I can’t believe it’s a year ago that I wrote my first post for Mum in Brum. I’d just started maternity leave from my job in PR and it was the perfect time for me start blogging – which was something I’d always loved the idea of, but never got around to when working full-time.
How it all started
I remember sitting on the sofa one evening and Googling ‘how to set up a blog’. Within 30 minutes I’d chosen a name, set up a domain and had my very own little corner of the internet thanks to WordPress – I had no idea it would be so easy. I was immediately hooked. I told Mr M it would be a while before I came to bed and I stayed up to write my first couple of back-dated posts that night – I wanted a handful up on the site before I officially ‘launched it’ to my friends and family via Facebook (little did I know then the effort that really goes into promoting posts!)
Lucky for me, I’d finished work a month before Taylor was due and used that time to get Mum in Brum off the ground. I’m so glad I started it straight away as I don’t think I would’ve set it up once Taylor was born – I admit that I totally underestimated how knackered I would be and how little time I would have – especially in those first few months!
I wasn’t quite prepared for those early months if I’m honest. Taylor seemed to be super feisty and strong headed from the moment she came out, and I spent most of the first three months trying to sooth a baby who never stopped wailing. She would never go to sleep when we put her down, she wouldn’t accept a dummy and she hated her milk. I didn’t feel like I could comfort her and I certainly didn’t feel like she had that whole ‘bonding with mum’ instinct that the midwives had banged on about – she just seemed to want to get away from me and hated being held! I also had a ‘mare trying to breastfeed which I gave up after the first week which made me feel (I’m ashamed to say now) like a bit of a failure.
Obviously as a first-time mum I had no idea if any of this was normal and I admit that I could be found on a couple of occasions at 2am sat in bed with the quilt over my head, fingers in my ears – 4 hours, 3 attempted bottles, 10 cuddles, 5 swaddles, 8 lullabies, countless dummy spit outs later – shouting (in my head) ‘I JUST WANT TO GO TO SLEEP!!!!” At 11 weeks she was diagnosed with a kidney infection and had to be hospitalised for a couple of nights. As well as antibiotics for the infection the doctors also prescribed her Infant Gaviscon for reflux which made the world of difference to her feeding. Whether it was the infection or it was a coincidence, when she came out of the hospital it was like having a different baby – so much more content.
But Taylor did provide the inspiration for most of those early posts and blogging provided an outlet for me to channel my exasperation and see the humour in it all. Reading about the experiences of other parents was also a huge help and made me feel like I wasn’t such a shit mother after all – it happens to the best of us.
My blog has evolved quite a bit over the year and I’ve changed its course to incorporate more lifestyle posts over the last six months. I still love writing the parenting posts and they will always be at its core, but it seems that a happy baby (Taylor is a joy at 11 months now) makes for far less inspired writing! I love home interiors and have begun to incorporate this more heavily into my blog, alongside days out, recipes and reviews.
I have lots of aspirations for Mum in Brum and have become a little obsessed with blogging! I love everything about it and I love having something ‘for me’ that keeps my brain engaged throughout the nappy changes, nursery rhymes and hanging out the washing. I’ve recently started to take part in a lot more linkys and I’ve really seen the benefit, finding great like-minded bloggers in communities which feel ‘me’ and seeing an increase in my traffic as a result. I’m also trying to get better at social media, focusing most heavily on Twitter rather than trying to nail them all at once, which is what I’ve tried (and failed) to do in the past.
As of this month I’m officially self-employed as a freelancer (PR and copywriting) and I would love for my blog to form a decent part of my income one day. At the moment I blog as a hobby, but I secured my first sponsored post pretty early on and have collaborated with a handful of brands, and I’m keen to start getting back something for all of the effort that goes in.
Bloggers work so much harder than people realise and I personally feel that bloggers on the whole are selling themselves short. There are far too many ‘blog/brand match’ platforms out there who are setting the bar too low – I don’t think that £20 is a fair price to pay a blogger who has worked so hard to build their monthly page views, not to mention write the post in question, sort photography and promote the post on behalf of a brand. Especially when you look at overall advertising and PR budgets.
So my plan is to carry on building Mum in Brum – I know that I need to post more often but I’m still struggling to find the time since I’m limited to Taylor’s nap times (about one hour a day at the moment) and the evenings (I do also like to spend some time with Mr M who I often feel I’m deserting when tapping away on my laptop!) But I’m also determined to not start posting just for the sake of it and my key ‘blogging ethos’ is to be 100% happy with every post I publish. I do find it difficult to not constantly compare myself to other great bloggers out there who are posting every day, but my main goal for now is to just make sure that my blog is growing month on month. And to enjoy it!
So happy birthday lovely blog, I hope we celebrate many more to come! x