Dealing with blog envy

I had a bit of a moment this afternoon where I had to check myself. (Before I wrecked myself, in the classic words of Ice Cube.)

I was mooching about on the internet, looking at other blogs, and getting decidedly depressed. I imagine it’s a bit like if you have an ugly baby and then you go to a baby group and see all the beautiful babies with perfectly round heads, huge eyes and rosy red cheeks. Except that has never happened to me because I make beautiful babies.

Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

I’m not so sure I make beautiful blogs though. Sure, I can spell and everything, and I use capital letters properly, and sometimes I’m a bit funny, but I’ve never been stylish. It makes sense I guess, when I look at myself in jeans, a netball hoodie, frilly socks and old lady shoes from Clarks. It doesn’t make me feel good though looking at other, better dressed blogs, where the posts are ‘carefully curated thoughts and images of the simple things in life’.

(I made that up. Perhaps I should use it though?)

Theodore Roosevelt said ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ and he hit the nail right on the head.

Comparison is the thief of joy

I pulled a sulky face at my boyfriend, and he said encouraging things, but did point out that my blog had a fairly commercial feel, perhaps not suited to simple yet elegantly curated thoughts.


Perhaps, he suggested, I should write more about me.

Well, that’s all well and good, but it’s tricky when you have older children and a new(ish) partner – there is so much potential to offend people. Belle is grower ever less fond of me mentioning her at all, and often passes the time searching for her own name on my blog and complaining about what she has found, and it doesn’t feel very comfortable any more pouring my heart out about something, knowing that my nearest and dearest are going to read it. I feel rather like I would like some things to be private.

So how do you strike that balance? How do you share personal stories at the same time as maintaining privacy and not upsetting anyone? If you’re a blogger, do you ever suffer from blog envy?



  1. 25 March, 2015 / 8:12 pm

    I get this all the time! But not just with blogs, with all aspects of life. I don’t normally enjoy motivational quotes but there is one which I find helpful: ‘A flower does not worry about competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.’

    • Jo Middleton
      26 March, 2015 / 10:48 am

      Ah Ben, you are so wise ;-)

      I should be envious of you really, what with all your books! I need to crack on and write one of my own.

  2. 25 March, 2015 / 9:04 pm

    I’m struggling too finding that balance….My eldest is 12 and is wanting a bit more privacy in case her friends from school see it….I can totally understand but I feel guilty blogging just about my youngest. It makes it look like I favour one over the other….Ugh!

    • Jo Middleton
      26 March, 2015 / 10:50 am

      That’s another good point Kim – I write about my youngest more, partly because she lives with me and we do more stuff together, but also because I worry slightly less about her reaction to me writing about her. I do sometimes worry that this will come across as favouritism when it definitely isn’t.

  3. 25 March, 2015 / 9:47 pm

    For the record – I hadn’t see your blog in its current format and the new layout and design are much more elegant and refined.

    Yes, I do think your blog is probably more commercial — I’ve been following for several years, and there was a bit of a switch from mostly personal to mostly “cash-generating” content, but I find you write in such an entertaining and personal way it’s not at all offensive. Other blogs should be jealous of how well you do it* — I am a huge GOMI fan and I therefore consider myself an expert on bitching about bloggers. You have a talent for writing promotional content in a genuine and fun style that many bloggers (especially those American ones!) completely fail at. And of course you don’t ONLY write promotional stuff — I love when you slip in a little post about your life or things you are thinking about.

    I understand you might miss writing for yourself and the privacy that you once had. My mother blogs and puts her entire life out there in ways I wish she wouldn’t, because she seems to think that her exes (including my father) and my little brother (18) are oblivious to it. There’s also her workplace (she write in English but works in France in healthcare, and I tremble to think what could happen to her if her work found her breaching confidentiality). However I can sometimes coerce her into password protecting posts — is that an option for you? Probably not.

    *a couple of years ago I contacted a company who products you were promoting to ask them about it. They asked me where I had heard about them and I said your blog, and we shared ours appreciation of your very special lovely style.

