Friday, 30 March 2018

Me & Mine In March: Stepping Back From Online Pressure



At the beginning of this year, I decided that instead of making the usual New Years Resolutions that I tend to always go for..."Must try harder to take better photos"..."Must post x number of times per week on my blog"...."Must be cooler/better/try harder/get thinner/look better/be more aspirational"....you know, all of the typical resolutions you'd expect from a blogger and CERTAINLY all the usual ones I would make year after year.

That instead, I would resolve to step back a bit from it all. To ease the pressure on myself that the online world can bring.

It's all completely self inflicted of course...the pressure isn't put on me by anybody other than myself. But it still feels very real and ever present.

When I see other bloggers fantastic engagement on social media, I can't help but compare mine and come out of it feeling unpopular and "less-than".

When I notice how other bloggers follower numbers seem to be ever-climbing and mine either stay the same or plummet, I can't help but take it personally and wonder what I've done to make people want to unfollow.

When I see other bloggers getting amazing brand deals and working with companies I could only dream of, or worse...ones that I KNOW would be an absolute perfect fit for me but who've turned me down...I can't help but feel that I'm just not good enough. That I should give up, and "get a real job" as people so often love to (unhelpfully) suggest.

Another of those constant monthly reminders of my self-perceived failings were these monthly Me & Mine photos. I know they're only supposed to be a bit of fun, I know they're absolutely not something I should ever have taken so seriously...but over time for me they became just another way to compare myself unfavourably to other people.

I'd look at other families gorgeous photos and I'd berate myself for still not being able to take a good crisp, bright photograph despite having owned my DSLR for 4 years now. I'd criticize myself for not being creative enough to think up an unusual and Insta-worthy pose or destination for our photos.

And quite often I'd tear strips off myself mentally for the fact that taking our family photos always felt like a struggle...that my children never seemed to want to do it, that it would often end up with them being told off for not cooperating or me feeling annoyed that nobody would just do what I wanted them to do, that it could become the entire focus of my thoughts during a family day out instead of just being something we did to remember a fun day by.

Taking those photos had become anything but a fun monthly look back on our family life, and instead had become yet another tool for me to use to beat myself down with.

Another way that my blogging life was infringing on our family time and enjoyment, something I'd started to realise last year but just never felt ready to completely pull away from.

I was always worrying about getting good photos from the 'gram, Always thinking "Ooh maybe I should write about this on my blog" in every situation...and so rarely just living in the moment. So rarely just enjoying a day out with my boys without spending 50% of my time behind a camera recording it.

But this year, I'm taking a different approach to my "online life" in general - instead of panicking myself half to death in bed at night because I haven't stuck to a weekly schedule of 3 new blog posts per week...I've focused on telling myself that it REALLY doesn't matter.

Yes this is what I do for work, yes it's important that I keep views up if I want to continue to earn a living from it...but at the end of the day, nobody REALLY cares if there's no new posts on my blog for a week. It's NOT that important to anybody but me and I'm just flattering myself if I tell myself that they do. And I do NOT need to be so very stressed out with keeping up with it all of the time.

And the same goes for all of it...for every platform...it's easy to fall in to a trap of thinking you HAVE to stick to a particular schedule. To post photos on Instagram every night, to stick with a regular YouTube upload schedule and all of the rest of it.

But I realised that actually...I don't really care about any of it. The whole point of trying so hard to do all of this is to grow your channels...to get more followers...to get more hits...to become better known, better liked and, inevitably, better paid.

And what I realised is...I don't actually want any of that.




I have enough followers, I have enough of a reach, I make enough money...I don't care about going beyond that. I know it sounds like a cliche but genuinely I don't.  The thought of having hundreds of thousands of followers makes me uncomfortable, and I know it wouldn't be enjoyable for me...I've had enough of a taste of going viral to last me a life time and it's not something I want to repeat in a hurry. I'm comfortable with where I am.

So I don't need to keep trying so hard to reach some sort of pot of gold reward at the end of the rainbow that I don't even truly want. I prefer silver anyway, and the truth is...the rainbow never really ends. It goes on and on and on. I'd never get there even if I tried...there'd always be more to do, more to strive for, more to achieve.

No...I'm fine where I am.

And for that reason, you'll find less posts on my blog and less frequent videos on my YouTube channel and some weeks where there are no posts on my Instagram at all.

This has been happening since January and I bet nobody has even noticed at all, because why would they?!

We did join in with Me & Mine in January, because the boys were all happy to take a quick photo in the living room before we went out one day. It was a two seconds and we're done job...no striving for unreachable perfection.

Last month...we skipped it. And the world did not stop spinning, nor did the blog views stop coming.

This month, we felt like taking one again! So we did. And look at that...everyone was far happier to take them, maybe because they've been seeing less of the camera lately!

Who knows whether we'll post one again next month or whether it'll be 6 months before we take one again...it doesn't matter.

As long as we're enjoying life without fretting so much about the online stuff, that's what matters...whether there are pretty Instagrammable photos to prove it or not!



Things That We've Been Loving Lately:

Tyne 

*Teen Titans & Gumball
*Playing on his Nintendo 3DS
*Playing Boys Craft on the ipad
*Learning about World War 2
*Rapping! Or trying to!

Noah

*Watching Horrid Henry with Tyne
*Making dresses for his dolls out of Playdoh
*Listening to "The Greatest Showman" soundtrack
*Elsa of course!

Sailor

*Maui from Moana! It's all he talks about!
*Singing lines from Disney songs
*Dancing
*Watching the "Barbie Girl" music video on my phone!

Jon

*Watching the last ever series of The Middle...our favourite show!

And Me

*Watching Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime...I never watched it at the time but I'm hooked now!
*Buying new clothes for spring and embracing bright colours more
*Following more Body Positive & Feminist Influencers and feeling super inspired by them!
*Making plans for the coming months
*Seeing Evita at the theatre with my sister - I love theatre trips!

I hope March has been good to you all!

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2 comments

  1. It’s refreshing to see someone not focussing as much on the numbers x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh Hayley these photos are so so lovely! And I love this post, you're so right. It doesnt matter if you don't stick to a schedule, it's about sharing and capturing the moments that you want to. x

    ReplyDelete

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