Thursday, January 15, 2009

Oh For the Freedom of Knowing I Am Right Where I Belong, Doing Exactly What I'm Supposed to Be Doing

I'm really enjoying your questions as they trickle into my inbox via the comments on this post. I hope y'all will keep 'em coming because we are really excited about answering them for you and making you smile in the process.

I wanted to point y'all to an encouraging post by Lisa at Take90West.

I'm sharing it with you because after having read it yesterday, I've turned up the gas on some long-overdue soul-searching and re-evaluating of my time on-line and how I spend it. Even how I think about FriedOkra and what I've let happen to my original purpose for writing here. I've become obsessed with numbers - how many readers, comments, Twitter followers, page views, emails can I garner in a day? I've started letting these numbers become a measure of my worth as a "writer" and even as a person.

It seems much of what I truly wished for when I opened up this white box four hundred and ninety four posts ago has fallen by the wayside, and a new ambition has taken over. And I'm not saying there's no room for ambition, or even that I can't someday chase my ambitions as far as I like, with wild abandon, as long as it's healthy and helpful to me as I focus on my family's care and upbringing.

But I don't really think it has been, lately.

I will confess right here that I'd love to have thousands upon thousands of readers and receive forty-leven comments on each of my daily clever, insightful and perfectly-written posts. I'd love to be a bloody bloggin' rockstar. I would. If I'm honest with myself, that's the truth, good or bad. My ego loves the idea of being the favorite, the sought-after, the bloggy starlet. Loves the idea of raking in more significant advertising and sponsorship checks to buy Al's pride and respect.

But for what? For whom? Would being a queen of blogging bless the souls of my children? Make me a better, more present, more involved and loving mother? Would showing Al that I can bring in money by having my face and mind planted in a computer all day make me a better wife to him? Show him how much I believe in him as our family's provider and how deeply and earnestly I share his own dreams and ambitions?

SURVEY SAYS? Oh heck to the naw.

Loving my own ambitions so much that I frequently view my children's and husband's daily care, needs and desire for my attention as distractions and interruptions? That's not healthy. I've failed, in the past months, to fully respect and appreciate my God-given role here as wife and mother (of some truly wonderful people).

I've taken the past two days off so to speak, limiting my on-line time to the moments (and there were very few of them!) when my kids didn't need or want me. And you know what? I'm their mommin' rockstar. I'm their favorite. I'm the most sought-after person in their lives!

It's time for me to take a step or two away from my laptop and stop using Feedburner to measure my worth. I'm a Mama. I'm a wife who loves her husband deeply. These three people? They define my success or failure. Period.

Does this change anything here at FriedOkra? No. Not so you'll probably ever notice.

But something inside me has changed.

And I'm so thankful it has.

Y'all can subscribe to FriedOkra's feed here.


  1. GREAT post Mama megan!

    I love the transparency. HUGS!

    I think many of us fall in the trap you mentioned, and eventually find our way out the other side. I hadn't realized I had begun to pay attention to comment counts and such until I experienced an extended decline in commenters in late Nov, and December. It was when I started to wonder and worry that I had somehow lost "it", and wanted to get "it" back, that I realized I wasn't blogging for me as much anymore. I'm on my way back to the basics. :)

    oh....and seriously, wouldn't we all love to be insanely popular? but who really has the time to be popular like that?

  2. Bless you OkraMama. But I think you question your value way too much, whether it's as a mother or a wife or a blogger. Just accept it.
    EVERYONE loves you - God too!

  3. Bless you OkraMama. But I think you question your value way too much, whether it's as a mother or a wife or a blogger. Just accept it.
    EVERYONE loves you - God too!

  4. Girlfriend, you're a bloggin' rockstar in MY book. :-)

  5. Heck to the naw, I just clicked twice.

  6. Oh my. I do relate. My kids just got home from school and here I sit by the computer. Thanks for the honesty & for being transparent with us! I think I'll go color for a bit...

  7. This helps to explain your absence on Twitter. And I'm with you 100%.

    As my stats went up I spend more and more time working on the blog. Then I realized that I have a job. In fact I have 2. One outside the home and one taking care of those inside it. Over Christmas I asked myself why I continue to blog and came back to the original reason I started: to remember. To capture the memories I have and am creating and to share them with a few others in the world.

    I'll always love reading what you write here but knowing that you put your family first is also important to me because one of the requirements for being a mommy blogger is to be a mom first.

  8. Just popped in to say Hi,I hope that your and your family are having a great day!

  9. Amen and Amen :-) thanks for that today -- I was just thinking the same thing . . . I was wondering if I had even spent any time with my little one, or just allowed her to entertain herself in one of toys/swing/bouncy-seat/exersaucer/playmat . . . while I surfed the web - guess what the answer was?? Tomorrow, I will NOT let that happen!

