The other day I noticed that I had lost a couple of blog followers. My inner people-pleaser opened her worthless mouth and started taunting me about not blogging enough. And about needing to take better pictures. "Aren't you going to read those books you bought about food styling and photography? And what about linking up to more linky parties to increase your blog traffic; you aren't spending enough time working on this stuff. These people are tired of waiting around for you. They are going to go somewhere else with prettier pictures and more original recipes. And..."
On and on and on she yammered until I could stand it no longer.
"SHUT UP!!!" I yelled (in my mind, of course. I'm crazy enough to know I'm crazy.)
Last Saturday, I got pummeled in a game of chess. By my 5 year old. I loved watching his expressions, his knitted brow, his tongue poking out of his mouth when he was in the deep trenches of concentration, his passionate explanations of how the bishop can only move diagonally, and, "No! You can't move the rook like that, Mommy!"
Have you ever wanted to inhale a moment? To sear the scent of a delicious memory on your brain, brand it in living color, tuck it away in a spot from which time can never rob? That's how I felt on Saturday. I could smell the chlorine in Timothy's hair from being at the pool the day before (we were too tired for baths on Friday night). His breath was still stinky from his nap. Matthew was drinking chocolate milk while sitting in my lap; I could smell the Ovaltine. Chris was making our afternoon pot of coffee. Chemicals, bad breath, coffee. Isn't it odd what things can move our hearts? My boys. My husband. My home. My word. I have completely opened my heart to its fullest, most vulnerable position. Sometimes it's scary, like I'm a big fat doe standing under a corn feeder who has arrived at the sudden realization that a camo-clad man with a gun is sitting really still in a nearby stand. And his finger's on the trigger. But you know what? I'm not running into the protection of the woods. Without loving and giving my full, raw and sometimes shredded heart over to those I love, my life would be the brown exoskeleton of a cicada that my boys found on the picket fence the other day. Dry. Crunchy. Worthless.
What in God's green earth does all that mess have to do with losing followers?
I have no idea. Except that when I started digging more into "how to advertise on your blog" and "how to make a career out of being a food blogger" a little throw up came up my throat because it felt like I was back in high school trying to wear the right jeans and weigh the right number. "How many followers do you have on Twitter?" "How many people "like" your Facebook page?" "How many pageviews do you have in a day?" SHEESH. I haven't even really started and I already feel like a socially-inept wallflower.
So if I give more of my time to seeking out "followers" and "likers" and every other "ers" out there, who is paying for it?
I've been spending too much time trying to be too many things and not enough time rejoicing that I am their mommy.
So, I've got to take a step back. Figure out what the heck I'm doing and why I'm doing it. I'm still going to post my recipes and all, but maybe not as often. So, if you don't want to "follow" me anymore, hey, I understand.
For Pete's sake! Does ANYONE ELSE out there struggle with this stuff? Please don't tell me that I'm alone in trying to balance the addiction of positive blogging affirmation (by mostly strangers, God bless you all) with doing far more important things (like getting creamed in a game of chess by my kid).
Who knows. I may never figure it out. But I know I need to always default to my family.
Speaking of the little darlings, did you know that toads dig holes in the ground and come out when said holes are flooded with water by curious children?
Two plump, docile toads popped out of these holes. My kids (and their friends) squealed with excitement.
Also, this sweet baby toad came out.
And it blessed me.
Because that's exactly how I feel in God's hands.
Thanks for being my living journal today. Or, as I tell my girlfriends, "Thanks for holding back my hair while I throw up my crazy..."
Timothy's and Matthew's Mommy