My Monkey turns 5 next month, I’ve been a SAHM for nearly 5 years and a blogger for a little over 4 years. And in all honesty I’m not sure how much longer that I will be either of those things. I have loved my time at home with the kiddies while they have been small, and my blog has been a real lifeline for much of that time. Connecting with other mums, sharing thoughts and ideas. Sharing the updates about my beautiful children. Sharing the downsides and hardships of being a SAHM and sharing my postnatal depression.
I’ve had ups and downs with blogging but for the most part I have loved it. For a while though, that love has been waning. I’ve struggled to give it the time and energy my blog really needs to be successful. I’ve stopped minding whether it even is succesful, and have just carried on sharing as and when I have felt like it.
I still have ups and downs. Days and weeks where I seem to find more time and more inspiration and resolve to do better to give more attention to my blog. Then I have days and weeks where I just can’t be bothered, to be honest. So I wonder how long to keep blogging… And I don’t really know the answer.
As for being a SAHM, as I mentioned above, it has been wonderful… But I don’t love it as much as I once did. I feel somehow wrong admitting that. I’ve been so lucky that I have been able to be a SAHM, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. LM starts preschool in a month, just a couple of mornings a week, but both she and I need that time. As we gradually increase her time at pre-school, my plan is to start working part time in some capacity.
The truth is I need more now. I have raised my babies at home with me. I have taken pride in their achievements and seen many of them as my own too. I taught them to count, to recognise their colours, to be kind and for the most part we’ll behaved. That’s been my job. But I feel I need something other than being mummy. This isn’t going to happen over night as there are many things to consider but I think my days as a full time SAHM are limited.
I think that may be one of (many) the reasons my love for the blog is waning. It is called Becoming a SAHM… if I’m not going to be a SAHM anymore… What do I do? Change the name and the whole purpose of the site?
I’m not completely ready to hang up either Cape quite yet. There are some more things I would like to blog about (having one of those weeks I mentioned before, where I want to do it again) and a couple of PR things to complete, though I’m not sure I’ll accept any more. Apologies to anyone who has emailed recently. It is hard enough to find the time and energy to write things I want to write these days, let alone writing things for someone else.
I’ve lost my blogging mojo a bit lately. I just haven’t had the time or energy to write much and haven’t really engaged with any there blogs and on the whole have felt like a pretty rubbish blogger. The reasons for this are varied, it has been a really busy month with hubs’ knee surgery and trip to Canada so I have had more to do and have been more tired but I also know there is more to it than that. I have been questioning my blogging a lot.
I started this blog about 3 1/2 years ago, which is a bit mental really. It started off when Monkey was about 9mths old as a little hobby to help me cope with the adjustment of becoming a SAHM. In those days my posts were pretty rambling, I wasn’t on social media with the blog and had never heard of a linky so was mainly just rambling on to a few people.
Then I joined twitter and the world of linkies and wow did my blogging life change. Soon my blog was a major part of my life and my stats shot up. I redesigned my site and things went from strength to strength. I was constantly thinking about my next post and I was loving it. Then LM came along and the truth is I haven’t been able to keep my blog at the level it used to he since she came along. For a long time I just about managed but it was exhausting and eventually I scaled back a bit. I have still been thinking about what I want to write but I don’t always have the time to actually write the posts.
I hate not do something wholeheartedly and have struggled with the scaling back of my blog. I feel disconnected from so many of the lovely bloggers I used to talk to a lot more and to be honest on the periphery of the blogging world a lot. I hardly ever remember to reply to PRs who email me and to my shame have been guilty of link dumping. Not intentionally but I lose track of what I have linked up to and then feel terrible. I try and go back to every link but have a feeling that sometimes I miss some. And there are times when I read someone’s post… And then go blank when it is time to write a comment. I hate writing bland platitudes as a comment so sometimes just don’t say anything.
Britmums live was interesting as I saw so many fabulous bloggers there having a great time together and it’s not like I am jealous, I guess I just don’t feel like part of that world as much at the moment. I don’t feel like a blogger.
I wonder what the point is in writing my blog. Does anyone really care what we got up to last weekend, or what my opinion is about things? Do I have anything new to share that doesn’t get shared a million times by other bloggers who can put it a lot better than I can anyway?
So do I give up? When something has been a big part of who you are for over 3 years that is not so easy. Especially when there is lots I love about it.
