I’m back ! (& why I took some time out)

It was stupid, really. I thought I’d birth a baby and be back at my desk for my usual 6.45am work slot before the other kids’ breakfast and drop off. Oh and that I’d whack up a video telling you all about it, too.

You see, this time around I didn’t have a sweet leaving do arranged by my boss and ‘last day in the office‘ cheerfully earmarked in my calendar as I had when I was employed and pregnant with Jack and Sonny. Now I had work emails coming in via my (brilliantly calm and helpful) agent, impossible tax rules to navigate and an ever expanding belly to (not really) worry about.

I’d been so used to sharing minutiae details of my day to day life that once the baby arrived, of course I’d just carry on and upload snippets of those hazy oh so precious newborn days. A quick Story about my cheese plant, perhaps one on the way to collect Jack from school, then some captures of cute breastfeeding and wriggling toes to upload later that evening, right? (all totally possible and enjoyable pre-baby.)

Wrong.

Physically I felt mobile and strong – I’d been blessed with a straight forward, natural water birth. Abe was feeding well and gaining weight. It was chaotic with 3 young kids, sure, but we were doing fine. Slowly, things started to change, though. Sleep deprivation hit fast and it hit hard, the fridge seemed to be perpetually empty and doing a simple school run started to feel like running a marathon. I’d find myself worrying about an Instagram post during the night feed, I’d choose styling a new photo over taking a much needed nap, I’d reply to DMs, punching out heart emoji after heart emoji, my stress levels rising whilst a small miracle lay at my feet, asking for nothing and everything from me all in one breath.

Then we were burgled in the middle of the night (during a chance window when all 5 of us were sleeping and didn’t hear a thing), discovered we had a moth infestation (cue packing up our entire belongings as if moving house – multiple times – to allow for fumigation treatment) and found rats in our garden (I know they’re everywhere in London but watching them scamp around your garden in broad daylight isn’t the most fun thing). I had deadlines to hit, kids to dress, feed, bath and put to bed, a husband to support, and yet still I was sharing Stories of my new stainless steel cups (I do love them.) I was struggling.

But something else was at play, too. I started to find Instagram a hard place to spend time. I fell prey to comparing my feed to other peoples’ (even though I knew that behind their one perfect snap was probably over 200 less perfect snaps). Abe came along – a decision to procreate I’d already defended – and living low waste became immediately harder. I was buying plastic packaged food from the supermarket out of convenience, had ditched my beloved eco egg in favour of some stronger stuff (thanks moths) and didn’t have any energy to rinse out dirty items for recycling. I started to lose faith in my own message I was trying to spread and morally, I couldn’t bear sharing mistruths.

I’d reply to DMs, punching out heart emoji after heart emoji, my stress levels rising whilst a small miracle lay at my feet, asking for nothing and everything from me all in one breath.

Worst of all, it felt like Instagram had become a place where everyone was out to get each other and nothing was ever good enough. Maybe it was postnatal hormones or maybe it was my sky high pile of washing, but it all got too heavy for me and I needed to step away. So on November 9th, I deleted Instagram, with no real idea of how long for but just with a deep seated knowledge that I needed some space away from the noise. You see, somewhere along the way I’d forgotten that bringing a new person in to the world is a BIG FRICKIN’ DEAL. Osho said, “The moment a baby is born, the mother is also born” and it’s true that Abe’s arrival shook a lot of things up for me and changed me profoundly.

So, what now?

So what did going offline feel like? Errrm, FREAKIN’ EPIC. Being anonymous with no one knowing where I was felt really good, having so much time back felt like winning the lottery and crucially being in the moment with the kids, our new baby, my husband, with myself (if you’ve ever tried to take a photo of yourself in the bath, you know what I mean) felt AMAZING. And I don’t mean skirting around the moment, looking for a good shot to take sort of moment; I mean deep in it, lost in it, I’ve-actually-lost-my-phone-for-3-days sort of moment.

And what now? I spent 3 months offline and unexpectedly loved every minute of it. I had to ask myself, therefore, can I really go back and pretend nothing’s changed? Ultimately, I don’t think it brings me that much joy to watch other people’s day to day lives in 15 second bursts (I know I’m not the only one) so I want to shift my focus away from the personal, day to day stuff and bring my attention back to this space right here, my blog. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still find me uploading the odd shot of my morning coffee run, and parenting slowly and sustainably with a healthy dose of dinner in the bath and dry shampoo will still be the main focus of my content, but now I also want to share my thoughts on politics and potties; I want to research the best kids’ cups and plates and crowdsource our favourite philosophers. This is the jam I want to share with you, not the (homemade)* jam I ate on my toast this morning. And if my Instagram grid starts to look less pretty and more gritty, then things will be going to plan as I also want to stop feeding the machine of idealised Instagram photos (and any hang ups that may or may not bring up for anyone seeing that photo). I also want to hear from you as well and would love you to share thoughts and reactions over here – I’ll be replying to all comments on my blog much more closely than ever before. Finally, I feel strongly that kindness and respect are qualities that need to be valued more and want my blog and social media channels to reflect this – essentially, I think we all need to be more Charlie.

I spent 3 months off social media and unexpectedly loved every minute of it. I had to ask myself, therefore, can I really go back and pretend nothing’s changed?

Is this making sense? I hope so. Mainly, it’s been an incredibly nourishing and peaceful time spent without the online world and within myself and my growing family. If you’ve never taken an elongated break offline, I highly encourage it – in fact at a recent training day at Instagram I challenged the company around why they don’t do more to advocate ‘time out’ – it’s SO important. I’ve connected with myself and others in unprecedented ways over the past few months and cultivated habits that I hope to carry with me forever (breastfeeding with a phone in my hand is not the one for me…)

I hope these changes sound as exciting to you as they feel inside for me, and that you stick around to see how things evolve. Also, I know the Instagram alogorithm loves Stories – I used to work for YouTube so understand vaguely how these things work – but hashtag screw the algorithm. Mainly, Abe is still only 6 months so I’ll be taking things slowly and crucially, not putting myself under any pressure.

Your turn now, how have you been?

Love, Emma xxx

P.S What it’s really like to go from one child to two and How To Encourage Independent Play

*Just joking – I’ve never made jam in my life but you get the idea.

