Thursday, January 25, 2018

Learning About Myself and My Struggles with Social Media

I don't really know how to start this post.  I have thought about it for a long time...then come up with an excuse as to why I shouldn't write it.  I am just going to dive in, and it is probably going to be very random and jump around, but I'll try to keep it somewhat cohesive.

Most of you know that I avoided social media like the plague...until I started this blog.  I decided to start a blog because I needed something for myself, something creative, something that I could call my own and work on when I am not doing mommy and wife stuff.  I have not worked in over 6 years, and to be honest, sometimes being a stay at home mom can be lonely.  Yes, I have my kid or kids with me pretty much 24/7, but I miss the adult conversations, the social interactions, the challenges and successes that come with a job.  I wanted my blog to resonate with people and be a way to connect with others.  I knew that if I wanted anyone besides my family to read it, I was going to have to get a social media account and "advertise" my blog by posting about it.




I absolutely love staying at home with my boys, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.  I consider myself very lucky to have this opportunity and I try to cherish it.  But, some days I am very jealous of my husband, who gets to go to work with adults and be challenged, and be in peace and quiet for a few minutes of the day, and....he even gets to pee ALONE!  gasp!  I haven't gone to the bathroom alone in 8 years.  I know most of you can relate. 

So, getting back to this phenomenon that is social media.  I decided that since I had zero experience in this area, I would only choose to pursue 2 different avenues.  I chose Facebook and Instagram.  I created accounts and then friends slowly started "friending" or "following" me.  I instantly felt a sense of curiosity and would look on each account who sent a friend request.  I will admit that it was fun to see pictures of them and catch up on their lives.  However, that was immediately followed by a sense of guilt.  I need to like their last 100 photos so they won't think I'm rude.  I need to comment on everything they post from this point forward because now that people know I am on social media, I can't just ignore them!  Well...that's just not possible.  I was staying up waaaaayyyy past my bedtime mindlessly scrolling through my feeds because I felt guilty.

After I came to the realization that I couldn't keep this up, I decided that I would mainly focus my time on Instagram.  I preferred Instagram over Facebook and it was just easier for me to navigate.  I still post things on my Midwestern Mama Facebook page, but I rarely get onto my personal account anymore, unless it is to wish someone a Happy Birthday ;) (PS, sorry if I missed your birthday because I'm not even great at keeping up with that!)  And I can honestly say I don't miss it one bit.

So, now I have only 1 social media account that I really have to "manage".  You would think this should be no problem at all.  I mean, I used to be a residential loan officer and I could close dozens of loans in a given month, juggling it all without dropping a ball.  But, this 1 account has consumed more of my time than anything else.  I am amazed at how I now feel as if I am missing out on things if I don't post or check other people's posts every.single.day.  I absolutely hate this feeling.  I never used to care.  Why do I care now?  Not to say that I don't love seeing what my friends post, because I do.  I genuinely enjoy the opportunity to catch up with friends from afar by simply scrolling through my feed.  I love that I can follow along on their weight loss journeys or their fight against cancer, or their trip to Disney World or see their kid shine during a school performance.  But, I find myself NEEDING to see what's going on each day.  I have this fear of missing out on something.  But, the irony of it is that while I have my face in my phone, I AM missing things.  I am missing my boys growing up.  I am watching other people's lives and I am missing MY own life!


I have caught myself subconsciously dismissing a request or question from my son because I am consumed with whatever IG story I happen to be watching at the moment.  I have brushed off a request to play tractors because I need to purchase a shirt that's on sale before it sells out.  I have not paid attention to what the littles are up to and then realize they have created a giant mess or ruined something while I was busy with my nose in my phone.  I am not proud of these moments, and they are hard to admit.  I wanted to get them out there though because I have a feeling I am not alone.

When I started blogging, I wanted to share parts of my life and things that I love with others.  I wanted to share recipes that our family loves, and outfits that make me feel put together, and DIY's that a even not-so-handy folks can pull off with minimal effort.  I woke up one day and realized that instead of me blogging about things that I already have or that make my life easier, I was seeking out things to blog about.  I was spending so much time scouring sales and trying on clothes.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love to shop and I always will.  But, I was ordering tons of stuff, would try it on at home, and then I have to deal with either mailing most of it back, or taking it back to the store.  This proved to be extremely time consuming.  I found myself constantly talking about how I have no free time for anything anymore...and it hit me.  I spend all of my free time searching for stuff to blog about.  When instead I should be living my life, and then if a blog post happens to come out of that, then great.

The point is, I am exhausted.  I can't keep up this pace anymore.  It may not even look like I have been running myself ragged to you because I only post 1, or maybe 2 times a week on my blog.  I post more frequently on social media, but not excessively.  The "experts" advise to be consistent, maintain a daily presence in front of your audience, don't post inconsistent or poor quality photos or the Instagram and Facebook algorithms will eat you alive!  It's rather stressful, especially for something that is supposed to be fun.

One of the main reasons I held off for so long on getting social media accounts was the way they made me feel inadequate.  Before I broke down and got an actual account, I did dapple a little bit while searching for something specific, then I would find myself getting lost in the web spiraling from person to person/account to account.  It can become very addicting.  Another Instagram account I follow made a great point that everyone only posts the BEST pictures or tells the BEST stories.  I was always left feeling like their lives were better than mine.  I didn't like this feeling and just decided that ignorance was bliss.  Once I made the decision to proceed with my social media blog accounts, I had the same feeling of inadequacy almost immediately.  I too am guilty of posting pretty pictures.  And it's just not fair.  The pretty pictures get the most engagement, but they aren't necessarily representative of real life. 

