Authentically Me

I am a person who feels. I feel things without understanding what it is I’m feeling. I feel things without knowing what I’m even thinking about. On a damn-near daily basis I’m forced to stop what I’m doing so I can search through the many layers of thoughts and feelings coursing through my body, just to figure out what the hell is bothering me. Often it’s silly little things like, Oh no, I forgot to post that letter today! But other times it’s horrible things like, I’m the worst person in the world and I totally embarrassed myself by that thing I did. Why did I do that thing? *

Lately I’ve been having a lot of feelings about social media.

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Facebook. But I have yet to admit that I also dislike Instagram. Twitter I can handle, YouTube I love, but Facebook and Instagram? No. Any time I log into either platform, I end up with feelings. They sit in the pit of my stomach, heavy yet fluid, and eat away at my core until I confront them. Sometimes even that isn’t enough. As I write this, the social media induced feelings have been with me for days. In fact, this blog post is nothing more than an attempt to get these feelings out of my system.

When it comes down to it, Facebook and Instagram make me feel inferior. I see how many friends and fans the people I follow have and I feel small. I see images of happy families and beautiful homes and I feel inadequate. I see links to other people’s blog posts and I feel worthless. I do not have the biggest following, the happiest family, or the most shareable blog. I am just a woman behind a computer, typing and editing in my living room, while my pantsless son plays with his trains on the crumb-covered floor. I am not special. I’m just another bloody Mummy Blogger, trying to get your attention… Or am I?

I’ve lost count of how many people have commented on my blog posts commending my honesty. It’s a statement that surprises me every time. Why would I bother writing things that are untrue? Why would I pretend to be anything other than what (or who) I am? But the more I think about it, the more I realise that there are a lot of people out there who only present one side of themselves. The best side. They curate their Instagram feeds, showing only the most impressive images of their beautiful, well-mannered children. They update their Facebook pages with sweet stories about ice-creams and walks on the beach. They rave about products they’ve been sent for free, using them as props in their perfectly framed snapshots. Very rarely do they admit that their kids are driving them insane, they’re sick of being at home wiping bottoms, or that they haven’t cleaned their bathroom in two weeks. And while none of this is dishonest – we all pick and choose what we want to share with the world – I don’t find it particularly authentic.

Authenticity has become more and more important to me as I have aged. Being my authentic self is my number one goal when it comes to both blogging and vlogging. In my mind, if I’m not keeping it real I’m doing everybody an incredible disservice. Too many parents sit at home beating themselves up because they think they’re the only ones struggling to keep their kids happy and their house tidy. Too many mums feel alone and lonely because they find parenting not only difficult, but frustrating too. I’m not willing to contribute to those feelings. I’m not here to make my life as a full-time mother of four look or sound any better (or worse) than it actually is. And, though I’m not big-time enough to be featuring products or services on my blog, I can promise that if I ever do write a sponsored post, I’ll do so as authentically as possible.

As much as I hate to tell you this, when I first started this self-hosted blog I was trying to be like other parenting bloggers. I wrote a terrible post about how to find yourself again if you feel like you’re lost in motherhood. I numbered it and everything. I tried to make myself sound like an expert. Like, Oh yes, I am a wise and experienced mother and I have all the answers. Ugh. Who was I kidding? At the time I couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel proud of my work, but now I know. That wasn’t me. That was me trying to be a blogger. And you know what’s stupid about that? I’m not just a blogger. I’m a writer. I write things. And I like to write about things that are real.

So whether or not it’s in my best interests in terms of becoming a successful (*cough* paid *cough*) blogger, I am resolving to only write about the things that are close to my authentic heart. I’m not going to share photos and videos of my kids, because I don’t feel right about using them to attract attention. Nor will I share a meaningless 100-word post just because I haven’t blogged in a while and I need to drive traffic to my site. I’m not criticising anyone who chooses to do those things because I get it. Any attention is good attention, traffic equals money, and people love looking at pictures of cute babies and kids. But that’s just not who I am, and that’s not who I want to be. I mean, I chose to blog under my name rather than a generic Mummy Blog title for a reason.

Before I sign off, here’s a little reminder for those of you who battle with feelings after scrolling through Facebook or Instagram myself: The photo your friend posted of her kids playing happily on the floor does not mean she’s a better mother than you. It just means she chose to snap a quick picture while the kids were quiet and their pants were dry. And she’s probably spent a good chunk of her day ignoring them so she can get things done too. That blogger/businesswoman/creative-type you follow has thousands of fans because she’s worked hard to network herself and build up a following. That doesn’t mean she’s more talented than you. That doesn’t mean you’ll never succeed. The fact that she’s doing well for herself just proves that you can too.

