Archive for the 'Blogging' Category

Mummy Blogging – why would you want to share your personal life online?

This was a comment made by a friend recently.  I blogged recently about setting up a single parent network at work and how my sharing information about myself in the email I’ve sent around to try and get members has provided an amazing response.  That’s why you share your personal life online.  Or certainly why I do it.  It’s partly because I want to try and help others.  If I put some of my learning out there then who knows, it might “do someone a turn” as my mum would say. 

Also it’s about building networks, making friends, meeting people in a similar situation.  You can’t do either without giving some information away to build your credibility, to show you are “in” the situation and not someone commenting off the top of your head.

There are risks though.  Anyone blogging about their personal life needs to be aware of the full potential impact of their actions.  I have shared facts, but very limited ones, about my divorce and what led to it, what I did in the aftermath to move on and learn to cope.  That’s perhaps more than I’ve needed to share but it’s an amount that I am comfortable with.  Giving some thought to what your comfort levels are is important.  It can be easy to get caught up in the emotion of a moment and write a post that you’ll later regret.  To that end I generally blog about a week in advance so I have the chance to revisit posts before they go live.  Just in case.

I am also quite ready to keep this blog under wraps from my daughter.  I have no aspirations nor the talent to become an uber blogger and so I don’t think this is unachievable.  Moderated comments also mean I can delete my name if any of my friends who occasionally visit the blog forget about my desire for anonymity and include it in a comment.

It’s also about talking to your nearest and dearest about what they are comfortable with.  My daughter is too young at a wee 19 months to have a ‘right of reply’ to anything I say.  My ex husband too has no knowledge of this and cannot respond to any comments I make either.  So I do limit what I say about them directly to the most minimum of facts I feel 1000% comfortable and confident making due to the fact they are, well, facts!  But also limited to what the minimum is I feel I need in order to tell my story and share my learnings authentically.

Despite my efforts to try and be as thoughtful as I could before doing all of this though, one person I didn’t check in with was my recent ex boyfriend.  I didn’t stop to consider whether he reads blogs, understands them or the varied and colourful motives of their authors.  I didn’t ask if he was comfortable with appearing on the blog in any form.  Inevitably this caused a few stressful conversations which I hold my hands up were totally my fault.  It’s easy to forget that not everyone inhabits the weird, wired and wonderful online world as much as some of us do.

We both sat down and had an honest, frank but direct conversation about what our worries and fears are.  I was defensive at first.  I’m enjoying this so much I didn’t want anything to threaten it.  But he explained he was a private person and didn’t want his metaphoricals pulled down in public as he learnt how to be in a relationship with a single parent.  We quickly agreed some ground rules.  He didn’t want to feature here.  I respect that totally and that won’t change now we’re apart. 

Acknowledgement to  Salvatore Vuono for use of the photo.

Mother Appeaser – new home of Organised Chaos blog

Welcome to the new home of Organised Chaos blog.  All my previous posts are still in tact but this new blog gives me the blissful opportunity to have a user name, blog url, twitter and email account that are all of the same name.  Here’s what you might need to / want to do now:

  • If you are subscribing to me by RSS please update your feed with the new feed url.
  • If you are subscribing to me by email please use the link in the right hand side of this blog to update your subscription
  • If you want to you can now follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/motherappeaser
  • If you need to you can email me at motherappeaser@googlemail.com

Hurrah!  So why ‘Mother Appeaser’?  It’s a great play on words suggested by someone very dear to me which reflects the challenges of my life as mum, ex-wife, employee, girlfriend, sister, friend, daugther.  You’ll see what I mean when you look at the dictionary definition of ‘appease’:

1. to bring to a state of peace, quiet, ease, calm, or contentment; pacify; soothe. 
2. to satisfy, allay, or relieve; assuage: The fruit appeased his hunger.
3. to yield, concede to, pacify or attempt to pacify the belligerent demands of (a nation, group, person, etc.) in a conciliatory effort, sometimes at the expense of justice or other principles.

It also reflects what I’m hoping to achieve with this blog.  Firstly I’m trying to bring a state of peace and calm to myself as I reflect on and share my journey as a working single mum.  Secondly it satisfies my desire to write – I adore writing and the process of reflecting on my thoughts, I love the sense of creating something. 

Finally (with tongue ever so slightly in cheek) it gives me a little place to rant, rave and hopefully learn from reflecting on what I’m doing (or not doing!) to “pacify” the demands placed on me by certain people (I’m divorced and I work – you can guess who these people might be) which I often find means I have to sacrifice my own principles in the name of peace and progress.

Et voila.  Right, on with the important stuff.  To blog!

Social networking for introverts

On why being an introvert is great and how to think about networking in the context of being a shy person.  It’s stick men informal presentation is gorgeous.  Wonderful.  Go enjoy!

Goodbye Facebook

Facebook was a lifeline to me during my maternity leave in 2009 during which I filed for divorce and was experiencing huge personal trauma as a result.  In the few moments when I was awake and munchkin was asleep it enabled me to reconnect with old friends and stayed connected to current friends and colleagues. 

In a sick kind of way too I used the self imposed need to make status updates as a way to force me get out, stop feeling sorry for myself and do interesting and challenging things.  Otherwise my status would perpetually be ‘Today I am changing nappies and grieving the demise of my marriage’ followed by ‘Today I am changing some more nappies and continuing to cry more than my bubba’. 

