The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

23rd October 2018

Start a blog to save your mental health - three parents share all

The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

23rd October 2018

The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

23rd October 2018

RECEIVING GIFTS

Sophie Mei Lan lives in West Yorkshire with her husband and their two daughters, Jasmine, five, and Arianna, two. She blogs at MamaMei.co.uk.

‘I started my own human rights magazine whilst at university. I then trained as a journalist and worked freelance. When I had children I used my skills to blog and vlog about attachment parenting, mental health, food and fitness.

It’s hard to plan blogging around the unpredictable nature and timings of kids. I try and schedule my days but this often means lying in bed writing and editing on my phone whilst I feed the kids to sleep.

I write very openly about suffering from a range of severe mental health problems and I always panic when publishing those posts. But it is always those posts that are the most rewarding as I’ve had so many women come forward and say “you represent me, thank you for sharing and educating people.” That’s the best gift I could receive from the blog.

I am also very thankful for earning a living through vlogging and blogging because I absolutely love it and a lot of it involves my family which is the dream deal for me.

START YOUR OWN

  1. FIND YOUR BEST TIME Work at the time that suits you best. My husband works best at night whereas I’m a morning person so I prefer to get up early and do my work before the kids wake.
  2. MAKE A TIMETABLE As parents we tend to ignore our own needs and desires. But you wouldn’t be you without your passion so work out a time table and make time for it.
  3. GO OUTSIDE Try hot desking if you work from home. I get so distracted at home as there’s always household chores to be done. So when I need to write or edit, I try find a nice cafe or pub to do it in so I am not distracted. You can also hot desk at co-operative working spaces too if you want somewhere more official and a work postal address. Find a place that works for you and that you can’t be interrupted.

MY IDEAL WORKSPACE
I love sitting in a quiet coffee shop with plug sockets and comfy chairs. Ideally though I’d have a slick studio/office at home but I share a box room office with my husband who also works from home a lot.

SHARING STORIES

Siani Driver lives in the Malvern Hills, Worcs with fiance Tom, two daughters, Rosie and Daisy, three chickens, cat and a dog. She loves writing and started her blog survivormumblog.wordpress.com at the beginning of her mental health recovery journey.

‘It can be challenging to find time to write, with two young children and a household to maintain, and I also run a mother’s support group, have a craft business, write for our local paper, and have recently got a part-time job as a social media admin for a camping and outdoor company. Writing content is a large part of my daily life; luckily, it’s the kind of thing that can be done anywhere and doesn’t require an office as such. Much of my writing is done either at night while breastfeeding, on my smartphone, during naptimes, or on car journeys. Any opportunity that arises where I can shift my focus from the babies to my writing, I take it. My ideal writing space would be in my hammock in the garden, by my pond, with my flowers, plants and Buddha statue! This rarely happens - that’s life with kids. I treasure it when it does, though.

The biggest reward I’ve experienced from writing is the response from the readers. Especially, when I blogged about stopping contact with my own toxic and abusive mother, it resonated strongly with many other women who had suffered or were suffering the same issues. The fact that my experiences have the power to help others aid my own healing process, my life’s experiences haven’t been in vain if they can help others.

START YOUR OWN

  1. WRITE IT OUT I’d advise anyone thinking of writing to just do it - even if you’re not ready for anyone to read it, just get the words out of your head and onto paper. It’s SO therapeutic. And you CAN find the time - I write in the bath, in the car, at naptimes, after the girls are in bed.
  2. MAKE SPACE If you do have the space for a desk, it’s a really good form of self-care to carve out a little literal space and time in the day to squirrel yourself away in peace. I have a corner in our conservatory where I keep a clear desk, a comfy chair and my com-puter, and when I can, I sit there and hammer away at the keyboard with the door open onto the patio, where the scent of the roses wafts in, a cup of tea at the ready. Half the time, I’ll be rocking a pram with one foot, or have a preschooler on my knee, but needs must!
  3. GET PASSIONATE I really believe that the best writing comes from a genuine passion, so find what puts fire in your belly and start with that. Parenting, mental health, the outdoors, and social injustice/politics are my main topics.

THE RIGHT PLATFORM
Wordpress is an excellent place to start as you can set up a blog for free and share it wherever you wish (or if you want to keep it private or anonymous, you can do that too). Find me on [email protected] or @worcestermums

FINDING TIME

Katy Murray lives in a small, rural community with her four children, aged seven, five, two and four months. She started blogging at soilandsparklesblog.wordpress.com

after the birth of her first child to help combat postnatal depression.

‘Since I learnt to write, I have always kept journals. Blogging was the next logical step. I experienced postnatal depression after having my first daughter and suffered in silence for over a year. When I did finally tell people how I was feeling, I was shocked to hear how many other mums could relate and had been through similar things. Since then I have continued to speak openly and blog about mental health. I hope that through my blog, I can remove some of the stigma that still exists around mental health issues.

I also blog about home educating because I get excited about how my children learn and develop and I wanted to record our journey. Home education is still shrouded in mystery - a lot of people don’t even realise that it is legal, and often imagine that it means hours confined to a desk with your child. I feel like it is important to make it more visible, and hope that my readers will see that home education is actually very accessible, and great fun!

It is challenging to make time to write - I constantly have fragments of sentences swirling around in my head that I would love to capture and expand on, but the demands of caring for four young children, plus running a home and contributing to the family business mean that writing usually takes a backseat. There is always something to do which seems more urgent than blogging! It never takes priority over my children’s needs - but often choosing to write means that the dishes will be undone or the toys will stay on the floor a little longer!

It has been an incredible gift and honour to receive messages from my blog from mums who are feeling overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood, who were perhaps feeling guilty and isolated. I love to know that I am contributing to a more realistic dialogue around what it means to be a mother in our culture.

START YOUR OWN

  1. SET YOUR PRIORITIES Prioritise whatever makes you a happier person and happier parent. Whether that means a regular yoga class, time with friends or some time alone with a notebook, if it leaves you feeling recharged, refreshed and connected, it is worth making time for.
  2. FIND SPACE See the spaces in your day. It’s easy to think you don’t have time but practicing mindful-ness helped me to notice all those little snatches of time which I did have. I rarely get to write a whole blog post in one sitting, but in lots of little spaces it is possible to make notes of thoughts, come back and develop them and at some point it will come together.

MY IDEAL WORKSPACE
A cosy corner in an independent coffee shop, alone with my iPad and something tasty! It does happen occasionally, but more often I am on the sofa nursing the baby, or in the garden whilst watching the children play.

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