The most important blog post I’ll ever write

I love writing blog posts but it doesn’t happen often that I’m actually counting down the minutes til Sonny goes for a nap so that I can get in front of my far too grubby laptop screen and get typing. You see, this is a blog post that I’ve been formulating in my mind for months but it was only when I happened to switch on BBC radio 4 this morning looking for Thought For the day but instead stumbled across an absolutely fascinating programme titled Post Truth and Revolution, that everything fell into place. Instead of beating about the bush, I will jump right in. Social media, blogging, vlogging – what’s it all about ? I think it’s time I break it down before it breaks me down and I potentially pull the plug on it altogether – something I regularly toy with but ultimately, not something I want to do.
As with most things in life, there are good sides and there are not so good sides and I battle with both of these when it comes to social media. For me, my blog, vlog and Instagram are all spaces for me to share passions, ramblings, stories and opinions (which people seem to sort of enjoy) and which mainly centre on motherhood and travel but also cover everything from my obsession with coffee to how much I dislike scrubbing down the highchair; it’s where I go to find answers and inspiration on everything from why the leaves on my palm tree are turning brown to how to make tofu taste good; it’s where I have made genuine new friends and connected old ones; it’s a place that has brought me solace when I just felt a bit lonely; it’s a place where I can unleash some creativity and get excited by a new font and most recently, it’s a place that now earns me a little income. It’s mine to do whatever I want with, I have no idea where it will take me and I really, truly love it.
On the other hand, the online social media ‘world’ – and it really now is a world – comes with its own complex set of problems. ‘Keeping up with it’ requires effort and takes up a sizeable chunk of my time which I could be using to do any number of other things: fill our far too frequently empty fridge, watch TV with Sam on the sofa at the end of a long day, do some yoga – the list is, of course endless. It depends on the type of content, but on average a blog post takes about 4 hours to write and edit – that’s a lot of online food shops and I know that there are times when I feel real pangs of guilt that I should be doing something in the ‘real world’.
And then there’s the pressure: I often feel I should be posting content on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook in line with what people expect and to keep putting ‘something’ out there. This can feel a bit heavy and starts to make social media feel like a chore. I also can’t deny that it hasn’t made me wonder if it affects my real world relationships with Sam, family and friends. Ultimately though, fortunately I have an incredibly chilled husband so ready made meals happen; tidying out cupboards, not so much, and moreover I know that they come first and always will do. But it’s a constant balance that takes time to work out. Sam and I now have a rule that we don’t look at our phones whenever we’re around each other, for example. We might glance at them but we don’t sit there, staring at them. There are other issues I have with the online world, but I’ll put these to one side for the moment because there is a far bigger problem attached to social media that I feel really needs to be acknowledged.
What I hate about it – really, really hate about it – is its ability to destabilize the truth and put out a different reality. As Matthew D’Ancona says in this interview, it can proliferate falsehood – and that’s a really, really serious issue. On a good day, it can just be a different perspective; on a bad day it can spread lies and make people (myself included) feel shit and affect their whole being and consequently, those around them. I can tell you and myself as a reader to not believe everything you read (extremely hard, I know, but really, don’t) but ultimately I can’t control your reaction. What I can control though is what I personally put out there as a writer so I want to make a commitment to you: whilst I’m not a blogger who you’ll ever get 100% out of (I’m not a bare it all type to my best friends so I won’t be doing it to you lot), I commit to always putting out content that is truthful. Whether it’s feelings I’m experiencing, information I’m sharing, products I’m using, the truth matters – not just in a moral dimension but in a practical one too as its on this basis that we make decisions on everything we do in life. As a reader you are at the mercy of what you are scrolling on your screen which means anyone creating content has a responsibility to speak from the heart and not from the a***. And sometimes, in this age of Instagram filters and Facebook likes, I don’t think this always happens – and that’s rubbish. It was when I was contemplating writing a post about minimalism – when I am one of the biggest hoarders out there – that this first really struck me as a problem.
I sacrifice a lot to put content out there which means I want everything about it to feel 100% right. Now that there are 10K of you on Instagram (which I’m really excited and so grateful for – and don’t take lightly) and that my blogging and vlogging occupies increasingly more of my head space and actual time as well as of yours, now seems the right time to put this post out there. More than ever I want my content to be three things: I want it to be truthful, I want it to be useful and I want it to be beautiful. So:

* If I don’t post in a few days it’s because I simply don’t feel like it or perhaps have something far more important happening in my non-online world. I want to relieve myself of the pressure to post.

