What is success and failure

Am I a big fat loser?

What is success and failureSo I lost the bid to defend my title from last year in the Small Business Blog award for the Mums and Dads blogging awards *sad face*.

Question is, does that make me a big fat loser?

And therefore all the rest of the people who lost and all those who didn’t get to the finals are losers too?

Sensible people would point out that last year I won, and that I won the BiBs ‘Inspire’ blogging award earlier this year.

Mean people would point out that this means I WAS a success and am no more!

 

Philosophically I don’t believe that anyone is more successful than me or you.  I believe that we are successful at what suits us most or what we need most, because that is where our focus and priorities go.

So it makes sense that the winner was the very gorgeous Fiona, who has a lovely holiday retreat for families down in cornwall where kids can meet the animals on the farm, because by winning it will help her family business and it will make sure that more families find out about this lovely place to go.  She has shown a lot of focus to use her blog as an entertaining window into her world, and good on her.

 

I wanted to win to help me with launch or version 2 of my book and the paperback version.  But due to delays I didn’t manage to hit the september deadline anyway.  I remember one of my category last year saying ‘make sure you keep that award on your desk and make the most of it’; and I REALLY did.  But this year I couldn’t have promised the same.

 

I have been feeling a bit of a failure recently as firstly with the general back pain I found myself slow and lethargic, and then as it became really painful I found myself properly depressed.  I’ve been to an Osteo, Physio, acupuncturist, massage, improved my nutrition, coaching, and aqua aerobics, all with no success.  Ironic as I used to be able fix backs worse than mine within 3 months when I first started as a healer years ago, so I’m getting very frustrated 6 months on.  Add to that loss of childcare, problems with sorting nursery settles, putting on a bit of weight due to the bad back, a reduction in available sponsored posts, some friendship shifts and failing to juggle many balls at all and I was definitely not looking ‘successful’ to me.

Myleene Klass at MADsHowever, I did get to review a holiday in the summer and two festivals, I do have my lovely new monthly slot as a ‘lifestyle correspondent’ for Radio Verulam, I got my V2 of my book edited this time and with a few days of final changes it is ready for the techie bit of publishing, and I have a couple of lovely clients sticking with my lack of availability.  Curly Headed Boy seems settled in the new school despite a slight glitch at the beginning on Yr2, and in a few weeks Little Dimples will hopefully be running into nursery happily.  Oh and the pills from the doctor have reduced the pain.  Plus I got to hug Myleene Klass at the awards ceremony and she is really sweet.

 

Statistically speaking if you can read and write in this country, you are already in the top 84% of the country.  There were 3000 blogs nominated for the MAD Blog Awards (there are over 4000 in the Tots100) and only 75 finalists, which would put me in the top 2.5% of the blogs.  I bet the bloggers that didn’t get into the top 2.5% are much better at cooking, baking, sewing, crafting and a multitude of things than I am.  I also bet that they wouldn’t give up those things just to be in the top 2.5%.

There are so many ways to measure ‘success’, and often we ignore the things that come easy to us.  For instance a friend of mine considers me a massive success because I had two kids after being told I was ‘barren’ at 19.  She pointed out to me that it wasn’t just the doctor making a mistake, but that I had put a lot of effort into healing my body, and just because it wasn’t with the specific aim of having kids, doesn’t make it any less of a success.  I wouldn’t be without them, in order to be more financially successful.

For some Mums, just getting to London and managing the fear of walking into a room full of opinionated parent bloggers shows massive success.  Plus if they aren’t currently cripppled with wicked back pain then they are leaps and bounds ahead of me!

 

So do you see what I mean?

When looking at success you need to look at physical health, friendships, kids, family, relationships, financial security, job or job choices, intelligence, mental health, ability to fight back from life’s knocks and sometimes just the ability to get through the day.  Sometimes you are actually looking at the ‘potential’ brewing within them, rather than something that is obvious.

Frankly if you love your kids, are dealing with your problems or asking for help with your problems, and are doing the best you can, then you’ve pretty much cracked it and deserve an award.  If every now and again you find a better way to do things and have a go, then that’s amazing.

Becoming a Mum has brought me back to the basics of life.  I have some big plans, but there are times as a Mum when we need to take each day as it comes and not worry about ‘how’ we will get to the end point.

Just ‘keep on swimming’ as Dory says!

(In the olden days I would be full of deeply metaphysical and philosophical insights and quotes, now I quote ‘Finding Nemo’; just about says it all heh!).

 

Here’s an award, just for being you!

 

Everyone is fab

 

Oh and by the way, thankyou to everyone who did vote for me, I really appreciate it and had a lovely night as a finalist, and thank you to the Tots100 guys for all their hard work!!

 

UPDATE!!!!!!! BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!