(Photos by Oonagh Bush, Coralie Monnet and Amy Shamblen)

109 Comments

  1. March 13, 2020 / 6:11 pm

    Hi there, great blog. Just as I was about to cave to modern day demand and start documenting my life you have reminded me of the importance of sticking to my intentions. A strong theme for me this year. Excellent timing! Which beings me to your Osho quote – which book is this from please? Congratulations on becoming a family of 3 and on your refreshed perspective. Love Jamyoga.

  2. Amy
    March 3, 2020 / 10:36 am

    What a lovely read!
    I love following your insta but now I love that I can retreat and read your blog and not through insta!
    I recently gave up FB (before reading your blog)and yet to give up the gram! I thought I spent less time on there… :/
    I gave up FB when I lost my dad three years after loosing my mum to then find out we needed IVF, I still had Instagram them as stories didn’t exist etc and I could still be in the moment more and we travelled a lot more in our van as I worked.This time round I’m struggling. I put too much pressure to be mum, wife, boss, friend you name it, I’m trying not to self sabbatage, be in the moment and content, but I’m struggling, I lost my dog last week who’s been through everything with me we walked lots and she kept me in the moment. So today I read your blog, It’s helped millions, to know those thoughts those feelings I’m not alone. Why do we need social media?! I wish I could ditch the gram completely but I have it there for work and a bit of escapism, but I have time limits which in turn means i am drawing more, being creative. Anyway I’m rambling THANK YOU for your blog, your honesty! 💜Xxx

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      March 6, 2020 / 2:25 pm

      hi amy, firstly, im sorry you’ve been through tough times – none of this sounds easy at all, and i hope you know how strong you are to be getting on at all! social media can be fun but it really has to be used with such caution, i believe. sending lots of love and thank you for being here x

  3. Rachel
    February 16, 2020 / 7:43 am

    Wow. Just wow. Your speaking to my soul. Every word I want so many people to read this soak it in and heck maybe even try it. Thanks for sharing. Congrats on the babe and I look forward to more blogging. The pretty/gritty statement was Paramount btw. Can’t wait to see some gritty.

  4. Marlot
    February 15, 2020 / 7:17 pm

    Hi Emma!
    I followed you and your daily snippets of life on Instagram, and I found them entertaining and inspiring. And reading your post it makes much sense to make this choice!
    The reason I started following you on social media is because of the interesting information you share.
    Past months I found myself several times in your account to look up if you had a solution posted for some problems I had (like nice ‘green replacement s for products). And I saw that you didn’t post.
    I am happy to see you back again!! And no doubt you will still inspire us in the subjects you will write about!!
    Thank you for sharing your stories!

    Cheers from the Netherlands,
    Marlot

  5. Sally
    February 11, 2020 / 11:00 pm

    I came off Insta in 2016 when I was pregnant with my first; I realised I’d fallen into the trap of the ‘perfect’ photos. The platform has changed loads since then but it was easy to walk away from at that time.
    Since having my second, I’m on FB so much more, and I dont even know why I do it to myself (and my children). I’m pretty much scrolling past the content I’ve read three times already that day, just looking for a new post or story.
    BUT I couldn’t have done the night feeds without my phone – FB, Buzzfeed, news sites etc (mostly) kept me from dropping off while feeding. How have you stayed awake through the night?
    And I’m so sorry to read about the burglary, how traumatic for you all 🙁

  6. February 8, 2020 / 9:15 am

    Dear Emma,

    Loved reading this post and about your journey of disconnection and reconnection. On a couple of occasions I thought “oh I’ve not seen Emma post in a while, I hope she’s ok”- because your blog/social media is one of the few I really enjoy seeing posts from. Purely because of your honesty, authenticity and rawness. I don’t like Instagram but I love connecting with inspiring or likeminded people so it’s a tricky one. Fighting the internal battle of completely going off grid and staying connected! You are a wonderfully inspiring women and I’m glad to see you back spreading your light (although in a less ‘perfect insta’ kinda way). Really looking forward to hearing what brilliant thoughts and words you have to share soon!

    Have a wonderful weekend offline

    X

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      February 10, 2020 / 2:32 pm

      so much of this resonates with me – and i hope i can connect with followers but also allow myself the rawness and necessary time away. hope that makes sense – and thanks for being here emily! x

  7. Fi Sharp
    February 7, 2020 / 3:20 pm

    Aw you’ve had a lot of turmoil along with the wonderful thing of a new baby. I’ve noticed a lot less of my friends are posting in FB and it’s mostly wildlife charities filling my feed so you definitely are not alone, I think a lot are stepping back. You look so happy so the break did you good x take care of you and yours x

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      February 10, 2020 / 2:32 pm

      thank you so much fi! id much rather charities fill our feeds than photos of cups of coffee! <3

  8. Chloe
    February 7, 2020 / 7:16 am

    Sending you so much love. It sounds like you have been through an epic journey and I can’t wait to follow you on here for your real life suggestions – you know, those ones where we pick up packaged food where you need to! It’s all about balance. Well done on letting go!!

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      February 10, 2020 / 2:33 pm

      ALL about balance – and indeed, letting go is a major part of the journey ive been on. thanks chloe x x

  9. Rachael Tuckley
    February 6, 2020 / 11:13 am

    Ah Emma, I’ve really missed you but totally understand your reasons for disappearing for a while. I still watch your Slow Day videos even now as they really calm those fraught moments.
    Can’t wait to see and be inspired by your content moving forward.
    Welcome back!! xx

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      February 10, 2020 / 2:37 pm

      thanks rachael 🙂 thanks for sticking with me!

  10. February 6, 2020 / 9:50 am

    thanks for the blog Emma, your page is always a great inspiration and i missed your posts when you were gone. I have never taken a break myself but when possible i leave my phone upstairs and only go to it when the evening draws in or when i head out (need to count those steps). I think it not being in front of me is great as i find i pick it up quickly to check something i just checked 5mins earlier. With it being upstairs its away from my quick glancing and allows me more space to do other things.

    I also find on my own isnta i try to share messages but also reality, my posts are not sparkly and clean, there a bit off centred and the light isn’t always the best, but there real and i hope thats the message others see when i share it.

