In Case You’re Wondering: on Mommyhood, Blogging, and Motivation

I don’t remember the last time I wrote for this blog. Yes, part of it is simply being tired and busy: now that Little Turtle is on the constant move, the 3 combined hours of his naps are often the only time to get things done – or to get some rest. Mommyhood can be a bit exhausting, and it so happens that other things take prevalence over blogging. Or so I thought.

Then I realized that even though the number of my posts on my personal Russian-language blog (you’ll find the link on About page if you’re interested) has dropped considerably, I still keep writing for it. The reason is simple: I have a real audience there. Some 300 people follow my blog, and it’s  uncommon to write a post and receive no feedback. People comment and then come back to respond to your response to their comment. Every once in awhile, I find a private message from another blogger asking if everything’s alright, since they haven’t heard from me in a couple of weeks. We’ve met several of my blog friends in person (in Atlanta, Charlotte, Tallahassee, and Haague,) and are hoping to meet more. Gosh, the only 2 Christmas cards we received this year are from my blog buddies!

And then there’s this blog. Nearly 2,000 followers & hardly any comments. I get these notifications on my phone: “so-and-so started following your blog” or “so-and-so liked your post,” and I wonder, “Who are these people? What made them press the button?”

Obviously, this is not a for-profit blog or a popularity contest. Still, it’s not a diary either and it would be great to hear from our readers a bit more often. A smiley face is better than nothing.

Shon is pushing me to write more, saying that as a bilingual mother of an infant living in her 3rd country, traveling rather extensively, and pursuing photography after having had to quit interpreting, I have something to say to the world. My argument is: does the world actually care? My motivation to write evaporates when I think of the lack of communication with our supposed readers.

Who are you? Do you actually read us? Do you find this blog interesting/helpful/relatable? What would you like to see us write about? What do you want to see more of? In other words, do you care?

P.S. It is surprising when every now and then we meet someone in Al Ain, and they tell us they read our blog before coming here. It’s always so good to hear!


49 thoughts on “In Case You’re Wondering: on Mommyhood, Blogging, and Motivation

  1. I lnow I don ‘t ever comment but I LOVE reading and seeing pictures of a place I’ve never been. I’ve been to many countries but not the midfle east & learn through your blogs & pictures

  2. Hi, so I’m a public school teacher in Georgia applying for a job with ADEC. (My interview is next month.) I started following this blog because I wanted an idea of what teaching would be like in Abu Dhabi from an American male perspective. I try to glean information and get an idea of what to expect so I’m not floored when/if I get there. Keep posting…keeping writing. We read it.

    • Andrew, thanks for commenting and good luck with the interview! There are certain things we cannot write about in a public blog, but we’d be happy to answer any questions via email.

  3. Hello there
    I am a 57 year old woman living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Like The person above I wanted to know what living/teaching in Abu Dhabi was like. I read back to the beginning of all your postings and ‘followed’ you settling into a new place. It felt a bit voyeuristic I must say. As a reader you become quite involved in the lives of the blogger. I wonder where ‘home’ is for someone who has links to so many different cultures. Thanks for the glimpses into your life.

    • Thank you, Catherine 🙂 Living here is an adventure. That’s probably the best way to describe it. Strangely enough, this is also the place we call ‘home’ right now.
      We would absolutely love to visit New Zealand one day. It’s been on our bucket list for awhile.

  4. I love reading your blogs. I feel I live vicariously through your travels and would terribly miss reading about your life (including Shon and turtles) if you stopped reading. I rarely ever post, but I am reading and ready for your next adventures in Abu Dhabi.

  5. I care! I love reading this blog. I love the pictures, reading about your travels and life in UAE. I don’t usually comment because I figured, “Hey, thanks for sharing” is kinda lame and you’d get tired of me posting that every time…even though that is what I am thinking after I read it. I am a stay-at-home-school mom in Kentucky. While I love my life, I have never been out of the country, except for Canada, and likely never will. I appreciate the glimpses of “the world” this site offers.


