On the 26th of October, I received this comment on one of my blog posts:
As I am sure many of my blogging colleagues, and, in fact, anyone with a social media account can understand, seeing an unexpectedly cruel and pejorative comment from an anonymous internet commenter can knock you for six.
It did me. I cried.
And then I started writing this.
There is now more sponsored content on Someone’s Mum, that’s true, and I want to explain my reasons.
In September, something happened that has not happened to me since I left university – I quit my job without a new one lined-up. The reasons for this are complicated and painful, but if you have read my post ‘Teaching: a family unfriendly profession’ and ‘Teaching: a break-up letter’ then you may have some idea.
Last year, I was struggling desperately to cope with a new baby, a new autism diagnosis for my three-year-old son and a career that made demands I found impossible to meet. I was treated for anxiety with medication and therapy.
I was despairing and broken. There was no way to continue and remain happy, whole.
But I had a blog that was doing extremely well. Offers were flooding in every day for things to review, content to write for others. So I handed in my notice, and for six months I worked incredibly hard. I built my social media, I developed contacts, I made sure I was self-hosted and built my DA and my Tots 100 ranking. Many may not know what these things are, but for a blogger they are some of the ways that success can be measured. I also measured my success by the wonderful and supportive comments I saw every day.
And I took a deep, deep breath (because taking risks is not something that comes easily to me) and I started blogging as a career.
I can stay at home with the children. I have more time to support them, play with them. I can support my husband more, who is still a teacher and must cope with the demands that I remember so well.
It’s tough. I don’t know if we will make the mortgage money one week to the next. But I LOVE writing (even the sponsored content – I would write about anything, all day. It is my passion), I LOVE staying at home with my children in these fleeting years, when they need me the most. I LOVE supporting my son more and being able to take him to his autism therapies and assessments without a SHRED of guilt that I have left year 11 with cover work.
I love not feeling sick with remorse because I have barely seen my children for forty-eight hours straight. I love NEVER having to let someone else look after my poorly babies ever again.
But most of all, I love being happy. I love being me. I love discarding the awful sense of dread and anxiety that has pervaded my every waking moment for five years.
For this new lease of life to be possible, I have taken on more sponsored content and reviews. I don’t make much. But is it working. Just.
In truth, I am writing just as many personal posts as I was before. It looks like there are fewer, but that’s just because I am writing a lot more in general. As writing is now my only career, my only income, of course this would be true.
I will not apologise for writing sponsored content. It has done something wonderful for me, something I never thought could happen in those dark, dark months over the last few years: it has made me happy in all areas of my life.
Work. Family. Creativity. Relationships.
Therefore, if you are a genuine supporter of my blog, if you have read my posts and felt moved or inspired, I would like to ask for your continued support. If I write about something that you are not interested in, it is easy to avoid that content.
But rather than condemn me for making a living by doing something I love, just move past those posts and read the ones you find interesting – they are still there.
And to anyone else thinking of criticising another, in the real world or the virtual, just think for a second before you do. Do you know the whole story? It is helpful? Is it kind? Are your motivations for commenting unselfish?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, then maybe consider keeping quiet.