OMG guess what I’m a winner after all!!!  This photo of Jessie at Crazy Kitchen and Jen from Britmums/Jenography and the caption ‘What blogging events are all about’ won me a wonderful Nexus7 – thank you so much MADBlogAwards and Asus for picking me!

What bloggers are like!

 

 

 

Why I’m so chuffed to be nominated in two blogging awards (Plus I need your votes!!!)

I’m extra mega chuffed today.

Last week I found out I’d been nominated for the BiBs (BritMums Brilliance In Blogging Awards) for ‘Inspire’ AND ‘Outstanding’; which are rather wonderful things to be nominated for. (vote here)

Now I’ve found that I’m also nominated to defend my title as ‘Best Small Business Blogger’ in the MADs (Mum And Dad Blogging Awards from Tots100 and Parentdish)  AND also as  ‘Helpful Blogger’; which again are lovely things to be nominated for. (vote here) (if you want ideas for which other blogs to vote for see here).

I’ve asked people if this is ‘greedy’ to be lucky enough to be nominated in both.  But apparently it’s not, so I’m just going to enjoy the whole ride!

So what happens next?

UK Mummy Blogging AwardsNow I nag plead request politely that you also nominate me in both.

Because what happens is that they will draw up a shortlist from the nominations, which can be voted on for the final award.

(Yes, that does mean if I’m lucky enough to hit a short list I’ll be politely requesting your assistance again – but remember how much you love me, right?).

Why have two lots of awards you might ask?  Well in fact there are even more as well, but these are the ones that I have my heart set on.

What’s lovely about having two sets of awards is that when I nominated for the Bibs, I couldn’t nominated everyone that I love, because many of my favourites were up against each other.  Having the MADs means that I can now vote for them.  So this is perfect!

So if you are in the same boat and have friends in some of the sections that I’m nominated for – no worries – vote for them in one and me in the other!!!

Does it really make a difference if you win an award.  OMG yes, I have to say that for me it made the most amazing difference last year.

In between being shortlisted for the MADs and the awards ceremony, I needed to focus on something so I wrote and published my book ‘The Mummy Whisperers Six Steps To A Sparkling You and Enjoying Being A Mum‘, which is only 89p, you can read it without a Kindle, and it’s been in the Top100 for Mothering on Amazon ever since.  I think it was the nomination that gave me the confidence to get my butt in gear and get my book out there.

Its also enabled me to start monetising my blog; I’m not talking millions here, I’m talking about paying for the costs of my business and therefore taking a little bit of the strain off my shoulders so that I could keep writing.

I’m planning to release the paperback version of my book in the next couple of months, plus by the end of the year ‘The Busy Mums Guide To Losing Weight Without Diets And Bootcamps’.

Winning will help loads with my books, and therefore help me help many more mums.

So please nominate me for the Bibs in their Inspire and Outstanding categories, and for the MADs in their Small Business and Helpful categories.

And I will love you forever!!!

 

Discussion Arguing

When Is Discussion Healthy or Unhealthy?

Discussion ArguingI’m trying to work out whether I’m a fan of discussion or not.  I like a good old chinwag, and brainstorm.  But discussion?  There is a strong tendency in me to want ‘efficiency’;  So a part of me kicks in with ‘seriously, isn’t it obvious?’, but clearly it really often isn’t!

A ‘healthy’ discussion to me is where both sides learn things; either to understand other perspectives, or to shift theirs a little.  It’s where all parties are confident enough in themselves to be open to new ideas, and to not need to convince other people of their ‘right-itude’ (you know what I mean – the fact that they are more right than anyone else in the conversation).

To me an ‘unhealthy’ discussion is where no one hears each other, everyone is stuck in their ‘right-itude’ so it starts to descend quickly into a personal attack.

But I’m seeing as I write this that if there’s to be discussion, there is bound to be a bit of both ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ in it.  I wonder whether my concern over this has sometimes limited my blog, because I’ll often cover all aspects, rather than leave it to be discussed in the comments?

There have been a lot of incidents over the past few months that have got me thinking, in particular about discussion amongst Mums:

There was a big spat when someone called ‘Real Mum’ (great right-itude name) had a go at one of the newer bloggers, Mammasaurus.  It was just plain old nasty ‘Mums judging Mums’ stuff, quickly descended into bullied victim + persecutor scenario.  But if we all learnt to control our outbursts, would the mummy blogging community literally get bored?

There’s bitching behind the scenes in the mummy blogging community about ‘blagger’s as well.   A number of people commented on a post I wrote called ‘I’m a blagger blogger, fancy joining me‘, without actually reading it, just desperate to not be associated with the term; so not much discussion there.

It’s not just Mummy Bloggers, celeb Mums love to have a good go to; Sally Bercow insulted Kirstie Allsopp in the Daily Mail: which to me felt like a complete waste of time.  Plus publicly slagging off another mother, in a society where Mums aren’t regarded with deep respect anyway, is surely going to just make matters worse?

