5 Strategies to Help Overwhelmed Moms Find Balance

As a mom (and maybe as a human being), I feel overwhelmed. And not only am I an overwhelmed mom, I feel like I shouldn’t be — I only have one kid, I work from home, I don’t have to worry about our basic needs being met — which only makes things worse because I become more overwhelmed that something is wrong with me for feeling overwhelmed in the first place.

It’s a vicious cycle perpetuated by mommy guilt, a culture of busy, self-doubt, and the weight of family, social, and/or work obligations. I know I’m not the only overwhelmed mom out there.

Here’s the best way I can describe it: I feel like I am the sun and my family orbits around me. When I walk in the door, before I can put down my car keys, the dog, the toddler and even my husband are coming toward me, blocking my way, wanting attention, jockeying for position.

Maybe I should find joy in moments like this — to be loved so much that all of these people/animals must greet me immediately upon arrival with as much energy as possible — but usually what I feel is overwhelmed. It’s a struggle to get through the door, a struggle to get my coat off, a struggle to keep everyone a few feet away from me so I can start the next necessary task (a meal, a chore, etc.), a struggle to have a moment to collect myself.

I don’t want to struggle. And I don’t want to be a constantly overwhelmed mom.

But I’ve realized that the problem isn’t them, but it’s not necessarily me either. It’s that chaos is a part of life, especially life with young children. And I can’t change that — the fact that I’ve been trying to change the chaos is (at least partially) what makes me feel overwhelmed.

I’m trying to shift my thinking and the way I react. Instead of trying to lessen the chaos, I’ve been looking for strategies that will allow me to function better in and through the chaos. Maybe if you’re an overwhelmed mom, you’ll find these ideas helpful — they cost no money, and most of them take only a few minutes and require minor tweaks to your routine.

Try these five strategies to help you feel more balanced throughout the day. Perfect for overwhelmed moms who feel like they don't have time to center themselves. All of these take less than an hour a day (and some save you time).

Strategy 1: Wake up 30 minutes earlier than your kid(s).

For me, this is HUGE.

In January, our family transitioned to a new routine. Last year, my husband worked the midnight shift, which was hard for many reasons, but when he came home in the morning, he managed getting our daughter dressed and off to daycare, giving me plenty of time and space to get ready for work. Now he’s on the day shift, which means he leaves the house by 6 a.m., while I am at home, attempting to figure out the transition from working full time in an office to starting my own business. It’s up to me to get our daughter out the door in the morning, which should be easy, right? It’s not like I’m on a hard and fast schedule.

I’ve mentioned that the process to get Emme dressed in the morning can be trying. This morning “routine” overwhelmed me; it made me feel anxious and frustrated, and I was struggling to bounce back from getting my day off on the wrong foot. Setting the alarm seemed unnecessary since I knew Emme would wake me up, but I finally convinced myself a few weeks ago that I needed to try to get out of bed before her.

What a difference having a cup of coffee by myself makes. The entire morning dynamic shifted, and not because she changed, but because I have a few minutes to wake up, enjoy my coffee, and relax — not dive in head first with morning toddler drama. But it’s funny, now that I’ve stopped fighting against it, the toddler drama doesn’t seem quite as dramatic.

Strategy 2: Do the thing you are doing even if it’s just for a few minutes.

As a blogger and a freelance writer who is trying to find work, I can easily convince myself that I’m “working” no matter what I’m doing. After all, I’m scanning freelance jobs, posting on Facebook, checking my email, chatting online with a friend, reading an industry blog, researching an article for a client, and updating my resume… all at the same time. Which means literally nothing is getting done.

This multitasking mentality creeps into all facets of my life. I turn on the TV after Emme goes to bed with the intent of watching a television show to unwind, only to sit down with my laptop in hand, screwing around on one million different websites, the TV on in the background. Or I’m trying to manage my daughter while texting with a friend and tackling random tasks (that never end up getting done).

Multitasking is necessary sometimes, but when you can, slow down and do the thing you are doing. Just give the task at hand five minutes of your attention.

Strategy 3: Take a deep breath.

Whenever you need to throughout the day — when you’re starting to feel anxious or frustrated, take a few seconds (just a few seconds!) and breath in. Count for a couple of seconds while you hold your breath and then breath out. Don’t worry, the mess your child is making will be there when you’re done.

Strategy 4: Create boundaries around social media.

