That's Life: Reflecting on 2016 + Looking to 2017

1.05.2017


I did a few of these "That's Life" posts last year (originally saw this on Erin's blog), and I thought this would be a good way to recap 2016 and look forward to 2017 goals. This turned out to be really long (like, woah), but splitting it up into two posts felt silly, so I won't blame you if you don't read all the way to the end. A lot of this is just for me to process out loud and will be good to look back on if I forget what it was I wanted to focus on in 2017.


Mom Life

2016: I love being a mom so much. I never imagined it would fill me so completely to be R's mom, and I am so excited to watch her grow into her role as a big sister once Baby Bum #2 arrives in June. I look back and see how much I've grown and how much I learned, and it's encouraging to me to think about how much more I know now about being a mom and specifically being R's mom than I did at this time last year.

2017: We are pretty much settled in to those dreaded toddler years, and it has challenged me already. R is opinionated and stubborn. She wants what she wants, and she has started throwing fits for no reason other than she's just plain mad. This year I want to find a balance between letting her assert her independence and continue to develop her personality while teaching her that she can't get what she wants all the time just because she screams. That will be our task this year, I think.

Working Mom Life

2016: Last year was my first full year of working full time and having R in daycare. I have friends who work full time, and it doesn't seem to be as big of an issue for them, so I know that not everyone shares my angst, and that's okay. We are all different. But working and being away from R so much has been crazy hard for me. I spent a lot of last year being emotional and bitter and even angry about it.

2017: Looking forward, I really want to continue to try and find joy and thankfulness in working. This is what we have to do right now, and while maybe in the future I will be able to stay at home, I can't right now, and I need to let it go, accept where I'm at, stop being jealous of moms who stay at home, and look for the good. 

But I'll be honest. I've already failed at this. On Tuesday I started back to work after having the entire previous week off with R, and it did not go well. I cried no less than eight separate times, and then I cried because I was crying because DIDN'T I ALREADY DO THIS. Was it January 2016 again and I was dropping R off at daycare for the first time? I cannot express the disappointment and frustration I feel that no matter how much I pray and read Bible verses about joy and try and focus on being thankful, 365 days later I am in the exact same place I was a year ago: crying at my desk because I miss R so much and I just want to be at home. Why am I not seeing even a tiny chunk of progress in this area? I don't know what more I can do to encourage myself except keep plugging away at this contentment thing and hope it comes around eventually. Until then, send Kleenex and chocolate and non-alcoholic fruity beverages.

Work Life

2016: Work was hard last year because I was away from R, but work was also really good. I'm not in a position where I will ever get a promotion because I'm essentially the head of my one-person department. I'm the editor of our magazine, so unless I want to be the boss of the company (I really, really don't), there isn't another job for me there. I absolutely love editing, and I'm proud of the work I do.

2017: I want to continue to rocking my job this year. I'm going on a business trip in March for a conference where I have a few meetings and am running a session. I haven't gotten the details of my maternity leave figured out yet, but I assume it will look similar to what I did with R, which is 6 weeks of maternity leave (DON'T GET ME STARTED AMERICA IS DUMB) and then hopefully a few months working full time at home before starting back in the office.

Blog Life

2016: I wrote the fewest number of posts last year since I started blogging in May of 2010. I cut back on the number of days I post a week and settled on 2-3 posts per week, which has felt very manageable most of the time. If I'm having a busy week, I don't have a problem posting just once or even not at all. I like that I'm not set on a schedule and post only when I want to about topics that are interesting to me.

