Why, today, I quit ‘mummy’ blogging (and public social media) for good

Why I wanted to walk with my son in the rain

Something has been nagging at me for a long time, something has been bubbling away; An unhappiness has been brewing – and not the usual depression I have grown to understand over the years – something different.

I have looked at the usual cures – it’s because I have been overeating, over drinking. I will stop both of these. I bought a body positivity book. I spent a very long time scrolling through Instagram trying to find what was missing. I found myself falling down a rabbit hole on social media looking at photos of me at a happier time. Finally I watched TED talk after TED talk waiting for a sign.

Then last week I went to a children’s birthday party and the conversation among parents got round to what we did for a living. I answered that I didn’t do anything (apart from look after my children of course) and then I reluctantly mentioned that I am a blogger. Then even more reluctantly mentioned that I am a parenting blogger – or mummy blogger if you will.

Right then I felt a pang of embarrassment. I didn’t even like saying the name of it. I’m not proud of it. Not because writing a blog isn’t something to be proud of – because it’s not something I am proud of. And then the ray of light hit me – you don’t want to do this any more – you haven’t wanted to do this for a long, long time – so why don’t you stop? Or rather – why can’t you stop?

Then – in a truly serendipitous turn of events I happened upon the TED talk I truly needed last night. It was “The magic of not giving a f***” by Sarah Knight. (I highly recommend it).

The truth is I have clung on to blogging for six years because there was always that chance in my head that:

a/ money would eventually come

b/ a publisher would eventually come

c/ I couldn’t possibly let go of my followers.

My followers! Like I’m jesus for Christ’s sake!

After all – we have to be influencers now don’t we. It was once ok just to pop some thoughts on blogger. Now we need to stretch our private lives, our every thought over twitter, instagram, God Forbid – Youtube! Pinterest, snapchat, Facebook, videos, lives, bloody linkedin! We have to plaster our face across the internet. We have to write about “fed is best” with a click bait title and misleading SEO – we have to video ourselves at the holiday park with all the correct hashtags. We have to be “on” – we have to study our audience and boost posts and take naff photos infront of walls and tag what we are wearing and write soppy posts about our first borns “ssssh, I’m just posting this sweetheart – in a minute!”

At the risk of upsetting anyone – here is the hard, cold truth to anyone still reading.

I. DON’T. GIVE. A. FUCK.

I don’t give a fuck about getting 4000 followers on twitter and posting “how are you?” and getting one reply.

I don’t give a fuck about SEO or domain authority or hashtags.

I don’t give a fuck about writing FREE content for numerous larger sites just so I can say I write for them.

I don’t give a fuck about being an influencer.

I don’t give a fuck anymore about reading about breast feeding, co sleeping, positive or negative births, soft play.

I don’t really give a fuck about being a parent / or a mummy. I mean – I will still be one. But it’s not ALL I am. I am more than just a bloody mummy.

I don’t give a fuck about playing the blogging game, being up arses (metaphorically) attending blog conferences like Roald Dahl’s witches scratching my scalp asking “how can I make as much money as you?”

I don’t give a fuck about malt loaf, holiday parks, washing liquid pouches, or being in sales of any kind.

I don’t give a fuck about writing frankly terrible content because I have been asked to edit it 28 times and insert the keywords in every paragraph for a sum of money that is never ever worth the time and effort you’ve taken to sell your soul. The ‘free stuff’  has never been worth it.

When I started writing six years ago I was a lonely pregnant woman who wanted to write.

Six years later parent blogging has become a modern day MLM scheme (pyramid scheme) with promises that starting one up can make you rich and famous – preferably if you live in London.

Give up your career folks and become a rich influencer. The only true winner here is WordPress and Go Daddy- and of course the cream of the crop who win at this game.

If you can play this game and make it work as a career for you I am genuinely pleased for you – but I can’t. I can’t do this anymore.

My hope is that any of my posts through these six years have made you laugh, made you cry or given you hope. I have to be truthful to myself and know when to step off this stage.

