Now before I start, this isn’t me saying I don’t like instagram, I do, I love it in fact! I could easily spend my entire day getting lost in the world of the gram! It’s about how I use it, and where I focus my attention that has changed.
When I started this blog I did it because I really enjoyed reading others, and I needed something to ‘do’ whilst on maternity leave. I have always really enjoyed writing so it seemed like a natural thing for me to do. I already had an Instagram page at this point, which I just naturally progressed into a ‘blog’ instagram. What I now know is that actually, my Instagram had very little connection to the blog. No matter how much you promote blog posts from your Instagram posts, it actually creates minimal traffic to the blog. Most of my blog views come from people who have subscribed, or just general web users. Once people are on Instagram, they are unlikely to click out of it to go and read something else (unless you have the ‘swipe up’ feature from stories, which I imagine does help a little).
My blog has always been somewhere for me to share my feelings, share ideas, document our travels etc, and I have always been of the mindset that I won’t just write for the sake of it. I only write a post when I have the urge to do so, when there is something I really want to share, or when I want to create a record of our trips. And, most importantly, I am myself here, I don’t try to be somebody else, and I don’t try and be funny (I love reading blogs that are, but that just isn’t me, as much as I think I’m funny…). This will continue, for sure.
But that’s where my relationship with Instagram is different, and how it changed me.
As real as you try to be, and as much as people try to be ‘real’, the accounts that succeed massively are the beautifully curated ones. I have always been an envious person, but trying to become part of the blogging world on Instagram really affected me mentally. Especially because I was never wanting it to be a business, it was never going to be my income. I’d follow fashion accounts where people continually buy new clothes, or are gifted them, and I’d want to be perfectly put together all the time; home accounts of the most beautiful family homes, and look around at our standard family house and wonder why I couldn’t have the perfect home; family travel accounts of families in idyllic destinations with their children behaving like angels and wonder why that couldn’t be our lifestyle.
You get the idea.
I started to want to go to places just to get an Instagram photo, or buy items of clothing because that’s what somebody on instagram suggested, or want to travel to places because, yep, somebody I followed on Instagram went there and got some beautiful photos. It was only when I went into a really dark place with my confidence, and started questioning myself and my decisions, that I realised Instagram had a lot to do with how I was feeling (there were other factors too, don’t get me wrong). It was hard work, something I never wanted it to be.
I didn’t want to be the person that only did things to appear a certain way on social media, that isn’t why I started it, and I had become that person. I had wanted to be more than ‘mummy’, but actually, I am ‘mummy’, that is when I am happy, I spend most of my time being mummy, why was I trying to make it look any other way?
If my children didn’t want to stand in front of a wall and pose then does it really matter? Does it really matter if we get a picture of my outfit before we go anywhere? (FYI it really doesn’t). If the kids are standing nicely, GREAT! “Quick get picture, they’re being angels for 5 seconds!!” – that is the reality, and I love that. I love the here and now, I love living for the moment, I love real photos of my family (I love the posed ones too, but they’re very difficult to achieve without a packet of sweets as a bribe…). Just to say, this isn’t knocking the people that create these accounts AT ALL. There are beautiful accounts that are all of these things that I still follow because I enjoy them and the things that they share. Just because I don’t have the time or confidence to do it myself doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the people that do!
So I made a change, and I am now the happiest I have ever been.
The change? I’ve pulled back from Instagram, and I just use it as I did before, to share my favourite photos of my family. Not to try and grow my account, not to try and be like everybody else. We recently went on a trip to Santorini and my husband said at one point “I bet you want a picture with the girls here don’t you?”. The girls were grumpy and tired, so my response was “no, it doesn’t matter, lets just enjoy it”. That’s the moment I realised that I’d made the change, and was happy with it.
And now? I’ve found my niche, which happens not to be family/motherhood/lifestyle. You’ll notice that the instagram linked to this page is our Disney account. An Instagram page that makes me so happy, even when the people are at Disney World and we’re not!! It is something we’re passionate about, it is me. It is growing, we have made friends, and we can’t wait to see where we can take it in the future.
This blog will continue to be a mix of everything (with a big Disney influence), but most importantly it is a blog in its own right. A blog that now has a very happy owner.