Nine Years of Memories

baby flea

I noticed, almost in passing, that my blog is nine years old this week.

Nine years. Imagine!

How it all Started…

Flea wasn’t quite three years old, when I started writing Who’s the Mummy. I remember taking the photo at the top of this post, at about that time.

Marriage was really the first thing I ever failed at. I took it hard. We’d left behind my home, friends, and social life in Brighton, moving North to be closer to family.

On this particular day, we’d been to a toddler activity class. I was always at some class or other, trying to meet other Mums.

After the class, I felt a bit low, so we went for a walk on the green. I lay down next to my girl, took this photo, and said to her, “Me and you against the world, Flea. We’ll be okay.”

And we were.

The house was a bomb site, I had basically no work/life balance as I raised my child and worked as a journalist, but we had a lot of fun.

2009: Flea singing her composition “Sam the Monkey Fell Out of a Tree”

Blogging is a Lifeline

At that time, blogging was a lifeline. I was self-employed, single and living in a town where I didn’t know anyone. Blogging gave me a connection to other, like-minded Mums.

2010: Flea’s first day of “big” school

Bloggers were people who worried about the same stuff I did. Who laughed at the same things. Who were on Twitter at all hours, talking nonsense.

2010: a day out in the Lake District, complete with dirty knees

Nine years later, I think about giving up the blog, sometimes. When your child gets older, the stories aren’t yours to tell any more. They feel more personal, more serious, sometimes.

The Tricky Years

You’ll find yourself starting about 10 times more posts than you finish, always second guessing. “Can I publish this?” “Should I?” “Best not.”

It’s a transition to a different sort of blog, I think.

2011: At the Wildlife Park. Flea had fallen out with a girl at school, and I was trying to cheer her up.

Oh, and those people you chatted to on Twitter at all hours? Most of them don’t blog any more.

Blogging has changed in all sorts of positive, empowering ways over the past nine years. But it can feel a bit more like an industry than a community, sometimes. You have to dig a little harder to find those connections with people, and those real stories hidden between the commercials.

2012: Flea gets her first role in a school performance

But then I’ll have one of those quiet Sunday afternoons where I browse through old posts and I think, “I love this!”

Our Family Story

I love that our story is here to be remembered. Look at the fun we had! Look at how much adventure we squeezed into our ordinary lives! See how much you were loved?

Blogging, for me, hasn’t been about big issues and moments and milestones. It’s the funny comments, the everyday disasters, the small triumphs. The perfect moments when just for a few minutes, everything is as it should be. That’s what we have in this blog. Thousands of little moments, that otherwise would almost certainly have been forgotten.

During tough times, those memories are there to remind me that this too shall pass. It always does.

2013: A weeks holiday in Devon in the summer hols

Exploring the World

Of course, blogging also took us to plenty of new places. We counted up recently, and Flea’s already visited 23 countries – and I’d say about 20 of those trips were blog-related.

Without my blog, I’d never have ridden a motorcycle taxi through the streets of Bangkok, holding on to my driver so hard I couldn’t feel my fingers.

I’d never have walked through the rainforest in Colombia and got caught in a rainstorm. I’d never have realised that Dead Sea mud smells like Satan’s feet.

2014: Flea went on a ski trip to Switzerland and I basically had a breakdown

Even better, we’ve shared adventures together. Flea and I have climbed the world’s tallest building in Dubai, and read books to primary school kids in Jamaica.

2014: On a blogging trip to Mauritius. I remember thinking this was truly a perfect, perfect moment.

We have walked through the ancient city of Petra, while locals clamoured to give Flea presents and take photos with her. Without Who’s the Mummy, we’d never have taken that tour of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, or got hopelessly lost on that hillside in Portugal.

2015: The night before Flea turns 10, on the road to Santa Barbara

Over time, the blog even helped to create a new career, away from journalism.

I’ve been very lucky to be able to keep this blog as a hobby (seriously, I’ve no idea how you pro-bloggers don’t go insane from the pressure). But the skills I’ve learned have allowed me to build a business that combines the best of blogging and journalism with a bit of marketing and a lot of flexibility. On a good day, it’s pretty much perfect.

Being a Better Parent

Blogging has also made me a better Mum.

No matter what I’ve worried about (and I’ve worried about a LOT) the people who read and comment on my blog have worried about it, too. It’s amazing that I’ve never felt judged or scorned, and only ever received supportive advice from parents who have been there before me, and survived.

flea tofino

2016: Last night of our Canadian road trip, eating fish and chips in Tofino

Blogging helped me remember that sometimes it does take a village to raise a child and sometimes your village is virtual. And that’s a great thing.

Oh, and the People

Last but not least, blogging has brought me some great friendships. Heading out to PR events when Flea was very small was a nerve-wracking affair, but my virtual tribe has become a real-world network of friends. We might not see each other every week, but there are regular lunches and dinner parties, and chatting online to keep us connected.

It’s a pretty special thing to have kept some of those blogging chums for nine years – and without my blog, I’m not sure it would have worked out that way.

So, I’m not sure there’s a big lesson or point to this post. Which is quite fitting because … Welcome to the story of my blog. There is no big point. It’s just life.

But it’s pretty special.

2017: my girl is definitely growing up!

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.

25 Comments

  1. 4th July 2017 / 9:08 am

    Lovely post. I can’t believe you only started 2 1/2 years before me and look how far you’ve taken blogging? I thought you’d been here at least a decade before me. I forget how new and relatively quirky blogging was when I started 6 1/2 years ago. Onwards and upwards, I look forward to another decade of reading ‘a different kind of blog’ from both of us our daughters take back their own stories. (Btw, we are reading the Narnia books together and Aslan keeps saying how he can only tell you your story, not what happened to anyone else. What you said reminded me of this).

