It’s been a little serious on here of late. Actually, it’s been a little nothing on here of late. Sorry. I am getting things sorted, speaking to the right people, trying not to get too enraged that the NHS only endorse medication and CBT and no other form of talking therapy whatsoever, and attempting to employ deep breathing exercises and a voice-over in my brain who keeps telling me to stay calm, all is fine. So far, I have not dipped over the edge, which I am, obviously, immensely pleased about. I’m not so pleased that I sometimes try to respond to the voice-over in my head. She just sounds so damn smug sometimes…
Anyway, this is not an attempt to get sectioned, despite the path it seems to be taking (please don’t call the men in white coats, I don’t really have conversations with myself. Really, I don’t…). I seem to have hit a bit of a stumbling block with my blog lately. There have been many bloggers who have written about hitting their own blogging wall, having doubts about it, or wondering what the point is, and for the first time, recently, I have experienced this. Before I started my blog, I really had no clue about this little community. I had no idea of rankings, sores, analytics, page-views or bounce-rates. I still have very scant knowledge on most of it, to be honest, which I am actually quite glad of sometimes, as it stops my obsessive nature from taking over.
I started my blog as a platform for my writing, and as a way of sharing all the things that I have found difficult and funny and amazing and draining about being a mum. It was really because of The Baby’s utter loathing of sleep that I started to write this blog. I felt very alone for the first few months of motherhood, as I thought I was the only mum to have a child that just wouldn’t sleep. I didn’t want to do controlled crying, and nothing else seemed to work, and for seven months I struggled through horrendous sleep-deprivation trying to figure out why The Baby a. wouldn’t go to sleep, and b. wouldn’t stay asleep once she had actually given in and shut her eyes. When I had finally succumbed to the dreaded sleep-training, and The Baby was actually finally sleeping, my sister told me a friend of hers was going through the same thing with her four-month old. I immediately emailed her with words of support, just to let her know that she really wasn’t the only one. She felt like I did; textbooks, other mums with sleeping babies, internet forums, all served to make you feel worse. People who have never experienced a baby who fights sleep, and forcibly wakes themselves up, and is subsequently awake every couple of hours, with few or no naps during the day, just don’t understand how hard it is. And, as is the way with motherhood, guilt sets in, and suddenly you feel like it’s all your fault; you’ve raised a defective baby.
As I wrote to her, I began to think that there must be others. There must be loads of mums going through the same thing, or those that have been through it and survived it all. But the difficulties, the not-so-pretty side to motherhood, are often not spoken about. I decided that writing about the stuff I had found hard, however silly it was, however hard it was to acknowledge and admit that it was hard, would be a good way for me to work stuff out for myself, as well as reaching other mums who just wanted to hear an honest non-sugar-coated opinion of child-rearing.
But then I discovered this huge community, a very friendly and welcoming and supportive community, but also a competitive, opinionated community. Lots of people offering help and support for everything from baby-led weaning tips to SEO training. Suddenly this blog was not just a little corner where I could write away to my heart’s content and maybe someone, somewhere, might read it and feel at ease that they are not the only mum in the world whose baby screams bloody murder at having his/her face-washed, and that’s that, job done. There’s more to think about. Much more. Who is visiting the blog? For how long? How did they arrive? How to increase traffic? Join networks, join Twitter, get a Facebook page, make your blog known. Why am I not getting asked to do reviews? What’s your Klout score? What’s your Tots 100 rating? Not to mention Wikio? Technorati? Does it look pretty? Are there enough pictures? What font to use? What background colour? Why am I not getting asked to do reviews? Should I advertise? I haven’t written a post for a week, everyone will forget about me. Quick, write something! Tweet about it. Get it on Facebook. Do I really want to do reviews? Who is even reading this stuff? Does anyone even care if I don’t post for a week? Who am I doing this for? And so on and so on and so on.
Time to calm down and take stock. My blog is about two people, as far as I’m concerned. Three, if you include The Baby. OK four, as The Boyfriend crops up from time to time. OK, OK, it’s for two people. It’s for me, to enable me to write and to vent and to document and remember everything that’s happening. And it’s for the mum who recognises some of this in her life. That’s it. That’s really all I want from it. I find it very easy to get swept away with looking at other blogs, comparing my own blog to other beautifully presented, swishy, techno-glorious, money-spinning, all-round super-duper blogs, and ultimately I feel like a blogging failure. But really, I know I am not technically-minded, I am not writing about anything revolutionary, I am not offering anything other than my writing, and I am not a leader and innovator, I’m more of a follower and happy to be that way. So this is it. My blog. It’s not amazing, and I doubt I will ever get massive brands clamouring to advertise on it, fighting over who gets to pay me the most (although, if any big brands are reading this, feel free to get the ball rolling on this one), but if one person finds it and reads it and identifies with it and thinks, Thank goodness I’m not alone with this, well, then that makes me feel amazing. And it makes my blog feel worthwhile. And if anyone who reads it feels the urge to leave a comment, so much the better. It stops the conversations between me and my voice-over for a few minutes, at least.
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