I’ve just taken a little hiatus, a blogging break, somewhat of a digital detox, for the past few weeks – unfortunately in the wake off some silly commentary online about me, the first I’ve really encountered (although I’m sure it’s been there before, and I get it: writing about your life and family online invites this stuff. I get it). A bit of a reality check nonetheless, sparking a step-back of sorts, re-evaluating what I do here and questioning why I do it (and at what cost). I’ve still been around the traps, don’t worry, a few instastories here and double taps there. But in fact…it was just what the doctored ordered: much needed, necessary and really quite nice.
The vortex that is social media has been sucking me dry. What began as such a positive, happy place (particularly Instagram) of sharing has become sadly hollow and vapid of late…how very depressing. Social media at the best of times can seem a bit narcissistic and insular, let’s not even go to the worst of times. The constant chatter and scrolling and hamster wheel was exhausting me, and I didn’t even realise it. I was confusing what I thought I ‘needed’ to do, with what I actually wanted to do, and was living in a bit of a pressure cooker – not the best situation considering I’ve got a busy-bee three year old and hurricane of a one year old who just need their mum to be present and grounded. Nothing like two toddlers to ‘ground’ you! Bless their cotton socks.
By stepping back and re-assessing my actions and purpose…well, it’s all the clearer now what it is I want from my online space, how I can contribute to virtual communities and conversations (sometimes you just can’t see the forest for the trees…hindsight offers such perspective). So instead of being depressed about it all (as you can easily get about social media and blogging and trolls and doom and gloom and blah blah blah) – I’ve decided that I just need to simplify, simplify, simplify. At the end of each day when I was usually organising my posts, my hashtags, my engagement, my statistics…I didn’t. And breathed instead. And pondered…
There’s just so much noise out there – do I want to add to it? There’s about 800 million active Instagram users.
What do I want to contribute? If I do add to the noise, who is it valuing? Who am I serving? For what purpose? So, if it’s not contributing something useful or of purpose, or sparking joy to either myself or someone else who I actually give two hoots about: well then it doesn’t need to happen.
And that’s ok.
The saying: “If you propose to speak, always ask yourself: is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?” Rang in my ears and mind for the past two weeks.
Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?
What a strange old game blogging is…particularly ‘personal’ blogging. The tag ‘mummy blogger’ has never sat particularly well with me, I was blogging for a long time before I was a mother. It seems to come with a lot of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, this ‘mummy blogging’ business (and let me assure you, it is a business!) which just doesn’t gel with my ethos at all. With that in mind, I want to get back to my ‘roots’ of when I started tap tap tapping away in the dark ages of 2008…pottering about our little cottage, farmy stuff, garden goodness, creative bits and bobs. Simple stuff.
The irony of ‘simple country living’ in a fairly fast paced hectic social media whirlwind is not lost on me. Time to practice what I preach. Not that I haven’t been, just a little wake up call to return to what I know, and what I do best, was timely and well intentioned. Husband dearest, in all his wisdom, pointed me in the direction of the ex-Nokia CEO’s speech to his employees (on the companies acquisition by Microsoft): “we didn’t do anything wrong…but somehow we lost.” Doing your core business well is important. But doing that whilst evolving is even more important.
I can honestly say I don’t give a flying fig how many Instagram followers I have or page views per month…I probably should, but as soon as I get focused on that stuff, it all turns very south, very quickly. It’s transparent and feeble and tedious and insipid. All the things that, to me? Suck the big ones! Blergh. So, it’s head down bum up, doing what I know and love, and when I do that everything else seems to fall into place. As a blogger you seem to always be give give giving of yourself, it can be really emotionally exhausting – but of course it’s all of our own doing. And I needed to remind myself that this is my space, my way, take or leave it, love it or lump it. If I wanted to take a step back, well then I would! Did the world stop turning and implode? Um, no.
There is a whole lot of things that I don’t blog about, and never would, and one day I can see that I won’t blog about or post pictures on the internet of my children. But for now that is a choice I’ve made…which I am ok with, after some reflection…yep, whole heartedly I’m all good with it. But I’d love to know how other bloggers have wrestled with that one? Because I’m sure you all have! Right?! Some of our family and friends don’t ever put their children’s faces or names on the internet, and I guess look at what I do like I have two heads (ha!) But honestly? Absolutely all power to them, I have so much respect for that. It’s a jungle out there… This little break away from my everyday ‘normal’ has had me re-assessing the enormous role I have in front of me: raising two kind and thoughtful humans. My most important job and always my priority.
So, whilst I’ve put the phone down, I’ve picked up cook books. I’ve read magazines that were sitting on my bedside table for months, and opened the book my husband gave me for Christmas (Paul Bangay’s ‘Country Gardens’), I’ve made new batches of play dough and made toilet roll binoculars. I’ve dug deep in the garden and turned the compost heap. I’ve steam mopped the floors and ironed my husbands shirts. I’ve visited my mum in hospital. I’ve picked up my crochet hooks for the first time in a really long time (I’ve missed simple crafts). I’ve enjoyed a girls night of bubbles and bras with my real life tribe of mama friends. I’ve gone out for dinner with my mum’s group girl gang. I’ve attended a morning tea with other Gippslandian creatives. I’ve actually finished editing client’s work. I’ve listened to the Risen Motherhood podcast (highly recommend episode 86 on self-care in busy motherhood). It was good not to feel pressured that I needed to be chasing my tail all day to create content, hustle, push, reach… I’ve had room to breathe and realised: that should be normal. So I’m going to make it the new normal.
Goodness, that’s all a bit deep for a Monday morning isn’t it?! Mostly, thank you to all of the lovely people who have messaged me on Facebook, emailed me, DM’d me on Instagram, said hello in the street wondering how I was! Those are the reasons I’m still here – you lovely people and the tribe I have created here. For all the things that I didn’t miss about social media, there were lots of things that I did: namely, the people and my community and the engagement that I get everyday from so many people in far away places (or just over the hill!) when I’m simply a stay-at-home-mum taking photos of my wayward toddlers and glorious hydrangeas. But, haters gonna gate, right? The overwhelming majority of people who have told me to just keep swimming, and that what I share and write is of value and purpose to them, has been pretty awesome really. Thank you.