I love that it is a record of my little ones’ childhood. A record of them growing up and developing. A record of the fun we have together and a record of their relationship.
I love that it is a way for me to share all the million photographs that I take of my children, I know I take far too many but I love it and it is nice to have somewhere to share them without bombarding old friends on Facebook with them.
It gives me a place to vent my thoughts. I don’t share everything on the blog as some things should be kept private, but it has helped me so many times to get my thoughts out and process them. I do also love that this has the potential to help others. The thing about the world we live in is that we are never the first or only person to be experiencing a certain thing but if we don’t share our experiences it is easy to feel alone. I know that sharing my postnatal depression has helped others while also helping me and I am proud of that.
So when I think about these things I don’t want to give it up. What I need to do instead is for the time being to scale it back even further and come to terms with that. I will join in with the occasional linky when I have the time but won’t be joining in to any on a weekly basis. I’m sorry but I would rather join in properly occasionally than join in half heartedly regularly and risk link dumping and upsetting the hosts.
So my stats may shrink even further and I will probably be even more disconnected with the blogging world… But actually I think I am OK with that. Our real life is really busy and I want to focus on enjoying that and blog when I can and when I want to. I guess in many ways I am going back to where I started! When Monkey is settled at school in September I may find I have more time and will rethink then.
So in the meantime I will still be here sporadically and you will hear from me occasionally and I will still love to hear from you even if you won’t see at many linkies anymore! Oh and I love instagram so do follow me on there if you want to see what we are up to! I’m @becomingasahm xx
My word of the week this week, is friends, because I am incredibly grateful for the wonderful friends have in my life and honestly don’t know how I would cope without them!
Last Friday night my closest Mummy friends and I got together for a much needed catch up and meal out. We all worked together pre-children and since having our little munchkins we have gotten so close. We share the ups and the downs and though we really are all quite different, we support each other and are 100% there for each other. As one of my friends put it the other night, we are so lucky we found each other. It had been far too long since our last catch up without children and I hope we don’t leave it so long next time. We got things off our chests, shared the highs and lows of life lately and gave each other a good talking to where needed. Love my girls and I felt so happy and chilled afterwards.
I’ve also had some lovely time with some newer mummy friends this week and play dates with their little ones. Since Monkey started our local preschool I have gotten to know a few of the local mums. I am a bit of an introvert so find the playground mums thing really awkward but there are a couple of mums I really get on with. One in particular introduced me to someone as the first mummy friend she had met who she would have been friends with pre-children, which I was really touched by. She and I really click which is lovely as her eldest will be in Monkey’s class at primary school, so I think we have many years of friendship ahead of us! Some of the other mummies I chat to on the playgroup run are equally lovely and sometimes just those few mins chatting at the beginning and end of the day, sharing trials and tribulations really can make so much difference to how I feel at the end of the day.
I have also felt incredibly grateful for the friendship and support I get online as a result of my blog and social media this week. Parenting can be so hard, and after sharing a particularly low morning on Instagram and Facebook, the support and encouragement I got from cyber friends was incredible. Many are women I have never met but thanks to the internet we are able to reach out and support each other through this motherhood journey, and I am so grateful for that.
My blog has connected me to so many wonderful people, and as I can be a bit introverted as I mentioned above, I don’t always make the most of this. I shy away from blog conferences and meeting fellow bloggers purely out of shyness and a lack of confidence in myself. But this week I have finally arranged to meet up with a blogger I have admired for some time. I am nervous but we get on so well in typing that I hope we will get on as well in person!
My blog has also reconnected me with people I have lost touch with over the years. A lovely lady I met travelling 9 years ago got in touch this week and told me how much my blog helps her through her motherhood journey, and well wow, what an awesome thing. Helping anyone with my ramblings is amazing and reconnecting with a friend from my past is always lovely. There are other lovely blogging mummies that I worked with in a previous life, and I’ve mentioned before how Sarah from Run, Jump, Scrap and I have become much closer through blogging. Our husbands have been friends since childhood so it really is great when we all get together. We have arranged to meet next weekend and I am so looking forward to that! The friendship side was just something I really never expected when I started writing my little blog but it is a fantastic bonus.
The final reason that my word of the week this week is friends, is because Saturday is my birthday, and we are having a bbq in the afternoon (fingers crossed for kind weather!) with lots of family and friends over. Once again I am so grateful for having so many lovely people in my life who are coming to celebrate with me, please cross your fingers for good weather for me, otherwise we may have a slightly crowded house!
