Tag Archives: writing

The Husband was right…

I was TOTALLY going to be cool about this, and pretend it wasn’t happening and all. But it turns out that my inner self is not going to allow that, by any means, so I’m going to do it, but just once. And then we shall never speak about it again.

Yep, I’m on about the Mum and Dad Blog Awards. When I started this shizzle nearly a year ago, I didn’t know there was such a thing as blogging awards. Shortly afterwards the nominations came out for the MADS, and I happened to mention them to the Husband, whereupon he rolled his eyes surreptitiously. But not surreptitiously enough.




‘It’s just I can see where this is going. You’re going to get all competitive with this blogging thing of yours, aren’t you? It’ll be another one of your missions, like when you decided you were going to beat Paula Radcliffe at the marathon after 2 weeks at running club, or that you were going to grow a record breaking prize marrow on the basis that you once managed to keep a cactus alive for a couple of weeks.’

Obviously I flounced off muttering something about not being competitive at all and that I was blogging for ME and no-one else and no, I wasn’t interested in awards, thank you very much, and what did he mean anyway, and so on and so forth, while he just smirked in an annoying ‘you know I’m right’  fashion.

I bloody hate it when he’s right.

Obviously I’m not aiming for an actual award – that would be foolish. But I would dearly love to get a nomination – not least because I’d have an excuse to go to a swanky do in London where there will be no kids and lots of beer.

I also bloody hate asking for favours.

So I’m just going to say this quickly and slightly embarrassedly – please please please would you consider nominating me in the ‘Best New Blog’ section? It’d have to be that one because the other categories are all about proper things like craft, or photography, or being entertaining, or heaven forbid BABIES and I am unashamedly rubbish at all those. Which also technically means it’s my only chance, ever, to get nominated because next year I won’t be new any more and *sobs* I’ll STILL be rubbish at craft and photography and I sure as hell ain’t having another baby at my age…Tell you what. I’ll shut up now.

Oh…except to say this – whether you nominate me or not, a massive THANK YOU for reading LearnerMother over the last 12 months 🙂

MAD Blog Awards

On being generally a bit of a muppet

It’s happened three times this week – someone has come up to me and said ‘I really enjoy reading your blog’ – or words to that effect. And so three times I have either mumbled something incomprehensible, or alternatively gone into hyper-mega-thousand-words-a-minute mode, or possibly appeared standoffish and ungrateful for the kind words. All figure in my repertoire of ‘how to behave when someone says something nice about your writing’.

Don’t get me wrong. I love it when something I write makes people smile, or makes them think. Actually, I don’t even need the smiling or the thinking, I’ll settle for the knowledge that someone has read a post beginning to end, without giving up and heading back to facebook, or twitter, or wherever they arrived from. I’m self aware enough to know that this desire for some sort of validation or approval forms at least part of the motivation behind LearnerMother. Yes, I want to create a family memory bank, and yes, I love writing, but I could do both of those in a more private fashion.

So given the fact that I have decided to write a public and non-anonymous blog, why does it feel so weird when I meet people who read it, and more weird, people who like it? I really don’t know. I have never been very good at receiving compliments (not enough practice, ka-boom-tish) and clearly it’s not something I’m getting better at as I grow old and grey. But it’s not just the compliment thing. It’s – well, it kind of feels like if you’ve read my blog, you’ve seen me naked, including the saggy stretchy baby pouch, the thread veins and the bunion.  So all the bits that I generally don’t show off. I know, I KNOW, this is a massive over reaction since I don’t write anything very private – I’m saving that for my forthcoming anonymous blog, ha! And so far, I have managed to resist the temptation to post while pissed. Though I’ve just realised that’s probably because I don’t ever get to BE pissed any more. Oh god, I’m rambling again. OK. What I wanted to say in this post, was this:

Thank you so much if you take the time to read, and thank you even more if you like what you read, I take it as a HUGE compliment. And also, this: if you say something nice to me on the yard, or on the street, or in work, and I start behaving like a bit of a muppet, please don’t think I’m being stand-offish or arrogant. I just can’t get my head around the fact that people read my shizzle, and I don’t really know what to say, is all.