Social media is a great way to connect with the world around us and the people we care about, but it is undoubtably a time suck. At worst, it can turn your energy and attention to something that makes you feel angry (your crazy uncle’s extreme political rants), judged (your “friend” who posts articles about how formula is poison), or lacking (all of the happy pictures and status updates that suggest that everyone else is living the perfect life). I don’t know about you, but sometimes social media just makes me feel anxious.

And yet it’s such a habit. I open my Facebook app on my phone without even thinking about it. I don’t even mean to do it, it’s just what I do. Here are some ideas to cut down on your social media time:

  • Try moving the social media apps on your phone every so often they are a little less accessible to you. You can also hide it in a “subfolder” on your iPhone — I can never find the apps I put in subfolders. #problemsolved
  • Change your phone settings so you’re not constantly getting social media notifications.
  • Attempt to keep your social media surfing to a few times a day — maybe once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
  • Let knowledge be your power: You can download the Moment app to see exactly how much time you’re spending on your phone. Though it doesn’t tell you exactly how much of that time is spent on Facebook or other social media apps, this information is still helpful for me because I know a lot of the time I spend zoning out on the phone, I’m scrolling through my Facebook feed. Challenge yourself to decrease that time.
  • Unfollow Facebook friends. You don’t have to unfriend people and make it a whole thing. Go to the profile page of the person who is driving you batty and uncheck “Following” to take that person’s status updates out of your feed.

Strategy 5: Meditate for 10 minutes.

More and more research suggests that meditation really can help relieve anxiety as well as other medical issues. I have been trying to get into the habit of meditating every day. I’d say I manage to do it 5 out of 7 days a week. But when I do take 10 minutes to meditate, I feel less overwhelmed and more balanced throughout the day.

I find if I mediate right before I pick Emme in the afternoon, it has a similar effect as my morning coffee — I’m suddenly much more capable of dealing with post-daycare toddler demands (milk! potty! crackers! Caillou! books! paci! apple! Frozen!), getting dinner on the table, and feeling, you know, content with my life not overwhelmed by it. On the weekends, I try to meditate when Emme takes her nap.

When I decided to try meditation, I wasn’t quite sure where to start. I found Headspace, a website that provides a lot of information about meditation, and I downloaded the free app, which includes ten 10-minute meditations.

So what about you… Are you an overwhelmed mom/parent/person? Do you have any go-to strategies that help you feel more balanced?

How to Make Mom Friends

Being a new mom can be lonely. Literally one minute you’re not a mom and the next you have this living thing that you have to feed and care for and keep alive — all while your hormones fluctuate wildly and the number of hours you sleep plummets. Then, a few weeks after your baby is born, your partner heads back to work, family members clear out, and you’re left alone in your home for eight-hour stretches at a time (or more) with a tiny creature who communicates by screaming.

It’s time to make mom friends.

How to make mom friends: Seven practical tips from BTDT moms to help you move past your comfort zone, strike up conversations and get to know other moms.

Here’s the great news: Becoming a mom is a rare point in our adult lives when people who are otherwise settled are ready and willing (and maybe a little desperate) to make new connections. All new moms need mom friends, and nothing bonds two sleep-deprived women faster than an intense discussion about feeding schedules and birth stories.

And yet, it can be hard to figure out how to make mom friends and daunting to push past your social comfort zone. But it’s worth the effort — mom friends help us stay sane and balanced during the ups and downs of raising children. They give you an outlet to discuss everything from swaddling to potty training to preschool and beyond. They say, “You’re a good mom,” when you need to hear it most. And they pass along wisdom and tips for making life more manageable (or they hang out with you in the chaos).

How to Make Mom Friends: 7 Practical Tips from Moms

To put together these “how to make mom friends” tips, I reached out to some IRL mom friends as well as a few of my favorite mom bloggers. I asked them how they make mom friends — in different stages of parenthood, when they’ve made a major move, or just when they feel like they need to expand their network. Several moms likened it to dating. A few of us had good conversations about the importance of connecting with other moms as a way to start to feel part of a larger community. I have also included my own thoughts and experiences. So whether you’re a brand new mom or you have older children, here are a few tips on how to make mom friends.

Tip 1: Join a group.

Groups for moms are readily available — online, offline and (likely) in your neighborhood.

If you’re pregnant or have a young child and are looking to connect online, Babycenter and The Bump are good places to start. They have online groups dedicated to every stage of pregnancy and early parenthood, as well as local groups.