  6. I READ YOUR BLOG!!!!! I love seeing how your little family is getting along ( I remember suggesting that a move with Shon would give you the perfect time to have a baby!) and seeing the fantastic posts of photography (you are sooooo talented!) and descriptions of exotic foreign lands that I will never be able to visit…. You are doing us all a service and I appreciate it. Amanda

  7. Your blog is giving me a great deal of information about AD and AA – I have my first phone interview today to go teach in AD and I’m preparing by reading up on the lifestyle and teaching experiences you outline. Hopefully I’ll be over there this summer and can meet you guys! I also have a baby who will be coming along (born in 11/2013) so I love reading about how the culture is so baby-friendly over there.

  8. Please continue to blog! I enjoy the photographs and the way you capture UAE with your words. It inspires me to travel. I’m studying abroad in Scotland now, although I’m from the US. Currently, I am brainstorming names for a travel blog of my own. Thank you!

  9. I love this blog and visit it about once a week. You all seem to have the world at your feet and lead fascinating lives so I never considered that you might like to know that a working mother of 1 toddler in Reno, NV, USA is reading you. Keep writing, please!

    • Candace, of course we like to know that! Our lives are a lot less fascinating than you may think 🙂 My normal days, for example, largely consist of preventing Turtle from crawling into the dishwasher or playing with the toilet brush. How old is your toddler? – Jenia

      • He is 2 years and four months and is sending us into the abyss of Terrible Twos. And I’m really enjoying it!

  10. I read! I’ve been terrible about blogging recently (and commenting too), but I do read and love to hear from both of you! Keep up the good work!

  11. I came across your blog whilst looking for information about moving to Abu Dhabi; and I must say it is packed with information.
    My fiancé is heading for the interview in London at the end of the month and I’m trying to find out as much about the UAE as I can in preparation for the potential move in August. I’ve only managed to read a couple of your blogs but they are very informative. When I have more time to read more in-depth I’m sure I’ll manage to come up with a list as long as my arm of questions, like what’s it really like for a western woman working and living in a Muslim prominent country?
    But for the time being I shall continue reading and I’m sure you’ll hear from me in the near future!

    • Danielle, I’m sorry I managed to miss your comment somehow!
      How did your fiancé’s interview go?
      I’d say that the biggest impact the Muslim culture has on my life is the lack of shorts and sleeveless tops in my wardrobe 🙂 I can’t say much about work environment, unfortunately, but there are female bloggers in our “Blogs We Read” section that can surely comment on that.
      Do write if/when you have your list of questions!

      • No worries, Andy’s interview was on Friday 28th, by Saturday 1st we had been told he was recommended for a position with the offer letter coming through on Monday 3rd march, so it’s all happened really quickly! Obviously he took the job so we’ll be flying out for the new school year 2014!
        Exciting times, we only need to sell the house, cars and rehome the cat, get married, take a 3 week honeymoon in SA! Which we will return home pretty much the same time as Andy will need to be catching a flight out, so all systems go!

      • We’re spending a week on safari around the kalahari, a week in Cape Town and the final week along the garden route. Andy has planned it all, I only know basic details, lots of surprises; I know he wants me to experience the country he grew up in. I can’t wait!
        I’m planning on following him later as that’s what adec have advised, although as newly weds I want to travel with him. But we’ll just have to see when they give us our flights.

    • Oooh! The garden route was my favorite part!!
      As for ADEC’s advice… they told Shon at the interview that we couldn’t leave together, then sent him tickets for both of us. Unfortunately, we already made plans for me staying longer & finishing up some things. A month later, ADEC still didn’t have all the documents ready, so we just bought a ticket ourselves (we got a refund later). I’d say, don’t listen to their advice, and come together. If they only send you one ticket, contact them & request two. The first month or so here is the hardest. It would really help to have your loved one next to you.