That said, I can't say I'm completely happy with how blogging went for me in 2016 in terms of numbers. I've consistently gotten fewer comments on average than I did in the last few years, and my blog has barely grown in number of followers. I maybe have even lost most followers than I gained. I'm not saying that so you will comment and encourage me. I'm just being honest. I know part of this is due to the fact that I don't really promote myself or my blog. I've never paid money to take an ecourse on how to grow my following, I don't buy sponsorships or enter group giveaways. Honestly, I just don't have to money or energy to do all of that, and I don't even know if I want to have a huge following. It just sounds nice. But I read things from people asking where all the "real" bloggers are who don't post tons of sponsored posts and talk about real life, and I wonder what it is about my blog they don't like enough to read. After all, I feel like I fit that criteria pretty well. I start thinking things like, "Well maybe they don't like that I post about being a mom" or "Maybe I'm too serious and emotional all the time and I'm not fun to read anymore" and it all goes to my head. Anyway, I don't know what my point is here except to say that I can't look back and see huge growth with my blog last year that I can point to and say, hey look at what you accomplished, which is kind of a bummer.

2017: I don't plan on changing anything in regards to the blog this coming year, so I don't expect swarms of new followers. What I really want (and what I've always wanted) is just to share stories and encourage others. I've heard from a few people that my posts about being a working mom have either been an encouragement to them, or they shared my post with someone they know who is struggling as a working mom. I love hearing that. I've had people tell me that my posts on budgeting have made an impact in their budgeting life or that my posts on faith have encouraged them in their own faith walk. At the end of the day, for me it's honestly not about the number of followers or the number of comments but just about sharing my story with people. I do it to be honest and real and maybe inspire or encourage or even just let you know that you aren't alone in your struggle, whatever it is. That's my hope for my blog in 2017, and I want to not worry or focus on numbers and instead focus on writing about things I care about and praying that others will be encouraged, even if it is just one or two people. If I were blogging just to increase my following or make money, I would have quit a long time ago.

Social Media Life

2016: I got way too into social media last year, specifically Twitter. Some people are probably like, "who still uses Twitter?" Well, a lot of bloggers do, including me. By the end of the year it was getting to be too much. I had deleted the Twitter app from my phone, but even the few times I logged on via my desktop, I got enraged within seconds by something someone said or retweeted, mostly about politics or religion. And in general it just seemed like a lot of the tweets I saw were people complaining about something. I deleted Instagram multiple times before getting sucked in again. I debated deleting Facebook if it weren't for my blog's FB page where I promote posts and also the fact that so many parties and events are planned on FB these days. Basically I am an old grandma who wishes for simpler times.

2017: For starters, I have totally quit Twitter. No more tweets for me ever. If you want more insight into why, read this. It says it all better than I would have anyway and basically shares my sentiments. (Thanks, Betsy, for sending the article to me!) If you follow me on Twitter exclusively, you will have to find another way to stay updated on blog posts, and I will have to just keep my witty one-liners to myself. I don't have the Facebook app on my phone (I have never had it), and I only go on FB when I'm at computer, so sometimes I don't log in for days at a time. Facebook is not a huge part of my problem. I'm still debating Instagram, but for now I'll keep it. I just want to be mindful of what I post and why. Is this to brag? To complain? To show off? To share excitement and encourage? If it's not the latter, I'm not going to post it. Hopefully doing all of that will help me have a better attitude and spend less time overall online this year.

Social Life

2016: I made a concentrated effort in 2016 to stay in touch with long-distance friends and plan hangouts with local friends, and I'm pretty happy with how it went. I developed some closer friendships with girls in Oklahoma and maintained friendships with girls far away even when we don't have time to talk very often.

2017: For this year, I want to continue to do more of the same. I wrote this post on One Way to be a Really Good Friend, and I still think that is a great way to be intentional with friendships. I'm very thankful for the people God has placed in my life, and even though I am busy and want to make sure R and Jordan are a priority for me, that doesn't in my mind mean I should not make time for building my female relationships.

Budget Life

2016: I'm proud of how we managed our money in 2016, especially considering we added the very large expense of daycare. I made a valiant attempt to cut down our grocery spending, which basically failed, but I don't think it's ever bad to try new things and see where you can save some money.

2017: I honestly have no idea what it going to happen this year, so it's hard to set a goal for this one. We will be adding the cost of another child in daycare and another child on our health insurance, and at this point I honestly don't see how we are going to be able to pay for it (there is literally not enough money if you look at it on paper right now). But I believe that God is faithful, and we will be good stewards of whatever money he gives us. It certainly won't look like thousands of dollars in our savings account, but we hope to stay out of debt this year and continue to save what we can while paying our bills. That's about the best we can hope for this year, I think.

