soul fever

To be honest, I don’t know where to begin.

Life is good.

That seems as good a place as any.

We are blessed in so many ways.  I am blessed with a wide eyed, smiley babe who warms my heart and smells ever so sweetly, a fiercely brilliant little boy who doesn’t miss a beat or a chance to make us laugh, and an intensely loving, super adaptable, whip smart little girl who will turn 5 next month.  I am blessed to be madly in love with a bearded husband who is ever-present and, after 10+ years, still makes me weak in the knees.  We are blessed with a warm home in the country, freezers and cupboards full to overflowing with food, warm duvets, hot coffee and tea, wonderful friends and family, perfect health, good benefits, a great job, chortling chickens, playful and ever tolerant pets, good books lining our shelves, and a toasty woodstove to and dry our clothes and roast marshmallows by.

And yet.

And yet, I seem to be suffering some sort of social media induced soul-fever.  An overwhelming brain fog.  It isn’t postpartum depression/anxiety.  The fog and fever was far worse when I was pregnant than it is now.

You see, I feel it is brought on by spending too much time online.  I love Pinterest, I do.  It is like crack for this creative, visually driven girl.  I don’t buy magazines for the pretty pictures anymore because I know I can find it all and more on Pinterest.  It is loaded with inspiration and ideas and homeschooling resources.  Hell, it was stumbling on this pin that inspired me to actually write this very post!  But I find myself constantly comparing our humble little cabin to the perfect homes I see online and forget to be happy with what we have.  Facebook connects me to the people I miss as well as to the people I’ve never even met in the real world.  I am grateful for all the people, kind advice, and heated debates I have acquired and participated in via Facebook, but I can’t deny that it also gives me a false sense of a social life.  Both of these sites have their merits, but they also fill my brain with anxiety-inducing posts and pins about the dangers of wearing deodorant or bras at night or hot dogs, and radiation making its way across the sea and land, and house fires, and car seat fails, and kidnappings, and missing children, and how TV rots your brain, and vaccine fear mongering, and conspiracy theories, and allergies, and other people being stellar parents, and crafts we will never do, and 4 year olds reading, and perfectly pretty houses and paint colours, and luscious hair, and thinspiration, and clean eating, and too good to be true recipes, and really funny memes, and how to organize and clean, and be more productive and yell less.

And then there are the pictures and videos we take and post.  Though I love having a record of the daily and monumental events, it seems kind of pointless when you weren’t fully present in the original moment, no?  Louis CK says it better than I ever could.  This became very apparent to me when Poppy had her ears pierced a couple of months ago.  Like an idiot, I was trying to capture the video (for Mike who was at work and unable to be present) and was still fumbling with the phone while my mom swooped in to comfort her after the deed was done.  It should have been me.

All this to say, I am not quite sure how to find the balance.  I don’t blog much anymore because the world is full of bloggers saying so much of the same and I honestly don’t know that I have much more to bring to the table.  I would be lying if I said I weren’t struggling with the feelings of isolation since moving to the country.  I miss being able to walk downtown with children in strollers and strapped to my chest in order to get some social interaction and window shopping in.  The trails are too deep for little ones to navigate for any length of time and the highway we live on is not suitable for afternoon meanderings.  The days are so very long when we are left without a car.  That is the only thing we would change about our move to the country, but it is financially out of the question for now.

Social media fits conveniently into a day with 3 children under 5.  10 minutes here between snack demands requests, bum wiping, clean ups, homeschooling, and meals.  30 minutes there while the baby nurses and falls asleep on me.  Homschooling consists mostly of free play mixed with 15 minute stints of writing our letters, drawing pictures, reading books, and using the iPad.  To be honest, the days feel long and aimless for me.  Though it is a perfect pace for young children, I crave productivity and structure for myself.  I read books and attempt to crochet, and rearrange furniture but my mind wanders and my attention is pulled away.  My days are fragmented.  So the pace of the internet fits my day, but it also drains me.  My mind feels an awful lot like our living room; disheveled and lacking focus.

