My Stay-At-Home Mum Fail

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Bear with me on this blog post. I’m typing mostly one-handed, for reasons I’ll explain soon, so spelling mistakes are likely.

I was hoping to write a blog post sharing all the successes I’ve experienced in my first two weeks as a stay-at-home mum. I was supposed to be telling you how SB has learned how to count to 100 in three different languages and can write her name with impeccable handwriting (well, maybe not, but I was hoping to at least have taught her something), how we’d followed Pinterest craft instructions to the letter and come out with some mini masterpieces, we’ve been on lots of cultural days out and eaten wholesome, fulfilling meals together.

Maybe I was a little ambitious.

SB has learned new things. She can name lots of Pokemon characters now, because it’s pretty much all she’s watched for the last two weeks. She’s also started an illustrious career as a hairdresser by brushing my hair whenever I allow her to (I don’t mind it, but she whacks me on the head with the hairbrush if I don’t sit still enough).

Cultural days out? We’ve visited the library, once. Because it had air conditioning on the hottest day of the year so far.

As for wholesome meals… well, she’s eaten plenty of jam sandwiches, and jam is technically fruit, right?

A grand total of zero craft activities have been attempted.

In short, I am pretty sure I’m failing as a stay-at-home mum.

I have mitigating circumstances. A sharp brake in the car over the weekend resulted in a trip to A&E, x-rays, my arm in a sling and my shoulder trying to decide whether or not to stay in its socket.

Also, I’m new at all of this.

That’s the excuse I’m using, anyway.

So far, since I have been at home with her, she has muttered “Oh my God” more time than I can count, told me her “arse” hurts today and I’m pretty sure I heard her say “oh shit” when she tripped over something yesterday. So at least her vocabulary is expanding in my care.

But look at this kid.

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She’s happy. She’s watched a lifetime’s worth of Pokemon episodes in the space of two weeks and can pretty much recite “How To Train Your Dragon” word for word. She gets biscuits because I need to give her snacks that don’t need any preparation. She gets to make as much mess on the living room floor as she wants. She’s living every two year old’s dream life, really.

So am I really failing that much? (Well… yes. Yes, I am. But the point I’m making is that I don’t care). 

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Blog On MSI Icebreaker!

I’m going to Blog On MSI in Manchester later this month – and I have to admit, I’m a little nervous! I’ve never been to a blogging conference before, and I don’t really know many of the bloggers who’ll be going. I’ve never met other parenting bloggers in “real life” before, so I have visions of being a bit of a Billy-No-Mates sitting in the corner. Everyone on the Blog On Facebook page is lovely, though, and I’m sure there will be plenty of people feeling as nervous as me!

MamaGeek made this great IceBreaker linky, so I decided to join in and link up! Head over to the linky here to check out some of the other awesome bloggers headed to Blog On!

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And now, for my answers to the ice breaker questions…

1. Share a recent photo of you (or a doodle!)

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2. Describe yourself in five words or less. Quirky, excitable, social, chatty, geeky.
3. How long have you been blogging, and why did you start? I started blogging at The Speed Bump in October 2013 so almost three years ago! I started because I was pregnant at 19 and wanted to have somewhere to get my thoughts across.
4. What are you hoping to get out of Blog On? I’m looking forwards to some really interesting talks and sessions, and meeting some bloggers!
5. Name a few of your favourite blogs. I love A Moment With Franca, Beauty Baby and Me, Whinge Whinge Wine and One Frazzled Mum, among many others!
6. What’s your favourite social media platform(s)… and what’s your username? My favourite is Twitter, where I’m @maddyleigh1994, but I do love Instagram too! My insta is thespeedbumpblog.
7. Share a fact about you no-one would guess. Haha this is a tough one, I’m a pretty open book so I don’t even keep secrets about myself 😉 Maybe my horrendous phobia of octopus. Or the fact that I can dislocate my joints with minimal effort?
8. What’s your favourite bit of tech? As much as I love my camera, my smartphone is my lifeline. Perfect for business, blogging and personal use!
9. If you won the lottery, how would you spend your winnings? The obligatory donation to charity and sorting out our families with homes and anything they need. Then a cruise to Norway, a trip to Lapland for SB, a big house with a swimming pool for us and tickets to see Hamilton the Musical.
10. If you could host a talk show, who would be your first guest? Following on from the previous answer, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Or Sia, I love her. OR Hollie McNish, I have a little bit of a poet-crush/girl-crush on her.
11. Share a funny (or favourite) memory from your life. One of my favourite memories is graduation last year. After spending so long thinking I’d never get there, or I’d have to take a year out of uni after SB arrived, to not only graduate at the same time as everyone else but also top of the class with a First was such a moment of pride. The pictures of me and SB at graduation never fail to make me smile! Funny memories… it wasn’t funny at the time, but we went to Blackpool in February. We went out for a nice meal and SB wasn’t well, she threw up everywhere. We ended up paying for our half-eaten meal, the meal of the couple sitting next to us who got their jackets puked on, leaving the restaurant and legging it down Blackpool seafront past the tower, covered in sick! In hindsight we look back and laugh at it!
12. What is your favourite book (or film if you’re not a big reader) and why? I have different categories! I struggle to concentrate on a book for long enough so when one captures my attention, I love it! Favourite “classic” literature is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Favourite book from my childhood is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Favourite book currently is either Blood, Sweat and Tea (paramedic memoir) or Nobody Told Me by Hollie McNish.
13. What picture is on your phone/tablet lock screen? A picture of SB looking super adorable, like butter wouldn’t melt (she’s a good actress!)
14. If you had an hour of time all to yourself, how would you spend it? Hot bubble bath and some writing! Sounds like bliss!
15. What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given? Don’t waste time worrying about what other people think. It’s a case of mind over matter – those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. Oh, and never tell yourself that you can’t do something – the more difficult it is, the more rewarding the feeling when you’ve done it!

