Sparkles & Stretchmarks: A UK Parenting & Pregnancy Blog: When Being A Mummy & A Mummy Blogger Don't Mix...

Sunday, 6 November 2016

When Being A Mummy & A Mummy Blogger Don't Mix...


I have a confession to make.

I'm failing.

At pretty much everything.

I know that it probably doesn't look like it when you see my Instagram photos, or scroll through my pins, or read my Facebook updates or blog posts, or watch my YouTube videos.

But I am.

I'm drowning in it all...in life, in motherhood, in blogging...and in trying to juggle all three of those things at once.

I feel as though my life right now is like Groundhog Day...every day I wake up and go through the same old motions, trying to reach the same goals, cross the same things off my to do list...

And every night I go to sleep having the same epiphany about how all these deadlines and tasks don't really matter, because it's all about the kids and spending quality time with them...

I promise myself that tomorrow will be different...tomorrow I'll be present in the moment, and I won't worry about the blog stuff or the deadlines...

But then I wake up, and Groundhog Day starts all over again...

And on it goes.

The same old thing, every single day.

Those To-Do lists never get any shorter...just as soon as I cross one task off, I add on another two.

The emails are never answered - just as soon as I deal with today's 10, tomorrows 20 are there waiting for responses.

The mummy guilt is never eased - no sooner have I done a nice baking activity or had a movie night with the kids, then it's suddenly the next day and a fresh steaming pile of guilt is piled upon me because I haven't spent enough time with them on that particular day...

Blogging is my job and I am so grateful that it gives me the opportunity to work from home so that I can be around my kids, but sometimes I feel like I'm getting it all wrong...

I worry that the mummy blogging side of my life takes over the Being Mummy side too much...I find myself getting stressed out when the kids won't play with the toy I need them to because I need to photograph it for a review....

I find myself cutting clips that I love out of videos because they're "too long for Youtube" when actually they are clips that I love of my children so why am I sacrificing our family memories for the sake of some Youtube hits?!...

Lately I've even had to stop myself from deleting photos of them because the lighting is wrong or the clarity isn't good enough...because I find that my brain is so tuned in to what is "good enough" for the blogging world instead of what is good enough for me, for us, for our family...

And I find that it's actually very difficult to distinguish between those two things these days..,

The blogging world is becoming increasingly more and more about the perfect image, the perfect lighting, the perfect shot....doing those perfect craft and baking activities from Pinterest....buying those perfect Instagram-worthy trendy outfits for the kids...

And I worry that I'm losing myself in it all....



Sometimes I wonder if I even truly LIKE the things that I think I like, or if I've just been programmed by the blogosphere to think that I do....

I used to laugh at how samey the black & white living rooms on Instagram and the Monogram Initial mugs from Anthropologie were....now I find myself buying the same things that I used to scoff at...but is it because I really want them? Or because I think I HAVE to have them to be part of the right crowd, to "fit in"...

And I worry that those same blurred lines are creeping in to my life as a mother too....because I find myself constantly comparing the way we live to those lives I see everyday on social media and blogs...I compare our messy living room to the clutter-free ones on Instagram, I compare my kids messy dinner-stained faces to those perfectly clean tots eating lentil and quinoa bakes online...and instead of being able to shrug it off as unrealistic, I find myself thinking that WE are not enough...that I'm not doing a good enough job as a Mum...

I'm finding it increasingly hard to know where the line is between Blogging and Real World...and where to draw the line between work and home life, too.

Because the thing is...this is my living, I HAVE to dedicate some time to it....but I feel guilty when I have to choose work over time with the kids. As though that HAS to be the wrong choice to make, despite the fact that we need the money I bring in.

And I find that when you actually enjoy what you do for work...those feelings of guilt are increased. 

I love what I do...I love writing...the time I spend doing it does not feel like a chore because I get so much enjoyment from it, but that makes me feel bad..

As though I feel that I don't have the right to enjoy doing something that takes me away from time with my kids...how dare I enjoy that time, how dare I not resent it and spend that time pining for them...what kind of mother am I!