My number one tip for making mom friends is to join groups! Online groups work especially well. I joined due date groups for both of my kids while pregnant. While the groups are online, there are several local moms that I have since met and established offline relationships with as well. These groups are a great source of support through pregnancy and all of your baby’s milestones and they are always available 24/7! I also join local Meetup groups in my neighborhood, which are great for getting out of the house, having play dates for my kids, and meeting other mom friends!”

Jen of Breastfeeding Needs

You can also find local mom groups on Facebook. Several communities set up private Facebook groups where you can ask for advice, sell or buy baby items, and get to know other moms in your area. Informal, on-the-fly playdates often arise from these groups. Consider posting that you’re heading to the neighborhood park once other moms have a sense of who you are. You might end up with a companion or two.

Meetup is a hotbed of moms groups. Many cities and neighborhoods have active Meetup.com groups for moms with young kids. Can’t find one in your neighborhood? Most groups welcome moms from surrounding areas, so check out nearby towns to see if there’s an active group. These groups host tons of activities, playdates, and even moms nights outs, and people will expect and be open to newbies showing up.

Some communities have larger groups and forums separate of Facebook or Meetup.com. For example, Chicago has the Neighborhood Parents Network, which includes online forums, events, resources, and more. Bump Club and Beyond is active in a handful of cities. Google or ask around to find out if there’s a local group you should be aware of.

If an already-tight-knit local moms group feels intimidating, how about checking out a group that coincides with another interest of yours? That will give you obvious common ground with other moms as well as an activity to focus on while you get comfortable.

I’ve met friends through Fit4Mom. Fit4Mom has Stroller Strides classes (a stroller fitness program) that caters primarily to moms who stay at home, but they also have moms-only fitness classes in the evenings and on weekends, and they host playdates and moms nights out. Mommy and me yoga or infant massage classes are options for moms with babies under six months. Or perhaps you’ve found a passion for (or just want to learn more about) a specific parenting topic. Babywearing International has chapters in several states, and so does La Leche League.

Don’t forget, your hospital likely has a group for new moms (and often has a lactation consultant attend them, so you can ask your breastfeeding questions, too). If you can’t find information online, call — hospital websites can be cumbersome. And if the hospital where you gave birth doesn’t have a group, check others nearby — they likely don’t require you to be a patient.

Join a group where you will meet other moms. My hospital had a postnatal class I went to for four weeks after my baby was born, and that’s where I met a few of my closest mom friends. And don’t be afraid to stalk them on Facebook. I did that with a woman I thought would be a good friend after I only met her once. It felt so strange, but she was grateful I looked her up and sharing on Facebook together really helped us solidify our friendship. I felt awkward for a few minutes as I searched her name initially, but it paid off sooooo much in creating a now close, dear mommy friend.”

Jennifer of A Splendid Messy Life

Tip 2: Put yourself out there.

This is easier said than done — I realize that. But I look at this in two ways: 1) You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by making the first move with another mom; and 2) Your desire to make mom friends is not unique. I don’t mean that to sound harsh, but if you’re looking to make friends, chances are that the mom you see at the park or Target or music class is wanting to connect as well and feels similarly shy about reaching out. She’ll likely appreciate you striking up a conversation, asking for her number, or suggesting you connect via Facebook.

Two of my good mom friends have moved across the country with their young children. Understanding that you have to push past your comfort zone if you want to meet people becomes even more critical if you’re new in town.

After moving to Tucson a year ago and knowing no one, I was on a serious hunt for friends. Not just for me, but my daughter, too. And after being a reporter for 10 plus years, I have no problem starting conversations with strangers — whether they like it or not. I honestly remember getting gas one day and thinking “that woman’s daughter looks about Ellie’s age. Maybe I should follow her and see if she lives near me.” Hello crazy stalker lady! Ultimately, I have found the best way to make mom friends is by enrolling your child in some sort of activity. I’ve met some really wonderful ladies through Ellie’s school and her gymnastics class. All the moms instantly have something in common — we’re all dealing with the joys and horrors of raising a 3-year-old. Ellie’s teacher was really wonderful and helped make an introduction to a mom she thought I’d hit it off with, and we totally did. So don’t fear a little match-making. And the gymnastics class has the added benefit of being hands-off for moms, so we get in some quality chat time while waving to our kiddos through the glass windows.

