While we were on our vacation last week, someone asked me if I was a stay-at-home mom. My knee-jerk reaction was, “Yes.” Later, though, I wondered about when I’d feel justified in saying I’m a work-at-home mom. If I had to estimate how much I work on this blog, I’d say I average 3-4 hours a day. Some days it’s less than that and some days it’s not at all, but on average that’s what I’m putting in. Certainly it’s work, right? But then I’d have to explain my “work” is a blog and I’m not sure I’m brave enough to field the questions that may follow. Are we at the point yet where people understand how blogs can be jobs?
I had a recipe I planned on sharing with you today. It was a delicious, easy dinner that I figured you’d love. Then, when I went to edit the pictures, I knew I wouldn’t be publishing it just yet. I actually debated it in my mind for a solid 20 minutes until I decided that no, I better wait and reshoot. The photos were okay. Just okay. It’s such a heart-sinking feeling when you see that the 30 minutes you spent taking photographs of a plate of food were wasted.
Last year at this time I may have published the post today. Things change. I didn’t feel the pressure to always present nothing but my best pictures even a year ago, but now I do. The photography on blogs has gotten better and better, so that these days even a stellar recipe doesn’t get noticed unless the photos are spot on.
The good thing is that when I started this blog I didn’t really enjoy food photography, but now I love it. I’ve fallen in love with the challenge of capturing a great shot that makes you want to try the recipe. That’s the point, right? If no one tries the recipes, why would I do this? It’s fun and difficult and a creative process I’ve come to love, but also time-consuming and deflating on occasion.
This blogging life has changed. Most of it is for the better. I treat Happy Healthy Mama like a business instead of a hobby now. It’s opened up a new aspect of blogging that was totally absent before. My first four years of blogging, I looked at my stats a handful of times. Most of that time I didn’t know how to install Google analytics properly, so I didn’t bother with it. I didn’t think about monetization or page views or social media all that much. Now that all of that is a part of my blogging life, it’s more challenging and that is exhilarating. Seeing a post that I’ve worked hard on take off feels good. It’s almost like a runner’s high and just makes me want to work even harder.
Most of the time, I stay away from the comparison game and just try to challenge myself to improve. If my own photography is improving, it’s okay if I still feel like it doesn’t measure up to the photography on XYZ blog. If the number of unique visitors I get each month keeps growing at a steady rate, I try to stay excited about that and not worry that they are still light years away from so and so’s blog’s visitors. But let’s be real. I’d be lying if I said I never think about how my blog stacks up to other’s. I make a conscious effort, however, to let the comparisons fuel a healthy work ethic and nothing more. She’s killing it with her blog and I’m not, what do I need to do differently?
So why am I writing all this? Is it simply because the post I had planned for today isn’t ready and I wanted to publish something? No. I never publish a post just to have a post published. Every time I post, I’m posting something that I think will help you in some way. But I’ve also had a need to write about blogging for a while but haven’t had any space in my editorial calendar to fit it in. So yes, this post is a little selfish. Sometimes I just want to connect with you in a different way and talk about what I’m feeling as I blog. Is that weird?
Even though I’m writing about this blogging life from a need I have to get my thoughts on blogging out there, I hope that you’ll enjoy it, too. I plan to write about blogging from time to time, so if you see “This Blogging Life” as a title, know that it will be me rambling about some aspect of blogging. It may act as online therapy for this stay-at-home/work-at-home blogging mama.