Less Stress, More Space

I’m loving my ‘Less is More’ theme for this year. If you read my blog post last week, you will know that I’ve worked pretty hard in the first 6 months of 2014 to try and achieve my goals – having more success with some than others *cough*. But ever since Britmums Live, a little over 2 weeks ago now, I’ve been thinking about adding one more. Let me explain….
Sometimes, this blog causes more stress and heartache than pleasure. If you’re not a blogger then you will not understand. But trust me, this is not a good place to be. Not winning the BiBs family award for the second year in a row, left me feeling a tad disappointed – ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride’ springs to mind! And I was taken aback by this emotion – I wasn’t expecting to win, so why was I bothered? 
Then a few days later, I got caught up in a ‘conversation’ on Facebook regarding stats – page views per day to be precise – and despite declaring many times that stats aren’t important to me, I found myself looking at Google Analytics with fresh eyes. I was left with that feeling of disappointment again, trying to work out what I needed to do to be up there with the best – blog more often, comment more, be more active on social media. More, more, more.

Then I realised something. Three things in fact…
1. I do not have time for this.
2. This is not what my life should be about.
3. I should prioritise making memories, not blogging about them!
So having been inspired by the wonderful Emma over at Little Wood Life, this summer is going to be about making memories. As my children are getting older, I am very conscious that this could possibly be the last 6 week summer break that my 14 year old is happy to be seen anywhere near us. Right now, she she seems fairly comfortable with our presence but with a new year comes new territory and things change pretty quickly in a teenager’s life.
I have purposefully booked in very little over the summer break which does make me feel somewhat twitchy, but leaves us with space……..to be spontaneous and to relax together. I do intend to write a summer bucket list but initially, I wanted to get this off my chest: I love blogging but I love my family more.

Of course I intend to record some of the things we do together over the summer, but I won’t get hung up on ‘keeping up with the Jones’ by posting every day or checking my stats for fear that I might plummet in the dreaded Tots charts! In the grand scheme of things……what does it matter? In this season of life, less is definitely more. 

If you’re a blogger, do you get drawn in to the competitive side of parent blogging? 
How do you combat that? 
And for anyone else, how do you plan to de-stress over the summer?

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49 Comments

  1. Good for you! I don’t intend to cut back on blogging, because actually the act of writing is my de-stresser, but I do sometimes think I should link less and comment less so that blogging is about writing and not a competition. There will always be people who do better and work harder at it, but maybe they have less to balance outside of blogging.
    I felt sad for you not winning the BiBs and I guess I’ll be feeling the same after the MADs, because I know I’m not going to win.
    Enjoy your summer :)

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    • The writing thing is a de-stresser for me too but it’s all the commenting and linking up that drags me down. I will stick with reading and enjoying my favourites but I won’t be able to keep up with them all. I guess not winning the BiB has prepared me for the MADs too – a bit of fun and nothing more :) x

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  2. I too think this may be the last summer my15 year old will want to spend with me. As she had hit her teenage years with a vengeance, I will try very hard to make it the best summer ever. Not long and they will be gone and I will have lots of time to blog!

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  3. Sounds like a very good plan to me! I just have to constantly remind myself that I don’t do it for the stats…I find it very easy to get drawn into worrying over where I fit into the charts and whether I’m doing enough. Just recently I realised my blog had become way more commercial than I intended so I’ve scaled right back on the reviews and have reverted to writing about the things I initially started with; our adventures as a family. I feel so much less pressure now! Hope you enjoy your summer. Look forward to seeing your summer bucket list :)

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  4. I’m glad you’ve arrived at this point, although sad it took losing the BiBs and an FB convo to get you here, your family is so much more important than your blog. The same goes for all us parent bloggers.

    I’ve never understood the competitive side to blogging and have been lucky to not fall in to the traps of stats and whatnot, it’s so nice to just post when and what I want without thinking about anything else.

    I think I was lucky that for the first few years I was completely oblivious to the entire UK blogging scene, no idea how, but I was totally unaware of it. By the time I stumbled upon it, I was already happy with my randomness in blog posting that to try and change to keep up with or compete with anyone would be impossible.

    I think a Summer of spontaneity will be wonderful for you all, plans and structure have their place, but sometimes you just need to do whatever the heck you wake up wanting to do.

