For the last 5 years I have been a stay at home mum. Mummy to two little people, later three. At home I am in my little bubble. I struggle from time to time as we all do. I spend my days with three people less than 3ft tall, lacking in adult conversation and always wondering whether I’m doing the right thing. That said I feel confident in my role as Mummy – I know that ultimately I am doing my best for them, and hopefully shaping them into the wonderful adults they will become. I found it hard for a while after we lost Sophie as I felt like people were on tender hooks around me – and they were shocked when I didn’t break down in tears the second they spoke to me – that was always reserved for home.
As Izzie started pre school, and then school I had a new challenge – finding my place in the playground. Anyone who knows me, knows I will strike up a conversation with anyone. In fact I’ve had comments in the past that people couldn’t believe we lost our baby the way we did – I’m not sure if this is because I’m a naturally smiley person (obviously I have my moments, no one is happy 100% of the time) and people expect me to be just a little bit broken.
Living where we do, in a highly commutable area for London, I found a lot of the Mums I met in the playground, unlike me had not grown up in this area – they had moved to the countryside after having jobs in the city and then having children. Despite me being a country bumpkin, I had no confidence struggles fitting in the playground. I felt like I was younger than a lot of the mums, and that was what drew me to my now best friend – maybe being on the younger side of the mums in Izzies class – we once got told off for giggling during a parents meeting.
Just over a year ago I started a blog. I didn’t worry about what people thought of me. I was behind a screen and behind my words. I gradually grew more confident being in front of them camera – I have the wonderful Me and Mine Project to thank for that. My only regret is not starting sooner.
The blogging eventually lead to vlogging – I couldn’t hide behind the kids anymore and found confidence being on camera. Watching my videos from a year ago to now, I actually manage to look at the lens instead of the flip screen. I think my personality comes across more on screen – I laugh at my own bad attempts at jokes and I have a weird Joules obsession. I’ve learnt to edit. I record memories that I never would have have otherwise.
Until Friday 29th September I felt confident. Even after a visit to Manchester the previous week, meeting with people I had only met online before. That Friday I stepped out of my comfort zone completely. I got on a train solo to London – something I’ve never done before. I met a friend (the lovely Faye, who was slightly less overwhelmed and remembered to take this selfie) that I wouldn’t have met without starting my blog. We got ourselves from London to Shoreditch and attended an event held by Next in the beautiful Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. 5 years ago me would’ve totally hi-fived me – as Ell likes to remind me, I’ve spent a small fortune in that shop over the years.
Walking in that room I have never felt so out of place and lacking in confidence. Obviously being a fashion brand there were some seriously trendy people in that room. I spotted some of the lovely Channel Mum girls across the room but hung back. You know that fear that they might look at you and not have a clue who you are. I have never felt more grateful to Katie and Lara when they came over and spoke. We had such a lovely chat. They are some seriously gorgeous and stylish ladies. They inspire me every day online and they are just as lovely in real life.
We left with a lovely goodie bag, and I managed to get myself home on the train.
This morning I woke up feeling so deflated. It has made me realise I need to find myself again – or maybe develop a ‘work’ personality. Small town me in my jeans, boots and wax coat does not fit in London. It was like being back at school and being the only one who had Clarks shoes instead of Kickers.
I’ve realised I’m confident in my role as wife and mummy, but not so confident as just me anymore.
Can you learn confidence? *Imagines my self a la Julie Andrews as Maria in the Sound of Music – ‘I have confidence in sunshine, I have confidence in rain, I have confidence that spring will come again. Besides which you see I have confidence in me’.*
I need to channel my inner Maria Von Trapp – who knows how? Maybe I’ll start with a shopping trip. I feel just a little bit cooler having tassel earrings in my life.
Does anyone else ever feel like this when they go out of their comfort zone – I’m 99.9% sure it isn’t just me, but would love to know I’m not alone.
Ps The picture above is of some of the lovely bits I got in my Next goody bag – I will never stop feeling lucky and grateful for all the wonderful opportunities that blogging/vlogging has brought me – especially when it involves macaroons, a new notebook and a gorgeous smelling candle.