I love writing – but blogging – I’m not very good. I can’t play the game.
I don’t schedule posts.
I don’t write about current events.
I don’t know what a no follow link is.
I don’t read other blogs unless a title really shouts out to me.
I don’t work hard on getting views, likes or numbers (which is why they’re so low).
I don’t look at my stats. Unless something goes a bit crazy!
I can’t do SEO – I can’t be bothered and I don’t understand it.
I did try – I did reviews (never was I paid for one). I didn’t realise I could ask for money to be honest. Writing them was just not very nice. I didn’t lie – but trying to think of 100 words on nipple balm was a stretch for me.
I would make a terrible sales woman.
It’s a shame as only this week I was offered the chance to review a shoe shop and get free shoes for my FOUR children. Whoa Nelly! Where did the other two come from?
I am hoping that brands will be able to put stats to the side… choose quality – and my blogging failings won’t affect my ability to one day make a bit of money from my words.
Ever since I was an odd looking little girl, all freckles, a lazy eye, an underbite and a gap in my front teeth large enough to fit a sherbet dip dab, I have dreamed about winning the Best Comic Writer category at the Mumsnet Blogging Awards.
Ok… well I dreamed about making people laugh. It was either that or being Ginger spice. As a stay at home mum, 98% of my day is spent trying not to weep into a jar of Biscoff spread. The other 2% is spent laughing. Laughing is all you’ve got sometimes to get through. The thought that I might help other parents laugh is just wonderful.
But who am I? And why should you vote for me?
I am the woman who spoke the truth about soft play – a satanic cess pit of despair:
It’s completely un-policed. The staff don’t give a shit. All around are redundant signs and rules: No shoes; But Pocohontis over there is wearing thigh high platform boots. Please wear socks; Crusty mum and dad toes all around me shredding like confetti. Babies only; bloody Jessamy over there has got a nicotine patch on is reading The Spectator. Toddlers only; Zeus has got a fucking NUS card.
I am the woman who revealed ‘baby’s first Christmas’ is complete bullshit:
Your new baby is still at the stage where they look like a misshapen butternut squash weebling in their door bouncer – and let’s face it – though you’d like to imagine otherwise, they don’t have a fucking clue what’s going on and won’t do for probably another year. They’re not much fun on the day. They’ll sit there like an undercooked stuffing ball in their Christmas tree outfit looking at you with the same disdain a dachshund would if you dressed them up as little bo peep on Halloween.
I am the woman who told Chicco their advert was shite:
I don’t worry for myself – I am a mother of two. I’m experienced. I am worried about the new parents to be – they might stumble across your advert after some love making and a lie in. Over their eggs Benedict and bucks fizz they might say “oh look sweetheart, doesn’t that look great?” “Yes pumpkin” he will reply, “let’s buy that!” and they will look forward to the day they will resemble the folks in your ad. Over nine months later they might come knocking on your door asking for a full refund because daddy’s new nickname is ‘useless tit’, they haven’t slept in thirty six hours, and he’s spent the last four hours Googling “why is my baby crying” and “flights to Peru” on his iPad.
I am the woman with the greatest revenge plan known to man:
Once dinner is served your dad will refuse to sit at the table and announce he hates lasagne. He will cry and continually request chocolate milk and a bread roll. I will eat your lasagne … If the stars are aligned, but be warned, if I get so much as a whiff of a vegetable I will straight up regurgitate it into your open hand. Half way through the lasagne I may decide it’s no longer my favourite – I think it was a different shade last time I had it – and I’ll demand dessert. Your father will eat the custard, and the crumble topping but then he will discover there’s apple in the bowl and simultaneously shit himself and realise he’s only wearing one shoe which will devastate him.
I am the woman who revealed the truth about how fucking horrendous caravan holiday park holidays are with your children in a four part extravaganza:
There is a ratio of 1 parent to every 6 children in the swimming pool and a God awful amount of babies. Every single baby is screaming blue murder at being placed in the cold water. They are not enjoying themselves – at all. The parents don’t seem to care about this – probably thinking the newborns will climatise to the sudden drop in temperature … eventually. I hover 1mm away from toddler who can’t swim a jot and try to protect him from flailing legs, arms and errant floats. The noise of the place is deafening – a mixture of screams, cries, shrieks and people shouting “Yeeee-Haaaaa!!! Oi!! Pass me the Frisby Tanya!” Ever so often there is a waft of turd that one can only assume is from several of the new borns shitting themselves as part of a dirty protest against this sort of torture.
