Tuesday 9 November 2010

I've booked...

We're back in Moscow after our week in the UK. I have a million loads of laundry to do, a fridge to stock, bags to unpack, and a pile of mail (both real and virtual) to open. What to do first? Well, isn't it obvious? I'm going to ignore all of that and write a blog post.

It's quite grey and gloomy here. Not cold, particularly; it's about 10 degC today, so yahboo sucks to all those who's first question on learning of where we live is 'isn't it freezing over there?' (Mind you I think I'll be less smug about the answer if you ask me the same thing come the end of the month). And it's good to be home.

Not so good though that I'm not looking ahead to next year; specifically to Saturday 25th June and the Cybermummy conference. I've made a leap of faith and have booked an early bird ticket -having enjoyed the last one so much I didn't want to miss out on the chance to do so again next time - but it did occur to me that there may be some people out there who didn't go to in July and are unsure what to expect if they go to the next one. And it would be a real shame if, because of that, they don't go; one of the fantastic things about mummy blogging is that there is a constant stream of new recruits as new parents come online in search of support / entertainment / ratification / escape / camaraderie and find it all of those and more through blogs.

This, then, is a post I wrote a few days after the first Cybermummy conference; as ever it's highly subjective as all it will give you is my personal point of view of the day. Then again, isn't all blogging essentially about an individual's point of view? In any case, maybe it will help encourage anyone unsure of what to expect from the next conference to make their own leap of faith and come along too...

July 6th, 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!'


  1. I'm so envious of your Cybermummy ticket. For the second time I shall be on holiday whilst it's on....I think DH is conspiring against me!

  2. Blimey! Go you!

    I'm dithering... In a rather girly way of wanting to see who else is going (so you're definitely a plus!) but also because I'll have a baby aged between 2 and 4 weeks at that stage.... Hmmm. Can I do it? Should I do it? Do I want to? (definitely to the last one).
    Ironically though, it's again spitting distance from somewhere I have previously lived...Which would be so much easier than coming from Scotland.

  3. Nice to read that post again, PM. Sadly I probably won't make it to Cybermummy next year (unless anyone wants to sponsor me with a transatlantic air ticket...) but it's so true about meeting up with other bloggers. (In fact I've just blogged about who I met this wekeend...) x

  4. DG, definitely something fishy going on there...

    Plan B, can't believe I missed that you're expecting again - Congratulations! As for should you come, well, totally understand why you might not but you could always buy the ticket and try to sell it on if you can't make it. I'm pretty sure there was opportunity for that last time (and it's what I'm hoping for if - heaven forbid my plans don't work out, anyway!)

    Sian - can't wait!

    NVG, you just met up with some of my favourite bloggers in the whole world, you lucky thing. Glad you had such a good time...

  5. I've booked too! Loved your post from last year, so true. As Pig got you into this, your lovely support made me think 'someone likes it, keep writing'! x

  6. I'd love to book a ticket, but considering I was in London for the last one (a miracle in and of itself) but FAILED to arrive due to an overlong nap I think it would be just tempting fate..
    I will have to see you another time. Why don't you come here for a nice US bloggy long weekend?

  7. I'd love to book a ticket, but considering I was in London for the last one (a miracle in and of itself) but FAILED to arrive due to an overlong nap I think it would be just tempting fate..
    I will have to see you another time. Why don't you come here for a nice US bloggy long weekend?

  8. Oh, now you've gone and made me want to book my flight over again! I think it has to be done, doesn't it?

  9. I didn't make it to this year's Cybermummy.. and have been kicking myself ever since! There was no way that I was going to miss out again and I have booked my ticket - and my hotel! So, I'll see you in June! x

  10. KM, great, it will be lovely to meet you in person! (Am assuming you'll be the one wearing a taste du vin as a pendant?)

    Motherhood, I would love to. If only it were that easy!

    HCM, it certainly does, get onto that website right now...

    MYM, hotel too? Now that IS organised!

  11. Well, you ARE very you, aren't you?

  12. Hehe.. I can comfirm that they was takeaway box's after a few glasses (Ok.. more like gallons!) of wine was consumed! I remember eating pink chicken burgers with slummy single mummy , Linda Jones & Sandy C.

    The day was fantastic for me, to meet so many woman that I look up to in the online blogging community was mindblowing. I spent the whole day walking around in a daze. Cannot wait until 2011! :)

  13. Hmm I really really want to go but don't know if I'll be able to afford it plus plane tickets, had written it off but now keep seeing people also not in the UK are going!


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