Yes, the things you see on Facebook and Instagram are real. They are honest and true. But, when you really think about it, they are other people’s highlights. The best bits of their lives. Don’t beat yourself up, and don’t let the feelings get you down. Even if they are few and far between, you have highlights too.

– Fern xxx

*Yes, I am aware that the feelings I’m talking about are caused by and/or are anxiety. No, you do not need to worry about me. 

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12 Comment

  1. wdzl says: Reply

    I love you

  2. Sarah Howe says: Reply

    So agree with this. I do love Insta and Facebook but I quite like to post the shitty photos of tantrums/bad days and try to make it a bit more “real”. Perfect photos are very much not me. Then I sometimes worry will I annoy people moaning? It’s a tough one but I do admire your honestly and for keeping it real. Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x

  3. Jenna says: Reply

    I’m not a huge fan of Facebook, I never have been. For a long time I didn’t have an account but soon realised that it was the only way some members of my family would ever keep in touch. I reluctantly re-joined but I’m very strict about who I add as a ‘friend’. As a result, I don’t look all that popular but I’m glad that I only see stuff from people I genuinely care about. Likewise, somebody I worked with briefly 10 years ago, doesn’t know the ins and outs of my life. Not that I share a lot on my profile anyway, but you get my point? I enjoy Instagram to a degree but I do know what you mean. I find everyone’s perfect lives a little tiring at times (and a bit boring too!)

    I think most people who read this post will be able to relate to it as a lot of us feel the same way about social media.

    #BestandWost

  4. Jaylan - Diapers at Dawn says: Reply

    Totally agree. I think it’s easy to forget that some people pick and choose what they share and write about which can make you feel a bit like ‘FML’ especially as a new blogger! To be honest I think it’s the warts and all posts that I enjoy, but always nice to have a balance and mixture. I don’t like to share everything on social media as I prefer for somethings to be private, but that’s just me x #bestandworst

  5. Themotherhubblog says: Reply

    Love this post and identify with so much of it . I am a thinker and dwell in my thoughts for hours and days. I don’t do Facebook for the reasons you describe. Reminds me of a smiths song .. I paraphrase ‘compare the worst of your days , to the best of their days, you won’t win’.

  6. The Pramshed says: Reply

    That is so true Fern, we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to other’s on Facebook and Instagram, although it is very easy to do. I’m guilty of looking other peoples houses and thinking I wish my living room looked like that….silly stuff really! Social media especially Facebook and Instagram is designed for people to show off their lives to others, whereas with Twitter I think that people are so much more honest. With Twitter it is easy to use the poo symbol, rave about how much of a bad night’s sleep we’ve had. I love your thinking that your blog should be what matters to you, rather than all being about self-promotion etc. For me it’s about finding the right balance, I’m guilty of posting the happy moments on Facebook and Instagram, and then being a bit more honest on Twitter when something isn’t going too well. This post has got me thinking how I portray my blog, as I set up to be all about life with my little one, it’s moved slightly away from that, and I think I need to steer it back. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG this week. Claire x

    1. fernp says: Reply

      Thanks for your comments, Claire. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts!
      I think I do the positive FB and Insta posts too, which I guess makes me a bit of a hypocrite! Haha.
      But then sometimes I worry that I’m keeping it too real on my blog, and people will think I don’t enjoy being a mother, which is so not the case!
      So hard to find the perfect balance, but I do like aiming to keep everything as honest as possible.
      xx

  7. Becky, Cuddle Fairy says: Reply

    Oh ya Facebook & Instagram photos aren’t real life at all! Once you accept that, you don’t have to feel bad about what you are seeing. Some people have nicer cameras & cuter kids who pose better for the photos too! lol Thanks so much for linking up with us at #BloggerClubUK x

    1. fernp says: Reply

      LOL! Had to laugh at the cuter kids comment. All so true! Thanks Becky xx

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  9. Carol Cameleon says: Reply

    Very well put. Social media is a pain in making us feel inadequate. Learning to let it go over your head is they key; turned it keeps you sane, lost it makes you lose it! #fortheloveofblog

    1. fernp says: Reply

      Very true! Thanks so much, Carol.

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