,” especially as I am a work at home mom and the kids are home for the summer….such a delicate balancing act. Wishing you a wonderful summer!

  9. Oh man. I needed this. I’ve been pretty Kardashian lately with my wee ones. But all the work has been housework. And I personally am completely convinced if I could afford for someone else to come clean my house I’d be the best Mom ever. But in the meantime I have to figure out how to balance getting things done and still hanging with the boys. Wowzers, it’s hard!

    • Caroline, we have a friend that continually says “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” :)

  10. I deleted 745 unread emails on Monday. Yes, yes I did.
    I angsted over it for like 3.5 seconds.
    Then I pressed delete.
    I am a blogger not a brain surgeon. If it’s an emergency they’ll email me again.
    Then I took a deep breath and filled up the water play table and tried to remember to love the dog.

  11. Oh Nester, I need SO MUCH MARGIN around my life that I often wonder what the heck is wrong with me.

    There are the creative margins and then the health issues margins. Add to that working full time and being a single mom…well, now I’m sounding whiny. Maybe someday I’ll have my much needed margins!

    In the meantime, one of the things that I’ve decided is that I “don’t get” Twitter. I get it in theory, and I’ve recently joined because there is one person that I’d like to follow, but I just don’t think that I have that much of importance to say. At least not multiple times daily X 140 characters.

    So I decided that I’m not opting in to Twitter for my blog. If that means no one ever reads or finds my blog because I’m not on Twitter, then oh well.

    And man, do I ever need to take your Kardashian mom advice!

  12. I love reading your posts. They inspire me to do good things like margins and white space and Compassion. So thanks. Maybe today this will inspire you as a little “thanks for helping me, hope this helps you in return” gift.

  13. I require lots of space/quiet/rest/solitude to feel/do my best. It’s hard because I feel like a wimp because I can’t go-go-go like friends or family. I like how you define what’s important to you (family and writing) and take the steps to preserve them. It seems so straight forward and easy when you say it, although I know from experience its difficult and sometimes messy.

    • yes, a WIMP~ I feel that way too!

      “It seems so straight forward and easy when you say it, although I know from experience its difficult and sometimes messy.” these words brought chills. yes. difficult and messy.

  14. Margins and white space! I just love how you put that!! I’m exactly the same and sometimes struggle with it myself! But, I know that I need to do it to be a better mom, wife, woman, writer, and just be able to breathe without it all feeling too jumbled up. I admire other women who know this about themselves and pursue meeting this need! =) Very thankful for these words! Thank you!

  15. Nester, my friend, as always you are ever so wise. Love that at 5:30 in the morning, as I was trying to do MY work early so that I can spend the day off my computer I was completely distracted by your Kardashian title in my sidebar and had to click over. Lucky for me, your distractions are never wasted. Enjoy your summer and your time off!

  16. I won’t miss you on fb or twitter because I haven’t visited them for a while now myself! I started to question whether any of the social media was actually doing any good for my life or work. It is so over emphasised as important but the devotion it takes from people scares me – it’s relatively new we don’t know what its effects could be. I am amazed at the way people can get daily blog posts out and all the rest of it. You do such an amazing job of going your own way not just doing the done thing I’d love to know more about your views on social media – how much value you think they have for you how you use them to best advantage! Or I may
    have missed you do this before – let me know the post if so.

  17. Jeff Goins would be so proud.

    Love that you say your job is the writing and you have to protect that. The other stuff, can sit and it will be there when you can with good conscience. That is the beauty of it. Social Media is always on. But words, they flow only when you are in the place and writing and ready to say it. Real words can be picky like that.

    Lately, I’m trying to just sit and read. For a time each day. Just sit and read. Oh — it is so hard. But, I’m learning that this time of year, when the well is just oh so dried up, I need to do that.

    I’ll let you know if it works. :)

  18. Nester, last night in bed I said to my husband, “I haven’t blogged in almost a week. I usually blog every day or pre-post so there is content for my readers. It’s been almost a WEEK. And I feel like my writing time is just slipping away.” He just sighed because that’s his job, but it weighed heavily on MY heart. And Tuesday is the last week of school. And I was just out of town for work so my email is annoying like those leftovers in the back of the fridge that you know you want to throw out, but you’re afraid to open the lid on the Tupperware.

    I need to follow your lead on this. Something’s gotta’ give and it should not be my family.

    Thank you for this!

