I am really delighted to welcome Kate from A Playful Day to my blog today. We’ve been talking about our blogs and how we change and they change with us, that is, they do if we let them. I am going to let her take over from here, but please make her very welcome.
Sometimes we talk ourselves into doing things because we know that we will be better for doing them. Sometimes we ask a friend to help us because we have something that we really want to do but just feel we can’t on our own.
That’s me right now, sitting slightly precariously on Emily’s page. I’m a mother. I’m a blogger. I’m a creative business owner and I am a champion tea drinker. I suspect many of these things make me just like you and I know they make me very similar to Emily. I’m fairly sure we struck up a friendship based on nearly all of these things (almost certainly the tea part). However, my footing feels shaky as I prepare this post for you and I’m finding it hard to find the words to explain why.
Let me track back a little and hopefully I’ll get there.
For many years now I’ve watched articles and campaigns aimed at being a better parent come and go. I was told I was doing sleep ALL wrong, making myself a slave to my child but then also not indulging her whenever she truly needed it. I can still remember my stunned reaction to one article explaining that I was simply not caring enough about her tantrums (oh dear writer, you have the patience of a saint is my only conclusion on THAT one). There have been many times that I’ve longed to join in the conversation but each time I came across these articles, I couldn’t help but feel that I was missing. Alongside the never ending queue of unmentioned fathers in campaigns like ‘National Unplugging Day’, I can’t help but notice that I’m not there either. Me, the single mum who doesn’t have half of these support systems you seem to think that I do.
As a blogger, I knew I had the right to respond, to make my voice known and to speak to other women (and fathers) who were solo parenting too. I could have written many responses to the National Unplugging Day about the fact that quite frankly, my iphone is the best second parent my child has ever had. My iphone tells me what to do when her temperature is too high and I’m scared of how very alone I am in that moment of crisis. My iphone reminds me to pick up milk on the way home because if I forget, I can’t pop out while she’s asleep and it will mean a tired schlep to the garage at dawn while she wails from the comfort of her sling. My iphone has also never forgotten Mother’s Day, ditched us for a weekend with its mates or expected me to have all the answers to why she is crying at 2am. Thus far it has also done a great job of connecting me to other mums and other people who understand my isolation and who check in at just the right moment with ‘hang in there girl, you’re going to be just fine’. When I’m texting at the park, that’s the solidarity moment that is otherwise completely missing in my single mother’s life.
So why didn’t I write? Why didn’t I rise up and ask the constant shaming of motherhood to stop? Honestly? I think I only really just discovered the answer in writing this. I’ve realised that I haven’t been feeling like I can convey the full experience of motherhood. I don’t have a great deal of time to reflect and I often feel that I’m really lacking the powerful insight that comes from raising a child as a team. Look at any blog written by a mother and you will see beautiful pictures of her and her children. She is able to pepper them through her narrative as she weaves her maternal identity online. Me? I don’t even have someone to hold the camera.
So here I sit, precariously, waiting for my dear friend to press publish and tell the world what I couldn’t find the bravery to say on my own blog.
I’m here. I’m single and I really, really need to be online.
Kate’s online home is ‘A Playful Day’ where she blogs and podcasts about her quest to find a playful moment in every day. She regularly drinks gin and likes to knit. You can find her on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest as aplayfulday. Kate would like it if you would send her cake after reading this.