Oct 27, 2011

I'm A (Not A) Mummy Blogger Dropout

Yeah, that's me. Dropped out. Resigned. Unjoined. Whatever the correct term is. (To sound tech savvy I suppose I should say deleted and unsubscribed.)

When I first joined what I think was then known as the Aussie Mummy Bloggers group, I did write a post confessing I felt like I had committed some sort of cyber fraud and was about to be arrested by the Mummy Police. Whilst, yes, I am a Mum, as evidenced by two episiotomies, big saggy boobs, an always empty purse and an unhealthy wine dependency, and yes, I am a blogger, as evidenced by what you are reading now, I have never considered myself a 'Mummy Blogger'. And never will. And I may have, once or twice, threatened virtual violence against anyone who called me one. So... a bit hypocritical to stay a member, no? Yes. (and I'm sorry, but rebadging it as Digital Parents didn't make me feel any better, it just brought a lot of silly jokes to mind).

I recently received a survey from the group and whilst I normally ignore those sorts of things because I always have something better to do, like paint my toenails, I decided to do it. I think, somewhere deep down, but not down as far as my toenails, I suspected it was going to be my 'Last Hurrah' as a Digi P. (now that sounds cooler, if not a little like a 90s rap artist or a Japanese Anime character). Especially when I got to the question... and forgive me if the wording is not exact but the gist was...

"What do you find most challenging about blogging?"

My first thought was... "Well, nothing. It's not challenging. It's fun. Like a hobby. You do hobbies because they're fun. Why would it be a challenge. Huh? That's a stupid question. I write what I want, when I want, that's no challenge. But I guess that's not what they want to hear..."

And so I sat there, staring at the screen, racking my brains, trying to think of what was challenging about blogging. But 'nothing' was the only word popping into my head. And then I shook myself... not literally, my big saggy boobs tend to flop about when I do that. Metaphorically. I had been nothing but brutally honest in the survey so far, as I am on my blog, so why was I trying to invent an answer?

Gasp. To fit in with the other Mummy bloggers?? Holy shit, the end was nigh.

So I answered "Nothing. I don't find it challenging. Blogging shouldn't be a challenge, it should be fun." Or similar words to that effect.

And I was happy and I finished the survey with more frankness (No, I don't really like advertising on blogs, No, I don't tend to read sponsored posts, Yes, I've done a Giveaway and will again but it's never been about 'what's in it for me?', No, I don't make money from my blog, I'm just here for the stories baby) and I thought no more about it.

You know before, when I said I suspected the survey was my Last Hurrah? Yeah, the fat lady started singing when the survey results came through titled "This Is Who We Are". And it wasn't me. I just don't think I fit in.

Okay, so I'm in the Women majority (98%) and the Stay At Home category (59%) and I use a conversational style of writing on my blog (89%). They didn't specifically ask about swearing, I was fucking disappointed in that.

But then I noticed the ages. 85% are between 28 and 46. Having just turned 47, I'm not getting closer to the majority, I'm moving further away from it. Shit, I know I tell you all I'm 29 but nobody believes that crap, especially when today, and most days, I look 72.

My kids, at almost 19 and not-far-off-from 17, are positively ancient when it comes to the majority, with 61% having kids aged 2-4. No wonder I can't have dinner conversations with other blogger Mums about the Gruffalump or whatever it is, or Dora the shit explorer who can speak two languages but can't find the shoe which is right behind her, and I'm sorry but I don't have a fucking clue who Igglepiggle is... is he a genetically modified pet on Old MacDonald's farm? And what the fuck is a Ninky Nonk? Is that what Mums are calling a Valium and Vodka cocktail these days so the kids are none the wiser? And what does CBeebies mean? A cute way for a bloke to say "see boobies" in front of the kids when they want to cop a gawk?? What happened to the good old days? We had Bananas in Pyjamas. No mystery. No made up words. They were BANANAS, and they were dressed in PYJAMAS.

Most bloggers post 3-5 times a week. What the fuck? My own kids don't even want to listen to me 3-5 times a week, let alone a bunch of strangers. You people really have important things to share that often? Damn, and I thought I had a pretty interesting life. Oh wait, I do have an interesting life so I wouldn't even have time to blog quality posts 3-5 times a week...