    • Jo Middleton
      26 March, 2015 / 10:52 am

      Thank you so much for this Rosie. When I try and justify it to myself I do say things like ‘but I try to write about commercial stuff in a fun way…’ and it always feels like a bit of a lame excuse, so it’s really lovely to hear some people feel the same!

    • Dawn F
      26 March, 2015 / 10:23 pm

      I agree. I never read promo posts on other blogs..well, very rarely. But there is always some witty or interesting text on SSM that I always at least scan.

  4. Lucy
    25 March, 2015 / 10:40 pm

    You could talk about ALL YOUR GREAT FRIENDS?

    ERmmmm it’s quite tricky, especially when they are getting older. Can you steal someone else’s baby? Teenagers are a bit of a tricksy nightmare.

    I think your blog has a GREAT look though – which blogs do you think look better? I am v. jealous of your blog look-n-feel.

    • Jo Middleton
      26 March, 2015 / 10:45 am

      Ooh yes, good idea! I could come and take pictures of your kitchen and have house envy instead :-)

      I think perhaps I need some more hobbies.

  5. 26 March, 2015 / 7:36 am

    Loving the honesty! I must admit that I had an ugly baby (don’t fret he’s cute now). I didn’t care at baby groups, I just thought he was so special and perfect :) I think blog envy (or research as I call it) is great, your partner makes a great point about comparing to other blogs in the same vein.

    • Jo Middleton
      26 March, 2015 / 10:56 am

      I think you’re right Charlene, the ‘research’ is important – perhaps not in an unhealthy comparison way, but it can be inspiring and give you a bit of a kick if you’re stuck in a blogging rut.

  6. 26 March, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    Jo I love your blog and for me it’s what a pro blog should look like. I have lots of pretty pictures on mine but ultimately would prefer to write more commercial stuff with a mix of my own personal posts. I’m good with capitol letters as in I don’t misuse them and I try hard not to use too many exclamation marks (I’m working on that one!) so don’t really know why I don’t get more work..;)

    I’m with you on the whole teenager thing, I have a toddler and two teenagers one of whom doesn’t really mind if I write about her and my older one hates it. I tend to write most about my littlest one and I’m sure visitors to my blog must think I prefer her or something without thinking it through properly! Xx

  7. 26 March, 2015 / 3:04 pm

    I think a lot of the time reading other blogs can be what instigates bloggers block. I struggle with it all the time! There are so many brilliant blogs out there (your blog is one of them!) and comparing yourself to them is bound to make you feel terrible. There’s going to be ones that write better (or so you think) or take better pics or, blah blah blah.

    No one (apart from the Hubby and my boys) know that I blog so I have a little freedom there. As for keeping things a little private I just choose what to share and what not to. It can be a struggle finding things to write about sometimes and I end up scouring the internet for prompts. I like the personal ones – like sharing some facts about yourself. Perhaps try something like that?

    I hope you feel better soon and that blog envy disappears. xx

  8. 26 March, 2015 / 4:44 pm

    I think I used to get envy and always want to rebrand and change mine but I think that probably everyone does that at somepoint. I think it’s better to just be yourself and not give two hoots what other poeple think…plus I think your ace ;) x

  9. 26 March, 2015 / 6:44 pm

    I think we all get some envy of lots of things in our lives don’t we?! haven’t actually visited here for a while, as just read in Feedly, but loving the new layout :D You are the last person I would image having blog envy! there are so many blogs that make me feel this way, but then I take a step back and tell myself what I’m doing is good too, in my own way :D xx

  10. 26 March, 2015 / 9:11 pm

    I’m seriously considering starting a new anonymous blog where I can slag off my mother in law and work colleagues to my hearts content! I also have major blog envy. Mainly of how funny other people are. I’m trying to rein it in! I’m reassured that a blogger as successful as you also suffers from blog envy- I wonder if anyone is free of it.

  11. Dawn F
    26 March, 2015 / 10:20 pm

    I don’t have a blog so I don’t have to worry about this issue but I do read many blogs and yours is one of my favourites. I genuinely find something funny in most of your posts. I have indeed LOLd many times even when I think you might be judging my occasional use of capital letters. So don’t go changing, you are a funny lass and Bea and Belle are lucky to have such a cool mum. :)

  12. Jacqueline Roberts
    27 March, 2015 / 12:04 am

    This is one of the few blogs I read DO not change a thing. Now I will crawl back to my quiet rock.

