About Mummy's blog ... a Letter to My Boys
To my lovely boys,
If you have found this, you must be making your way through the rest of the blog and if that’s the case, there are a few things I would like you to know. (I’m not actually sure how I feel about you reading it, though I have always known that posting anything online would put it permanently 'out there’ - the internet is crazy and scary and wonderful all at the same time).
First things first, I hope you are reading this as teenagers, because you will notice I occasionally use words I discourage you both from using at home. I have always felt that writing down the words in my head, exactly as I think them, adds a certain authenticity to my writing. It's just unfortunate that sometimes the first word in my head is ‘cockwomble.’ Or ‘twat.’ These are still not appropriate words to call each other at home. You are never too old for that Time Out chair.
When I was your age I wrote diaries. With a pen and paper. I know that makes me sound ancient. I guess I am ancient compared to you two. I grew up in the 1990s with the Spice Girls, and tamagotchis, and hair mascara, and taping the Top 40 off the radio (remind me to show you what tapes are). I’m not going to tell you what was in those diaries as post-millennium they mainly detailed nightclub flirting with your father - you can stop cringing, as I burned them so you will never have to suffer that embarrassment. Anyway, I digress. The point is that the blog has became my modern-day diary. And rather than writing it in scented gel pens on carefully selected notepads from WHSmiths, which I hid under my pillow, I started writing them online. For all to see. For all to share. For all to judge.
In March 2015, the month I am writing this (Henry you are three, Jude you are six months, and combined you are a bloody handful!), the blog page went mad. It took off. I started receiving hundreds of comments for every post and new messages every single day. I got recognised by strangers (yes, really) and offers of writing jobs started pouring in. It was all massively exciting but at the same time I got myself into a bit of a panic. Because, my little puddings, you two are at the heart of it all.
So I want to set a few things straight. Right here, right now. Not because I have to. But because I’d like you to understand why I wrote so candidly. On the darkest of sleep-deprived days when one of you was screaming, I was irritable and the house was a bloody war-zone I wanted to read about somebody who felt the same. Somebody who would reassure me that I wasn’t going completely mad. Somebody not afraid to admit that it can at times all just be a little bit shit. That was the blog I needed. So, I searched for it, but found nothing that was quite right.
I’ll write one, I decided. And the blog was born. I made a vow to myself very early on that I would document parenthood as I found it. Not how I wanted to find it. Or how I wanted other people to think that I found it. But how it was. I frantically typed post after post about pregnancy, birth, about life at home with you, trips out with you, and all that was between.
Type, upload, share.
Type, upload, share.
It was therapeutic.
It wasn’t ever really for anyone. But people started to read it. Just a handful of people at first, and then a handful became hundreds and hundreds became thousands … until I realised it was very much out there. ‘I’m being too honest,’ I told your dad. ‘I don’t think I can do it anymore.’
And then I started taking stock of all the messages. All the comments. The tweets. The emails. And I realised HOLY SHIT the blog was doing something.
Thank you, they said. For making me feel normal. For picking me up on a particularly bad week. For giving me the courage to admit ‘this week’s been crap and no I’m not enjoying every second.’ I received some pretty intense messages from other mums (and a few dads). About their lives, their battles with Post Natal Depression, their continuous feelings of failure and their resignation that they were very much alone. It’s just me, they thought.
But it wasn’t just them.
It was at this point that it became clear to me that ‘putting it out there’ (the blog I mean, stop wincing) was actually less risky than not doing so. I’m not saying I’m Florence bloody Nightingale for parents but hey some parents have found comfort in my honest words and I have found comfort in their comfort.
So yes, I did call you tossers when you were toddlers. And possibly a cockwomble once or twice (sorry). And yes I did sometimes cry and reflect longingly on days spent working full-time. I cut my maternity leave short both times (at least I was fair) because the truth is I found full-time motherhood really hard. And yes I did wonder why it wasn’t all rainbows and cupcakes. Why I was bored with park trips and baby groups. Why I couldn't cherish every second. Why other people’s kids never made me broody (always snotty, why so snotty?)
But there were so many other moments we shared. As a family. The fantastic fun we had, the cuddles we shared as I read you stories, the fact the two of you and your dad made me laugh every single day ...
Because the truth was, there were a thousand and one other parenting blogs describing the blessings of motherhood. There were blogs where everybody wore a Christmas jumper and nobody shat through their sleepsuit and everybody smiled all the fucking time. I know this because I read them. And there should be space for all types of blog to co-exist (who doesn't love a Christmas jumper?) but in my darkest hours of motherhood the ones I stumbled across didn’t add much value to my life. I needed something else. I wanted to reach out to the mums and dads doing the 3AM night feed by documenting my despair at doing the 3AM night feed.
And the good bits … well, you know those bits for yourselves. Those are our memories. I don't always post them on Facebook and Instagram (#myboysmyworld) but you two are my world. You really are. I don't always feel like I am cut out for motherhood but I've always been certain that nobody could love you more. I hope you have grown up knowing that too.
Please put your dirty clothes in the washing basket and do your homework.
Love you always,