Twitter is full of spats between celeb mums taking umbrage at someone else using a different parenting technique.  Half of them ended up in the big brother house together, where they realised surprise surprise ‘she’s actually quite nice’!  Perhaps the short written word like Twitter, Facebook or blogs isn’t ideal for discussion?

There’s been some neighbourhood incidents where Mums bitterly fell out mainly due to a lack of empathy for different scenarios, ages, relationship lengths, no’s of children and financial situations.  There was absolutely no discussion which is probably why it went all tits up.  Perhaps ‘pastures new’ will be good for the Mums though?

Whereas there was another little spat in the blogging community back on Mammasaurus’s blog (she must be the lucky one heh!), which seemed to be respectfully resolved in the whole discussion/commenting process between the parties, with the slagging off commenting well controlled.  Perhaps that was a good example of where it’s wise to get things out in the open and discuss them, otherwise it could have become really gruesome in a few months time?

I experienced being involved in a blogging community discussion after launching my ‘Mums Standing Up Together‘ campaign.  I’d approached all the mummy blogging communities, but was more obviously supported by Britmums in their blogging prompts.  Blimey do these women know how to press buttons and get the discussion going.  Initially I was disconcerted (not upset) by the feeling that there were people writing about what I’d said and misunderstanding it.  After lots of tea I decided it had been useful to ensure that I was really clear about what I meant.

At home there are plenty of ‘discussions’ between me and the hubby.  Over 22yrs I’ve tried all sorts of things, like raising issues every couple of months (a bit like the big blow ups in the blogging community), or just compromising and keeping my opinions to myself which isn’t so good for my own identity.  A constant regular stream of little discussions before they blow up seems like the best compromise for us.  It’s unrealistic to not expect misunderstandings between the southern cheeriness of me and the hairy northernness of him.

Finally I saw a conversation on twitter where a mum took umbrage at Kelly Rose Bradford’s article in the Daily Mail and was pulled up for publicly criticising her (the joy of twitter!).  Kelly didn’t reply to all the nasty comments on the Daily Mail and said that ‘I wrote it purely to spark a debate‘, plus that all her family and friends understood her job.  This was a HUGE eye opener to me, because she saw the debate as the objective, whereas I see the resulting consensus or agreement to differ as the objective.  This is potentially where I’ve often been going ‘wrong’.  She didn’t feel the worry that I had about being misunderstood.  What a huge revelation!

I blogged recently about setting Life Priorities for the chinese new year, maybe I need clear ‘people priorities’, so that I can be clear on who it matters understand me?

Oh and it definitely convinced me that photo’s are massively important, because that is one bad photo of you Kelly!  Anyone fancy doing a photo shoot for me in return for a blog post, because mine looks a bit too ‘nice’ (back to the blagging!).

A Name For Our Revolution: Come and have your say

I’ve got a plan for a revolution.  First starting with mummy bloggers, and then spreading out into the world.  It’s your revolution too, so I’d like to know what you’d prefer to call it.

So what’s the idea?

  1. To strengthen the position of Mums in society.
  2. To encourage Mums to feel strong and confident in our differences
  3. To help them to appreciate that given different circumstances and different shoes, they might be different too

 

A ‘good mother’ is a mother who is herself, not trying to be someone else.  Therefore we are all going to be different, with different types of families, different backgrounds and different priorities; just plain different.  Difference is interesting.  That’s the objective; for there to be a point to you, because you are a unique you; as Ralph Waldo Emerson (a 19th century philosopher) said “Envy is ignorance, Imitation is Suicide”.  It’s ok to have a different opinion and you can still like/respect me whilst disagreeing with me.  Plus, that if I’m sure of myself, I won’t be threatened by you having a different opinion.  I won’t even need to try to convince you of it.

Mums are incredibly important to society, because we are where things start.  At the moment we don’t have a strong standing in society, and I believe it’s time to change that.  If we publicly have a go at each other and criticise each other (which is different from disagreeing respectfully), that we reduce our power and standing in society, plus waste time and energy.  I’m not suggesting that we can never bitch about someone or sound off to a good mate, as getting it out can be helpful in gaining perspective.  What I’m suggesting is to change what we do after that.

I believe that there is ‘hope for us’ as women, and we don’t have to accept the gender generalisation that a large group of women will always spend time having a go at each other.  I think that we can learn to take a breath, have a cup of tea, and imagine standing in another woman’s shoes to find the common ground; and that by doing so we’ll get the insight to stop slagging each other off.

So here are the ideas for what to call the ‘revolution’.  They’ve come from the first Mums already excited by the idea.  Now we need a name, then a badge, then for some big communities to back the initiative.  So what would you like to call it?  The only ‘rule’ is that the name doesn’t point the finger at another community e.g. Dads or non-mums and that it focusses on what we want rather than what we don’t want; so ‘Mums without judgement’ actually uses words that we don’t want.

