Yesterday was a bit of a milestone for me, as anyone who follows me on Facebook will have noticed – it was my blog’s 2nd birthday.
Well, it was technically two years since I started blogging. When I first started in November 2013, I started as Activities4Kidz, and blogged predominately about, well, activities for kids. By May 2014, I realised I had so much more I wanted to write about, and that’s how Parenthood Highs and Lows came about.
Last night, I sat and thought about my blog, and what I have achieved by starting it up. Some people believe bloggers, especially ‘Mummy bloggers’ (which is exactly what I am!) are narcissistic and only write for the ‘freebies’. Maybe some are. Maybe some do. But I can absolutely say, hand on heart, that I don’t. My blog is my fourth baby, and for the first time in a very long time, I can say I am truly proud of something that I have done.
When I started this blog, I had not long given up my job as a full time primary school teacher. I had gone from being surrounded by people all day every day, to being in the house with two children under the age of three. It was getting on for winter, and I had completely lost all my confidence. We basically stayed in the house all day. every day, only venturing out to go to my mums or my nans. The only thing that kept me sane was doing lots of crafts and activities with the kids. We were proud of them, and I would often share photos on Facebook.
The day I started my little blog, I had posted some photos of a remembrance day activity I had done with the kids on Facebook. Later on in the afternoon, I logged on to find this rather charming message:
One of my so called friends had set up an anonymous account to send me this. I still don’t know for sure who sent it to me, but I have my suspicions. At the time I was absolutely heartbroken, and shared this message on my Facebook and Instagram. Very quickly came lots (and lots) of messages and comments of support, with friends saying how they loved seeing the things that we did, and how they often did them with their own children. The idea of a blog began to form – I could share my ideas with a much wider (and perhaps more appreciative!) audience. At that point I didn’t know much about blogging – I followed a few but had no idea what it entailed.
Two years down the line, my blog is a lot different. It’s changed name, and has a couple of makeovers. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it has become one of the most important things in my life. Last night I sat and thought about why my little corner of the internet has become so important to me.
It’s given me confidence
I had lost every bit of my confidence when I started this blog. I literally didn’t go out alone with the kids, because I worried that I wouldn’t be able to manage them on my own. The thought of speaking to new people filled me with dread, and hiding away at home became the easiest option. Since I’ve stared blogging, I’ve been to London on my own, I’ve driven on the motorway alone with the kids to blogging events that are 70 miles away. I regularly speak to people I don’t know, and regularly send emails introducing myself and what I do. To begin with, I felt absolutely stupid saying ‘I’m a blogger’. Now I say it with absolute pride.
It’s given me something to do
I sometimes moan that I have a lot to do, but truthfully I wouldn’t swap it for the world. I hate being bored – I’m not very good at relaxing, and there is always something I can do when it comes to my blog. I also felt like my brain was slowly turning to mush, but my blog and the work I do that has evolved from it keeps my mind active, and stops me from becoming (I hope!) a bore with nothing to talk about other than the kids.
It’s given us amazing opportunities
I will never, ever describe anything that we have received as a freebie, because they are not – they involve a hell of a lot of work behind the scenes. That £10 toy we reviewed might have taken me several hours of writing, photographing, editing and promoting. However, it means we have tried things that we may not have had the chance to try otherwise, and we have been able do things that just wouldn’t have been possible without blogging. We went on our first family holiday in June to Bluestone for a review trip, something that we just would not have been able to afford to have gone on. We have gone to events, such as the Land’s End clothing event which was fantastic, and hopefully created some memories for the kids.
It’s given me a new career
When I left my job as a teacher, I knew that I would probably have to go back to it one day, which I didn’t want to do. I’m qualified to do nothing else, so I didn’t feel like I had any other options. Working for myself, doing something that I loved for a living sounded so far fetched. Roll on two years and that is exactly what I am doing. My blog earns me a little bit, but through blogging I have now established a career as a freelance writer. I actually have to turn work down sometimes as I don’t have enough hours in the day – and being able to do that is incredible. It means that when all the kids are back at school I should hopefully be able to carry on and not have to go back to teaching!
It’s given me new friends
Whilst I have some fantastic ‘non-blogging’ friends, I’ve also developed a close circle of ‘blogging friends’, especially in recent weeks. It can be quite lonely sometimes, as not everyone ‘gets’ what you do (although most of my family and friends have been amazingly supportive!) but these guys are amazing (and they know who they are!). We chat about blogging, we help one another out, but more often that not we just talk about life. I know if I had a problem, even a personal one, they would be there to listen and to help. The only problem is that we live so far away from one another!
It makes me happy
Probably the most important of all. I look forward to sitting down and writing, and it never ever seems like a chore. I look at my blog, and realise that actually, whatever the stats and charts say, it’s pretty damn good. I wish I could say that stats and viewing figures don’t matter, but they do. When you log on to see hundreds of people have read something that you have written that day, it’s incredible. When you get a message from someone telling you that you have inspired them to do something, it’s amazing. How can it not make me happy?
Blogging is changing every day. It’s changed so much since I started two years ago, and will carry on evolving. Whatever happens, I know that I will carry on this blog for as long as I possibly can. I have absolutely NO intention of stopping anytime soon!