It occurred to me, as I was browsing my blog drafts file the other day, that I didn’t ever publish my post on A New Way of Blogging. I wrote it when the baby was only a few weeks old and I was living at my parents’ house temporarily (our renovations were in full swing, our holiday accommodation had run out and we were yet to move into my cousin’s flat) and the gist of it was that I had been forced to find a “new way of blogging”, a new way of working in general, which mainly involved typing with one hand whilst using the other arm to hold up a feeding baby. I spent much of those first months at various people’s kitchen tables, hunched over my laptop but feeling very pleased with myself that I was managing to get a bit of work done.
Well I’m a whole year into motherhood now (you can read my Baby and Body update over on The Uphill) and that post, A New Way of Blogging, is as outdated as could possibly be. I mean, I used to get whole mornings, afternoons, evenings to get some work done. Four hours at a time! Total silence! And in between, the baby would lie in her little bouncer and look around the room, wide-eyed, until it was time for feeding. Life was – and I never thought I’d say this – easy. Well, not easy, because I didn’t ever get more than about three hours’ sleep at a time and was a walking, leaking, milking machine; but in terms of the amount of time I got to sit and get things done, life was just tip-top.
Try working on your laptop with a one year old in the room – it just ain’t gonna happen! Babies seem to make a beeline for whatever it is that you’re holding and showing an interest in – iPhone, remote control, makeup compact. Also, I have a bit of a rule that I try to follow when I’m with the baby, unless I have something desperately urgent to do: no iPhone, no laptop, just total childcare concentration. I have a terrible fear of something happening (heavy books toppling from the shelf, small objects found in the carpet and swallowed) if I’m not on the ball. It’s so easy to just “quickly” check Twitter, Whatsapp, Instagram, and lose a few minutes, and on-the-move babies get everywhere. Everywhere. Angelica is a master crawler – she can move at the speed of sound, almost, and I need only glance away for a few seconds to find that she has disappeared from the room.
So yes. The new-new way of blogging – of working in general – involves staying up improbably late, after the baby has gone to bed, and snatching bits of time during the daytime naps. Though I often use the first daytime nap to try out new makeup things on my face, and the second daytime nap to – er – have a quick nap. The new way of working also involves an immense amount of focus, because I have to try and get the same amount of work done as I did pre-baby, except with a baby. I also find that I have a very narrow time-slot to get something photographed or filmed, which means that I have to get everything ready in advance; products, lighting, camera. In previous years, I’d often start filming only to find that my camera batteries weren’t charged or that I didn’t have half of the makeup I needed or I hadn’t really thought through what I was going to talk about – now, I try to have it all prepared. Products on a little tray, camera remote and spare batteries beside me, even a little notebook with notes on things I need to remember to say. I need to be far more organised, which definitely doesn’t come naturally!
In many ways, though, I actually prefer my working life now. I have less time to get things done, but it means that I don’t sweat the small stuff. I rarely waste time comparing myself to other people (one of the downfalls of working online and in social media) and I don’t meander about in cyberspace, directionless, finding things to amuse myself with. I have a strict to-do list and I’ve become very good at sticking to it…
Anyway, I’m off to search for videos of kittens falling over and to make myself feel inadequate by scrolling through Instagram, which seems to be full of lithe, tanned people who are permanently on holiday. Which reminds me: I need to take a week off and go somewhere lovely. UK only, as I can’t be bothered to fly, and somewhere that won’t be a hassle with a baby. Suggestions on a postcard, please, or in the comments section below. Whichever is easiest. Thanks in advance!