One of the survey responses which made me feel like a real outsider was this...

Seventy-one percent of parent bloggers have the goal to be an expert blogger or to make money from blogging.

Really? You actually have goals? Huh.

And the word 'expert' has never sat well with me. Saying you're an expert at something means you think you know all there is to know about the subject, and you've stopped learning and growing. I will never be an expert blogger and have no desire to be because I still don't know what Html means.

And as for the 'challenging' question I answered so honestly... eventually... limited time is an immense challenge amongst bloggers... balancing blogging with family, work, promoting their blog and interacting with other bloggers are the most significant challenges.

You know what I'm going to say, don't you? Umm... don't do it then? Nobody is forcing you. It's supposed to be FUN, to enhance your life and be enjoyable, not a challenge you set yourself to accomplish in the eleven minute window you have between finishing washing the dishes at 10.30pm and sex with the Husband scheduled at 10.41. And... you know... DON'T TRY TO DO IT 3-5 TIMES A WEEK THEN. I mean the blogging, not the sex. Now that would be a challenge...

There was a lot of talk about 'marketing initiatives' and 'working with brands' and 'influencing readers to buy'. Yawn. Whilst I was pleased to see that 96% of bloggers claim to write personal stories (which is what I LOVE), the fact that product reviews at 52% outnumbered opinion pieces at 51% was disheartening. Are people giving up on expressing their personal opinions about what's going on in the world in favour of reviewing a product in order to get a freebie? Or is it because they are aged 28-46 and have two children aged 2-4, and would like to be given a free Pixar DVD and box of toys to review in the hope of keeping their kids quiet for 90 minutes while they catch up with other blogger mums on Twitter, rather than bother to write a post about the intelligent opinions they once had before sleep deprivation killed them all? Oh yes, I may see their point.

Before anyone gets all up in my face, I'm not bagging the work that has been put into creating online parent blogging communities or the bloggers involved, far from it. They offer a lot to people who need or want that connection and I'd recommend it highly to anyone aged 28-46 who asked about it.

It's just that I never really needed or used it. I'm not in that place.

And I like the place I'm in.

I can have no goals here.

And I can have them more than 3-5 times a week.

Oct 21, 2011

Iz Weekend Yet?

Busy week.

Sat/Sun: Yard clean-up. Shed clean-up. Dog-wrangling. Afternoon with parents for early birthday celebrations. Visit with friends for same.

Mon: Awake at 4.30am to send the Husband off to Perth. Running around collecting donations for Saturday night's fundraiser. SOOO much washing. Cleaning. Dog-wrangling. Sorting raffle prizes. Falling asleep late afternoon amidst a pile of clean clothes and lingerie vouchers.

Tue: Birthday. Prompt Daughter into remembering. Showing delighted reactions at opening gifts of make-up (which I bought), shoes (which I chose and tried on), chocolates (which I told them to get), and jewellery (which I bought for myself the week before and did not tell anybody). Showing delight at delivery of flowers from Husband (which I suggested would be a good idea before he left). Quiet, relaxing day of a bajillion phone calls, emails, text messages, Twitter and Facebook messages. Dog-wrangling. Trying not to fall asleep before I made the kids, err, I mean, the kids offered to take me out for dinner. Which I paid for.

Wed: Post-Birthday hangover. Which, considering I only had one glass of wine, is a complete mystery to me. Though it may have had more to do with being woken at 2.22am by a 3.3 magnitude earthquake which made my whole house shake. More running around, sorting prizes. More washing and cleaning. Checking for earthquake damage. Shocking... all my birthday cards had fallen over. Another bajillion Twitter and Facebook messages from the lovely Americans (the time difference is a mystery to them). Dog-wrangling. Filling gift bags with lovely goodies for all my fundraiser guests. Trying to not fall asleep before realising I have to go out. Meat Loaf concert. (yes, I saw the AFL Grand Final performance but I had already bought my ticket). Deciding no matter how bad the concert is, the $100 ticket is worth it to spend a few hours with my BFF and God-daughter. Deciding I am demented to even think that in the first place. Thirsty Merc were great as support though, they are a tight band, love them. And Meat's band are awesome, great musos. And I guess I was entertained for a few hours. At least until we walked out before it finished..