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    • I have always admired your approach Amanda. As you say, being blissfully unaware is probably the best way to be :) Thanks for commenting x

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  5. I feel exactly the same, I’ve never really been competitive or checked my stats regularly because I just haven’t got the time for it! My kids are the most important thing and that is the way forward! Have a wonderful summer with your kiddies and sod the rest! Just think about everything you will have to blog about when you do get the time ;) x

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  6. I totally agree with you Mrs Suzie! In fact, i couldn’t agree more, i even wrote the exact same thing to someone just recently. Do what feels right for you, what makes you happy- dance to your own beat & don’t play keeping up with the jones. Your totally fab at just being you :) (cheesearama alert there!) Life passes by far too quickly, we should savour the moments as the happen. Sending you Hugs xx

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  7. Thank you for this as this is exactly how I feel! I love and hate blogging in equal measures. I stopped worrying about stats early on but then you do find yourself checking every now and then and I find mine utterly depressing if I compare them to other people’s. At the end of the day, blogging is a hobby and should be enjoyable. I now take days where I don’t blog and I don’t worry about it anymore, if I force myself to do it then the posts are rubbish and I don’t want that. Like you the summer holidays are all about enjoying the family and that is what I intend to do too. Great post x

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  8. You know I am totally with you on this! Xx

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  9. I think a lot of people sound like they’re doing time out over the summer, and let’s face it stats always go down so really there’s no point in looking at them (I still will as I love numbers!).

    I think if you’re getting shortlisted, that’s brilliant, and means you’ve got lots of loyal readers. But as you say, it’s family that’s important and you need to make the most of the summer. Enjoy the time you have with them

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  10. It’s as though you read my mind with this post. I’m fairly new to blogging and Sarah (mumof3world) has been a great help as I wanted to widen my audience and reach more people. However, I want to mainly reach people who are looking for comfort (i.e. what I’m blogging about). I follow some amazing blogs on twitter, all so diverse. But I cannot understand how the blogging demand doesn’t take over. I like to write for therapy but some weeks I write and post three or four things, others I have nothing to say. My blog isn’t the type that can be daily for me, but I don’t want it to be either. I can easily see it taking over. I already get ‘told off’ for being on my phone (networking) too much. I do work in freelance editing so staying connected is important but when I add my blog to the mix it creates more work really. Like you said, family is so much more important. I don’t want my blog to replace them and my focus be on Abi all the time. Like you, I’m making some general rules – only blog about what I’m feeling/care about, share with people who care/want to know, read other blogs but only comment on twitter (as it’s a zillion times quicker) unless it’s a ‘juicy’ one like this one, no screen time during our annual holiday, make time for blogging as part of my work day rather than doing it when the family are around. My stats aren’t amazing but I know that a few hundred people view my blog every day, and it’s reaching far more than I ever thought possible. I think it’s easier when you have a focused blog like mine, but when it’s a general parenting one I can see it would be so easy to get competitive. I look at them sometimes and honestly have no idea how they fit in blogging words and carefully crafted images around looking after the children, and then doing it daily. I’m kind of in awe, but not at all envious. Good for you and I hope you have a lovely long summer together (though do keep writing as I love reading them!). xxx

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    • I think it’s an excellent idea to set yourself boundaries. Have you heard of a book by Henry Cloud called ‘Boundaries’? I’m desperate to read it and he’s also coming to speak at our church on 1st October so I’m really keen to find out more from him too. Your reason for blogging must remain the focus and I’m sure always will. Sounds to me as though you have some very good strategies for keeping it that way. x

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  11. I hear you! I have had the same thoughts since coming back from BritMums. It is too easy to get caught up in the competitive world of blogging. Like you, I think it’s time to step back and only blog when I have something distinctive to say. It’s hard because as soon as you step back, your stats begin to slip. But I think you are absolutely right – you have to keep your eye on why you started blogging the first place. For me, it’s all about supporting my novel-writing and some weeks it feels as if the blogging is actually eclipsing my books. For me the summer will be about spending time with the kids and editing the latest book… and perhaps writing the occasional blog.

