Time flies, you really do notice that fact as a parent don’t you. One moment you are dealing with teething and weaning, the next potty training, then before you know it your baby is in school uniform and teaching you about number sentences, phonics and digraphs. 3 years of blogging has also flown by. In fact I’ve barely had a moment to reflect on the fact that my second baby was 3 this month. This means it was 3 years ago that Monkey and his NCT buddies had chicken pox, 3 years since I’d decided I’d hit the publish button and join the blogging community.
So what have I learnt over those 3 years? Well, there are days when I wish I’d chosen a different blog name! I’d never really thought that one day I’d need to say it out loud to people, people I didn’t know. Brands, PR’s and the like. But people know me, know the blog, because of it. People find me because I’m not alone, I’m not the only first time Mum in her 40’s. Sadly though I’m edging ever closer to Over 50 and a Mum to One – eek. But then I can be forever in my 40’s on the blog – right?
Technology – I’m clearly a dinosaur. It’s quite ironic that in my working Export life, I was heavily involved in coming up with ideas to develop and improve our CRM system and was always looking for the next best thing to make systems run more efficiently. Take me into a different environment and wow, I’ve often felt all at sea. But I enjoy a challenge, well that’s until some ghastly message comes up telling me something funny has happened on a plug-in and screwed up the blog. I’m learning something new every day and that can be no bad thing. Although I wish some of the techie stuff didn’t seem as clear as mud.
Worth – I’ve learned that I am worthy. I can be proud of my blog and my writing, and sometimes of my photography too. I’ve learnt over the last three years that I don’t have to say yes to everything, ok that’s still very much work in progress, but I’m getting better at it. I can say no, and that’s ok. It’s not the end of the road, people will still contact me again. I can be honest about the fit of a brand or product with the blog and have confidence in what I want to write about. I value my time and the skills needed to put a post together. I want to write, good, meaningful posts. Posts that are well written and informative. I have a voice and I’ve realised that my experiences as diverse as miscarriage and gum disease, can actually help and support others. That makes me feel humble and proud in equal measures.
Friendships – blogging has a real community spirit and I’ve been so lucky to have had a wonderfully supportive group of blogging friends from the birth of this blog. There are a group of 12 bloggers who have been with me through every step of my blogging journey. We have shared tears of joy over new babies, and of pain at the loss of one of our groups daughters. Pets have been lost and gained and they’ve put up with every single one of my dumb questions over the last three years. They are fab.
But as my blog has developed and I’ve found my feet in the blogging world, my circle of friends has grown and my life is richer for it. I still feel sick every time I walk into an event or conference, but these days there is a chance I’ll know someone. Names have never been my strong point but I’m getting there! I still feel amazed if someone actually recognises me and the blog. But it’s a nice feeling. I hope that’s I’m approachable and try to get stuck in and talk to people, even if I’m terrified they won’t want to talk to me!
Opportunities – I had no idea where this blogging journey would take me. I am so privileged to have worked with some amazing brands. Monkey and I have made incredible memories along the way. I will never take this for granted. When I’m stressed out and still working at 2am I remind myself of the wonderful places we’ve visited, the items we’ve been first to try and the food and drink we’ve sampled as a result of this blog. I have so many snapshots in my head of Monkey’s reactions to different things we’ve experienced from the blog. So many happy memories. He’s made friends with children he never would have met otherwise.
We’ve gone to places we may never have discovered and tried so many different things. It’s wonderful and I hope he will look back on our journey with many fond memories of his own. But do I still feel gutted when we don’t get picked for an opportunity? You bet I do. Whether it’s a toy or a trip, the disappointment is there. But do I still jump for joy when the reverse happens? Oh yes! I’ve been known to squeal with delight when it’s a yes. That excitement has nothing to do with monetary value either, far from it. It’s the value to my family. That’s the key. If it’s valuable to us as a unit, then that will resonate with my readership too. That value is more about an experience, a feeling and ultimately happy memories.
Interests – when you start writing you have an idea of who you are and what you like. But things within you can surface and stand out. I grew up surrounded by bugs and animals of one sort or another. We were an outdoors family. But that had been buried over the years and the blog, and motherhood have given those loves the chance to flourish once more. I can share my love of nature with my son, but also the outside world. We can discover new places together and share our adventures. I like that idea. I love watching Monkey discover his own passions, seeing them develop and grow. Sharing his happy places and his triumphs.
I’ve always love photography, from childhood and I now have somewhere to share that, an avenue to explore and improve a passion.
The blog is a diary of our family life. As my son grows up with the blog I am mindful that I’m sharing his journey as much, if not more, than mine. I have to be ever careful to protect him but also to respect him and his feelings. There will come a time when he will read my posts and I’d never want to hurt his feelings or embarrass him. I’ve shared developmental journeys and the ups and downs of every day life. But hopefully Monkey will look at the things I’ve shared without too much embarrassment. He’ll see that not everything is shared with the wider world, somethings are very much still just between him and I.
My space here has been a great way to share everyday moments with family and friends who live further afield. The 365/366 project for me, really is a visual diary. Moments that I would forget to share with my parents on a weekly Skype session, are remembered in my weekly posts.
So what does the year ahead hold for Over 40 and a Mum to One? I’m not sure. I’ve been trying to write fewer posts in a week over the last few months. This I hope to maintain, to give me a better balance in my life. I have been collating a lot of photography lesson posts and I want to try to spend a day a week practicing and improving my skills. That’s my plan for March – let’s see if I can stick to it. As Spring arrives I know Monkey and I will enjoy outside time more and more. This morning I really noticed that the lights weren’t on and I could feel my favourite season beckoning. Spring is around the corner and it fills me with hope for the year ahead.
I hope you stick with me on my journey over the coming months, know that you are appreciated, very much. 3 years of blogging have passed, here’s to the next 3 years!