Stepping off the hamster wheel: how Britmums has inspired me to step back from blogging

It wasn’t how I expected it to end. I never expected that the bubble would pop so suddenly. After the high of Friday night at Britmums, feeling inspired and encouraged, buzzing from an amazing night out with my online friends, I never thought that Saturday evening would see me wanting to pull the plug on it all.

 

Looking at the front of the stage at Britmums Live - "Stepping off the hamster wheel: how Britmums has inspired me to step back from blogging"

 

The niggling question of “why am I blogging?” started during the session about our children’s digital footprint, and how the information shared about them online affects what content they might view in the future. However, it was the bloggers’ keynote that brought it into sharp focus. Two heart-breaking stories that made me suddenly realise what really mattered to me. What was I doing here? Why was I blogging? And more importantly why was I letting blogging take me away from my children so much?

 

The memory of a morning where I had switched on CBeebies and sat the children in front of the TV instead of taking them to the toddler signing class that they loved, just so I could catch up on the mountain of blogmin that was threatening to overwhelm me, filled my mind. All those times when I had paid more attention to the social media stream on my phone than on what my children were doing. Yes, blogging was encouraging me to do things with the children, go on more days out (although I suspected that sometimes they would have been just as happy, if not more so, enjoying time in the garden), and do more crafts, but it was also taking me away from them too. Instead of just enjoying the moment, I was constantly thinking about how I could blog about it.

 

I’d lost sight of me, about why I started writing, everything I loved about it. What had started as an outlet, a way of processing my thoughts about life as a heart mummy and capturing memories, had taken on a life on its own. It had moved in a direction I had never envisaged when I hit publish on that very first post. But at what cost? Caught up in stats, caught up in rankings, caught up in a desperate desire to improve, to grow, to learn more. The pressure I was putting on myself to be a better blogger was becoming overwhelming. What had once been my escape was starting to feel more like my prison. And I suddenly realised that I needed to let go.

 

I am tired of feeling like I’m constantly running just to stand still, tired of feeling like blogging is taking over my life and not making me any happier as a result. I’ve had enough of sitting on the sofa, grabbing moments on my laptop while the children play on the floor. I want to be there, be present, engage. To focus on what my children want. Just being there with them.

 

I don’t want to be the best blogger I can be, I want to be the best mummy I can be. I want to enjoy a day out with my children without feeling the need to write a post about it. To sit and do crafts without picking up a camera every two minutes. I want to get back to why I wanted to write in the first place, to the person I was when I started my blog. Not feeling like I need to try and improve all the time. I don’t want to look back and wish I’d enjoyed the moment more and spent more time on my children and less on my blog.

 

And so, I am taking a step back. I have various posts scheduled over the next few weeks that I will post as planned. I will probably still join in with linkies here and there and I will still run my own. But I’m going to stop putting myself under pressure to blog each day. I’m going to stop trying to increase my page views and followers. Instead I’m going to write about what I want to write, and enjoy blogging for the sake of blogging. I’m going to step away from the laptop and put down the phone. I’m going to start putting my family life first, where it should have always been.

 

To all those lovely bloggers at Britmums that I met – thank you. I so enjoyed meeting you, and I feel like I’ve made some friendships through my blogging life. I will still be following some of your blogs and reading your posts. Maybe I will be back at Britmums to say hello again next year. But I think I will go with more of a desire to be inspired by others’ stories rather than just wanting to learn more about SEO and social media.

 

I knew I’d come away from Britmums feeling inspired. I just never thought it would inspire me to step away from the blog.

53 thoughts on “Stepping off the hamster wheel: how Britmums has inspired me to step back from blogging

  1. Great post lovely and I totally know how you feel. I go round in circles a bit with this as it is so easy to get caught up in ‘how to be the best blogger’ but that generally leads me to feel unhappy and I have to remind myself why I blog. I don’t want to be a professional blogger. I know I am not the best blogger, not the most sociable on social media but I blog because I enjoy it and it is my space for me and I have a lot to say. I hope to still hear from you lovely about you and your girls Glad you had a good time at Britmums even if you didn’t feel how you expected to! Xx

    1. Thank you Caroline. I’ll still be blogging but probably less often and I’m not going to get swept up in it as much as I have been. Blogging for enjoyment is the best reason to blog 🙂

  2. It was nice to see you although very briefly at the start of the event. I never attended this session but from the sound of it a lot of people have reavulated there blogs from it. I hope you enjoy time with your family and come back to blogging feeling refreshed xx

    1. Thank you Lindsay – was so lovely to get to meet you even if it was briefly. Hope you enjoyed your weekend – it’s good to have that space to re-evaluate even if that means making the decision to step back. The blog will still be here when I have the time, space and desire to post – I’m just not going to put myself under pressure to do so any more.

