So that’s a year of NaeGlamour. A year since I started a blog.
Though this isn’t strictly true. I did start one called “StillWaiting” back in 2006 when I was glumly waiting for my hapless boyfriend to propose. It was going to be a guide to popping the big question for any other dithering blokes out there that were finding the method of proposal the obstacle preventing them from getting on with it, and hopefully provide solace to the anticipating girl that she was not alone in developing a tic at the mere mention of Wedding Season. Coincidentally, the scenarios were all personal experiences that should have resulted in a proposal but didn’t, with each blog signed off by “Still Waiting”- Geddit?
But I deleted this first venture into the blogging world. I was too scared of it being discovered, even on its purposely chosen obscurely German domain. Much like the fear of a teenage diary being found by a mischievous younger brother, what if someone actually read it? What if hapless boyfriend found it and, quite justifiably, ran away from his potential future bunny boiler? But no matter really, for after years of climbing mountains, snowboarding snowy peaks, suffering numb fanny on the back of a motorbike tour of Mull and countless “romantic-enough” meals, Hapless did finally do the necessary and caught me by surprise, which was a difficult task by that point, one Tuesday night in the garage between the mountain bikes.
Now, Hapless Boyfriend is long suffering Hubgrub, and is well aware of the dark crevices of crazy that lurk inside my cranium that, if not allowed to seep out like a slow puncture, can gradually build into a chaotic explosion of atomic proportions. Thus he has bemusedly tolerated my new blog which basically blurts my incoherent thoughts against the world of glamour and style, channelling the eternal internal sulky teen, embracing of muddlesome motherhood and what now will follow after the baby years? Thankfully Hubby doesn’t seem to read it, so I doubt he’s preparing to go for the mythical pint of milk never to return just yet.
I’ve tried to be honest, including the good and the bad. I’ve tried to keep the photos real without too much tweaking of mise en scene. I’ve tried to keep an air of anonymity and semi-shield the weans form the staring eyes of public social media. Heavens knows I’m embarrassing enough in really life, without splashing their innocent faces across their mother’s very public rants about pooing in peace. Hopefully none of Boy’s school mates are any the wiser. Only a few of my “real life” friends know I’m here and follow me (Hi guys!). I suspect others know about my blog but feel too much awkwardness of my oversharing to commit to a follow. I’m not a total pariah in terms of splashing my kiddo’s gorgeous faces about but I feel more comfortable to keep it to my inner circle so I keep a separate personal account to spam the kids to my nearest and dearest. This isn’t the case for many other bloggers which is fine for them, but I’m just too paranoid about potential kidnappings once it was realised that my children are, no question, hands down, the most beautiful babes in the world.
Did I mention I’m prone to the crazy thoughts?
Plus, in real life, my job doesn’t really align well with online discussion of my dog rolling in deer carcasses and cupboard face stuffing sessions with secret chocolate stashes.
So, what gains have I found in the world with blogging?
I’ve realised I quite like writing, putting pen to paper (it’s all scribbled in an old jotter before being tapped onto a keyboard). I like crafting a paragraph, mulling on the perfect word for a phrase or poem. The aim is to raise a smile from anyone who has time enough to waste to indulge in glancing my wordy way.
I’ve explored politics, feminism, health and my beloved crafts. I’ve interacted with strangers on a broader range of topics than I’d ever felt comfortable releasing my own name to previously. My eyes have been opened to the very different and multi-path journeys that people navigate, with or without a family. I feel much more engaged with issues such as mental health and discrimination. Following blogs and some Instagram accounts has been educational, enhancing and uplifting. I have grown in the last year by thinking not only more globally but also more locally and how these issues affect me, my friends and family. To clarify my own thoughts, I’ve tried to jot down some of my humble takes via my blogs, and I don’t expect these will be to everyone’s agreement. But then almost like having a scream at the top of a mountain, the air feels lighter and the load is lightened.
To be heard is a great relief.
But, to every Ying, there’s a Yang and with Instagram in particular, I’ve realised there’s an awful lot of “keeping up with the Jones”. We all set ourselves such high expectations and this is in part fuelled by the picture-perfect, stylised accounts we choose to follow. That’s right guys, you’ve chosen to follow these accounts that are making you feel inadequate. Is it really the fault of the sponsored glamorous Instagram profile that you are berating yourself over that you too should have photos of yourself and the kids manically laughing infront of an “instawall” which took an hour to drive to, 30 mins of multiple burst snapping, spawning much pedestrian commuter rage, not to mention the copious amounts of tantrum quashing bribery with chocolate and some pre-post photo editing to perfect? Perhaps even a professional photographer?
No, it’s yours. And mine. For allowing that inner critic to have a voice and insecurity to take hold when deep down we know that picture is as staged as a Da Vinci Masterpiece.
After a year of following the big guns of the mother-blogging world, I’ve cut back to the ones I actually enjoy. Ones that don’t subversively suggest to me that with enough layers of filters my life could too be picture perfect. That my life should somehow be better, when in actual fact, it’s my Awesome Adventure. I am generally pretty chipper with my lot. My life with all it’s compromises, stresses and daily mini-fails is perfectly imperfect for me. I’d rather have my middling scruffy haphazard journey than a curated hashtag instaperfect façade with theme colours and trends. I now follow what makes me smile, laugh or inspires me to get up and “give that a go”. I don’t look at things that make me feel bad or bitchy. Too many pointless beauty selfies or “what I eat/how I clean” videos and I am outta there!
But this doesn’t mean I want to revel in a Bad Mom competition. I always set out with the best of intentions, try my best which is what my kids deserve and how I want them to act in the future. If I fail, I might cry, I might laugh, I might even share but I will pick myself up and move on. But no-one is perfect and it’s petty to mock anyone who triumphs in managing to keep their shit together. That just makes you a jealous cow. A grovelling jealous cow, when you need to ask that parent to help decorate the village hall for the Playgroup Halloween disco because they’re so good at it. Unless, of course, that person is being a smug git about how great they are at being a parent/ human being. Then a bit of eye-rolling and muttering later over a goblet of red is justified.
So I guess this ramble concludes with some reassurance about opening up to the teen grunge girl that used to keep a diary (and burned it for fear of it being found and read) that she does have something of worth to write. Though, words from the wise, don’t share everything, keep some nuggets just for you and yours. As a rule of thumb, only post stuff you’re comfortable with your mother reading. And your wean’s teacher.
My advice to you, my patient reader is to only use your precious down time to read, follow or comment on something if it truly makes you feel good, empowers or inspires you. Only “like” what you really like or the algorithms will send you down a slippy path of suggesting similar destructive posts. Have pride in yourself and sing about your achievements but never stop learning or pushing yourself to understand more about the world and it’s inhabitants. Try not to judge, nor take it too personally if you are judged. There’s a never ending magazine of blogs and pictures to explore out there. Some are A.Maz.Ing! But don’t take them too seriously. Regard most as heavily edited lightweight literature to pass a happy half hour.
Believe in your message, even if the basis of it is to promote the right to looking a ramshackled uninstagrammable non contoured faced woman on a daily basis. Don’t follow the crowd because you think you should. If you’re glam, be glam. And if you’re not, don’t be.
Embrace the differences.
As I try to teach the Weans; Listen, Be kind and try your best. Be the best You.
That’s who I’d like to meet.
(Nee Miss StillWaiting.de)