I treat Instagram like a diary, a way to vent and a way to express myself. – Jules Coffey
Mummy blogs have fast become the go-to for new parents to search and ask for advice, find comfort in relatable posts & pictures, and share with one another their experiences and journey as parents!
A lot of people say they love the community feel on Instagram, almost like an online mums group! If you’re having a shit day, you can be rest assured your post of the massive pile of dirty laundry and crying baby with resonate with several hundred others out there doing and feeling the exact same thing!
But like anything it can also have its dark side! Putting yourself out there every day, sharing your life and opening up to people also opens you up to criticism, judgement and hurt from a broad audience.
New mum and ‘mummy blogger’ or #InstaMum, Jules aka @newmumstheword, has sadly had to learn a few of these lessons the hard way. Having experienced a rather whirlwind growth on her Instagram account in recent months, Jules shares her life as a new mum in a very honest and upfront way, which has clearly echoed with a wider audience!
Vegas was awesome last night, 50 shots of tequila, clubs till 6 am, strippers, jelly wrestling… Ok so that didn’t happen, but that’s how I feel today! Home before midnight after a big drive and 2 spaced out bubbles (scandalous) and then my darling gem of a good sleeper stirred when I got home so I fed her and avoided the pump (massive score) and then she woke up ravishing another two times before 5.30am.
I asked Jules, having precipitously been thrown into the midst of the high’s and low’s of ‘mummy blogging’ and #InstaFame, what was her thoughts so far on it all!
Here’s what she had to say…
I started an Instagram when I got my dog. Yep, I’m that person. In no time she had over 500 followers and I was blown away (My girlfriend and I decided we would make doggy high-end fashion – insert emojis that are pissing themselves laughing).
It was fun to do and I enjoyed the interaction with others. I soon forgot to post and then eventually lost interest (BUT WHAT ABOUT THE DOGGY FASHION DREAM).
I have had my own Instagram for quite a while which I certainly never set up to gain followers (even though my headings were #followme #bitchdontkillmyvibe – seriously who am I) so I used to just post things occasionally as I was a little bit addicted to Facebook which I now never use (I cry way too much at the animal charity posts that I follow).
When I fell pregnant I was always reading forums and found them to be outdated and not very interactive. I was so excited to look at anything pregnancy or baby related and I decided that I would start an anonymous Instagram account to track my pregnancy in the hope I could get and give advice. A real (God forbid I use these words these days on IG – it’s all gotten a bit ridiculous) account of pregnancy from my perspective. ‘Mums The Word’ I thought was fitting but it was taken. So I added ‘new’ and I was good to go!
My first post at 4 weeks pregnant was the first of many in-depth and very personal posts. Since then I have maintained my upfront and no filter approach to not only document my little journey but in the hope that I could be relatable for other women trying for a baby, having a baby or those with a baby. Hoping that they could feel like they are not alone in the ups and downs that life brings.
I have posted about my anxiety, days where I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore, days that I’m mad at my husband and the stress of planning a wedding, being pregnant and renovating. I really put myself out there and to be really honest I expected absolutely nothing in return.
I loved the friendships that were formed and it really gave me something to look forward to each day. Call it inexperienced but I really had no idea about the dark side of Instagram but also the potential that it held.
Having used MySpace (pretty wallpaper and theme song – I mean come on. It was pretty cool!) and Facebook only I had NO IDEA that Instagram was a platform for success in the virtual world. I loved the idea that I could completely be myself and be as open as I wanted in my posts without family or friends seeing it on FB. My own little secret realm.
I posted and still do post what I want when I want. My pregnancy was shithouse so if you unfollowed me because of my whining then I don’t blame you.
I was beyond stoked when I hit 1000 followers #maybethiswillhelpmelaunchmyrappingcareer the day before Emmison (pronounced EM – ER – SON just in case you think its E – MISSION like my mum pointed out – cheers mum) was born.
Sure it can be hurtful and make me angry but I try very hard to laugh it off and be confident in who I am and what I am doing.
I have met lots of new people and had lots of new followers from that point onwards which I try not to take personally. She is pretty damn cute on most days. I treat Instagram like a diary, a way to vent and a way to express myself. I find it really helps with my anxiety most days. I have been lucky that I haven’t had too much negativity.
In saying that I have had some shocking comments about my daughter, my parenting choices and my decisions as a mother. Sure it can be hurtful and make me angry but I try very hard to laugh it off and be confident in who I am and what I am doing.
