A year of engagement

This is my 100th blog-post. And tomorrow is New Year’s Eve.

So I’m thinking that it might be OK for me to say something about that – about my first year of blogging.

For me, 2013 has been a year of engagement. Not the diamond-ring type – that was a decade ago (though I wouldn’t say no to something sparkly for an upcoming ten-year-anniversary). I mean engagement with the wider world outside my own bubble.

SAMSUNGFor the five years prior to this one, I was busy with three all-consuming, worth-every-second babies.

Before that, I was busy with work and weddings and travelling and estate-agents and couches and tiles.

This year, with my youngest baby no longer a newborn, and having adjusted back to office life, it felt like everything was finally settling into a more permanent routine and that there might be space to try something new. I just wasn’t sure what that would be.

I have a very distinct memory of one particular evening driving home from work with my husband; driving along the coast road, looking out at the sea near Sandymount. It was during that second half of February when for the first time it isn’t quite dark leaving work. We were listening to the radio – to The Last Word I think. There was a piece about women on boards and gender quotas, and I was texting the program, but feeling frustrated – it didn’t feel like really being part of the debate.

I remember turning to my husband and telling him that I wanted to somehow be involved in the conversation, not just this one, other conversations too – I didn’t know who I wanted to talk to or how, or even what I really meant, but I wanted to be able to say what I was thinking; to feel a part of something; to feel engaged.

I searched online for a group or a forum – somewhere to chat about being a parent, being a mother who works outside the home, being a woman in the workplace. Perhaps even somewhere to find role models who are making it work.

I wasn’t necessarily seeking mothers who are hugely career driven to the exclusion of all else; mothers who never have a moment of self-doubt. I have self-doubt – I have occasional days when I can’t breathe with guilt – particularly when something goes wrong with the kids and I worry that it’s because I go out to work.  But I also love my job – I get a lot of fulfillment from it, and I want to progress; maybe not so much now – now is about maintaining, but when the kids are older.

And I believe that there are thousands of women in Ireland who feel like this – women who are neither at one end of the working mother spectrum or the other, but want to feel fulfilled at work while not letting their kids down. Finding a balance.

Picture 337

After that car journey in February, I started to search for such a group or forum online but found none. It took me a few more weeks and a walk on Dun Laoghaire pier to clear the cobwebs, and then pluck up the courage to start a blog.

And it worked – it was the outlet I needed; a space to express an opinion, a medium to vent, a forum to discuss, a means to engage.

And it’s made me very, very happy.

Wishing you and yours all good things for 2014.

***

Please forgive this navel-gazing; normal blog-posts about parenting disasters and interviews with mothers will resume shortly 🙂

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19 thoughts on “A year of engagement”

  1. Congratulations on your 100th post! And how nice to couple it with the end of the year. I’m delighted that your blog has brought you the dialogue you were looking for – I hope there’ll be lots more to come.
    Christine recently posted…SecretsMy Profile

    1. Thanks Christine! It was good timing but it did mean I had to hold off publishing any posts all week, to make it work out just so 🙂

  2. Wow, you are 100 posts-old!!!! You did it AND HOW! You are a natural writer and blogger. Happy new year, all the best for further dialogue and navel-gazing in 2014.

    1. I’m just glad you found me when you did Joanna, or I’d still be in the ether, talking to myself! Thanks a million and happy new year to you

    1. Thanks Gwen – and you do do something for yourself – you are writing for magazines as well as writing the blog.
      I think for lots of people work is an outlet that could also be filled by doing something creative, like you do. I think we all just need “something”.
      Happy new year to Wonderful Wagon and her lovely boys!

  3. Congratulations on a great blog-year! I managed only one in 2013, as our third little person arrived in May there was little or no “annatime” and I’m back to work full time on Thursday… I’ve really been enjoying your posts and look forward to reading them in the coming weeks when I know they will resonate even more as I return to the plate spinning world of employee and motherhood. Happy New Year Xxx

    1. Thanks Anna and best of luck with your return to work! I’m sure the first few weeks won’t be a piece of cake but after that it’ll all fall into place as it always does. And sure if one or two of the plates fall in the meantime, what harm 🙂

  4. Congratulations ! You are an excellent writer and I enjoy reading your posts. They promote a strong feeling of solidarity amongst women, particularly Mums.
    Happy New Year!

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