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    • What was it about Britmums?! I know others who have felt the same – drawn onto a path they never intended to go down. I am planning to follow your plan – to blog when I have something good/important to say. Who knows if it will last?! If you’re writing a book, I cannot imagine when you have time to blog! Good luck x

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  12. I just took four days off from blogging. Four days with no posts! Four days not having to read any blogs if I didn’t or reading loads if I wanted. The main point being that it was up to me if I wanted to read or not read, comment or not comment. I felt guilty at first but then I thought to myself. why am I feeling guilty? It’s my blog, it’s up to me when I post and when I when I don’t and sod the stats! :)

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  13. I enjoy being nosey about other people lifes, and so enjoying reading blogs. I do have a tots ranking, and dont think I get any more offers for the six months I was in the top 100 than I did before or since.
    I love the opportunities it gives me that enhances mine and the grandchildrens lives ( ice-cream makers, bedroom makeovers etc) but would not even consider entering my blog into the likes of the mads and Bibs cos I do believe it is a popularity contest and in no in any aspect of my life do I ever aim to be Miss Popular and therefore would not put myself through the trauma of even beginning to think I may be voted for and get to the top 5 and go along to the awards to hob nob with the rest.

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    • The interesting this is Elaine, I didn’t ask or put myself forward for the Britmums awards at all! You don’t enter, people just nominate. I feel hugely privileged to be even be there but I think in a way, it’s sent me down a path I never intended to walk. Back to the real reason for my blog!

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  14. Couldn’t have said it better myself. I have been posting so much less, still a fair amount as I have a few regular things I enjoy, like Alphabet Photo and 365, but last week I linked to very little and it was nice – I caught up on some sleep :) To be fair, I have been ridiculously busy and simply couldn’t have kept up (it’s the commenting that’s the killer really) but the reality is that I didn’t need to, I should be writing when I want to, not to fit into other peoples schedules. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t look at my stats. I’m naturally competitive, but I have come to realise (at last) that Tots is not the be all and end all – enjoying the process of writing and then people reading and commenting is what really makes my day xx

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    • Yes for me it’s the linking up and all the commenting which gets too much at times. I know that I will not have the time or energy for this over the holidays so intend to write as and when and enjoy the time/space a bit more. It can be a very competitive world and like you, I am naturally competitive. If I’m doing something then I’m doing it to the best of my ability! Nice to know I’m not alone x x

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  15. Thoughts like this often full my head. For now, at least, I am still happy and like having time filled with blogging but I am conscious I need to have times to chill out/be with the family without a phone strapped to my hand! Hope you’re ok xxx

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    • I go through phases and this one has been building up for a while. Back to the basics for me this summer. I’ve been sucked in to the whole social media networking in such a big way and that needs to slow down too. I imagine I won’t be the only one enjoying and relaxing over the summer :) x

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  16. I am relatively new to blogging, only blog once a week, on a variety of subjects. I nearly died of shock when one post I wrote caught on with our local football club and I got over 100 views. I follow a lot of blogs as reading material, and because my children have grown can’t ‘compete’ in the parenting blogs.
    I will comment on blogs as I have never been shy of adding my tuppence worth, but reading your post reminded me that I enjoyed my children when they were younger without the ability to blog, social media hadn’t been invented and it seemed that the School Gate Mafia didn’t exist we all got on!.
    Just relax and enjoy this time with your family, you only get it once!

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  17. I used to be so addicted to my stats and would constantly plug and read others. Eventually I realised I was never looking up and real life work was getting much busier so I couldn’t focus as much time on it anyway. Not so long ago I read a post from someone who’s a pretty big blogger and she dedicates a LOt of time to growing her blog and reads close to 100 blogs regularly. It’s how she’s grown it and it sounds as if there is genuinely a lot of hard work and swear that goes into it. I’ll never be that person and I’m not sure I really want to be. I think it’s a brilliant idea to enjoy the summer and even if you didn’t win twice, a heck of a lot of people out there think you’re awesome. Hugs x

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  18. Gorgeous Suz – you know I feel exactly the same. And I can report, wholeheartedly, that my break is doing me so much good. I’m so enjoying catching up with the writing of others, but also time spent making memories with my little ones. And I haven’t looked at a stat, or even my blog dashboard in a fortnight – bliss! :) I really hope that you’ll still be on IG and Twitter (only because, selfishly, I’ll really miss you otherwise!) I honestly and truthfully believe that if blogging has brought me only great new friends like you, then I’ve still won