Marriage Life

2016: The beginning of last year was rough on our marriage. I wrote about it here. The summer and fall were really awesome, and then over the last few months it's cycled back to hard. I think it started around the time I found out I was pregnant, because since then I've been worried about how we are going to afford to pay for another baby, and it's put some strain on both of us.

2017: Jordan and I both want to (obviously) have a marriage filled with joy. However, that isn't always easy. I am going to take some tips from the book I read at the end of 2016 about kindness and try to be more kind. I want to be intentional about recognizing my triggers, not holding grudges, and most of all I want to pray for patience and that I can be slow to speak and slow to get angry. Both of those things are hard for me to do, but I am going to try to work on it!

Fit Life

2016: Last but not least! I am proud of how active I stayed in 2016 considering the fact that I had a small baby to take care of and was working full time. I ran over 250 miles, most of that in the jogging stroller, and I ran a 10k (pushing R in the stroller) and my tenth half marathon. In October I started going once a week to the gym with my brother-in-law, and that has been nice to have a consistent gym day.

2017: I want to go to the gym at least once a week and continue to do my daily pregnancy yoga video. Mostly I just want to stay as active as possible while having a healthy pregnancy, so whatever that looks like is fine for me. I also want to be more realistic about my recovery after having a baby and not try to jump into anything too quickly. I don't want to set any goals for the second half of 2017 until after Baby Bum #2 comes and I can find a realistic routine that will work for my schedule while working and taking care of two kids.

-Do you have issues with time spent on social media?
-If you have a blog, how do you feel blogging was for you last year?
-Is there an area of your life you've been trying to work on for a while and haven't seen very much growth?

41 comments:

  1. Wow R sounds JUST like ANnabelle with independence. It's so hard right now, too, because I don't always know what she wants and she gets super frustrated. I'm sure 2017 will bring lots thrown your way but it does sound like you have settled into a groove. Last year I definitely dropped on the comments on the blog and it saddens me. I also had less pageviews. I'm trying to work to bring that back because I want to make quality content- and I know a lot of that was lacking last year. I think I was just trying to decide what I wanted to blog about- mom, healthy living, workouts, ya know?

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    1. YES. We are at a loss about what to do when she starts acting really frustrated.

      And it's hard to not be discouraged when your blog numbers go down. But it's not the end of the world. Just something I think about now and again. Quality content is so important, and it is hard sometimes to know what to blog about!

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  2. Can I just say I nodded my head "yes" at so much of this?! Working mama-hood is HARD! I still feel envious of my SAHM friends! Plus I'm a librarian and I always see these moms bringing their littles to story time while I'm sitting there working and my baby is at home. It's so tough to be away from our babies but we just have to know we ARE doing the right thing. I honestly think I'd go crazy if I stayed home. We definitely don't have that option but even if we did, I just don't know!

    Blogging. Yep. My numbers went way down last year but I don't care tooooo much. I do care a little but I just don't have the time to be a daily blogger. We can't be too hard on ourselves.

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    1. That is really hard to see moms with their kids during reading time. I'm so sorry. I've felt like that too. It is very hard to not get very much time with our kids! I actually think I really would love to stay at home, but I definitely can't now so I will keep plugging away!

      It's hard to not be discouraged when your blog numbers go down. I honestly don't care about having a huge following, but I hate when I lose the followers I do have. I just start to wonder what I'm doing they don't like. But it's not the end of the world. Just something I think about now and again. Thanks for the comment, friend! :)

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  3. I am totally one of those people who wrote about the true bloggers! Yours is one of the few blogs that made it through my total wipe-out because of what you post and how I can easily relate to you and your life, and I do know that if you wrote something, it's something you want to share and you aren't just posting to post something. I've decided to feel that blogging is more of a journal we keep, and I've decided to use mine more again this year because I think it's a great way to connect to people as well as chronicle things and brain dump. There's been an overall shift in blogging - there's so much other quick and dirty social media that people don't necessarily sit and read posts as much I don't think. I also bailed on Twitter this past year, for pretty much the same reasons you did. I found that there was just not enough interaction and too much anger and it was making ME angry, and that's just not worth it.

