I don’t mean that in an Adele, Hello, kind of way. I know I’ve not posted anything for a
while, but I realise it’s not quite the same comeback as smashing out 25. For starters, I’m 34, which in terms of Adele-esque achievement makes me feel like I’ve been doing nothing but sitting around on my arse eating biscuits for the last year. I haven’t / I might have, a bit.
Anyway. I genuinely do just mean…hello.
I don’t want this to turn into a post about why I haven’t written anything for ages, or why I started blogging in the first place, because I’ve read those kind of posts and, well, no offence, but they’re kinda boring. But I suspect it might. So if you have written one of those posts I’ve just berated in front of your eyes, I’m sorry and you have open permission to go full troll on me for this one. Equally, reader, with this knowledge you now have about the theme of this post, I won’t blame you if you go back to browsing summer dresses on ASOS right this second (there’s some in sale already you know?), or continue watching baby pandas go down a slide (I really do love those pandas. It goes pretty deep. Me and the 3-year-old are on a daily dose…at least).
But I have to write something.
I need to reboot.
My last written post was on November 3rd 2015, so I think it’s safe to say that qualifies me as being fairly inconsistent. Actually, after falling down a digital rabbit hole about blogging, and how to be ‘better at it’, I can likely promote myself from inconsistent to just, well, ‘a bit shit at it all’. Which is one of the reasons I cut off from it all, because I felt like I wasn’t really doing it right – the professionalism, the rules, the formulas for success and the stories that went with them. It just became a bit daunting, overwhelming, with too much pressure and effort.
My original blog, Mission to Motherhood, began about 7 years ago (I know this because I started it just before my eldest was born, which is also how I remember how long I’ve been married, and when I set up my business – children make us forgetful, but I find they are very useful measures of time to trick people into thinking I remember things). Around this time blogging was still, dare I say it without sounding at least 304, quite edgy. I’ve always loved to write (three times winner of the Parkside Middle School poetry competition, I thank you), and I’m also a bit forgetful, especially post-kids (if you’re a friend of mine, I like to think those 2-month late birthday gifts spread out the fun for you, but, also I’m truly sorry), so I figured blogging would be a great way for me to combine a love of writing whilst simultaneously publishing memories for life – winning! I wrote about being a new mum; we were the first in our circle of friends to have a baby and it was very cathartic. It also stopped my brain completely shrivelling up, it felt creative and fun. It was lovely when my friends read it and it was very cute when my nan thought it was written only for her (don’t worry nan, it still is, really), and it was really really, cool and a bit surprising when strangers discovered and read it (sorry if that’s you and it makes you sound a bit creepy, I don’t mean the stranger danger kind of stranger, you know what I mean, I was really very touched, not in that way, oh god, let’s move on).
Then the blogging boom properly kicked-off and mums were trouncing all over it, literally tearing it up all over the place. It went TURBO! (random Wreck it Ralph reference thrown in, it’s all I have these days). Between promoting frozen fish and testing prams on little mini race courses (not even dissing that, it looks way fun), brands were literally crawling all over mums to promote their products and ‘work with them’ and bam, just like that we had people making a living from this shiz. Although I wasn’t one of the ones capitalising on any of that (my reach would never have been big enough and I had no interest in that side of it), I did start to attend blogging events and got totally caught up in the hoopla of it all. It was cool, it was fresh and once I did get sent some free baby booties and I’m not going to lie, it was FUCKING EXCITING. But it pretty much ended there.
So there I was in this ‘digtial disco’ full of mums doing all these really cool things, so of course, I do what one does when there’s a fun thing happening…I joined in, I danced with them! I wrote, tried to build my profile, had a good bash it at all. But I always felt a little bit out of place, like I wasn’t getting the moves right, like my Macarena was a bit off sync (did I just use a Macarena analogy? Wow). I felt a bit of a fraud, remember that bit earlier about inconsistency and generally being ‘a bit shit at it all’, yeah, that. I didn’t feel like I was doing it right, I felt like a bit a failure that it never took off properly and that it didn’t do whatever it was it was meant to do. In hindsight, it was very weird to feel like this because I never set out for it to be anything other than something fun, it really was born from a simple, innocent and beautiful place at a time when I was truly naïve to the power and role bloggers and influencers could and would have in the future.
And as time went on, as the blogging universe grew and expanded, these feelings kind of escalated until they simply sucked all the joy out of it for me. I started thinking too much about what to post, who my audience was (ha!) – was it for other mums? For clients? Was it for my professional profile? Or was it just for me to look back on when the kids are older? How many followers should I have by now? Should I really be posting images of my kids and using their names? Where is this going? What’s the aim? EMMA WHAT IS YOUR AIM???!!
Truth was I wanted a bit of everything, that felt quite cool and fun to me, it was mine after all, like an online scrap book of thoughts, feelings and fun, but it felt like the world was telling me “NO, you need to have a clear positioning…you must be consistent…you must know your audience…and whatever you do, you absolutely must do / have (?) SEO” (I’m still not fully sure if that’s an STD, or an internet thing, but apparently it’s really important and proper bloggers do it / have it. I do not, in case you wondered).
So I disappeared. Gave up. Full cold turkey. No more posts since November 2015.
