Those that know blogging might be familiar with the phrase ‘Blogs change Lives’ as coined by the rather inspiring Aby Moore (You Baby Me Mummy) and the title of her excellent ‘Blogging how to’ book.
I have always totally agreed with Aby – Blogging does indeed have the ability to change lives. It has certainly brought an unpredictable and exciting element to the past few years, and you truly never know what might come into your inbox when you’re a blogger. It gave me a pet project and a different dimension whilst I was knee deep in nappies and toddler groups, and the interactions with other Mums in similar set ups was such a huge support to those fuzzy years of sleep deprivation and the day to day challenges of hitting pause on my career to focus on raising two young girls.
Being asked to attend events and test new product launches was great fun and the additional pocket money undoubtedly financially helped us to survive one of us taking a career break whilst battling a somewhat unhealthy desire to buy all of the things.
But things change. Life happens. Time moves on. Babies grow into children and the landscape evolves like the trees through the seasons.
I suppose what I’m saying is that for me, writing about weaning and sleepless nights was cathartic and therapeutic. Those posts, now almost four years old are still relevant to any new Mum who might stumble across them, and as I see in my comments, it still acts as an online camaraderie to other parents feeling the burn, which was always my intention.
These days however both our kids are sleeping through the night, out of nappies long LONG ago and the only real parenting challenge is their ability to take me down with the occasional bit of attitude or permawhinge…and maybe the occasional early morning.
In truth, these days I’m far more comfortable talking about myself (aargh, sorry for being so damn narcissistic) than put the more sensitive personal and emotional details of my kids worries out here on my blog. I can talk about my problems by choice, but theirs? Frankly, it feels like a liberty.
And so I made a conscious decision to focus my blog on me; my return to work, the things I love, my sobriety journey, gardening and home, my fitness and health, and the occasional paid post (again, don’t hate me but skills pay bills and all that).
I will always be a Mum, and I’ll always have my Muddles, but when it comes to Mum Muddling Through, the direction my life has taken has forced me to reconsider my approach to blogging.
I realised that spending every available minute blogging wasn’t making me happy. I had prioritised blogging over self care and down time, desperately scratching the bottom of the barrel to get anything out, rather than connecting with that original love of writing down our journey and my thoughts and feelings.
I made a decision in 2018 to step back from any blogging tasks which required any level of time commitment; the #CoolMumClub linky closing being a huge decision which was 100% the right one for both Talya and I.
I never dreamt in the beginnings of MMT that I’d be writing a sobriety blog, or even writing a book…but that’s life isn’t it? It twists and turns and when your documenting your life, things have to evolve with it. I have undoubtedly lost a few followers, but gained some new engaged and supportive new ones. Most importantly, I genuinely am fine with that.
I’ve reconnected with reading books over blogs, favouring the end of the day with a paper book between my fingers than a digital screen. As my girls have left the baby phase behind, I’ve left the baby update blogs behind, as the common ground has perhaps disseminated over time, despite wishing well to the friendships formed in the past.
Whilst I’m still a self confessed instagram addict, I follow women who inspire and motivate me to be a healthier, mindful, more positive person (and some of them happen to be Mums), as opposed to feeling desperate to seek out other stay at home Mums to feel connected to a parallel community.
It’s these books and influencers which have helped me work out what it is I want for myself, to feel more robust and complete in myself, and in turn, being a happier person for the rest of the muddling through family to live with.
I’ve begun turning down most (apart from the rare exception) toy review offers, as I watched on in horror as my kids tossed a load of gifted toys aside, played with the packaging and I had to spend two evenings photographing and writing up why these toys were so ‘must have’. It felt all kinds of wrong. Not me, and not what I wanted to be doing with our family time, my time, which is so, so precious. Worth more than any free toy lost in the abyss of toys which is our home. I started to feel uncomfortable with the consumerism wheel I was clearly a cog in, and it went against the positive mindful outlook I’d been busy working on outside of my blog life.
I suppose that’s when I realised I wanted to go back to my old career in science; a place where my efforts present and past are put to good (and the pay cheque arrives on time without requiring any input from the kids or distracting me from the odd snuggle on the sofa with Dad Muddling Through).
I know in my drifting away from Blogging I am far from alone. I’ve watched on as some of my favourite bloggers, those whom I shared laughs and tears with over the years take their platform and turn it into something totally different, or walk away from it altogether.
Mum of Teen blogs became instagram icons, or mental health charity campaigners. SAHM bloggers sought new careers and diluted blogging life down. Baby bloggers became lifestyle bloggers. Writers of motherhood have shared stories of fighting illness, living with autism, coping with bereavement and we have been rooting for them and offering support from the sidelines.
I’ve seen blogs turned into empowering events brands, self care hubs and online courses for blogging, positivity, career and more. Out of blogs grew e-commerce success stories, books and voices of influence for change (not just pushing the latest baby product).
I’ve been thinking alot about the people I’ve ‘met’ along the way, and seeing their adaptation in blogging lets me know that this is perhaps a normal evolution – few bloggers make it ‘big’ and ‘long term’ without recognising the need to change in some shape or form. In an ever changing technological environment, there will always be a wave of passionate new bloggers at our heels, ready to take the heat with that undeniable drive to make it a success.
I am definitely far from ready to let Mum Muddling Through go. We have come a long way together and in a way, the freedom to hit publish once more on what my passions are feels brand new again, away from the ties and pressures of stats, rankings and deadlines.
As I return to my career in Science next month, the place blogging has in my life will change again. I’m open to that, and I realise in order to be happy and fulfill all my ambitions in life, the pecking order has to flex. After all, once I walk through the doors of my new employer, my focus has to be on getting my head back into the workplace, giving the girls my attention while I’m home and also taking some needed rest time. Until I find my new groove, I expect to go AWOL here for a while, however long that may take.
What the future holds for Mum Muddling Through I don’t know, but having the self awareness to know what I need is a huge step towards finally getting this muddle together once and for all.