When I wrote the first posts on my little food blog back in 2010, it was purely for fun. An easy way to share recipes with friends who had asked for them. There was no agenda, no hoping it might lead somewhere else. I didn’t spend a single moment wondering who might read those blogs, because I already knew. It didn’t take long for me to become indoctrinated into the bloggersphere and in the blink of an eye I was pouring hours into my blog each day. Creating recipes (always the most enjoyable part), writing posts, promoting them, always trying to reach a bigger audience.
After ploughing away for three years, I become disillusioned with food blogging. Certainly back then, it felt that people cared more about pretty photos than genuinely good food. Photography is not my strong suit or one of my loves. Food and writing are my big passions. So I ditched Ren’s Recipes and set up Mummytries. My reasons for posting here were (and still are!) simple.
To tell my story in an interesting and inspiring way
Those already familiar with my past will know I’ve overcome plenty of adversity in my life. A childhood which left me in a perpetual state of fight or flight. Self-destructive teens and 20’s; ill mental health, breakdown and eventual rock bottom. Or as the wonderful Brené Brown coins it, a spiritual awakening. Resigning myself to the same fate of the people in the family I grew up in simply was not an option. So I opened up to the possibility of change and started dedicating myself to the path of self awareness and ultimately self acceptance. From rock bottom in Nov 2006, it’s been a steady road from there to here. Constantly evolving; always a work in progress.
During the last decade, everything has been about the family my husband and I have created. And it’s not been easy, by any stretch of the imagination. No one could deny that parenting three children with varying needs is tough. Who sits there, stroking their pregnancy bump, thinking “I hope I get challenging kids and a chronically stressful life, which will push me to the edge of my sanity” – no one I’ve ever met, that’s for sure. But I truly believe I’ve got us through the toughest of times because of my ability to take responsibility for my own shortcomings and overcome adversity. Gifts that I will be forever grateful for.
A great life starts with taking responsibility
Having worked (in the traditional sense) since the day I left home at fifteen, it was never in the plan to not do so. I had a brilliant part time job at an investment bank, which meant I was fortunate enough to experience the best of both worlds. Kids five days a week and the City for two. Going back after Freddy was harder than I anticipated – not just because of the mama-juggle and his separation anxiety – Polly was really struggling at school. I was failing at the mum side and the work side, so when redundancy presented itself it was a no brainier. Shortly after we decided to pursue home education. Although our initial leap into educating at home was forced upon us by an underfunded mainstream school system, I now see it as a blessing in disguise. My three square pegs will never fit into society’s round holes and not being forced to fit, while they’re so young, is a great head start for them. Of that I have absolutely no doubt.
We have open and honest discussions in our house and include the kids in the decision making process. They aren’t viewed as inconveniences or small people to be seen and not heard. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I spent most of 2015-2017 teetering on the edge of a(nother) breakdown. At the time I was full of anger, blame and shame. Self-loathing, fear and resentment were near constant features. Again, I now see it all through a positive lens – those grindingly tough years have made me a much better parent. When you’ve lived in the midst of chaos and despair like I have, you can truly appreciate life’s beauty in all its forms. All those teeny moments that used to pass me by are captured and stored in the memory bank.
I have written at length about the importance of owning our stories. Not just as a tale from the other side, but while we’re wading through the quagmire. However, there is a fine line when it comes to allowing the world to access our lives, and it’s vital not to cross it. Wanting to raise awareness comes from a good place, but can quickly morph into the opposite of our intentions. Over sharing, bandwagon jumping and attention seeking are quite easy to identify and are almost always borne out of insecurity and a desire to be liked. I’ll be the first to admit that there was a time when catharsis was everything to me. My blog was an outlet for my grief and a way to process what I was going through. It became quite toxic, though, and it’s a path I try to steer clear of now.
Why it’s more important than ever to write from the heart with integrity (even if it’s just a tweet)
Perhaps the best skill I’ve picked up in recent years, is knowing when to stop talking. Whether that’s an in person conversation, text messages, on here or social media. People do not want or need to know the entire contents of my head every second of every day. Minutiae is boring and I’m convinced that less is more. Smaller amounts of truly considered words go much further in our ever-saturated blogging world.
Every time I write something meaningless/pointless, those who are reading are less likely to care about what I have to say next. Which would be a disaster for anyone in this game. I would like to hope if someone came to this corner of the web, they’d find something useful. More to the point, I hope they’d come back. In this ever changing landscape, small fry like me are competing against bloggers and media outlets with gargantuan – not to mention loyal – followings. As well as companies with big bucks to spend on SEO and Google ads. Every single reader counts.
Intention setting for the future
To go back to the title of this piece, like everything else, blogging has changed immensely in the time I’ve been partaking. So I’d like to make a few pledges to my lovely readers:
- to continue saying more with less
- to continue writing from the heart, with integrity, about topics that genuinely mean a lot to me and interest you
- to continue valuing every single one of you and never taking your readership for granted
- to bring something insightful to every post
- to ensure my kids are proud of this space, not resentful of it
- to only collaborate with brands whose values I’m aligned with