This is just a little letter to you to let you know why I do what I do.
I want you to know why I blog and share photos/stories about you and us. I want you to know how I’ve struggled to come to terms with this new venture on so many occasions and how I wonder every day whether I’m doing the right thing for our family.
So, about your digital footprint and all of those photos I take of you…
You were ten weeks old when I started blogging and looking back, I often wonder how things would’ve been if I hadn’t but I can’t dwell on that can I?
I would still have taken a gazillion photos of you and I would still have shared them all over social media like most parents do, where do you think the term ‘baby spam’ comes from? You’re all so goddamn cute and adorable, we can’t help but want to show you off and treasure precious memories from the early days and beyond.
People talk about bloggers starting their children’s digital footprints for them but isn’t every parent who shares photos or statuses relating to their kiddos online doing just that as well?
And if I didn’t, what would you think? Would you think that I didn’t care about you enough to want to share everything? Would you feel left out because everyone else has years of social media posts to look back on?
For most people having children is the best thing that ever happens to them.
And, if you’re going to share snippets of your life online, it becomes more or less unavoidable (or ‘the norm’) that your babies are going to pop up pretty much all of the time when your life revolves around them.
So yes, you are ‘online’ and I haven’t asked for your permission but at just 20 months old you have no concept of ‘the internet’ and I’m just another parent sharing stuff about their kid because I love the socks off you and I can’t help but want to scream and shout about how wonderful you are from the rooftops, OK?
I know you better than anybody else in the world and I truly think that you’re going to be pleased with this when you grow up and really start to understand what I do. If I were to place a bet I’d say that you’d actually be chuffed and proud of your old mum in some ways but if that’s ever not the case please just say and I’ll stop there and then.
This brings us so many opportunities that we think are too good to turn away and right now, it all works very well for us but everything we do is to build the best life that we can for you so it has to suit all of us and if it doesn’t then that’s OK, I’ll get over it as long as you’re smiling and happy.
I never thought that I’d get to spend every day with you
I didn’t start the blog to monetise or ‘get free stuff’ as some people say (and it really isn’t free but that’s something for another day).
I started the blog to help other young mothers get to grips with motherhood and to write all about our adventures whilst I was on my maternity leave (not that we got up to much!)
I wanted to create an online store of memories for us to look back on and after years of starting blogs here, there and everywhere without much of a focus, this I stuck to and it’s because of you.
You are my focus, I’ve never wanted to write about anything so much before in my entire life and I’ve never been so passionate about anything as much as I have about being your mummy and being there for you all of the time.
So it went well for those first few months and by the end of the summer I was starting to accept paid work. By the time I was supposed to finish my maternity leave I’d renegotiated to go back to work for 1 day a week to keep us afloat in stark contrast to the 4-day week I’d managed to get the firm to agree to before I left to have you.
When we moved back up North a few months later I didn’t have a ‘proper job’ anymore but I was registered as self-employed and that’s when I started classing the blog as my new ‘work’ and source of income.
You know my darling I earn nowhere near what I used to and it’s been bloody hard for us as a family but I manage to get enough to keep us ticking over (sort of).
And we get to review nice toys and pretty clothes and lots of other things just for you and these are often items that we wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise so I am grateful for that and the non-monetary opportunities that come my way and benefit you directly.
Sometimes I just want to walk away
I am often racked with ‘mum guilt’ (a term that is so common nowadays that it ought to be officially recognised in the dictionary) and if I get in to a certain frame of mine it can be hard to see the good side of blogging and get bogged down with the negatives.
It’s hard work if you want to get somewhere and whilst I don’t miss any time with you as I don’t blog whilst you’re around, Daddy does get a bit of a bum deal.
I’ll be honest, our relationship has suffered at times but he has always encouraged me to keep going with this and we both know that it’s just a small sacrifice to make this work. I wouldn’t do it if I thought it put us ‘in danger’ and he wouldn’t let me either, I know he wouldn’t. We are finding the right balance now I think. Life has dealt us some rubbish hands over the years and we know that there’s nothing we can’t face as a couple especially when it’s for you and our little family.
I wonder though, when it comes to you, whether I take too many photos but I think I would anyway regardless of this so what can you do?
You will have thousands of photos of your childhood to look back on and surely that can only be a good thing?
I am always so conscious of not wanting to become so focussed on the photos that I miss the moments and I think it’s good that I’m wary because I’ve not let it happen yet (and never will do).