Finally I don’t want to share my children with you any more. I don’t want them strewn across the internet. I don’t want to waste my time with them staring at my phone trying to think up captions to accompany their faces to get the most “engagement”. Dear reader – I do not give a royal fuck about engagement.

I just don’t give a fuck. So what next? I couldn’t tell you.

All I know is it’ll be a much more private life. I really don’t have anything to say about being a ‘mum’ anymore. Thankfully there are hundreds, probably thousands signing up to WordPress as we speak to write humorous posts about soft play and controversial posts about breastfeeding and gender neutral parenting.

I know I could have slipped away unnoticed – I do know that – but as I have written many posts over the years about my depression I didn’t want anyone to think something bad had happened. I didn’t want the three people and five people on instagram who truly care to think I was unhappy. I’m not – I’m actually happy. Happier than I have been for a long time because I am no longer going to waste my time, money or energy on something that hasn’t made me happy for a very long time.

If you have ever enjoyed my writing thank you for reading. If you are one of the lovely, genuine people / bloggers that I have met in real life and connected with online – thank you – you know who you are. And if you are one of the people who have made blogging work for you as a full time job I truly do salute you.

My time here is up – I’m off to find out who I am when I’m not just a mummy anymore.

If I don’t see you, good morning, good evening and good night.

Steph xxx

A Sister for an Only Child

I am an only child. I think I fit all the stereotypes of an only child; I’m spoilt, I like my own way – I don’t like to share and I adore my own company. I never felt sad about being the only child in the house. I never felt lonely. I never felt as though I was missing out. At Christmas I had a hundred presents under the tree and I got my mum’s undivided attention. All was pretty good in my life – I had no complaints.

But I did have a cousin. Her name is Ellie. Unless she’s in trouble – then it’s Eleanor.

I’m on the left

She had long straight blonde hair like the princesses in Disney films – while I had untamed curls in a boyish cut. She wore beautiful dresses while I ran about in shorts and she was confident while I was painfully shy.

bridesmaids

When we were little we spent pretty much every single weekend together. I stayed at her house and went to church with her on a Sunday morning. We ate mountains of Ice cream and watched Beetlejuice till we knew every line. We could re-enact the whole of The Lion King. When we went to the beach she would sit on a rock and sing “Part of Your World” in the style of Ariel – I was Flounder.

probably talking about a little mermaid

We were obsessed with East 17, Disney and singing and dancing. I played on her Nintendo and we belted out “You’re so Vain” on her karaoke machine. When she stayed at my house we would giggle so loudly at night that my mum would constantly shout whisper at us “The neighbours! The neighbours!” which made us howl even more. We used to steal my dad’s letter opener and pretend we were Indiana Jones.

We used to believe that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were real and below every drain we saw. We repeatedly watched Tremors and ate bon bons. We went swimming and pretended to be French in the changing rooms nattering in our made up Allo Allo gibberish, “Regarde les bibliotheque couson Ellie!”

oh to have this figure again

We watched Romeo and Juliet again. and again. and again. We talked about boys.

We went on holidays together to Keycamp in France nearly every summer. We took her to Greece and my uncle and auntie took me to Greece too! Every single October half term her parents took us to Devon where we stayed on a Stoney beach trying to terrify each other for Halloween. We always dressed up   – it was the tradition.

As we grew up I started to become overwhelmingly jealous of her. She probably doesn’t know this to this day. To me she was always the pretty one. Boys liked her, reader: they did not like me. To give you a sense of how pretty she was, once in Greece a boy drove ACROSS Kefalonia (an entire island) to track our car after looking at her. My mum ran around shooing men away from her; “She’s fourteen! Get lost!” No one noticed me.

I wished I could be just like Ellie. The only thing I was better at was eating everything off my plate – something I’m still great at to this day.

As we got older, got boyfriends and went to University we drifted apart and she settled in Leeds. Of course we saw each other at the Christmas do – or on our birthdays – or for her wedding – but we weren’t as close as we were.