    Thanks for your post, i love writing my motherhood blog and your part of the inspiration for sharing and speaking the truth.

    Thanks, Claire

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      February 10, 2020 / 2:40 pm

      ah thanks for this claire. leaving the phone upstairs is so easy and surprisingly effective, huh. off to check your blog out ! x

  11. Jess
    February 5, 2020 / 7:35 pm

    So nice to know you’re human. Thank you for sharing reality

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      July 27, 2020 / 9:18 am

      oh absolutely am human! thanks for reading jess and SO SORRY for the tardy reply xxx

  12. February 5, 2020 / 4:26 pm

    Hear, hear, Emma! I think it’s pretty brave what you did and it’s so good to hear you can fully enjoy that newborn time (and the months after that). The days may be long, but the years go so fast 😉 You know.
    I think hashtag fuck the algorythm is a pretty slogan for 2020.
    Though. I am a photographer and sometimes I feel like quitting IG too. BUT… I tend to think that I need it to show my work. And then I just kinda shut down because what am I gonna post and when and why… you probably must have felt that too, somewhere in the process.
    Anyway, thank you for this inspirational story. I’ll def keep following you here or on IG.
    Barbara

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      July 27, 2020 / 9:19 am

      100% felt all these feels…. the balance is so tricky when your work depends on the online world. thanks for reading barbara and so sorry for the MEGA slow response xxxx

  13. W Venn
    February 5, 2020 / 12:17 pm

    Well done Emma! I really admire you for your honesty.
    I totally agree about kindness in this world. There’s not enough about.
    We can only ‘be good enough’ .
    Much love

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      August 3, 2020 / 2:03 pm

      totally wendy. hope you guys are super well <3 x

  14. Chloe
    February 5, 2020 / 12:03 pm

    I absolutely love this so much and think you are so brilliant for being so honest. Well done. Keep being you ❤

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      August 3, 2020 / 2:04 pm

      <3 thank you for being here chloe x

  15. Vicki
    February 5, 2020 / 10:49 am

    Wonderful to hear this. So honest.
    Lovely to hear that you’re well and taking a fresh approach x

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      August 3, 2020 / 2:04 pm

      thanks vicki xxx

  16. February 5, 2020 / 10:49 am

    Amazing. Thanks for your honesty, completely understand and applaud your decision. Being a Mum is bloody hard work and having to make it Insta snappable would be beyond me….

    Good to have you back, more centred again.

  17. Louise Bayfield
    February 5, 2020 / 10:00 am

    Go Emma, I’m really looking forward to deeper slower grittier and political content. When you write a longer blog you slow us down too. So much gratitude for what you do!

    Top tip mix 30 drops peppermint essential oil into a spray bottle with a pint of water and regularly have a spritz around the garden, vermin hate it! I’m just about to have a spray myself.

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      July 27, 2020 / 9:19 am

      thanks for this louise – and thats interesting what you write about slowing you down too! xxxxxx ps your peppermint tip is a GREAT one – will be doing this!! pps. so sorry for the slow reply xxxx

  18. Ciecieclark
    February 5, 2020 / 9:49 am

    I’m so happy that you took this break. Sounds like you had a massive go of it and it’s so good to hear. Not that I’m happy you have had a difficult time, but I’m so happy you’re able to share it candidly because it’s comforting knowing we’re not alone. It makes people relate to you rather than compare themselves and feel inferior to a false post.

    I try to only follow people that make me feel inspired and good, if I begin to feel I’m comparing myself then I unfollow. And like you say, so important to have breaks. I like to try and share the real too and not just the lovely happy moments.

    I’ve recent had baby number two, seth and my first born, Freddie is only 21 months! Sadly I have not been on the reusable, eco game as much myself in these first few months, it’s hard to do it all. But I will get back to it as will you. Sometimes we just have to do what we can. Seth has a terrible milk allergy and what appears to be a cleft palet and so it’s been very stressful. I just couldn’t manage breast feeding. I couldn’t get past the ripping my nipples apart and the pain however much I persevered. so along with beating myself up for it, and seth screaming all day and night, fighting feeds, worrying and fighting with doctors to have him checked and tested (as well as look after and entertain my first little treasure) has been tough. Lovely moments amongst it all where I burst with love and pride of course.

    I remind myself this isn’t forever, this lapse in our eco lifestyle, more tele and snacks for Freddie and inevitably fewer showers and less housework is only temporary. Just while we welcome seth and get him set up earth side ❤️

    I truly think you are wonderful and seeing your posts and stories do add something special to my day, the truth especially.

    Keep doing you and share what you can, when you can, when you want to, without obligation and knowing that it makes a difference. Do also politely unfollow anyone who makes you compare yourself or feel lacking in any way.

    All the best

    Jayce

    Xx

  19. Rhi
    February 5, 2020 / 9:22 am

    Really excited for your deeper blog content. I’m a breastfeeding new mum (doing both simultaneously right now, even though I keep promising to stop doing it) and looking forward to what you write about. I’m trying to be as plastic free and sustainable as possible but some of our odds hard.

  20. Cecile
    February 5, 2020 / 8:30 am

    Love this! As a young mum who is currently *breastfeeding with a phone in my hand* I really feel I need to take a break. My baby girl is almost four months old and time is flying by. I want to make the most of this magical time. Why is it so hard to put the phone away!?

