4 things I learned from 1 year of blogging

Sometime around the end of July, the one-year anniversary of me starting this blog quietly passed. This blog was originally inspired by a holiday that I wanted to write about. A year later, it was ignored because of another holiday, which I should probably write about at some point.

I often see other bloggers writing something about their blogging anniversary (blogiversary??), and I’m not usually one to avoid a good bandwagon tbh. However, I think the sort of things I want to say might be a little bit different.

Until last week, I hadn’t blogged in about a month. I was unsure whether I was done with blogging, or I just needed a break. All I knew was that I really just needed to chill out and watch Netflix in the evening, and to never ignore my kids at the weekend so I could (just quickly) join a linky. I also had some other stuff going on in my life that distracted me from blogging, which I’m not sharing publicly yet … but watch this space (however I can tell you now that it’s nothing to do with having more babies – that’s what people always think when you say you have a secret).

So I had my break and I enjoyed it, but then last week I had a really stressful day. So to stop me mulling over the stressful thing, I went ahead and wrote a little blog post. It brought home to me the real reasons I blog – reasons that I hope I’ll remember as I continue to blog – reasons that might even keep me blogging for a long time yet.

I don’t need to be the best

When I first started blogging, I knew absolutely nothing about the world of blogging. I was just going to write down some stuff on the internet that I thought a few other people might find interesting. Then, I got sucked into the world of stats and leaderboards and follower numbers and branding collaborations. I got a little ambitious and competitive. I got a little obsessed.

What many people who don’t blog don’t know is that nobody gets to be a famous blogger, or a blogger who makes their living from blogging, without having a killer combination of hard work, talent and luck.

I do not need to compete with the famous bloggers, the well-paid bloggers, or even the ones who I personally think are just awesome and wish I could be more like. I don’t have to publish consistently or have beautiful social media feeds unless that’s what want. I can just blog because it relaxes me and because it helps me think things through. My blog is about me, and if anyone else is interested or thinks it’s good, then that’s a bonus.

I don’t need to get paid

Making a living from blogging or getting occasional paid blogging opportunities or product reviews are totally awesome. I’ve dabbled in this a little bit. I may or may not continue doing so. It’s kind of cool, but usually the time and effort I put into a review or sponsored post is not worth the money or “free” thing I got.

Occasionally, there have been a few experiences I’ve had because of blogging that money actually couldn’t buy. I’m grateful for these. But if they never happened again, I would still be happy about my little blog.

Blogging is about people

The best, best thing about blogging is people, in a couple different ways.

First of all, any blogger worth his or her corner of the internet engages with other blogs. We don’t all have endless time to read and comment on other blogs, but really a good blogger ought to have a few other blogs they read. Blogging isn’t just a broadcast … it’s a community. And if you read other blogs, you will be learning new things, and often these things are about people, and you will learn interesting things about people who are different to you. This expands your horizons.

Second, blogging really does help you make new friends. I have made at least one proper, meet-up in person friend through blogging, and have several other acquaintances who I really like. There are lots of bad things on the internet, but blogging has an amazing knack for helping you meet like-minded people.

Blogging is healthy

Ok, so there is the risk that you get obsessed with social media and you never look away from a screen again. But the act of actually blogging – writing something about your life that you have thought about – mitigates against that.

Blogging encourages introspection, but it also requires you to think about how to write about your introspection in a way that engages others. For me, blogging has helped me avoid negative thoughts about myself and instead think about how I can be my best self. This process is what I like to share on my blog.

So what next?

A lot of people talk about their future goals for their blog on these sort of posts, and sometimes those include getting to a certain follower milestone or something measurable like that. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’ve been to some mindfulness talks and I now prefer to set intentions. So here are mine:

  • To stay true to myself in all ways, including with my blog.
  • If I don’t feel like blogging, I’m not gonna blog. So you know what’s happening when I don’t post for a while.
  • But temporary breaks don’t mean I need to shut down the whole thing.
  • Carry on nurturing the community I’ve become a part of by joining in on social media and reading other blogs when I can.
  • Carry on balancing introspection with things that might be useful to others – this is, after all, a public place.

What do you think? Has your blogging journey taken you to places you didn’t expect? Did you go down a road that you later decided wasn’t right for you? What’s good and what’s not so good about being a blogger?