Facebook memes make my guilt all the worse...an endless onslaught of smug quotes about how precious and fleeting their childhood is, and how much I will long to have these years back some day...as though I don't already know these things, as though I don't already feel guilt every second that I'm doing anything other than sitting and staring at them in awe and wonder.

Sometimes I feel as though being a parent and a parent blogger just is not a good mix...as silly as that sounds, because I sometimes feel that it's impossible to do both of these things well, at the same time.

To be a good parent blogger I have to spend time photographing our days out, photographing and sharing our memories, living life behind the lens much of the time....I have to spend time on the computer, writing about my life as their mother when at the same time they are often sitting in the next room crying for me...

Isn't that ironic? 

And oh so very guilt inducing.

And to be a good parent I need to step away from the camera, I need not to always be photographing our days out for my blog, I need to just be present in the moment and enjoying the time with them with no other agenda...no ulterior motives, no visiting parks or gardens because they'd make great photos for the blog...just doing things for fun, and without the need to share any of it on social media.

I guess I just haven't found that balance yet...because I feel like no matter what, I can't juggle both of those balls at once...I feel like one of them always ends up dropping.

And it would be easy to say that it's the blogging that has to take the back seat, but this is our income...it's what puts food on their plates and clothes on their backs...it isn't that easy, even if I didn't enjoy it. 

I try to change things...I try to work after they go to sleep, so that I can be with them during the days instead...but then I don't eat dinner until gone midnight most evenings, I'm up until 5 am and then I miss time with them in the mornings while I sleep until 10 because I'm exhausted and if I don't then I'm tired and grumpy and no fun to be around.

Sometimes I feel that I'm the only one who can't keep her head above the water...because it seems like everyone around me is swimming pretty well.

I can float pretty good...I can make it look like I'm not drowning...but at the same time, I'm not really getting anywhere either...

I'm just treading water, trying to keep from going under.



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17 comments:

  1. I know exactly how you feel Hayley, although my situation is totally different. Blogging has had to take a back seat (and in turn my relationship with Nathan is pretty much dead). Oscar is back to his non-sleeping ways. It's been almost a year now with just a few short weeks in between where he slept. And I can tell you I feel like such a failure. Especially as being a mum seemed so easy with Stacey!

    Every day I'm up between 7 and 7:30 to make sure Nathan and Stacey are up and ready for their days at work and school. Then I usually turn on the laptop and stare at the screen for half an hour. I'm usually too tired to write, but eventually a few sentences will start to form, and that's the second that Oscar wakes up.

    He'll then cry and whinge for breakfast, drinks, snacks, and constantly ask me to play with him. I always abandon the blogging till lunch time and then try again while he's eating. Sometimes I'll get a bit of writing done, but more often than not I won't as he's asking for stuff and for me to pay attention to him. And I give in.

    After lunch we either play some more or go out for a walk until Stacey and Nathan return home. And this is where I truly fail at the mummy/being a blogger thing - I then ask them nicely if they'll watch Oscar while I get some work done and they ALWAYS refuse. So I'm then looking after him all evening and through the night until he finally falls asleep (which can be anywhere up until 5am). And then I'm too exhausted to work.

    It's been like this since the end of April and I can't break the cycle. I feel so down and helpless and like I'm ruining everyone's life because I'm tired and cranky and not bringing in enough money.

    Being a mum is hard. I see that now. And I definitely couldn't try to be like the mums on Instagram and Pinterest. I can't remember the last time I saw our living room floor!

    Anyway, I think what I was trying to say was that you are a brilliant mum. You churn out all these fab blog posts day after day as well as looking after 3 little ones. I wish I was half as good at this as you are. You're definitely not failing! Keep smiling and if the chance to take a 5 minute break for yourself creeps up please make sure you take it. You deserve it!!

    Lou xxx

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  2. Don't panic! You are absolutely not failing at anything, I promise you.

    My babies are now 13 years and 11 years old, so I absolutely get everything you've said there, except for the blogging part. When my girls were little, I was a SAHM, I didn't have to worry about working, just looking after my girls and the home etc, but I still felt like an absolute failure.