    I wish you the best 2017 - you are going to have an exciting year and I'm really glad you're here to share it with us!

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    1. Now that you mention it, I do remember your post about that! Well I'm very honored to have made it through The Purge of 2016. lol ;) Glad you're with me on Twitter. I was getting so angry at what people were tweeting that I decided I don't need that kind of crazy in my life. Wishing you all the best in 2017 too!

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  4. There's so much I want to say in response to this so I'm going to break it down like you did:

    MOM LIFE- I am so there with you. I always thought Chuck would be the pushover parent, but he's turned out to be much stricter than I thought he would. He has no patience for disobedience and tantrums whereas I'm more of the thought that developmentally, Charlie isn't doing these things to be mean, he's just learning and exploring boundaries. Basically, I've become the pushover so as a parenting team we're trying to be consistent and allow for Charlie to learn, but not tolerate blatantly disobedient behavior. It's tough!

    WORKING MOM LIFE- I wish I had something more encouraging to say than, I feel you. I eventually got used to the working mom gig, but I never stopped missing Charlie or being heartbroken when he did something for the first time that I wasn't there to see. I don't think it's something that ever goes away, but it shouldn't. We're our babies' entire world and they're ours, so we can't expect that leaving them will feel easy or normal. You know?

    WORK LIFE- If you're able to get a sitter for a couple hours for R it will help so much when you start working from home after maternity leave. It's astounding how little I'm able to accomplish with these two littles. Their nap schedules are completely opposite so if I'm lucky I have one hour per day that I can focus on blogging, work stuff. It's crazy. It also doesn't help that my computer is in our bedroom where Crosby goes to sleep around 6pm so the evenings are out for me as well, but that's another story.

    BLOG LIFE- DITTO!

    BUDGET LIFE- I sooo get this. When I worked out our SAHM budget, we were still about -$88 every month. I decided that it was close enough that we could make it work with some side hustling, more cutting of expenses, and a ton of prayer. So that's what's sustaining us right now- hope and prayer. I thought that the drastic change to our financial life would be harder than it has been, but the payoff makes it easier to "just say no" to things we can't afford.

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    1. If I am able to work from home for a few months (which I'm really hoping will happen!) we will still pay for daycare for R and take her there during the day so I can actually work. We have to keep her spot there anyway, so we have to keep paying for her. But I will probably not take her every day and/or pick her up early most days. I'm thinking I'll just figure out what works best for me during that time, but I hope so much that my boss lets me work from home for a bit!

      If one of us were going to be a stay-at-home parent, it would be Jordan, not me unfortunately. It's just not feasible for me to not work full time and get healthcare and retirement benefits for our family. We don't have areas in our spending where we can cut out hundreds of dollars. We are on a tight budget as it is, hardly eat out, and don't really buy things often. But I'm glad you guys are making it work for you! That is a huge blessing I'm sure to not have to go back to work. I am absolutely DREADING doing the pumping thing again. Ugh that experience was so awful for me.

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  5. I just always feel like you're speaking my language! I feel exactly the same way about being a full-time working mom. I hate leaving my son and every day I wish it could be different. I've struggled with contentment in this area as well and don't ever feel like I'm making progress. But sometimes I think it's good for us to struggle through these seasons. It's a constant reminder to lay it at God's feet, to talk to him and tell him how frustrated we are. And if and when your working situation does finally allow you to stay at home...? What a sweet reward that will be!

    Also, I'm right there with you about the marriage after baby. It's a struggle that no one talks about!

    Thank you for your posts. I enjoy reading them and find encouragement from them (and I'm not just saying that because I think you want to hear it) :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Katie :) I really appreciate it. And it's nice to know there are other moms out there who get the struggle, so I'll just give you a virtual hug! haha. I am hoping that through this struggle God is doing something good in me even if I can't look back and see it quite yet.

