This weekend I’m speaking at one of the biggest conferences in the blogging calendar, Britmums Live, alongside people like Deliciously Ella – aka Ella Woodward and Eleanor Mills! *gulps
I always love the conference and it’s a highlight of my year, culminating in last years shenanigans when I walked away with the Brilliance in Blogging Fresh Voice Award! I think you can tell from my face in this picture, for me it was kind of a big deal!
The week before BML, I always feel the blogging pressure, knowing that new people might be checking out my little corner of the globe and knowing that some people blog professionally and I’ll be judged against them.
But this week has totally run away with me. I’m now back at work so a combination of Heart Breakfast and This Morning duties, plus running a house and being wife to one and mum to two has left me exhausted. To prove the point, this is being typed on my laptop in the back of a car home from This Morning! Yup – It’s been one of THOSE weeks!
Then I realised, that’s no bad thing. I never started blogging for it to be a pressure or a chore,
I started because I wanted to keep my voice.
When our daughter Kaya was born, almost 9 years ago now, I decided to slow down my career. I’d been working flat out since starting on Blue Peter in my early twenties so now, 15 years later, I stepped off the showbiz hamster wheel. I wanted to be able to enjoy being a mum and I didn’t want someone else to raise my daughter.
But a tough part about being “that girl off the telly” is that you’re used to having a voice. You’re also programmed to equate success with broadcasting time, so whenever anyone said “Haven’t seen you on TV for a while” it was like a dagger to the heart.
Like many mums, I felt that part of my identity had disappeared as I fully embraced the world of baby music (who dreamt THAT up?), hours spent in those not-so-relaxing-anymore-coffee-shops and *Iggle Piggle.
*there are no words. No really, there aren’t.
I found my body changes tough to deal with and when my son Akira came along, almost 3 years later, I was borderline with PND, just never officially diagnosed. It was a pretty dark time and it freaked me out that I could feel low when I’m generally so positive and happy as a person. If I felt like that with my “glass half full” outlook, how many other mums felt lonely?
Then I discovered blogging.
I found a whole new and exciting world where I could be me and get everything inside my head, outside! I found a world where I could encourage others, build the sisterhood, make amazing friendships and meet phenomenal and inspirational women. And I loved it!
I blogged about our life as a family…
I blogged when I wanted to support others on their new journey into motherhood…
I blogged when we explored the world…
I blogged when I wanted to inspire…
I blogged when I wanted to encourage women…
I blogged when I wanted to use my voice…
And I never want to lose sight of why I started blogging in the first place!
Don’t get me wrong – it’s exciting when things take off, like the time I blogged in support of my inspirational friend, Stephanie Hirst, and got 55k hits in the space of a few hours! Or the time I went viral after speaking out in support of new Mums like Kate Middleton and the ludicrous pressure to get their bodies back after the birth.
But mainly, I started blogging to be me and to have a voice. It’s not about popularity or stats or rankings. It’s about BEING YOU, being true to yourself and being authentic.
A passion for life and the desire to be heard is truly something to be celebrated, so buckle up for an inspirational few days!
PS – On my first visit 4 years ago, I spent my time between sessions hiding in the loos as I found it all a bit overwhelming. TRUE STORY! So don’t be nervous. We all feel the same but you’ll LOVE it – I promise! x