  21. Hannah
    February 4, 2020 / 10:29 pm

    Love this post and I love the fact that you have made the decision to put a bit more focus into your blog. I have been thinking of signing off when it come to Instagram, but was concerned that I would miss out some bloggers ideas and yours being one of them. So more time on the blog is music to my ears. I feel like it’s easy to read something on a blog that’s useful and then be able to step away, compared with Instagram that seems to suck you in then throw you back out 2 Hours later feeling pretty rubbish about life and killing your concentration span in the process (can you tell I am well and truly over it 🤣). For some people Instagram is great and has been a brilliant platform to spread fantastic ideas and even kindness. But, I think there is potentially a lingering dark side to this social media malarky and I don’t think we have quite realised the extent of it yet. Good on you for putting your family first, you are a brilliant role model so don’t go beating yourself up for the odd plastic container! Xx

  22. Gem
    February 4, 2020 / 10:12 pm

    Whatever floats your boat is great Emma, I am here to support you no matter what! I’m just so so happy that you’re not gone forever and that we can keep up with you here on your blog! You are such an inspiration to me and I feel less alone and weird whenever I see that you’re doing something I agree with etc.
    I’m sorry that a few things happened which kind of forced you offline or made life difficult but I do think these things are here to test us and make us stronger ❤️
    Can’t wait to see what you post next (whenever that may be). So much love to you and your wonderful family!
    Gem x

  23. February 4, 2020 / 10:03 pm

    ‘Be more Charlie’ HELL YES!! Love this post Emma, such honesty and clarity of thought. I remember you saying on Instagram when you were pregnant that you weren’t sure if you’d take some time out when the baby arrived or if you’d just carry on (I got the impression you’d want to keep going but I was quietly willing you to take time out, especially having just been through that first year of babyhood again myself and realising how much of you it requires). I have such respect for your wise introspection, knowing when enough is enough. You may be an eco influencer but I think you are quite the oracle for how we should live in this day and age. Also, I love your blog and so pleased that’s where you’re putting your eggs. I’m hoping to follow suit and do more long form writing this year – good soul food I find. Big love to you and the fam xxx

  24. Annika
    February 4, 2020 / 9:05 pm

    Brilliant article Emma! Been following you a while on Instagram and got a lot of Inspiration from you!!
    Interistlingly I deleted Instagram in October as it all just became too much. Mindless scrolling through, feeling suffocated by lots of accounts full of ads and not really feeling anyone was genuine. I came off for 7 weeks but actually contemplating to delete it again. I am due in 5 weeks with my 2nd child so I have and will have enough on my hands…
    Well done for taking a break and establishing what is important to you. I shall follow your blog! All.the best x

  25. Lyndsey x
    February 4, 2020 / 7:17 pm

    This is class Emma. Your honesty is really refreshing (let’s be honest – behind a lovely eco influencer snap there’s probably a pile of plastic rubbish somewhere!) Also so resonate with your feelings of switching off. I know consciously I am far too addicted to my phone than I should be, often for useful things…online food shopping, researching things, using notes to plan, but it means I could be laying in bed at 1am still doing it! We every so often do screen free weekends where we lock our phones/iPad away and unplug the tv. They are the most liberating times! Also – the novelty of having to phone someone on a landline to get in touch instead of texting is brill!

    Look forward to sharing the journey ahead and seeing what you get up to.

  26. Gemma
    February 4, 2020 / 7:14 pm

    Oh Emma, I can relate to everything you said about Instagram and thought it was just me being sensitive!

    I love your blog and instagram I find it really helps with my slow and sustainable living/parenting. (Although my boys are teenagers now) and look forward to seeing where you take things from now on. Xxx

  27. Antonia
    February 4, 2020 / 5:17 pm

    I could not have more love and respect for you than I do now. I started following you as I wanted to live more sustainably whole raising my young feral daughter. I’m glad you took time for you and your family, I can’t wait to see more posts when you choose to share them. X

  28. Giu
    February 4, 2020 / 4:57 pm

    Blogs are such a better way to keep up-to-date and learn more than to quickly scroll through IG. IG has so cleverly created this insatiable FOMO which is haunting, really. I follow a few people and I feel that unless I’m on IG I won’t know about all the cool stuff they’ve learnt and shared…but honestly, if more people delved into important topics in the form of blog posts, you’d only need to check their pages once a week or less knowing that the info will always be there unlike those fleeting IG stories. Welcome back but most importantly glad you took a well deserved break to recenter. Working on pressing reset myself to focus on the present moment.

  29. February 4, 2020 / 4:57 pm

    I felt every word you wrote here and can relate to it all so much. There is a strange pull that instagram has on me from time to time and one that is conflicting. I do love taking photos and sharing my thoughts but I struggle to feel like I have a space or that my efforts seem desperate somehow, I suppose I get a bit lonely which makes my obsession with instagram not a very healthy one.

    I love your honesty and can’t wait to read more of your posts, there is something so real and wholesome about everything you do that it makes seeing your posts comforting.

    I hope we can finally get that coffee date arranged soon, I’m going to need some advice on having a family of 3 soon 🙂

    Take care Emma, xxx

  30. Sophie
    February 4, 2020 / 4:56 pm

    This is THE best! I’m due my second in march and after reading this think I may give up the gram for a bit aswel! Sick of the samey content from influencers who just don’t keep it real, looking forward to reading your blog and hopefully see the odd vid over on YouTube (cos I do miss your DITL they are what made me think it’s ok to take things slooooow) much love soph x

  31. Pippa Jane
    February 4, 2020 / 4:17 pm

    This resonated with me so much. I was living a very low waste life until my son came along. 2 years later and I still struggle to keep our waste down and am constantly beating myself up about it. Especially when comparing myself to other peoples Instagram feeds. I have never been a big blog reader, opting for the quick fix of Instagram. I’m ready for something different and looking forward to reading your future posts.
    P.s. I was in a rush the other night so gave my son dinner in the bath without a single guilty feeling. Thanks for that x

  32. February 4, 2020 / 3:43 pm

    Yes Mama!! This resonates so so much. Especially the sharing more knowledge and information not coffee cups (isn’t it weird that we like to look at other people’s coffee cups?). I feel there is a shift happening. Going back to something slower. We promote (I include myself) slow living yet we use fast media. Anyways, you rock!

