Originally Posted: 2016 Updated: Nov 2020
Whether or not we realize it, we are all ‘influencers’. We are all sharing stories, pictures, articles, life and advice on a daily basis from our phones to ‘our people’. We are all wired to ‘live out our days’ with this online component and the grand scheme of all our posts and stories have a theme to them. This shows the theme of our daily life. This theme has an influence on those who read and watch what we post.
Some of us use Instagram to stay in touch with friends/family, some of us use it as a digital photo album, some of us use it for brand promotion, for me – I use it to share my services and the messages I feel passionate about when it comes to living Simple, on Purpose.
How does being online change us as moms?
I’ve talked before that I think being online has made me a better mom. Lately, I’ve been pondering about how Instagram has changed me as a mom. More specifically, how Instagram has changed me as a woman, who is also a mom.
UPFRONT: I’m not here to put down how you use Instagram or social media. I mean where else can Grandmas and aunties get their daily dose of cute? You use it however works best for you. I just wanted to share a change that I made in my mindset around what I share on Instagram and how it has impacted me.
I often join in the moms30for30 challenge. It is 30 days of wearing 30 items of clothing and I often post my outfits to Instagram. One of these challenges really highlighted something impactful to me.
When I looked back at my feed at the end of the month I thought to myself, well that’s a lot of awkward selfies. Sure, I love selfies. But it was a lot of pictures of me instead of the regular instafeed of my three kids. Because let’s get real – Instagram is for our delectable food, our adorable children and our adorable homes, right??? Yes ma’am!
I prefer to follow other moms, not so much her kids
I thought back to a recent conversation I had with some ladies at A Little Light about our comfort level with posting so many pictures and stories of our children on Instagram.
Obviously, I share about my children. I started as a mom blogger and that seed has rooted in me. But I shared with the group that I enjoy following moms who don’t share exclusively about their kids. I am more interested in The Mom and what her experiences, thoughts, and life are like than her kids.
No offense to anyone, I know that your kids are adorable little cavemen who do weird and wonderful things – but I’d rather know about the shenanigans, the doubts, the homemaking, the goals, the heart and the stylings of The Mom who made those endearing little nuts.
We are all online for different reasons – for me, I am online for connections, and I am looking to connect with other women who are also moms. I’m looking to use this space to share in our womanhood and all it entails – motherhood is one component of that.
I’d rather know what another mom made herself for lunch while her kids ate something carby and cheesy.
I’d rather see her having a ladies’ night with her friends and know what games they played.
I’d rather have the story of what she is struggling with when she eats a #platterofemotions at 10pm rather than get up for her 530am work-out.
I want to know what is making her life easier, or interesting, or daunting, or fun!
I want to rummage in her closet, peer up on her bookshelf, go to step class with her, check out her playlists, and sit with her on the patio for a virtual glass of wine.
I remember when I was 2.5 kids in and one of my dear friends was telling me that she set up a Facebook page for her son because “her facebook was all about her – not her son.” This set me back a bit, not because I didn’t agree – I really agreed with her mindset, I just hadn’t realized it or given myself permission to step in that direction.
I mean, sure we all share our children, they are figuratively, and maybe literally, glued to our sides 25 hours a day. They are the focus of our days, our hearts walking outside our bodies, and the second-best reason we lose sleep (the first obviously being an Outlander marathon). We can’t NOT share about our children. We can’t NOT share about motherhood.
But maybe we find that we share only about our children online.
Maybe we do this because we feel lost in motherhood.
Maybe because they are a distraction from the feeling that we lost that woman we were before kids.
Maybe because we don’t want to be vulnerable or open on social media…but we will with our kid’s life.
Maybe because we are viewing the world from their eyes.
Maybe because we don’t feel like we live or look #instaworthy.
Maybe because our lives really aren’t that exciting beyond the fact that our kid keeps telling members of the public that he will add a newly found rock to his ‘erection’ instead of his ‘collection’.
Maybe I know this because these situations have all been part of my own #motherhoodthroughinstagram experience.
Once I could reflect on that month I spent sharing my LadyNerd face in a month’s worth of Instagram squares I decided that I would move forward trying to use Instagram to show my life through my own eyes and experiences.
I decided to use Instagram to talk about what was up with me as a woman.
I noticed some changes. . . .
It made me make more effort to do things beyond motherhood duties.
I wasn’t thinking of sharing my days in the context of what my kids were doing. Now, I was thinking about how I was caring for myself and plunking away at the goals I had for myself.
It made me set out my days with more intention to do those things I say I want to do.
Instead of snapping countless shots of the kids and picking the ‘best one’ for Instagram then framing a caption around that – now, I often have the caption before I even have the image.
It made me aware of the woman beyond The Mom and what she was up to.
Instagramming more about myself has also made me realize that I can do more than only ‘mother work’ in my day, and I can bring my kids along for the ride with me.
Of course, I still share pictures of my children, I can’t NOT. I mean – I’m a mom and proud of it.
But as they get older I share them less and less and move into sharing my own life. Their life is their own to share, on their own terms.
I have learned a lot about parenting and motherhood from fellow insta-moms. I have also learned a lot about countless other fun and insightful things from the women I follow online.
This shift in how I use Instagram and what I share has spread changes into my mindset around how I live my days and has held me accountable to chasing a fuller life of womanhood that includes motherhood – but doesn’t feel like it is solely motherhood.
UPDATE: Counter-Cultural Instagrammer
As I reflect on this post, years later. I want to say that this experience has also led me to challenge how we use Instagram as a platform for AFFLUENCE, rather than INFLUENCE.
IG used to be my fave place to follow along with other moms. In my early days of motherhood, it was an extension of my community. I still enjoy so much about Instagram. But I see a shift over the past few years to a roll of curated experiences. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get aesthetic fatigue from seeing the same image in seventeen different forms.
It has been on my heart to be really intentional about I use Instagram and how it can bring value to the people who follow me. Which is tough, because there is a lot of advice on “how to market your Instagram and gain followers and grow your bizness $$$$”. That sounds nice! But it also is overwhelming me and takes me away from the influence and into affluence.
So, I’m not gonna make this one more place of overwhelm in my life. I want to keep it simple, on purpose.
And so you can expect MY Instagram to be a place where I share the basics of Simple on Purpose.
You can expect selfies – not portraits – of me with my dry shampooed hair, my fave lipstick and fuzzy socks.
You can expect me to share things that I hope will encourage you to turn inward into your own life with appreciation, rather than feel like you need to buy more, do more, be more.
And you can expect a lack of my kid’s faces because this place is about MY experience, not theirs. (I’ll save all those pics for grandma)
Thank you for reading.
Love Shawna, Your Nerdy Girlfriend + Life Coach who might be raising children who think Tic Tac Toe is called Hashtag