Be­yond mummy du­ties

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FAMILY - By SUZANNE BROUGHTON

AF­TER my daugh­ter was born, all I wanted was to be a stayat-home mum. I imag­ined I’d spend my days push­ing my daugh­ter in a stroller, scrap­book­ing our fam­ily mem­o­ries as she napped in the af­ter­noon, and then I’d pre­pare a pic­to­ri­al­wor­thy fam­ily meal ev­ery night.

It didn’t ex­actly hap­pen that way.

I did even­tu­ally leave my full­time job when my daugh­ter was four and my son was one. I was ready.

But what hap­pened the next six months shocked me - I was mis­er­able. The re­al­ity of spend­ing most days wait­ing for a child to fall asleep or wake up, and the stark lone­li­ness of stay­ing home with two small kids, wasn’t what I imag­ined, but I didn’t dare tell a soul.

Are you kid­ding? Af­ter all the dream­ing, plan­ning and sac­ri­fice, I couldn’t ac­knowl­edge I was two “Dora the Ex­plor­ers” shy of a to­tal break­down. That’s about the time I came across this thing called a blog and de­cided I would start one of my own. I had been a jour­nal­ism ma­jor in col­lege and al­ways loved to write and tell sto­ries. I had my own blog, and a lo­cal news­pa­per asked me to blog for them.

Af­ter the kids went to bed, I’d stay up late writ­ing, mak­ing videos and con­nect­ing with other moms online. Blog­ging was just the spark I needed to keep me from leap­ing into the wait­ing arms of a deep de­pres­sion.

I love my kids. It wasn’t be­ing a mum that was caus­ing me to spi­ral, it was the lack of con­nec­tion to the “pre-mom me” and to other peo­ple. I’m a so­cial per­son and I needed to spend time be­ing cre­ative and then share that part of me. I dis­cov­ered that be­ing a mom was just like any­thing else. I couldn’t rely on other peo­ple to flip that happy switch. Once, I took it on my­self to find what made me feel bal­anced and con­tent – ta da! I was happy.

Blog­ging is un­de­ni­ably dom­i­nated by women – mostly moms – and here’s why: Our blog is all ours. Mums rightly spend most of their days pour­ing their en­ergy into ev­ery­one else’s needs; the kids, the boss, the hus­band.

But a blog is our own space and we can make it look, say and be any­thing we want, and that’s em­pow­er­ing.

I be­lieve the In­ter­net and Etsy, blogs, mes­sage boards and Twit­ter have been rev­o­lu­tion­ary for women, es­pe­cially mums. Through online net­works, a stayat-home mum can sell her hand­made scarves in­ter­na­tion­ally, or a work­ing mum can take night classes online to help her ca­reer.

Or, as in my case, she can write on her blog and be­come a colum­nist, writer and lo­cal TV host, all while her kids are asleep or in school.

For some mums, it might be vol­un­teer­ing at a women’s shel­ter or sell­ing Avon. What­ever the spark is, I en­cour­age mums to stay con­nected and keep pur­su­ing their pas­sion. It helps keep you sane and se­cure. When I started blog­ging, I didn’t know I would even­tu­ally be­come a sin­gle mum. Now I have turned my pas­sion into a full-time ca­reer. I just kept mov­ing to­ward what I loved to do, work­ing hard and tak­ing ev­ery op­por­tu­nity that came my way.

That’s a good recipe for suc­cess, ei­ther in a ca­reer or as a mum. -The Orange County Reg­is­ter/ McClatchy Tri­bune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices.

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