    • 6th July 2017 / 11:45 pm

      Thanks! I did blog for 4 years before this on another blog, before I moved into parent blogging. Here’s to another decade for us both!

  2. 4th July 2017 / 10:10 am

    Awww, I love seeing Flea grow up during this post. It’s amazing what blogging can bring but I’ve always held back and tried to keep my blog as I started out, as a personal record of our lives.
    Anne recently posted..Looking for the Silver LiningMy Profile

    • 6th July 2017 / 11:44 pm

      Thanks so much Anne, it’s meant a lot to have you reading and commenting this past few years x

  3. 4th July 2017 / 11:03 am

    It is so special and the boys love looking back at the things that we have got up to. I love my blog for all the wonderful experiences it has brought my family, the amazing people that it has brought into my life and for all the opportunities he has created.

    Things have changed and developed, but I am so glad that I took that first step and started my blog.
    Jen Walshaw recently posted..20 Fun & Creative Boat Crafts for KidsMy Profile

    • 6th July 2017 / 11:44 pm

      Definitely, it’s opened up some real opportunities for so many people and that’s GREAT to see but there is a part of me that misses that support – I think I’m at a point in my parenting journey where I want more advice, but it’s less available as more bloggers are focused on being professional and ‘on brand’ and not doing anything that isn’t part of a career path.

  4. 4th July 2017 / 11:32 am

    Congratulations Sally! What a milestone. Its been lovely watching Flea go up through your blog xxx

    • 6th July 2017 / 11:43 pm

      Thanks so much Jo, and for following along the journey with us 🙂

    • 6th July 2017 / 11:42 pm

      Thanks so much Kim for reading along with us 🙂

  5. 4th July 2017 / 1:21 pm

    A lovely post and interesting to read about your experiences of bloggers as a supportive community. At the moment I’m feeling that blogging is incredibly lonely. With a few exceptions, bloggers seem to me to be very fickle, you’re either in favour or you’re utterly isolated. And at my first proper blogging conference I was quite surprised at how friendly everyone wasn’t. Perhaps that is one of the ways it has changed – although it could just be a personality thing, I’m not the most sociable person at the best of times. You’ve had some incredible experiences through your blog and it’s really inspirational to see where blogging can lead with plenty of hard work.
    Nat.x
    Plutonium Sox recently posted..What’s on West Midlands Summer holidays 2017My Profile

    • 6th July 2017 / 11:42 pm

      Oh, I’m so sorry you had that experience. Blogging can still be a supportive community but events don’t always bring out the best in people. Here’s the thing – a lot of people in blogging aren’t great socially. When it comes to events, it’s very easy for someone feeling nervous and awkward to cling to people they know, and it can come off as being snooty or cliquey. That said, it’s a lot more competitive than it used to be – but there’s more money and opportunity at stake, and human nature being what it is, and the Internet being what it is – well, things can be a bit less friendly. I do sort of miss it, if I’m honest.

  6. 4th July 2017 / 1:57 pm

    I totally get the “should I share this?” – I know I’m increasingly aware of this. Chloe was cross with me recently that there was a clip of her crying in a video we took at Go Ape, I just didn’t even think about it. But on blalance I’m glad I did, it was part of the story – she was really scared but overcame that and in years to come when she watches back that video she will remember – and that’s why I write, why I make videos. For us to remember.

    • 6th July 2017 / 11:39 pm

      Oh it’s SO much harder when they’re in senior school. You can’t share an opinion on their clothes, music, hobbies, sporting achievements. Definitely don’t write about school. Or boys. Or hormones. Or ANYTHING, without prior approval. And the irony is this is the time in my parenting journey when I feel like I’ve needed advice MOST, but can’t ask for it.

  7. 4th July 2017 / 8:51 pm

    How did you cope for the two years before I came along…..

    • 6th July 2017 / 11:37 pm

      Barely, TT. Barely.

  8. 4th July 2017 / 10:50 pm

    Fab blog, love it just the way it is. Some of us old-timers never give up, eh?! Your girl is so fabulously photogenic – and how amazingly blonde she was too! A gem 🙂
    Steph Curtis recently posted..Siblings {June 2017}My Profile

    • 6th July 2017 / 11:36 pm

      I know, her little blonde strands are almost gone now!

  9. Helen
    5th July 2017 / 10:47 am

    Such an incredible and real post, I’m not a blogger but It’s so clear to see how much hard work goes into your job but, how many benefits you also get. Your daughter is going to have the best memories of her child hood and I hope you two keep this very special and strong bond you can clearly see.

    Please don’t stop blogging 😛

    • 6th July 2017 / 11:35 pm

      Thanks so much Helen. We do definitely get a tremendous amount from the job I do, and it helps make some of the stresses and long hours worthwhile 🙂

  10. 5th July 2017 / 1:37 pm

    Quite an emotional read! This was so lovely, I loved the part about you both laying down on the grass and telling her “It’s me and you against the world”.

    • 6th July 2017 / 11:31 pm

      Aw, thanks 🙂

  11. 9th July 2017 / 9:25 am

    Loved this post and although our first steps into motherhood were very different I felt alot of the same emotions.

    • 12th July 2017 / 11:02 am

      Thanks Emma x

  12. 14th July 2017 / 9:30 am

    I love this post. It covers all the reasons why I started blogging 1 1/2 years after you did. I loved the community we all became on twitter and blogging. It was my lifeline too. It was wonderful to meet so many other like minded people and for them to be there day and night. It’s been wonderful to follow you and Flea’s life over the years. She’s a real credit to you. Here’s to many more years of blogging lovely xx

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