*Blushes and backs out*




On what I’ve learnt in 6 months…

Six months today since I took my iPad to my biggest boy’s climbing session, holed up in a corner of the cafe, and set up LearnerMother on a WordPress site. I’d blogged before in a work capacity, but never anything personal, and I really didn’t know how it would pan out, whether I’d enjoy it, whether it’d be even feasible to write regularly given that free time just doesn’t happen to me. But here I am, six months on, which seems a good point to take stock of what I’ve learnt and to think about where I want LearnerMother to go from here.

Here’s my blogging observations…

  • First and foremost, people are incredibly generous with their help. I’ve asked the most basic questions on Twitter, sometimes several times in a row because I didn’t understand the answers the first time, and someone has always taken the time to help me. When I decided to go self-hosted, I ended up in a real pickle, but people were so quick to reassure and advise that the process was much less stressful than it could have been. I hope that I’ll be able to repay the favour, just as soon as I know the difference between DNS and URL. Or perhaps I should stick to offering help of a less technical nature, in case I end up collapsing the internets. In any case – THANK YOU if you were one of the many folk to help me!
  • I don’t write about our family activities as much as I thought I would. This is because I can’t imagine anyone being interested in them – however one of the reasons I started blogging was to provide a shared memory bank for our kids in future years. I also quite enjoy reading about other families’ activities as it gives me ideas for what to do with the kids, so the lack of family posts is something I’m going to rectify over the next six months – please don’t feel obliged to read if you don’t want to!
  • I’m not sure how my kids will feel about the blog as they get older, or whether it’s even fair to be blogging about them at that point. I guess it’s something I need to review on an ongoing basis.
  • Being an ‘out’ (ie not anonymous) blogger comes with responsibilities. Several posts have been discarded half way through writing because, although they are amusing/worthy of comment, the adults or kids featuring in them could potentially be identifiable within our local community. Not that the posts are necessarily negative, but I figure it’s my responsibility to err on the side of caution. If anyone feels that I have overstepped the line, it goes without saying to call me out on it.
  • Being an ‘out’ blogger is definitely not as therapeutic as being anonymous would be!
  • I think I need to be a bit braver in writing about stuff that matters to me. I have held my tongue on my (extremely ranty) thoughts on certain issues, from religion to second home ownership, because I am wary of offending friends and family, who make up a fair chunk of my readers. Which is a bit daft really, since if I was sitting opposite them with a beer I’d most likely feel comfortable in disagreeing with them and leaving the pub still friends. I am going to try and have the courage of my convictions from now on.
  • Stats are great, and it is nice when a post gets retweeted and shared, and generates discussion. But when I’m thinking that I need to write a post on holiday so that I keep my page views up, then I’m taking myself and my blog too seriously.
  • There are too many great blogs out there to keep up with them all; I have to limit myself to my favourites or I’d never get off the computer. In no particular order, hese are the ones I read without fail: Mummy Never Sleeps, Premmeditations, Living with MND, Dr Kate Granger, Be Brave and Look Up, Mumblings on the Verge, Ojo’s World, Free Falling into 40, My Daft Life, Motherventing, MammyWoo. An eclectic bunch – check them out if you haven’t already -they all make excellent reading.
  • I have a long way to go to write well. It’s (whisper it) eighteen years since I wrote anything for academic purposes, and although I like to think I was good with words back then, it’s going to take me some practice to get back into writing to a decent standard. Reading through old posts, I overuse certain words and phrases, I drift away from my point, and sometimes it is horribly obvious that I’ve wrapped up and hit the publish button because I’m being overtaken by sleep, rather than because I have finished what I want to say.
  • But – I have rediscovered that I love to write, even more than I knew. It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is – I find the process of starting with an idea, and creating a post around it, incredibly satisfying. So I’m going to use the next year to try and work out how I might be able to integrate this into my – ahem – portfolio career. Any pointers gratefully received!

So there you have it – that’s what I’ve learnt in 6 months. Enough to know that LearnerMother is well worth the effort, for me at least – you may disagree! In any case, thank you for bearing with me as I’ve mumbled and bumbled on…and hope you’ll come back for more!