The problem all started when I found out I had become the Mumsnet Blog Network “Blog Of The Day.”
There it was, larger than life.
MY blog post, shared on the Mumsnet Blog Network page with @MumsnetBloggers #BOTD written underneath it.
My heart really did miss a beat.
- A brand new blogger with no idea what I was doing?
- Mumsnet #Blog Of The Day?
I, a nobody, had been noticed and admired by a Very Important Person.
Next thing I knew I was dancing around the kitchen, punching the air, whooping… my children must have thought there was something wrong with me. (probably no more than usual)
I gained new followers on Twitter and Facebook and received messages from strangers telling me they loved my post.
I could not believe it.
The first post I had shared with @MumsnetBloggers the week before had been shared on their homepage.
“It will have you crying with laughter.”
That was exciting enough in itself!
I was thrilled they had noticed me and my new blog.
The second post I shared with them was chosen for their #BOTD.
They then re-shared it throughout the day with various compliments:
I excitedly re-tweeted and messaged them back, raving about how happy I was:
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, Katie of Hurrah For Gin fame had actually commented on my post and said she loved the photo.
I was literally bursting with pride.
A few days later I was excitedly wondering what else the Mumsnet Blog Network team might like.
Now that we had begun this beautiful and special relationship, I did not want to let them down.
I shared an older blog post with them that might be right up their alley – “My Vagina Is A Rosebud.”
I felt certain that they would have a chuckle at that one and watched eagerly over the next few days…
Was it share-worthy, or maybe even #BOTD material?
I checked for a few days in a row and there was no sign of it.
Maybe they had missed it?
I felt slightly uneasy.
Maybe they didn’t like that post after all?
I chided myself.
Of course it wasn’t that.
They would be busy people, reading through lots of brand new blog posts, and I had gone and shared a post from a month earlier. I had probably insulted them with my laziness in not sending them some fresh material.
How could I have ever thought that would be acceptable?
Right….I had learnt my lesson and I knew I could do better.
I would not let them down after they had taken such a leap of faith by making me, a nobody, their #BOTD.
I would write a new blog post.
Not just ANY old blog post.
My BEST post yet.
I would dig deep and think of a relevant topic that loads of Mumsnetters could relate to, and write a BRILLIANT blog post.
I considered writing about my how I acquired my circle of Bought Friends by Surviving the NCT Antenatal Course.
I thought it would make a good post.
Long, but good (the story of my life).
However I would feel uncomfortable blogging about my friends without confessing what I was up to.
You see, up until that point, I had kept the blog a secret.
I could continue keeping it a secret from them, but …
What if it made Mumsnet Blog Of The Day, and one of them saw it?
I didn’t want the Bought Friends reading all about themselves online by accident.
I needed those Bought Friends, so I would need to confess.
And I had better make this post good.
- I sat down night after night – recalling the details of the course, re-living the experience, and choosing pseudonymns for my friends.
- I read and re-read it.
- I eventually confessed to my Bought Friends.
- I told them about the blog via our Bought Friends WhatsApp group.
- I sent them the post to read, and then carefully screenshotted their reactions and pasted them together into a picture to include at the end of the post.
The bags under my eyes grew steadily darker as the only time of day I could find to work on this immense project was beginning at midnight every day when Long-Suffering Husband went to bed, shaking his head at my bizarre desire to produce this One Great Post.
The house remained dark and silent around me at 3am every morning as I:
- Drew my picture of the NCT group.
- Scanned it.
- Coloured it in VERY slowly using the annoying Paint programme that comes with Windows, because I have never learnt to use anything else.
I would feel cross and resentful when Baby Girl awoke for a feed as it meant I would lose 20 minutes of precious Blog Project Time.
Even I suspected I was going a LITTLE bit too far in the time I was putting into this (totally unnecessary) project, but I was beyond listening to reason, even if that reason came from me.
I was Committed and could not make myself stop until I thought I had Done It Justice.
Eventually, it was finished.
I will never be a literary genius but I thought I had done a good job, and that it might be entertaining to anyone who had attended an NCT Antenatal Course.
I published the post.
- At first I was thrilled.
- Lots of people liked it.
- Lots of people commented on it.
- I was relieved – the hard work had paid off.
The blog post was officially a success.
Finally, I tweeted it to the Mumsnet Blog Network team over the weekend.
A senior member of the NCT strategy team commented and liked it, saying she thought it was funny.
My work was done.
I tried to imagine the Mumsnet Blog Network team reading the Epic Project.
- Perhaps they might chortle to themselves at the occasional entertaining part?
- They would no longer be offended about my sharing the older post and they would see I had put my heart and soul into this one.
- They would definitely share it one their page, surely.
- Maybe even #BOTD????
I checked their website excitedly on Monday – no mention of my post.
Oh well, they probably received loads of tweets every day. Maybe they were working their way through a backlog of great blog posts.
I checked on Tuesday – no mention of my post.
I started to feel uneasy.
They seemed to like my first post, loved my second post, but then completely ignored the following two.
Was it something I had said?
How could I be “funny” and “hilarious” one day, then invisible the next?
I went about my day and tried not to think about it.
Regularly throughout the day I absent-mindedly began wondering what the Mumsnet Blog Network Team might look like.
- How many of them were there?
- Where were they?
- Were they a virtual team taking it shifts from their own houses, or a team physically in an office together?
- Did they share out the blog posts to read and then call out cheerfully to each other across the office saying, “hey, you have GOT to read this, it is fricking HILARIOUS?”
- Did they have a vote as to who would be #BOTD or did one person just pick?
- What were they doing right now?
I created rational explanations for why I perhaps had no mention.
- Maybe one team member enjoyed my style of writing and had shared my first two posts, and she was away?
