These are all words that go through my head when I sit down to write a blog post these days. I can barely bring myself to put my fingers on the keys, let alone actually hit “Publish” anymore.
Will I offend someone? Will I be judged for my lifestyle choices? Will my kids read something about themselves on my blog in 20 years that will make them hate me as a mother?
Blogging used to be a fun little side hobby where I posted about potty training my kid and working on my house projects. Basically whatever randomness floated through my mind was going on the blog without much of a second thought.
Now it’s my full-time job and I’m not gonna lie. I don’t like it anymore. In fact, there are days when I REALLY kinda hate it.
Which feels incredibly self-absorbed and entitled to say that because hello, first world problems, right?
But for the past three years, this fear and self-loathing has been at the top of my mind whenever I blog. I have been waiting for that feeling to change but if anything it’s gotten worse. The world has gotten louder and angrier in the past few years, and there are days when I just want to shut down all my social media sites and go curl up in my hidey-hole with a good book and not share a single thing about my life on the internet anymore.
Also, giving birth to a beautiful baby girl has made me hyper-aware of all creeps on the internet. I thought nothing of sharing every minute of motherhood when Garrett was a baby but with Caroline? It’s totally different. I look at every photo I post of her online and my paranoid delusions kick into high gear thinking of all the ways someone might try to kidnap her if I share too much of her life so publicly. Does that sound crazy? Maybe, but it’s where I’m at these days.
I’m taking my meds, I promise.
But the world has changed, right? Can you feel the difference in it lately? The weight and heaviness of everything? How people communicate and respond and react differently to things that might not have even been a blip on the radar five or ten years ago? How polarized we all are and how we are not allowed to have middle-of-the-road opinions anymore? We are forced to pick a side on everything but as soon as we do, the other side unfriends us immediately because apparently being friends with someone whose ideas differ from yours is totally against the rules.
Tolerance is gone. Respect is out the window. Honor is a ghost from some by-gone era. It all just feels very different to me these past few years.
Even blogging has changed tremendously.
What once felt like a sweet community of online friends getting together to chat online a few times a week has morphed into a cut-throat comparison trap where we all humble-brag about our “perfect” lives while squeezing in some odd product placement so we can collect our checks for our sponsored posts. I’m so tired of playing this game, but it’s all part of how bloggers earn money, so I don’t have much of a choice if I want to continue to get paid.
I die a little inside every time I open my Instagram feed because it’s completely filled with the perfectly fluffed and creamy corners of blogger’s homes, nary a pile of clutter or booger-smeared heaps of clothing in sight. Nothing is spontaneous. Nothing is real. It’s all staged. There’s not a single thing that is “Insta” about Instagram anymore. It’s all about perfect curated content that is supposed to show the world that your life is better than everyone else’s. We all get sucked in by the comparisons even though we know most of it is fake.
I feel like I have to play the game because brands and sponsors are making it increasingly harder to work with bloggers unless they have a huge Instagram following. For the average reader of this blog, this all probably sounds like crazy talk, but it’s something I have to think about on daily basis. If I want to pay my bills, I need to do some sponsored posts. In order to meet the post requirements that brands are putting out these days, I need to have a certain number of social media followers.
To give you an idea of how things work in the blog world, here is an actual sponsored post opportunity that came into my inbox recently.
Vicks VapoRub Instagram Post: 75K Instagram Followers Required
$500 for 1 photo on Instagram, 1 tweet and 1 facebook post
Sounds like easy money, right?
But here’s what it’s come to. In order to feel like I was doing a good job for that brand, I would have to create an immaculately styled photo of my sick child in bed with a perfectly poofed box of Kleenex and a tub of Vicks turned at just the right angle on the nightstand. And of course, add the hashtags #sponsored #ad at the end to keep the FCC happy.
Am I really willing to use my sick children as props and sell my soul to the blog-marketing devil for a few hundred bucks and a tub of Vicks VapoRub? I’ve done worse things, I guess. But it doesn’t matter anyway because I don’t even have 7,500 Instagram followers, much less 75,000.
Forget my 140,000 Pinterest followers. I don’t meet the qualifications. So I’m out.
Do I really want to continue to be a part of this industry? How am I going to be competitive in an online world that changes by the minute when all I want is a hot fudge sundae from Dairy Queen and some peace?
Should I just shut down the blog and go find a real job? Should I step out in faith and start my own business? Should I say “Eff it” and go back to blogging about every mundane thing that happens around here? If y’all can’t tell, I’m at a big crossroads in my life and I’m praying that I can figure out the best way for me to proceed that’s good for me and my family.
Calling out Vicks VapoRub publicly like this is not exactly the best way to win friends and influence people, though, so I will probably never hit Publish on this post.
Or maybe I will. I’ve been in this blog game long enough to know that controversial posts like this one can bring way more traffic than another boring picture of a karate-chopped feather pillow on a booger-free creamy white sofa.
Lord knows I will need the ad revenue when I get blacklisted from brands who work with bloggers.
I wrote this post without much thought of ever actually putting it out into the world, but I’ve decided to do it anyway since I don’t have much else to talk about this week. There is not a single photo to pin and I will not be sharing it on any of my social media channels. I’m going to be deliberately antisocial with this one, and see where it leads. If you’ve gotten this far, let me say thank you for reading. You totally deserve a hot fudge sundae from Dairy Queen. And a free tub of Vicks VapoRub.
PS: Sorry Vicks. It’s nothing personal. I really do like your product. Hopefully, I won’t need it anytime soon, though.
Disclaimer: This post was in no way affiliated with or sponsored by Vicks VapoRub or Dairy Queen hot fudge sundaes. All paranoid delusions and crazy opinions are my own. #notsponsored #notanad #antisocial