 

That was a great questionnaire! I’m looking forwards to reading more posts by other bloggers attending Blog On and getting to know more about them!

Are you going to Blog On? Have you been to blogging conferences before? What was your experience?

I’m Getting Married – So Let’s Talk Divorce

Weird title for a post, I know, but bear with me. It’s a weird phenomenon that as you get closer and closer to your wedding, you start to think about the “What ifs”.

The majority of these “What Ifs” relate to the ceremony itself – my current wedding nightmares include forgetting to get my hair done on the morning of the wedding, turning up in jeans and a t-shirt because I’ve lost my beautiful dress and various guests kicking off and trying to ruin it all.

However, sometimes I think ahead to when we’re actually married – the ceremony is over, the party is done, and then we’re Mr and Mrs.

I’m confident that Daf and I won’t divorce – I wouldn’t be marrying him if I thought we would! – but it is interesting to think about how much changes when you’re married, especially when you’ve got a child together. Part of the reason we’re getting married now is because of the extra financial protection for SB if either of us died, so there is a big change in legal dynamics once you’re married.

I found this infographic from The Law House really interesting – it’s full of facts and figures about divorce.

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I think some of those stats are absolutely fascinating. I’ve heard people say that the more expensive the wedding, the shorter the marriage before. We’ve tried to keep our costs as low as possible, so hopefully that’s a good omen for us!

I also like that Blackpool is the divorce capital of the UK – makes it a slightly odd destination for stag and hen parties when you think about it! I wonder what it is about certain places that makes the people who live there more likely to divorce?

I think these days, it’s easy to rush into marriage and feel like it’s a competition to get the love, marriage, babies thing out of the way as quickly as possible (a little hypocritical, maybe, coming from the one who was pregnant at 19), that you can rush into it without really knowing what you’re doing, which could account for high divorce rates.

Sometimes, people just grow apart. The person you fell in love with 20 years ago may not seem like the same person you’re married to now – that’s just part of life.

I think Daf and I have pretty good innings – we’re into a 3 month countdown now, and I can’t wait to marry my best friend.

Disclosure: Sponsored post in collaboration with The Law House. 

 

“I Want To Quit Blogging!”

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I go through stages where I think it’s time to quit blogging. There’s no rhyme or reason behind it – nothing to trigger those feelings, and most of the time I’m very proud of my blog. Still, I have days where I feel like nothing is going right, and I’m blogging for no reason. It looks like a lot of bloggers feel the same sometimes. That’s why I’ve put together my list of things to consider if you’re thinking of quitting blogging.

  1. Work out why you want to quit. It’s no good quitting for no reason – and very often, if you sit down and think about it, you’ll realise that your reason for quitting is actually just a small obstacle that you can overcome. Identify whether it’s a drop in stats, a lack of interaction, no opportunities coming your way – or something else.
  2. Is it a temporary blip? Don’t do anything rash. Wait and see if the feeling of wanting to quit your blog persists over a few days or even weeks. If it’s something that comes and goes, it sounds like it’s just an obstacle that you can overcome.
  3. Talk to other bloggers. They’ll reassure you that we all have bad blogging days, whether you’ve been going for six months or six years. You can have thousands of daily views and still feel like there’s no point continuing. Other bloggers will be able to reassure you that it’s normal and give you that push to keep going.
  4. Remember why you started blogging. Everyone starts blogging for different reasons, and sometimes we forget those reasons along the way. I started blogging to help other people who find themselves in my situation, and although the blog has grown and developed since then, when I feel like quitting I remind myself of the messages I’ve had from young pregnant women and young parents, telling me how much my blog has helped, and that’s all the reason I need to keep going.
  5. Give your blog some TLC. You may have noticed The Speed Bump has had a bit of a makeover. When I get the urge to quit my blog, I spend some time modifying it instead. If you’re feeling like it’s all a bit stale, give it a refresh – whether that’s updating some content or just giving the whole thing a brand new look.
  6. Don’t stress about stats. So this month has been a bit quiet, and your mind has extrapolated that into “NO-ONE READS MY STUFF AND EVERYBODY HATES ME AND I’M WASHED UP!”. Stop right there thank you very much.
  7. Take a blogging break. If you’re really feeling like you’re done, take a few weeks out. Don’t be in a rush to sell your domain and announce your dramatic exit to your Twitter followers; take some time away. Absence makes the heart grow fonder – you may find that you come back with plenty of new content or even a whole new angle for your blog.
  8. Nothing is permanent. So you’ve done all of the above and you still want to say goodbye to the blog, and nothing’s going to change your mind. One thing I would advise is to keep hold of your domain. Don’t hit that “delete site” button – blogging has probably been a fairly big part of your life, and – especially if you’re a parenting blogger like me – you’ll have documented a lot of big events and days out. Even if you only keep it to look back on as a diary, you’ll be glad you didn’t delete it permanently. One day you may want to return to it – and if the whole thing is gone forever, you’ll regret it.

Above all else, rest assured that you’re not alone. Almost every blogger goes through this, for a variety of reasons. The important thing to remember is that the big bloggers you look up to and seek to emulate – whether that’s huge megastar vloggers like Zoella and Tanya Burr, or the superstars of the parent blogger world – have all overcome those blogging slumps, and you can too.

No-one makes it big without starting small – and part of starting small is feeling like you’re never going to get it off the ground. Keep striving for the end goal – whether that’s to help people, or to make money, or just to create an interesting, amusing blog – and keep writing.

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