The Parenting Jungle began because of a boob.
I had never previously thought to turn my hand, or keyboard to blogging. Predominately, because I have a terrible grasp of grammar and my sentences all seem to run together. Reading my diary would be akin to cracking the Da Vinci code. My English teacher likely ‘stress drank’ when he marked my assignments. Secondly, I am distrusting of computers. One day they will eat us. And thirdly, I am awful at vocalising my feelings. Stoical. It is reverse logic that I choose to share my heart with 1000 people instead of 1. It’s not that I feel anonymous text-vomiting my feelings all over the interweb, or that I won’t get trolled, challenged or berated. I am not a raving narcissist (someone would have mentioned it) and don’t relish the attention. Compliments about posts make me blush all shades of strawberry. The vulnerable, paused breath when I press send is a reminder that it is not an easy option to express opinions online.
It was I think, a combination of fear, love and a need for distraction, which made me start writing. A cancer scare. Two weeks off work, waiting for results after having a lump removed and a clumsy, clueless blogger was born.
Thrown into the Twittervere I found empathy, laughter, recognition, realisation and a social network of parents that made me feel sane and supported.
Quickly I immersed myself face first into a digital pool of social media, SEO, statistics, brands linkys, photographs and PR’s. Etc, etc, etc. It is a fast moving place.
Like most, I was taken with the idea of blogging becoming a full time job. And let me tell you, for all those who think we just flit around with a press pass, an IPad and demand free gin. It is hard work. If you want it, you have to work for it. Create quality content, engage in endless self-promotion, be productive, keep trying to engage and grow your readerships and manage hashtags, multiple social media accounts that can fall as quickly as me in stilettos after a few cocktails. Really easily. It is addictive, engaging, but also you can feel like you are swimming against an impossible tide and one unkind, unconsidered comment can put you in a teary cave of self-doubt. Pro bloggers are people, imperfect parents too that are sharing personal stories and pictures. Just because you have a book detail and 30k Instagram followers does not mean you can’t feel just as s**t. You need a hard skin in the blogger world.
Here we go again.
I found myself recently on a fast track cancer check referral. This time my cervix being the culprit. Please note, if that word makes you squeamish I am going to use it frequently in the next paragraph so minimise the screen now. For me the needles, biopsies, pokes and prods is not the worse bit, it’s the waiting. The days where you have to have a little cry halfway up the stairs. If by the way, things hurt, bleed etc. See your GP. For women that have never had kids and still have some downstairs dignity. Don’t be embarrassed. The last couple of months I have had so many people’s faces is my downstairs mix up I am going to start charging as a tourist attraction. Get checked out, but perhaps, hold off on bad jokes. One appointment I had a gynaecologist don what seemed to be a camping headlight. So in knee jerk, panic humour I made a jest about my vagina being akin to a cave and he should run if the canary died. For those of you not raised in Wales, miners took birds down the pit shafts. It was intellectually funny. To me anyway. Better than the awkward waterfall pictures they put on the ceiling.
In between tests I was in hospital with kidney stones (when it rains it pours). I will not deviate into an NHS based oratory waffle. Another time perhaps. But I just want to add that yes, whilst there are long waiting times in A&E, the staff are overworked, tired and busy, there are also amazing people and a service that kept me safe, made me well. Nurses who will hold your hand at two am as you cry because you are frightened, in pain, just wanting to be back with your family and your home. Even though you have 3 days of washing up to do. Others, which after a day and a half on no solids put an extra pudding and muffin on your food tray. The gratefulness for these small, sweet gestures is profound. Sheets may have holes and paint may be scuffed, but the NHS has heart and I would have had to sell my car to afford 4 nights in a private system.
Leaving the jungle?
Whilst in my waiting haze, I didn’t write new posts, muted my Facebook notifications. I switched off, and part of me was bereft, and part relieved. Time with my family was priority. Playing snakes and ladders, doing school runs and eating cookies. I was determined to appreciate more, be healthier more active, more patient. I made myself many promises. Positive news granted me relief but my promises are already slipping. Slipping because the cloud of fear over my head will not fade. I am ok, but am feeling lost. Fortunate, grateful and annoyed at myself. Was it a wakeup call, a hint that I should just focus on my family? I am not a cat, one life is all we have.
So here I am, torn. Wondering if blogging is me being selfish.
And wondering when do I feel like me again?…
Do you think you can be a successful blogger and still be 100% focused on your family, how do you find the balance and is the guilt just me?