I'm a newbie to the mommy bloggersphere. My intention in entering into this world was to share thought provoking information with other women, about an array of topics, particularly vulnerability.
We get sucked into the minutiae of everyday life, and our sense of depth is often the first thing to go. This loss lends itself to inter relational difficulties, on every level. Self reflection is imperative, but we often focus on what we see as other people's responsibilities for our own pain. That's what I'm in it for, the peddling of introspection, but I've quickly discovered a few pertinent things about this whole blogger dynamic along the way.
The first is that you can expect to get the least support from your own friends and family. Perfect strangers will be more comfortable praising you, and throwing a virtual high five your way, than many of your own peeps. I chalk this up to our difficulty with feeling joy for others' successes when we're struggling with a lack of personal fulfillment ourselves. It’s easier to dissociate from that self comparison when we don't have an intimate relationship with someone. Anonymity is safer for the ego. I'm learning/ telling myself not to take it personally. Fact is, the people who are the most supportive happen to be the ones who are doing it as well. They're in the same boat, and are riding the waves with you, propelled by a sense of purpose for their own ambitions.
My second revelation is that growing your social media following is a game. And, lamentably, it's a necessary one. Unless you want to retire your words to that personal journal you stow beneath your pillow each night, you'd better ante up. It's a big, big world, and it seems like half of Earth's inhabitants are fellow mommy bloggers. I struggle with how trite it feels to amass "followers," but if you believe your message worthy, this is the trade off.
Then there's the picture thing. Gawd, the picture thing. It seems like an imperative for reader connection. But, who in the hell are you people that inhabit snowy white farmhouses, replete with subway tile and claw foot tubs, in the middle of flowing green fields, groves of 100 year old oak trees, with a wrap around porchful of abysmally handsome children dressed in coordinated earth tones of linen? And, how are your legs so long?
How am I, Joe Schmo, to compete with that? Do I put the peonies in my baby's bath water before or after I put her in it, and when do I grab the camera, right before I put her Briar bonnet on? And then, after said bouquet infused bath, is that when I put the Cornish hen in the oven? Oh shit, I forgot to photograph my herb bouquet on the acacia cutting board...
Where are my kids anyway???
Truth is, I consider myself to be pretty on top of my biz. I've got a stellar capacity to multitask quickly. My house is clean and decorated, and I make Pinterest dinners from scratch on the regular. But, the idea of dressing my daughter up, forget the sons, they'd be in hysterics if I tried to part them from their "sports" clothes... anyway, the thought of dressing my two year old up in some sort of circa 1940's made over Etsy outfit, camera in one hand, willfully dragging her with the other, likely from her examination of a twig or a pile of dirt, then strategically placing her for the photograph, I don't even know where, on a stump in a nearby field I suppose, sounds like an actual all day affair, sure to end in a vat of tears from both of us. Don't get me wrong, I want her to wear that $60 mustard hued, organic hemp romper, I really, really do, she'd look like a god damn angel, but then she could never eat blueberries again or steal a handful of chocolate chips while I'm baking, and that's just too sad a state of affairs to even entertain for a moment.
Then there's my wardrobe. I love clothes. I'm a trend junkie. I get it, but the last time I attempted to wear bell sleeves, I got caught on a door knob no less than 62 times. I can't parent in shoes with heels and skinny straps or jeans that go up to my rib cage and a floppy hat, at least not in a way that I feel good about. I do wear makeup every day and try to be as "mom" chic as real life will allow for, and as far as I can tell, I've got a leg up some of the parents I see around, but I still look like a drifter compared to the creme de la creme of Instamoms.
I'm intimidated. I'm confused. And, I'm nervous that my parenting skills are going to straight up plummet while I'm in search of the perfect Insta worthy moments. Am I even going to experience being with my children, mindfully, if I'm constantly taking pictures?
And here's the most upsetting part of the whole thing. You don't want to see my real life. You don't want me to be like you. You want me to be better than you, prettier than you, more well dressed than you. If I seem like you, my words won't be as attractive. I'll remind you of the ways that you feel inadequate.
We're okay with hearing about Instamom's struggles from time to time (how endearing), but we don't want to see it. We want to keep them at arm's length, upon that carefully crafted, hand fired, artisanal ceramic pedestal. It's a form of escapism; another way to keep the aforementioned depth out of our own lives. Focus on them and how perfect they are, and maybe I can forget about the pit of problems that is my life, disconnect from my stained carpet and stretched out sweatpants. Disconnect from the dysfunctional relationships, from the pain.
Well, I'm not gonna dress my kids up. We're going to be unabashedly us, because I want you to own me as you would yourself. I want you to see that depth isn't scary and that perfection isn't real. I want you to think the hard thoughts with me, to liberate yourself from window shopping in somebody else's life.
It's going to be difficult for me, too. I'm nervous about being judged, but I can't go forth with integrity if I don't practice what I preach. Join me in a lil' self love and introspection. Let's buck the social (media) system together.