Yes it’s narcissm, yes it’s extrovertism.  It was almost like I wanted to prove to my Facebook world that becoming a single parent at 5 months pregnant and losing your husband to someone else all at the same time was not going to beat me.  It didn’t, I’m happy to say, and on reflection is was my own determination to not be beaten and to hold it together for munchkin that did the trick.

However nearly 2 years on and I’ve reached a sufficient state of together-ness to feel able to start blogging again and so got wondering what it’s going to do to my relationship with my Facebook community.  I wasn’t on Facebook when I used to blog so this is new territory.  My conclusion was that I don’t feel I have the energy to maintain a presence on both.  What with my grand designs for progressing my self sufficiency I’ll decided to leave my profile on Facebook but not to circulate in that particular cocktail party lounge much longer.

What happened when I changed my Facebook status to say ‘bye bye, I’m growing vegetables, I’ll be in my shed and so not on here’ (or words to that effect) was quite interesting.  I had a few bye bye’s from those who ‘got it’.  But I don’t think some are taking it seriously.  The more habitual facebookers have taken to emailing me stuff to try and entice me back on there.  Which I am studiously ignoring 🙂 

Two things happened recently that also secured my feelings on this.  I recently attended the gorgeous wedding of a dear friend and bumped into a mutual colleague there who had left our organisation well over a year earlier.  We exchanged hello’s and she said, “I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything that’s gone on in your life because of Facebook”.  I shifted uncomfortably and blushed.  I said, “And I see you’re still travelling regularly”.  “Oh no”, she said, “I’ve stopped putting a lot of my holiday snaps on Facebook as people were starting to make comments that travelling was all I do.” 

So there are two further examples of Facebook driving behaviour rather than the other way around.  I now don’t think that’s healthy. Or cool.  And yes I used to be one of the women who worried about wearing a different outfit to every social engagement that might end up on Facebook so I’m not snapped in the same dress twice.

Secondly I had a wonderfully, deliciously random ‘sent from my iphone’ email from a dear school friend who lives in Exeter.  I haven’t seen her in 8 years and she was unexpectedly in London recently and wondered if I was free for lunch.  She’s not on Facebook and we don’t exchange emails much or ever speak on the phone as we are pathologically crap at staying in touch.  Anyway over lunch the conversation was hell for leather.  An hour and a half of high energy, excited catching up ending with promises that we neither should be as rubbish in future and plans being hatched for other opportunities to meet in London when we can.

I think it’s pretty obvious which type of conversation I preferred.  Ok.  Feels like the grieving process for Facebook should start now but my delicious old flame, my blog, is back in my life so you won’t see me wearing black for dear old Facebook.

Single parenting: being creative every day / fruit will inherit the universe

This post from Kharold in Treehouse had me snorting with laughter so thought I’d share here.  Go read and I hope you enjoy but it raises an interesting point about the benefit of recording your thoughts, whether that’s via a blog or notebook. 

I read a lot of single parenting posts communicating fear of the speed of life when you’re on your own and looking after one or more small people.  I couldn’t agree more and up up until I started blogging again I was getting increasingly scared about how my daughter’s life was zipping away.  I wasn’t feeling on top of things any more in terms of anticipating next milestones to be aware of, have strategies for and generally just noticing things about how she was developing.

For me, the simple act of grinding back into action with blogging has been enough of a discipline to slow me right down and get me thinking more and noticing more about what’s going on around me.  It’s been like that moment of bliss in the goold old days when you went from snow on your screen to finally getting tuned in to the channel you want to watch.  (Although lately here in the UK all we seem to have is snow on our screens even with a perfectly digital clear BBC One reception – we’ve had enough winterwonderland now, thanks!)

Yet wearing your undies on the outside (i.e. blogging) is not for everyone and so a notebook or diary is a great alternative.  In fact many creative writing books will tell you to truly engage the creative side of your brain nothing beats physically picking up a pencil and putting it to paper as opposed to typing.

Anyway with a wonderful end to her blog post Kharold mentions a note book that she bought that says on the front  “Fruit Train: Welcome to the country of the fruit. What do you see in this fruit? It is a train that carries your dream”.  I love it.  Clearly fruit are taking over the world!

British Mummy Bloggers

I recently found British Mummy Bloggers so thought I’d give them a plug here.  Seems like a very welcoming and fun community with a series of groups you can join too.  I’ve just signed up for the ‘Parents of Under 5’s and ‘Working Mum’s’ and also a lone parenting one.

Happy sigh 🙂

Can you tell me how to weird out?

I love this post from Tom Peters, ‘Success in Five Words.  Success in Ninteteen Words‘ and his suggestion:

“Weird-out. (Multiple, unusual sources of information and feedback.)”

As part of my re-entry to the blogosphere and recent upgrading to vista (meaning RSS feeds delivered straight to my inbox) I’ve fired up feeds to many of the KM bloggers I used to follow.  However I don’t want to constrain my thinking so am considering ways I can introduce some randomness and serendipity into my online reading. 

I’d be interested to hear what techniques other people use to introduce unusual sources of information to their lives. I’ve set up google alerts on phrases that relate to my interests for this blog but what else?   Thinking about my interest in music, I’m a great fan of reading people’s lists on Amazon as its provided me with lots of ideas for new CDs to buy.  As an aside I think I may be in danger of building the world’s longest wish list, as any member of my family will testify.  That is perhaps a constraining approach though as you normally end up staying within a particular genre.  Same with the google alerts and reading the same blogs regularly.

All suggestions gratefully received!


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