15 October 2011

Caroline Pointer - How She Does It - Secrets from a Geneamommyblogger

Today's post in How She Does it - Secrets from the Geneamommybloggers is by Caroline Pointer. 
I’ve lost loved ones in my life way too early, and I’ve learned a few lessons from those loves and losses. Life is precious. And life is way too short. I am constantly aware of a clock ticking, of a heart bursting at the seams with passion, and a bucket that is filling up with all the things I want to do at least once.

Add all that to the strong work ethic and the rule of never saying, “I can’t…”my parents instilled in me, you get, well, me. Admittedly, I’m a workaholic, but is it really work if you love doing what you do?

I’ve always been a multi-tasker thanks to my parents. I don’t understand the concept of not being able to do something, and I’m not afraid of taking on several ‘something’s’ at once. I’m always willing to try. I may not be good at it, but at least I know that I tried, and that’s what counts. It’s that can-do attitude that allows me to keep searching for my ancestors and their stories. To never stop. To never give up. I may not find out everything right now, but if it is to be found, I fully believe it’s possible.

Sadly and happily, my kids are growing up and becoming more independent at the ages of 12 and 14. And they’re constantly telling me, “I know, Mom,” or “I already did that, Mom.” More and more they don’t need me like they used to, and I’d be lying if I said that that doesn’t hurt. Just a little bit, though. It’s supposed to be what happens, and it also makes me think about the day they realize they don’t really need me at all. You know, when I have to push them out of the nest? If everything I do now is totally wrapped around them and everything they do, what will be left of me when they are off building their own nests?

That’s another lesson those losses of loved ones have taught me. That I’m not just a multi-tasker, but I have multi-purposes too. I’m a wife and a mother, but I’m so much more. I’m capable of more. I’m expected to do more. And that expectation is what my passion that’s bursting at the seams in my heart is. It’s my innate desire to fulfill my purposes.

It’s my driving force every day. However, I’m not perfect. My house could be cleaner. [Read: It’s a mess, but not too bad.] I could get more laundry done. [Read: I have multiple examples of every stage of the laundry process throughout my house.] Somewhere between 4am when my Pug, Millie, wakes me up to eat and to go outside [And then she goes back to bed. Team player, that one.] and the bewitching hour when I fall asleep on the couch with the laptop on my lap, I manage to get things done. Not everything, but I make it happen for everyone in this house and me, and I’m good with that. I’m not perfect, but who is?

What’s that saying? “Show me a woman whose home is always ready for company, and I'll show you a woman who's too tired to entertain.” That’s my motto. I can only hope one day when my kids, grandkids, or great-grandkids reflect upon me and my life, they think of someone who was passionate, who worked hard, played even harder, and who was happy. And as someone who had the foresight to research our past and write about it.  Someone who recorded the family’s stories with love [Read: sarcasm.] Not someone who had a clean house.

You see, the thing about multi-taskers is that we have the ability to see the bigger picture, assess the higher priorities, and get those things done first. That’s important. And? We don’t sweat it when we don’t get everything on the list done because we got the important things done first. I can’t tell you how much that has helped me in my personal life and blogging about genealogy and my family’s history. However, I think the biggest tool that I have [aside from my brain] in researching and writing is my iPhone. Out of the past 6 years of researching [and almost 3 years of that blogging], I’ve only had my iPhone for the past year, and it has become indispensable to me. It reminds me when I need to do everything, whether it’s for the kids or for writing. It also keeps me connected to the genealogy world, to the writing world, and to my personal network. While I don’t write or blog on it, I am able to express myself through social media a bit [Read: A lot.]. And I’m able to read blogs and books on it everywhere I go. Someone [You know who you are.] once commented that it was attached to my hand. And she’s right. Genealogy and writing are lonely. I like [Read: Absolutely adore.] manipulating dead people and words, but it’s nice [Read: FABULOUS!] to connect with others who also enjoy manipulating them as well.

I don’t think it’s blogging in particular that I’m obsessed with. I think, perhaps, it may be expressing myself with words [and some pictures] that is my driving force.

Here’s what I do know:

I know I have something to say.

I know if I don’t say it, I’ll explode.

I know I want to say it to you.

And I know I want to hear your response to what I have to say.

Yeah, that’s what I’m obsessed with.

That’s my purpose.

And keeping my eye on that goal is how I do it.


When she’s not connecting with others on Twitter [@FamilyStories] about dead people and words, Caroline M. Pointer is a professional genealogist and family historian, and her words about her dead people can be found on her personal family history blog Family Stories. Every two months you can find her words about dead people [hers and others] in the E-magazine, Shades of the Departed , where she is the In2Genealogy columnist. She also enjoys teaching others about using technology to research their ancestors and to share their research on her professional blogs,  4YourFamilyStory.com and the soon-to-be BloggingGenealogy.com. Caroline can be reached at CMPointer [AT] gmail [DOT] com. However, no matter how you choose to contact her, more than likely she’s reading what you wrote on her iPhone because it is attached to her hand. And that’s how she does it as well.

beginning October 15, 2011. If you missed a day, click here.


  1. Excellent post! I share Caroline's philosophy on the important things in life.

  2. I've never heard of that saying, but it's my new motto now. No one can be everything to everyone but you've obviously chosen who you need to be there for first and done it with aplomb.

  3. Caroline, I absolutely agree with those things "that you do know!" I feel exactly the same way. I can't hold it back.

  4. Thanks y'all! You can't be everything to everybody, but you need to stay true to yourself. I once overheard another mother at school introduce herself as "I'm a stay-at-home mom, not a housekeeper," and for me that was a game changer.

    Marian, could you imagine what a mess we'd make if we didn't write? And? We'd have to clean it up too. *RollingEyesHeavenward*


  5. This is fabulous! And so very true. My house is a disaster most of the time, therefore I must be an amazing woman!

  6. I tell people I'm a "work-at-home" mom. "Stay-at-home" makes it sound like I sit around eating bon-bons and watching soap operas all day (mine are being cancelled anyway). Or like I'm in prison.

    My motto is "A clean house is the sign of a broken computer." Clearly, my computer is functioning quite well, based on what my house looks like. ;-)

  7. You rock! Keep doing what you do! And a clean house is overrated!


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