Monday, July 25, 2011

A Little Hiatus

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?

My kids. 

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


Anjie Fitch said...

Okay you know how much I struggle with this!!!!!!!!!!! Your blog is amazing...esp this post :)

Unknown said...

I have never commented on your blog. I enjoy your recipes, even if they are "every once in awhile". Enjoy those babies while you can.

Ez said...

Just found your blog, and boy am I glad I did.

It is hard balancing real life and blogging, but the important thing is the blogging should be fun; if you're feeling pressured then what's the point?

Readers come and go, but you don't owe them anything. Just enjoy yourself.

Good luck with future recipes, I look forward to hearing about them, even if it's sporadic.

Ginny said...

Thanks for the validation, girls. You're all spot-on. And, Erika, I love what you said..."if you're feeling pressured, then what's the point?" Thanks for helping me see that I really do have freedom in this.

Siggy said...

Well said! There seems to be such random ebb and flow that goes along with blogging. When I first started blogging, it was so I could share the recipes my family enjoyed with my friends and family instead of sending the ginormous emails all the time. That turned into feeling pressure to create my own recipes and creating all these crazy menus simply to post them on a blog. I was taking time away from my kiddos and I did not like it. I freaked when I lost followers, I took it so personally. Even now, I can't seem to figure out why some seemingly "ok" blogs that just started are CRUSHING it with numbers, likes, and page views. All that has burned me too...I cut way back on recipes and am just not finding it inspiring to do. I am at somewhat of a crossroads with my blog as well. Not sure if I want to go on or move onto something I feel passionate about once again.
Anyway, thanks so much for sharing your post, I am happy to see I am not alone!
(((hugs))) Now, quit reading this and go give your babies some extra huggles!

Andrea said...

I am fairly new to your blog and love your writing style and look forward to trying some of your recipes when we (stop eating the rice and beans left in the cabinets)finally move this week and settle in.

I am beginning to get frustrated with a lot of my former favorite blogs now, because they've sold out to advertisers so one must wade through all the ads to get some morsel of what was once a blog....All that to say - I (for whatever it's worth) really DO enjoy your blog, recipes and side notes about your family...It should be your Ebeneezer to ebb and flow as you desire - that's when it reaches an audience in a meaningful way; so keep it up in your own time; we'll still be here :)

Ginny said...

Can I just say I'm bathing in the love over here!? You girls are blessing me to the nth degree. Thank you for your awesome words.

And yes...I'm having so much more fun in the freedom of just stepping back and playing with my kids.


Unknown said...

In a word, YES. Yes, I totally feel the same way. Nearly every day. One such day when I was feeling that way, I stumbled across the idea of blogging without obligation and completely committed myself to that. As of that moment, I blog for me, when I want and what I want. And since then, I've actually blogged MORE and, more importantly, ENJOYED it more than ever before. It was very freeing, deciding that I own the blog and not the other way around.

Having the Housewife MacGyver series running on my blog has pushed a few obligatory things, but I chose to do that and, you know, I can always choose to stop. I like feeling like I have that control!

And you have a completely *gorgeous* blog here. Your photos and recipes are fantastic, and you are a great informative and friendly blogger. I say keep up the great work. When you feel like it. :)

Caneel said...

Yay! I love this. You have validated so many of my feelings. And here I'd been feeling self-conscious because you've been posting WAY more recipes than I've had time for lately (I've been doing about one a week with this busy summer!) and feeling like I didn't know how in the world you were doing it.

You're doing great, my friend. And we lose followers all the time, then new ones come. I finally had to give up fretting over it, wondering what in the world may have offended them (especially on twitter - it's impossible!).

If we start stressing over it too much, it isn't a fun thing anymore. And then we lose our passion for it. Then what's the point?

Keep up the fantastic work AND fantastic photos - and being a wonderful mother, wife and friend. And don't worry if you miss a few days. It's okay. :)

Unknown said...

Best.Post.Ever. Love you!!!!

Mrs. Debbie said...

I just found your blog today & I love it! I feel the same way about my blog. I feel guilty when I don't post anything for several weeks, but then again I also feel guilty when I'm sitting at the computer instead of spending time with my family. It's all about balance.

Anonymous said...

It's wonderful that you're brave enough to put yourself out there in your blog. I found you a while back and fell in love with your sincerity (and delicious recipes!).

You gotta live your life, and your life is out there--not in here. :)

You do what you gotta do, lady, and I'll keep reading!

Gardening with Juanita said...

Take time with your children .I love your blog I do not read it every day but this look like it might be coming from me . I have a gardening blog got off on birthdays. But your faimly is the most important gift God has ever given. They are adorable but they do not stay as they are forever. I tell my readers to take time to smell the roses. I am tellin you take time to rock your kiddo. I am 75 wish I could see my littles one more time all gone and have little of their own. May God bless.

Ginny said...

Thanks, dear commenters. I feel completely validated and sure of my decision.