* I want to ensure all the information I bring to you is well – researched and of us

* And yes, if every once in a while I choose to spend 10 minutes of my life that I know I’ll never get back arranging a bunch of flowers around my coffee with the sole purpose of creating a pretty photo that’s because I care about aesthetics, I love creating a beautiful image and I’m OK with that.

I want this space to be something that I’m proud of and that I can tell my kids about when they’re older. I owe it to them, I owe it to myself, I owe it to my patient husband who probably misses out on a bit of TLC because of it, and I owe it you to put credible information out into the ecosystem. And when I look at the state of my cupboards, I know that there is no way that anything I write should ever contain the word “minimalist”. So thank you for reading and for helping me make my blog make me a better person (woah, that’s a mouthful) and for helping me ensure that my online space is genuine, and one that I love and not somewhere that creeps me out. And if you can’t handle the truth and are looking for what I often see as a white washed, dare I say it, fake approach for life, then you won’t find it here.

I honestly really appreciate you taking the time to read what is probably my most personal post to date. It’s been a long time coming so I’m really pleased to finally put some thoughts down here. I’d love to hear any reactions or musings you have on this issue…

Love,
Emma xxx
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33 Comments

  1. Katie
    May 15, 2017 / 2:57 pm

    Love this. I’m not against a pretty Instagram feed but sometimes there does seem to be an heir of the unreal. Your life certainly doesn’t have to look perfect to be pretty close! From someone who also couldn’t describe them self as ‘minimalist’ owing to the state of their cupboards…keep up the great work!

    • emmaross
      May 15, 2017 / 5:31 pm

      thank you for this comment katie – it means lot. and yes – i love a pretty feed too but let’s be honest about the truth behind it …. big big thanks – have a lovely evening and thanks for reading 🙂 x

  2. Anna
    May 15, 2017 / 5:50 pm

    Hi, I actually love the fact that your posts and photos are so honest. I follow a few people on instagram and whilst they are lovely to look at it does make me feel rubbish and i have to constantly remind myself that its not necessarily real life. Whereas yours feel natural and actually after reading your blogs and seeing the photos bizarely enough I actually feel more chilled out. Because they are natural. I understand your viewpoint totally about needing time away from social media, its important to have that time away. Just know that if and when you do post things they are liked and appreciated. X

    • emmaross
      May 16, 2017 / 4:11 pm

      ah this is a really special comment, thanks Anna. it’s so important to remember that so much on social media is not real – and i think it needs to be called out – and i think that content creators should feel morally obliged to put honest stuff out there because it can really impact people (myself included) . but i cant change how other people are – i just tell myself it’s not real and put the real stuff out there myself. thanks so much for reading my ramblings and also for taking the time to comment xxx

  3. Cat
    May 15, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    And for this very reason I will continue to read your blogs and follow you on Insta! Honesty and truthfulness in a social media obsessed world is a thing of beauty, more so than the airbrushed so called reality that is more often than not portrayed. Thank you for being so candid and long may the blogs continue.
    Cat xx

    • emmaross
      May 16, 2017 / 4:09 pm

      ah such a lovely comment, thank you Cat! i will always put honest stuff out there and not airbrush the realities of motherhood and beyond. thanks so much for reading my post and for also taking the time to comment! x

  4. Kate
    May 15, 2017 / 8:19 pm

    This is great Emma, I’ve been feeling a bit meh about social media recently because of exactly this issue. Thanks for putting into words what I’ve been struggling to articulate to myself. As an avid reader of your blog it is really heartening to see you’re so committed to being truthful (and showing some beautiful images at the same time!) I think the majority of us can handle the truth!! Keep up the good work xx

    • emmaross
      May 16, 2017 / 4:08 pm

      ah bless you Kate – thank you for your lovely comment. social media can make you feel MEH just as you say – so i think it’s a bit unfair of content creators to fuel that feeling by not putting honest stuff out there. anyway – just my opinion! thanks so much for reading my ramblings xxx

  5. May 15, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    I LOVE your Instagram. And I think it’s because I do feel like you are who you are and its not a front. Just you loving your kids and your life and being real to you. I LOVE to see your travelling antics it makes me long to travel even more! I just need to work on making the husband a bit more chilled out about travelling with a baby. Also with the tofu we love Jamie Oliver’s tofu burger in the superfoods cook book! It’s yum!