When, five years ago, my now husband and I wanted to move from Birmingham – I picked Leeds. “Ellie is there” I thought!

Over the next five years we saw more and more of each other and I finally feel like we are back to where we were. I love her with all my heart. I can tell her anything. She’s the most generous person I know and also completely potty in the most endearing way. My little boy idolises her. Special Auntie Ellie.

So even though I never got a sister – I sort of did. Ellie is my sister – and she always will be.

Yesterday she took me out for birthday drinks, because now we drink wine on roof terraces and talk about adulting. Underneath we will always be those two girls, drinking Ice cream soda singing the song from Beetlejuice, making up dance routines to ‘We are Family’.  I’m so thankful this only child got a sister after all.

my wedding day

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Phonetics, The N word, The C word and my two year old

mummy's writing darling

We thought we had it bad with our first child when he started grappling with the English language. We thought we had it bad when truck became cock, and clock became cock, and socks became fucks, and fox became fucks. Oh how we cringed. But WAIT! Enter second child – or as we call him “If we had him first we wouldn’t have had any more.”

He is three next month and is at the fully fledged stage of “make noises that sort of sound like coherent words but not quite.” We were completely prepared for the embarrassment – here comes the cocks and fucks we thought.

Oh no – this child is a game changer.

He has two words of choice. The first is – The N word.

The actual N word. Now we are pretty sure he hasn’t got Tourettes.

We are pretty sure he hasn’t learned it from us – or grandma – Great grandma could have been an option – but he’s only met her once and she’s not a massive racist.

We also haven’t been letting him listen to NWA – “Fuck the police” and all that.

We can not for the life of us figure out what he is actually saying. For a while I thought it might be “New Car” – but he keeps shouting it whilst looking at his brother. And he doesn’t work at we buy any car.com

It’s pretty much the first thing he says in the morning. He walks out of his room – sees his older brother and shouts the N word at him. (If you have any clue what he might be saying please send your answers on a postcard – before social services get hold of us).

Pretty much the worst thing he could say right?

Well – enter his second word of choice. Which generally immediately follows the N word – THE BLOODY C Word – C#NT!!!

Now it might be that he’s saying “can’t” like this Alan Partridge episode :

But in which case – why is he continually screaming at us “N word C#nt!” what can’t we do? And why are you being racist towards us? NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE.

I can’t take him in public for God’s sake. It sounds like I’m growing a tiny angry racist Danny Dyer.

If we have a third GOD knows what he’ll be screaming at the top of his lungs in a few years time as they seem to be getting progressively worse. “This is our third son, say hello!”

Cock Fuck C#nt N word twat wanker shit goo goo ga ga BOLLOCKS!!!!

Send help!

 

 

 

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NFL Flag, presented by Subway – The Future of Primary School Sport #ad

Subway

As a mother to two (extraordinarily active) sons I have pondered what their sport of choice and extracurricular activity will be when they are old enough. I have wondered if it will be the typically British choices of Football,  Rugby, Cricket or Tennis. A sport, however, that never crossed my mind was NFL (National Football League – from America) or the sport currently sweeping our UK Primary schools – NFL Flag presented by Subway UK & Ireland™.

What is NFL Flag?

NFL Flag, presented by Subway, UK & Ireland™ is basically a non contact (non tackle) version of American football. It takes the best bits of American football and makes it safe and accessible to primary school aged children starting from nine to twelve. Instead of tackling they simply have to tear a flag from another player’s belt.

I had the pleasure of watching this sport, a tournament in fact, with primary school children players from all over Yorkshire, and speaking to an actual NFL player named Jason Brisbane (he played for the San Diego Chargers don’t you know?).

Jason exuded passion and love for the sport. His aim, along with the sponsor; Subway™ – is to get as many children and schools involved and as passionate about NFL Flag as him. He told me that playing NFL changed his entire life and that is was more than just a sport – it is about being in a team, working together, respect, integrity, responsibility and nutrition (which is why Subway™ is a perfect partnership).