Gena, Mommy Sanest contributor and freelance journalist

Be more assertive than you might normally be. We lived in three different places before my daughter was 18 months old. By that time I’d figured out that a casual meeting at the park or library could turn into a friend, especially if you have similar-aged children and live nearby. But you have to capitalize on the situation. Three months after I’d moved to our current home, I was walking my dog with my daughter and we happened across a family sitting outside their house. Their daughter looked to be about the same age, so I stopped to talk to them. It turned out there was only a one month age difference and we lived less than a half mile away. We exchanged numbers and we’ve now had several play dates. I’m not sure I would have run into her again by chance (soon after that the weather turned cold), so it was important that we exchanged numbers at that first meeting. I’m not that aggressive by nature, so it’s taken me a little out of my comfort zone to ask for someone’s number after one meeting. It feels a little like dating!

— Mom to a two-year-old daughter

Here’s another great example: My sister and her husband took a pretty big risk putting themselves out there when they threw my nephew’s second birthday. They’re also relatively new in town, and they decided to invite everyone from our daycare to the birthday party. We go to a home daycare with about 10 kids who are all close in age. I think it was incredibly courageous on their part — it can be nerve racking and I’m sure they worried about the other parents thinking it was weird or not wanting to come (we all worry about this stuff!). Three-quarters of the daycare showed up, and it ended up being a great opportunity to finally formally meet and talk with parents who we had previously only seen in passing. If you’re willing to put the invitation out there, people often will accept.

But you don’t have to be new in town, and striking up conversations with other moms can be casual. Tune into what’s going on around you — you’ll likely notice moms with similarly-aged children seem eager to chat. Have an easy, go-to opening line. When I see a mom whose child is close in age to my daughter, I ask, “How old is your little one?” It’s a good line because it can easily lead to a conversation or just be an off-handed question with a quick answer, but it gives you a chance to see if the other mom is interested in chatting.

I treat finding mommy friends similar to how I sought out my husband. Being open to talking with others when out and about and observing if we had any initial similar traits (a good sense of humor, laid back style of parenting, positive outlook). Oh and the best FREE places to make new mommy friends are the park and library!

Amanda of Queen of the Land of Twigs n’ Berries (a local blog for Chicago-area moms)

Don’t be afraid to approach a fellow mom and ask to exchange numbers! This would be mostly from the stay-at-home mom perspective, but also as a new mom — without work, school, etc., it becomes really hard to be in scenarios where you’re introduced to someone. One of my closest friends right now I met at the grocery store. She had a baby the same age, and thank goodness we approached each other and agreed to exchange numbers.

Nikki of MBA SAHM

Finally, when I went back to work full time after having my daughter, I felt like the opportunity to meet and bond with other new moms was slipping away. With the added pressures of balancing work with raising a baby and maintaining a household, it seemed impossible to make these new relationships a priority. But, I knew that I wanted to strengthen my network of moms who could empathize with my situation. And knowing that time is always at a premium for parents of young children, I decided to make an effort to seek out other new moms at my workplace.

Striking up conversations with other moms at work isn’t typically too far outside of most people’s comfort zones. But when these chats turned into longer conversations, they’d often end with a passing suggestion of lunch. I used to write these offers off as a polite way to exit a pleasant conversation, but I decided to start making good on them. Once I got over the initial hesitation of sending a follow-up email, I became more proactive with my invitations. I ended up with a few regular lunch dates, women I could commiserate with about work and motherhood, and some new allies at my company.

Tip 3: Go where moms go.

Some moms don’t feel comfortable actively seeking out friends or making the first move, but just going where other moms go will often naturally lead to meeting new people, even if your kids are the ones who initially make the connection.

My number one tip for making mommy friends is to go to the park. As a playground regular, you will start to see familiar faces and gradually get to know other families. And as you begin to teach your child how to interact other kids (Hi, what’s your name? Nice to meet you!) — you will end up modeling this behavior for your child, too, as you chat with caregivers. If you remember, bring along an extra set of sand toys or bubbles to share.

Jennifer of Flying Pinwheel Designs (adorable birthday party print-ables)

You’ll inevitably be surrounded by other moms and kiddos at the park, the library, indoor play cafes, and the zoo. You can also sign up your kiddo up for classes (think music, gymnastics, dance, soccer) where you’re guaranteed to be in the same place at the same time with moms of similar-aged children.

Tip 4: Don’t discount Facebook or your current circle of friends.

I was talking to one of my closest friends about her experience making mom friends. Our group of friends from the city has dispersed in every direction around Chicagoland, but we were very lucky that several of our pre-kid friends had children around the same time we did.

