I have been writing in this corner of the internet for over seven years. It is becoming my longest job on the CV I probably need to write. It has been the source of some fantastic experiences for my family and I, and the archives hold some of my greatest memories.
It was never meant to be a job.
I used to read my lovely friend, Hollys blog – It’s a Mummy’s Life , and I enjoyed the beautiful stories she told of her family so much that I wanted to replicate it for my own. I’ve never regretted doing so.
Looking back through the online pages, I can read some of my greatest parenting fails, our funniest moments, our medical strains, the end of my marriage and the beginning of my new life.
I love writing this blog.
Over the years the parenting blogging community has changed, evolved even. It has gone from being a world of stories and tantalising tales to a more commercial platform; where it feels that stats, SEO, and gorgeous images have more meaning than the stories of people’s lives.
We are branded, we work as advertisers, we get paid for our hard work – and all of this pleases me immensely. What a fantastic way to earn a living with flexibility around your family.
But still, I do miss the early days.
When a Wednesday would involve a trip to Sticky Fingers, to see the theme for that weeks Gallery posting. The image wouldn’t go on Instagram – because that platform did not yet exist. The stories that Tara could evoke from other bloggers was humbling, emotional and beautiful. I think my stunning friend Gemma won’t mind me sharing this post that she wrote many moons ago for The Gallery: the picture was not of the Instagram world we live in now, but the words were ones that I recall even to this day. Mother Love is a beautiful piece of writing and one that made the blogging world was it was to me then.
Many of the blogs I read from the start remain my very good friends. I think the bonds formed over reading each others lives online are pretty solid. It feels to me, that when the community was smaller, it was closer, as you would always expect from a group with fewer people. As an older blogger, I find it harder to get as involved in what is an incredible, but super large network now.
My favourite memories, from the good old days (Christ I am old), are all still online, available to be read. I recall weeping when Merry announced the birth of Bene on Patch Of Puddles, and waiting for the next installment as Merry wrote with beautiful honesty about life with a new baby after losing her son, Freddie. Sadly Merry no longer blogs, I miss her.
A best friend was found in the lovely Molly, from MothersAlwaysRight, when I discovered she too was a hairy toed mother. Some of my favorite offline New Years have been spent with her, the gorgeous Gemma, helloitsgemma and the talented Emma from, Emmaand3.
Blogging led to more than work for me, it has gifted me with some of my oldest and dearest friends. I have a support network of friends who have children facing the same medical issues my three face, which has made life so much more bearable in recent years.
Biking with Molly from MothersAlwaysRight
Again, a favourite moment from blogging was when I first met one of my pals, Helen, from ActuallyMummy, we met at a conference, and she whispered to me, “I love your blog.” It was the first time a non family member had said that to me and it felt amazing. As I beamed into this strangers eyes, I had no idea that fate would eventually throw us into 2am chats about our daughters blood sugars. At that point in life, carbs were just merely something we should eat to soak up the wine. Helen has become a lifeline, a friend and someone whose blogs I turn to when it can all get too much.
I started this post, thinking it would be so easy to name some of my favourite posts, but there are so many of them, so many talented women, that I find it hard to know where to start. So many women who have been in my life for seven years, most I have met and others I still aspire to.
Through blogging I have met souls who have shown such strength through adversity. Tamsyn, Jennie are two characters who have led lives that hurt to read, but are still inspiring in every way, supporting other people who face the same battles.
And of course you have the people in blogland who are simply good, the Chris Moslers and Emma Vanstones of the world, – amazing women, whose blogs I still rush to read when they land in my inbox.
Back in the day, I used to win awards for this space.
We went to a party to celebrate, that my funnier friend, Sally, used to host either on or very close to my birthday – which was terribly good of her to gather many of my buddies in one place.
And of course, not all of those blogging buddies are still with us.
I remember the way the community folded, grieved, and mourned the loss of an amazing woman. Kerry, from MultipleMummy, taken far too soon, and missed by many. When Kerry died, I realised the impact of the world I was writing in, how people who had never met could come together under the most tragic of circumstance to support each other and a family we had only read about. I have no doubt this still exists in the parenting blogging world, I am just not as involved to know.
Is there a point to this post?
Maybe, maybe not.
I often feel like I am an outsider to blogland, an aged old timer stood on the sideline clutching a glass of Prosecco, too fixated on the words to join in the professional world. But I still love the community, albeit I don’t know it very well. I dislike the commericialness of the world, but also earn my living from it – a paradox I recognise all too well.
I miss the days when you commented on a blog because the words made you feel, rather than signing up to a comment ring. When sponsored posts were rare and stories frequent.
I think I just wanted to do a throw back to the past, and there are so many other women I should have mentioned, should have recalled. But it is testament to the community that there are far too many to mention.
How this world will evolve over time is a mystery to me. We have so many platforms to promote our blogs that is can become overwhelming; am sure there is some talent out there writing some amazing posts but doesn’t know how to promote it. Seven years ago, this was a hobby, now I seem to put my life on the internet to earn a crust.
I remain baffled how that came to me, and uncomfortable at times that, that is what it is. But so eternally grateful that it is what it is; because I have yet to find another job that fits so well in around hospitals, school and the dog!
But, on a cold Sunday afternoon, I wanted just to remember how it used to be; with a smile on my face and a glass of alcohol free beer in my hand….
Ah yes, times have changed.