    I've come to the conclusion it's part of being a mummy. Those mummies with the perfect home and perfect kids? Don't be fooled they are struggling too, it's all about keeping up appearances and peer pressure, because that's what people expect of them.

    You are doing a great job, you are not failing, you are just a normal mummy. Give yourself a pat on the back and thank you for being brave enough to voice the feelings lots of other mums with little ones are experiencing. I know this would really have helped me x #bestandworst.

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  3. I can completely relate to this post! I feel blogging has totally taken over my life so much so that if I go out anywhere these days without my camera I feel I have missed an opportunity for new content. My life has become content! How sad is that :(

    I would say though that you are definitely not the only one treading water.

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  4. Wish I could help. Just keep doing your best, and know that your children love you. I think all working parents feel a bit like that. Working from home has got to magnify the challenges. I don't know if this would be possible for you, but maybe it would be worth having someone watch your children for a few hours a day/week. That would give you some time during the day to get things done without the distraction of them wanting attention. And it would allow you to be more present during other times. I don't blog (yet), but I love taking pictures. I just try to make it part of the fun. Don't feel you have to be perfect. Just be you. Good luck.

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  5. I really get what you mean by this post. I too am often busy, and it is just too easy to not be there, present. It is a tough call for you because obviously you earn a living out of this blog. I blog because I like it (and it does bring some really amazing opportunities and a little bit of extra cash) but then again, I am at work most of the day mon to friday so I don't see my child too much either.

    If it helps, it doesn't seem like you are failing at anything. In fact, it looks like you are winning at everything! :)

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  6. Oh Hayley. I don't know what to say as I reckon every mum blogger out there will have felt the same at some point. What I can say about the photos though is the other day I used a Polaroid camera and I loved it! It was totally old school and it made me realise how many photos never make the cut when I use my big camera. So what I'm going to do from now on is have a day where I am allowed to use my big camera (Polaroid film is extortionate) but I'm only going to take one shot. The photos may not end up on the blog but then does that even matter? It is taking the photos that is the important thing. I'm going to put them all in a special file on my hard drive so I know where to find them and I think they will probably end up being my favourite photos of all. xx

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  7. I don't make money from my blog - it's just a hobby. But even so I find myself overwhelmed at times ... it's so hard to step away from your phone, even when you're trying to have quality time with the kids. But you're right, the kids need to be provided for, and I think every working Mum feels torn like this at times. It's just blogging is particularly full on when you're documenting your own life constantly! #brillblogposts

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  8. I am so glad that I read this. I spend soooo much time blogging and "finding" work that I probably make three cents a day. I know starting a brand pr a business can be like that but I am a stay at home mom by CHOICE- so it never quite feels right.:(

    #brilliantblogs

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  9. I love your honesty in this post. I find it helpful to think about balance in terms of each week rather than each day. It can be hard to fit enough time for work and house and children into 24 hours, !75 if you make time for all those things throughout the week then it's easier. You may not spend all day with your children today, but you did at some other point in the week. Good luck finding your balance, and good on you for challenging yourself and your beliefs #brillblogposts

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  10. I always feel like this, even when i'm just doing Housework. I think most working parents feel guilt when they can't spend every minute with their child. It's not easy :-( #Sharingthebloglove

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  11. No easy answers here and finding that balance once you've made a blog your job is something I'm exploring in a project at the moment. It's hard for us all, we love what we do but we want to be present for our kids too and it's possible to juggle, to do that but you need to be kinder to yourself. I wonder if you can streamline your work. Up your fees so you take less commissions but without losing revenue. Then you'll feel more in control of your workload and less stressed. Say no to things your heart isn't in and carve out more non-blogging time for you and the family. Not everything has to be documented. There's so much which never makes my blog and at least 2-3 days a week see me out without a camera. I would also 100% keep the things in your videos you love. The beauty of blogging and vlogging is you are your own exec producer-you are in charge. People don't like it, they can fast forward. You only answer to yourself. Remind yourself why you started your blog too-always go back to that, your mission statement if you like. We all started to share our lives-my site organically became my business and I love it but I would write and film even if it wasn't my job, it's a need like breathing. The first step is saying things are too much as you have- then planning-in black and white in a notepad what can be changed, what you can say no to etc-to going to bed earlier and simply switching off more. I had broken sleep last week and forced my laptop off early and slept so much better. I think you will be more productive and less stressed if you sleep better too. I know, I've been there and I've spent all year caring for a sick relative too. Also please remember that social media isn't reality. It's selective representation and that's OK but no one's life is perfect. Also, guilt is inevitable for us all but it's totally futile. Happy parents equal happy kids I say and if you didn't write, would you be happy? You are doing a great job, you are hugely talented and are a great mum too. Please be kind to yourself x

