Writing a Blog?

So deep breath and here goes….a blog! Blogging and vlogging appear to have given women an instrument which allows their voices to be heard, their opinions to be expressed and their knowledge to be shared. Something surely to be celebrated and rejoiced in, particularly by women themselves. There are huge numbers of blogs on fitness, health, style, beauty, interiors and motherhood. You want ideas, motivation or inspiration? You can find it and follow it. Easy!! A quick google search will unveil a multitude of glossy blogs filled with pictures of women living seemingly perfect lives. Beautiful hair and make-up is accompanied by impossibly chic outfits, and positioned inside stunning homes with their immaculate grey and white interiors. Alongside them are often beautiful children living out their charmed childhood of wooden toys, cultural excursions and wanderlust travels. As a reader we follow these blogs and want to emulate these women, we aspire to be more like them, to ascertain a little bit of that perfection for our own lives. Presumably in the belief that it will make us happier. Is this a bad thing? Maybe it will make you happier. Feeling inspired and motivated to eat a little healthier or workout more because of a health and fitness blog you follow is surely a positive thing. I would like to think that most blog writers are genuinely driven by the desire to motivate others; to share their own passion and knowledge on a subject for the benefit of their readers. So when does motivation and aspiration cross the line into expectation and pressure?
Can we just ignore the pressures on women in modern day society? Can we ignore the constant bombardment of images of perfection, which women are expected to adhere to? Or the consequences when we don’t? It seems like with so many things in the history of femininity this powerful instrument has been somewhat corrupted by these ideas and images of perfection. Femininity has been infused with ideals of beauty and image. With the constant presence of social media within our lives these images and ideas of how women should look, dress, keep their homes and raise their children have manifested themselves in our everyday existence. Women are bombarded by society’s expectations of what they should look like, act like and accomplish. There is a fine line between being inspired to do something and feeling compelled to do it. That is not to say that that we should stop trying to be the best versions of ourselves we can be. Nor should we try to change ourselves if we do fit into what society has determined the ideal and desirable type. Ultimately we are influenced by our society, by our families and our friends, by what we do, read and watch. But the things we surround ourselves with should empower us, lift us up and have a positive influence on our lives. It should not make us feel inadequate or devalue our self-worth. Does social media and blogging add to the pressure on women? In my opinion yes it definitely can do. We need to stop searching for this perfect ideal. In my experience as a woman and a mother, it simply doesn’t exist.
We need to find the strength to set our own expectations within our own lives. Aspiration is not a bad thing. Looking in the mirror and feeling good about yourself, feeling attractive and confident is a great thing. And if that is the result of another women’s blog then how fantastic, let’s celebrate that. The question is not; are blogs positive or negative? The question is where do your goals and expectations for yourself and your own life come from? Stop and ask yourself if you are aspiring to be the woman you want to be or the women you are expected to be. I am not going to preach about changing society. But I will suggest that we change our own response, something within all our power. Taking control of the ways in which we chose to respond to the expectations we feel is a powerful tool and one all women can support one another in. We can appreciate a woman’s skills, knowledge, beauty and abilities without feeling compelled to imitate her form of perfection. So let’s take responsibility as women to prevent a great tool from being used to dis-empower each other, as both bloggers and readers. Let’s utilise our ability to empower each other and importantly ourselves.
Strong women appear in many forms.

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More than a Mum: Our time.

As mums I can’t help but feel that so much of what is expected of us is centred on other people. Now that might sound stupidly obvious; it’s kind of in the job title creating and sustaining a little person. You become a mum and your whole world changes, the way you live your life is transformed. And with this your accomplishments change, your goals and ambitions receive make-overs.

5 days a week my morning goals consist of getting my 2 big boys to school 1) with all the stuff they need, 2) with makeup on my face and 3) without having shouted at them. If we are on time well that’s a bonus that deserves some kind of sweet recompense (for me not the boys, just to clarify). Nothing about my morning is centred on me, I run around the house like a headless chicken getting the boys ready. The morning chaos is regularly injected with exclaims of “Fin have you got your homework” and “Eb if your still naked there’s going to be trouble!” I chose my breakfast based on which cereal I can consume quickest. Even putting on makeup I do for the good of others; children are only 4 when they start primary school; my make-up free face first thing in the morning will terrify them!!

I’m not moaning, I don’t believe you can be a mother without making sacrifices and putting your children first. But when you realise that you never get to put yourself first or never allow yourself the time to pursue your own goals then there’s a problem. Our own ambitions can’t simple disappear because we become mums; they can be postponed or adapted yes, but they shouldn’t vanish. And they don’t have to be momentous goals either, I’m not talking about starting a company, simply doing something that you want to, something for yourself. That could be some form of studying, having a cuppa with a friend or getting your hair done at an actual hairdressers. Your goals shouldn’t be set by anyone else’s bench mark but your own. It’s about empowering yourself and allowing you that time to achieve something simply because you want to.

I often find myself getting pissed-off at Rich (the hubby) because he prioritises the things he wants to get done. But in reality I don’t and that’s my own fault not his. If as mums we don’t make ourselves a priority how can we expect those around us to. We tend to feel a great deal of obligation to our children, our spouses, wider family and friends and our homes. Yet we should remember that we also have an obligation to ourselves, and that should take precedence at times. And that in itself is such an important lesson for our children; to show our daughters that becoming a mother doesn’t mean you sacrifice your own life, your own dreams and goals. Equally our sons should see their mothers as strong, empowered women, so that they grow up to respect and appreciate the role of women as mothers. So that as men they are able to support and aid their own spouses in balancing motherhood with their own aspirations.

We are more than just mums and we are allowed to be.