Each time I blog on littleeandbean I think: ooh, I’ve not been here for a while. My elusiveness isn’t out of habit, or coincidence. It’s not even about how crazy-busy I am. It’s a little bit about me being fickle, and quite a lot about me moving on.
I started blogging as a way to record life with the boys. In the heady newborn days and the months where every new ‘first’ felt like it might blow me away, this blog was a gift. I adore the record I’ve created here and I’ll keep adding to it for as long as it feels right, but it will be intermittent (as it has been for a while), because my writing has changed.
The reason I’m on here less is partly to do with Little E getting older. He’ll start school this year. He’s a little boy. And he’s so full of ideas and desires and questions that it’s made me realise how carefully I need to tread when sharing his life online. As a passionate feminist I spend a lot of time thinking about autonomy, particularly about how girls and women have their independence and self-governance stripped from them. But it dawned on me recently that I also need to be invested in the autonomy of my boys. How and what I communicate has implications for them, and (as I see it) part of my role as a mother is to allow my children to choose how to present themselves in the world. The fact is it was never their choice to be written about here, which is why I now blog more about me than them.
Another reason why my mummy-blogging* has gone off the boil is because writing about parenting doesn’t capture my imagination the way it used to. I still have beautiful moments with Little E and Bean that I want to remember forever, but I don’t have the time, or feel the need, to share them the way I previously have. The posts I have darting around in my head, the ones I’m desperate to make real, are for my other blog, a space that I intentionally separated from Little E and Bean. It’s where I write about women’s rights and feminism, where I reflect on making it out the other side of oppressive sexism, and where I offer a narrative that seems to be helping women and girls faced with similar situations to the one I was in.
* I’m really not so sure about the term ‘mummy-blogger’ anymore (Annie got me thinking about it after commenting on my last post…which reminds me, I still haven’t replied to my comments. I. Am. Rubbish) because:
1. I feel restricted by it. I’m not just a mummy-blogger. Yes, I’m a mummy and a blogger, but I’m also a feminist and a blogger, a teacher and a blogger, a woman and a blogger. I don’t think my mother identity is necessarily more valuable than the other parts of me.
2. The word ‘mummy’ is often used to trivialise and patronise mothers. I don’t want to be part of that.
3. I could go on. Oh how I could go on. Actually this asterisked bit should totally be another blog post one day.
I do lots of gushing about blogging (because I LOVE it), but my experience hasn’t been entirely positive – there are people who would rather I didn’t share my thoughts on RMR. I’ve had online trolls and exasperated comments from a family member. And despite the fact that it’s helped me heal and grow and learn after a painful experience, my blog often generates uncomfortable silences from the people who matter to me. And then there are the several members of my family who have disappeared from my life altogether since I started writing about my past. But thankfully my creative process is no longer about searching for validation or catharsis. I write because I know my truth counts, because it helps others, and because each time a woman writes to say “I’ve been there”, or “I’m living through this too, and your words are helping” I know it’s worth any judgement.
So, littleeandbean, my ‘mummy-blog’, was a seed of creativity that’s grown into something I never anticipated. It’s directed me to a place where I feel stronger but also a little terrified, and not just because of the judgement and hostility. It’s taught me that parenting and adulthood are full of choices I should be proud of. It’s taught to make no apologies for the spaces within which I talk. It’s taught me about confidence and creativity. And now, what’s unfolding away from the pages of my ‘mummy-blog’ is teaching me that I’m probably capable of more than I realised.
I’ll be back at some point, in-between navigating the new stuff. In the meantime, here are the boys I love so much.