Last month I celebrated the amazing power of women when they join forces to make and create together and I was very fortunate to have my hand held online by super blogger Emily of MummyLimited. Her writing has been a huge source of nourishment for me since discovering her online home and so I'm overjoyed to bring you a guest post that speaks very close to my heart indeed.
"I wrote a post recently about a campaign to get us all to unplug for the day, National Unplugging Day. We are so often told to switch off and unplug. That our slavish devotion to electronic devices is bad for us and as a direct result, bad for our children. I get it, I really do. The picture of us not talking to each other and ignoring our children is a tempting one to believe. The Internet is portrayed as a dark and scary place, somewhere that takes us away from our real lives and makes us look inward not out. As someone who has been blogging for over five years and loves social media, for me, this couldn't be further from the truth.
It is easy to judge someone when you observe a snippet of their day. If you could see me now, you would see a woman tapping on her phone, while her children play in the park. I look as though I'm ignoring them, but I am near, I can hear them, I am still listening and looking up, as I write. What they don't see is the 6am wake up, the refereeing of brotherly squabbles, the help with a board game, the scooting with my 4 year old, as he took me on an 'adventure'. They won't see the ice cream cones I will make once we're home or the solo bedtime I will do, or finally, after being on mum duty for 13 hours already, the hour or more I will spend feeding, rocking and soothing my baby to sleep. None of this is unusual to me and I don't expect or need praise for it, but nor do I deserve judgement for finding the odd moment in my day to connect with the digital and yet creative world.
The Internet and it's vibrant creative community has unlocked my own creativity in ways I could never have imagined. It's improved my skills and ideas, my interest in stuff and certainly my parenting. This resonates with so many parents, mostly mothers, many of whom have experienced the loneliness and frustration that parenting can bring. Parenting can often be a lonely pursuit, as in fact can making and creating and the support, honesty and humour I've found online has been invaluable over the last six years. Rather than make me look inward, the ideas and views I read make me better. A better person, a more patient and creative parent and a more proficient and inspired maker.
Before I started blogging and reading blogs, my creative outlet began and ended with knitting. Very basic and not very good knitting, i didn’t really push past the basics. It was through an online community that I found beautiful crochet did exist and it was far more than the 1970's inspired afghans that comes to most people's minds. I would never have picked up a hook without the Internet and now working with it is as ingrained in my being as reading or cooking.
Most creative people will say it's like an itch. Something they must do to feel at peace. That's how it is for me. A few days of not nourishing my creative being and I feel at odds with my world. The Internet allows me to do that and still function in a busy life with lots of responsibilities. Pinterest gives me lots of ideas, for acting on now, especially with the children or for later, for those days way into the future where I have time to explore new creative outlets. Instagram allows the very amateur photographer in me to notice and record the beauty in something or to tell the story of my day. There isn’t always the time to pick up a project in the day, there is time to fit in a bit of digital creativity.
Kate's theme last month was women as makers and it always strikes me how many inspiring women are writing online, about their creativity, their families, their lives. The women makers, I've found online inspire me and my digital life informs and influences my analogue life. We are telling stories, writing social history. The story of our lives may seem small, but it's important. It is a record of how we live, of who we are and of what we create. I want to record mine and I want to listen to others. The Internet allows us to reach across oceans, forests and miles of sprawling metropolis to find our tribe, to share our lives. I won't be told this is damaging and wrong. It just isn't possible. Sharing these things makes us, as women and mothers, stronger and that can only be a good thing."
Emily writes about her making, parenting and many things in between at Mummy Limited. You can find her all over the Internet as @emilyandmore. When not online she can often be found hooking with yarn, building Playmobil and breaking stuff.