We recently listened to an interesting Freakonomics podcast about parenting.  The conclusion was that obsessive, over-scheduled parenting (that seems very much the norm on social media) is pointless and the best thing we can do for our children is to be happy and kind.  Makes sense, no?!  Seriously, I want to tattoo those words on my forehead.  We don’t do too many activities or crafts with a set outcome because it inevitably makes feelings of inadequacy, frustration, and impatience bubble up in me.  I am driven by the outcome while the kids are in the moment and it rarely ends well.  I know my kids are far better off with a basket full of crayons, paper, scissors and glue to use at their own discretion than any Pinterest craft and a results-driven mama. We do extracurricular activities because they’re enjoyable and provide the social interaction we crave and need.  The path of least resistance and genuine inspiration really is the best and happiest path with these tender ages.

I have no answers.  Perhaps it is a little bit of precisely this type of mourning mixed with a wicked case of Pinterestitis and social media fever.  Whatever it is I find myself aching for depth and joy and inner work; a lonely run, and finding my breath and pose on a yoga mat, and scrawling my messy handwriting across pages of a forgotten journal; belly laughs and company who stay late into the night, and window shopping; boundaries and limits and wild things.

We’ve become quick masters of self editing.  I find myself wishing I could remember what it felt like to just be…(Once again, Louis CK nails it)  .  To be alone with ourselves and our thoughts without comparison, input or labels.

I shall leave you with this as I ponder my next step. (source unknown)


go gently + be wonderful

e.

 

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16 Comments

  1. Posted January 20, 2014 at 8:10 pm by Stephanie K. | Permalink

    So well said, as always, and timely. After an internet-less stint, we got it back. And I miss those mornings of just hanging with my children without that constant nagging…ennui? Distraction? Something that calls me to the computer ‘just to check’ and then getting sucked in for 30+ min when I can hardly find time to exercise or bathe. So we’re letting it go again. I vaguely remember my life before Facebook, blogging, etc. and I miss it.
    You’re not alone! (and I hear you re. the true isolation of living in the country…winter is long and hard though I love the wood fires and knitting baskets full of half-finished projects!)

    • Posted January 21, 2014 at 10:16 am by erin | Permalink

      Amazing isn’t it?! We have no time for ourselves, and yet we can check FB 500 times per day…but that’s just it, it is bits and spurts of time…nickels and dimes.
      I can’t remember what life was like before the iphone let alone facebook!
      xo

  2. Posted January 21, 2014 at 6:42 am by Ana | Permalink

    It sounds like you need some time and space for yourself. <3 Among other things.

    And your words are necessary in the world because everyone says things in a slightly different way and your way is needed… Your way makes things apparent to people that a hundred other bloggers cannot, just because we are all unique and we all need different turns of phrases in order to really feel something.

    Wish I could help you in some way, put my decade of caregiving to good use and come and be with your little ones while you carved out some for yourself. You could even borrow my car and escape ;-)

    <3<3<3

    • Posted January 21, 2014 at 10:14 am by erin | Permalink

      You’re so very sweet Ana.
      Thank you
      xo

  3. Posted January 21, 2014 at 7:14 am by Life With The Crew | Permalink

    As a stay-at-home mom with a 15 month old, I sometimes have the same feelings. Most days my husband takes the car to work and I am at home with the little babe and a house full of pets. However, I have come to discover that the longer I am “out of touch” with the “real world”, the more I like my simple life at home. The real world is over stimulated, filled with too much stuff, and not a good influence for my little bad. I tease my husband that I am on the edge of becoming a recluse. However, I have started blogging and for me it is been a great source of inspiration. I have “met” wonderful people who share some of the same struggles that I do. I do not do Pinterest – I know it would waste way too much of my time. I have almost stopped Facebook also. I need to live my own life and be present for my little babe. I hope you find a balance in your life.

  4. Posted January 21, 2014 at 7:28 am by Kelly | Permalink

    Yes…I think I’m in a very similar space having just left full time work and now working to revise my days and the way I spend my time. I’m trying to nourish the things I need and the things the kids need and find myself being pulled into what society thinks I need- it’s a hard balance. Unplugging has helped- but so does reading posts like this :) Oh Balance!

