Although I have been active online and on many forums for the past 12 years I have always avoided Mumsnet to be honest, mainly because whilst being a Mum is most definitely the best job in the world, belonging to a forum focussing further on parenting and the minutiae of day to day life bringing up children is the antithesis of why I use the internet. And I find the notion of "Mummy Blogger' restrictive, patronising and mildly insulting because in Blogging I assert myself, the "me" that exists beyond my role as Mum and the essential part that is often buried deep beneath it.
Don't get me wrong, much of what I think and write about IS to do with my family, and the impact the world has on us. But the internet is my window out on the world, the most user friendly way of connecting with others and being part of something bigger. I use the internet for a multiplicity of reasons, and am so much more than a Mum online. I can flex my political muscle, promote awareness of gut allergies, support others, make friends, and learn a huge amount. Online I am ME, which totally includes my maternal role to a large extent, but it is more than that.
Being a mum to four, three of whom have additional needs is an all consuming role. I have not been able to return to work and beyond occasional volunteering I have at times felt swallowed up by the never ending 24/7 parenting role. I felt my brain had never had the opportunity to recover from those distant baby days and I was honestly not sure what I could still achieve. Discovering Blogging was one of those lightbulb moments - the realisation that I could still nurture that inner creative part of me within my parenting and caring commitments was wonderful.
No matter what I write about, Blogging/ writing is something I am doing for myself, and it is something I derive a huge amount of satisfaction from. Perhaps most of all it is MY time that I write in - in the small hours when the children are asleep, whilst they are at school and the dinner is cooking, those precious little snatches of time where I reassert my individuality and reclaim myself in a way nothing else has permitted. Blogging for me is sanity preservation, a unique way of hanging on to that part of me that has been drowned out by my life as a parent.
So you can imagine just how much I resent the notion of a "Mummy Blogger".
As someone on Twitter said earlier we are bloggers/writers who just happen to be Mums. Precisely.
But where does that leave us? Staunch feminists arguing that the notion of Mumming or parenting is somehow demeaning? Not at all, I would argue that it is far, far simpler than that. I don't Blog to change the world, I Blog to interact with it. To be part of the here and now, rather than the often invisible individual beneath the invisibility cloak of parenthood. The internet makes writing current, and unlike writing a diary which merely serves as a private collection of thoughts and feelings when I Blog I feel alive, relevant and interactive.
Jo Brand said today that "now is the best time in History for Women's voices to be heard" - so don't demean us by referring to us as Mummy Bloggers, Mumsnet. The term "Mummy Blogger" is the antithesis of why I blog. I blog to break OUT of the box, to be me, assert who I am and what I believe in, to create something I can refer back to when I feel as if I am so submersed in life that I am in danger of losing myself. Yet I am not a feminist, I am an individualist in this respect - and if we focus on the individualism of Blogs and their authors women's voices will be heard - not because we are women, or because of our background, race, religion but because we are creating something worth reading and asserting who we are. SO I would argue that Jo Brand has missed the point here, as have Mumsnet. Now is the best time to be who we want to be, to have a say, stake our claim and stand up to be counted. And it has nothing to do with gender, or our parenting role, but the availability of a modern medium to get involved and be heard in spite of everything we are and do.
Entered for the Mumsnet Blogfest Holiday Competition. As part of the competition I would like to add my "Top Tip" for family holidays. I'm not really an expert in so much as we rarely manage it. A collection of different additional needs doesn't make for a restful break, and I'm often too nervous to "go for it". So winning this would be the best nudge for me to do just that, and for us to experience a family break which lasts more than 3 days!
So my Top Tip for (choosing) family holidays is be brave, go for it! There are so many wonderful holiday packages to make family trips a little easier, you don't need to take the safe option to make it work for everyone.
Please vote for my entry here .