Blogging had been such a help to me since becoming a mum and making the decision to be a SAHM. It has helped me share my experiences and to feel less alone thanks to the wonderful community of parent bloggers out there. There is so much power in blogging and as well as helping each other we can be quite influential.
I was recently sent the following info graphic about the rise and stats of Mummy Bloggers which I find hugely interesting.
Who knew there was quite so many of us out there? I admit to being honoured to be included in the top 50 bloggers on here. I confess to being a little sceptical about this however as there are many fantastic and far more influential bloggers than I who have not made it onto this list. (Never mind the absence of any daddy bloggers…) I wonder whether it is more a chart of those of us that responded rather than a chart of the top mummy bloggers..
Hubs says I should not worry and enjoy it and I guess though I am not sure I agree I do feel very proud that someone feels that I belong on this chart alongside such wonderful company.
Whether I do belong on this chart or no I do hope that I have helped other mummies as much as other bloggers have helped me. That is all I really care about. Parenting can be so hard at times and so difficult to know if you are doing it ‘right.’ Reading other Mums’ experiences helps me to know I am not alone and that there is no ‘right’ way and that I am doing ok. I hope my blog helps other Mummies to feel the same way.
I have had a bit of a break from blogging recently and it has really made me think a lot about why I blog, what I want to get out of it and what I want going forward. I have rechecked all of my priorities and decided to make a bit of a change from here on in and focus on myself and what is right for me and as a result I will be scaling right back.
I love writing and I love creating a record for the kids when they grow up and I don’t want that to stop but I can’t let my blog take over my life the way that it has. I can’t keep getting stressed out because I haven’t managed to post in time for a linky. I can’t be glued to phone to ensure I comment on the requisite number of posts that each linky needs me to comment on. I just can’t keep up with it all. So I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself to do so.
I will still be here and I will still be writing what I want to write. I will also still be reading lots of lovely blogs and commenting when I want to comment – but not for the sake of it or because I feel I have to.
I will be stopping my MaternityMondays linky. I have really enjoyed it but I am finding it too much work at the moment. I will still be joining in with lovely linkies, but not on the scale that I was. When I have a post suitable for a certain linky I will join in but I am afraid I won’t be a regular with many linkies from now on.
I will hopefully have time to reply to comments on my blog again, I am not making any promises, but I would love to actually respond to people who take the time to comment on my blog. This has completely fallen by the wayside over recent months and I hate that I haven’t replied to people… but I just havent been able to keep up.
I’m not worrying about my stats at all anymore. If people read it then they do, if they don’t they don’t and I need to not care about that. I am also not going to work as much with PRs anymore. I have a couple of things in the pipeline and there may well be some tempting opportunities so never say never but there definitely won’t be as much. I just can’t be bothered. I don’t want to be a professional blogger, this is a hobby not a job for me. I don’t want to write anything because someone else wants me to and I don’t want anyone else having any say about what the content is of my blog. It is my blog and it is for me (and anyone else who wishes to read it).
I won’t be worrying about what people think when they read my posts. I won’t be writing things for the sake of it or in the hope that it will get people to like me.
For me that has been a big downside of blogging. I don’t have a whole lot of self-worth if I’m honest, this isn’t a pity party and I don’t generally talk about it on here because I haven’t the time or energy to rehash it all but there are some things that have happened in my life that have not given me a whole lot of self-worth. After telling me most of life that he had nothing worth living for my Dad eventually lived up to his word and committed suicide. I know it wasn’t about me but when your own father doesn’t even think you are worth being alive for it doesn’t give you the best opinion of yourself growing up.
Then years later my group of best friends, who I thought really knew me and got me, proved that they didn’t. They believed me to be capable of doing, saying and thinking things that I would never have done, said or thought. Some of us got through it but most of those friendships ended. I am in a much better place now than I was then and I do have wonderful friends now who do really know me. But that experience left behind some nasty scars. I am very guarded and always worry that what I do or say will be misinterpreted. Maybe it was my fault. Maybe I am as awful as they thought and it will happen again?
I was sent a meme recently with a question that asked what I thought people liked most about me. This is what sparked a lot of my thinking of late because I really realised that I have no idea why people like me. I wouldn’t even like to hazard a guess and I realised at this just how badly my self-worth has been damaged. I’m not writing this for sympathy. I am writing this as I realised that actually much of the community side of blogging isn’t helping me. It appeals to my needy attention seeking side, wanting people to like me, to get me. And I don’t think it is that healthy.