  3. What a great an honest post. I really really don’t know how some mums manage to blog so often. I aim for twice a week and even that is a struggle.

    I don’t worry about my stats as they slowly build up anyway, if you take your foot of the pedal they’ll still increase but maybe just slower. I’ve completely given up trying to blog when the kids are awake and aim for when they’re in bed (if I haven’t fallen asleep yet!). I tell myself they won’t be little forever and I can always make a more serious go of blog when they’re older but for now I’m happy having it as a hobby 🙂

    1. Thank you Clare – I’ve been posting about 10 times a week for a while and it was becoming stressful and overwhelming. I agree with you that the children are only little once – the blog will still be here when they’re bigger and perhaps one day I will have more time to devote to it but for now it will be good to be able to switch off. Sounds like you have a good balance.

  4. Great post Louise” I think a lot of us feel a bit like this, and as I said yesterday, I’m planning on stepping back over the summer to ‘refocus’ too. But, please don’t be too hard on yourself, your girls clearly have a wonderful time and you spend lots of time doing fun things with them. We all have the moments of plonking them in front of the TV to get 5 (30!) minutes to ourselves. I do think you are right about choosing what to blog though, and that not everything needs to become a blog post; this is something that I do all the time and it makes things feel a lot more balanced. It was so lovely to meet you, and I’m really glad that I got a chance to have a proper chat with you!

    1. Thank you Sara – was so lovely to meet you too and have a proper chat. I’m so glad I went to Britmums – it was wonderful to meet so many lovely bloggers and I think it just helped bring something that had been simmering below the surface for a while to the forefront off my mind. This week is still a busy blogging one as had posts scheduled but then I think it will get a little quieter and whilst I’ll still be blogging, I’m not going to put myself under the pressure to blog so often. Hope you have a wonderful summer with your children and enjoy your time re-focusing too.

  5. Thank you for writing this. I left BritMums completely uninspired & have been extremely down today because of it (not great for Fathers’ Day!). I almost fell out of love with blogging over the two days & although I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel that way, it’s nice to hear I wasn’t the only one it had this effect on. Enjoy your time off x

    1. Sorry to hear that you felt down and uninspired at Britmums. I think having a break is good for us all sometimes. Hope you are feeling more positive now x

  6. I think most of us are asking ourselves the question why do we blog most days, and also trying to find that balance between blogging about our lives and our lives being the blog. I know I am!
    I hope that you can find the right balance for you and your girls, Louise, I blog only when Boo is asleep though I do check social media on my phone when she is distracted – which I have recently decided to stop and also I have cut right back on the number of linkys I am taking part in each week because I was spending too much of the time that Boo was asleep and I was awake on blogging – and it just wasn’t fun anymore. I want my blog to be a celebration of Boo’s childhood but I want to have my own memories as well as though through a camera lens and on my blog.
    I wish I had gone to Britmums so that I could have been at that session it sounds really interesting – but mostly to meet some of the bloggers whose blogs I read every week. Fingers crossed for next year.

    1. Thanks Jenni – it is hard to find that balance sometimes isn’t it and all too easy for the blog to take over. It sounds like you are doing a good job of finding that balance – I just need to do the same! Hopefully I will get to meet you at a blogging event in the future 🙂

  7. for me this feeling came after BlogCamp, my first blogging event. I had the question “why was I blogging?” Come to me on the train journey home. That’s why afterwards my blogging mojo when to an all time low. That’s why over last few months I haven’t been around as much, but in all honesty I have hated not blogging and feel so guilty about it.

