monday {momday} — blogging is good for your health & balance

Did you read the New York Times Motherlode article (or a slew of other news stories) last week that talked about a recent study showing that blogging makes new moms happier? I believe it. There is something wonderful about connecting with other moms through their honest tales of life as a parent. Most blogging mamas don’t try to pretend everything is perfect. They talk about their struggles and more importantly, how to overcome parenting challenges. The study showed that blogging decreased feelings of isolation and increased feelings of connectedness and being supported.

Facebook, on the other hand, makes matters worse and often disguises parenting struggles making parents who are having struggles feel inadequate according to a study last year. From the Motherlode blog:

Remember the research early last year that suggested that university students consistently believed that other people were leading lives filled with far more joy and fun than their own? As Libby Copeland put it at Slate, “By showcasing the most witty, joyful, bullet-pointed versions of people’s lives, and inviting constant comparisons in which we tend to see ourselves as the losers, Facebook appears to exploit an Achilles’ heel of human nature.” And what greater Achilles’ heel would a new mother or father have than the fear that she’s just not doing this thing as well as everyone else, with their smiling, happy baby status updates and clever tweets?

As I struggled with a pretty severe case of the baby blues the first month after Bodhi was born (I might talk about this more in the future), I remember feeling like everyone else had it all together thanks to Facebook, Twitter and whatever else I was reading. I reached out to several moms who I thought had it together and it turns out, they don’t. It’s ok. So, remember that no single parent has it figured out. I truly believe everyone has similar struggles and if they don’t, they probably have several nanny’s, night nurses and aren’t actually raising their own children.

{Bodhi at 7 months (now nearly 9 months)---life becomes much easier and more balanced after 6 months}

Those of us who are currently parents, and probably those of you who will soon be parents, know the joys of parenting. It is really indescribable, the love and joy you have with your little one. With that love and joy, there are huge challenges. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture, after all.

My friend Emily Ley, of Emily Ley Paper, has been keeping her blog updated and fresh for a while now and often talks about her mama challenges in a beautiful uplifting way. I never read her posts and think—I know…pity party. I always think—yes! I’m with you, Emily! I have that same challenge and yes, we can get through this smiling, laughing and enjoying! A recent post about working, staying home, balance and parenting really resonated with me. While I have found that working really is the best thing for me, personally, I still often miss my time with Bodhi and wish there was more of it! Here is an excerpt from the post which you can find at EmilyLey.com.

{image credit---EmilyLey.com---Emily uses this phrase often. It is great for parenting}

Emily writes…

I’m praying a lot about what to do with these two days. I realize it’s probably best for Brady to spend two days a week (the days he’s not with “Ms. Kara”) interacting with other children – perhaps at a Mommy’s Day Out program at a nearby church (which we’re still searching for). Why is it so hard for me to just do this for him. About 95% of the other Moms I know do this with their children while they work and it is wonderful.

I am so blessed that this crazy dream I had has turned into a successful business and I’m able to work very flexible hours from my home studio. So blessed. I’m here for him at the drop of a hat. I never work on Fridays. What a blessing this is. So why do I feel soooooo unendingly guilty about this.

But sometimes I see my stay-at-home-Mom friends and am envious that they are able to spend 100% of their time with their children. There’s no one greater who can care for Brady than me. At the same time, I see my working Mom friends whose children go to great daycare or Mommy’s Day Out programs a few times a week who are really benefiting from the social interaction and activities those programs provide.

I realize only I know what’s best for him, but why on earth is care for him two days a week such a hard decision to make. I STRUGGLED in the decision to hire a nanny. Finally I just did it. Having no idea what I was doing – and found Kara, who is WONDERFUL and really an extension of our family.

And I have to thank Emily! Her beautiful Simplified planner helps me keep my life straight. What challenges are you facing as a new or not-so-new parent? How do you balance work and life and baby and partner/husband and fun and me time? My friend Kelly of The Adventures of Shaw recently sent an email to me and many other bloggers and mama friends with some great questions around balance. When she writes more about it, I’ll be sure to share with you. We’re in this together!

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7 Comments

Filed under baby, monday {momday}

7 responses to “monday {momday} — blogging is good for your health & balance

  1. Jessica … as I am reading your post today I am too struggling with the same feelings. My husband is at home today with our son and he is not having a good day. I feel I am the person who can care for him and give him what he needs. I feel guilty my husband cannot get his work done because he is taking care of our son today. I am happy he is at home vs daycare. These are all struggles I feel every mother has.
    I love Emily Ley too. I just finished my first draft of my “Balance” article and cannot wait to share it with everyone. You are doing a great job.

  2. Jessica, this is such a fantastic post! That study makes a ton of sense! On a blog you can highlight your proudest moments as well as your struggles and even failures while there’s something about Facebook that compels us to focus on the positive. I also love your friends blog post about mothers guilt. It really attacks us regardless of what decisions we make, but especially when it comes to working and childcare. I’ve decided to stay home with my girls but that decision was a very difficult one for many reasons… I wrote a Facebook journal about it that I plan to re-write for my blog. When I do I’ll come back and post the link. Anyway thanks for being refreshingly honest!!

  3. Leah

    I enjoyed reading your post! I have to admit, I’m guilty of putting nearly only the positives on Facebook. I’ve convinced myself I’m a more positive person if I focus on identifing only the positives – not really thinking how it effects others. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I now view Facebook in a different light, a parent’s perspective. Let’s be honest, parenting isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.

  4. Jaymi

    Jessica, I am so glad that you are talking about these things. I am a new mom, our little guy is 4 weeks old…and this first month has been intense. I spent the first two weeks having serious baby blues and then feeling guilty about having them. I would look at facebook, where my cousin just had a baby a week after me and see all her happy and blissed out posts. I was feeling like a failure! I decided to get real, tell it like it is and not sugar coat what a hard time I was having. In the end, my friends all reached out and came over more often. They helped get me out of my funk and now I am finally seeing what everyone talks about when they say how amazing parenthood is. I think we all want to put on a brave face and post the happy/success moments but the truth is that everyone has obstacles to overcome and it’s nice when people are honest about it. So, thanks for that. Love your blog!

  5. Jana

    Great post! I have had a lot of feelings of inadequacy stemming from facebook since becoming a parent, it makes me feel better to know that this is common. I have been writing about my experiences and I know that has helped me. Thanks!

  6. Nesikah

    I love your blogs! This post is one of the reasons why I love it so much. Yes, we have all had the baby blues. I most certainly did. I’m happy to say now that Aden is 6 months, things have certainly been easier. I’m glad to know that most moms feel the same way. In defense to facebook, I’ve received many encouraging words and advice from my friends whenever I post a question or statement about my many woes. I will admit for the most part, I do post happy pictures and uplifting statements. But sometimes when I’m really “feeling it,” I post those feelings as well. I have a great fb family and they all come to the rescue. How about we vow for the New Year to be as honest as we can whenever it’s acceptable. You never know who you’ll help in the long run.

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