And I’ve missed it, I really have. There are days when I write complete blog posts in my head, it just tumbles around in there, slushing back and forth. There are days when I think of really interesting observations, or funny things that happened, but I can’t quite bring myself to put them into a post and make it live. My drafts file has a number of unpublished posts. I felt self-conscious, full of self-doubt and a bit lost with it all, which coming at this from where I’m at now, is actually a hilarious state for a person to be in! SO SO sill because when I say ‘person’, what that means is a woman who writes a blog, whose main audience is their actual blood line. Ridiculous. It’s like something from an episode of Girls, so vain. (I do watch that a lot tbf).
So here we are, March 2017. Fast-forwarding to today, the whole social influencer scene seems to have been taking some kind of Arnie-like steroids and blown-up into an unstoppable machine. In the parenting world, there is an actual tribe of ‘insta-mums’ (I imagine they hate that term, sorry ladies), who are like modern day ‘pin-up mums’ (but for other mums who love and admire them, as opposed to naked ladies on teenage boys walls), all of whom have massive influence over other mums, and are doing some seriously jaw-dropping impressive work. This makes me feel so alive to be a woman and mother at this point of time. There are lots of things I really dislike about social media, but to see women smashing it like this always gives me a buzz.
But I also know that’s not me, that’s not my goal and I don’t think that will ever be, but I now realise that’s also not a reason to just disappear and stop doing something you love and that brings you actual happiness! In fact, that’s pretty lame.
So, I’ve come back. I don’t want to be lame. I don’t want to just say nothing.
So here I am saying Hello. Again. But not like the Adele-Hello, just to be clear.
I also imagine if I’ve been feeling like this, there’s probably other ‘micro-bloggers’ (self-titled that one, not sure that’s actually a thing), may be feeling the same. One of the best things about the internet is how you can discover like-minded people, make interesting connections, get inspired, motivated, have your views changed and how you can get these little moments of ‘aha’ and ‘fuck yes!’ that genuinely add joy to your scrolling quota. And whether you have 3 or 3 million people connecting with your posts, whether you make a funny facebook post or get published on the Huffington Post (another thing proper bloggers do that I haven’t…yet), you should keep doing it, if of course you want to. And I really do want to, there’s no wordpress illuminate holding a gun to my head…I don’t think anyway, bit scared to look around now. Because the more diverse voices, the more stories, the more variety we have in posted content, the more chances everyone has of finding content that interests or does something for them.
So here I am, unhinged, unplugged with no real agenda, no god-damn strategy – that is the strategy! And I feel very excited about just being me and writing whatever the heck I feel like. And there’s A LOT to catch up on too… whilst online I might have become the blogging equivalent to Howard Hughes (there’s been a lot of piss what with the two kids, but none was stored in jars…I swear), offline life has been going into some kind of mega fast-forward head spin. Here’s the headlines…
….My once little start-up transformed into a +£2m revenue business with a squad of awesome people joining my work gang…we finally made the call to move out of London (that was a painful and drawn out decision that you might be glad you missed)…I cried during a yr 2 parents evening because I am THAT exasperated with the national curriculum and the teacher judged me a bit, and I’d just ran from the tube and my top lip was really sweaty,…we lived in LA in the summer for 7 weeks, and all got really tanned (that probably shouldn’t be my only core memory of that time – see this is why I need to write things down!)…we also went to NYC the summer before that (also got really tanned)…I had a few more mini breakdowns but handled them a teensy-tiny bit better through yoga, meditation and exercise (but also mainly eating Ben and Jerry’s)…we decided not to have any more kids, and I cried in the shower for at least two weeks and felt like my womb and vagina were all sad…I had an actual abdominoplasty to fix my stomach which had basically fallen to pieces post child-birth and was all over the place (still didn’t make me thin though –FML)…shortly after this I had a short dabble with YouTube which I also quit on the grounds of having a massive head and being a bit shit at it (may also pick that up if I can come to terms with head size issues) …I went on BBC worldwide (no one can see your head on radio) and talked about Barbie confirming that I am nothing but a highly prized professional expert, at least when it comes to dolls anyway….I cooked my first omelette and was so enthused at this discovery that I immediately cooked another one, going full middle class hipster by adding goats cheese and kale…I got wireless headphones – now, I know that seems less significant, and I can’t really explain why, but I genuinely feel like they have really changed my life (I fucking hate wires)…I had at least 5 different hair colours, one of which was called washed up mermaid which made me instantly want to rub it all over my head (it went green and I can’t get it fully out 3 months later but it looked rad at the time)…we caught a Pikachu on Pokemon Go, an actual real live mother-fucking Pika, we lived the family dream and it came in the form of a digital yellow creature….
And so on and so on, to be fair, probably would have made a good blog, oh the irony.
So expect more of this same old shiz to come. We’re about to go on a mega adventure to Japan where we’re doing a 17-day trip around the country in which I will break records for the most amount of Hello Kitty crap that’s ever been stuffed into a carry-on. I am going to attempt, repeat, ATTEMPT, to record a video diary, it’ll be a bit shit as I’ll do it on my phone and probably wont work out how to get it up on YouTube so I’ll just post it on my FB page, and then give up when I realise my head is still massive, but, I’ll give it a go.
And if you’re back here reading this as someone who was last here anytime between 2010 – 2015, thanks. Really. Hello, and I promise I’ll try and be a bit less shit in 2017.