  19. I almost don’t want to comment now and take up your time to read it ;o) but I woke up this morning and couldn’t get away from the urge to write a post about our time and how when we seek God first He blesses and multiplies our time. We often believe a lie that if we spend time with God it is just another thing on our to do list that takes up time and that lie keeps us from doing it.
    I applaud your protection of your time. I am doing something CRAZY and am going to stop blogging all Summer. I know it’s what I am supposed to do and I’ll be working on things behind the scenes (and having lots more time with my 6 kids who are home and just want their moms attention).
    Praying blessings for you and your time! -Kristin

  20. Yes. Yes. Yes. I’m not even the mom of 18 more summers. But, this got me all misty-eyed. I think the Holy Spirit was speaking through you.
    Live your summer fully. {hugs}

  21. Hey Girl,
    I also require huge amounts of margin and white space and I am NOT a morning person. Deadly combo.
    You have it right. I have one son and he is 24. Last month he was 5. I swear.
    My summers are all gone.
    So do it the best you can and everyone will just have to deal.
    You are doing something right, or you wouldn’t be so popular! Obvi!
    Happy Summer!

  22. I’ve written on my blog recently that sometimes we have to turn off the noise to hear the message. Often, this noise is because of all the social media distractions. Thanks for this post…and have an amazing summer! You’ll never regret the comment you didn’t tweet, but I’m pretty sure you would regret the memories you didn’t create.

  23. perfectly spoken. perfectly.

  24. This is definitely hitting home for me this morning. I am going through The Purpose Driven Life as a devotion and this morning I was reminded that I need to surrender ALL to God. I also texted my husband commenting that I am tired of taking care of all the stuff that seems to steal me away and not being able to live in the moment with our boys and our family. I am overwhelmed with a lot fo LIFE things and this is a transition time for our family as we move towards a debt-free life. I am starting today with a new schedule for summer fun!

  25. If I cut down on anything, it’s social media. I also stop taking on new bigger projects in June so I have time to spend with my family being the “relaxed, chill mom” instead of the “leave me alone and could you please be quiet mom!” My son is going into grade 12 next year and I realize how precious time is. I saw that same Kardashian episode and I was thinking the same thing about her. Perhaps I am like that at times, but I think I’m pretty good at putting my family first and I think your readers will respect you for it (I know I do).
    Enjoy some slowing down!

  26. Gina in S FL says

    I love how courageous you are to be yourself. I say this because it is easy to “follow the crowd” or to try to “keep up” with other bloggers. Some bloggers post so often, I find myself out of breath just reading them! You are true to yourself and your family and that makes you true to your readers, as well. When I discovered blogs, I thought it was divine intervention. I wanted (needed) to start one. Then I realized I couldn’t do real life and blog life together really well and won’t start one until my real life gets to the place it needs to be first. I think it can be done. You are the best example of this. Thanks!—gina

  27. Just turn off the Kardashian’s. Everything will be instantly improved.

  28. WELL said!!! LOVE this!!! :)

  29. GIRL, Kourt is pregnant again! I think she’s like 5 or 6 months along in the current season, but I could be totally wrong about that. I’m a bajillion months pregnant myself (with my first) and pregnancy has really taught me to leave more margin for rest and sanity. I’ve learned to say no to myself, family, and friends when I need to. It’s been interesting to learn that some folks are not okay with me saying no. Maybe that’s something for them to work on.

  30. Such a good post! I so get it!!!! Stacey

  31. In our house, we have found that stating the way we want to live and writing it down, list style, helps when all of the overload threatens. We keep the list to ten items of importance, realizing that we CAN have it all-just not all at the same time.

    As a teacher, I have a completely different schedule in the summer. I write outside during breakfast; I do something artsy/housey almost every day, and I have LOTS more time to read, garden, sew and exercise. I also know myself well-If I don’t have a schedule, I’d just pinball around all day and then wonder where the time went. So for us-a master list of things that we want to accomplish for the year overall and personal lists of how we would like to grow are what keep us on track.

    Shutting off the TV most of the time ( we DVR what we pre- select; then we watch when we feel like it) really helps. Without that background noise, it instantly calms everyone. Even the dog :) That Kardashian crap will rot your brain and blacken your soul, LOL. When it’s on-keep switching channels. Your IQ and your nerves will thank you.

  32. You are so wise. Love this.

  33. I require so much white space that I have days I feel like there is no time for anything but the white space as opposed to the other way around–which is how most people live. And the older I get the less I care. (curmudgeon)

  34. Oh wise one, this is so good…and so perfect to read right now! I just wrote a similar ‘ohmygosh, no way do I do it all, and this is how I suck and how I’m just like you’ post…it was scary, but so many people can relate. So you turn that out-of-office on and have a great summer! We read your fabulous posts if there’s 1 a day or 1 a month….we’re here, waiting! :)

    my scary self:

  35. I think you are wise.

    A question: If you get up at 4:30 every morning, what time do you usually go to bed?

    I’m just curious. I admire you for getting such an early start on the day.