    • emmaross
      May 16, 2017 / 4:07 pm

      hey elena – ah thanks for your lovely comment. travel can be tricky at first but i say just give it a go and take it from there… and thanks so much for the tip with Jamie oliver tofu burgers – going to check that out right now! thanks for reading and for commenting xxx

  6. May 15, 2017 / 9:01 pm

    I completely agree with this. I have been toying with the idea of a detox of social media as it just depresses me all the negative vibes. I do prefer Instagram to any of the other feeds as although some poster want the perfect picture I think I’m more protective over what I will follow and post so as not to let myself look at things and feel inadequate. And I do love me some aesthetics!! I like seeing Instastories from people like you where your kids have gatecrashed your video as it shows a beautiful, raw, innocence and realistic version of getting stuff done when you are a parent xx

    • emmaross
      May 16, 2017 / 4:06 pm

      oh gosh YES the kid always crash the Stories – that is real life hey?! yes you have to protect yourself – i think that’s so important – but equally i think it is content creator’s responsibility to put honest stuff out there into the ecosystem too otherwise it’s just fueling misrepresentation which in turn can make people feel inadequate, as you say. so don’t always believe what you see (but you’ll see the truth from me – mess and all!!) thanks so much for reading Siobhan xx

  7. Millie
    May 15, 2017 / 9:05 pm

    Loooved it! Sometimes what we see in the screens can be felt like impossible goals and we kind of lose ourselves scrolling down social media.. it’s hard and at the same time it can be inspiring so I really like the balance idea about being more critic (in a positive way of course!) when we look at a “perfect” picture.
    Keep it going!
    Millie

    • emmaross
      May 16, 2017 / 4:04 pm

      hey millie – yes TOTALLY agree with you re being more of a critic and knowing that what you see might not always be the real truth. im just endeavouring to be honest with what i share, otherwise i dont find it nearly such a happy place. anyway, thanks so much for reading my post and for taking the time to comment xx

  8. May 15, 2017 / 9:29 pm

    You raise some really important issues, Emma. I always worry about how I’m going to teach my son to stay safe on the internet (something we have no president for as our parents never had to worry about this) but you’ve also reminded me that it’s really important he always knows that what he sees online isn’t always real. It really is something with the power to do great things and terrible things! Thank you for your honesty, I’m a big believer that talking about things openly makes them less dangerous!x

    • emmaross
      May 16, 2017 / 4:03 pm

      right?! the internet can be so wonderful and yet it can be so wrong. it must be treated with caution and i think as a blogger, there is a real responsibility there too… thanks so much for reading and for commenting harriet and wishing you a fab day xxx

  9. May 15, 2017 / 9:40 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree with your issues with social media. I’ve found myself enjoying IG Stories a lot more recently because of their realness. I aim to create beautiful pictures on my own page but it is important to me that they tell a story, capture a moment, carry a narrative that is honest and real. I think you do a brilliant job. In fact, I enjoy following you for your honesty which is wonderfully evident in your posts and stories. I think posting as and when you want to will be a huge pressure relieving game changer for you. Colleen x

    • emmaross
      May 16, 2017 / 4:02 pm

      yes i tend to agree with you re the Stories and thanks for your encouragement – that means a lot. it’s not about pressure, it’s about enjoying the space you create and going with the flow, in my humble opinion. thanks so much for reading and for being here colleen xxx

  10. Mariam
    May 15, 2017 / 9:50 pm

    I love your honesty and commitment. I find reading your posts informative and inspiring! Continue to be yourself Emma and embrace your creativity x

    • emmaross
      May 16, 2017 / 4:01 pm

      thanks so much Mariam – what lovely, lovely words. All the best xxx

  11. Elizabeth
    May 15, 2017 / 10:06 pm

    This is why I follow you – you’re real and have ethics that I relate with. I love your posts but don’t feel obligated to give up precious time with your family – if I haven’t seen a post for a days, then get one, it makes me more excited to read it! If you enjoy it, vlog/blog away!

    • emmaross
      May 16, 2017 / 4:00 pm

      ah thanks so much elizabeth – this is a lovely comment. i think if you’re in this ‘business’, whatever it is, you have to have some ethics, otherwise it can all get a bit ..wrong and weird. thanks so much for taking the time to read and to comment, i hugely appreciate it xxx

  12. May 15, 2017 / 10:36 pm

    Well done on your blog and on writing this post. Yes, very often I see very pretty, one dimensional, super styled shoots on social media. Lovely to look at on instagram but they’re not images from my messy world….Which is partly why I do like those posts. I read your blog because your posts are multi dimensional and because you come across as someone who speaks from the heart with honesty and integrity.I too have a passion for travel (and coffee) and love to see how other mamas keep the important parts of their lives going when children arrive. Love reading your posts x

    • emmaross
      May 16, 2017 / 3:59 pm

      ah i am so with you mama – all about the messy world which is the reality most of the time, right? aww wahoo – another coffee fan !! thank you for your lovely words – i don’t think i’ve ever been described as multi- dimensional but i like it, so thank you. have a lovely day xx

