Bit of a long title, but I can’t think of a snappier one and I spose that’s as good a place as any to start. You see for the last two or so years I’ve been busy starting and completing my family. I have two beautiful, smart, adventurous children to show for it; Nova who is almost 2.5 years old and Kit who has just turned 7 months old.
I also have a fuzzy brain thanks to those life choices. I no longer know if I’m exhausted, just tired or if this is how I will always feel now. I can’t remember what it feels like to wake up with bags of energy and by the time the evening rolls in I can barely keep my eyes open.
For three days of the week I look after Kit and Nova goes to nursery. It sounds easy, but weaning a baby with a high gag reflex, training her to nap and having eyes in the back of my head to stop her climbing up every piece of furniture is tough – definitely tougher than when I used to sit in an office tapping away at a keyboard with a hot coffee to keep me company.
The rest of the week I look after both of them, which means going out in attempt to burn off some of that toddler energy. If I could bottle that stuff I’d be a millionaire.
So how has taking two years out to make a family made a difference to my blog?
Mainly I feel like I’m a newbie again. If I’m being totally honest, I flit between feeling like a deflated one and a newbie who can take on the world. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground, but then I’ve never liked being so so about anything.
Prior to letting my blog take a back seat I was blogging a few times a week, regularly invited on press trips (group and individual, and able to charge) and collaborating with brands.
And now? Well, the blogging world has moved on without me. It’s now about influencers, Insta Stories and who knows what else. I’ll find a rare gap in my day to find out that everyone is suddenly talking about a new platform – hello, Vero – and then come evening I’ll use my little spare time to create my account, only for the next day to hear that it’s now no longer cool to use it.
I’m trying to keep up, but between back pedalling to reignite my blog to the standard it was and then trying to go above and beyond that to keep up with the other 2018 bloggers (or if I’m truly honest, surpass), I feel exhausted. I’m not sure what’s more tiring, the blog or my kids.
That said, I’ve managed to get my blog stats back up to their former level and I’m still receiving some invites for trips and collaborations. I’m a lot pickier now, but there’s still an interest. Phew! Some might say it shouldn’t matter now that I have kids. They should be my everything and nothing else should matter, but it does to me. Yes, they’re my absolute world, but I’m more than just a parent.
I am finding that if I don’t reply to an event or trip invite that day it’s no longer available when I do get back to them. I can no longer just whizz down to London – I have to sort childcare out, which sometimes take a day or two. It’s frustrating, but perhaps there are so many bloggers in the market now, all eager for opportunities, that PRs have the luxury of just choosing the first replies out of a good bunch?
Everything changes, but you
I used to think my blog would die if I didn’t blog all the time or have social media updates constantly scheduled, but the world carries on. I’ve discovered a little pause is actually okay and I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad about it, but often a little break goes unnoticed. Turns out everyone else is busy too.
I’ve realised that I’m reading less blogs, but I’m listening to more podcasts and enjoying Insta Stories. It seems I’m not the only one. I did consider letting the blog slide to focus on Insta or something, but when I put it to a poll everyone said they wanted the blog, so for now I’m going to carry on. Who knows if it’s the right thing to do? For every article I read that says it’s not, I read another that say it is.
And I guess that’s the main thing I’m trying to get to in this post. There’s no magic formula or step-by-step method that works for all, so I’m making my own journey. Having kids is just a plot twist and the next chapters are yet to be written. It’s scary, exciting, liberating and challenging – a bit of everything and exactly what suits my personality.
As much as I want my blog to create exciting travel and job opportunities, I also blog because I love documenting our family adventures. It’s become my online scrapbook and a way to remember little moments that I’d otherwise most likely forget.
Now that Nova sleeps through and Kit’s getting there I feel like I’m gaining a bit of control over my blogging life. At least three nights a week from about 7.30pm I tend to blog and do all the blogmin (is that a word?). I usually keep weekends for family time and during the day my children take up all my attention. When Kit naps I’m usually cleaning up all the food she chucked during meal time, prepping the next one, showering and all those sorts of things.
We’re also trying to sell our house (so stressful!), so nap times are often used for blitzing the house ready for viewings. Those people who say you should nap when the kids do clearly didn’t have anything on their to-do lists!
Occasionally Kit will have an extra long nap and if Nova’s at nursery I can get a zillion blog things done and feel like a total warrior. It’s amazing how focussed I’ve become since having kids. I can get so much done in a short space of time now.
That said, one big change from taking two years out to start a family is that I don’t have the luxury of time, so as much as I feel like I can tick lots off, I don’t have time for proof reading my posts as much as I used to and I’m not as quick at replying to emails. I guess I could prioritise things like that and allocate time, but I’m taking the approach that done is better than perfect.
Getting back into the swing of blogging is mainly making me feel excited. I enjoy it and I love recording our happy adventures. My blog has allowed us to have some lovely family holidays; Puglia, Canada and Greece instantly spring to mind.
So two years off has made me feel out of the travel blogging loop and various cliques, but it’s also given me an amazing family, new travel opportunities thanks to the steer into family travel and an outlet from being a parent. I could easily spend my life being a mama 24/7, but actually I quite like being the blogger too. Despite the pause, my travel blog is still here and that’s enough.
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