Staged By Social Media

It has taken a few weeks for me to finish this post, mostly because I really wanted to make sure it didn’t come across too negatively to my readers. After coming back from my trip to California to visit family, and then during the 4th of July holiday, I really took some time to be present in my family and reevaluate a few things.

I have mentioned before that I really struggle to be present and focused sometimes, over indulging in my technology due to social media, emails, blogging, etc. It get’s very challenging sometimes, trying to keep up with this social media game where you’re constantly chasing after more followers or likes in order to maintain some sort of relevancy on social media. It’s just the nature of the game- blogging is a competitive thing where there are so many talented bloggers out there that you have to make sure you are always creating great content. It gets challenging for me because I have to constantly remind myself why I’m doing it all the while trying to stay true to myself.

Lately it had been feeling very forced for me, always chasing after that perfectly staged picture that just never feels natural. Getting overwhelmed by trying to finish writing a post, product review, all while making sure my toddler gets fed, bathed, watched, etc. I’m in my third trimester so running after him and making sure all his needs get met is physically exhausting because I’m caring another little in my belly. He is a handful and he needs my patience more than anything, but there are times where he really pushes me and I feel badly for having my attention elsewhere all because I’m doing the “blogging” thing.

So why did I start this blogging adventure?

I did it because I wanted to share my experience. I know I’m not the only hot mess mom out there, still trying to hold on to the little bit of identity left within her. You know, everything you loose in the process of motherhood because you are no longer just for yourself – but you belong to your children. You start to dedicate your life more to shaping and creating the lives and atmosphere of your tiny humans. Whatever time left you may have for yourself, you will probably find it schlumped over the couch trying to catch up on sleep.

I did it because there are stories to tell, that could help others like myself. Especially when it comes to my faith. I try to stay true, I try to provide a hope and an outlet for others that may be struggling with the same experiences. I want to give others hope through my failures – maybe provide for a reason to laugh. I am not perfect, and thankfully God does not require you to be, but it’s my way to reach out there to people I may not have ever gotten a chance to meet personally – and maybe form a connection. Through that connection, maybe I could offer support or healing.

I did it because, I enjoy to write. Not everyone is going to like what I write, but its always been an outlet for me to let it out and keep my sanity. Ever since I could remember, I’ve had a notebook full of thoughts, poems, stories and songs.

So then, why have I become so obsessed with the number of followers and likes on my pictures? Why have I become so focused on the number of comments on my pictures? Am I getting away from why I started this in the first place?

I took a few weeks off just so that I could ground myself and realize that although I may not have all the followers or picture likes in the world – that is not why I started all of this. I do not want to force real connections or real engagement. If that means it may take me more time to build those relationships, then so be it. I want to be able to present during life and not miss out on every milestone that my kiddo goes through. I don’t want to force him to take that “perfect” picture only for him to hate being in front of the camera because mommy is making him take another picture. I want to laugh, I want to live, I want to be present and just be in the moment.

So I encourage you to let life happen and just be apart of the ride. Take that picture, post it, and who cares if it isn’t in the perfect lighting. Be blind fully present, take in the moments because one day, they will just be pictures and memories. Enjoy your lives, don’t live it for others or for that perfect moment of product placement. Be authentically you, even if the picture doesn’t agree, or the hashtag doesn’t fit. Be true to yourself.

The Untold Story of Being a Stay At Home Parent

Before having children, I only dreamt of being able to stay home with my kiddos, being able to be apart of their growing development. I honestly never dreamed I’d ever have the opportunity to do so. Then, God blessed our family and as of now I am able to watch after my son while expecting another one on the way. Although there are so many wonderful things that you get to experience while staying at home with your child, there are so many challenges that come with being a stay at home parent. I am not here to complain, I know I am very lucky to be able to take care of my child but there is so much that people just don’t understand about how much it takes out of a person.

I used to work a full time, career path job. I was a project coordinator for a promotional products company in the San Fernando Valley located in California. I have always held a steady, full time job since I was 18. Being able to fully depend on myself financially is something very empowering and gave me a sense of security. The challenge from this transition is the guilt I feel when I’m not able to help out my family financially. On the months that we have struggled financially, I have really felt the blow of being a burden and just have had the feeling of being a useless asset to our family. Yes, I know I am at home – cleaning, feeding the baby, cooking dinner, washing and folding the laundry, constantly going. But for some reason, it just never feels like its enough.

When my son was old enough, I started my own Etsy shop. Thankfully, it was quite a success but then I struggled with time management and I was often left with not enough hours in the day to get everything finished. I would work until 2 in the morning to finish up orders only to come in to the next room and see it in shambles. The dishes needed washing, the trash needed to be taken out, my son would wake up every hour if I wasn’t sleeping or cuddling next to him and my husband would come home to no meal cooked. I felt like a failure.

Although I was able to make a decent profit and help pay for some bills, something was always suffering. I felt I was neglecting my son’s needs and often just left him to cry so I could finish what I needed to do. This left me feeling so guilty, because he still needed me. I often snapped at him because I was exhausted trying to keep up with so many things – I had to finally close my shop because I realized that I was a wife and mother first.

The guilt never really seems to go away because the grass always seems greener on whichever side you’re not currently on. Women who work bring home money but don’t get to see their children grow up. And stay at home mothers get to watch their children grown up but then are left with years of non work experience and are deemed unemployable because of their lack of “in field” experience. There’s the misconception that we just stay at home and do “nothing” all day – but let me tell you, some days I feel like I haven’t stopped. Being a stay at home parent can be very lonely, especially because you don’t get any interaction with other adults unless its John from Citi Bank trying to collect on your bill. The feeling of neglect is overwhelming sometimes but I often don’t say anything about it to anyone because I truly appreciate my husband for what he does for us and I love my son. I know that its neither of their intentions to have me feel unappreciated.

There is usually no one else to talk to about our struggles so there is no venting allowed. If you do open your mouth, you are often faced with the judgements and criticisms of others telling you “well, you’re lucky that you can even stay home,” or “they will only be young and rebellious for so long until they want to leave with their friends (regarding your kids),” or “girl, you’re so lucky – you don’t have to go to work,” etc. I often just keep my mouth shut because no one will truly understand unless they are in a similar situation.

At the end of the day, yes I do feel so very blessed that I get to be watching over my son and taking care of our home. It is an indescribable feeling to be able to watch him grow and learn and just to continue to grow that bond with him. Although it is very challenging, I would not change it for the world. But it will be a constant struggle and adjustment because there are some days when you need time to yourself. To recharge your batteries, to go out and actually be able to indulge in the soup and salad combo at Panera Bread without feeling guilty for it because the amount you spent there could have been split for a meal for you and your kiddo.

I guess what I am trying to say is that, the guilt might not ever truly fade. You just have to keep reminding yourself that you are an irreplaceable part of your family dynamic. Your family depends on you to take care of the things that they don’t see and take for granted because someone else (you) is getting them done. You are feeding, nurturing, comforting, and loving your family and that itself does not have a price tag my dear. Your “office” will always be dirty, filled with soiled diapers and sippy cups that need to be cleaned but your heart will always be full. One day, all the chaos will settle and you will miss the pile of dirty laundry on the floor with a side of Tonka trucks by the side of the kitchen. Give yourself the time that you need, make your husband stay at home while you take a long drive to 7-ll and get yourself that slurpee. Blast the radio and let your hair dance in the air in its full mom bun glory. And if you see a fellow stay at home mother, salute her, encourage her. Let her know that she is appreciated.

So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.

1 Timothy 5:14