I have to fess up, I don’t know every member of the gangs blog inside out…yet. But that’s what I love about this series. Although I knew of The years are short – I’ve probably read a few posts and liked or commented them, I couldn’t tell you much about the author. Until now… I loved reading Robyns submission for #coolmumclub Meet the members. A pretty cool Mum, living in New Zealand, doing what she can to make the best of these short years. She sounds like my kind of girl. Enjoy.
I’m Robyn from The Years Are Short, and I like stealing kisses off my too-busy-for-affection toddler, walking my sweet happy dog and having cups of tea and biscuits in the evening with my husband, Mark…
I’m having flashbacks to my former corporate life right now, where boardroom ice-breakers were the bane of my existence and a common cause of panic attacks! Not even exaggerating about the panic attacks. Considering the sight of blank faces or a blank page waiting for my input gives me a mixed feeling of dread and butterflies (dreadful butterflies?), it’s incredible to me that I’ve managed to post to The Years Are Short almost daily since mid-August 2015, when I naively thought blogging would be a good hobby. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all good – but it’s not a hobby, it’s an obsession.
Girl Friday becomes a mother
I’ve never known what I wanted to ‘be’. As told by my parents, I had pre-school ambitions to become a waitress. Well, I became a waitress eventually and it wasn’t as glamorous as I’d presumably thought. I’ve also been an English teacher, a cafe slave, a government drone and a ‘Girl Friday’. I’d never heard the term Girl Friday until I was called one and had to look it up to be sure I wasn’t being insulted. According to the Urban Dictionary it is “A ‘go to’ girl; a female who will help you get things taken care of; … a girl who does most of the leg work on a project, but never takes (or gets) credit.” I’m still not sure how to take that, she sounds like a bit of a handy doormat…!
For a long time I wasn’t even sure that I had a calling to be a mother. I always thought I’d be the type of person who said they didn’t want children until it was too late and then decide perhaps I did after all. Thankfully life had other plans and on a blustery day in November 2014 a little boy was born on a lonely roadside stretch of State Highway 6, NZ. Jo was one month early, in an enormous hurry, and has more or less been insisting that everything happens on his terms ever since. For example, I had plans to go back to work when he was 4 months old. It was a necessity to service the mortgage on our house in one of the most expensive regions in the country. But he refused to settle at daycare and so I quit work, we sold the house and relocated to a less lovely but more affordable part of the country.
Like motherhood, relocation turned out to be an enormous unexpected blessing. Here we are almost 12 months after I intended to return to work and I’m still living on my own time (or baby’s time, more like). I love spending the days at home with Jo and our dog, having meals, naps and strolls together. Especially at this time when he’s developing in leaps and bounds, I’m glad I can be the one to encourage and praise him. I only wish we could win Lotto so my husband could stay home too! Being a one-income family hasn’t come without its strains and stresses though and a return to work has been looming on my horizon for several months.
Taking the blog by the horns
It struck me that if I had to quit the best job of my life (being a stay at home mum), I wanted to quit it for something else I loved. I pondered what job title I’d like to pronounce next time someone asked me what I ‘do’, and decided ‘Writer’ would be a fine response. It seemed that the only way I could begin writing immediately with no money, no experience, no contacts and no best-selling plot line was to start a blog. So I did.
I didn’t start blogging with a view to making a living from it (just as well!), I started more with a view to building up a little portfolio of writing in case I ever got the opportunity to show a client or employer that I could string a sentence together and write on a variety of topics. At first I thought I’d just set The Years Are Short up, if I was never brave enough to post anything on it, no-one would know. Then I nervously wrote and published my first post with a feeling of dreadful butterflies, I’m sure no-one saw it except Mark. After I had a couple of weeks’ worth of posts in the bag I apprehensively revealed my blog to family and friends and it’s been gathering momentum, in fit and starts, ever since.
Blogging is my ideal combination of pottering on the laptop, tinkering with words and rubber necking on social media. I can’t ever see the end of the on-the-job learning that goes along with it, there’ll always be growth to achieve and improvements to be made. I don’t know what life has in store for me over the coming 12 months (maybe another baby or a new job) and how that will change my approach to blogging, but I do know I won’t always be lucky enough to have so much time and energy to devote to it.
If you’d told me 10 years ago I’d be married to a man from the other side of the world, have a spirited toddler and a silly dog, live near the beach and spend my days making something I’m proud of out of blank pages and a jumble of words, I wouldn’t have believed I could be so lucky. So I say (though I may be foolishly tempting fate!), bring it on. Let’s see where life leads me next. No doubt I’ll blog all about it!
Read more of Robyns blog, The Years are short here.