  12. Hey how long will you be in UAE? My husband just got a primary teaching job with adec and we will be there September this year from NZ. Loads of questions!!! We have a 3 year old and an 18 month old. I really hope I make friends with kids! Eeek… Terin

    • Terin, we decided we’ll stay another year, so we’ll definitely be here in September. We’d love to meet you and would be happy to answer the questions as long as we know the answers 🙂 There are tons of families with young children here, so you will have to make a real effort NOT to make friends!
      Do write if you have questions. – Jenia

      • Cool! Hopefully I won’t be too emotional when we first arrive haha.
        Are you in a complex with lots of other expats? I have sooo many questions even things like- the apartment is unfurnished right so should I bring some things like a few towels and sheets etc? Kids car seats??
        Oh man. I feel so overwhelmed then excited then nervous. I have dreamt of travelling for so long then we had two little surprises so it all got put on hold indefinitely so… Can’t believe it’s really happening!

      • Shon here. Most of us are in complexes with lots of other teachers. Don’t go overboard on hauling stuff that you can obtain easily here. It might be worth bringing car seats. You’ll be in a hotel at first, so you can pick up a few necessities before moving into your apartment. Temper your enthusiasm with understanding that the first two months will be very hard as you try to negotiate the complicated bureaucracy. After all that is done, life here becomes uncomplicated enough to be fun.

      • Sorry, can’t reply directly to your comment! Yes, we do live in an apartment complex with other expats. That’s how most expats live here, at least for the first couple of years. The apartment is unfurnished, but ADEC gives your a furnishing allowance. We bought most of our stuff used (it’s easy to get, since so many people only come for a couple of years). The only things we brought from home were clothes, really. Everything else can be purchased here.
        I’d probably bring the carseats, because you already own them & it won’t make sense to spend all that money again.
        Maybe if you have an absolute favorite beauty product, you can bring it. For example, I’ve found it hard to buy styling products for curly hair, and my favorite mascara from Clinique costs 3 times more here. These two things I do bring from the States.
        Seriously, though, they have normal stores that sell normal stuff. One particular kind of crackers/shampoo/dish detergent may not be available, but there are tons of other ones to try 🙂

      • Yeah I am- my name is Terin Port. From NZ. Pretty sure I’m the only one.

        Thanks for the tips so far. I’m well aware of the ‘hard work’ it will be, I expect the adjustment to be difficult so that’s why I hope to find friends for myself and my kids (and my husband- who is a kiwi boy that LOVES American sport like no other so will be so excited to hopefully hang out with other guys that do also…haha)

  13. My husband and I are South Africans. We also interviewed with ADEC, but we haven’t made a decision about taking the jobs yet. Your blog is extremely helpful. It gives us an idea of what to expect. I have been reading ALL your posts like a story book. Can’t wait to see what happened next… Thanks for your blog. We love it.

    • Thanks for reading! We knew several teachers from SA. You’d certainly have a great adventure in the UAE if you accept the jobs. Good luck as you make up your minds.

  14. Hello Shon and Jenia,
    My name is Kennesha and I have been reading your blog for some time. I started reading it back in 2012 when I first applied to teach in Abu Dhabi but was turned down. Then I gave up on my own blog and reading everyone else’s. But this year, I applied again to teach in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar. I received offers from all three and accepted an offer to teach in Qatar. I recently picked back up on your blog and am reading a little every day, wondering it I will ever catch up to 2016. lol. I’ve always enjoyed reading this blog because it is very informative and down to earth real. I will admit it is creepy knowing there are people out there reading about your journey, that you don’t know and that don’t leave comments. You know, people like me. Anyway I wanted to say hello and introduce myself. I realize that you are no longer in the UAE but your blog entries are still interesting to read, so I am reading all of them, slowly catching up. Here is my blog: (American Teacher in Qatar).
    Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    • Hi Kennesha, thanks for taking the time to jot down a comment and congrats on the Qatar job! I hope you find it rewarding. I gather from others that living there is quite similar to living in the UAE. I see from looking at your blog that you already have a departure date–that’s great! Reading your posts brings back memories of all those paperwork hassles, and budgeting for shipping fees and so forth–such a pain! Luckily, I can say that all that stuff gets easier the next time around, when you go to another country:P

  15. Oh one more thing… I am curious about your password protected posts that I can’t read or access. I am sure that you want to be careful of some of the things you post because Big Brother is always watching but is it for family only or can I request the password from you? I won’t be offended if you say no. But I just had to ask.

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