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#EatSleepBlogRT – 21 May

Welcome to Week 7 of #EatSleepBlogRT! We’ve have decided to try out hosting the linky on both of our sites so you can now find it on Petite Pudding or The Mum Reviews. If you are a regular reader of one of our blogs, who is also a blogger and hasn’t tried out joining our […]

Welcome to Week 9 of #EatSleepBlogRT! It was a really busy week, as you will see from my host post, but I really enjoyed reading all your posts as a way to unwind on Friday night. I’m a little late adding this post and Zoe’s post is missing this week due to her wifi being gone for her impending move. Life never stops being interesting!

The winner of Top Post is Lisa Pomerantzster, “Swimming upstream. The world can be a pretty mean place sometimes, but it’s nice to be reminded that it’s right to keep on standing up for ourselves.

The Mum Reviews
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Top Tweeter was Laura from Five Little Doves (@fivelittledove5). And incidentally I really loved her post this week about CBeebies Land. I’d been wondering if it was worth going and she makes a good case.

The Mum Reviews
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So, as always, please link your post, comment on the one before you and tweet at least 5 links with the #EatSleepBlogRT hashtag. We’re looking forward to reading your posts. Thanks for joining us.

Nicole and Zoe

The Mum Reviews
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So, as always, please link your post, comment on the one before you and tweet at least 5 links with the #EatSleepBlogRT hashtag. We’re looking forward to reading your posts. Thanks for joining us.

Nicole and Zoe

Linky Rules

  • You can link 1 post – all subjects welcome
  • Please put our lovely badge on so that we can show off its fabulous design!
  • Comment on and tweet the post before yours.
  • Retweet at least 5 posts on twitter using the #EatSleepBlogRT hashtag (including the hosts’ posts)
  • Hosts will retweet when you link up (if you tag us in your tweet) and when we comment.
  • We will pick one post each week as our featured post
  • A Host will comment on and tweet all posts linked up.

#EatSleepBlogRT – 14 May

Welcome to Week 7 of #EatSleepBlogRT! We’ve have decided to try out hosting the linky on both of our sites so you can now find it on Petite Pudding or The Mum Reviews. If you are a regular reader of one of our blogs, who is also a blogger and hasn’t tried out joining our […]

Welcome to Week 8 of #EatSleepBlogRT! Thanks for everyone who joined us last week. It was a great group and very hard to choose a top post among so many great ones!

The winner of Top Post was Miss P Meets World, “ “What’s in our baby keepsake box?”. This made me all emotional and nostalgic about the little things I have that remind me of when my babies were very small. They really do grow up too fast. Are you good at letting go of sentimental things to avoid clutter? I definitely am not!

The Mum Reviews
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I’m awarding Top Tweeter to The Frenchie Mummy (@FrenchieMummy) this week. She made a really great effort in tweeting out lots of posts.

The Mum Reviews
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So, as always, please link your post, comment on the one before you and tweet at least 5 links with the #EatSleepBlogRT hashtag. We’re looking forward to reading your posts. Thanks for joining us.

Nicole and Zoe

The Mum Reviews
<div align="center"><a href="https://themumreviews.co.uk/" rel="nofollow" title="The Mum Reviews"><img src="http://i1262.photobucket.com/albums/ii606/Petite_Pudding/EatSleepBlogRT%207_zpsz6pkpd9o.png" alt="The Mum Reviews" style="border: none; height: auto; width: 200px;" /></a></div>

Linky Rules

  • You can link 1 post – all subjects welcome
  • Please put our lovely badge on so that we can show off its fabulous design!
  • Comment on and tweet the post before yours.
  • Retweet at least 5 posts on twitter using the #EatSleepBlogRT hashtag (including the hosts’ posts)
  • Hosts will retweet when you link up (if you tag us in your tweet) and when we comment.
  • We will pick one post each week as our featured post
  • A Host will comment on and tweet all posts linked up.

#EatSleepBlogRT – 7 May

Welcome to Week 7 of #EatSleepBlogRT! We’ve have decided to try out hosting the linky on both of our sites so you can now find it on Petite Pudding or The Mum Reviews. If you are a regular reader of one of our blogs, who is also a blogger and hasn’t tried out joining our linky, please join in! It’s a great way to get to know some other bloggers and get inspired with new ideas. If you’ve never joined a linky before and aren’t sure how it works, feel free to DM @themumreviews on Twitter with any questions you have.