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  12. It sounds like you're going through a tough time and torn in so many different directions. I really feel for you. It's funny, but since starting my blog in the last few months, which is only for pleasure while I'm on mat leave, I've been starting to get sucked in too. I've been starting to think about how I could pack up my day job, work from home and maybe get stuck into blogging if I work really hard and then have a nice balance between working at home and looking after my kids.

    But then I take a step back and think of what it would really mean. I'd be giving up a regular income, feel constantly under pressure to 'perform' to bring in the money, have no childcare as I couldn't afford it (at least initially) so they'd have no-one to give them full on attention all day, every day. Right now, it's doable as I commit a few hours here and there on an evening. But when you look at successful, professional bloggers, I can see that it takes real dedication. It's hard bloody work.

    I'm in awe of you trying to balance it all and feel bad that you feel it isn't working out as you had planned. Just remember that you set out doing this for a reason. And that was to be able to spend time with your kids, document your days together, connect with other mums and make a living from it. Of course you won't feel like you're doing any of them brilliantly. And that's because you're a working mum. And whether you work from home as a blogger or work full time in a company, it's inevitably going to take precious time away from your children. You might not have the 'shiny' instagram life (I don't know anyone who does) but you're doing an amazing job. #sharingthebloglove

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  13. I can completely relate to this, and I'm sure every mummy blogger can. I keep reading these posts on facebook about how we need to stop living our lives behind the camera, that not every moment has to be captured, and it's completely guilt inducing. In reality, if we're out and about, I tend to try to get most of the photos done early on so that I can relax and enjoy the rest of the day, but it doesn't stop me reading those things and feeling guilty anyway! I'm sorry you're feeling like this, but as you've recognised here, social media isn't reality for people, and I'm sure most parents feel like their struggling at some points. Thanks for joining us again at #SharingtheBlogLove

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  14. I definitely relate to this and I think that every mummy blogger has done at some point. It's so hard to keep up with everything and there is so much that goes into a blog and my to do list is never ending. I have moments of feeling totally overwhelmed by it all. I then get my note book out and split the tasks into urgent and non urgent, I find this helps me. I also try not to take photos for the blog every time we go somewhere. I need to be able to take photos that are just for us and not 'perfect'! Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x

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  15. Oh bless you sweetie, I do know where you coming from though I feel I am on a constant roundabout with blogging, working and motherhood it is a nightmare! It can be very consuming can't it. Never feel bad though hon, you are doing brilliantly and you remember that. Keep smiling and thanks for linking up #bestandworst

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  16. Oh I'm with you on this and struggling with it. Am I wasting my maternity leave because I'm focusing on the blog too much? Am o spending enough time with the baby. Will I look back and regret it? I've no idea but I hate the way it makes me feel. So I'm with you but I don't know the balance or the answer, if you figure it out please let me know! Stopping by from #sharingthebloglove xc

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  17. Oh love you have 3 young children and you're doing a great job. On all levels. I sometimes feel
    Like that about instagram feeds but I tend to make myself better by thinking they're not real. Maybe that square is monochrome and tidy but surely there's a basket of washing behind them and last night's dishes Lynda no in the sink. I'd love a perfect home but my location and kids don't really lend to
    That abs personally, I'd rather see a child with spaghetti on their head than it be perfect. That's reality. If you still feel bad, come and see my feed. You will
    Instantly feel
    Better 😀 Big hugs xx

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