They need me the most.

We wore the heat that day.  

Despite the reapplied sunscreen, tank tops, liters of ice water, and handheld fans, the three of us exited the zoo with tears and sweat streaming down our faces.  

Approximately 15 seconds before meltdown central commenced.

Approximately 15 seconds before meltdown central commenced.

We were supposed to leave for our adventure at 9:30, before the Oklahoma sun began beating down in full force, but our friends had car trouble.  Forty-five minutes after our planned departure, I finally piled my girls into our Santa Fe.  Our friends would meet us at the zoo after their car issue was resolved.  The heat index was already over 100, and my 11-month-old had not taken her morning nap, a sure sign of impending disaster.

The diaper bag ran out of snacks, and we all ran out of patience before our friends were able to leave the car dealership.  Determined, at the very least, to see them before we headed home, I bought an expensive and tasteless zoo lunch and coaxed my girls to "eat and have a good time, dang it".  

When the actual temperature reached 105, our friends arrived.  I unenthusiastically pushed my melting babes to the flamingo exhibit, where everyone (including me) completely fell apart.  Screaming ensued, and we made a beeline to our overheated SUV, but not before my two-year-old unbuckled herself from the stroller and crashed onto the concrete.

"At least they'll nap when we get home," I reassured myself.  They didn't.  They were both too traumatized to calm themselves down, and my own hysterics were definitely not soothing.

***

Going to the zoo was a horrible idea for many reasons including the heat, the ages of my kids, and the day's already-thwarted plans.  I knew that it was a horrible plan, and I went anyway.

I wanted to go to the zoo more than my kids did.  I just wanted to be a "good mom".  But I wanted it at their expense.  

Social media does this thing to us, but we also do it to ourselves, this placing of expectations and definitions upon us of what it means to be a good parent, or even a good person.  We see others' best moments through a filter and determine to make them our best moments, too.   

I longed to create an amazing summer for my people last year.  In my mind, this meant going to as many "experiences" as possible.  The zoo was one of them.  The splash pad was another.  My oldest HATED the splash pad, but I was determined to change her mind about it, so I kept taking her.  Everyone cried every time.

This summer, we've mostly stayed home.  We did go to the zoo, once, for an hour, and that was after rescheduling twice with my friend (which I should have done last year).  No one cried.  Even with the same Oklahoma heat that we all endured in Summer 2016, I would go so far as to say that this year's zoo trip was enjoyable.  

I've learned a few things in the past twelve months.

One.  At their young ages, my kids really can't handle much.  They like being home, and they like their little routines.  Often, they're okay with doing activities that I consider "boring."  Maybe I'm the one who isn't.  But I think I can learn to be.  I probably need to lower my expectations.

Two.  The moments between the "Instagram moments" are often the most precious.  Obviously, I take and post pictures at our bigger events.  I rarely ever post pictures of myself doing a floor puzzle with my oldest or reading my youngest's favorite book for the 87th time (today).  There are a thousand little things that we do as a family every day that don't get documented.  So no, I'm not "cool" in terms of giving my kids the most extravagant experiences.  In the "small great things" that we do, though, they're happy.

Three.  There is no better way to crush your spirit than by playing the comparison game.  This is true in all areas of life.  If you're scrolling through your social media feed, as I often do, and feeling as though you're not attractive, not a good parent, not well-dressed, not adventurous, not a foodie, etc. etc. etc., I dare you to turn off your phone and begin to consider the things that you are.  You cannot compare your own life to what you see of another's through a filter.

Four.  It's okay to say no.  As a mom of young children, I frequently feel as though I'm in a never-ending season of "no".  No, we can't go do that today because it's during naptime.  We've had a rough day, so I think we are going to stay home this afternoon.  We haven't had much time as a family recently, so we'll take a raincheck on dinner.  Be a Nap Nazi.  Take a deep breath.  Cancel your plans.  You might have FOMO or FOHOF (Fear of Hurting Other's Feelings), but I can almost guarantee that your kids don't and that your friends will totally understand. 

Hopefully my daughters won't remember that horrendous zoo day last year.  Maybe they'll remember this year's good one.  Either way, I want them to remember a mom who gave them herself, because they need me the most.

Fan Club Friday: Social Butterfly OKC

Social Butterfly Logo

When I began blogging professionally several months ago, I knew that part of the gig would include social media engagement.  

You guys.  Those words kind of make me cringe.  I want to write content and be done.  I don't want to promote my latest post on my Insta account because a) that's awkward, b) I'm old school, and c) I have no clue what I'm doing.  But did you know that the average person spends two hours a day scrolling through feeds?  Managed correctly, that's a ton of publicity and engagement!

When my friend, Nichole Hughes, told me about the social media management business that she started with her sister, Laynie Snider, I was immediately intrigued.  Companies need to be promoted via social media in order to draw more clients and keep their current ones satisfied.  (You can thank millennials like me for that one.)  However, updating Facebook is often too much for an eye doctor, for example, whose full-time job is to take care of eyes.  Laynie and Nichole actually enjoy scheduling posts and moderating comments, which frees entrepreneurs and established businesspeople alike to focus on their careers.  It's a win-win situation because both parties get to pursue their talents and passions.

social butterfly coffee

Why work with these two coffee lovers?  Several years ago, Laynie opened Blo, OKC’s first blo-out-bar, in Classen Curve.  As the former owner of Blo, Laynie used social media exclusively for marketing, which quickly grew a large following in the community.  Braids, big hair, brides, blush, and beauty products (alliteration intentional!) filled Blo’s Instagram feed.  Blo’s exposure and profits through social media drove them to become a leader in the OKC beauty industry.  Laynie saw an opportunity and had the desire to partner with other local businesses to recreate the success she had initiated at Blo.  She knew that she would need help, and it made sense to ask the best friend who grew up with her in south OKC: Nichole, her identical twin sister (born four years earlier).  

Though I don't know Laynie personally, Nichole has been a sweet friend for years.  I can only imagine that since Laynie is so much like her sister, she's a tough and hilarious go-getter with wisdom beyond her years and a genuine love for people.  These extroverted girl bosses have six small children between the two of them, but they still manage to work hard for their clients, care well for their families, and look perfect while doing it all.  (I mean seriously, have you seen two more attractive brunettes?)  The fun, yet professional personalities of these ladies makes them a joy to have as friends and a dream to employ.  And let's be honest, they don't need me showcasing them on my blog because we've already discussed who knows what they're doing in this situation, but hey ... I like writing about gifted people.

At this point, you may be asking, "Who is Social Butterfly for?"  Everyone!  It doesn't matter if your company has one employee or 700, Social Butterfly can help grow your business.  Services they offer include:

Photos by:  Kate Bernard

Photos by: Kate Bernard

  • Daily Posting: Seize the day every day because they post for you!
  • Social Media Strategizing: They help you decide what your pages will look like and how the layout and theme will best reflect the values that your business has.
  • Brand Engagement: Grow real followers, not robots!
  • Community Management: Social Butterfly responds to the comments and questions of your audience.  Check that off your to-do list!
  • Content Calendar Creation: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."  Nichole and Laynie do content creation and planning for you so that failure is not an option.  All of the next month's posts will be submitted for your review and approval 10-12 days in advance.
  • Media Management Flexibility: Since Laynie and Nichole have been business owners themselves at one point or another, they know that needs vary depending upon the size and stage of the company.  So, they're willing to work with you and devise a plan that pleases everyone!

Don't waste any more precious time attempting to grow your business alone.  Check out Social Butterfly OKC on their Facebook page and Instagram, or email them directly at socialbutterflyokc@gmail.com.