  5. Posted January 21, 2014 at 9:15 am by Melanie | Permalink

    But you’re not reeeeally considering not bloging right? Right? Because I *just* checked this feed last week to see if you’d updated and now here you are with something to say that is *not* what I read everywhere else.

    I struggle with perceived future regrets. But which ones will matter? That I didn’t do the blog/craft/project/bigideawhateverthatis or that I did and missed out on time with my children. I don’t know the answer. But I do know that I want to continue reading what you write, because maybe you’ll help me figure it out. :)

  6. Posted January 21, 2014 at 9:26 am by Sarah | Permalink

    Don’t ever stop writing. The world needs your wonderful words!

  7. Posted January 21, 2014 at 11:02 am by Janie | Permalink

    Thank you for your honest words. I wish more bloggers were as honest about their worlds… Blessings to you as you nourish your soul and family.

  8. Posted January 21, 2014 at 9:58 pm by Lina | Permalink

    I have followed your blog now for awhile and always find real truth in your writing and beautiful images. Like you, we just recently added a third to our ‘million dollar’ family and couldn’t have been happier. Your post here resonates with me because we went through something similar 3 years ago and decided to move from the country into ‘town’. It has been the best decision ever for our young family: from walking to the library, to the cafe, or just talking to ANYONE around on our excursions the move has meant a great deal to us all. We drive less, walk more, and have become part of small town life. As a gal raised in the country on a farm I sometimes find it hard to say but having the option to walk to a playgroup or to a park is really nice especially now that I have the third. Sorry if this comes across the wrong way, I just empathize so much with everything in this post…Keep writing!

  9. Posted January 22, 2014 at 9:24 am by Kate | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your honesty. This truth, vulnerability, sharing is what life is really about. Posting on Facebook or as I call it “Fakebook” isn’t true connection……we are all chasing around the illusion of looking good. I too struggle with these things (soooo much) I find that gazing online at things I “want” and “like” simply discourages me. It takes me away from MY life and fills me with a feeling of lack. It can be so isolating being a Mom (I have 3)…..getting out of our heads and our homes can be a challenge. I feel like we are all so worried of becoming an ungrateful Mom it prevents us from sharing our truth. We need to get away from this competition….whether its through facebook or looking at others outfits, and just support each other. Thank you for making me feel less isolated today :) I wish we lived near each other and could be friends! Kate

  10. Posted January 23, 2014 at 2:28 am by Lauren Reedy | Permalink

    This hits the nail on the head for me. Been in a similar place before and often find myself heading back there even when it is pretty obvious what causes this. Your family and blessings are wonderful, as are mine only a few years older, and yet I still need this reminder so not to loose it in the wanderings and random distractions that come from social media. I adore the quote. Needed to read that as I start my day. Thanks for sharing! Immeasurable blessings upon you!

  11. Posted January 23, 2014 at 11:43 am by Sherri | Permalink

    Your words speak truths that most others do not. Please continue to write. :)

  12. Posted January 24, 2014 at 4:34 pm by Laura Jeanne | Permalink

    Hi Erin,
    I read this post when you first wrote it and it really spoke to me. I understand all your feelings. When I stopped blogging almost 2 years ago, it was because I felt that there were just so many mom/family life/simple living blogs out there…and that the last thing the world needed was one more. Plus, I felt like a hypocrite blogging at all when I kept doing experiments with “digital detox” weeks and found that life is so much better when you keep the screen time to a minimum. Why was I giving other moms one more damn thing to read before getting out of that chair?

    However…I am currently considering blogging once more. Like you, I am isolated in the middle of nowhere (well, in the middle of an endless expanse of snow and vicious satanic winds) and I really miss the interaction with like-minded souls that blogging brings. I think it’s one of the good things that the mixed-bag of the Internet brings. And too, I am perhaps vain enough to hope that I might be able to share something useful with others. If nothing else, maybe others could learn from my mistakes…we’ve made a lot of them since moving to this farmhouse a year and a half ago.

    I hope you don’t stop blogging Erin, because I love your blog and I believe it is different from most. More honest and real. A genuineness like yours is not easy to come by.

    And hey, thank you for the links to Louis CK, because in my sheltered world I hadn’t even heard of him, and now, I have a new favourite comedian. :)

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