- Maybe my blog was not to the tastes of the other team members?
- Maybe in general they preferred writing on more serious topics?
I suddenly felt much more sane and a little less like a Neurotic Nutcase.
I smiled at some Mums at a playgroup who told me how great I looked and how they really didn’t know how I managed it all.
A few close friends congratulated me on how fantastic the blog was and what an amazing job I had done, and how on earth had I found the time?
I graciously accepted the praise whilst internally obsessing about why I was not Mumsnet Blog Network #BOTD.
Suddenly it hit me.
Oh God – what if NO-ONE in their (potentially imaginary) office had EVER liked the blog?
What if they had nominated me the last time out of PITY because the blog was SO BAD?
I told myself to stop being ridiculous.
- Maybe they pitied me now?
- Or maybe they were laughing at me?
- Maybe they were all there, in their pencil skirts and high heels, chuckling out loud at the fact that I had tried to send them two rubbish blog posts, and wondering how long it would take for me to take the hint and stop sending them things to read?
Go away stupid little taunting voice in my head. Someone was talking to me and a response was required.
“Oh yes, thank you, I have had my hair cut, so kind of you to say, and thank you, yes, everything has all been going rather well…
The little voice was back, drowning out the compliments:
- Or maybe…they had just tossed the post casually aside, not even bothering to read it all because it was such a poor effort, and they weren’t laughing at me in the office, no-one had even noticed or mentioned me at all?
- Maybe I was just invisible to them.
- Which would be worse … being the subject of their mockery, or being dead to them?
As I firmly suppressed the inner obsessive and kept her hidden from public view, I couldn’t shake a strange feeling of déjà vu about the whole situation.
Suddenly it hit me.
I was no longer a thirty-six year old woman with a wonderful husband, a successful career and three beautiful children.
I had been transported back in time.
I had mentally morphed back into a teenager waiting for a boy to call.
I realised why the whole situation seemed so vaguely familiar:
- Repeatedly checking my phone for messages
- Telling myself to stop thinking about him then absent-mindedly doodling my new married name
- Creating less and less plausible reasons why this potential soul mate hadn’t been in contact
- Eventually wondering desperately if it might have been something I said
- The gradual realisation that the “magical connection” may actually have been one-sided…
I was a self-absorbed youngster dreaming of marriage and children after one date with the Mumsnet Blog Network, refusing to accept that to them I had been nothing more than a One Night Stand.
Time for a SERIOUS talk to myself:
- Pull yourself together woman.
- You are thirty-six years old, not thirteen.
- You are a success in every aspect of your life.
- It does not matter about the #BOTD.
- Move on, dammit, MOVE ON.
My pep-talk worked for an hour or two, right through to when I got the three children into bed for their afternoon nap.
The novel idea of checking Twitter to see who Wednesday’s #BOTD popped into my head (for the millionth time that day).
- STOP IT, YOU CRAZY PERSON.
- IT ISN’T YOU AND IT DOESN’T MATTER.
But maybe…. Maybe the backlog was REALLY long, and they have just read my post, and they love it?
DON’T DO IT.
I put my phone further away from me, out of reach, and started tidying up the lunch-time explosion.
I could feel my phone watching me.
It was taunting me, telling me:
We both know you will give in eventually anyway, so why not just check now and get it over and done with?
The phone made a good point.
Wednesday’s #BOTD goes to….
The Unmumsy Mum.
THE UNMUMSY BLOODY MUM??????
The SAME Unmumsy Mum who has:
- THIRTY-FIVE THOUSAND Twitter Followers
- 576,927 likes on Facebook
- Not one but TWO best-selling books in the Top Ten Times Book List?
Now not only am I a teenager moping around hoping that some spotty boy will call me, doodling his name in my ring-binder and staring at him across a classroom while he pretends not to know who I am after kissing me at the school disco, I have just found out that he has chosen to ignore me because he is besotted with the stunning beauty-queen from three years above who has no idea he is even alive?
I turn on the radio.
Callum Scott’s cover of Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” is playing.
“I’m in the corner, watching you kiss her, ohh
I’m right over here, why can’t you see me, ohh
I’m giving it my all, but I’m not the girl you’re taking home, ooo
I keep dancing on my own (I keep dancing on my own)”
I turn it back off again.
Surely the Unmumsy Mum is not going to CARE if she is Mumsnet Blog of the Day?
She must have won every award going multiple times over and have retired from getting excited about such things!
Pick me, you fools!
When I get MumsNet BOTD, I dance around the kitchen! I revel in every additional follower gained! The recognition renews my faith in continuing with my fragile brand new blog endeavour, and makes me feel like it might actually be okay!
I tell myself not to rub salt into my wounds by reading The Unmumsy Mum’s Award-Winning post, but find that I cannot help myself.
- Of course, it is great.
- It makes Important Points.
- It defends Mums and their right to be honest about the reality of their daily lives.
- It also sticks it to a Miserable Evil Journalist in a balanced and articulate way.
- Her post is concise and brilliant.
- Mine is long-winded, rambling, and at best, mildy amusing in parts.
I realised that I had probably better stick to my day job.
I am giving up blogging.
(Two hours later… Pep-Talk time)
I gave myself some advice.
- Of course you can do this!
- There are nine hundred people following you on Twitter and 379 likes on Facebook.
- Some of these people will be enjoying what you write and it may make someone laugh in the middle of a rubbish day.
- There is room out there for brilliant, concise, Unmumsy Mum-style blogs to exist alongside more long-winded merely adequate blogs.
- KEEP BLOGGING.
- And if you are really no good at being concise – just write a book instead!
I give myself some final advice that I would love to have given to my teenage self.
THERE ARE PLENTY MORE FISH IN THE SEA.