The winner of Top Post among last week’s links was What My Fridge Says, “My boobs are not small, they are low fat.”. She writes about an unimaginably difficult time in her life and how it changed her perspective. She is, as ever, inspirational and reminds us how transformational gratitude and self-love can be even in the darkest of times.

The Mum Reviews
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We are back to our old ways with Heather from Shank You Very Much (@HeatherKeet) winning the Top Tweeter badge yet again. However, @myrealfairy was hot on her heels so the game is afoot this week.

The Mum Reviews
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So, as always, please link your post, comment on the one before you and tweet at least 5 links with the #EatSleepBlogRT hashtag. We’re looking forward to reading your posts. Thanks for joining us.

Nicole and Zoe

The Mum Reviews
<div align="center"><a href="https://themumreviews.co.uk/" rel="nofollow" title="The Mum Reviews"><img src="http://i1262.photobucket.com/albums/ii606/Petite_Pudding/EatSleepBlogRT%207_zpsz6pkpd9o.png" alt="The Mum Reviews" style="border: none; height: auto; width: 200px;" /></a></div>

Linky Rules

  • You can link 1 post – all subjects welcome
  • Please put our lovely badge on so that we can show off its fabulous design!
  • Comment on and tweet the post before yours.
  • Retweet at least 5 posts on twitter using the #EatSleepBlogRT hashtag (including the hosts’ posts)
  • Hosts will retweet when you link up (if you tag us in your tweet) and when we comment.
  • We will pick one post each week as our featured post
  • A Host will comment on and tweet all posts linked up.

She’s just a mother

A good of friend of mine had a little rant on Facebook last weekend about two things she heard on Radio 4’s Today programme that really made her cross. The first was one female reporter talking with disgust about the picture of Tamara Ecclestone feeding her 3 year old. The second was when another presenter made a counter-argument for government funding for parks and green spaces because “aren’t they just for mums pushing babies around in prams?”.

My friend was upset by the way these two moments on what is usually an enlightened radio programme minimised the experience, expertise and contribution of mothers, and even vilified them. Her impassioned post got me thinking about this quite a bit, and I asked her permission to write about it here.

My friend is right that in society motherhood can be seen as mundane – so everyday that it doesn’t bear thinking about. Or it can be put up on a pedestal – a model of selflessness and competence that many feel they can never live up to.

Motherhood is also something to be regulated. She should breastfeed, but not in public and not for too long. Stay-at-home mums are bored and boring. Working mums are abandoning their children.

On a recent Mumsnet thread, a person rubbished mum blogs, saying “Why would you read a blog written by a bog standard Mum? Isn’t there anything better to read?” Many on the thread agreed with her.

Well, there are all sorts of things to read in the world, some more compelling than others, but what is it about motherhood in particular that wouldn’t be worth reading about? Why is it unimportant for mums to have parks to walk in with their prams?

It’s a lie that society tells us: that women bringing up children is something that is merely to be expected.

This expectation – that we are just doing our jobs – is the reason only 4% of Fortune 500 CEOs are female. It’s the reason that maternity discrimination is still pushing women out of work. It’s why mothers who want to work are still told they can’t have it all.

It’s the reason that stay-at-home mums are still asked what they do all day, and modern dads are tired of being called “babysitters”. It’s why dads who take their kids to playgroups or to parenting rooms are often ostracized and even accused of perversion. It’s why there are still no bloody changing tables in the majority of men’s public toilets.

Despite years of feminism, western society still sees women as the primary caregivers for children, and yet sees caregiving as menial work. And as the work we do is menial, everyone thinks they’re qualified to have an opinion about it.

“What does she know about the best way to feed her child? She’s just a mother.”

“Why is she complaining about losing her job? She chose to become a mother.”

“Why does she write about the highs and lows of motherhood? ONLY other mothers would want to read that.”

“She doesn’t know what’s good for her. I have a right to regulate her body and her parenting choices.”

“She’s too fat/too thin/a yummy mummy/a slummy mummy.”

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This is not to say we haven’t made progress. We do have more choices than we once did. We can speak and act more freely than we ever could. But there is still work to be done. We need to let the multitude of female voices – mothers or not – speak for themselves and be heard. We need to carry on defending one another’s choices, even when we don’t agree.

We need to keep telling the world about our “mundane” lives, because they’re not mundane. Our lives are REAL and they are IMPORTANT. And the world needs to know.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday