This blog post started life as ’20 ways to work from home’ which will no doubt follow at somepoint but my mind wandered off early midway through the first draft veering into my blogging story before diverting into what our current Groundhog days look like during lockdown.
I’d thought I’d share it rather than let it languish in Drafts because sometimes veering off plan is the best way to live- and write, right!
I’ve spent the majority of a decade working from home, setting up this blog on a whim back in 2010 without a dot of expectation or forsight it would, or even, could, become my day job (no one in the UK was a professional blogger back when I went live on November 10th 2010).
Blogging was an off-loading of epic energetic proportions after 10 long and low months of wrestling with a traumatic birth. I was near combustion-point on the day I launched and will be forever indebted to this space that allowed me to create.
I broke when I gave birth, unravelling, losing my old self, squeezing into the version of a mother I thought I should be, the person who works like she doesn’t parent and parents like she doesn’t work.
Heading back on set when Oliver turned 1 reminded me of quite how limiting the traditional film and TV industry is. The ads I directed worked well enough but I was split in two, spending half my time in Manchester away from my boy, feeling physical pain to be apart from him. It just wasn’t a sustainable way to work. Or live.
This blog bagan to piece me back together from day 1. It shone a light on who I was before my son, and year, and even days on, has stretched me. I feel elastic.
As a mother. As a creative.
The blog, like myself is shaped by mine and others’ input: you guys, my therapist, my kids, society. I found a community thanks to my blog. I found lifelong friends.
The timing coincided (totally by accident), with the advent of digital storytelling as we know it: blogs, vlogs, YouTube channels and social media, a tech turning point, if you like. I’d accidentally found myself at its dawn, ahead of the curve, a headstart in the digital field with a platform I could share and a radical way to earn around my kid.
I remember how shocked I felt receiving that first request to pay me for a campaign. The world of work had changed. Everything I knew about how to work had been disrupted. The world, and my world was changing.
I could bash out blog posts while my baby slept on my chest. I didn’t need to be away from my son to earn. It was a dream come true. I felt like I’d discovered the magical elixir of balancing work and motherhood. It felt and still feels so precious, fleeting and too good to be true, like it might all slip between my fingers.
It hasn’t yet.
It’s lasted 10 whole years. The dream undoubtedly has evolved into episodic nightmares at times but like parenting, the good outweighs the back. The joy, the love, the connection and camaderie always bring me back here. However hurtful the trolling, however much I entangle myself in knots of self-doubt, I find my way back.
My family archive lives here, it’s my home, a portrait and curation of my most important and most defining work: motherhood.
…This currently tricky, testing period homeschooling my 10 and 7 year old while working isn’t easy. It’s a chaotic world for many of us (and I know we’re the lucky ones). I’m once again navigating who I am as a mother as how my role is changing. They want more from me and I need to keep track of myself and my moods.
Our days veer between rows over too much tech time and not enough work to skipping around Windsor counting butterflies in the sunshine before snuggles on the sofa watching movies from my own childhood, projected onto the lounge wall as we pretend we own a private cinema.
I breathe in my boys’ honey-scented skin as they sleep, kissing them over and double checking they’re breathing as I always have done.
My children still rely on me for their survival to some extent and I them.
They can rustle up a mean sandwich for themselves these days so their reliance on me is not as fierce as when they yearned for my milk as babies but they hungrily crave and chase my attention all day long. They require my care and guidance in more complex ways than ever before. They want to know all that I know, they’re desperate to understand the way the world works: scientifically, emotionally.. they want to understand relationships and life and death, why some people hurt one another and others die.
Sometimes, I have no definitive answers. I don’t have all the answers.
Sometimes, it’s my children who teach me more than I can teach them.
So together, we’re learning. Now more than ever.
P.S I’ve launched several courses under The Working Mother’s Academy.
Check out my first course which is only $9: The Confidence To Go For It-Build A Business From Your Kitchen Table.
(T-Shirt a gift from Joanie Clothing).