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  6. I feel like I can not find a good social media/blog balance. I'm either all-in obsessed or radio silence. I had no idea you were that into Twitter! I haven't opened my Twitter app in ages, mostly for the same reasons you described. Sooooo much negativity breeds on Twitter in my opinion. I know it was hard for you, but I really think you rocked 2016, Amanda! I can't wait to see what happens with you this year!!

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    1. Twitter got me this year. lol! I agree there is a lot of complaining and just craziness on there. Thanks for the encouragement, Rachel!

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  7. i'm totally with you on time spent on social media. i struggled a lot last year with my infrequent posting. but then i realized, "who cares?" that's when i knew i was posting/sharing for the wrong reasons. i really like the questions you asked yourself. "is this to brag? to complain? to show off? to share excitement and encourage?" i may use those to gauge my intentions with what i share on social media.

    blogging was the same as my social media struggle. truth be told, when i was single, i had a lot of free time to write. these days - not so much. my blogging goal for 2017 is to write more, share stories, and document life. this year is going to be the craziest year of my life, so i want to remember every detail. :)

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    1. The struggle is REAL with social media. I try not to share something if people are going to look at my life and get an unrealistic view of it. I like being as honest as I can, even if sometimes that borders on oversharing :) Blogging is hard, especially as a hobby where you aren't getting much back in return as far as money. But it is a great way to document and it's fun to share!

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  8. I really like this format for talk about different aspects of life!
    I am new to your blog this year and I think it's great. :-)
    Social media is a challenge for me. Mostly it's getting sucked into IG wormholes when I'm trying to be on my phone less and suddenly I've lost 30 minutes and feel like everyone is living a more fun life than me.
    I appreciate that you acknowledge the rough patches in marriage. I have definitely struggled with that on my blog - Some things are and should be private but it seems a little false to go chatting away like everything is fine when really there is internal strife of some variety at times...

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    1. YES. Honestly, when Jordan and I are in a fight or I'm having a bad day or whatever, I just don't even post anything on here because it feels fake to put something up that isn't where I'm at emotionally, so I get this. Some things should be private, and I try to balance between sharing honestly but not OVERsharing. And I FEEL YOU on Instagram. Seriously I don't even miss Twitter and I basically quit cold turkey.

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  9. Hi! Just wanted to encourage you that I am a new follower from 2016!! I enjoy reading about your mothering posts because I am a little ways behind you in this journey called life, (just got married 7 months ago). I also pray for you every time you talk about how sad you are about not being able to stay home with your kid(s). I know that God is a GOOD and POWERFUL God and while I don't have any kids now, I could relate to how you feel about not being able to stay home with them, because I just know I would feel the same way. It's encouraging to me that you keep seeking God for contentment in the midst of it. Just don't rule out that He can open the door still for you to stay home. Don't be afraid to believe it!!
    I also think it is very cool that you can do a post like this and look back and evaluate how far you've come and where you want to be this year. It is very inspiring.

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    1. Thanks so much, Ashley! It's nice of you to say that because I honestly don't feel like I can look back on 2016 and see a ton of improvement in myself. BUT hopefully there is some and when I look back at the end of 2017 I can see small steps toward a better me :) I appreciate your prayers so much!

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  10. I was glad that you mentioned you weren't planning to change your blog... because I like it how it is! :-)

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement :) That's really nice of you to say!

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  11. I love your blog and will continue to read! I'm sorry you haven't grown in followers but you still have a loyal following! (: I don't usually like to read a lot of "mom" posts (not because it's not great but just because I'm not a mom yet), but I find your posts about R inspiring in how I think being a mom someday. And I hope you don't delete your Instagram because I love seeing your posts. Best of luck in all your goals!