  33. Jenn
    February 4, 2020 / 3:35 pm

    Yes Emma! Good for you. Your words and way of parenting are inspirational. I look forward to the more gritty Instagram posts and look forward to the blogs and (hopefully)upcoming videos. Love your thoughts and love that you’re back 😊

  34. Elle
    February 4, 2020 / 3:01 pm

    I just want to say YES MAMA! 🙌🏼

  35. Hayley Stevens
    February 4, 2020 / 2:48 pm

    Your approach to life and parenting is such a tonic. Your words are so appreciated. I completely understand needing to quieten the noise because new babies and the juggle struggle of older children is crushingly difficult at times. It’s really good to see your presence again. I love your adjusted approach. I’m in x

  36. Cherry
    February 4, 2020 / 2:31 pm

    This speaks to me, so deeply. I have an old Motorola phone (hand-me-down from a friend), which isn’t super speedy and crashes/fails to download all the time. Swipe up on Instagram simply isn’t a function that works on my phone. My point……it took me 3 attempts on my phone to read this blog post. And another 2 to write a comment. Amazingly bubba has stayed asleep long enough for me to try, try and try again. But worth it to tell you I love this. I’m with you. Sometimes my brain gets fogged with all the samey photos so I actively look for the wordy Insta posts. I’ve come back to enjoying reading a longer article/blog post. You’re doing amazing. I’m no longer in the newborn cloud but still struggle daily with just one little hurricane.

  37. Chrissi Holt
    February 4, 2020 / 1:51 pm

    Eeek this really hit the nail hard on the head. I resonate well with everything you have said. Our life upon moving to the countryside hasn’t been that rosey. It’s hard bringing up small children while trying ones hardest to be sustainable while renovating. We can’t always make the zero waste store mainly because of my anxiety on driving down these small, busy country lanes, so I try and seek alternative options with no such luck. Then feel really shitty for not buying packaging that’s compostable but rather biodegradable… I mean how biodegradable is it really ? I questioned homeschooling my son, because everyday state schooling just doesn’t seem right for us, I got all panicky watching other homeschoolers stories and reading their feeds – as I just didn’t feel like I’d be good enough. My mental health has been a wreck. And I am now just starting to accept that life isn’t perfect but every small step counts. I want to start a 6pm switch off like you once did. Read more, be more present with kids, even if it just means sitting there with them while they play, cook more, garden more, basically spend less time moaning that my life isn’t quite how I envisioned it… instagram partly to blame for its so called must get that perfect shot as who would want to even look at my account lol how ridiculous right ? I’m not an influencer have no intention on being, but the libraian in me is such a bloody perfectionist and loves anything aesthetically pleasing to the eye 😩 ok that’s enough rambling ! I had reiki yesterday and cried at the end. I’m releasing ! It’s a long road. And can’t wait to read more. Big love beautiful mama. Hope to bump into you one day when I’m back up in London xxx

  38. February 4, 2020 / 1:07 pm

    Such a great post to read. I’m not even going to say welcome back because I think the point is you were there all the time in your fully present glory 🙂 I don’t do well operating within the machine, my posts are too sporadic for the algorithm and I’m inconsistent with how much I can show up. BUT THAT IS OK!! I don’t know what the answer is in terms of balancing online life with real life but I think it starts with beautiful honesty like your post here and learning learning learning all the time about what feels healthy. A huge fuck no to stressing about it all and I’m trying to make that my cue for putting the phone down and moving far away from it. Maybe we’ll all begin drifting back to our blog spaces like you are. Creating spaces that are ours feels more nourishing right now. Also, for me, there’s something in balance coming from getting stuck into working with my hands as an antidote to screens. Not easy with a babe in arms but my baby is 6 now so this week is about gardening and clay and I’m giddy about it 🙂 love to you mama x

  39. Emma
    February 4, 2020 / 12:26 pm

    Emma,
    I’ve followed you for a while on Instagram and have to say your laidback parenting style has felt refreshing when so much of the conversation is aimed a selling and ‘content’. I don’t post, or blog, or usually comment So my experience of Instagram is the same as flicking through a glossy magazine in the rare moments between work and kids.
    I think your messages about sustainability are interesting and helpful and while I understand your decisions to not blog or Instagram for 3 months it might have been more interesting to see you going against your own principles in order to navigate normal life. Your messages are not just about pretty pictures and adorable children, by only showing you adhering to your messages instead of when you go against them it can make them seem less ‘real’.
    This is always the difficulty with social media – you to me are a distraction whereas your pages are your lived experience and need to make sense for your and your family.
    I guess a redirection to a blog post feels a bit – hidden, especially in comparison to gifted holidays or ad partnerships which remain center stage.
    You keep doing you and whatever makes you happy, and what do I know, I post barely anything and am not very good at being sustainable. But I try and I guess there’s no one to see my successes and cheer me on or my failures and tell me off. We’re all just trying our best whether it’s being environmentally friendly or parents.
    Thanks for always making me think,
    Emma x

  40. Layla
    February 4, 2020 / 11:49 am

    All I feel I simply want to say to this is FUCK YESS!!!! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

    • Cherry
      February 4, 2020 / 2:33 pm

      Love this. Wish this had been my response. So much more succinct!

  41. Michelle
    February 4, 2020 / 11:46 am

    I’ve been considering this for a while and have just deleted facebook and Instagram. Thank you for the push to do this. More time to enjoy my newborn!

  42. Jenna
    February 4, 2020 / 11:34 am

    You have just put into words how I and I bet many other people out there feel. I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said. I applaud your honesty and for that reason I shall continue to follow you and love your content. Can I also say that I imagine this has been so helpful to other parents who are trying to keep up with the perfect images portrayed by social media. I know we always remind ourselves that we are only ever seeing a snippet of someone’s life but when those snippets are constantly looking perfect it gets exhausting trying to keep up. I can only imagine what it is like behind the camera.

    Also, yes to focussing on your blog. I used to read a few blogs, they were my favourite things to do in moments of spare time (very few moments) but I swapped these things that brought real value to me for the instant gratification of Instagram. I’m going to try and swap that round again now.

    Thank you.