    1. Sorry to hear that your blogging mojo hit a low after BlogCamp. I think sometimes it is good to have that time to step back and re-evaluate though. Was lovely to see you again at Britmums 🙂

  8. You know what, Louise? I don’t think this is as uncommon as you think. After Blogfest last year and once Christmas was out of the way I decided that I was going to just start writing for me and concentrate on blogging the daftness that comes out of my head. I’m never going to be a top blogger or make money from it but I do enjoy making people smile and the blogging community as a whole. I just like real life more sometimes. I think once you’ve found your balance you will know. I have posted far less this year and yet haven’t suffered for it – if anything, what I’ve put out there has been better. Glad you has such a great time at BritMums – it looked like so much fun!

    1. Thanks Philippa – it was a really fun event and I had a wonderful time. I’m sure you’re right in that taking that step back will help me find my balance and I’m looking forward to having a bit more time for myself without feeling the pressure to blog as well!

  9. I totally agree Louise, I started blogging to record Martha’s journey and to offer hope and information for another family who is in the same position we were this time two years ago. I want people to come read the blog because they want to see how Martha is doing – I want it to inspire another couple through a really tough time in ICU.

    I’ll still be following your lovely blog however often you post xx lots of love xx

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment Gemma – I think Britmums has made me realised that I’ve moved away from the original reason for the blog and more into being a general parenting blog. I don’t mind being a mixture but the realisation that it was starting to have a negative impact on the children (eating into my time with them as well as causing me to be more grumpy through staying up too late to blog) is the biggest factor in making me want to have a step back. I do want to blog more about the things that are closest to my heart and will still be posting but a little less often over the coming weeks. I’ll still be following your lovely blog too and your journey with Martha xx

  10. Great post! My mummy sometimes feels like this too x Such honesty and perspective x You were one of the friendliest bloggers she met at #BritMumsLive #BMInstaWalk and she seemed to bump into you a lot. Your smile radiated and was genuine. You need to do what’s best for you and your family. xx we’re going to slow down too and enjoy all the little moments. Haven’t posted on our blog for 5 days…..and it feels great x

    1. Aww thank you Isabella, what a lovely thing for your mummy to say and I loved meeting your mummy too – what a lovely lady she is. Glad that your mummy is taking time to slow down too – taking a step back is a good thing sometimes x

  11. Reading this is so surreal for me. I came away feeling EXACTLY the same. The SEO and social media talks taught me so much, but also scared me. The amount I need to put into my blog to make it “professional” is a full time job, and I just can’t commit that sort of time. I love blogging and don’t want to give up, but from now on I will not worry if I haven’t blogged for a few days or missed a couple of linkies. My blog will grow in its own time. I’m proud of it but need to take the stress out of it. Thank you for writing this and reassuring me the way I feel is quite ‘normal’ xxx

    1. Glad that this has reassured you – I think a lot of people are feeling this way and it does take a lot of effort to have a very successful blog. For now, this isn’t the path I want to follow – I enjoy blogging but taking the stress out of it will be a very good thing. Hope you enjoy taking a step back too.

  12. What a great post and I totally understand where you are coming from. Yesterday I sat down at my laptop and I just couldn’t think of anything interesting to write – I had about 10 drafts and nothing was really clicking. I felt quite stressed about it but then I thought, who on earth will care if I don’t blog today?!! Why am I stressing?! So I sat down with my husband for the first time in forever and watched a film..and didn’t go on the laptop all night. Its so easy to get caught up in the numbers and I know I’m always looking at my page views and feeling a touch of the green eyed monster when I compare my blog to others who have started at a similar time to me. But I know I need to remember why I started blogging and just enjoy it!

    1. Thank you Elaine, glad you took that time out and enjoyed the film. I’ve had so many evenings like that and it is so easy to put pressure on ourselves to blog and get caught up in stats isn’t it? I’m looking forward to more evenings sitting watching the TV and just relaxing too!

  13. Blogging is fab, isn’t it; but its impact is far reaching and not always desirable. It’s so important to remind ourselves that living comes before blogging. It is essential we find a blogging balance we’re happy with; otherwise, the blogmin, blogstats, blogranks, blogcomp etc will take over and squeeze the life and joy out of us.

    I so want to know what the digital footprint talk was about; I wonder if there’s a recording I can watch.

    All the best as you find a blogging balance that works with family life and keeps you grounded in why you started blogging in the first place. :-). I suppose it’s not so much blogging less but rather blogging smarter and letting blogging work for you instead of enslaving you.