  13. Kellie
    May 15, 2017 / 11:10 pm

    Love this, truth and the reality is far more important and enjoyable to read rather than a possible over thought rose tinted life. I love reading your posts, your family and your videos your super interesting and love the places you visit with your children thanks for sharing the insights into your life it’s beautiful 💋

    • emmaross
      May 16, 2017 / 3:58 pm

      ah thank you for this lovely comment Kellie, such kind words. there’s no need to cover up the reality, i think it’s way more interesting too! thanks for taking the time to read and to comment x x

  14. avril keanan
    May 16, 2017 / 11:09 am

    Yay. Love this :). This is why I follow you & why my 20 month old is working on saying “Emma” (out of all the instagram stories there are maybe 3 I’ll routinely take time to watch- yours is one and Bub also loves a UK accent and other bubs so will happily watch with me).
    I follow you because of this 👆 because you are you and because you are (for me) someone to look up to- not in a pedestal or weird stalkery kind of way but in a ‘ah, happy life is possible doing x y z’ way.
    Also who else would admit to deliberately creating beauty on instagram- I’m totally over the “oh no, really, my world is this beautiful and perfect all the time” posts when I know how long it took to do our Christmas photo and that was a baby on a couch with a bit of jasmine.
    Sorry blathering- love the blog. Love your insta feed. Glad you are staying. You rock. Also how do you make tofu taste good?

    • emmaross
      May 16, 2017 / 3:57 pm

      ah thank you so much for this – what kind words. it made me chuckle what you wrote about your Christmas photo – it’s so very true. And regarding the tofu – I DON’T KNOW yet but I promise to keep you posted. Thanks so much Avril and have a lovely day x

  15. May 16, 2017 / 5:08 pm

    I am only just getting a moment to comment on this now, but one of the things that really hits home with me is that feeling that you “should” be putting out content. I have recently launched a Hypnobirthing business, which is something I feel hugely passionate about. I know Instagram is a super place to engage with others and market your business in so many ways, but there is also that feeling of not being able to keep up/ “oh no I haven’t posted anything relevant/ at all in the last number of x days”. This feeling then in turns takes away the passion and turns something you love into a chore. I am increasingly making my peace with this and posting only when I have the time and inclination and not simply for the sake of it and accepting this means I may not be always at the forefront of everyone’s Instagram minds, but am ok with that.
    Emma I love your blog/ Insta stories and knowing that they are honest in a muddley old online world out there is invaluable so thank you. I am trying to echo these sentiments in my own online space.

    • emmaross
      May 17, 2017 / 11:10 am

      first of all, congrats on the launch of your hypnobirthing business – that’s awesome 🙂 And yes, I totally agree with you here on so much that you say – there can be this pressure to put something out there which, as you say, takes the joy out of it all a little which is in turn such a shame. Than kyou so much for your kind words too and I wish you all the best in your new venture! thanks so much for reading and for commenting 🙂 X

  16. May 17, 2017 / 10:07 am

    That’s what I love about your insta and blog – everything you put out feels so genuine because you do speak about the days when nothing goes to plan. I laughed at the minimalism thing – I did that same thing!! Now I just say that I try to practice minimalism where I can, in an effort not to buy excess things and to declutter more seriously, rather than saying I’m a minimalist. I’m not a minimalist because I don’t want to get rid of everything I have!! Where’s the fun in that? I love all the bits and bobs I’ve collected on my travels too much. Thanks for sharing what you do, I think it’s so much more important to share great, well-researched content less often than to burn yourself out, take time away from your family, and not be happy with what you put out there. Hope you have a lovely day!

  17. May 23, 2017 / 6:01 pm

    Emma, this is such a refreshing post (as so many of yours are) and coming from a person who was crying openly on Insta stories today re the Manchester attacks(@theparentpause, @free_range_mum), I can promise you the same back – complete real and honest content. I really respect what you ‘put out’ to us and I value your honesty about your world view. I complete agree that the pressure of social media can be too much, and you can lose an evening very easily (and end up feeling crappy because of the perfect world portrayed that you may not be experiencing!)The ongoing ‘fake news’ is also very worrying and I am constantly reminded of this as I try to navigate brining up my children, one of whom is 11 years old and fast-learning all things online.
    Keep doing what you’re doing. We love you xxx

    • emmaross
      May 24, 2017 / 10:26 pm

      hey natalie – thank you for this lovely message, and i hear you re your honesty. YES mama <3 as amazing as the community can be, social media can sometimes feel sort of empty too so i think it's good to remind ourselves (& each other) exactly what we are putting 'out there.' hope you are feeling OK this evening - big love x

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