5 In Blogging/ Life

Thinking Lately: When You Feel Like Quitting + Finding That Joy Again

You know, like a Loving Lately, but a…Thinking Lately.

I feel like I’ve been in a weird place recently. I have been feeling lots of feelings and mixed thoughts about my blog space and social media accounts. I would be lying if I didn’t say that sometimes I feel like I’m running in a constant rat race – always thinking about what picture to post that will look the best on my feed, what will get more likes, what would be more appealing to a brand, what’s going to be best for my blog – just a whole lot of, what’s going to look the best. I spend way too much time scrolling through my feed, becoming aggravated by the seemingly perfect lives people I don’t even know appear to be living and rolling my eyes at the overly fake staged photos. I find myself feeling jealous of other moms, or judgmental of someone else’s life. Between my personal life, my full time 40 hour a week job, being a mom to two young children, church and social commitments, some level of fitness, our marriage, and running a monetized blog and regularly posting to an Instagram account I honestly care way too much about, it’s all getting to be exhausting and I can sometimes feel the joy being sucked right out of me. Somedays I honestly teeter between making my IG account private, and password protecting my blog. I go back and forth on if the daily stress of worrying even two seconds about another like, comment, follower or page-view is even worth it. If the constant thought of pumping out fresh content in order to keep my ad revenue flowing is even worth it. My blog does really well, truth be told, and I have loved every second of maintaining it and pouring my heart, soul, and creativity into it, but with our kids getting bigger and my time and energy being simultaneously stretched thinner and thinner, it’s hard not to psych myself out about just throwing in the towel and living “the private life” again. No more blog, and an IG account that is locked down like Alcatraz. Not just for me, but for my family.

I think some of these mixed emotions are coming from a place of resentment. A place of resentment in that, I know if I didn’t also have a full time job taking up a huge portion of my time during the week, I’d have more energy and time to pour into my blog and build it the way I truly want to and have dreamed about doing for years. I’m resentful of the fact that I can’t necessarily do what I want with my blog because I also work a full time job. (Not to rag on my job of course, it IS helping to finance these two little humans I blog so often about and love so much, after all). Not to mention, that it’s a full time job in the influencer marketing industry! At the end of the day, after working deeply in the influencer world, it’s hard to find the desire to then turn around and do it again for myself, staring at my computer even more, running that rat race of better content, more pageviews, more likes, engagement, and followers. Sometimes the last thing I want to do is knock out a blog post, even though a part of me really wants to because I’ve done it for so long now. There is another part of me though that’s starting to feel the itch to move on. I know how hard it is to grow organically and authentically these days, and it’s darn well impossible anymore to up your social media growth without also “playing the game”. (I’ll spare you the big ugly truth about purchased followers, bots, follow for follow threads, engagement pods, and fake/altered content that is IMO destroying social media and ruining it for us honest folk who just want to do it the right way. The old fashioned way, you know, back when blogging was nothing more than just that – blogging.) It just feels like such a competition these days. The better the highlight reel, the more successful you are.

We also talk a lot about the privacy of our kids. I always knew this conversation would come up once Adeline got older, and I feel like those conversations are finally starting to really become serious. She’s almost 4 years old, and her whole life has already been fully documented online. Her digital footprint has already been made for her, and while I don’t regret any of it, and have always tried to be considerate of her and mindful of what I say or post of her, it still doesn’t negate the fact that she’s out there, and same with Barrett. Much of their lives are already online, and while I truly think we just live in a “different time” than when we were young, it’s still a serious topic to consider. Scary things happen all too often when a predator gets a hold of photos or videos, and I can’t be naive to the Dark Web. It’s hard to imagine what our kids’ worlds will be like as they grow older, and it’s even harder to imagine growing up in a world where your baby book is essentially all online. It’s crazy to think that our kids will grow up in an age where they will just have to learn social media like it’s another subject in school, because it’s just a part of society and who isn’t on social media? I remember when social media wasn’t even a thing, and no one knew or cared about blogs, but our kids will never know such a time. We grew up during the time where social media came to be, they’ll grow up during a time where it’s just a part of life and it will feel strange to them that it once didn’t exist. They’ll have to grow up in a time where they are highly influenced by what they see others doing online, and reversely, others will see what they are doing online. Add in likes/comments and it’s easy to see how kids these days are under way more pressure than we ever were. I’m SO thankful I went through middle school and high school before social media became huge! I mean, can you even imagine?!

