I love reading blogs. I mean, seriously. I have wasted many hours at work reading blogs (back when I worked a traditional corporate gig). I don’t just love blogs in a certain niche – I love green living blogs, frugal living/budgeting blogs, cleaning, organizing, decorating, fashion/style, homekeeping, homeschooling, general lifestyle blogs… I would say that I generally keep within the stereotypical genres for my demographic (married 30-something mom), but that covers countless blogs and it can be easy to find yourself with zombie-like eyes and a disoriented sense of time and place after getting yourself lost in blogland. There is just so much to discover! So many tips. So many great ideas. So many heartwarming stories.
But reading blogs can be dangerous (and I don’t mean because you can lose track of time).
It has nothing to do with the bloggers themselves. The vast majority of the time, they are incredibly well-intentioned, giving, generous, insightful people who genuinely want to help and/or inspire others.
It is that awful thing that we sometimes (or should I say often?) do to ourselves.
You can spend hours upon hours reading blog posts about the super-easy DIY projects that even YOU can do, the clean-eating extra-healthy recipes that even YOU can make, and the totally-simple trick to making YOUR house look amazing. And don’t forget about the way-fun super-messy kid activities that you’ve GOT to do because it makes you a super-wonderful-fun mom and the fantastically creative homemade gifts for every occasion including National Donut Day (seriously, that’s a thing?!). What about the 72 simple steps to a super-healthy chemical-and-toxin free home that won’t poison every person you ever loved??
Yeah, you can get caught up in all of that.
And they are all great tips, meant to help and inspire.
But, in reality? It can also begin to make you feel pretty terrible.
Has this ever happened to you? You see that image of the beautifully thin and well-styled mom-of-five smiling with pride in front of a counter full of a month’s worth of 100% real food freezer meals and suddenly you think “Oh. My. Gosh. This woman has FIVE kids to feed, clothe, and bathe, a blog she manages as a full-time job, and a house to keep, and yesterday she posted about the homemade apple fritters she and the kids whipped up on a whim, and last week she posted about their weekly family-volunteering day, and she can manage to do all of this while I’m sitting over here with my 2 kids and part time job and can’t even manage to keep up with housekeeping and meal planning for THIS WEEK much less make meals for an entire month! And don’t even mention the fact that I’m 18 months post-partum and still have 20 pounds of baby-weight to lose and feel like I’m doing pretty good if I get the organic kind of mac and cheese. What is WRONG WITH ME???” And if you let it, seeing all those beautifully decorated and perfectly clean homes in all those blog home tours can make you feel pretty crummy. Pinning hundreds of perfect-for-spring outfit ideas can make you hate your wardrobe. Reading enough “How we paid off X-Dollars of Debt in X-Months” posts can make you feel like a total loser.
That is what reading blogs can do if you are not careful. You see, it is not often that bloggers post all of the craziness that goes on behind the scenes. And there are many reasons for this, but the simplest is that it would add no value to the content of the blog and would likely detract from what readers are really there for: tips, ideas, help, inspiration.
So it’s not that I’m saying that blogs SHOULD show these things or that what you read in blogs is fake. Not at all. I’m just saying that often what you see is not the WHOLE STORY of that blogger’s life.
And rightfully so. Bloggers are people, just like you. They share the parts of their real life that they feel comfortable sharing (and sometimes a little more than they feel comfortable sharing!).
Also, many people blog as their full-time job. Why does that make a difference? Well think about it: if it is your job to share with the world how you made an entire set of patio furniture out of pallets in a single weekend you have a much different form of motivation that the average Joe (or Jane, more likely). And if you were getting paid to make a month’s worth of freezer meals, you’d be much more motivated to make the time to do it and you’d be sure to look your best (or at least presentable) in the photos that are meant to attract people to your blog.
It is SO EASY in this face-paced, increasingly transparent, consumer-driven society to feel inadequate (to say the least).
Let’s be clear: I am NOT saying you shouldn’t continue to follow your favorite blogs. Instead, I am going to help you continue to follow all the blogs you love in a healthier way.
For the next 14 days, I am not going to share the 101 Valentine’s Day Crafts, or Valentine’s Day Date Ideas for Any Budget, or The BEST Valentine’s Day Desserts. For the next 14 days, I am going to share something that aligns with my 2015 Word for the Year. I am going to share with you tips, ideas, guidance, and inspiration for Learning to Love Your Life. I hope you’ll join me.