  14. A really interesting thing to take back from the conference… I can definitely relate, and sometimes I question why am I blogging, really, why. I tend to do most of my blogging in the evening when the little one is in bed, but social media can easily take up too much time during the day as well. When you notice your blog becomes too much, it really is time to take a step back and re-evaluate what you want. I find for myself the best thing is to blog as I feel like it, and not to put pressure or pay too much attention to numbers and just try to blog for the fun of it. And sometimes (even if it pains me) leave the camera home 🙂

    1. Thank you, that’s really good advice. I’ve started leaving my phone in the kitchen if I’m in the front room with the children – that way I’m not tempted to keep checking social media. It’s been nice to be more focused on just enjoying time with the children and not putting the pressure on myself to blog all the time.

  15. Thank you for writing this post, I don’t think that you are alone in feeling the way you do and I think you’ve made the right decision. I’m new to blogging, and I began purely to document my son’s life and give me something to focus on whilst he naps and I’m still on maternity leave. I think its so easy to get caught up in all of the stats and SEO and everything that comes with blogging that you can lose the reason why you started xx

    1. Thank you Chantal – it is so easy to get caught up in the stats and SEO and constantly trying to increase page views. It feels good to have taken that step back and not worry so much about it.

  16. YEP YEP YEP YEP YEP. I am totally in agreement with you, even though I haven’t been to Britmums! I completely echo what you have said. The day I submit a post (which is actually only once a week) is completely taken up by sharing it on social media, checking my phone, feeling anxious that I should respond to comments and then if I linky, make sure I have gone round other’s posts (and then get totally distracted by the great array of posts). I’m beginning to absolutely hate the social media side as it does take you away from your kids with its ever present presence.
    The fellow bloggers and finding a hobby is absolutely great but it should feel more like a hobby, something enjoyable, something that gives more than it takes. Like you I think I’m going to step back and focus more on the writing side of things. SEO and all that is just too much – its almost like fighting a losing battle. I think just write what you like, when you like and you’ll get the recognition you deserve just from the lovely pieces you write.
    Best post I’ve read in ages, Louise!

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. It is so easy to get caught in the whirl of stats, social media and SEO and get distracted by it all. It’s been really good to switch off over the last couple of days and just enjoy that time with my family without constantly checking social media and it’s definitely made me realise that I’ve made the right decision in taking the step back.

  17. Wow what a great post – I think you have said what many of us feel. I don’t think any of us realised how big our blogging adventure would get and just how much it would take from us when we first started. It’s very hard to keep a lid on it and so I salute you for doing just that #twinklytuesday

    1. Thank you so much – it is hard to keep that lid on it all isn’t it? Blogging is definitely a very big adventure…!

  18. Hi Louise, I noticed your comment on #thetruthabout mentioned ‘then hamster wheel of blogging’ and I’ve just linked up a very similar post! I decided not to go to Britmums to be at home for my family. I ended up selling my ticket and losing money on my travel because I knew my heart wouldn’t have been in it that weekend. There was too much going on at home that I wanted to be a part of. I have been feeling the same about my blogging too, I had started to feel under pressure and resent not having more time to ‘keep up’ and the constant social media. I started blogging for fun and that’s exactly what it should be. Great post, written straight from the heart and they’re always the best kind. Tor xxx

    1. Thank you Tor – definitely looking forward to doing more “blogging for fun”. So glad that you are enjoying taking that step back too.

  19. I think I felt like this a lot in the past too – plus when your children are little the schedule keeps changing as they start pre-school and then school. Where once I used to have a bit of time to myself on a monday morning before work (and would sometimes write three posts for the week ahead in that time!) that disappeared the day JJ started school. I tend to be a bit lazy so it wasn’t that difficult for me to cut back but I think we all feel this invisible connection to the blogosphere now so we’ll go through seasons of having one foot in and one foot out as we keep tweaking the routine and pockets of time become available. Certainly having ‘status’ in the blog world is not the be all and end all. By the way it was lovely to meet you in person at the weekend and I’m gutted that we lost you on Friday night because I would have loved to get to know you and Mel a bit better over dinner instead of running away home at 9.15pm!! 🙂 #thetruthabout

    1. Thanks Sam – those seasons are ever-changing with little ones aren’t they and it’s not always easy to find the time. It was so lovely to meet you and get to chat at Britmums and I was sorry we lost you too on Friday and didn’t get to chat over dinner. Hopefully we will get to catch up again at another blogging event 🙂

  20. It is such a hard balance to find, isn’t it? I have also scaled back a little bit. If I could work out child care, I would love to blog full-time and turn it into a career, but for now, I don’t have that luxury, so for now, I just do the best I can and worry about more growth later. Thank you for reminding me why I’ve made that decision! I wish you all the best!

