Tuesday, May 13, 2014

5 "Baby booty bump" Lessons

The last few weeks have been a little surreal. On Sunday April 27, I entered an Instagram dance-off for moms hosted by The Alison Show in hopes of winning a $250 gift card to The Land of Nod. I had two entries: (1) the original clip of me dancing and (2) an "outtake" clip of me dancing and knocking my daughter to the ground with my bum. The latter clip was hilariously accidental and just too funny not to share. On Monday April 28, I sheepishly posted it to Facebook knowing it would surely brighten a few peoples' days. The response was overwhelmingly positive and many people shared, liked, and laughed at the video. I posted it on YouTube that night and sent it to The Ellen Degeneres Show via her website. On Tuesday April 29, I woke up with 700 views on YouTube and thought: "That's crazy! So cool." By the time I went to bed, I had 14,890 hits and I thought: "How did that happen?!" In the first 24 hours, I was contacted by several agencies asking for the rights to the video, but I ended up partnering with Storyful. And, boy, am I glad I did! Over the next few days, SO MANY people e-mailed, called, and messaged me about use of the video and I just directed everyone to Storyful. It has been such a blessing to delegate all that stress and headache to them. By Thursday May 1, my "baby booty bump" video hit one million views and had been shared by countless news and radio stations across the country. It was all over the Internet and television: CNN, The Today Show, E! News, ESPN2, the iFunny app, AOL, Time. You name it: I was probably there. It was totally overwhelming and time-consuming to keep up with all the hype! On Wednesday May 7, I was in the audience of The Ellen Degeneres Show and had to pinch myself as I heard Ellen discuss the powerful "thrust to my daughter's face." On May 8, my little snippet aired on Ellen. As of today, May 13, the video has 2,350,583 views on YouTube. I still can't believe it.

I've learned a lot from having my video "go viral." Some things are personal and/or confidential, but here's what I want the world to know.

1. There's power in vulnerability. I've always been a huge fan of Brené Brown's TED talk about this subject. The first time I watched it, I was shaken to my core. I've watched it several times since and am powerfully moved by it every time. Seriously, you must watch it. She says:
Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose. . . vulnerability is the path.
I love that! Being vulnerable in relationships is what allows us to build deep powerful connections with people. We have to be willing to risk a little bit in sharing who we are. That's scary! It's scary to be judged, to be open, to be authentic. But that vulnerability is what enables us to connect as humans. . . and it is AWESOME. I was really nervous to post my "baby booty bump" video. I mean, who would really feel totally comfortable with that? No one in their right mind. But! I'm glad I did it because it's allowed me to connect with so many people. Neighbors, childhood friends, church acquaintances, middle-school crushes, high-school classmates, co-workers, former teachers, my husband's friends, long lost relatives, and people I haven't spoken to in years. It has been such a joy for me to share a brief interaction with all these people, even if it's only over my 14 seconds of humiliation. None of that would have happened if I hadn't been vulnerable! There is power in vulnerability.

2. People can be mean and it's okay. I should've known when I posted the video that not all the feedback would be positive. However, I was a newbie to YouTube (it was my first public video!) and I had never personally encountered these so-called "Internet trolls." At first, I was shocked, offended, and, honestly, really hurt by the horrible things people were typing behind their computer screens in response to the video. I wanted to stick up for myself! I wanted to set them straight! I wanted to give them a piece of my mind! However, I knew this would do little to no good in reality. My husband knows me really well and made me pinky-promise about two days into my "viral fame" that I'd stop reading the online comments. Things were much better after that ;) Haha, but really. . . I've thought a lot about all the things people have said about me. About their assumptions and conclusions, their judgments and insults, their lies and opinions. They were rude; they were hurtful; they were nasty. I judged them for judging me. . . but is that my place? Am I aware of what they've been through? Do I know why they ended up in a place where they feel empowered by tearing me down? Have I considered the environments they were raised in? Can I really make a judgment call? No, I can only love. People can be mean and it's okay.

3. The Internet is crazy. My "baby booty bump" video experience is a mind-blowing, out-of-body, surreal example of the Internet's amazing, scary power. My green wall, my black rug, my sweet toddler, my sister's laughter, my striped shirt. . . all of that was broadcast in thousands of homes, shared on hundreds of college campuses, discussed by millions of people, and played on innumerable devices all in a matter of days. All because a few people shared, clicked, typed and re-posted the video. My quick and intense popularity reminded me that we all need to be so, so careful about how much we choose to share on the World Wide Web. The Internet is crazy.

4. Life is funny: capture it. I am sure I am not the only one in the world who has accidentally knocked their toddler child over while busting a move in the living room. I mean, honestly? Kids are so funny and funny things like this happen all. the. time. The only thing that sets my moment apart from other hilarious kid moments is that my sister caught this one on film. How lucky for us! Regardless of whether or not this video had caught so much national (and international!) attention, I am grateful to re-live the moment. I still laugh. . . the impeccable timing of my "bump," Tenley's flat reaction to the big blow, my obviously shocked expression and the accompanying fall to my knees, my sister's burst of giggles. It is a perfectly captured memory and I'm so glad it's on record. Most of us have cell phones with video capabilities- let's whip those things out and use them! :) Life is funny: capture it.

5. Lastly, I'm a good mom. . . goshdangit! Some of the skeptical and critical comments made about the video were directed toward my parenting abilities and strategies. These comments have caused me to seriously consider my role as a mother, particularly Tenley's mother. Here are my reflections. . . 

I am a good mom because I want to be a good mom. I invest most of my time, energy, and talents into teaching her, playing with her, interacting with her, sharing with her, and loving on her. When I'm not with her, I often find myself thinking about her, making plans for her, and whispering prayers in my heart for her safety. Constantly, I find myself watching the parents around me, looking for ways I can adjust, improve, and better myself in her favor. Daily, I ask for divine guidance, seek direction and peace and then follow the quiet, gentle promptings of the Spirit in my decisions regarding her. I make a serious effort not to take myself too seriously, recognizing my mistakes and trying to learn from them. I am open to feedback and acknowledge that there is major opportunity for growth and development in my parenting journey. I am invested in every part of her human experience and I celebrate and honor her achievements, both big and small. In every way I know how, I support her. I love that little firecracker fiercely, deeply, and unconditionally. I'm not good at everything, but I'm good at some things. . . and I'll tell you what: I'm a good mom, goshdangit. 

(Picture from Easter Sunday 2014)


Jeannine said...

Summer, you're amazing. That video was seriously so good, and i can't even imagine what your family has experienced since then! But after reading this, it just confirms that you're even more amazing than i remembered. You've taken both the good and the bad and been able to strengthen yourself from it. Thanks for sharing!

Samantha Walker's Imaginary world said...

You are an amazing mom! I second that, third that and fourth that! Summer, I loved what you shared here. Your beautiful spirit comes through. Thanks for being vulnerable, and being YOU! It has allowed me to get to know you even better!

Heather said...

What a great post, When Samantha posted the video I watch, I too am a mother of small children so I know what it's like. Those moments are the best and If you can capture them its even better. Thank you for sharing the video, I had a good laugh and just remember you are your own person you only have to answer to yourself and God. People will have their opinions and take it with a grain of salt. I thank you for sharing!!

Beth said...

I absolutely loved your video. I saw it linked on Facebook and it kept popping up everywhere. I even saw it on Pinterest today. Super cute, but I can empathize with the fact that being suddenly thrust in the spotlight must have been difficult! It seems like you really handled it with grace. Nice going, mama.