I check my emails every couple of hours (hoping for one of those coveted ‘good inbox days’) and I’ll read social media whilst you’re sat on my knee eating a snack or having quiet time and I feel so guilty but it’s my job and it’s nothing compared to some of the other parents I see with their heads in their phone 24/7.
I don’t want your memories of us to be full of moments where I had my sodding phone in my hand and yes you’ll see me with it but it’s just for work and that’s the thing that keeps me here with you instead of behind a desk in an office all day every day wishing I was holding your hand on the way to the park or giggling as we go down the slide at soft play.
Sometimes I wonder if the internet will just switch off one day and I’ll feel like I’ve wasted all of this time on something that no longer exists when I could’ve been doing something else but I need to realise that this is work and we all work and we all wish we were doing something better but that’s life and I should just be grateful that I enjoy what I do and I get to make it all about you and us (what could be better than that when it comes to getting paid?)
I’ve seen those photos of ‘the future’ with people with their heads in their phones ignoring the world around them but I am so aware, I make such an effort to step away from technology and social media and just be with you.
This new digital age is a blessing and a curse. I battle with myself and I try to step away completely but I can’t and at some stage I understand that you’re going to have to learn how to use it as well so I’m letting myself embrace it (to a degree) because it’s just the way the world is today.
I try not to get scared about the security side of things
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t take precautions.
I could have blogged anonymously, I could’ve concealed your name and omitted your face and features from photographs (or just not posted any at all) but I didn’t think about it at the beginning and if I could go back, I don’t think I’d do anything differently in that respect.
Will people recognise you as the blog gets more popular? Yes, I’m sure they will.
But you will know better than to go with anyone who approaches you who we don’t know in real life and when you’re old enough we’ll have a really obscure codeword that you’ll ask people to reel off before even thinking about believing a word they say.
Sure, I’m picky about what I post but I’m also a realist. If they really wanted to somebody could’ve found out your name and what you looked like easily and I think some people would probably end up putting two and two together anyway.
Not everything is shared
I saw an episode of House about a blogger once and she shared absolutely everything so much so that her friends online became more important than her husband and her ‘real life’.
What’s good is that the blogger community in the UK is just lovely and it allows ‘online’ and ‘real life’ to merge converting friends from one group to the other at every blogging event, conference or meet-up.
However, I don’t and won’t share everything on the blog. Your childhood is just that – yours – and it’s not my place to rattle off every little detail about every little thing and I wouldn’t want to.
A lot of things are for just us and our family. For us to treasure and enjoy and look back on. There’s so many memories that I want to keep for myself and for us, that I don’t want anyone else to have the pleasure of, they’re our experiences and our own moments to cherish.
I’ve realised how much I enjoy this sort of thing
When I was a little girl/in my early teens I used to make websites and go on Girland (social media for girls before Myspace, Bebo and Facebook) and make pictures out of dollz and gifs and other things like that. I adored designing graphics and taught myself how to use Photoshop before using it to design my entire GCSE media project (which got tops marks, wit woo!)
I was top of the class for most things and whilst I was supposedly best at maths, they also used to say that I had a flair for writing and here I am today doing just that, who would of thought it?
I always wanted to be a journalist and work for a big women’s magazine (I did my own in full for my media project described above) but life got in the way.
But today I’m doing it in a way because having my own content and platform that I get to edit and have complete control over is pretty similar to having your own magazine isn’t it? It’s just all online instead of in paper format (but isn’t everything nowadays?)
And I get to justify having a posh camera to snap away photos of you. Granted, I could do with learning how to use it properly but I’ll get there and I’m loving the journey and seeing the photos I’ve managed to capture/edit them.
It’s all down to you and I can’t thank you enough because I wouldn’t be doing this today if it wasn’t for you. You give me so many gifts every day and this is just another thing that I’ll always be thankful to you for.
You’ve unlocked my potential as a mother, as the other side of a partnership joined together by love for you (and each other) and by wanting the best for you and wanting to be the best version of myself for you, you’ve opened the door to an alternative life for us.
I never imagined that I could work from home, for myself, fitting it in around raising you (and any other sproglets we might be lucky enough to add to the clan one day!)
So I’m going to stop wondering if this is the best thing for you and us and start believing instead.
I blog because I enjoy it.
I blog because it helps to pay the bills.
I blog because I like to write about you and take photos of you and our adventures.
I blog because it has flexible working hours than I can fit around you.
In many ways, this is the best possible life we could’ve imagined for you and us and I’m proud of us all as a family for forging our own way and adapting, learning and taking little leaps of faith to make things work for us.
Are you a blogger? Do you have any of the same concerns or have you ever considered hanging up the ‘blogging towel’?