The years of my children’s lives are flying by, as everyone said they would. None more so than my third baby, www.mummuddlingthrough.com. So, from one cliche to the next, this post is to wish my blog a happy first birthday.
It was a year ago today that an idea morphed into a reality, and I tentatively stepped into the unknown world of blogging.
I really have learnt so much more than I could have anticipated – about technology, about friendship, about parenting and about the inexplicable obsession that is creating and nurturing a blog.
It’s not all sunshine and roses though. If I’m totally honest there are goals I didn’t achieve. I mean, it took me forever to work out how to get those sodding Nuffnang advertising codes embedded in the html of wordpress, only to face the facts that no one seemed to want to place an ad on my site. Yep, bummer.
Tots100? Tots500? I once came close, at 578…not such a catchy number. I have long since then got back up in the seven hundreds…My sidebar badge remains sad and blank. I’ve stopped looking at my ranking each month in hope.
My imaginary blog award acceptance speech stayed where it belonged…in my imagination.
Parent blogger club ranking? That’s on an ever declining direction.
Huffington post? Don’t be daft…
My Klout score is 62. What that means is anyone’s guess. I still can’t work out how to give a K+.
As for Google Analytics, I still can’t even get beyond the log in. Honestly, I kid you not. If anyone can help me with that please do in comments below.
But, in all of these things I have fallen foul of the biggest no no of blogging – comparing yourself to others.
Lowered stats and rankings are a reflection of the blog-life balance I did achieve at some point during that 12 months of blogging. The die hard approach to the blog I started the year with was certainly not sustainable for me, so I’ll take the lack of world domination in return for a happy day to day existence with my family and friends – not blogging at every single opportunity.
Although I did not win any awards, the kind words about my presence in the blogging arena around nomination time were enough to spur me on. It made me see my words have touched people, and maybe it’s not all about the glory of winning after all. And, how does an anonymous blogger deal with photographs of award acceptance anyway? Rocking a Sia wig? Refusing to be pictured, Mariah Carey Diva stylee?
Although at times I have questioned its limiting effect, I am proud I have stuck by my guns of what feels right to me. I remain anonymous on my blog. I do not have a facebook page. This makes me different, but will not hold me back in what I deem to be success.
Whilst I have dabbled in Google plus, and pinterest, I still don’t really ‘get’ their impact on the blog. Yet I have fallen wholeheartedly in love with Instagram, and reignited a passion for creating funny, beautiful and ‘just plain old day to day’ images. It has allowed me to let you into the visual element of me and my life, whilst retaining that all important anonymity I believe in for myself and my children.
And then, there’s Twitter. A unique world in which you can tell an author you loved their book, share an article you loved, stalk a celebrity, lose hours of your life. Yet all in a somewhat more appealing, ‘target audience vibe’ than the ‘mainstream’ feel of facebook (where your great Aunt, work colleagues and old school friends will know all about your drunken status update at the click of a button). A year of blogging saw my twitter followers grow from 0 to 7000ish. That’s about 6880 more than my personal twitter account. How or why…I’m still trying to work that one out. But, I enjoy the freedom I feel to make the odd bit of Mumsy-banter amongst fellow members of my demographic, without fear of being pushed off the cliff of social acceptance (as I may on my actual Twitter account – the one with 20 followers).
I have created an online community for Mums like me through the #coolmumclub, which has been hard work but has created a tight knight gang and a Thursday buzz – it’s made me feel I have generated something special. In an uncanny similarity to Motherhood , being a Linky host has turned out to be the hardest but best best job of my blog life. I couldn’t have done it without the kindred spirit that is Talya aka Motherhood the Real Deal. My Sister from another mister – who knew you could form such a bond without ever meeting. (Update, we have now met and she’s even better in real life!).
I have used that platform to showcase the bloggers that inspire me through #coolmumclub: Meet the members, make me smile and teach me new things through their words. It gave me so much satisfaction to watch them connect with new audiences and be showered with praise through my network. It’s a little gift back to you, from me.
I even attended a conference, just two days ago in fact, and it was epic. Those blog names on the screen turned out to be one cool bunch of girls in real life too. But more on that another time.
The brands I have collaborated with have given me a few perks – days out with my family, goodies for the kids, a little spending money for me, an unemployed Mum. We started off low key with cleaning products, but big names such as Mamas & Papas, The Gro Company, Velux, and Disney have stunned me with their will to work with little old me.
I have also supported Mums who are fighting to get new businesses off the ground, by giving them a little promotion free of charge and with my best wishes. I also spoke out about issues I felt strongly about – The Syrian Refugee Crisis, Healthy Eating, Cancer Survivor Awareness .
I hope I haven’t sold out. My blogging strategy has kept me on the straight and narrow, so that I don’t feel my blog is overrun by advertising. Mondays are reserved for an ‘all me’ post which I have learnt to focus on promoting through linkies when I can. And, in the words of the wonderful Trista from Domesticated Momster, I have let go of the linky guilt. In all honesty, I have found some days it distracts from the writing, and the comments you receive back (or don’t as the case may be) don’t feel good value in an exchange for an evening of your life. It happens.
Through my blog profits (of which I won’t be running off into early retirement anytime soon) I have supported three main charities close to my heart this year: Sands, Orphans for Orphans and Hemsley Conservation Centre. That’s something I’m quietly proud of.
My content has varied, it’s a pretty random combination of Parenty, Blogging and Interiors- but it’s consistently been what’s on my mind as a real life Mum. We’ve gone through some stuff together – the sleep deprivation, the battles of feeding the kids. I’ve written some really, really rubbish posts. And then, there were one or two which seemed to go down a storm. Recreating those gems is clearly the winning formula, but as a busy Mum of two, the magic just isn’t always there. It’s a sad fact. But, until the Blog days are over, I’ll keep churning them out and letting you lot judge for yourself.
And there is the stuff you lot gave me. Ideas, inspiration, a huge credit card bill (just kidding) as I rushed off to buy the latest stuff you had reviewed and raved about.
You helped me with rainy day activities for the kids. I found some incredible hair styling products (Motherhood the real Deal). First birthday present ideas (Mummy and monkeys). Valentines day gifts on a budget. A perfect holiday destination (Kiddieholidays). A fairy blogson (beauty baby & me). A fairy door (Another Mum in London). You moved me(Absolutely Prabulous). You became my team mate (Motherhood The Real Deal). I found Friendship (Single Mum Speaks, New Mummy Blog). We bonded over virtual fishfinger playdates and with wine (Gumdrops and the bear). You filled me with hope (Little Hearts Big Love). I watched your blogs grow and succeed and I felt a excited about how far you have come (Mum in Brum). You educated me in this strange world of social media and blog etiquette (Cuddle Fairy). You provided me with a sense of camaraderie (Life Love & Dirty Dishes). A replacement for the work banter that I have missed. Thank you.
And yet, it seems there is always more around every corner.
I think it’s fair to say that what I gained in my year of blogging far exceeds my failures. After all, success is only a measure of your own aspirations. I aspired to enjoy a year or so raising my children, whilst dabbling in a bit of blogging; We did it.