Lifestyle

I survived one year of blogging!

Wow, it’s been one year since I started this crazy journey. No, there isn’t going to be any big gold number 1 balloons or champagne bottles or anything like that. Partly because I am too cheap and lazy to stage a photo shoot and partly because that’s not what this page is about. I started this page to share real mom life and real mom style with everyone and a staged photo shoot with perfect hair, make up and props is just not me. Instead, I’m going to dive into some important topics that I have learned through the past year, both about myself and others. Some of which no one but my husband knows, but by telling my story I hope to be able to help someone who may be on the same path. I can’t tell you that this has changed my life but I can tell you that this journey has been amazing and I have grown so much as a person. So here it goes….

Who was I?

A tired, anxious mom who was barely surviving with no time for herself.

I have barely any pictures of myself at this point because I avoided the camera at all cost. But here I am attempting to smile through all the changes that were happening last year.

A year ago I was in a tough spot. Really tough. We had our third child in January of 2018 and after having 5 miscarriages before her I was in a constant state of anxiety throughout the entire pregnancy and it didn’t go away after she was born. I was afraid at any moment she would be taken away from me like the others. It is a terrible place to be in. On top of that, we were planning our move back to our home state after being away for 13 years. I was leaving the life and friends we had built over the past decade and starting over. I had hit a breaking point and was anxious and depressed all at the same time. Call it post-partum, depression, anxiety disorder- whatever it was, it was affecting my life.

“…it wasn’t working and I made the decision for myself to get some help.”

I tried to deal with all of this on my own for awhile as I do with all my feelings. Bottle it up inside and move on. Well, it wasn’t working and I made the decision for myself to get some help. Even my husband wasn’t really on board at this point but he knew something was off. I was not pleasant to be around at home, I was having constant panic attacks and my stomach was in knots at all times of the day. So I sucked it up, put on my big girl pants and went to talk to my doctor.

It was not an easy conversation to have, no one likes to admit that they need help. But my doctor was immediately understanding without an ounce of judgement. She ultimately prescribed me an anti-anxiety medication to be taken daily. It was the lowest dose possible but she said it may take the edge off a little since I was going through such a big change in my life. Hello new baby who screams all day and packing up my entire life and leaving all my friends behind…..

“This pill changed my life and put it back to where it was.”

Within two weeks I was back. My panic attacks went away and my stomach was getting back to normal. I was happy again at home and coping better with all the changes. Amazing. (If this sounds like you- I highly, highly recommend talking to your doctor- DO NOT be afraid of medication no matter what the stigma is with it) This pill changed my life and put it back to where it was.

Fast forward a few months, a few hundred boxes and lots of tears and we were back in Ohio. We were near our families and in our dream home. Life was good again. But after the initial shock and happiness of moving wore off, I started to feel lonely. I was in a new city and had no time to meet up with old friends or time to meet new friends. Being a stay at home mom can be super lonely at times. Old feelings crept back in and I knew I need something for myself. Enter Mama Loves Shopping.

A New Chapter

I started this journey because I love social media and I have always had a love for fashion. I had started a blog in 2010 with no success other than my personal satisfaction and loved having that outlet to express myself. I thought to myself, why not try again? I had some more experience under my belt after having a brief stint in owning a children’s clothing line with my best friend. So I dove right back in not knowing what in the world I was getting myself into.

My very 1st post on September, 22 2018.

I was not confident in myself. I weighed myself every day just to see the number up one day and down the next day. I had clothes that didn’t fit me and were 10 years old. I did not take care of myself, my hair, my skin, anything. I was surviving as a mom on a day to day basis. My life revolved around my kids. I didn’t even have time or energy for my husband. And yes, I was still on my “happy” pills.

Every day I would start trying a little harder. Finding new trendier clothes that actually fit and weren’t from 2005. I put on make up in the morning AND showered AND did my hair. I would upload pictures on Instagram and the likes and follows rolled in. I started gaining more and more confidence as a mom, as a woman, and as a wife. My husband even started making comments about my appearance. Score!!

The Impact

After a few months of exploring new mom fashion and building this small community online I started receiving messages from my followers. The likes and follows are great but the messages I receive are truly the best part. Messages about how amazing my page was to them, how helpful I was, how great it was to see someone real on Instagram, how my funny comments made their day, how inspiring I was. (Ensue the tears while I type this) I couldn’t believe that people would take the time to write to me these wonderful messages. I was on cloud nine that what I was doing was impacting someone out there in social media land. I started taking it more seriously and my confidence in all areas of my life continued to grow.

Even though I was not perfect (not even close) I felt like I was in the right position to stop my meds. Every one will be different and some people need to stay on them forever and that is totally fine! I knew I didn’t need them anymore and quit cold turkey. That was 9 months ago and I still have not gone back. Yes, there are days that are crazy and I want to pull my hair out but there is a difference between one day of stress and living in a constant state of anxiety.

“Just like in life, you can’t worry about what people think of you or you will never be who you are meant to be.”

So this journey has not been about the clothes and fashion. It has been about self exploring, self care, and most importantly confidence. All of which have helped me in all aspects of my life. I understand that not everyone is cut out to be a blogger and put their life on social media. I get it. My husband isn’t completely comfortable with it either but he sees my happiness so he goes along for the ride. I get nasty messages all the time in my inbox about people who dislike what they see. But in the long run, who cares. Just like in life, you can’t worry about what people think of you or you will never be who you are meant to be. You do you, end of story.

So if you have read this post up to this point, thank you. Thank you for supporting me in this journey and thank you for being along for the ride. It’s because of all of you that I get to do this for my job and I can’t wait to see where the next year brings me. Here are my top 10 takeaways from my year of blogging. I hope they can help you in your life because every single one of these items has helped me be a better person and a better mom.

*Top 10 Takeaways From My Year of Being on Social Media*

  1. Be yourself, nobody else is you and you can’t be anyone else. Own it.
  2. Don’t worry about what people think of you or your choices, in the end does it matter what they think?
  3. Go for what you want and don’t let anyone stop you.
  4. Nobody is perfect, even if it looks that way from the outside.
  5. Take care of yourself even if that means having a screaming kid (or three) for 10 minutes while you shower and put on some make up.
  6. Dress up and put on some makeup just for yourself. Especially if you are a mama and get no time to be your “old self”.
  7. Get rid of those clothes from college and invest in some new clothes that fit and make you feel great.
  8. Cherish the small moments and always find some humor in your day, you’ll smile more.
  9. Don’t compare your life to others. Everyone is in a different season of life. We all have ups and downs in life.
  10. Have fun! You only get one life, live it to the fullest.

Who Am I Now?

I am still a mom who questions and googles every thing. I am a wife that doesn’t always do everything right. I’m not perfect and that’s ok. But most importantly, I have more confidence in who I am as a person even if that means posting a video of me taking out the trash for a few laughs.

My journey is just beginning and I can’t wait to see where the next year takes me. I have big dreams and big plans for Mama Loves Shopping and I am so glad you all are along for the ride!

-Stacey

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