Even though we don’t live in the same ‘hood anymore, this has been a tremendous support system — nearly every one of us has had a friend on a similar pregnancy and birth timeline, and we’ve had the mamas who went before us there to provide wisdom and reassurance. Even though it’s nice (and necessary) to have mom friends in close proximity, text messages, Google chats, and phone calls from mom friends you’ve known since before you were a mom are worthwhile too.

Your Facebook network is another great resource when you want to make mom friends. My friend pointed out that she recently reconnected with an old friend when they realized (via Facebook, of course) that they were both pregnant with similar due dates — they suddenly had new common ground after having lost touch for a few years and are now in regular contact. When my sister moved to Illinois, it turned out that one of her Facebook friends, a contact from high school in Ohio, lived 10 minutes away from her new home. Not only that, she has a little boy the same age as my nephew. Finally (last Facebook example, I promise), with the help of Facebook, I realized that one of the women in my Fit4Mom Body Back class knew a very good friend of mine from college. This added connection gave us even more to talk about when we were first getting to know each other.

Tip 5: Keep in touch with the pregnant ladies you meet when you’re a mom-to-be.

When you’re pregnant with first child, you likely have something that you won’t have once that kid gets here: Time. Time to do things like go to prenatal yoga and birth classes and cloth diapering workshops (or whatever), where you’ll meet other moms-to-be.

Get their numbers. Friend them on Facebook. Keep in touch. I met one of my neighborhood mom friends at a prenatal yoga class, and I know plenty of women who put together moms groups with the women they met in birth classes. Even if you’re only going to a couple of hospital classes (rather than a longer-term class dedicated to a particular birthing method, like the Bradley Method or other natural birth class), if you find out a mom-to-be lives nearby, get her information. Send her a text after you both give birth to see how she’s doing, and see if she’s up for sitting around and feeding babies together.

Tip 6: It really is kind of like dating…

And just like you didn’t marry every potential partner you had dinner with, you’re not going to be best friends forever with every mom.

That’s OK. Some of these connections might end up being causal friends (or friends of convenience for a period of time), others might just be acquaintances. But if you’re lucky (and you probably will be), one or two or a maybe even a handful will become friends for the long haul.

All of these connections have value. If you’re putting down roots in a new neighborhood or want to feel more connected to a community, it’s great to know names and recognize friendly faces and be able to say hello at the local farmers market. Keep in mind, people connect differently at different points in their lives — the mom you didn’t click with at the park might become your ally during some PTO drama 10 years from now.

You never know, and it’s worth keeping an open mind, which brings me to…

Tip 7: Let go of preconceived notions.

Two people actually gave me tips that spoke to this idea of not having preconceived notions about other moms, and it really struck a cord with me. Here’s why: When you’re a parent, you have to make choices all the time. And when you’re a new mom, every single choice feels like a major, earth-shattering, sink-or-swim, screw-my-child-up-for-life or raise-a-well-adjusted-kid decision — and moreover, some people (I’m looking at you, Internet) would have us believe that whatever choices you make, you are in direct opposition to parents who are making different choices. It truly doesn’t have to be like this. We’re all in this together, trying to do the best for our kids, our families, and ourselves. Remind yourself when you start to fall down the rabbit hole of self-doubt and judgment (they go hand and hand, and it will happen) that there are lots of right choices — they just aren’t all right for you.

Share a bottle of wine. I’m only half-joking, but the best thing you can do is let your guard down. We moved to a new neighborhood almost two years ago when our son was about 10 months old. It took me a while to make friends because I commute into the city every day, and many of the moms in our neighborhood, who have kids the same age, stay at home. It took me a little while to let my guard down because I assumed the stay-at-home moms judged me for dropping my son off at daycare every day and working. It’s only recently that I started to realize we’re all in the same boat. We all have similar worries, frustrations. We’re moms. So share a bottle of wine, swap stories, laugh, and you’ll start to make a new friend in no time.

— Mom of a toddler

I think that for any mom, it is important to be open to the parenting styles of other moms. Moms can learn a lot from well, moms! Yes it’s nice to surround yourself with moms who are similar, but if you’re a mom, you know that every child is different, making every mom different. I believe that if you go into a relationship open-minded, you are going to get more out of it.

Jules of One Ruud Mom

Do you have other tips on how to make mom friends? Do you find connecting with other moms to be easy, or do you struggle to push past your comfort zone?

