Wednesday, 11 July 2018

The Next Chapter

For the last year or so I've felt at a bit of a crossroads with my blog.

I started it back in 2013, when I was nearing the end of my first pregnancy.

It was intended to be a little hobby. A space to keep in practise with writing, which has always been my first love. A place to record my experience of pregnancy and connect with other first time mums.

Over time, it became more than that. It turned, very unexpectedly, in to a job. One that earned me more money than I'd ever been able to earn in any of the jobs I'd had before. But that allowed me to still write AND be at home with my growing family. It was ideal! And I couldn't believe my luck to be honest. I still can't.

As my family grew, it felt very natural for me to record our journey here. To talk about each pregnancy, about each new baby, about my first steps into motherhood and our experiences together.

But in the last year or so, something changed. Somehow, it stopped feeling quite so natural to share our family life.

I started to question it more.

It started when my eldest son began school...suddenly I felt uncomfortable with how much his image was out there in the public domain.

And I felt uncomfortable with how much he was taking in about our online life...he asked me once if he was "famous" because he was on YouTube. Of course I told him that no he certainly wasn't famous and that was that, but the conversation stayed with me.

I noticed that he'd start to ask how many "Likes" a video clip of him had received....then one day he said he wanted to be a famous YouTuber when he grew up. And although I know many bloggers and vloggers children who say the same things and it fills their parent with it usually does when your child wants to emulate struck me that I wasn't pleased at all to see him wanting to follow in my footsteps.

In fact I found myself wanting to talk him out of it. And trying to explain to him that I'd become a blogger by accident really. Because what I really wanted to be was a writer...but I didn't know how.

 I had no idea where to start, and my pursuit of a writing career...I'd stumbled into blogging.

And here I still was, 5 years later. No further forward as "real writer".

Don't get me wrong, I don't look down on bloggers and vloggers at all. I think both offer amazing opportunities, and becoming a blogger or vlogger these days is effectively starting your own small business as there is money to be made. But it's just not what I intended to do with my life. And if I'm totally honest, sometimes it all feels a little bit...well...vacuous I suppose.

Or at least, I felt that the kind of blogging I do had become vacuous.

I felt I was spending too much time talking about us a family, when really I wanted to write about issues and challenge opinions and perceptions of various social issues. I wanted to feel that my writing had a purpose beyond just talking about myself.

I wanted to help people in some way, to talk about issues that women face, to talk about difficult tricky topics that people can be reluctant to get real about.

The thing is, I've always struggled with knowing where I fit as a blogger. I've never been the perfect home Insta-mummy, I've never been the Middle class Pinterest recipe producing blogger, I've never been the super glam YouTube yummy mummy.

I'm just an ordinary mum. One who has a lot of different interests and passions. And one who bloody loves to talk, to over share and to get deep whenever possible.

And while it felt so totally natural to me to write mainly about family life and "Mum stuff" until doesn't feel anymore as though that's all I want to talk about.

I want to be more conscious of how much I share about the boys, and share only what they tell me that they're comfortable with.

I still want to talk about some aspects of family life of course, because I'm a mum and it's a big part of who I am...but it's not ALL of who I am.

Lately my interests have expanded and if you follow my Instagram or Facebook accounts you'll probably have noticed that I share more and more content around issues such as body positivity and body acceptance, fatphobia, plus size fashion and general self love and acceptance.

It's where I've naturally progressed's what ignites my fire now, and what interests me.

I have to be honest...I haven't read a traditional "Mummy blog" in years now, and so trying to keep this blog as purely a parenting blog just doesn't feel authentic.

I want to allow myself the freedom to open the conversation up more and write about more diverse topics.

Because yes I'm a mum, but I'm also a woman in my own right with my own interests that have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I bore children.

We all are!

And I feel like I'm doing a disservice to every one of my readers if I force myself to stay in a box that I feel like I'm supposed to belong in if I don't feel like I truly fit into it.

It's tricky to get the balance right as a never want to alienate your readers, so many of you have become like real friends over the last 5 years. And I'm aware that some of you won't understand or appreciate the body positivity stuff I want to talk about, and likewise some of you who have found me from that BoPo community won't have any interest in my parenting posts.

But I guess I'm just asking you to bare with me.

I'm still the same person I've always been but I just want to allow myself to be even more honest, even more open and even more authentically me...without worrying about whether I'm going to offend someone if I say the F word, or if I'm going to alienate my readers if I go a few weeks without mentioning the kids.

To put it simply, this blog is growing and changing along with me as I grow and change as a person, and I hope you'll dip in and out of it when you see something on here that tickles your pickle!

And also, while we're on the subject, thank you for your support over the years.

It's meant everything.

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