    P.s I bet you’re going to regret saying you’ll reply to comments on your blogs now. Someone’s about to get very busy again….😍❤️😊

  43. February 4, 2020 / 10:35 am

    Thanks so much for sharing such an honest and beautiful post. I admire you so much for taking a break and being true to what really matters to you. I’m currently pregnant with our third child (due in May) and, whilst I’m obviously delighted and excited, I’m also terrified at how I’ll cope. I have my own mental health issues- prone to depression, diagnosed with OCD-O, anxiety etc – and I know that things like Instagram and the comparison culture which it breeds does me NO good. Yet I really struggle to switch it off. It’s like a weird kind of self flagellation every time I go on. Why do I do it?! You’ve inspired me to think more about this. Thank you so much. And huge congratulations and a big high five for mummying three!! X

  44. Anna Midlane
    February 4, 2020 / 10:22 am

    Absolutely love this post. I am a mum of just one child who is now 8, but have always followed you and admired you and at the same time thought how the hell do you do it. I also took a break from instagram, Im just a full time mum, not anything to do with online and I needed the break, especially as my son is old enough to comment and notice if I am on my phone which I hate. So I thoroughly admire you for taking a much needed break, its never anything that needs apologising for. You do you. Us followers will always be there, mainly because you inspire us all to just slow down which we all need to do. As much as I loved your day in the life videos, I also love reading your blog. Thanks for being so honest and I look forward to reading your blog as and when and IF you put something on line. No expectations, no pressure, just lots of good wishes. 🙂

  45. Anonymous
    February 4, 2020 / 10:10 am

    I really respect you. I actually stopped following you for a while because you made me feel not good enough. How do you have time for all this home nappy washing when I can’t even even manage dinner every night 🙂 we are all human 🙏🏻 I really hope you find the balance your looking for and in the meantime I always love your content, information and honesty

  46. Teal
    February 4, 2020 / 10:02 am

    First off, congrats on surviving mamahood with 3 because let’s face it, that’s a flipping challenge. I love your honesty & couldnt agree more with what you said (especially the bf with phone in hand!) I think we all need to disconnect more. I did it a few weekends ago and it was bliss!

  47. Tora
    February 4, 2020 / 10:01 am

    So lovely to see you’re back but well done for listening to your needs and taking time out for you, for your baby and for your family! Adding a whole new person to the family is a huge deal- even if you’ve done it before. It throws your whole life upside down with new routines and constant feeding and lack of sleep and no time to do ANYTHING round the house.
    I had my second daughter a month after you had yours and was so unprepared for how hard it was going to be. Completely changed the dynamic in the family (in a good way but it’s been a huge adjustment for all of us). Shortly after she was born my mother got really ill (in a different country) so she wasn’t able to come and see us, hence I had to organise a passport for my baby so we could do some trips to go and help look after my mum who was housebound for 3 months. I found myself having to mother my own mother as well as my baby. In the midst of all this our hot water and heating stopped working and it was 6 weeks (!!!) before we got it fixed (looong story involving a very incompetent gas engineer) and to top it all off my 4-year-old had a bad case of tape-worm which is without a doubt the most disgusting thing i’ve ever had to deal with. 2 baths a day for every family member for weeks- with water boiled in the kettle and washing sheets and towels and clothes every single day, also for weeks to make sure there were no eggs around. I also had to work when my baby was sleeping as have my own business. It nearly tipped me over the edge. But what saved me was looking at my baby and knowing that as long as she was alright, everything would be ok. Like you said- when you look at that little miracle at your feet who ask for nothing and everything in one breath, you know what’s important in life.
    All the best to you and your beautiful family! And thank you for always thoughtful and lovely posts… i’ve learnt so much from your blog… particularly about slowing parenting, slow days…!

  48. annemarie honey
    February 4, 2020 / 9:53 am

    Good on you. I was only thinking this morning how much tech has changed in the last decade and so will change again, and what if in 10 years insta doesn’t even exist, or it’s gone naff and no-one uses it, we’ll look back and realise all that time we spent on it, we can never get back. I always feel slighty icky when I’ve had a ‘quick little look’ on insta…it’s not real life is it. I’m old enough now to know those icky feelings are definitely sign posts pointing us to a better life. Much love.

  49. Ella
    February 4, 2020 / 9:49 am

    Hi Emma, so great to hear you are all doing ok. So much food for thought in your latest blog post. I think it is quite easy to feel “lost” online at the moment.

    Stay true to yourself!
    Ella

  50. Helen
    February 4, 2020 / 9:44 am

    You clearly needed space and time away, so we’ll done for taking it. I’ve missed your posts, but I’m glad you looked after yourself and your family first!

    Looking forward to the shift in your blog etc. Though I loved seeing snapshots of your life, I’m also looking forward to this new direction. Xxx

  51. Sam
    February 4, 2020 / 9:32 am

    Thanks for posting this. We too have struggled to live anything like low-waste since number two came along (sleep deprivation is a killer) it’s nice to know we aren’t alone! Enjoy your family time (apart from the sleep deprivation).

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      August 3, 2020 / 2:03 pm

      you’re def not alone! hope you’re getting some more sleep sam xxx

  52. Grace
    February 4, 2020 / 9:22 am

    So glad you took some time out, also selfishly glad your back as I love your blog/posts! Thank you for being so honest in this post, looking forward to reading about your new journey.

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      August 3, 2020 / 2:02 pm

      ah thank you grace!x

  53. I’m so pleased to hear your words again but I’m also relieved that you took the time out that you needed. Sharing content should never come at the cost of your personal health and happiness, or that of your family. I also appreciate your honesty in this post – it shows that all of us go through phases where we have to compromise on our environmental ethics.

    I love the idea of you returning to blogging and sharing the content which is truly meaningful for you! The Instragram algorithm controls too much – these days I remember the accounts I love and if I don’t see content, I check in on them occasionally in case I’ve just missed something. So post what you want, when you want and you will have a core of loyal and interested followers who will find you and engage!

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      August 3, 2020 / 2:02 pm

      thank you for these kind words angela – they mean a lot. and sorry for the delay in responding – loads of these comments somehow totally passed me by. hope you’re really well x

  54. Lisa
    February 4, 2020 / 9:12 am

    Welcome back Emma! I really missed you and your posts on Instagram. Having an 8 month old myself, I can’t even vaguely imagine how much it is having 3 kids AND doing instagram. I’m so happy for you and the decision you’ve made and am looking forward to reading your blog posts. Take care and love from Germany – Lisa xx

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      August 3, 2020 / 1:56 pm

      ah thanks so much lisa. hope you and your little one are doing well! x

  55. February 4, 2020 / 8:59 am

    In our fast world I think it’s the best to go back blogging. Reading a blog post is a quality time. Let’s bring back blogging. I have been writing a food blog (in Hungarian) and I still love it. I’m glad you took some time off from social media! I bet it was worth it!!!