    #thetruthabout

    1. Thank you. Finding that time is always tough isn’t it – we juggle so many things as mums and there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

  21. Honestly? This happened to be at the end of Britmums last year. In fact it took losing in the awards (AGAIN!) to make me realise that it doesn’t matter, that what was at home mattered infinitely more. I still feel a certain amount of pressure but I don’t let my blog take me away from what’s important. I don’t blog more than 3 times a week and one of those is likely to be just a photo post. It brought back my love for it and it’s important to blog for that reason. Well done you. All the best 🙂

    1. Thank you. So glad that taking that step back brought back your love for the blog – am looking forward to getting back into blogging more for enjoyment and rediscovering that love for blogging.

  22. I feel like you right now…I didn’t on Sat but now I am just so behind with stuff since holidays and 2 crazy weekends since coming back. The blogmin is massive and usually I am a week ahead with posts and not. I don’t want it to become stressful. I want to enjoy it and get time to read my favourite blogs and their posts. I definitely need to step back.
    Loved this post and meeting you. Shared on FB xxx #thetruthabout

    1. Thanks for sharing my post Sarah and for your lovely comment. I’ve been really snowed under by the blogmin mountain recently and have been sacrificing sleep far too often in my (mostly futile) attempts to catch up with it all. I think I needed that wake-up call that Britmums gave me and it feels good to take that pressure off myself and start thinking more about blogging because I love it rather than because I feel I should. Was lovely to meet you at Britmums too and really enjoyed chatting to you 🙂

  23. Wowzer. I didn’t expect to ‘hear’ you say that. There are a fair few blogs, yours included, that I have seen rise and rise and rise. I know that blogs don’t rise out of coincidence – it takes an incredible amount of dedication and time to grow your blog, and I am not a stranger to exactly what you need to do to get your blog there.

    Reading this has made me feel far less guilty for not trying to grow my blog as quickly. I was in total admiration of your blogging achievements over the past months, but Louise, I’ll be honest, I’m in even bigger admiration of your decision to chill out a bit. I didn’t stay for the end of Saturday, so I missed all of those post readings that inspired your decision.

    You’ve grown such a loyal following – people will still be here and it won’t matter if you chill out a bit. It may take your wonderful writing style and content to new heights and I’m sure your blog will continue to grow at a steady pace. It was really lovely meeting you over the weekend. Hopefully we’ll meet again one day xx

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment Fiona – it has been a lot of work getting my blog to where it is now and I’m glad I’ve done it but Britmums help me to refocus and realise how much time it is taking away from being in the moment with my girls. I’ve felt so much happier this week for taking that step back and setting limits on when I blog and making sure sleep is back to being a priority! It was so lovely to meet you at Britmums and I really enjoyed chatting to you – hopefully I will get to see you again at another blogging event in the future 🙂

  24. Such a lovely post to help keep things in perspective. I think it’s so easy to get carried away with elements of blogging like increasing page views and social media and forget about the writing and, more importantly, our daily lives. I decided quite early on that I would only work on my blog while my baby is sleeping. Sometimes that means I feel like my blog is on hold for a week while she decides that she’s not going to nap or I have other things to do, but at the end of the day, for me it’s a hobby, not a job that I have to commit to every day. I hope you manage to find a better balance for you and your family #thetruthabout

    1. Thank you – I’ve been more focused on trying to stick to blogging when the children are asleep and it has made a huge difference this week to have taken that step back.

  25. I’m so glad you stepped back into the blog. I went to a talk last year that did this to me. I felt so overwhelmed afterwards & I felt anxiety as well. It’s not easy when you are trying to build your blog, it can be really frustrating & full of so many different emotions like guilt! I hope this year’s BML inspires you in a different way! xx

    1. Thanks Becky – it made me re-evaluate my blog and whilst I still blog regularly, I’ve stepped back from a lot of the linkies and I no longer put pressure on myself in the way I once did. If it all starts feeling too much I step back from it x

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