The best thing I learned about NFL Flag is that it is an all inclusive sport. Jason told me no matter what your sporting ability, prior knowledge, size or strength there is a place for you in the team. As someone who always felt a bit left out of sporting activities when I was young – this was music to my ears.

My favourite part of the day was watching the young person who caught the ball run like a bullet to the end of the field, the cheers, the applause – the amazing atmosphere of the tournament – not to mention the cool outfits. I could see the self esteem of that young person sky rocket at the touch down (see – I’m getting used to the lingo and everything).

When my sons are old enough I really hope their school offers NFL Flag as an option – it really has the power to shake up Physical Education/ after school clubs and Sports’ days and bring a freshness with an American twist to our education system.

My lad loving the Subway Merch

NFL Flag, with the help of Subway UK & Ireland™, is already being taught in schools across the UK with tournaments between local schools taking place and a final taking place in London this Summer.

If you would like your child’s / children’s school to take part in NFL Flag presented by Subway™ – ask them to simply register by clicking on This Link! It’s as simple as that.

Also watch out for Subways’ Kids Paks in stores now – and look out for an NFL themed Kids Pak coming in October.

Right – all this talk of Subway™ – I’m off to get my signature sandwich: Chicken, red onions and all the Jalapeños. How do you make yours?

#SubwayNFLFlag #ad

 

 

 

 

 

 

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36 Lessons about Depression & Anxiety

I will be thirty six next month. So in honour of reaching that age I thought I would note down 36 lessons I have learned in my years about mental health, depression and anxiety: 

  1. It will come – and it will go – however much your mind makes you think otherwise
  2. The sun will always help
  3. Certain careers are just not meant for you and you need to let them go. You could have been a great teacher but the stress of presenting yourself every single day and being graded between outstanding and inadequate will never be something your anxiety will overcome.
  4. Talking and writing about it will help you – and could help others.
  5. There is no shame in taking medication
  6. Children, a man, money, a job, a cash prize will not ‘cure’ it
  7. Moving away will not cure it – you can’t move away from your mind.
  8. Some partners will get it – some won’t. Find one who does.
  9. Some Doctors won’t get it – some will – find one who does.
  10. Exercise always helps.
  11. There will be days when you can go out and days you can’t – don’t beat yourself up
  12. There will be days when you can do everything and days you can do nothing – be easy on yourself
  13. Some employers will get it and understand, probably because they’ve been there
  14. Some employers will avoid eye contact
  15. This too shall pass
  16. follow people on social media who make you feel better – following the woman from Made in Chelsea who spends most of her time in The Maldives isn’t the best thing for your brain
  17. Take a break from social media if you feel it getting to you
  18. Say no to some opportunities if you feel panic rising – this includes work and even nights out
  19. Sometimes forcing yourself to do something you’re terrified of will pay off (or getting someone else to force you) for example a mum’s night out, a day trip or a run in the park
  20. Don’t weigh yourself. Don’t assume numbers on the scale will ever make your depression or anxiety magically disappear
  21. They might tell you sensitivity is a bad trait – but there is power hidden in sensitivity you might miss
  22. Accept yourself in every way. Yes – my mind is complicated and sometimes riddled with mental disease – but I wouldn’t be me without it – and I am unique.
  23. Argue with the guilt troll that dwells in your mind. Extinguish guilt for what you eat, what you say no to, what you are unable to do.
  24. Being next to the sea will always help.
  25. You’re a beautifully wonderful Mother – even on the days you can’t see it – THEY can. THEY see you – and you are all there is to them.
  26. Find your outlet and do more of it – write, run, read, swim.
  27. Be kinder to yourself every day
  28. Believe the people who say lovely things about you – they’re not lying. Your mind is one Hell of a liar though.
  29. Take your earphones out and listen to the birds – have a walk somewhere where it’s green and beautiful.
  30. Breathe more.
  31. Cry more.
  32. Sleep more.
  33. Take your meds.
  34. Have a cup of tea
  35. Have a shower
  36. Let go of being perfect. No one is.

Happy Birthday to me – and good mental health for the next 36!

 

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