Good morning everyone!
Today I am opening up about the real reason why I joined Instagram and my experiences so far. It will probably be a long read but I would also love to open up the discussion so you can express your feelings in a non judgemental environment if desired.
Here is a bit of background info so everything makes sense. Hubby and I live a fifo (fly in fly out) lifestyle in Perth. Shaun has been working fifo for most of our relationship. We have been together for almost 8 years, we got married in 2013 and 2 weeks later Chet was conceived. Prior to maternity leave I was working as an interior design consultant. The company I was employed with specialises in designing, furnishing, installing and styling display homes, so my job was very creative.
I have always had a personal account (which lies dormant now) but I created @oh.eight.oh.nine shortly after Chet was born. Initially I created it because of a comment made to my husband about baby spamming. However deep down I knew that it was not the whole reason why.
When Chet was born on (oh eight oh nine – 08.09.2014) it was the most amazing day of my life. My heart was exploding with love. So. Much. Love! For both Shaun and the perfect little human we had created. Our tiny little darling had a full head of black hair, sucked his bottom lip, had a permanent frown crease on the bridge of his nose and looked of Asian decent. I was on cloud nine. How can life get any better? He was (and still is) the light of my life.
Then the dreaded baby blues set in. It was a scary time, tears stroll down my face right now thinking/ reliving it while writing this. I wanted to give this baby boy the best of everything but how could I do that when I had no idea, no experience and no confidence? I remember breaking down every time someone asked me these three words, “how are you?” I would reply, “good,” with tired eyes full of tears and then get told, “aww, it gets easier.” I thought at the time, it’s not going to get easier… My husband leaves for work in 2 weeks and I will be alone… I crumbled every time I thought about being on my own. I had plenty of friends and family to help but inside I felt like I would struggle doing it “by myself.”
So the week before Shaun left for work I told him that I needed to try and do everything by myself (as if he was at work already.) This helped me build a lot of confidence while still having emotional support from Hubby. A week came too quickly and I said a teary goodbye to my man. I drove off, with more tears (so many tears and hormones in the first few weeks) but I felt somewhat confident to mother our baby solo for the next two weeks.
The nights were hard and I could sense that if I didn’t make some drastic changes to our day-to-day life I was going to slip into a dark place, and fast because I was already feeling flat since giving birth.
I had to put some positive vibes back into my day and also take some ‘me time’ to revitalize when Chet was napping. I brainstormed some things that make me happy…. you heard right… me!!! I figured if I am not feeling great, Chet could sense it and then we’re both at a loss.
Some things on my list were friends and family, interiors, photography, fashion, reality tv, renovation shows, creating, designing, styling and of course my husband (but he was at work.) I had my friends over regularly and I started watching trashy television series instead of those boring infomercials and sex ads on at midnight. My go to series were the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules. I know it sounds really lame but these got me through the tough nights (as well as the sight of our beautiful boy attached to my breast, feeding.)
Now to the day I joined Instagram as @oh.eight.oh.nine . I remember watching a renovation show during the day, with Julia Green from Greenhouse Interiors on television and she recommended some stores on instagram. I signed up this new account and started following the stores she recommended. I purchased some bits and bobs for Chet’s room and I remember how excited I was about discovering this virtual world I’d never known about. I also entered competitions and participated in loop giveaways to discover new brands and try my luck at winning a prize.
I could feel my mind becoming less gloomy and more glittery. I wasn’t focusing on the lack of sleep I had, instead when Chet napped, I would style and photograph a vignette of one of my new purchases.. Don’t get me wrong I thoroughly enjoyed when Chet was awake and being his every need but I also looked forward to the tiny bit of ‘me time’ once a day. I noticed a huge difference in Chet’s behavior and he started sleeping through the night from 3.5 weeks old. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not- who knows.
So that was how it all began…
Now to my journey of being an instagrammer over the past 20months. It has been a blessing in countless ways. I have started a business, created an income so that I can stay home with Chet, made many amazing friendships, met one of my now best friends (Emelie, that’s you girlfriend,) been featured in a few magazines and articles, scored front cover of Adore Magazine, styled for some incredible small businesses as well as some national retailers, and the list goes on. But, yes there is a big but… I can now see that it has put some pressure on my marriage and I have also had conversations with other women who are experiencing the same thing.
I love my husband so damn much; I always have and always will. Anyone who knows me can second how much I adore him but the pressures of running a business with a baby/toddler, responding to emails, invoicing, maintaining my instagram account, replying to questions and comments in general have slowly taken a toll. It is so time consuming and to make everything harder I do not style or photograph anything when Chet is awake (unless he wants to sit down by himself and watch the wiggles.) This often means that I am up until midnight most nights packing orders and replying to emails. I try to ‘do less’ when Shaun is home but I can see that he feels neglected… and that thought alone breaks my heart.
Balance is such a hard thing to master and I certainly have a lot of work to do in that department. I would love to know how you managed to get a good balance between mum/wife/life/work. Is it even possible? Because to me it seems like I’ve been trying to find one for the past 2 years with no success. I guess life is an experience, a journey and I feel blessed to have Shaun and Chet in my life to call my family- my team!
We have to remember that instagram is a social media platform where images are carefully curated to display the most beautiful moments in our homes and lives.
Behind the facade and in plenty of homes behind closed doors there are soggy clothes in the washer from 3 days ago, unmopped floors, people suffering mentally, relationship breakdowns and everything else in between. I think it’s important to remember that your actions have implications on others and in my case I need to show my husband more often how much I really do love and appreciate him.
I’ll say goodbye with a few more tears and a heartfelt thank you for all your support in helping make my instagram journey (mostly) enjoyable. Feel free to openly discuss your experiences below- positive or negative – we’re all imperfect humans striving for love and happiness.