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    1. I totally totally understand not being that into "mom" posts. I wasn't either before I had R, so I get it! Thanks for your encouragement! I'm glad we've gotten to know each other via the blog world this year! :)

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  12. About three years ago, I had the same reaction to Facebook as you had to Twitter. Honestly, Facebook brought out a judgmental side of me that I was NOT proud of. I found myself rolling my eyes far too often and having petty things that people posted affect me way more than they should have. That's not the type of person I want to be. So I deleted it. I miss out on a lot of things, but the really important announcements make their way to me. I know it's the cliche phrase of 2016, but if something doesn't bring you joy and you can easily remove it from your life, why not? We need to ask ourselves that on a regular basis.

    While I don't think I can relate to your working mom life at this point in time, it does remind me a time of my life where I felt very jealous, unsettled, and had a hard time feeling thankful. We moved 3,000 miles away from family about 11 years ago and I was green with envy every time I saw friends or bloggers spending time with family that I only got the luxury of seeing maybe twice a year. It broke my heart and left me so ungrateful. I became resentful to my husband (it was his job that initiated the move). I thought that there was no way that I'd EVER get used to living in California and being so far from home and it was all very dramatic and depressing. The more I tried for force the feelings of gratefulness and joy to be apart of my life again, the more difficult it became to achieve them. I wasn't ready yet to be okay and I had to accept that. So I stopped trying so hard to force the feelings and took it one day at time. I embraced the sad when it came and I celebrate the joy when I realized that I made it another day without feeling homesick or crying. It was a one step forward, two steps back process. Of course each person is different and processes feelings differently, but I found this to work. This and time. Lots of time...hang in there. It WILL get better.

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  13. I really enjoyed reading this! We're in the same place in many ways. Motherhood is beyond my favorite thing, but some days I think the toddler years are going to break me. Teaching obedience is my goal at the moment, though I'm all about fostering independence too. It's a hard balance to find sometimes.

    Blogging was exactly the same way for me, too. Comments have definitely dropped, and the growth is stagnant. But, I have a good, loyal following, and I just try to be grateful for that. I'm not one to self-promote, and if that means I stay small forever, that's fine with me.

    Ok, social media. YES. I've really been struggling with it lately. Sometimes I get really into, and then other times I want to delete my account to everything. I've been on the brink of deleting twitter for months. I rarely check it anymore, and I'm almost always annoyed with it (I'm going to read that article as soon as I finish typing this). I hardly use Facebook, but I'm struggling with Instagram. Sometimes I love it, but mostly it messes with my contentment. Bleh. One of my big goals this year is to only check social media when Gracie is napping or in bed, and hopefully just stop checking all together. I'm tired of everyone else's thoughts filling my head.

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  14. I'm right with you in being like an old grandma! Over the past few months, my baby has hit the cranky teething stage, so I've been able to get less done that's productive (like blogging), but have spent more time surfing the internet and social media. But, I realized that I just need to keep simplifying my life, and while I don't have Twitter or Instagram, I do have Facebook-and I want to keep it for events, contacting people, etc. So I deleted my news feed, and let me tell you, it's been the best thing ever. I've found myself automatically spending less time on social media, and the time that I do spend on there is spent in better ways (ie: actually contacting people instead of scrolling).

    I think that blogs definitely go through phases. There were a couple phases I had this past year when tons of people were reading and some were commenting, and I had the feeling of "wow, this blog is going somewhere!" but there were also times when it seemed like no one in the world cared about my posts. But when you're not in it for the money, fame, or glory, I think it's easier to roll with the quieter times. I try not to internalize things or overthink, which helps, too. I actually have a post I've been planning to write for a long time that touches on this-in a way, I experience "break-ups" with different blogs just because I'm in a different state in life, have different interests, or my time for blog reading is more limited, and it's not anything that has to do with the blogger.

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  15. I don't have too many issues with social media (in my opinion, at least.) I have channels feeding other channels, and I go with what I love using the most. Instagram is my favorite. My blog posts automatically feed Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

    My blog did better this past year, but it's kind of at a standstill right now. I don't have anything sponsored lined up, and I'm ok with that. Blogging paid for a lot of my maternity leave (I took 12 weeks, and half of that was paid.) My most popular posts in terms of engagement have been the weekly posts of my daughter (huge shock) and my stream of consciousness posts. I see most of my engagement on Facebook, not on my blog.