I think too a lot of these rambling thoughts are just coming from a mama who’s probably stretched a little too thin, and is feeling a bit emotional about a new routine, new schedule, and a new phase of life with two KIDS. Gone are the newborn days and using the baby as our go-to excuse! I still swear Barrett was born, umm, yesterday. We have to very mobile little people on our hands, and life is only getting more and more complex. I’m feeling content at the moment, but in some areas of my life, I feel like I’ve been stunted in growth for the past 4 years. I feel like I’m finally getting to a place where I feel comfortable starting to grow again, now that Adeline is pretty independent and Barrett is full speed ahead into toddlerhood. I have lots of personal goals and even professional goals I want to work towards, but I’ve put a lot of those things on the back-burner during this season of becoming a mom. I even feel like I’ve put a lot of things on the back-burner simply due to lack of time, because I’ve decided to spend so much of my free time working on my blog at night or on the weekends. I find myself feeling so torn, almost on a daily basis, between wanting to do the SAHM thing, and pursue more lofty blog goals, and wanting to advance my actual career and do more of the things that Sarah wants to do. I’ve said it a million times before and I’ll say it again, the world is just not made for working moms, and the odds are just not in our favor. And that’s ok and I’ve learned to push through that and adapt. And when I start daydreaming and scheming about things I want to accomplish, that’s when my head and my heart wander further and further away from my blog. That’s when I find myself delaying posts, and procrastinating finishing up a draft I had scheduled. That’s when I start feeling my passion for the blog waining, and my desire to do something different starts tapping me on my shoulder, whispering the temptation to just walk away in my ear, ever so softly. I stop posting as much on Instagram because I remember that Instagram doesn’t really matter – the likes, the comments, the perfect pictures – they don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, and living a present life I truly love is way more important. Not to say I don’t love my life, because I do, but I’m just trying to say that it feels GOOD to take a step back, and slow down on posting, and sharing EVERY LITTLE THING with the world. Anyone else notice that the less you post, the more joyful you become? In large part, I think it’s because you’re seeing less of other people, honestly, so there’s fewer feelings of jealousy and inadequacy filling your brain. Sometimes I think the Devil lurks around on social media, ready to pounce on vulnerable hearts. I’ve felt it, and I’m sure you have too. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted endlessly scrolling through stories, feeling filled with negative lies I know are straight from Satan himself.

All this to say, no, I’m not quitting blogging. At least not yet. My blog has been a very big part of my life for the past 6 years, and I can’t imagine shutting it down just yet. But, I might start blogging differently, or less frequently. I think I have finally given myself permission to not prioritize my blog. Which is huge for me. Right now, in this season of life, I’m not sure I need to be prioritizing my blog’s growth, when I have so many other things I want to prioritize that just innately matter more. I’m going to really start reconsidering what I post about my kids and our family, even though my blog has really grown because of sharing my personal life. A lot of my readers have found my blog through either one of my pregnancies, and then both of my postpartum journeys and I’ve so enjoyed shared the nitty gritty in a very honest way. And quite frankly, blogging helped me process so many of my emotions during those new-mom days. I really think it was very valuable for me, in that sense. And, I want to continue sharing things that are on my heart, but I also want to finally feel released from the pressure of blogging so often, maybe even blogging at all. My pageviews may suffer, and the freebies may dwindle, and the emails may slow, but blogging will always be there, like an old friend who’s easy to catch back up with. And, if you notice my IG profile go private, or if I happen to follow you but don’t know you in-person and you notice I’ve unfollowed you, just know it’s not personal. It’s just for my own sake – let’s just call it mental housekeeping.

I think basically what I’m trying to say with all of this, is that a large part of my heart has been moving towards the idea of reprioritizing a few things in order to find that joy in blogging again. And to do that, and to finally escape that rat race, (and press that invisible reset button, if you will!) I have a few ideas and goals in mind:

  • Turn my Instagram account to Private if it feels right for our family.
  • Stop the hashtag game. I’m never going to be an “Instagram Influencer” and no amount of hashtags is going to help. I really don’t care that much.
  • Unfollow accounts I don’t actually know and/or only followed for a selfish reason, like a follow back or because they followed me.
  • Unfollow accounts that, as Adam puts it, “steal my joy.”
  • Unfollow the highly curated accounts that bring up negative feelings, whatever that may be.
  • No more posting schedule, or pre-planning posts.
  • No more prioritizing writing a blog post over spending time with Adam after bedtime.
  • Delete Facebook back off my phone.
  • Stop spending any amount of time thinking the “best time to post” on Instagram or Facebook.

Blogging just takes up so, so much time. It kind of makes me cringe thinking about how much TIME I’ve spent pouring into this blog. And it doesn’t make me cringe because I wish I hadn’t been blogging, but it makes me cringe at how much time I could have freed up if I just didn’t blog as much. Like I mentioned earlier, there are so many things I feel like I haven’t allowed myself to do simply because any free time I’ve had has been devoted to blogging. For instance, here are some things I would like to do, instead of spending so much time blogging.

  • ACTUALLY get back into shape. Run another half marathon and train for it the right way. Spend more time working out.
  • Offer more photography sessions.
  • Buy an embroidery machine and learn how to monogram.
  • Volunteer with our local rec sports league with the youth girls lacrosse teams.
  • Learn, like really LEARN, more coding languages. I’d say I have a solid working knowledge of HTML/CSS, but would really like to become proficient, and take on Javascript after that.
  • Get back into SEO. I LOVED this aspect of my previous job, and I miss continually learning about it. In fact, I’m honestly more passionate about the SEO side of blogging than I am the actual blogging side of blogging. (If you’re a LONG time reader, then you’ll recall how I got that job, and the whole story there!)
  • Spend more time at night watching movies with Adam, instead of blogging.
  • Read more books. Do you know when the last time I actually read a book was? Yea, me neither, because I haven’t had time to read because I’ve been too busy BLOGGING.
  • Not rush through bedtime “because I need to write a blog post.” Too many times I find myself hurrying to get the kids to bed so I can blog. Less time blogging could mean a whole new bedtime routine. I’d really like to start reading to both of them at the same time – I think it could make for some really sweet nights.

