Potski and the road to Cybermummy...

>> Tuesday, 6 July 2010

At the parent's in law, still in London. The sounds of 'Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang' drift out from the sitting room where the boys are spending a glorious morning ensconced in front of the box... (don't judge me; it's week 3 of the school holidays. WEEK 3! And it's only July 6th!) Every now and again Boy #1 bursts out into the dining room where I'm tapping away on the lap top to ask pertinent questions like 'It's the same man in this as in Mary Poppins. Does that mean that Bert has two jobs?' and to exclaim 'No! No!' when the pirates sail over the horizon. I'm currently on standby for when the odious Child Catcher appears since I have no doubt my presence will be required to ward off his advances...

It's all a very long way from Saturday when I joined 200 other delegates at the Cybermummy event in Earl's Court.

Nixdminx summed up the day pretty well for me in a post yesterday when she asked the question 'Cybermummy or Womanhood?' So many different women, so many different lifestyles, but all part of this phenomen and all giving a voice to their experiences of being a woman and a mother.

Before I started blogging I have to admit that I thought of bloggers as people who sought solace and companionship in cyberspace because they couldn't find it in the real world. Bloggers, I thought, probably didn't wash very much. The curtains on their homes were usually shut. They played fantasy games on the internet, and ate a lot of take-aways. They certainly didn't do the laundry, the school run, hold down a job,or juggle a family's schedule. Then - almost by mistake and entirely thanks to Pig in the Kitchen - I became a blogger myself, and suddenly the preconceptions that I had previously had became those of others about me, others who knew nothing about this new and vibrant world that I had stumbled into.

To start with, I didn't really tell anyone about my on-line life. I was worried what they might think of me (given my own previous prejudices, for example), I was worried that they might - the horror! - read what I wrote. But over time, I gained confidence and started to share with close friends what I was doing. I even told my Husband the address after a close friend of his took the trouble to find the blog on google (never forget; you might think your blog is anonymous but if it contains even a kernel of truth about your life, you're not. Bear that in mind when you hit publish...).

And then I took the final leap into linking my real-life with my on-line life; I met another blogger.

As I stood and waited for her to arrive I have to admit that I did wonder what the hell I was doing. One of the issues that seems to come up time and again for bloggers is the hypocrisy of repeatedly warning your older children about 'the weirdo's on the internet' and the absolute no-go of ever meeting them in person - and then going to do exactly that yourself. What if she turned out to be some sort of psycopath who bore no resemblance to the warm and witty person I knew online? What if she turned out to be some kind of internet stalker? What if this meeting turned into a special feature in The Daily Mail, a tale of horror, the apparently sympathetic tone of the article heavily underscored with the unspoken suggestion that 'she should have known better; no good can ever come from the interweb?'

Of course, that's not how it turned it out at all. Frog in the Field and I had a great time; so great in fact that when she roped me in to a special screening for mummy bloggers of 'Chuggington' a few weeks later I didn't hesitate to say yes. And that's where I met 'A Modern Mother', and Jo Beaufoix amongst others. A couple of weeks later when the former asked us to be part of a new ning she was setting up, instead of replying 'what on earth is a ning?' I answered yes, and that's how I ended up in Earl's Court on Saturday, surrounded by yet more warm and witty people who I had also met on the internet.

It was wonderful. For a start, everybody there had washed. There were no drawn curtains, no take-away cartons (at least, not during the day. I can't speak for later after a few glasses of wine had been consumed, obviously...) And I can't sum up my feelings about the day better than to quote something from an e-mail that a good friend of mine - who, whilst I had never met her in person before Saturday most definitely fits that description - sent afterwards, and which I think applies to just about everyone I spoke to at Cybermummy;

'I loved meeting you. You are so very YOU!'


Expat mum 6 July 2010 at 11:01  

It's a bit weird trying to explain a) blogging and b) meeting bloggy friends for the first time, to family or people who don't blog. Good job mine probably won't even think to ask about it. Probably because I phrased it as a "sort of writing conference" so that I wouldn't have to explain it all ad nauseam.
Good to get together.

A Modern Mother 6 July 2010 at 11:28  

What I loved about CyberMummy was that there was none of the online bitchiness, just a varied group of women all sobbing and lauging together. So glad you made it Potski, it would not have been cybermummy w/o you.

Heather Davis 6 July 2010 at 12:27  

Great summary of the day! I too always laugh at the hypocrisy of my new online life. My children don't know the half of it otherwise I would never be able to deter them. But I also get why they love on the online chats and forums. The mummy blogging group is a great community and one that I have really enjoyed being a part of. Sorry I didnt' get a chance to meet you in person. It was just crazy how many people there were and fast the day went.

planb 6 July 2010 at 13:24  

As per usual you've said exactly what I felt, only better... I'm still at the rather ashamed, checking my armpits to make sure I remembered the deodorant lest I live up to the stereotypes stage of blogging - nice to know I probably will be brave enough to come out sometime.

So glad you had a wonderful day though. It's people like you and your good friend (who I think I can count as one of mine too) that I am most sad to have missed. Fancy re-running it in the Scottish Borders sometime?

nixdminx 6 July 2010 at 13:25  

what a great post - so very you - could you imagine if we weren't??!! what a scary thought!!

Jennifer 6 July 2010 at 16:22  

I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to meet in person before you left. Very much looking forward to your return. Enjoy your summer! So glad the conference was fun.

Mwa 6 July 2010 at 18:25  

*kicking myself for being too pregnant to travel*

Elsie Button 6 July 2010 at 20:54  

ooohhh how i wish i had come. to be truthful the idea of it terrified me, but i now realise this is silly.

am so glad you all had such a great time, but a tiny little bit envious i wasn't part of it

i need to get a grip!

Pig in the Kitchen 6 July 2010 at 22:10  

A great summary Potty! It was fab to finally meet you (me being your guru an' all! Ha!). Meeting people you've only met online IS fairly bizarre, the first time I did it I justified by saying it was only like old fashioned pen pals...

And feeling smug becoz only tiny trace of a hangover on Sunday morning! result.
Pig x

nappy valley girl 6 July 2010 at 23:54  

It sounds wonderful and I'm sad to have missed it. I just hope it happens again!

Potty Mummy 7 July 2010 at 21:56  

EPM, it was - and how was your head the next morning?

Modern, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Thanks again for making it happen.

Heather, so sorry to have missed you too. Next year?

PlanB, thankyou - and clearly I wasn't talking about you in the deodorant stakes!

NM, thanks - and I loved the sequins, cybermum...

Thankyou Jennifer, and hopefully we will actually manage to get together when I get back home. Hope your holiday's going well?

Mwa, well if you WILL go getting pregnant... (maybe in 2011, babe in arms?)

EB, no, what you need is to get a ticket for next year...

Pig, oh guru of mine, thanks, and it was great meeting you too. How was the swimming?

NVG, you and every one else!

Iota 8 July 2010 at 16:02  

Yes, I did wash that morning. At least I think I did...

Paradise Lost In Translation 8 July 2010 at 22:43  

I agree, it was great, it was fab to meet everyone & you were so very 'you', one of the few people who actually WAS how I imagined her to be!! Sorry I didn't make it past 8p.m to join you for dinner/drunken brawling/pub crawling whatever. I was just SOOOOOOOOOO tired, I cdn't keep going:o(

Potty Mummy 8 July 2010 at 23:01  

Iota, I'm pretty sure you did...

Paradise, it was wonderful to meet you too. And next year (if there is a next year) I suggest we do the coffee thing all over again...

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