I have a husband who adores me and children who love me as much as I love them. My family is amazing and supportive and lovely. My mum and step dad are wonderful as are my in-laws. I have amazing friends who do know me and do like me/love me. I don’t need the whole world or the whole blogging community to like me. I don’t need new best friends.
I’m not knocking the blogging community here… on the whole it has been very good for me. I have received so much support with my PND and difficult times and there are so so many wonderful bloggy ladies out there. The problem lies with me and I need to take control and work on myself. I need to stop competing or feeling I have to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ so to speak.
I don’t want to stop blogging entirely as blogging inspires me to be a better parent. I have found so many wonderful ideas for playing with the kids, for cooking, for parenting, for everything. It makes me think and question myself and find ways to improve myself. I also love so many wonderful blogs that I still want to know what you are all up to, how you are getting on and support you in the way that you have supported me. I just need to get off the merry-go-round of constantly blogging and linking up and give myself a break.
In many ways this week hasn’t been terrible, but in all honesty it hasn’t been great either. I really feel like I am struggling at the moment. Like a hamster in a wheel I am running as fast as I can but I don’t feel like I am getting anywhere. Do you ever feel like that?
I feel like I am spreading myself so thin with looking after both kids, trying to keep on top of everything at home and then with the blog. This ends up with me feeling like I am not doing any of those things very well which makes me feel even worse as I am trying so hard but I am coming up short in all areas.
Sometimes things are ok but all it takes is for one area to get a bit harder and the rest all falls apart.
LM has been really difficult lately and we have realised that it is the return of her reflux issues that is the cause of this. I have no idea why it has returned but she has been so irritable, unhappy and barely napping which has been exhausting. She was arching her back and then she started throwing up, quite frequently. As ever with babies it is guess work as to what is bothering them. Teeth? Tummy? But I had a feeling it was reflux before the throwing up and that convinced me.
So we are back using the infant Gaviscon again and have an appointment with a Dr in a day or two. The Gaviscon is helping but that comes with it’s own challeges as it is a faff getting that into every feed and it is also already slowing down her bowel movements so we will see what the way forward is in a few days.
The problem really is that I have had to put so much energy into LM that I feel like all the other areas are suffering like crazy. Monkey is sat watching TV or playing on the tablet far too much for my liking, but the alternative is him running around like a loony, climbing on me, questioning me every 5 seconds while I am trying to deal with a whining, wriggling, crying baby, or while I am trying to do some cleaning or put on some washing or just achieve something.
Of course it is not all the time, there are times he is happy playing with his toys by himself. But I hate how much he is in front of the screen and I feel like I am failing him. One of the reasons I am a SAHM is so I can do things with him, help him learn and develop and he is not doing that as much just sat playing on the Cars game on the tablet or watching cbeebies.
Now the Gaviscon is helping LM and she is sleeping more than half an hour at a time again I am trying to refocus my energies on Monkey. To spend a bit more time playing and learning with him. Yesterday we did some painting with different textures and playing with letters and words so that was good but right now he is sat on the tablet as I write this. (Not the whole post, I can never get a post written in one sitting at the mo!)
Because my blog is another area that I just don’t feel I am doing that well with at the moment. On the one hand I feel that it isn’t important so I shouldn’t worry and that there are much more important things I should be doing. But my blog is for me, it is the one thing that is mine and so it is important. I don’t want to give it up as I feel I have a lot to say, but I also don’t feel I can dedicate the time I want to dedicate to it.
I am struggling to find the time to read and comment on as many other posts as I want to. I haven’t replied to any emails from PRs or people who want to contribute in ages. I could spend time on that instead of writing, but I need to write. I need to share things as it helps me get things off my chest and makes me feel like what I am going through has a purpose. But as a result I am letting opportunities pass me by, because I don’t have the time or energy to devote to doing a good job at any of them.
I also feel like I am failing LM with weaning. I know many people are big fans of baby-led weaning and I wanted to try more of that this time around but honestly there is so much of BLW that I don’t understand, and I have no idea when I am supposed to find the time to learn it, so we are sticking with purees. Buteven then I feel like I am failing. I want to be doing so much more and introducing her to different textures of finger food as well as making more homemade purees. But I don’t know when I am supposed to have the time to do any of it.