Thur: Operating on only 5 hours sleep. More washing (where the fuck does it all come from?). Vacuuming. Dog-wrangling. Setting up chairs and tables for fundraiser. Shopping. Eleven minute Nanna nap. Cooking a proper dinner for the first time in a few days. Deciding to write a blog post. Not getting around to writing a blog post as Beauty And The Geek had me enthralled.

Fri: Jumping out of bed when hearing vehicle doors slam because I was expecting a delivery. Blearily realising it is only 6.40am, but I'm now up and so is the dog. Dog-wrangling. Panic when delivery actually does come at 7.30am. Discovering that now I'm 47 years old, there really is a time of day when I can't stand to have music blaring from a karaoke/jukebox at me whilst its operation is being demonstrated. Discovering I still love that Jordin Sparks 'No Air' song, but not at full volume through big speakers at 7.50am. Discovering the man demonstrating the karaoke/jukebox likes singing Dean Martin songs to my neighbours at 7.55am.

It's now 9.15am and I am already knucking fackered....

Bring on the weekend. Oh wait, I have to actually get through the Girl's Night In fundraiser too, don't I...

Oct 14, 2011

Once Upon A Time....

Once upon a time, this old housewife had an idea. (what? this is totally how I look most days... wearing an apron, surrounded by baking ingredients, hair and lipstick perfect... yeah, okay, I get your disbelief...)

"I'm going to register with the Cancer Council and host a Girl's Night In fundraiser in my home. I'll invite a few friends around, we'll have a couple of drinks, throw some money in a bucket and have a great night whilst raising money for a good cause."

But this old housewife doesn't often do things by halves. She's a bit of a 'Go big or don't you bother to go at all young lady' type at times. And so she invited more than a few. Lots more. And then an old friend died of cancer and she was spurred on. She told the women she had invited that they could ask a few more. And she hired a karaoke machine. And she started tweeting and emailing people and businesses, both local and online, asking for help. For anything.... goods, vouchers, samples... anything to get bums on seats and cash flowing out of purses.

And they responded. Brilliantly.

First cabs off the rank were the lovely writer-ladies, Lisa Heidke, Kerri Sackville, Fleur McDonald and Kylie Ladd, whose responses when asked if they could donate books were "Yes!", "Yes!", "Yes!" and "Duh." (guess who said Duh... go on...) Love them all for their instant generosity.

Local business jumped in too. To Lou and Karen from Dymocks Adelaide, you are angels in book tshirts. There was no "that's not my job", "you'll have to ask the boss" or "bugger off Cate, haven't you won enough freebies from our Friday Twitter comps?" No, there was just a response of "let me see what I can do..." And do, you did.

And to whoever answered the tweet at Tynte Flowers (THE best floral arrangements in Adelaide, bar none) thank you. Someone will be very happy with your voucher. (And I promise it will go in the raffle, not become a nice display of roses in the family room. Dammit.)

Coopers Brewery and Charlesworth Nuts have also stepped up, with amazing gift baskets (which the Husband is threatening will NOT leave our home, he wants them so badly) and Haigh's Chocolates have handed over a few discount vouchers.

The divine Simone Perele have provided vouchers to every official Girl's Night In hostess (how cool is that) so we will all have very nicely encased boobs to present to our guests, a few of whom will also score vouchers. I also received shampoo and conditioner samples from Kate at Organix, discount vouchers from Jeanette at Cocoon Spa and Wellness and Rosewater Hand Therapy samples from Crabtree & Evelyn.

The AMAZING Juliet from Karmabelles has provided not only a promotional piece of beautiful jewellery for me to wear proudly on the night and show off to all my friends (and which I'll be showing more of on the blog later in a special post), but loads of discount vouchers too. Awesome. (and boy, do I have my eye on some more of their pieces, I am making a Christmas list. Which I will buy myself because I don't trust the Husband - see handbag story further down)

And then up popped the delightful Melissa from Kleenex Mums, (who works in an office which floats on a cloud of soft white toilet tissue and is surrounded by puppies) bearing more gifts than you could poke a runny nose at (not bearing tissues, but flushable wipes, only I didn't want to use the metaphor of what you might poke at a flushable wipe) as well as boxes filled with lovely travel kits.

