In the Summer of 2015 I started a baking blog. While I like to say I was inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction and her collection of brightly colored and fool-proof confections, I was also a young mother, confused at how difficult motherhood was turning out for me and often alone because of my husband’s job and my overall introverted-ness. Many of my friends had “mommy blogs”, it was the thing at the time, and all the cool people kept up on each other’s news and photos.
I’m a private, and let’s just call it for what it is, paranoid, person when it comes to my children and family, and for the exception of the short stint trying to be an Instagram influencer, I rarely drag them into my online life. Mommy blogging wasn’t going to work for me.
Besides, I love food.
Colors, smells, the application of oil, water, heat, smoke, the feel, the sounds, the memories – it all culminates into moments of delight and bliss.
I began the blog with very little regard for how difficult food blogging is. A weekly posting, a new recipe, new photos, formatting (bought and paid for), hours of web hosting research and debugging, giveaways, promos, and the constant wondering if I was balancing the time with my kid effectively or not. “One does not simply walk into Mordor” the same way One does not simply start a food blog.
Of all the problems I encountered I struggled most with voice. It was easy, and frankly lazy on my part, to try and copy the food blogger formula and sound. Begin with a detailed description of the recipe you’re trying to peddle. Use descriptive words like “must-try”, “to-die-for”, “gooey”, and “sumptuous”. Talk about how you make it every year, include a funny anecdote about your life, or explain every recipe step in extreme detail. Include beautiful photos and make sure at least one is the perfect “pinnable” size. Repost on every social media outlet you have, rinse, and repeat.
Now see, there’s nothing wrong with this particular blogging formula, only that I wasn’t good at it! It wasn’t authentic, it wasn’t me, and it showed.
By the time my writing got to where I wanted it, I was pregnant with my third child, had moved twice, and was basically over the whole thing. I wasn’t consistent enough in my posting or social media presence to ever have a real collaboration, not even my family clicked-through to my posts, and ads just weren’t working out. Then, the final nail in the coffin – my Blue Host 5 year promotion ran out and I got slammed with a bill I could never justify. Unable to come up with many reasons for keeping it, I said goodbye to my website and my food blog.
I kept up my Instagram for a little while, but even that felt inauthentic to me. I caught myself looking at old pictures and longing for the “perfect life” I’d had. Except it was a perfect image which was totally false! My house hadn’t actually been clean, my children hadn’t been dressed beautifully all the time, we did bake all the time, but we didn’t arrange our cookies on trays with beads, fairy lights, and candles. The idea that anyone would think my photos were real and then feel inferior in the way I had made myself feel made me rethink a lot of what I was doing.
I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we believe we have a responsibility to lift one another up and to build the Kingdom of God. Was my online presence doing that? Not that I could tell.
So I left.
My last real post was over 2 years ago.
My last Instagram photo was almost 6 months ago.
I vow never to return to Facebook.
So why am I here now?
The Church has made a huge effort to be present online. The potential to be a force for good is unlimited and I want to be part of it. The pandemic has tainted and changed so much of what we loved and took for granted, including missionary service. Our missionaries have had to pivot in their service and tracting. I believe I need to pivot and change in the way I think. I believe I can have an online presence that is helpful and wholesome.
The Church’s movement of “Light the World” began again this December and much of it is online as well as our Prophet’s 7-Day Gratitude Challenge. I don’t want to miss these things.
I also still like to create, I still like baking, and photographing, and sharing the things I love.
I’m here because I have reset expectations for myself and for others, and mostly I’m here because I want to be.