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  19. Oops! Pressed publish too soon! Enjoy your break sweetpea, and so looking forward to you coming back with gusto in September! :) xxx

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  20. If I sat and looked in my archive of 1500 posts from the last 5/6 years I would find numerous posts like this. You are completely normal Suzanne, it is a curve we all go through. I could have cried in 2011 when I did not win the MADs family life award and then again in 2012 when I didn’t win the 3 or 4 I was a finalist for in both the Mads and Bibs and then the next year I got real and realised it did not matter to me and now I do nto even ask for avote and if I get tot he final of the MADS I email Sally and ask not to be considered.. Blogging consumes you and then you wake up one morning and realise it is not the most important thing. Very easy to allow it to become a false idol.

    Good for you, focusing on making memories this summer, I hope you really enjoy it. Mich x

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  21. II have read so many blog posts like yours recently, Suzanne. I have no idea what good stats should look like and my little blog is certainly nowhere near ‘good’ (or satisfactory for that matter), but recording precious memories, starting friendships with fellow bloggers and reading nice comments about what we have written is what should matter most (or am I being overly naïve?). How amazing that you made it as one of the finalists of the BiBs. Wow, a finalist of the BiBs, that’s huge! Oh my goodness, I have just seen your page views thingy. That is impressive! Just signed up to your mailing list! Mel

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    • Don’t be fooled by that stat counter – it’s produced by blogger and is totally inaccurate! You’re not being naive, you’re exactly right. Like everything, it can get out of hand if your attention is drawn to the wrong place and away from the path you originally started on. I think this has happened to me! Thanks for following x

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  22. I love your blog and will read whenever a new post pops up in Bloglovin! I completely understand your need for a break though and hope you make lots of wonderful memories this summer!

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    • Thank you so much. I plan to continue writing just when I want to, without the pressure I have been putting on myself. I really appreciate every single one of my loyal readers – including you! Thank you x

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  23. I’ve dumped the stats too and stopped worrying about what and how other people blog, I’m just putting up the stuff that interests me.

    My son is 15 today, so much like you, I’m going to be savouring this summer just in case it’s the last one where he’ll want to be seen in public with me :-)

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  24. Yes. And Amen. I am CONSTANTLY having to question my motives and my purpose with blogging, and often it goes out of focus… The stats and the ranking are NOT what life is all about. You have hit the nail on the head! Have a wonderful, relaxing, purposeful summer with your lovely family… And see you when you get back!xxx

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    • I’ve deleted one of my stats accounts already. I am NOT going to look at Google Analytics all summer and just enjoy the writing. It is often the commenting and networking which becomes stressful for me.

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  25. Good for you, Suzanne! It’s so easy for us to get caught up in the rat-race of updating blogs, Facebook pages, Google+. Instagram etc that it’s easy to forget (a) what our priorities are and (b) how time-consuming all those little 5 and 10-minute updates and reading of timelines are.

    Funnily enough, I’ve also made a resolution to stop checking my WordPress/Twitter/Facebook stats so obsessively. It makes no difference to how satisfied I am with what I write, and it’s proving surprisingly easy to do. Just a case of breaking the habit, I guess.

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  26. Damn you woman, I was just about to write this post myself!!!! I have just been thinking about what I need to do to enjoy the summer hols, and it’s to not look at facebook, not spend ridiculous amounts of money on days out that we “have” to enjoy and not spend time commenting all the time. I want to enjoy the kids. xx

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    • It is become evident that I’m not alone in this. Summer should be about having fun with our kiddos. I know that if I prioritise the blog or indeed the virtual world, we will all be miserable. A little blogging is ok but not as a priority for me this summer. Good luck x

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  27. Suzanne I can so sympathise with you, I felt just the same after BIBs, strange isn’t it. I have taken a small step back for the summer to keep things in perspective and even forgot to look as my peer index score tumbled this week!