Monkey has always been a fussy eater and I worry that because I can’t find the time to devote to it that LM is going to be fussy too, and that that is going to be my fault. (Pause to sit and sob)
Hubs and I have been trying to do a bit better with the housework too. When the kids are in bed, instead of loading the dishwasher and then just collapsing we are trying to do any washing up that needs doing (instead of leaving it to the next morning) and actually tidy up toys and anything else that needs tidying. We both feel better when the house is tidy so it is a good thing… But also at the end of the witching hour when the kids are both in bed, we are both knackered to be honest and just want to sit.
I don’t know what the solution to any of this is. Hubs is doing as much as he can as he has a demanding job and as soon as he comes in he is pounced on by Monkey and/or handed the baby so I can get on with dinner and it is then full on until bedtime. Mornings are taken in turns to get ready while the other looks after the kids and get bottles made and do jobs then he leaves for work.
I also want to try and do some more exercise but the “when” question is there again. I know people say you have to make time for things but the only way I can make time at the moment would either be by:
a) Not spending any time relaxing in the evening with hubs, which I think is important for my sanity and for our relationship, and is only around an hour a day. Plus it is the only time we actually get to talk about birthdays and holidays and anything else that needs planning or discussion.
b) Sleeping less. But as I am shattered in general I am not sure how less sleep will help anyone?
So I am struggling. Struggling to find a way to balance everything that I need/want to do. For a while I have just been getting on with things and getting more and more snappy and irritable. A conversation with a friend this morning led to me finally admitting just how much I am struggling and breaking down and having a good cry and finally telling hubs everything that is on my mind.
Friends and family are very kind and tell me I am doing a fab job and that I am doing what I need to to cope and that I am not failing. But I just can’t stop feeling like I am failing. At everything. Writing this has been cathertic and I feel lighter for getting it out in the open, but it hasn’t solved anything.
Maybe I am expecting too much for myself or putting too much pressure on myself but that’s just who I am. I always want to try my best and I don’t know how to expect less from myself.
How do you balance everything? Does it get easier as the kids get older?
I wasn’t sure if I was going to write a word of the week this week as it has been a bit of a mixed bag. Some parts of the week have been absolutely lovely, others really hard with LM and honestly I am a bit fed up about banging on about the difficult days, so I wasn’t sure what word I would use.
Then I woke this morning to a pingback, a little email telling me I had been included in a Tots100 article – a real first for me – titled Five blogs for Parenting Advice. To be included amongst such awesome company as the other bloggers felt pretty incredible. But what really, sincerely touched me, was what the author said about my blog, and one of my posts in particular. She said that it had genuinely helped her and her little one. This meant so so much to me.
I blog primarily for my own sanity. It is a way to keep my brain working and exercised while I am surrounded by nappies and crumbs and toys every day of my life. It also serves as a lovely record of our family journey which I hope I will treasure in the years to come. I also blog in the hope that something I say may be able to help someone else. I am no saint and I know it sounds cliche saying I want to help people, but becoming a Mum is the hardest thing I have ever done and it is challenging and lonely at times. If by sharing my experiences I can help another Mum feel, even for 30 seconds, that they are not alone, then I am ecstatic. Or if I can share a technique that actually helps them get some more sleep or avoid a mealtime battle, then I am thrilled. It makes me feel that my blog has a purpose.
I have noticed this week that the ramp up to the Bibs has started with lots of posts about why people hope to be nominated. Of course I would be lying if I said I didn’t hope for a nomination, who wouldn’t want that recognition? But there is so much talent out there in the blogging community that I am pretty realistic about my chances of winning. I thought about writing a post showcasing some of my favourite blogs to vote for rather than asking for votes for myself, but I don’t even know which blogs to choose and nominate for my own vote as there are so many amazing bloggers that it feels unfair to choose some over others. I may yet try as I would love to see some of my favourite bloggers up there getting awards or at the very least receiving a nomination.
I guess that what I am trying to say is that while winning an award for my blog would be amazing for me, being included in this article felt a little like winning an award. Someone out there felt that what I had written was worthy of comment. Someone out there felt that my blog genuinely helped them through a tricky time. I couldn’t ask for more.
So regardless of awards I will continue blogging. I will carry on sharing my experiences, good and bad, and the things that have, and haven’t worked for us. In the hope that I can help a few other Mummies through this amazing yet challenging experience.