The other day I talked about the fact that I could sense myself slipping a little bit with my depression. But in that post I didn’t really talk about why. I even said that “it could be any number of reasons, but this post isn’t really about the why.” This post on the other hand, is going to delve into that slightly. Apologies in advance, this might be a long one.
Getting Too Absorbed in the World of Blogging
Over the last few months I’ve become growingly more absorbed and obsessed with the blog and everything that surrounds it. I’ve managed to catch myself in the midst of the rat race that is trying to become a successful blogger. Rather than simply enjoying what I do, I’ve chased things that I shouldn’t be worrying about. I’ve chased numbers, both in terms of followers and views; I’ve chased after opportunities and I’ve tried to keep up with people who do this as a full time job.
If you want honesty, then here’s some honesty. Over the last few months I’ve allowed envy, jealousy and a little bit of resentment creep into my life. I’ve been envious of those who are more successful than me. Jealous when people get chances that I don’t. And I’ve resented the fact that I can’t always do what I want, when I want, with this blog.
No one likes admitting to feeling jealous or envious. But I’ve admitted worse things on this blog. Suffice to say, by doing all of this it’s sucked the fun out of what I do. Not only that, but it’s affected my family life with Rachel and Isabelle.
The Focal Point of Our Family Has Been the Blog
I’ve always said that a parenting blog should enhance family life, not hinder it. But I’ve allowed it to hinder my family life. I’ve allowed it to become the topic of discussion throughout the day with my wife – I’m constantly trying to bounce ideas off her, using all my spare time to work on the blog and then when I shut it down for the night all I want to do is talk about what we can do.
The perk of having your own blog is that you’re not beholden to anyone. But I’ve been acting like I am. I’ve been acting like there are things with the blog that I have to do, rather than can do. I don’t have to do anything. But I’ve been treating a lot of the blog like a demanding job rather than an enjoyable hobby.
The idea of going a day without doing something on the blog or social media sites would be something of an impossible thought. I’ve even allowed other hobbies like reading, yoga or anything else take a back seat as they would eat into my ‘blog time.’
I’m Disappointed in Myself
When I started this blog I had no desire for it to go any further than a single post about postnatal depression. I simply wanted to express my thoughts about my experience with that, and that was it. Of course, I quickly realised that long form, expressive writing was beneficial to my mental health. It’s a kind of therapy session without the hassle of actually undergoing therapy. But I allowed it to become something else.
I allowed my perception of the blog be affected by others. If a post was poorly received in terms of views, I let that affect how I felt about that post. When people didn’t really seem to care about what I had written, or a photo I had posted, I felt like a failure. Rather than gain some cathartic release from expressing myself, I felt worse for the perceived feeling of no one caring. And if someone else had written something and got a huge response, then I allowed that to make me feel even worse.
I’m disappointed that I put so much stock in validating myself based on the reception I received. But this blog shouldn’t be about any of that. No one’s creative endeavours should be. I should just do whatever it is that I want to do and simply take with it what comes. It’s something I’ve preached often enough in the past, but for whatever reason I stopped following my own advice.
What Am I Going to Change Going Forward?
It’s one thing to realise that things have to change, and another thing altogether to put something in place to make that change a reality.
I’ve always said that once an artist releases something, they are no longer in control of it. They’ve sent it off into the ether, and whatever happens next is outside of their control. The same can be said for a blog. Once I’ve hit publish and put it on social media, then my job is done. I’ve given it to the world – not that it’s something the world necessarily wants – and my job is done. From that point, it should make no difference to me whether 5 people read it, or it blows up and hits the news outlets. I don’t have any say, and it’s not my job to be concerned by it.
When I post things on social media from now on, I’m going to detach myself from it. I’m not going to concern myself with how it’s received, whether people like what I do or how ‘successful’ the blog becomes. I just have to enjoy what I do, do things for the right reasons and remember that the most important thing about a family blog is the family that it’s about.
I Can Only Compare Myself to Myself
Secondly, and this is rather important. I’ve simply realised that it’s futile and unhealthy to compare myself to anyone else. The only person I should really compare myself to is the older version of me. Am I better than I was yesterday? A week ago? This time last year? The answer to that should always be striving towards a resounding yes. If it’s not, then I’m not moving in the right direction as a person.
Other than that, you might just see a little less from me from here on out. I’ll still write quite regularly, after all I do love doing it. But I’m not going to be wasting as much time with all the silly parts that come with blogging. I’ll also take the odd break from social media, not worry so much about having to have something put up and I’ll just allow things to happen at their own pace.
This Is Something I’m Going to Continue to Think Through
I’ll be honest, I could talk about this for hours. Literally hours. So I’ve tried to keep this short – despite it being one of my longer posts. Ultimately I have to detach myself from this blog a little more and allow things to happen as they do. I’m not going to be perfect from here on out. The odd bit of jealousy or envy might creep in from time to time. And that’s fine. I think they’re normal emotions that people don’t like to admit having. But I’m not going to care enough to allow it to affect my mental health or my family. I’ll acknowledge those feelings, notice that they’re stupid, and move on.
Self reflection is something people really need to do more often. I’m not scared of a lot of things in life, but I am scared of staying stagnant as a person. I’m nowhere near close to being anything resembling perfect as a human. I still have many flaws – just ask Rachel – but all I can try to do is be mindful of them and try to get better. I’m glad I’ve recognised some negative idiosyncrasies in my life that need changing. If we don’t delve into our thought patterns and route around, then how can we ever expect to improve?
That’s Enough for This Week
I will apologies for all of that. I think I rambled for way longer than needed, but this is quite a nuanced thing to try and talk through. And I’m very much used to listening to people talk in a very long form manner. You’re just very lucky that I haven’t started a podcast yet. I’m sure you’ll want to listen to me and Rachel talk about parenting topics for over an hour.
Anyway, enough writing, here’s the video! Don’t panic, it’s much shorter.
IF YOU WANT TO FOLLOW MORE FROM THE BLOG THEN I’M USUALLY QUITE ACTIVE ON FACEBOOK, OCCASIONALLY POSTING ON TWITTER AND DOING A BUNCH OF INSTAGRAM STORIES.