Alone she sits, in her immaculate office, the bright sunlight reflecting off the glossy white surfaces. She is a professional writer, tapping out little snippets of wisdom to share with a waiting world. Her home is her office, and she has become used to switching off all distractions and retreating into her own world, the world of her work. Around her are the tools of her trade; laptop, coffee cup and blogging planner, all perfectly colour-co-ordinated. The words fly off the page, as she deftly checks her social media accounts with a side-eye to her phone. That’ll be perfect for Pinterest, she thinks, as with her little finger she puts the finishing touches to the photo editing of the crafts she did today with her toddler, which he participated in wholeheartedly, letting out little squeals of delight as his attentive mother taught him how to make a selection of cupcakes shaped and iced to look like his favourite vehicles used by the emergency services, keeping his apron on throughout so that he didn’t get a speck of icing sugar on his 1930s hipster-chic peaked cap, shirt and braces, and remembering not to lick the bowl as snacks on Fridays are limited to acai berries and frozen yoghurt with no artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
Well, whoever that first paragraph might be about, it certainly isn’t me.
I have a confession to make. It’s 10.30pm, and I am sat in bed in my pyjamas, with my laptop on my knees, slumped over the curled up figure of my son, who is breastfeeding back to sleep after waking up multiple times with a hacking cough.
This week has been a good week for blogging. I have only fallen asleep without responding to comments or joining up with any linkies twice, and Mumsnet has only ignored one of my tweets, but I still feel like I should be doing more. Why have I not yet figured out Pinterest? How does it work? What’s with putting bits of text on photos? Why is that good? Why have I not been featured on the Huffington Post yet? WHY WHY WHY?
It is currently the Easter holidays, so I am off work and had been hoping to dedicate some more time to blogging. Aha, so this is how the stay-at-home mothers roll, I think to myself as I put CBeebies on for the umpteenth time that day, sneakily open up the laptop while my son is engrossed in Peter Rabbit and hope that he doesn’t chew the cable or take me out with a carefully aimed Chuggington-shaped missile while I’m not paying attention.
I end up feeling like a terrible mother, tweeting furiously whenever I can while he sits on my lap and listens grudgingly to me singing the Mr Tumble song again, even though I have just told him in no uncertain terms how much I hate Mr Tumble and how I thought children didn’t like clowns these days and why are we watching this rubbish anyway.
In term time, it feels as though all the space in my head is taken up with work, and I sit on the train on the way home trying desperately to think of ideas for blog posts, and all I can ever come up with is “why I am rubbish at blogging,” closely followed by “if I didn’t work full time I would…” followed by a list of things I would almost certainly still never do, like figure out how Pinterest works.
I like to think that my blogging is the modern-day equivalent of the Bronte sisters holed up in the parsonage at Howarth, writing masterpieces of literature in tiny writing by candlelight long after the Reverend Bronte had gone to bed and Branwell was off out drinking and carousing. She sits in the bedroom she used to share with her brother in 1985, long after her mother has gone to bed and her brother is off out drinking and carousing, tapping away at the keyboard while her son sleeps next to her and she hopes that the backlight from the computer isn’t doing him some irreparable damage, sure in the knowledge that all she has now is her one, lonely blog and her long shot at literary fame and glory, for surely she will never find a husband now….
But I am probably not quite up to that standard yet. Got to keep trying though, and hoping that backlight isn’t keeping the little one awake, and that I won’t be dead from exhaustion by the end of the week.
A version of this post first appeared on the blog Sons, Sand and Sauvignon