After all, I am the one putting myself out there. I may not be the perfect mum but I think I do a pretty good job trying (moves rolling baby off the couch due to close near miss).
I soon learnt about the ins and outs, the perks and the negative side of IG. I learnt that Instagram is a great way for businesses to promote themselves and a great networking tool.
The more followers you have the more companies want to send you products (I am still waiting for Range Rover to call) to try and review. The more hashtags you have the more chance people with similar interests will find you and follow you #rangerover #veuveclicquot #mumlife.
Instagram can be an amazing network of people who can relate to you and you can relate to them in return. It can be absolutely hilarious and some posts really do make my day. I proclaim on a daily basis that I love Instagram and I am thankful for the friendships and opportunities that it brings.
Be yourself, if people don’t follow you for the reason you want them to, change what you are doing. It’s not a competition, there is no Instagram Oscars #InstaFamous.
For me it is not a way for me to obtain things that I don’t need, promote products that I don’t really care about. I am very particular and honest about the things I do use and also grateful at the same time. I’m not denying that it is a lovely perk.
Until very recently, I was unaware of the politics of Instagram. Call me naïve but I had NO IDEA until this week that people could BUY followers. I actually cannot fathom it in my head. Is a free bib or the fake sense of self-entitlement worth it?
If so, you are in it for the wrong reasons and just in case, you were not aware it’s transparently obvious.
We all know you do it and so what’s the point. Be yourself, if people don’t follow you for the reason you want them to, change what you are doing. It’s not a competition, there is no Instagram Oscars #instafamous.
People blatantly trying to put people against each other and compete in the follower’s stakes. Is it awesome to get more followers? Of course, it is. It is a great feeling knowing that what you put out their people like seeing in their feed.
But trying to get more than someone else is not an achievement. Everyone is different and you don’t benefit or miss out because of someone else’ success or failure. We are all different and our little squares reflect that (well they should). People can really take things very seriously. It really isn’t that hard to just be nice to each other.
You never know what people have going on behind the scenes. The more followers you have does not mean the fewer worries you have. You may have more opportunities which are great but making it big on Instagram does not secure your happiness.
The pathways in which IG can lead is, of course, unknown and exciting. You know that you have made it really big when people start commenting ‘first’ on your pictures.
There were over 1300 comments on a Kylie Jenner picture the other day and people were still commenting ‘first’. I commented ‘1322’ and was promptly abused #worthit.
Just like celebrities, the mummy IG world is becoming fast a huge epidemic #surelyallthemummynameshavebeenused like a scary competition of dressing gowns and baby welding women (I mean that in a lovely light-hearted way).
There are some really amazing women and mothers that are sharing their journey and that’s what it should be about. I absolutely love scrolling through and seeing things from the people that I enjoy following.
The other negative side of IG (that I know of) is its addictive nature. I am guilty of my trance-like concentration when posting something or making a comment. Whether it be during dinner, halfway through a conversation or when my baby rolled for the first time #jokes.
Getting worried about not posting enough or too much. You know that you have clearly been on Instagram too much in one day when you start replying to your husband’s text messages in hashtags #youradick #bringmehomechocolate #bringwineifyouwanttogetlucky.
Some days I certainly have to pull back and enjoy the real world a bit more. Not every special moment needs to become an Instagram shot. I was feeding Emmi the other night and the light was coming through the blinds onto her face, for a split second my first thought was to take a picture for IG. That rattled me a little so instead, I enjoyed the precious moment with my baby. It is hard to not get swept up in it I’m first to admit.
I am enjoying this IG journey and the amazing support I have received. I am blown away with the number of people that want to voluntarily look at my head on a daily basis and the love and comments that I have received for my Daughter. The advice and ideas as a new mum have been invaluable.
For those of you wanting to make a big thing out of Instagram, don’t let it get bigger than you. It is not about posting the perfect shot, it is about being able to post an insight into your life and doing it in a way that people will relate to or enjoy reading. IG can certainly be amazing but it is not everything. Social media these days can be a very powerful thing.
I myself am trying not to get swept up in it and I will continue to always be myself. I am excited with where it could lead and I am open to the possibilities that could come from it even though I am still in it for the same reasons I started it for. #imstilljennyfromtheblock #usedtohavealittlenowistillhavealittle