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    • Well Fiona, I don’t even know what a peer index score is and I’m not going to find out! Well done you on taking a step back. Life at Coombe Mill must be pretty busy over the summer so that surely must take priority :)

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  28. It is very hard to totally ignore the stats and although I hardly ever look at any of them apart from the Tots I would dearly love to be back in the Top 500 (I have low expectations) but it seems to take more and more effort, which I don’t have the time and effort to put in. I have never really felt that I fitted in with any of the parent blogger cliques and I have only once been to an event where I met real bloggers (as my husband rather disapproves of the whole blogging thing so if I did I would probably be divorced – he can be a pain in the arse but I don’t think my blog is worth wrecking my marriage and my family for) As for all the blog awards I tend to avoid the whole thing I’m afraid – I don’t ask to be nominated or voted for and I don’t vote or nominate other people – I really don’t like them much as to me they smack of popularity contests (which like Elaine I feel I would never win anyway) I realise a lot of lovely and worthwhile blogs do win and I don’t want to take that away from them but they just feel a bit wrong to me. At the end of the day I have a real life with a real family and real friends who really should matter more than my (or anyone else’s) blog. It would be lovely to make enough money from it to not have to work but I don’t so I have to resign myself that it is just a hobby as it can take over your life. Good luck with the resolution and have lots of summer fun! (sorry waffled!)

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  29. You are a wise woman Suzanne – this is something i think nearly every blogger struggles with and getting the right balance is hard. I have cut back on how often i post and aim to try and set aside times for reading other blogs rather than being on my laptop every night! Essentially this is a hobby and should be fun.
    Enjoy your summer! :) xx

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  30. Good plan Suzanne, as you know I’m taking a break over summer too – from writing posts, though I’m keeping in touch with my fav bloggers when I can. I think we all need a break every now and then, especially after Britmums. It was great but it brings up so many feelings, good and bad. Blogging is fab, but to keep it that way I think it’s important to keep perspective and take a step back every now and then. Enjoy the chill time. x

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  31. My sentiments exactly as much as I love blogging I don’t want it to become another stress! x

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  32. A very good realisation to come to! Sometimes I feel like I should put more into my blog but in reality it isnt at the top of my priorities and I shouldnt feel bad about that. Enjoy your summer with your family!

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  33. Like most things I do, I do because I enjoy them. I love blogging but I do love my family more too. I am so excited for the summer holidays and I won’t be stressing about blogging either. I’m just gonna enjoy it. popping over from http://www.mummy2monkeys via #LAB

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  34. I’ve been there, Suzanne. In fact, it happens to me every few weeks. Then I take a step back and let it go. Have a great summer!

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  35. I really like blogging and still haven’t got caught up in the stats and ranking thing but I think it’s because I’m lacking in competitive spirit when it comes to all of this. A quick check of some of the blogs that feature high up in the tots 100 rankings doesn’t make me want to be like them because I’m not actually that keen on them. That, and a fair few of the blogs that do really well, seem to be constantly running competitions, running and taking part in linkies, and spending waaaay too much time than is healthy on twitter. Is that a lifestyle I want to emulate for a few more hits? Most definitely not. I want blogging to remain something that I love and not become a competitive chore. Play me in tennis, however, and it’s a whole different story.

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  36. Suzanne I can completely emphasise with this post and I agree that unless you are a blogger you just don’t really understand. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the stats, the competition and feel like you are missing out if you don’t get the opportunities. And likewise if you are a finalist or win awards, then there is a lot of pressure to feel like you need to stay there, that your blog isn’t as good as it was if you don’t get the recognition for another year. I feel it too, sometimes worse than others. I have really been trying to switch off recently, I went on holiday to Rhodes last week and I didn’t check my emails, twitter or social media at all apart from putting a photo a day on instagram. It felt so good and it really has made me realise what is important. Our blogs bring us the most incredible opportunities but we also need to make sure that we don’t make them our whole life- it’s more important to live our lives and blog about them second. I loved Emma’s post- I thought it was so well written and I nodded my head the whole way through. Unfortunately I am too ‘far in’ to take a complete break- but I definitely am trying to switch off more.
    PS Sorry for the essay! x

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  37. Honey this is so where i am at with it all right now, we were both together at the awards probably feeling the exact same thing at not winning.

    I am certainly going to take your lead and make set no blogging days over the summer so i can make more memories with the kids

    Thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments x

    Reply

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