I’m just, kind of over it, you guys. And I’m not sure if again, it’s burn out, or if I’m truly reaching the end. Like, how do you know when your blog has lived it’s life and it’s time to move on? Would I feel differently if I stayed home full time and actually pursued my blog as a larger income, doing sponsored posts multiple times a week? Maybe. But then, again, my life would just revolve even MORE around social media. See, rat race, you guys. It’s never ending!

Anyways, now that I’ve written a novel that probably makes zero sense to any of you. (Ooof sorry ’bout that!) I’m not quitting blogging. I love my blog too much and it’s truly been like a baby of mine, and has been the best and most fun creative outlet. It has provided some pretty insane opportunities for myself and my family and I will forever be grateful for everything I’ve received because of it. I absolutely love writing out all of my feelings, and reviewing products, and sharing fun finds, and the whole kit and caboodle, so I just can’t imagine totally stopping yet. I think I just needed to get all of this off my chest, and again, give myself permission to not let it be a top priority right now. Maybe now that I’ve done that, it will be easier to find that joy again.

And if any of you are feeling the same way I am, try doing it with me! Unfollow accounts that don’t bring you joy, and remember that blogging isn’t life. (But it’s so fun and is totally my jam which is why all of these feelings are so confusing for me! And like, what would I do and who would I be without my blog?? Could I sound anymore like a Type 3?! HA!)

Thanks for reading, if you lasted this long. Feel free to share your thoughts below, if your mind isn’t a jarbled pile of jello now. You’re welcome! #bloggerprobs

5 Comments

  • Reply
    Amanda Bumgarner
    September 6, 2019 at 9:32 am

    I think we have similar struggles about a lot of things. You already know how I feel about sharing photos/stories about my kids online, and I don’t regret posting less about them. I’m not saying anyone should regret posting about their kids, but I think if anyone is going to err, err on the side of posting too little. And you know what I’ve done with Instagram. I have never done tons of hashtags on my IG photos, mainly because I can never remember what they all are, and I’ve never seen a return on using them. I’ve never had FB on my phone, and in fact a few months ago I totally deactivated it and don’t feel like I’ve even missed anything. I took a big step back from the blog in 2018 and published over 40 fewer posts that year than I did in 2017. And I’m on track to post half as many as I did last year. And yes, I have seen a hit. Fewer comments, fewer pageviews, but I still enjoy writing and popping in from time to time. I’ve never made a ton of money off my blog, but I have made some, and I’ve gotten some really cool free stuff. Still, I’ve always found ads on the blogs I read really annoying, so I’ve never wanted to have too many on my own blog. Anyway, I think it’s good to process all of this, and I think you’ll really enjoy taking a step back from blogging. If it’s something you enjoy and love, then it’s not time wasted. But if you wish you were doing something else and think of other things you’d rather spend time on, then go do that and have fun! I’ve realized that I have too little true “free” time to spend it on everything I’d like to do, so blogging takes its turn in my hobby rotation just like everything else 🙂
    Amanda Bumgarner recently posted…Thoughts on 15 WeeksMy Profile

  • Reply
    Adam
    September 6, 2019 at 10:13 am

    But if you’re not writing a blog post after the kids go to bed, then I don’t have an excuse to go to bed at 9:00pm and I need my beauty sleep.

  • Reply
    Katie
    September 6, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    I feel you! Right now I’m kind of in a holding period. Maybe it’s just the transition of routines? This always happens to me when I go through changes IRL too.

  • Reply
    katie
    September 7, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    I love that your husband commented. So much love to all of you. I have not grown my blog, and I haven’t done ad revenue. So I fully support scaling back if it feels right for you. But as I was reading your goals…Depending on where the SEO goes, you could be just as successful with fewer posts if the optimization is getting you more views. I wish you all the best as you navigate what is best for you! (I’d recommend following healthy slice of life if you aren’t already, as she is just a couple years ahead of you in terms of kiddo age, and shares her girls photos.

  • Reply
    Florence
    October 1, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    Thank you for being so authentic in this post.

    I don’t blog, although it is something I might like to do in the future. Currently, I have a really busy job and a toddler. This post puts things into perspective for me, as I do often wish I hadn’t chosen such a busy field to work in, and that I would have more time for side projects like blogging.

    I did write a weekly newspaper column for several years. I enjoyed doing it, but it was really freeing when I stopped and got back the extra time.

    It sounds like cutting back might do you some good! Although I would miss your wonderful posts.

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