This week marks the one year anniversary of my book! It feels like so much longer ago, I didn’t even realize until Mike pointed it out to me. The pic above was taken to mirror the picture of Mazzy and Harlow on the inside cover, which was taken two years ago. Let’s compare, shall we?
They might be older, but they are still as cute as ever.
Mazzy can read now and loves flipping through my book and reading the stories. Her favorite is “The Schmucks and the Schmugaboo” and “A Shitty Story.” Yep, we’ve had to have a few talks about when it is and is not appropriate to use swear words. That’s been interesting! So far, she hasn’t read anything that made her mad, except the nose thing in the first chapter, which to be honest, was a little tough to explain.
I’m not sure what I thought would happen after I wrote the book. I used to say that if no one reads it, it will just be a nice thing to have for my family and my girls. Well, that wasn’t exactly honest. Like any author, I was obviously hoping for a huge hit. The book did really well. People loved it. Or so they said. It got great reviews on Amazon. The publisher was happy. I got invited on Good Morning America to talk about it. I got a deal with Audible. I got to go on a book tour around the country and meet many of the people who have been following me for years.
All of that was awesome.
But if I’m being totally truthful, it wasn’t a huge bestseller and that kind of bummed me out. Not to the extent where I regretted writing it, but I like to hit things out of the park and that didn’t happen. My readers bought it, and judging by the numbers, a lot of other people did too, but it didn’t necessarily translate to a larger social media following. Plus, it felt a little like I went away for a bit to write the book and then came back to a different social media landscape, where reaching my own audience had gotten even harder.
I know my struggles are the same that all bloggers and online publishers are facing right now. How do I increase my reach when Facebook and Instagram are fine tuning their algorithms every day? How do I balance the written posts I know my readers want with the new push for more video content? How do I have time to focus on my long term business goals when keeping up with daily social media now includes Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and Facebook Live?
I love doing ALL of this stuff, but it’s a lot.
Still, I find myself in need of a new long term project. A new goal to work towards like the book was once a goal. I have three or four ideas but I’m still debating where to throw my energy. I mean, even if my book didn’t sell a million copies, I still got a huge sense of accomplishment, a reason to travel around and meet you guys and— yes, something that made my kids and Mike and my parents and MYSELF really, really proud.
I want to thank everyone who bought a copy of “The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting.” It’s my third baby, despite a few typos that make me want to lose my mind every time I see them. In a way, it memorialized old school Mommy Shorts, a blog I really really loved.
Blogging was different then. I remember crowd sourcing and captioning other people’s family photos and feeling like that was totally unique. Even talking about parenting in an honest way was unique back then. I remember choosing a black background instead of a white background for my site and thinking I was doing something groundbreaking in the mom blogging community. Look at me! I’m a mom! But I’m still cool and edgy!
Plus, back then I had little babies who I could talk about as if they weren’t real people with opinions of their own. I mean, they had their color and cup preferences (they still do), but they didn’t care what I posted online. I was dealing with universal parenting milestones like first steps and first words. I was complaining about universal parenting problems like less sleep, picky eating and two-year-old tantrums. Sure, I was talking about parenting in an honest way, but I wasn’t really revealing anything private.
As the kids get older, I’m finding there is less I can write about. Not that there isn’t plenty to say. The struggles of being a parent don’t go away as your kids age. They just shift to different topics. Topics that aren’t as easy to discuss when your readers can put a name and face to your kids. So, one of the things I’m doing is thinking about finding a few more writers. Writers with younger children who can still talk about diaper changing and terrible twos, but also writers with older children who don’t have their whole lives online and can more freely talk about topics I cannot.
Right now, Mazzy and Harlow love my blog and feel like it is their space to entertain too. That’s really important to me. One of the big reasons I’m doing a lot of YouTube videos now is because that’s what gets Mazzy and Harlow most excited. They say, “Don’t take a picture, Mom. Take a video!” They love when our new videos come out and watch them over and over again. But even on the videos, there are screams I have edited out and moments I am told to delete. I don’t want my girls to be worried that I will post something that will embarrass them or make them look bad, so I involve them. I make sure what I’m posting is okay so they continue to watch and laugh and want to show their friends.
Yes, I know my readers are not really YouTube people and not everybody has time to watch our vlogs. But I love them, my kids love them and they are here to stay.
I also know that some people have balked at all the travel we’ve been doing, but I’ve recognized family travel as a great area that I can write about that’s also fun for the whole family, including Mike. It’s something we weren’t able to do when the kids were babies and I relish all the travel possibilities that are still to come.
As I try to figure out my next steps and what works here and what doesn’t, please bear with me. If I’m showing more of Harlow than Mazzy, or vice versa, it’s not because I have a preference. It’s because Harlow wants to be filmed that day and Mazzy does not. Or maybe it’s because Mazzy is spending a lot more time going to friend’s houses and sleepovers and Harlow is still at the age when she is always at home with me.
As I said, parenting changes. This blog will too.
But don’t worry— it’s not going away. I’m just experimenting. Next week, I am starting two new blog post series— a Mommy Shorts guide to Manhattan (since everyone keeps asking for one!) and a new series about children’s books.
If you haven’t bought a copy of my book, I highly recommend it. The hard cover, full color book is currently being sold on Amazon for $13. It truly is such a great gift for any parent, soon to be parent, or even a parent with older kids who wants to look fondly back on how things used to be.
It still makes me so happy every time I see my book on the shelves at a book store or in a friend’s home or in a pic that one of you guys posts online. Once again, thank you for making a dream I didn’t even know I had come true.
I hope you are all around for the next one. Whatever that might be.