I am the mum who knows exactly why you’re talking like that:
You might be heard saying: “Darling, I’m just popping to the S.H.O.P to get some stuff, I might get some C.A.K.E but he can’t have another P.E.P.P.A.P.I.G.M.A.G.A.Z.I.N.E. and I need him to go to B.E.D by seven tonight because I am F.*.C.K.E.D. The other half stares at you as though he’s trying to answer a University Challenge maths’ question. You can see his cogs turning “M…A…G… oh yes.”You might be heard saying: “Er…. darling, I don’t think you should say S.H.I.T in front of him you know. He’s like a sponge darling, and you really are setting a bad example, don’t be a T.W.A…”
I am the lady who gets what it’s like when your child is sick:
The “ill” will more than likely originate from the child in the family – if you have a toddler who has a social life, basically, you’re screwed. He’s a little germ dealer you see. He will spend his time licking floor jigsaw puzzles, door handles and sticking his fingers in other children’s noses. While he’s out he will collect as many different strains of a virus as he can and settle down on your sofa before unleashing them into your household. I never feel like a ‘mum’ – that title still doesn’t sit well on my shoulders. Until my child is ill. Suddenly a small person is vomiting all over my large textured rug, and over my duvet, and over the cat and I start screaming “it’s ok sweetie, it’s ok sweetie” running from wall to wall frantically looking for help and realising that no one is coming to help me. I’m it. I’m the mum. It’s my job, and mine alone – to mop up this spew and burn the rug and hose him down and throw out the cat.
I am the woman who understands mornings as a parent are Hell on earth:
Last Monday morning, at around five, as I sat, semi naked on the toilet with the door wide open, my eleven month old clinging to my right leg smacking a maraca on my knee, green snot pouring from his nostril, his full nappy bulging at the seams, all the while making a siren type noise, and my three year old clung to my left leg, asking me if I was doing a wee or a poo and congratulating me on weeing “all by myself,” before demanding chocolate biscuits for breakfast, I had an epiphany.
I am the woman who told you that mummy hangovers are the WORST:
It’s three o’clock in the morning and a man whispers into your ear the most erotic phrase known to a mum: “You promised you’d get up with them.” What? What the F… Where am I? What is that noise? Is that a recorder? and….and… a tambourine? Who gave them those? I will find them and I will kill them. Why can I taste gherkins? and salt? What day is it? Is that a tattoo… Percy & Thomas BFF? Whose shoes are those? When did you get a fillet of fish? Why don’t we have painkillers in this house? What’s that smell? Oh…the…indignity!
and I am the mum who understands the struggle of one sibling waking up the other bastard:
Within seconds, through the wall, I hear the following: Some sort of train based sports day is taking place, with races, hurdles and an awards ceremony. Lots of cheering, clapping and reading out of train names. Wailing and sobbing intermittently each time his track becomes detached. An entire Shakespeare tragedy is being played out starring twatting Thomas and fucking Ferdinand. Singing of entirely made up, and significantly long songs. Stamping of feet which could give a herd of wildebeest a run for their money. “MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY?” “DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, DADDY?” I want pink milk! I want cwiisssps! A top class impression of Elmo on acid having an intense conversation with someone in space with no hearing aid and no phone.
So as you can see – I deserve your vote! Please?
Then I can officially say I have won two things in my life, the second one being a five pound gift voucher for drawing a picture of wind in the willows at primary school.
“I’ve got a degree, does that mean I have to spend my life with intellectuals? I’ve also got a life-saving certificate, but I don’t spend my evenings diving for a rubber brick with my pyjamas on.”
– Victoria Wood
I started a blog back in 2012 when I knew practically nothing about it. I was pregnant and alone in a new city and miserable. My mum said “why don’t you start a blog?” I’m still confused as to how she knew what a blog even was. I went on Blogger and started typing, submitted a small essay and felt all excited that a few of my facebook mates might read my post (and my mum of course).