  13. 27 March, 2015 / 1:08 am

    Ummmmm yes all the time but I’ll do nothing about it as 1. I’m way too lazy and 2. I’m way too lazy

    I would love to find the time for more glitzy post, more cooking post and loads of just because personal rubbish but I’ve never the time.

    Love your blog lovely lady

  14. 27 March, 2015 / 5:34 pm

    Here’s another good quote I always refer to when I myself or others feel blog envy – noone is more youer than you (Dr Seuss??). Yes we all wish we could be a bit more whatever but then we’d be a carbon-copy and we have to be ourselves. You are ace, don’t go changing!

  15. 27 March, 2015 / 10:14 pm

    I think my blog is heavily visual so whilst I like the way it looks I often get envy about people who are able to write well (my blog posts are more like pictures with a couple of sentences most of the time!). I think it’s natural to compare and we all criticise ourselves. I love your blog x

  16. 28 March, 2015 / 8:37 am

    Blogging is a strange one as we share a lot about ourselves but at the same time thats not always our true “reality”. Also by blogging you usually spend a lot of time looking at other blogs and even though this can be a great source of inspiration if can also cause some level of envy – I always wish I could write more funny and witty posts like yours :) (honestly!)

    Laura x

  17. 28 March, 2015 / 11:42 pm

    I don’t find it a problem at the moment, but once N’s at school later this year, I think it’s going to be a lot harder to get personal posts written.

    Like Rosie said, I think you do the commercial stuff well. There’s still a lot of you in it, and written in a down to earth way rather than blatant advertising.

    Guess it’s just finding the way through, and trying to avoid comparing our blogs to others which is very hard to do.

  18. Anne Wallwin
    2 April, 2015 / 9:30 am

    i enjoy reading your blog. Yes there is a commercial element but it doesn’t overtake the genuine real life stuff. As long as the commercial reviews are done with honesty and are about stuff you are interested in no one minds. I hate blogs that have just published the PR’s words and haven’t actually written the article themselves. I don’t have a blog because i’m too scared to take that step so i admire those that do it!

  19. Elaine Livingstone
    4 April, 2015 / 3:04 pm

    my blog is my memories and written from that point and if nobody read it would I stop writing it? – No I would not. My grandchildren can read it in later years.
    I am with you on not sharing the older child so much now she is at secondary school, but then my daughter was wonderful enough to have twins for me to blog on and take over from the older one
    Am I envious of others? Well I use to be when I was blogging for all the wrong reasons , but now I am pickier about what offers I accept and much happier with it as is.
    You are a very successful blogger and have taken it to the next level with your job so don’t think you have much to worry about.

  20. 3 February, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    I get this. I love reading really funny blogs with totally likeable, endlessly readable authors who convey thoughts and rants through stories and anecdotes that you simply HAVE to read to the end (looking at you Jo!) and I think, “Hmm, my blog isn’t like that. My blog is practical. I’m not witty like that. Maybe I should be. Waaaah!” And then I remember that my blog is what it is. It isn’t better or worse, it’s just different. “Blogger” is such a broad term and within that, different sub-sets of us fill our own spots in fuzzily defined corners of a limitless and constantly shifting bloggy universe. Some of us get personal, others hardly at all, some make us laugh, others make us cry, still more make us change our dish soap but it’s all valid. It’s the quality of the writing, the ideas and the personality, how it inspires readers and how it makes them feel that really counts. Writing the way I write makes me happy, readers seem to like it, so that’s what I’m gonna keep doing. But I’ll keep reading the awesome, funny blogs with a tiny pang of envy now and then, because they’re just wonderful and reading them makes me happy.

    • Jo Middleton
      3 February, 2016 / 5:55 pm

      Now you see I’d read your blog Emily and think ‘but those photos are so beautiful, and it’s actually USEFUL stuff, not just ramblings!’ – I guess we are all guilty of that ‘grass is always greener’ thing and we do have to stop and just appreciate that we are who we are.

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