I go to a lot of conferences – sometimes for blogging, sometimes for orphan care issues.  But I’ve noticed a pattern.  In the days before I leave, I always do the following:

    1. get weepy about leaving my children
    2. spend about 46 hours in activities designed to procrastinate packing
    3. have a wardrobe crisis and try on every outfit I own
    4. spend 13 minutes actually packing
    5. write a post crowd-sourcing for whatever  topic I’m speaking on

So, guess what this post is gonna be about?

Predictably, I am getting all angsty about a few days away from the kids.  Every time I travel I struggle with these, vacillating between giddy excitement and then vowing not to ever leave them again, even for one day. 

The emo is strong in my house.

I’m also going back and forth between a resolve not to care about what I wear, and  caring WAY TOO MUCH.  I don’t get why we do this, but according to the twitter stream for the conference, everyone is obsessing over their outfits.  And I’m trying not to, because who are we kidding?  We are bloggers.  We spend most of our days writing in our pajamas.  The whole point of this gig is to find our worth in our cerebral talents, not our fashion sense.  And yet . . . every conference feels like a parade of the most recent Anthropology window displays.  I am really trying not to give in to that this go-round.

Anyways, enough about my waffling neurosis, I’ve got some crowd-sourcing to do!  I bet you just can’t wait for me to exploit your loyal reading with self-serving questions, can you?

(I love you.  I really do.)

Okay, the conference I’m speaking at is the Mom 2.0 Summit (In NEW ORLEANS!) and I will be on a panel with Cecily Kellogg and Cyndy Sandor.  We will be discussing the following:

Connected or Disconnected: How is Social Networking Affecting Your Relationships?

Honestly, I think it’s a fascinating question, and I would really love to hear your answers.
I have some serious ambivalence about social media.  I think it’s fair to say that many of us who write our own blogs also read a lot of blogs. We might also spend a fair amount of time on twitter. We might also waste a bit of time on facebook. And before we know it, we might find ourselves wondering how it got to be 1am and we still haven’t put the dinner dishes away.

And by we, I mean me.

image(people I love that I met online)
I have met some incredible people online. At the same time, I often think about how social media affects my priorities (and if I’m honest, my parenting and my marriage). My tether to the online world is short and demanding. For something that was created for fun, I often feel an overwhelming compulsion throughout my day to get a post up, to think of something clever to say on twitter, and to make sure I’ve caught up on everyone’s updates on facebook as if it’s a pressing to-do list. I wonder how my life would be different if I didn’t have the distraction of social media. Would I be more present with my kids? (Yes). Would I be a better cook? (Probably). Would I be competing in a triathalon? (Well, let’s not get carried away). I have frequent checks with myself about my time spent online, and I’m aware that there is a fine line between recreation and addiction. I’m also aware that I am frequently on the wrong side of that line.

Confession: just tonight, we sat down to dinner and after we did prayers and affirmations, I started scrolling through my instagram feed just because Mark was working late and not there to call me out.  Don’t mind mommy, kids.  She’s on her iphone at the dinner table, checking to see what pictures her friends took today.


There are many times that I feel tempted to go “unplugged”. I fantasize about a kinder, simpler existence where I’m not worried about whether or not my parody is coming across in my tweet about wearing a MILF shirt.  I’ve had disagreements with friends over things I’ve posted on facebook.  I’ve seen my words twisted in the comments section of another blog.  I’ve offended people with my sarcasm, and even had fights with family members over things I’ve written.  I’ve had friends assume that we are connected because they read my blog, while I’m feeling isolated and alone.  I have definitely had consequences.  And my kids are still young.  Time will only tell how they feel about having their lives chronicled online.

Still, I’ve also had many gifts. I’ve made amazing friends.  I’ve learned so much about adoption and parenting and just being a better person.  I have been challenged and refined, and I am so grateful for the relationships and increased compassion that social networking has given me.

As I’m proofing this post, I realize I have just discussed how I desperately want a break from my kids and yet can’t bear to be away from them, how I want to eschew materialism and also want new clothes, and how I love social media and simultaneously fear it is ruining my life.    So it might be time for me to make an appointment with my therapist, no?

Anyways, what is your take on social media?  How do you think it affects your real-life relationships? What are some of the gifts it has given you, and what are some of the negative consequences?

Edited to add: I’m getting emails that my comment system is not cooperating.  Try logging out before you comment, and instead of logging in, just manually type your name, email, and blog name (if you have one).  If it’s not working, let me know via email.  I’m trying to figure it out.  Thanks!