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      August 3, 2020 / 1:55 pm

      yes to this Zita! huge fan of blogging <3 all the best to you xxx

  56. Anonymous
    February 4, 2020 / 8:38 am

    So happy to read your post. I’ve been missing you on Instagram. I’m new to it and I’ve found myself with lots of annoyingly perfect mum’s on there. I’ve really enjoyed your stuff since my first babe came, because it is (like me) trying, but not claiming to be perfect. Thank you.

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      August 3, 2020 / 1:55 pm

      def not claiming to be perfect over here – high fives to you ! x

  57. February 4, 2020 / 8:36 am

    Just a big, resounding YES to this post.
    Life is so much more than those pesky squares, but by talking about the real, gritty stuff, you can still do so much good.
    Looking forward to what you produce, and joining in.
    Xx

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      August 3, 2020 / 1:54 pm

      thanks so much emma xxxx

  58. February 4, 2020 / 8:33 am

    Love this Em 🧡
    I can relate to every single word you’ve written. I had a social media break just over a year ago now, I thought I’d absolutely hate it but it was the best thing ever. I ended up having 5 months (totally unplanned and unexpected) Like you say, you suddenly have so much time to be in the moment. It really made me realise how precious actual life is. None of that online stuff really matters. What matters is what is physically around you and how happy your brain is!

    Big loves to you and your gorgeous family xxxxx

    • Sarah
      February 4, 2020 / 9:47 am

      Lovely to have you back but so glad you enjoyed your break. IG is a weird and wonderful place and although I use it for both work and my own life my work account feels very different to having your private life as also your work account so I can only imagine the stress of feeling obliged to upload ‘content’.
      You will get back into the lower waste living too I’m sure, of course there are times when we all slip up or have to use packaged stuff more than we’d like too but ultimately your heart is in the right place and you’ll find your groove again. My three are bigger gaps than yours and I do think it makes life easier with two at school! Anyway look forward to reading more blog posts. Sarah x

      • Emma Ross
        Author
        August 3, 2020 / 1:53 pm

        thanks for this sarah. its lovely to read this a few months on as i think i have found “my groove”, as you say. how are you doing? x

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      August 3, 2020 / 1:54 pm

      absol friggin lutely Jeorgia! love these words. hope you and the boys are well and so sorry for the crazy slow response – i missed a load of these messages xxx

  59. Stephanie
    February 4, 2020 / 8:32 am

    I’ve recently begun to question my place online and not having any kind of following or financial obligations to post online it’s made me wonder what the point of it all is. It began as a place to share my photography, then motherhood and gone educating took over that and I lost the time and energy for creating. I think the interaction of instagram changed a lot when the stories element was introduced and I know that my interaction has seriously changed since then. I’m also beginnings to question my position in posting publicly about my children. I want my children to see photos of our lives, to share in the memories, but will they appreciate it seeing posts about how frazzled or frustrated I can get, or will I accidentally share something that wasn’t mine to share? I think I know the answer but for some reason stepping away feels like a tough decision. And I hate that a bunch of code can make me feel trapped like this. Anyway, thanks for the food for thought. Much love x

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      August 3, 2020 / 1:47 pm

      ah i hear you loud and clear stephanie – it’s a weird, weird place. what did you decide in the end? SO SORRY for the terribly slow response, i missed a bunch of these comments and only just catching up now x x x

  60. February 4, 2020 / 8:32 am

    I’m so glad you took some time out! I was starting to wonder how on earth you were managing to do all this with a new baby!
    There are times in life when you just have to be in survival mode – whether that be positive like a new baby or negative like mental health challenges, bereavement or other difficulties that life can throw at us, and at these times of life we absolutely should not feel any guilt about needing to buy plastic packaged foods and not living the most eco friendly sustainable lives we can. So any guilt you held about that – take away! It sounds like you had a lot thrown at you and you’ll still be in survival mode with a 6 month old!
    I deleted my social media over Christmas and it felt amazing! Like you I felt like I lived more in the moment and really didn’t miss it at all. Now I have it back I know I can always delete it and the world will keep turning. And that knowledge means I feel less pressure to post anything (and I have 200 followers not loads like you so I get you must have felt mega pressure!)
    Anyway, looking forward to reading your blog… But take it easy x

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      February 6, 2020 / 9:54 pm

      thanks for these words sarah and yes – it was exactly that. deleting social media as and when can be so powerful – and as you say, it is in our control… thanks for being here xxx

  61. Jenn
    February 4, 2020 / 8:30 am

    I am really happy for you that you took time off. When I had my baby I found just the messages, calls and texts from friends and family too much. I turned my phone off and went back to wearing a wind up wrist watch. I can’t imagine the pressure you must of felt.

    I think knowing that things weren’t perfect and low waste is really helpful to others. It makes you seem more real and stops people (myself included) not feel so bad when they take the less eco option when needed.

    I wish you and your family lots of love and happiness x

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      February 6, 2020 / 9:50 pm

      thank you so much Jenn! such lovely, kind words and maaan, i love my wind up wrist watch! lots of love xxx

  62. Kim
    February 4, 2020 / 8:30 am

    I’m SO behind this shift. I’m not a content producer/influencer/youtuber/etc but have recently been far more aware of how FAKE places like Instagram and the like can be. You think your reading a heartfelt and educational post and it turns out that actually it’s a #ad and the individual you really admire is actually just being paid to say these things. Since I’ve noticed this I’ve realised that such posts sometimes contain mentions of miscarriage, depression, death and illness and are related back to a -normally very loosely related- product…. for profit?! This has really unsettled me and I’m beginning to be quite mistrusting of the social online world. There are some (like yourself) who I do trust when you make a recommendation because you can tell you’ve researched it and decided that not only can it have a (genuinely) positive effect on your life but also others and you want to share it.
    I say go for it Emma, do what you feel is true to yourself, brings you job satisfaction and works with your family. That’s what’s important, not pretty filtered pictures and heavily scripted posts…… although I must admit I do love your DITL videos, they make me feel really relaxed and calm but I also appreciate they can probably feel quite intrusive to private family life xx

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      February 6, 2020 / 9:49 pm

      thanks for this super thoughtful comment kim. i actually read an article around this exact point – https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/has-the-anxiety-industry-got-out-of-control-f8k7j8tqw. Here’s an exert: My concern is that the anxiety industry is mostly a bit of a scam, with cunning marketeers preying on our vulnerabilities to flog us lots of useless calming products that we don’t really need. In truth, all the best cures for mental unease — exercise, dogs, reading, sex — are well established and easily accessible.

