I’ve been writing in this space for about 7 years now. Over that time, the volume of posts has fluctuated wildly – sometimes I’ve managed to post almost daily, other times weeks (and even a month) can go by without a word. Life and its demands certainly have an impact on how much I write but in a way that surprised me when I looked at it more closely.
I discovered that the peak times when I was writing most prolifically occurred just after I’d had a baby. It seems bizarre that at a time when I was most busy, sleep-deprived and strung out, I found the energy to write most. But really, giving birth to a baby is the ultimate creation and I suppose it makes sense that this would inspire further creativity, that the magnitude of feelings that come with caring for tiny humans might bubble to the surface and flow onto the page. And so I look back at the words I wrote at that time and I marvel. I think the same forward momentum that having a newborn baby demands helped me to maintain a consistent writing practice, too. I think it also helped me process those feelings and carry on.
So if the times when I wrote most prolifically are tied to the times when I was most deeply buried in motherhood then I am, undeniably, a mummy blogger. So why does that title grate so? Motherhood requires fierce strength and resilience. It demands quick thinking alongside extreme patience. Steely determination must give way to softness and nurturing and then back again. And it requires all of this (and much, much more) be carried out with varying levels of sleep deficit. And yet, attaching the word Mum/Mummy/Mother to anything tends to have a diminishing effect. It’s somehow less important, less serious. A tech blogger is someone who knows about cool gadgets and innovations. A business blogger is clearly ambitious and smart about money. Even a fashion blogger has some cache because at the very least, they look good and get free clothes. But a mummy blogger is someone who posts cute pics of their kids and then moans about them for 35 paragraphs. Right? Right? Wrong.
Motherhood is typically quite isolating, a lonely time where once strong and independent women find themselves home alone and melting down over finding a nappy that won’t leak. Intelligent women stumble exhaustedly from cot to feeding chair, wondering if they will ever need to reactivate their brain for adult purposes. But there is no more adult job than caring for a baby. The responsibility is huge, the demands constant and the rewards often hard to spot through the fog of Groundhog Day. And all the while, the day-to-day struggles of mums are downplayed and dismissed. Women’s work has never been considered serious. If we speak about our ‘silly problems’, we’re complaining. This view only serves to silence women’s voices, and silence is dangerous, particularly when the voice is a cry for help.
Mummy blogs may not have the power to radically change society’s perception of motherhood, but it has certainly helped mothers to feel less isolated. Suddenly and powerfully, women in the home raising babies and dealing with the complexities that go with the job had a voice. And every time a mother spoke her truth in her little corner of the web, other mums could read those words and feel that they were not so alone. Society and the media may still consider the issues of the mother and homemaker trivial but mothers don’t and it’s via blogs that we have been able to connect with one another, across cities, across oceans, and share the realities of our lives. And these realities are not just pertaining to the best brand of nappy (although when you’re changing 10+ a day, it tends to become a significant concern). Via mummy blogs, women have highlighted concerns about mental health, body confidence post-partum and the difficult balance of maintaining a sense of self whilst being someone’s mum. Of course, society and the media need to catch the fuck up, but in the meantime, our seemingly inconsequential little mummy blogs are impacting women’s lives everywhere, building communities and in some cases, saving lives. I am proud to be a part of this.
So today, on International Women’s Day, I’m grateful for this space to write, to share my experiences and have them heard and validated. This is all any of us really want. To be seen and acknowledged. Telling the truth is not always easy, especially about motherhood which is sold to us as a soft-focus baby powder commercial. Admitting that every moment is not enjoyable or even particularly interesting opens us up to judgement – and every mother I know is already judging herself mercilessly. Telling our stories – mother’s stories – is brave and important. It reminds us that we are just like everyone else. And that none of us are our worst moments.
We must be bold for change. So let’s keep telling our truth. Our stories have value.
Mother’s issues are women’s issues are human issues.
Thank you for hearing my voice. I hear yours, too.