The comparison game can be a very dangerous one.  It is virtually impossible to scroll through your feed and not compare other people's lives to your own.  They have a prettier house, she has a beautiful baby, they went on a luxurious vacation, he has a fancy car...  What we all need to remember is that we tend to compare our normal to other people's best.  Everyone, myself included, are posting their BEST.  When we are constantly seeing the BEST of other people's lives, we tend to look at our normal lives with a bad attitude.  It's not a fair comparison.  Apples to oranges, my friend.  It's extremely hard to remember this though, and I know from experience.

I watch bigger bloggers, with large accounts, who post every day, sometimes multiple times a day, and I honestly have no idea how they do it.  A lot of them even have little kids at home too, and this boggles my mind.  I have so many ideas swimming around in my brain of things I want to post about, but I just don't have the time to do it right now.   Sometimes this makes me frustrated and I get feelings of resentment.  But, I have learned to accept this in my current season of life; I need to slow down and enjoy this time with my kids while they still enjoy being around me!  There will come a day when they are too cool to hang with mom, so I suppose can blog my little heart out then.


When I started blogging, I was so excited to share things with people I knew and didn't know.  I somewhat let the audience determine what I was going to post.  The majority of you seemed to like the style posts I published, so I leaned into that and started posting more style, sales, outfit ideas.  I love clothes and jewelry and makeup and shoes.  What I don't love is taking pictures of myself and posting them on the internet.  I thought I could have a "fake it til you make it" approach, but I only feel fake.  Not fake in the sense that I am wearing clothes I wouldn't normally wear, but fake in that it's not really my personality to want a lot of attention focused on ME.  Just like a lot of other people, I too have things I am self-conscious about, and to put myself out there consistently makes me a little uncomfortable.  Also, trying to dedicate so much time finding deals and following sales has proved to be an unattainable goal for myself.  So, back to the shift in my mindset to stop seeking out things to blog and post on IG, and instead just live my life and perhaps a post will come of that.  Does that mean I'll never post another picture of myself.  No.  Of course not.  I just wanted to be honest with you and let you know how I feel and that I may be shifting the focus off of myself a little bit.

I never ever want anyone to think that you need to buy what I have, or that I am trying to push anything on you.  Maybe it's because I am not used to social media and all of the "sharing" that goes on, but I often feel braggadocios, and I don't like that one bit.  I never want anyone to feel like I think I am better than them or that I have better clothes or a better house or a better life.  Because I truly don't feel that way.   But it's hard to relay that message in an Instagram or Facebook caption.

The crazy thing is that I spend a lot of time finding cute things, putting together outfits, taking pictures, and editing those pictures, but then more times than not, I don't post the final picture because I feel like I'm bragging about what I have or what I did.  It's a strange and uncomfortable feeling.  I have countless pictures in my phone and on my computer that are just sitting there because my insecurities took over that day.

I want my account to be a source of inspiration for others.  But what I don't want is for anyone to ever feel bad about themselves after seeing any of my posts.  I have recently started pruning my feed and if there is an account I follow who doesn't leave me feeling uplifted or inspired or happy, then I unfollow them.  It's nothing against that person or what they post...it's about me and how seeing their posts affects me at this current state in my life. 

I am still going to blog, and post on social media, but it may be random, and most likely inconsistent.  If that hurts my following, then I will just have to deal with that because I have come to learn that the number next to your name means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.  What matters is that I can close my eyes at the end of the day and not regret wasting my time on things that aren't important or that don't help my life flourish.  I hope that you will continue to follow along as I navigate these waters, but I completely understand if you also need to take a break!  I support anyone who is doing what makes them their happiest self. xoxo

**Photo cred goes to ER Profiles   I love these pics, they are from our Christmas card photo shoot last November.  But, in the spirit of being real...I had to bribe my kids to behave and smile for the camera.  I will always cherish these pictures, but they are not necessarily representative of our every day lives.  This morning, for example, the boys were fighting, I raised my voice because I couldn't take it anymore, I fought back tears because I felt guilty for yelling, then we were almost late for school (again).  But, I don't have a picture of that. ;)


 photo Niki Heart Auto signature-2_zpso77bkiti.png

10 comments:

  1. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt by saying you're not delusional, but simply terribly uninformed. Trust me, when a dude goes to take a pee at work, he is rarely taking a pee alone. Not to mention he's likely taking a pee while standing in a puddle of pee only slightly smaller than the width and depth of the Atlantic Ocean.

    In short, when it comes to to the perils of taking a pee at work, he doesn't win this competition. You do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you may be missing the point of this post. The comment about getting to pee alone was meant to be a lighthearted joke, amongst the more serious topic of how social media is not always a positive thing.

      Delete
  2. Girl, I see you and I hear you. And I totally agree. Social media is a weird place of inspiration and comparison and everyhing in-between. 😳

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to let me know I’m not alone! ❤️ It’s strange how we are supposed to be connecting with people via social media, yet it can feel so isolating and alone at times. 😘

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