Finally! I managed to find a moment to get my fingers back onto the keyboard after taking a much needed blog break during the two week half term. Add to that a one week Instagram detox, and a couple of bonus days thanks to unplanned school closures, calendar commitments and technical issues,plus two kids tearing chunks out of each other and here we are!
So, where to start?
I guess after any blog break it’s inevitable you have time to reflect on your drivers for blogging; the parts you missed, the parts you definitely didn’t. It can reconnect you with your passion and equally crush your creativity when it’s time to jump back in. It can leave you brimming with ideas for change and content and also allow you to step back and see the wood for the trees.
This particular time around I’ve had space to really think about how my blog works for me and my life right now – the parts that bring something to my world, and the parts which perhaps detract. In three and a half years of blogging so much has changed, and yet my blog has plodded on fairly stationary whilst my family evolved around it.
Shifting the focus
I guess one of the major epiphanies I have had is that at the start of my parenting blog, my main angle was to document parenting challenges as I encountered and overcame them. To offer a sense of camaraderie to other parents going through the same things, and to bring a sense of unity over the anonymity of t’internet.
Whats changed? Well for starters I no longer have a toddler and a babbling baby. I have a very switched on almost seven year old and a (newly) four year old who are growing into strong young women before my eyes. Yes we still encounter new and challenging parenting conundrums on a weekly basis, but as the girls grow and the challenges become more emotional, more personal, it just would never feel right for me to disclose the issues I’m helping them through in this public arena.
So therefore, going forward, Mum Muddling Through has to be more about me and my passions; fashion, motherhood, gardening, lifestyle, travel and less about them.
Releasing the shackles
One of the other elements of blogging which has become less than ideal is the sense of pressure I feel to post, when perhaps I haven’t been inspired to write. Pressure to post multiple times a week when I’m not sure I have too much to say has changed the feel of the blog. For me to re-engage I need to take a much less intense strategy, and alleviate that self imposed pressure, in favour for a more relaxed approach to hitting publish.
This of course means letting go of any emphasis on stats, rankings or charts. Which frankly, I am so ready to do! Having made my way to at peak the top50 of tots100, I can’t say it’s brought any extra joy to blogging. I really don’t check my stats often any more and I am hell bent on letting go of the fact that my instagram following is more often on the decline than the increase. I need to accept that your sunset gets 800 more likes than mine and get over it. I need to let it all go and get back to basics of why I started to blog.
Following on from that point, the #CoolMumClub linky in particular has become a major part of the pull on my resources, which I’m starting to wonder could be better spent elsewhere. Three years after launching our beloved #CoolMumClub, Talya and I have agreed the time may be right to step back and take a breather from the intense work involved to manage a weekly link up. Everyone’s support throughout the three years has frankly been immense and we are always blown away by your engagement and loyalty; your kind words and love for the community we created. But, the time feels right to see how blogging floats without that pretty special boat for a bit. Especially as Elf season starts again soon and I’ll be busy jingling all the way at a grotto near you for 2018! Who knows, maybe we’ll make a Spice Girls esque comeback next year, or maybe the extra band with may allow for exciting new projects? Either way we will forever be your #CoolMumClub Queens, and you lot will ALWAYS be ours x
We have however decided that we will keep rolling #CoolMumClub on Instagram with our favourite monthly highlights so we won’t be far away! And we’ll always be popping by all your blogs at every opportunity.
Embracing the joy in blogging
There is still sooooo much to love about blogging; the creative outlet, the inspirational words, the fabulous photographs and the quick witted literary gems. But above all it’s the connections to people which make it so special. So many of you have brought something positive to my life through your blogs and the words and friendship we have exchanged. So I’m definitely not going anywhere! In fact I’d love to get more real life connections going with you folk, by supporting as many London or Kent based events as I can.
I still, despite the aforementioned ups AND DOWNS love a bit of Instagram. Because I love photos, memories and captures which remind me of the beauty of it all. I also love the continued positive vibes, fashion advice and general sense of unity I get from the lovely people I follow. I don’t love trying to think of great captions, and that’s something else I need to get over too!
I want to blog for the long haul. I still want to work with incredible brands, support amazing charities, accept invitations which blow me away and make me feel proud of what I have achieved, as and when the offers come in; but not sweat it if they don’t. I want to write from the heart and not to fill a slot on an editorial calendar. I want my blog to be authentic, even if that means hitting publish once a month. I don’t want to feel any guilt associated with my blog or put it ahead of caring for my family, playing with my kids, seeing my friends or enjoying my life. Having space to breathe away from blogging has allowed me to rekindle my love of reading, writing and even let me put my new technical web design skills to helping others get set up on social media and online.
Ultimately, I’ll be blogging my way from now on. Not comparing myself to others and trying to emulate other peoples success or status. I know over the years I have fallen into that trap and it isn’t sustainable.
I guess at this stage of reflection in life; considering my role as a mother, and career woman, making drastic changes to my lifestyle and self care, it’s only natural to assess how such a huge part of my life has evolved. And now, it’s time to put into action the changes I need to readdress the balance; make room for new passions (writing that book?) and see where this approach takes me on this ever changing landscape called L I F E.