    • in the 8:50’s PM. but I don’t get up that early every morning, many mornings I WAKE up that early. But lots of times I stay in the bed or go back to sleep. 4:30 seems like SUCH an ungodly hour compared to 5.

  36. We have two boys in college and gone…two left at home…and I always think of the quote by C.S. Lewis “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different..” Live in the moment, don’t be discouraged and love EVERY second of it. I so miss my older boys but love my season now.

  37. I want to do this. I don’t know how. I’m trying to start something new, and it seems impossible not to work 24/7 to get things done. I’ve been saying yes to having friends over more, so my boys have someone to play with. Pray that I can stop, be quiet and carve out some time for them. It’s going too fast.

  38. As a mom, step-mom, special education teacher, and newish blogger, trying to be everything to everyone and still feeling successful and like you haven’t run out of gas is totally impossible. I think because I am around kids all day during the school year and my own kids at night, I crave solitude, and what seems like nothingness, but is actually wholeness. I feel whole when my mind can be quiet, even for a few minutes. Now that school is out for the summer, I have some important decisions to make about how I want to spend my time. I want my summer to feel simple yet full, peaceful, yet busy. I always have these grand ambitions about how summer should be. I think because school is out my house should be perfect, my kids should be played with every moment, and I should get to call or see every friend I have. Again, impossible. If you don’t keep some white space in your days, they will end up seeming dark!

  39. I look at someone like you and think, “How does she do it all?” You can run a famous blog, come up with beautiful, simple ideas to share with everyone, Go to Africa, take care of your business, your family and friends. I’m here on the ranch helping hubby and now without kids at home, I have a bit more time and yet I feel like I never get “it” all done. I don’t think there is a trick to it. I just think I have to do my best and realize that I’ll never get everything done or everyone looked in the eye every single day, but…..I do think that looking everyone in the eye and listening is (should be) the most important stuff I do.

    Good post!

  40. I’m doing this too! Since my job is on the computer (writing and editing, admittedly not much of either while I have preschoolers!), I’m cutting back on anything extra that requires me to spend time on the computer. No more executive meetings or extra volunteer stuff unless it’s fun things I can do with my kids.

  41. Oh man does this post hit home! I am a children’s book artist who works from home. It’s such a struggle to maintain separation between work and home. Once I’m creative, I can barely pull my brain out of that mode. And when I’m having fun with my boys, sometimes I can’t force myself to work when I need to. I used to feel guilty any time I needed to work during the day (hint: I LOVE your sister’s book!), but if I don’t feel guilty I find I forget to connect with my boys because it’s too easy to slip into creativity and get all wrapped up.

    • p.s. as for tips, the only thing that consistently works for me is getting out of the house with the kids, so they have my 100% attention. The zoo, library, and park save the day around here.

  42. What a great post! Thanks for taking time to remind us all to slow down and enjoy our families. Will do.

  43. I read your blog and never comment or email… but this post was so for me today. I love that you’re honest and write what’s on your heart. It inspires me to share mine. I’m starting a business, attempting to write a blog… oh and I have 3 kids under 5. I am so not superwoman — I need a margin too. But no matter the situation, I control the peace in my home. Thanks for this reminder.

  44. Oh my word, how I know what you mean! I have a small, online art business which has been growing in the last 5 years. I also have a lovely husband, adorable 2 year old boy/girl twins and 6 year old sweetie son. I feel as if there is not a moment I don’t feel guilty about spending more time with someone or doing something related to my business. I always tend to push myself past my boundaries–staying up till 11:30 to pack a painting or bake some scones. I want to be everything to everyone and it all becomes too much. It’s so easy to forget that my little ones won’t be so little for too long. Some times it’s easy to forget that my babies are the reason I started my own art career in the first place–to make a little extra moolah and to inspire them to follow their own dreams. Your “18 summers” post truly resonates with me. Thanks for the eye opener….

  45. Ive been following your blog for awhile; I think this is my favorite post yet!

  46. i admire how you worked both Nellie Olson and the Kardashions into 1 post and it all made sense. :) i enjoyed the post

  47. This came at just the right moment for me. Just the right moment. Thank you, truly.

  48. Did you know — I copied and pasted your autoresponder the other day….
    You inspire me and I just love you that much.
    The end.

  49. Love your post! So true…and I’m totally copying your email signature, LOVE it! I recently started saying ‘No’ a lot to friends and acquaintances – when I find myself complaining about my lack of time I look in the mirror and say ‘YOU did this! You planned it all!’ I am not God, I cannot do it all. I try and try, but my family suffers if I succeed, so I will take these slow weekends, quiet mornings, and plan ahead for meals in the evenings so we can all hang out and enjoy our ‘face time’ together. And my ‘nest’ is not up to my standards…but there will be a season for that, and it’s not right now.

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