And I think everyone gets that Not About The Kids doesn’t mean I don’t love my children, yes?
But because an anniversary is a traditional moment to reflect, I’m going to spell it out. After a year of writing Not About The Kids, what does the name mean to me?
Finding my people
As with most of my ideas, I came up with the name in my kitchen. I knew I wanted to write an online in a magazine-type-thing, but I knew that it was going to need an identity. Not About The Kids worked in two ways.
First, it feels like there aren’t loads of voices out there speaking to parents like me. Take Instagram. I’ve been on the platform as a lurker (scrolling loads, not posting a lot), since 2012. While I’ve always loved it for the pictures, I’ve equally found that the mummy content just doesn’t really reflect where I am in my life.
I have kids. I parent them. I’m not really interested in discussing it to the nth degree. That’s not to say I never was. Man alive, there was a time when naps and food and learning to walk/talk/count were the stuff of life. But I’ve been a mum for 10 and a half years now. I’m used to it. When I meet a friend for a chat, it comes pretty low down the list of topics I want to discuss.
Also, when it comes to parenting, the risk of judgeyness it way too high for my online self. I won’t give you my views on how to bring up a child, and you don’t give me yours. That’s my happy place.
Where are we?
It’s not just the mum content that often doesn’t resonate, it’s all kinds. Women in their late 30s and 40s are a powerful and financially liquid group. We decide how a LOT of money is spent, most of the money in our households according to marketers. So where is all the writing and discussion that respects that, and is targeted at us? It seems to me there is plenty of room for more female voices in my age group. So I’ll share mine, and through dialogue with my followers, theirs too.
I want to have an active brain and be engaged in a changing world for at least the next couple of decades, good health willing. I’m not ready to move from nappies directly on to booking cruises. There are a million other issues to discuss and experiences to have before I consider a Saga holiday. I have so many plans and ambitions, let’s talk about those.
It is about me
The name is also personal, it reflects how I have been trying to re-shape my own role in my family.
When I became a fulltime mum (two kids close together + logistics of commuting + Matt’s demanding job + I wanted to), I threw myself into it with a passion. If I do something, I quite like to do it well. I treated it like a job (although I’d have like to have seen anyone attempt to give me an appraisal).
It worked brilliantly for a while, but once the kids were both at school I knew that it wasn’t going to keep me happy forever, no matter how settled it made everyone else.
From my ego’s point of view, I always struggled with the fact that full-time parenting is a job that virtually doesn’t exist. It’s seen as a temporary state, or a status symbol, or blast from the past. I always found it to be a conversation stopper, even if some men like to tell you that it is ‘the most important job there is’. I’m pretty sure no-one who has said that to a woman has ever keenly applied for the role themselves.
I wish that we could re-frame, or re-brand the role of full-time parenting for the sake of everyone who does the job. That’s another blog post for another day.
Probably most strongly, I have what I now know is a strong creative urge (sorry if that sounds bollocky). I wanted to create things, but an oil painting wasn’t really it. It needed more of a framework, which content creating for the blog and Instagram, and Elevate events now gives me.
So this is also about fear, the fear of finding myself at 50 waiting around for the kids. The fear of getting there without having ever given anything else a go. Of never having built something myself.
And so to Year 2
Working all of this out, going from a full-time mum to a full-time mum and full-time content creator, hasn’t always gone brilliantly. It’s been intensely stressful at times, read my post about The Squeeze here. I’ve got things wrong every single day. I’ve learnt loads, mainly about how much more I have to learn.
When I embarked on this project did the usual thing of saying I’d ‘give it a year‘. We made it through year one, so now I’ll give it another two years. I hope to continue to build and share my new expertise and create a few money making opportunities along the way. And I’ll keep checking back in to give you an honest update at how it’s going.
Thank you so very, very much for reading. Tell me about your plans….