I recently attended an awesome creative workshop called The School of Styling (you can read more about my experience there on my blog) where one of the speakers, who was first a successful personal blogger before launching a widely popular lifestyle website, spoke during one section about ‘finding balance.’ Since her career relied on technology based entrepreneurship, she shared how she hit rock bottom with her personal health because she constantly checked Facebook, blogged five days a week and tried to build her new website at the same time. I appreciated her perspective on taking a step back and living more in the present by sometimes disconnecting with the online world.
However, I had trouble relating to her situation because my emotional rock bottom came from such a different place. When my first son was born in 2011, I was 28 years old. We lived in Los Angeles where most people wait to have babies until they are a little older and more established. My close friends weren’t having babies at the time. Because my husband and I were younger and less established in our careers, we both kept working and had to make our new lives as a young family work without the help of extended family and with childcare, pumping, pick-ups, drop-offs and employers who didn’t always understand our situation. I felt overwhelmed and isolated.
Never one to sit back and feel sorry for myself (for too long), I hopped online and started looking for ways to connect with other moms who had babies around the same age as mine. I found a breastfeeding support group that lead me to a mommy + me group. I also joined a neighborhood moms group and found and online Yahoo forum for local moms which was how I found my son’s daycare. I am still friends with some of those same moms today and I can honestly say that the support they gave me saved me during some really dark times. I also read countless articles and blog posts online about every little thing my baby was doing to make sure he was ‘normal.’
About a year ago, I started my blog. I had conflicting emotions about how I was going to make it work for me. Even though I have always loved to write and wanted an outlet to share my personal motherhood journey, I never invested time in social media. As a mom who was working full-time (at the time) I wasn’t sure how often I could post on the blog. Would anyone ever read it? Could I keep up with the pace set by other ‘successful’ bloggers?
What inspired me to actually start blogging was my infatuation with this (then) new app called Instagram. I had been using it for a while to follow and share with my friends and family, and as I started following more bloggers and brands I thought to myself, this is a really powerful tool to connect with people! Most people my age had been or were still more in to Facebook, but that trend took off when I studied abroad in college and I never really grasped it in the same way. (For the record, I am now on Facebook, but I still wouldn’t consider myself a proficient user of it.)
I have taken my dive into the online world of technology relatively slowly. Now, my following on social media and the blog have both grown in a way I feel is organic and honest, which was always my goal. I do still try to keep that elusive act of ‘balance’ in mind when it comes to parenting and being present with my children, my family and my friends. At this point in my life, I have to be honest, I really don’t think that being on social media is such a terrible thing that we often hear it is in the wider media. I hardly watch any TV (it is never on in our house during the day) and my kids are limited with their screen time as well.
For me, being able to check my feed is a mini-escape from the everyday of my now stay-at-home mom status. Yes, I love my children and appreciate that I get to be around to raise them right now, but I also need to interact with adults here and there – and that’s hard to do in person when you and all your friends have little ones and busy schedules too! And I have actually met friends on Instagram that not only inspire me, but also have truly become a community for me, and some I have even become friends with in real life! Now that is something we surely could not have done before we had all of this technology at our fingertips.