Truth time: I have been avoiding you all.
I normally sit down on Monday mornings, tap-tap-tapping away at my keys, crafting a new blog post as my cup of tea and bowl of oatmeal turn into a lemon-lime sparkling water and whatever ready-to-eat food can pass for lunch. (In other words, I eat a lot of string cheese and things that come in bags that make loud crinkling noises.) Then I schedule social media posts, browse newsfeeds, interact with blogging groups, read about ways to increase reach and website hits, and try to figure out what in my life is interesting enough to be worthy of sharing.
But considering my life has felt mostly like I’m scheduling social media posts, browsing newsfeeds, interacting with blogging groups, and reading about ways to increase reach and website hits, I come up empty-handed on that last one. So when I sat down on these last two Monday mornings, I actually felt more inspired to put away a load of laundry than do anything else. And that’s just effed up.
Back when I was struggling to breastfeed my first child, I remember thinking that the act of feeding my baby shouldn’t be something I wanted to avoid. But it was. The fact that she seemed to want to eat every two hours made me feel like just when I thought I could breathe, I had already fallen behind. And I usually had very little to offer. But I continued to give, at the expense of the things she REALLY needed, like a happy mother.
Similarly, social media doesn’t feel so social anymore.
Its primary function has become one of a tool for growing my blog, finding exposure for my writing, selling books, and connecting with new audiences. I see less of the people and things that really matter to me on my screen, in favor of more necessary means to ends. It feels overwhelming. It feels demanding. It feels like a chore. It feels like it always needs to be fed. And sometimes my ideas are as dried up as my boobs.
Or sometimes, I do have pictures to share, funny stories to tell, rants to rave, and questions to discuss. But then I stop. Because it feels more and more like my life is becoming fodder for an internet snapshot…that I’m only living on the screen of computers.
This past weekend, I took a little trip to Nashville with some girlfriends. Girlfriends who make laughter seep out of my pores; girlfriends who leave drama at the door; girlfriends who say you look hot and mean it; girlfriends who don’t bat an eye about getting the next round of drinks because they know it will all probably even out in the end; girlfriends who somehow get you talking about crazy things you never thought you’d breathe to another soul, but it feels as normal as chatting about bake sales at a PTO meeting. Those kind of girlfriends. I was so wrapped up in the fun of the company I was keeping, I think I only checked my email once the whole weekend, as I was trying to fall asleep one night. Nor did I feel my usual need to upload our pictures to Facebook. The experience as it played out was enough. No media. Just social. And I realized…I need more of that in my life right now.
My kids are just days away from being home for summer vacation…three months that should NOT be spent looking for some article about the new Full House spinoff to fill up my Facebook page because I’m afraid people will forget about me and my writing if I’m not like Kimmy Gibbler, always standing at the door of my followers’ newsfeeds every time they open it up. Three months that should NOT be spent asking my kids to pose for one more picture on every excursion so I have the perfect shot to upload to Instagram or turn into a blog graphic. Three months that should NOT be spent feeling the experience itself is not enough.
Does that mean I’m falling off the grid? Hellz to the no. Because sometimes I WANT to share my pictures and my life with you. Sometimes I WANT to know if anyone else is as unnervingly excited to hear Joey Gladstone reprise his Mr. Woodchuck voice. And let’s face it, sometimes I’m going to NEED to zone out in front of a computer screen with the kids home all day, every day. I also have a lot of great blog post ideas in my drafts folder, just waiting for that perfect storm to make them come to fruition in the way they are meant to. Lulu and Milo Book #2 will begin its genesis this summer; while a girl’s still gotta hustle Book #1 (book sales don’t get a summer vacation). And you know, I kind of like you guys. I would miss interacting with you.
But when I can do it on my own terms, and when it works for me, it’s finally going to be feel social again.
In a totally random and bit ironic change of subject…
Do you have kids who like to draw? If so, I need their help in designing the next Lulu & Milo coloring page, and I’m running a contest over on KellySuellentrop.com. Kids can submit their drawings of Lulu & Milo (and Hippo, too!) doing their favorite summer activity. The winning entry will not only be turned into the next coloring page to be featured on my website, but the winner will also receive a $10 iTunes gift card! But no one goes home empty-handed (at least, not in the virtual sense): ALL entries will be featured on the Art from You section of the website. I will announce the winner on June 15th. Entries can be submitted HERE.
In the meantime, head over to the Coloring Fun page for a free printable coloring page of Lulu & Milo’s Last Day of School.