How New Bloggers Can Grow on Facebook

This is pretty nitty gritty and probably interesting to approximately three of you, but based on the comments on my Business of Blogging post (hey, five comments is a pretty big deal for this new blogger), I figured it couldn’t hurt to put together a post about how to take advantage of the Bloggy Mom’s Friday Facebook Hop.

First of all, being a new blogger with big (or even medium-sized) dreams can be incredibly frustrating. Building an audience is a time-consuming and often confusing process. So unless you’re lucky enough to “go viral” within your first few months online (about the same odds as winning the lottery), you’re probably dealing with the same #NewBloggerProblems that I am.

There’s literally a million topics I could write about under this vast new blogger umbrella, but I’m going to focus on Facebook today. You already know that, as a new blogger, you’re supposed to have a presence and grow your fans and followers on approximately 75 different social media networks. With this in mind, you logged on to the Behemoth, Facebook, and set your blog up with a business page.

Check it off the list, right?

Not quite. This isn’t field of bloggy dreams, and even though you built it, they will probably not come unless you promote the shit out of it. So what do you do next?

If you’re like me, you invited your mom, your sister and your three BFFs to like it, or maybe you’re a bit bolder, and you sent the page to all of your personal friends, but either way, once you’ve hit up those connections for likes, it’s hard to know how to promote your page so that you’re reaching new people and getting new likes.

How New Bloggers Can Take Advantage of Bloggy Moms Friday Facebook Hop

How new bloggers can increase Facebook likes by participating in Bloggy Moms Facebook Hop

As of Sunday evening, my Facebook page had 181 likes, which is not a ton, but I just published the page on October 10. It’s been up one month, and I haven’t even added the link to the social share buttons on my blog.

Let me break down those 180 likes: Because I have not (and do not plan to) send this page to everyone in my network, approximately 40 of those likes are direct connections of mine. A handful are people who were referred to the page by my friends. The rest are other bloggers. And of those, a big chunk comes from my participation in the Bloggy Moms Friday Facebook Hop every week.

How big of a difference does participating make for me? This week, my page received 48 likes from the Facebook Hop, and for me, that’s significant. It was my fourth time participating, and it was my biggest gain. I’ve also realized that there are things you can do to make your participation count even more.

How to Participate Without Really Trying

  1. From your personal account, go to the Bloggy Moms Network Facebook page and like it. Make sure the “Follow” option has a checkmark next to it. This means that Bloggy Moms posts will show up in your newsfeed.
  2. On Fridays, Bloggy Moms will post the Facebook hop. Even though I follow the page, I miss the post sometimes, so I set a reminder to check the page on Fridays.
  3. When the post appears, comment on the post with a link to your Facebook page. I type http://www.facebook.com/mommysanest into the comment box, and that’s it. You don’t need to write anything else. A preview of your page (the header and profile image) should pop up in the post. Do not remove the preview of the page! It allows people to quickly like your page, right there in the feed.
  4. Like other people’s pages. That’s why we’re here right? You can do this directly in the comment feed if you want to make it as quick and easy as possible. Like the page, and reply directly to their comment. Make sure you tag your page in the reply. I always reply with, “New like from @Mommy Sanest” (when you use the “@” sign on Facbeook, an option to select your page should appear). Another very important note: Like pages as yourself, not as your blog. If you want the page to appear in your feed when you switch to your blog’s page, then like as yourself AND your blog. Do not just like as your blog, as those likes will not count toward total likes.
  5. Watch the likes roll in. Typically there’s upwards of 200 blogs and small businesses that participate, and every week there are new ones. This is quid pro quo, and I typically like anyone that likes me. I sometimes skip some of the small businesses if the product isn’t something I am interested in, but if that person alerts me that they’ve liked my page, unless something were to strike me as offensive (nothing ever has), I like them back.

It’s that simple, but I know what you’re thinking…

Help! My feed is filled with posts from random blogs!