    As far as paying for a second child? It'll fall into place. I stressed over that - and still stress over it - but it all magically works out. We sacrifice where we need to, but everyone in my family is healthy and happy, and our bills are paid. I know it's stressful to look at two daycare bills, but just know it really will work out.

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  16. I want to comment about a lot of things here- but one thing I specifically wanted to mention is that basically everyone's blog comments are down- even WITH growth. People just don't comment on them anymore. They're more prone to "like" or comment on fb/ig than on your actual post. So, don't get too discouraged about that! I guarantee people are still reading, they just don't take the time to comment.

    I'm with you on eliminating a lot of social media- I deleted twitter, snapchat, and the fb app. Basically I only have IG on my phone and then do FB/Blogging/Email when I'm on my laptop- either during naptime or after the girls are in bed. It's not a perfect system, but I'm trying to do what I can!

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  17. I think that 2017 is going to be a good year for you. I think you just have to LET yourself have a good year :) You are so self-aware and constantly evaluating yourself as a mom, employee, blogger, wife, etc. You're doing a great job Amanda- extend some grace to yourself! It's ok to cry at your desk or wish for things to be different. At the end of the day you're the best mom R (and new baby) will ever have and you're the perfect compliment to Jordan. You will figure it all out. Relax, friend :)

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  18. So. Just wanted to let you know that I read your posts through my email and don't typically comment because I rarely click over but I do read. Also I remember at some point you turned off comments and I don't know if I even realized you'd turned them back on :)

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  19. LOVE this recap and I love your honesty! I say stick to what you are doing -- the most important thing is that you are YOU. I think blog comments are down in general.. at least I know I have had little time to visit other blogs and have received far less comments too.

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  20. I couldn't agree more on blogging. My numbers kind of leveled off in 2016 after switching to 3x per week and I'm ok with it. I struggle with taking "real pictures" because I A. forget and B. forget and C. tend to look at my phone and realize I only took pictures of my son. But, for some reason this year so far I'm blowing it out of the water with comments and views. Not sure why, but I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and see!

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  21. I have a lot of issues with social media. I recently decided that even though I want to continue blogging, I want to keep a lot of things more private. So I stopped trying to use Instagram/Twitter/Facebook to promote my blog so much, although I do have a Facebook page for my blog where I basically just post new links. I still feel like I spend too much time online.

    I felt like I made a lot of personal progress with my blog this year. I started writing better posts and that made me really happy. I definitely connected with more people too. I never plan to invest money into my blog, it's more of a hobby. I also decided to cut back on the amount of posts per week just because I feel like I was spending too much time online.

    I might not be able to comment on all of your posts but I do love reading them and I would be really sad if you decided to stop blogging. I find your posts very real, honest, and encouraging, even though we are in very different places in life. And I recommend your blog to all of the working moms I know.

    Finally, I really like this format for a post -- do you mind if I copy it?

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  22. This explains why I haven't seen you on Twitter! That's where I followed you exclusively, so now I've signed up to receive your posts via email so I don't miss out, because I really enjoy your blog. I find a kindred spirit in you and I'm thankful for your writing.

    Facebook was for me what Twitter was for you, apparently. I quit it at the beginning of the year. I wrote about why and what goals I have now that I've quite, if you're interested in reading about it: https://rachelforrest.me/2016/12/28/2017-the-year-i-give-up-facebook/

    I'm thankful for you, Amanda! Thanks for sharing your honesty and your life with us.

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  23. When I look back at posts on my blog from 2011 that had 100+ comments on them I look through the people who left comments and realize that I honestly didn't know most of them. I would read their blogs, but everyone got mixed up to me because I was trying to keep up with so many different peoples' lives. Now I have a very small following, but I KNOW everyone who comments. I know about their spouses and kids and jobs and passions. And I love that. I loved getting all those comments back in the early days of my blog because at the time it made me feel "heard". But really... now the people who read my blog are people who are invested in my life. And I truly feel heard and loved by them. That is such a big difference. I love what you wrote about just wanting to encourage other people with your blog. That's one of the cool things about blogging - the reminder that we aren't alone in this... whatever "this" is. Thanks for continuing to write and share your heart! You are blessing so many!