  10. I loved that post too. Take 90 rocks.

    There is SUCH a fine balance in this whole bloggy thing. It's hard. We're unbalanced people, so we get a bit focused on the wrong things sometimes.

    I need to put a reminder on my calendar to check myself once a week or something:
    Heather, are you finding your worth in your numbers? Just checking.
    Heather, are you comparing yourself to other bloggers cause that's dumb!
    Heather, are you writing from your heart or people-pleasing?
    Stuff like that.

    Thank you for your honesty here. It's refreshing :)

  11. Great post dear!
    I think you are a bloggin' rockstar.

  12. You hit the nail on the head, Megan! :) I'm proud of you for being able to take a step back and have this change in perspective.

  13. Megan, I have to tell you a little story.

    When I first heard of a blog and began reading a few, I immediately thought, I could do that. I would be really good at that!

    All my overachiever sensory nerve endings were tingling and jangling and I knew I could lose all sense of perspective on the rest of my life if I ever started a blog.

    So I prayed for 'bout a year.

    Then a girlfriend said to me, why don't you just decide that your main audience is your out-of-state family and friends?

    And that was what I needed to be able to start my blog. A decision that I was not going to worry about numbers or even other bloggers, much, just write for my friends, my family, myself and the Lord. Anything else would just be gravy.

    And God has given me a lot more gravy than I ever expected! And sometimes I get caught up in thinking how much more I could grow it, with a little more time and effort...but He keeps bringing me back to where I started.

    So all that to say--you just keep your eyes on the right things, girlfriend! You're in such a different place than you were even a couple weeks ago, and I am proud of you!!

    Not that you need my approval. But you get it anyway. :)



  14. I love this post!

    I think many of us have these moments, where we realize that posting everyday, reading all day and counting each e-mail is not what life is all about. While they are fabulous, listening to Boo read Freckle Juice, and listening to Hunter talk (it's a miracle!!) about his day out rank it all.

    Thank you for sharing so openly!!

  15. That was well-said, Megan. Sometimes blogland can be like a great big universal high school.
    Oooh, fun. ;)

    But IT is fun to write for myself, for my parents, and my kids. It WAS freeing to say to myself, "Why do you feel pressure to visit all these blogs everyday? Why do you feel pressured by this, period?" And then answer honestly.

    Letting go felt good... and so did writing. It can be done. And I have been surprised to find that I did keep a few true-blues, to boot.

    And the questions you asked can be asked about any number of things in our lives! Periodically it is good to evaluate and make sure that our family is priority - and not just a distraction, because they are our "givens." :) We all have to do that from time to time. What a lovely, light duty that is, to love and serve them! It's good to remember that.

    Have fun exploring new ways to do what you love!

    Have a great weekend.

  16. I can so relate. Every word. Every revelation. So there.

    I agree with Corey - thanks for sharing with such open honesty.

  17. So you're not getting thousands and thousands of readers for your insightful posts? Because I totally thought you were--I think your blog is amazing and I love reading you.

  18. Great post...makes me think.
    Thank you.

  19. Thank you so much for the dose of perspective. I am in a blogging slump right now--I can't think of anything interesting to write about--but I still secretly want to be a blogging rock star. Blogging shouldn't be THAT high on my list of priorities!

  20. You know, I have heard my mom talk about this very thing. I try to remember it, as I raise my little one. Back when we were little, my mom always was most concerned with us. However, she would see other mothers in the church who were so involved in their ministry...and wondered if she should be more like them. One day, one of the ladies in the church pointed out to her that she was focusing most on what she SHOULD be focusing on...her family. Some of the other mothers were ignoring their own children, and not meeting some of the slightest needs (clean faces, attention, smiles and encouragement) because they wanted to make sure they were doing something "big" for God. God GAVE US our family. So many times we feel like there is so much MORE that we should be doing...we could volunteer, start a charity, take on responsibility that seems soooo important because it is "helping others"...but we have to remember that our number one priority is that little family that God entrusted JUST to us...and no one else. Matthew 18 shows us how much He, Himself, cared for the little children. They were more important than "the ministry" at important, that they became the ministry at hand. The simple fact that you have gone through this process of stepping back and making sure your priorities are right (and I know for a fact, that they are), just shows that you are a WONDERFUL mother who is truely appreciative for the family that she has been given.

  21. I have been feeling this too - not that I have a following like you or anything, far from it - but because of the time I spend on my internet addictions. They take entirely too much time from my family & I'm changing that, lil by lil, every day.