Uandi Natural also joined the party by sending some small samples to try for myself, as well as some full sized skincare products to include in the raffle. They look, smell and feel wonderful so there'll be a very happy winner. (will also show more of these on the blog later, including a Giveaway, so stay tuned for that)

Mud, Sweets & Tiers... coolest name for a cake shop ever, huh?... is making very special themed cupcakes for us, and Tanya from Wicked Sweets will arrive not just to party with us, but bearing biscuits for all. (no dieting til after the 22nd ladies)

Amy from Partylite has provided scented candles for both prizes and to burn on the night (she must have smelled my dog... or my son's bedroom... or my feet) as well as tealights for the guests to take home.

One lucky guest will take home an aromatherapy massage voucher from Preen Beauty, and another will enjoy a massage from Soul Health & Fitness.

But wait, there's more.

The lovely Nicky from Leoni & Vonk has donated the most gorgeous necklace to be included in our raffle. I'm so thrilled with it, it is very tempting to make it go 'missing' in my own jewellery drawer before the night. Damn my honesty. Sigh. So pretty isn't it?
(you'll also see more Leoni & Vonk jewellery in a later post as my daughter and I will be wearing some on the night, courtesy of my own credit card)

And just when you think "Well, that must be it...", it's not.

My Princess Seraphim, She Of The White Chocolate, the adorable Sarah Pietrzak, hooked me up with the amazing Belle Bijoux and her beautiful handbags. I have coveted one of these handbags for quite some time now, but oh no, the Husband got me the $18 Jimmy Choo knockoff from Hong Kong which already has a busted zip. Groan. Anyway, one of Belle's gorgeous handbags is winging it's way here as we speak (yes, they are so magical, they fly), and will be raffle prize #1. Or, you know... mine. No, I promise, into the raffle she goes. (*adds to Christmas list*)

There may even be more coming... good heavens...

I simply cannot thank all these people enough. I know I've listed a lot here, but I would love you all to take 5 minutes out of your day, click on some links, check out their sites, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook if you can. Maybe even leave them a message, tell them I sent you from my Girl's Night In post, and thank them for their support.

They rock.

Oh, and if anybody has connections with Mother Nature, can you please see if she'll do something about the weather forecast for the 22nd? Cold and wet?... *sobs nervously*

If you wish to sponsor my Girl's Night In by making a donation direct to the Cancer Council, go to my home page on the official website and click on the pink "sponsor me" link.

Oct 11, 2011

It's Getting Closer... Girl's Night In: Prologue Part 1

So, if you've been living under a rock, or have been avoiding me (both equally acceptable excuses and perfectly reasonable, I'd avoid me too), you wouldn't know about my Girl's Night In fundraiser for the Cancer Council on Saturday 22nd October. (see previous post for what it's all about) As the night draws near, I'm hoping for wonderful weather (long term forecast for the day before is for 31 degrees so let's hope it holds), a night of fun and laughter, and more importantly, loads of cash raised for a good cause.

I'm expecting there'll be the good old traditional party games, such as Keep The Karaoke Microphone Away From Cate, Pass The Wine Bottle, Blind Woman's Bluff, High-Heeled Hopscotch, Cupcake Bobbing, Queenie Queenie Who's Got the Champagne?, Red Rover Fall Over, What's The Time Mr Taxi Driver?, and Pin The Flushable Wipe On The Drunkard.

Or, you know, we'll have pillow fights whilst dressed only in our lingerie. (that one's for the blokes)

Over the next few days I'm going to start thanking all the people and businesses who have donated goods and vouchers for raffle prizes and giveaways on the night, so bear with me as I'd like to give them a good plug and promote them. I won't think of them as sponsored posts, because I'm certainly not getting paid for any of it, but they have helped out a good cause and deserve some plaudits.

Help me out by showing them some support.
Thanks guys.

If you wish to sponsor my Girl's Night In by making a donation, go to my home page on the official website and click on the pink "sponsor me" link. I have a very low target set at the moment and would love to be able to lift it.


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