When you’re a “mommy blogger,” sometimes it feels like there isn’t really a place — on your little corner of the internet — for you to be sad sometimes.
We blog about recipes (and recipe fails). We blog about crafty projects and DIY projects. We blog about our babies’ milestones and the funny things our toddlers say. When we show pictures of our houses, they’re always taken immediately after we’ve cleaned and picked up the toys — except for the occasional “messy house” photo we may post under the guise of “keepin’ it real.”
The closest we ever get to REAL-real is when we do those occasional posts about how we are overwhelmed and overtired. When we’re fed up with the constant housecleaning or burdened by our careers and can’t handle the stress of “having it all.” When we want sympathy or empathy or a pat on the back.
These posts are few and far between — posted when we really are at our wits’ end — and then we go back to our sunny Instagram-y happy posts about glueguns and slowcookers and toddler antics.
There have been so many times lately when I wanted to post something real, but didn’t. I will freely admit that this blog feels different than it did four years ago, when I started out. I was just a newly-married professional, desperately waiting for my time to have a baby. No one knew about the blog, because it was my secret space for writing about my dreams of starting a family. I could say anything I wanted. And I did. And it was liberating.
Now, my husband and I have two amazing children that make us unbelievably happy every single day. My career has gone in the direction I wanted (writing, self-employment). And the followers of this little blog continue to amaze me with their support. But it’s no longer a secret, private blog. It’s become an extension of my freelance career — and, as much as I hate it, that comes with a filter.
A post about sadness is not exactly Pinnable. It’s not easily Tweeted about, or teased with an Instagram photo. It’s hard to fit a post about sadness in between a sponsored posts about teething necklaces and a cheerful ditty about your latest Pinterest recipe fail. It just doesn’t fit. So we don’t do them.
I hope this doesn’t come across badly, or like I’m living/sharing a lie (I’m definitely not). Social media does a very accurate job of depicting my day-to-day life — what I wear, what I cook or bake, what activities I do with the kids, where we go, how I decorate or organize the house, what projects I’m working on, how my work is going, what Darling Husband and I are doing. It’s all right there. That is truly my life, and I love it. I love that it’s documented. And I love keeping up with the lives of my friends — both IRL and virtual — through these channels.
The trouble is, sometimes it’s easy to forget where that “social media” persona stops. It’s also easy to forget how to deal with feelings that you can’t put out there. Can’t Tweet about it. Can’t blog about it. Can’t Facebook about it. Certainly can’t Instagram a photo of you staring into space, as you realize that you can’t say any of the things you are thinking.
Talking to a friend sounds like the clear answer, but that’s not so easy, either. So much of our communication today is through texting and emailing and Facebook-messaging and Skyping. Even phone calls are kind of archaic now. When we’re together in person, there are zillions of our babies and tiny children who need to be fed and cleaned and kept alive. It feels like we never get to have real, uninterrupted conversations. Even if we could, who’s to say the shiny, tidy, “social media presence” would actually take a backseat? Who’s to say we could stop talking the easy, fun conversation about our kids, and talk about anything deeper? I honestly don’t know if I would want that, or if I could do it.
It’s just that it’s a strange feeling to share so much of your life — with friends, family, and total strangers — and still have leftover feelings that you have nowhere to put.
It’s poising your fingers above the keyboard and realizing you’ll censor yourself if you even try.
It’s staring at your phone and realizing you definitely can’t Tweet right now, because what could you possibly say?
It’s listening to the hum of your computer and typing out a post like this one.
(Thanks for listening)