If you have a better option, feel free to add it in the comments, otherwise let me know which ones you prefer ….

1) Standing in other Mums shoes

2) Mums stand together

3) Mums in each others shoes

4) United Mums

5) Mums Different United

6) Mums United Different (shortens to Mud)

 

Which name is the most powerful, the most inspiring?  Which one will people remember?  Please let as many people know as you can, so that we can get as much feedback as possible.

UPDATE: Tag Line and Badge

After all the fabulous comments here and at BritMums, I’ve decided to definitely go for ‘Mums Stand Together’, I’m going to grab the twitter id’s and sites for that and ‘Moms Stand Together’ just incase we need that at some point.

But you guys are right – now I need a tag line!  Plus it must take into account all the concerns – so it’s not about us all agreeing, or not debating, or all being the same.  The main objectives are

1) to help a Mum step back for a moment and think about how she would feel if she stood in the other Mums shoes – hence reduce the in fighting

2) to help us have a stronger presence in society by standing together

Hows about:

Mums Standing Together, strong in our differences?

Also, I either need someone willing to do a swap for a header and badge (I can offer an hours coaching worth £130?) or a company to sponsor someone to do it for me – any ideas?

Mummy Went Out: Blogcampuk, TalkTalk, BangsInABun, SEO, BlogDesign, Blog Communities

Do you remember what’s it’s like to do that first independent thing purely for you after a baby, that required travel or something unusual?  Or are you still at the place where your baby is too young?  Well I went out yesterday, all the way into London for a Blogging conference no less.  It wouldn’t have meant much to me years ago when I was attending meetings and training courses all over the world.  But for me yesterday it was a big deal and I was insanely excited about it.

In all honesty I wasn’t totally baby/child free as Little Dimples is still breastfeeding infrequently and I’m a rubbish expresser.  So she also got a trip to London, with the lovely irish granny that helps me look after her.  She didn’t like the trip in, and cried all the way; I don’t think she liked the people on the train and they kept getting on and off!  But she had a fab day with Nanny Bets, and then got to come up to the conference for the last couple of hours and play with another little girl a few months older.  So it wasn’t entirely child free, but I felt like it was a big adventure, so it worked for me!

TalkTalk (the sponsors) arranged it to coincide with a new home internet security product called HomeSafe which I must admit sounds brilliant.  Basically rather than have the protection and control for the kids on the computer, it’s on the wifi, so anything that uses the wifi in the house can be protected.  Not it doesn’t protect them on their phone network, but it’s a great beginning.  I’m sure you are going to see a pile of announcements about it and that all the other companies will follow suit soon.  (No, they didn’t insist I write all that in return for a free blogging conference, I thought they were pretty low key and well behaved about not pushing us to market their new product, hence I have mentioned it).

First was this gorgeous, tall, leggy brunette with a pink short dress and gorgeous heels and tights with little squares all up the side (Ok it might not sound right, but it looked fab).  What a brave woman!  She walked into a blogging conference, which was going to have a pile of different levels of geeks or mums in it, who are not known as the most glamourous set in the world, knowing that we were going to look at her and say ‘who the hell does she think she is?’.  It was a brilliant lesson for me about something that I have been thinking about in terms of being brave enough to put your head above the crowd in order for your blog to be found.  ‘Fight for every page’ she said, and she’s right.  Check out her blog <bangs and a bun> here.

Then there was a talk about creating a blogging community from Sian at Domestic Sluttery with some wise words about the difference between your friends and your community.  We had blog design ideas from Cite, and amazing technical advice from Lee Smallwood about SEO stuff, which I’m not going to share, so check out his blog and hope he writes about it!

The weird part to the day was wandering around staying at boobs trying to work out if you recognised the name of a blog.  I’m sure I missed tonnes that I wanted to meet, so a big *wave* to anyone I didn’t get to say hi to.  St Albans appears to be a prolific blogging area, so what I did get to do was meet up with the ‘naughty corner’ as we called ourselves.  If you don’t have kids and you’re reading this blog, you can’t possibly imagine the treat it is to see other Mum friends and be able to talk to them.  But that’s one of the blessings of being a Mum, you really start to appreciate the little things in life (well you actually get forced to, but it’s sort of the same thing).

So what a fab day, thanks to Sally Whittle (follow her blog, she makes me laugh every time I read it!) from Tots100 for sorting it out. Make sure you check out the Blog Camp UK website for more events, hopefully there will be loads more in future.  It’s even made me brave enough to consider ‘inconveniencing’ (if I was my own client I would so slap myself for that thought) the family and attending a course this weekend, to help me maintain my credentials.  You never know Mummy might get to go out more from now on, woohoo!