    I can't relate to the working mom situation, but I do know what it feels like to work on something so hard and pray for it for so long and then feel like you are in the same place you were a year ago in dealing with it. But you aren't in the same place. You really aren't. Yes, in that day when you cried 8 times and were so emotional, I'm sure it felt the same. But that doesn't negate all the progress you've made in the past year. Just think of all the times when you have done WELL. When you have chosen to be filled with joy and have handled drop offs okay. You are pregnant right now (and it sounds like under some stress thinking about future finances) and you just spent a week with your precious first born, of COURSE you are going to be emotional on your first day (or even week) back to work. Offer yourself some grace on that. You have come so far! I know that when I'm struggling with something there are good days and bad days and then there are good months and suddenly I find myself facing the same struggle again out of no where. Satan does that to us sometimes. Catches us off guard. It's okay to cry and miss her. You are doing awesome, Amanda.

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  24. I struggle SO much with social media balance, because I want to use it to grow my blog, because I want to be able to make more money from my blog (just being honest here), because I want to work less and spend more time at home with Jack. But the only time I can post/network on social media is time I would be spending with Jack...so it's a hard balance. CONFUSING.

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  25. This is a great way to recap 2016 and look forward to what the upcoming year holds. You're doing fantastic, lady. You are setting such a wonderful example for your daughter on all these levels. She's going to grow up to be strong and compassionate and the same goes for Baby Bum #2. I hope 2017 holds everything good for you and your family.

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  26. I think that's the best feeling as a blogger, when you write something and have somebody tell you that it impacted them in some way. A huge following would be great (guessing here, since I certainly don't have one) but writing something that makes a difference to someone is probably what makes you feel more fulfilled than numbers ultimately, anyway.

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  27. What a cool way to look back and forward! I like this way of setting "resolutions" or whatever for the year ahead. Good idea!

    Social media is one of my big resolutions this year, and one week in, I'm wondering why on earth it's taken me so long to just cut down on my use of it already. Seriously, it's been kind of life-changing, and I'm sure I'll get a heck of a lot more accomplished this year if I can just keep with it.

    Good luck with everything---sounds like you'll have a super full year ahead!

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  28. My comments have really dropped too, although I never really had as many as you to begin with. I'm setting aside more time this year to comment on blogs myself (my hour timer for reading blogs, commenting on blogs, and scheduling tweets from blog posts I like has 25 minutes left on it). But I still don't know if that will help because I've always commented on tons of other blog posts, just more in bulk a few times per month. (Like 4 hours all at once).

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  29. i deactivated twitter last week. i also deleted my blog facebook because i never used the profile or the page. i would delete my personal facebook but it's the only way i stay in contact with my family, and you can make international calls for free via messenger which is nothing to sneeze at. but yeah. i don't care about twitter, and i only had it because i thought i should. i do like instagram though. i think you gotta find what works for you - i turned off data so i can only get on those kinds of things at home or at work, which really helped, i was always on my phone in the car (not driving) or out with other people (so rude). now because i'm on it less in those situations, i tend to reach for it less at home as well.

    i think 2016 was a good year for me blog wise, not because i got more followers or page views or posted more than any other year.. quite the opposite. because i stopped caring about those things and just did it for me. i feel like a lot of the blogs i read and the people i talk to are actually friends, or at least i am not reading blogs by people i don't even like just because they commented on mine (wow, that sounds nasty). i have no desire to be a big blogger or make money off it.

    i feel like i have been working on my health and fitness for like 10 years and not really seeing much progress. haha. it's a ongoing thing for me, up down and all around.

    i really hope 2017 is a great year for you.

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  30. I will so, so, so miss you on Twitter. Things have been pretty crazy between house-buying, work, and.. other things that are going on right now, and I really just haven't had the time to read blogs much. (Hoping to change that a bit!) Twitter was how I felt I was still connected to people. But I 100% completely understand and support your decision for leaving!

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