      I also wonder if the anxiety industry and the explosion of “relatable” content on mental health is actually starting to make the problem worse. Almost every celeb interview now involves someone opening up about their inner struggles. On social media, vulnerability has become a powerful currency: influencers used the word “anxiety” three times more in 2019 than they did in 2016.

      It drives engagement too. A recent report showed that influencers see up to 10 times more engagement when they post about mental health issues. This has led to accusations of “sadfishing” — people overstating their issues for personal gain.

      Anyway yep – i hear you massively, so thank you. lots of love xxx

  63. February 4, 2020 / 8:24 am

    Yay! I am so glad you are back, I’ve been checking in here and hoping that you were simply taking a break. I am only just starting out in the world of blogging/social media and you have been a big inspiration of mine. Its really useful to read tips about how not to let it become too much. I love the way you write so I am really looking forward to being able to read your posts again.

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      February 6, 2020 / 9:44 pm

      ah hi didi – and thanks for being here! good luck with your blogging venture, i’ll take a look at your site. lots of love x

  64. Hannah
    February 4, 2020 / 8:18 am

    Lovely Emma, I’ve found myself missing you on IG because you’re a breath of fresh air and often a good reminder in my scrolling to s.l.o.w down. But more than that, I’ve completely backed the decision to step back and think this post shows your priorities are right on. There’s that different clarity, isn’t there, to time without screens? Have adopted your zero plans days for at least one weekend day each week and already loving it xx

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      February 6, 2020 / 9:43 pm

      hey hannah – firstly, thank you for your kind words and secondly, so glad you’re deciding to slow things down in your own ways too. Hope you feel the benefits too. lots of love and thanks for being here x

  65. Helen
    February 4, 2020 / 8:16 am

    Oh god – feeling all of this! I was the same – thought I could carry on with everything, just with a baby alongside. Nope! And also felt the guilt of suddenly going back to old ‘Bad’ behaviour a purely for convenience as I was way too tired to do anything else.

    Glad you’ve found a new way forward, welcome ack x

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      February 6, 2020 / 9:35 pm

      thank you helen! i dont know why us mums think we do EVERYTHING, not least after having a baby! convenience is king, when it needs to be. sending all the love xx

  66. February 4, 2020 / 8:15 am

    I love everything about this and also feeling the need to quieten down and find myself again.

    I also enjoy reading blogs, the longer stories to really sit and enjoy rather than scrolling through multiple lives!

    Hearing you loud and strong,

    Sophie

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      February 6, 2020 / 9:34 pm

      ah thanks for this sophie and for your encouraging words around me moving back to my blog. it just feels a much quieter place to work and spend time, if that makes sense. lots of love to you and yours x

  67. Hannah
    February 4, 2020 / 8:14 am

    Love this blog post Emma. Social media can be really taxing on the mental health, even when we know it’s a huge factor in us drawing comparisons between other people, especially other mums, (or people who are on holiday when I’m up at 2am doing the night feed listening to the January wind howling outside!)! ..it’s hard not to get sucked in.

    I’ve found once becoming a mum for the first time I fell into the habit of looking at my phone ( Instagram especially) a lot more than usual. At times it’s been a lifesaver and helped me to feel more connected, but then more recently I felt it was making me feel like I was missing out, and in some ways mourning my life pre-baby a tiny bit, suffering from some serious fomo!

    I too took a break and just started to feel so much more content and present, enjoying all the little things a bit more.

    Anyway just wanted to stop by and say thanks for all your content, when I was pregnant I discovered your positive birth story on YouTube (I used PBC) and from here went on to read your blog. We are cloth nappying, working on reducing our waste as parents (as much as we can, no one’s perfect! 🙂

    Look forward to reading more from you, well done on having a well needed digital break and encouraging others to do the same

    X

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      February 6, 2020 / 9:33 pm

      thanks for reading the post hannah, and for sharing your story. well done you on listening to what was happening for you and for taking that all important break. so important to control social media, and not let it control you… lots of love and yay to cloth nappying ! x

  68. February 4, 2020 / 8:08 am

    It’s so great to see you come back, but more importantly it’s wonderful to hear about why you took a break. I’ve got a 5 week old and trying to grow my blog is sometimes squeezing out enjoying her and her older brother. This is a great reminder to treasure the things that really matter. Thank you Emma x

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      February 6, 2020 / 9:31 pm

      thank you Innes and congrats on the arrival of your daughter. Yes, finding the balance is tricky but you never ever get those early days back so do take a proper break if you can. I wish Id taken mine sooner, I really do. Lots of love! E x

  69. February 4, 2020 / 8:06 am

    Yesterday, I thought about you, as you were (online) missing. And I also thought you took some time off (I also did few weeks ago, and I am not an influencer. But other perfect sustainable lives plus rude people in others feed was too much for me). I’m happy you’re back with your blog, filled with really useful information. Hope you all are well. Kisses from Spain.

    • Sue
      February 4, 2020 / 8:25 am

      Super to read you are okay. I wholly applaud you. Being a Mum to 3 is fabulous and challenging at the same time. Trying to balance work ( whatever that may be) and ensuring you feel that you are being the best Mum you can be is both physically and mentally difficult. It’s going to be wonderful to follow you in the next months, but never forget your family are so much more important than us out here. You want to look back with immense pride in years to come, as I do when I look at our 3 girls ( now all grown up), and think to yourself I helped them become amazing people who are kind, caring and beautiful human beings . Bless you xx

      • Emma Ross
        Author
        February 6, 2020 / 9:45 pm

        ah thank you so much for these words sue, and for confirming what i think i already knew but somewhere along the way had forgotten. im sure your daughters are a total credit to you x

    • Emma Ross
      Author
      August 3, 2020 / 1:45 pm

      thanks for this irene <3 your words mean a lot. SO SORRY for the slow reply – catching up on a lot right now ! x

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