I've always been a dream chaser, but after I became a mom to my first child six years ago, my dreams got pushed to the sidelines. I didn't have time to hustle because I could barely function. As a full-time publicist with chronic fatigue syndrome and total working mom guilt, I didn’t have the energy or emotion to put into my passions.
When my daughter turned three-years-old and life might have become easier, I had my son. Instead of gaining more “me-time” once my child became independent, I was back to a “mombie” (aka mom zombie) and waking up every few hours in the night for feedings. On top of that, I went through a health crisis. It took six months to get diagnosed and then cleared from having fatty liver from pregnancy. So basically, for six months while I was a new mom of two and full of post-partum hormones, I thought I was dying of an unexplained liver disease. It shook me to my core. I had so much anxiety that I lost all my baby weight and dropped over 50 pounds and weighed less than before I even got married. I eventually went to speak with a counselor to help find strategies and ways to manage this anxiety.
I am pretty sure I worked myself up so much that some other issues I encountered were a result of the stress. I got headaches that lasted 24/7 for three months. Yes. I saw a chiropractor, I got X-rays, I saw my general practitioner. Finally, a holistic bodywork therapist told me that I had inflamed nerves in the back of my head. He worked miracles and helped align my whole body. Turns out my spine was out of wack from pregnancy!
During all of this, I watched as Instagram became huge. Moms were making a name for themselves by blogging and posting on social media. They were out there hustling doing things I knew I could do just as well, if not better! Before I got married and had kids, I was at the forefront of Internet TV, launching Web-TV episodes before it was cool. I had a music show and was doing interviews with really big bands like 30 Seconds to Mars. I was living my dream.
But being a mom has always been my number one dream. In fact, it’s even the reason I got divorced in my twenties! My first husband decided he didn’t want to have kids. So I had to move on, and I found someone who shared my passion for starting a family. We grew our happy little squad. But a part of myself was always missing because I wasn’t making time for things that brought me personal joy.
So I declared 2019 my year of self-care and dream-chasing. My babies grew into kids who started to sleep through the night. I got my energy back ( a little!) More sleep meant I had fuel to be a functioning human! I got back to “Joelle the Dreamer and Goal-Getter.”
I was pretty selfish and I mean that in the best way possible. If there’s anything I’ve learned as a publicist for life coaches, it’s that we must be the best version of ourselves in order to properly care for our families and also to achieve our dreams.
I dedicated time going to the gym and doing yoga to build up strength in my body. I invested in my personal style/appearance. I got the luxury diaper/ mom bag that shouts out my style and helps me organize and manage life on-the-go for myself and two kids. I took a food challenge with my allergist so I could reintroduce things into my diet. I made time to read inspiring books. I invested in my dreams.
I wrote a children’s book for my daughter. And I took to Instagram to build my following. I tried really, really hard to reach one-thousand followers. Every post was carefully tagged. I invested in photo apps and graphics so my page looked unified, and even sponsored select posts. I followed the rules to appear influential. Because being Instagram popular is one step towards selling my books, attracting and maintaining a fan base, supporting my mission to increase positivity and happiness for women and encouraging others to chase their dreams.
One magical day, I posted in a Facebook mommy group that we should all connect and support each other on Instagram. Within hours I had hundreds of new Instagram followers and reached around 1,100 followers! It was magical.
Soon after, I started deleting all my followers.
Bold move. I felt like I was deleting my dreams and everything I worked so very hard to achieve. But my mind was set.
I deleted my Instagram fanbase to protect the privacy of my children. The sketchy accounts that also began following me set off alarms. There are so many scary things going on in the world. My first duty is being a mom, and that means protecting my kids. Not using them to gain followers on social media. I don’t want strangers who follow me for one reason to see the photos of my kids in bathing suits swimming.
But I do want to share those cute photos with family and close friends. I decided that moving forward, my Instagram and Facebook pages were going into lockdown. I deleted followers and only kept those that I personally knew.
I started a new public account that I’ll use to create authentic relationships with people who I will interact with and who will interact on my posts. People that genuinely align with my mission. I’ll talk about parenthood, but I won’t necessarily need show you where my daughter when to dancing school (back when the world was normal) and post a photo of her in a tutu.
I’m going to live my life online on my own terms and continue to practice gratitude and living in the present with my family. And hopefully, that will attract like-minded moms.
I’m going to do more of what I actually love—writing—to attract followers and maintain relationships with my audience. Because that is important too! I want to keep all the wonderful friends I’ve made—and if it wasn’t for social media, I wouldn’t know half the amazing people I do! But I do want to clearly define what each of my pages is for in my life. I’ve struggled with that for a while.
I’ve drawn the line between my personal and professional lives on social media and sometimes they’ll blend together. That’s OK. I’ll figure it out in time. But for now, I’m focused on making the memories… I’ll post about them later, when my kids are asleep.