I wrote about what being pregnant was like and the inevitable embarrassing incidents I found myself in, like the time an elderly lady witnessed me peeing on a cross country train or the time I told my cousin all about how much I wee-ed when she’d only asked about my weight or about the time I displayed my nipples in Mothercare or the time I had to get my entire face waxed due to hormones. My titles were very obscure. I called it The Confinement Chronicles. It made me laugh and cry – it made me chuffed if anyone read it and it became my only friend through my whole pregnancy. It was my little space on the Internet and I loved it.
When I became pregnant for the second time I changed the title to Up the spout and wrote about having a toddler and being pregnant. After a few emails from PR people I thought I would give reviewing a go! (Who can say no to a free product?) While writing a poem about my ‘terrible twos’ son took me literally five minutes, a review took me sometimes weeks. It became apparent that these goods weren’t as ‘free’ as I first thought. However – if I felt very passionate about the product / service it was a lot easier.
Then somewhere along the line I heard that you could earn money by blogging – that people were paying their bills by blogging! Well – this was amazing – I wanted a piece of the action. I set about trying to learn about it all: SEO, Affiliate links, scores, plug ins, self hosted. I moved again and renamed “mummy’s writing, darling” with the idea that I could branch out into writing about all sorts of things – food, fashion, beauty, more reviews. I studied fellow bloggers who I greatly admire and did a snazzy CV, updated my pages with a ‘work with me’ and put PR friendly on everything. I even got bloody business cards.
The problem with me is I’m not too comfortable with myself and I always want to be someone else. I can’t just admire someone – I have to try and be them.
I suddenly found – for the first time in my life – I was unable to write. I was dried up. I had no inspiration. I had nothing to say. I started to feel ill, uneasy, a fraud. I started to hate anything I wrote and was afraid of people reading it. I started to feel like I should just give up. When will I, will I be famous?
Then Victoria Wood died. I remembered who I was. I wasn’t glamorous! I wasn’t a fashionista. I’m not a food critic! (though I’m very good at eating) I’m not controversial. I’m the girl who wants to get a laugh – the funny girl – and that’s ok. My entire life all I’ve wanted to do is write – make people laugh, and sometimes make them cry.
I had lost myself in the desire to be someone else and I had lost myself as soon as I tried to turn my love, my hobby – into a job. I had become obsessed with views and SEO and tots 100 ranks. I had started trying to engineer click bait titles or write in lists because I knew people were more likely to read a list. I started trying to write about controversial topics or things in the news (is this how Katie Hopkins devolved?) that I just don’t know enough about to comment on. I made sure I was on all of the social media channels just so I was visible (I still don’t know how to use Pinterest!!). I kept wondering what would ensure me Mumsnet or Netmums front page.
I started agreeing to review things I didn’t feel any passion about and it was like drawing blood out of a stone – I dealt with some incredibly rude PR people who made me so angry I wanted to write a book called ‘Blogging Bastardised” (copyright Stephanie Siviter April 2016) full of incidents where bloggers have had negative experiences. One PR person emailed so relentlessly about a review days after I had given birth to my second son. Where was the review? Where was the review? “Sorry dude, I can’t feel below my belly button, my nipples are bleeding and I can’t remember what sleep is – let me drop the baby on the ground and write your urgent review for a product that costs less than a tenner! (I almost sent a tenner, wrapped in a soiled nappy).
I was miserable – and I have not earned a single pound in the process.
So I’m going back to being me. I can admire other bloggers who do all the other stuff so well (and I really really do admire them) from afar and be very envious of their income. I can watch their make up tutorials in awe without having to do my own (can you even imagine? “Hi guys, so here is a fun every day look, now first you’ll need a trowel and some haemorrhoid cream”).
The apology is to anyone who I have let down by trying to change what I write – and trying to change myself, and writing some crap posts of late. It’s also to myself for not having the confidence to just be me and know that’s enough.
I’m going back to just writing what I know and what I truly love – and if only my mum reads it – that’s enough for me.