I think this is probably what stops people from liking 130 pages. But there’s a way to contain all of this blog action, and neatly organize it. As posts from blogs appear in my Facebook newsfeed, I go to the pages and uncheck the “Follow” option. This will remove them from my newsfeed. But gone doesn’t mean forgotten! I have included them all in a custom “Interests” list, which I can refer back to regularly. Here’s how you do that:

  1. From your newsfeed, scroll down the page until you see the “Interests” section on the left side of your page. Click “More.”
  2. Choose “+Add Interests,” then “+Create List.”
  3. The dialog box that opens should default to Pages on the left, showing all of the pages you have liked over the course of your life on Facebook. Start checking off the blog pages that you have liked. Once you’ve chosen all of the pages, click Next.
  4. Give the list a name, and decide if you want it to be a public list, a list your friends can see, or a private list. Mine is called “Mommy Blogs,” and I keep it private.
  5. You can access this list from the your newsfeed. You can also add to this list if you continue to participate.

The other option to like all of the pages as your page (Go to a page, choose the “…” button on the far right, and select “Like as your page.” Then the blog will show up in your page’s newsfeed.

Make Your Participation Really Count

As someone mentioned on my Business of Blogging post, it can seem pointless to participate in the blog hop when you see little action on your page’s posts after the fact. But here’s the deal with Facebook: To a degree (and this is an over-simplification) it is a numbers game.

Facebook’s algorithm is designed to suppress content from business pages. Have you ever posted something only to see that the post “reached” four people? This is how Facebook works. Facebook wants you to pay to boost that post and push it out to more people. But the more Facebook followers you have, the more people will initially see that post. The more people who see it, the more chances you have for someone to like or comment on the post. Every interaction with your post leads to it organically being pushed to more people, which in turn gives the post even more chances to be liked and commented on. Another thing to keep in mind, depending on the goals you have for your blog, the number of followers that you have on Facebook matters to companies that are looking for bloggers to partner with.

I’m guessing that, if you’re a new blogger, you’re probably making less than $1 a month from your blog and paying to boost a post on Facebook isn’t really in the budget yet. So how do you get more people from the Bloggy Moms Friday Facebook Hop to interact with your stuff or even get them to connect with you on other platforms? Basically, you have to interact with them.

I don’t go out of my way for every single blog, but if I see a page that strikes my fancy (you know, a kindred spirit who named their blog something like, “Mommy Wears Pajamas All Day” or “Making Mediocre Parenting Look Easy”), I will visit their page, leave a comment, and like a few items. If I love the name of someone’s blog, I often leave the comment, “Stopping by from @Mommy Sanest. I love the name of your blog!” It’s simple and it’s genuine.

Sometimes I don’t stop there. If I’m really intrigued, I actually go to their blog, and if they have their social buttons posted, I follow them on other platforms (typically Twitter or G+, sometimes Pinterest). If they are looking for followers on Facebook, chances are they are looking for followers on all platforms. If you’ve commented on their Facebook page and you’re using all the same handles, they will likely recognize your name and like or follow you back on these platforms as well.

Finally, every few days, I scroll through my “Mommy Blogs” Interests list, and like and/or comment on content that is interesting and worthwhile to me. By doing this, I know that at the very least, an extra like will boost someone’s posts to a wider audience. It’s Facebook karma, if you will, even if they aren’t completely connecting your name to your blog. You could also do this from your blog’s page (if you’ve liked the other page as both yourself and your blog), so that the other blogger begins to see your page.

Don’t Ignore Those Who Interact with You

When I’m interested in something a blogger posts on Facebook, I will comment on it. Now if I’m commenting on a page that has 7 million likes, I don’t expect a response. But if I’m commenting on a smaller blog,  it’s nice to get a response. Getting a response also means I’ll be more likely to interact again.

So if someone posts on your wall, comments on one of your posts, or sends you a message, respond! I know it takes some thought and time and seems like a very small thing when you have a lot on your to-do list, but this world is all about connections. It’s in your best interest to make an effort even if 99 out of 100 of these interactions end up feeling pointless. Eventually, one of these days, you’re going to make a connection that becomes meaningful for you and your work.

Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

I’m Not a Mommy Blogger

I don’t speak for Bloggy Moms, obviously, but it doesn’t seem to matter if you’re specifically a “mommy blogger.” I see all kinds of blogs and small businesses participating in the Facebook hop, so you do you. Especially if you’re a health, fitness, DIY, crafting, or food blogger, I imagine you’ll get some traction through the Facebook hop.

The Bottom Line

In the last month (October 10-November 9), more than 20 percent of my traffic has come from Facebook. I do not post every single piece of content I write on Facebook, and I have almost three times the followers on Twitter, where I promote every post approximately 10 times. For me, it’s worth it to continue participating in the Facebook hop and putting in the effort. Look at your Google analytics, see what is driving traffic to your site and decide where your time is best spent.