I've noticed over the last month or so that I'm suddenly getting a lot more traffic on the blog - and I really do mean a LOT! Somewhere along the line, it's moved up on search engine pages or something, and there are a lot more people following along - here and on the Facebook page.
It did strike me, especially since I've just jumped into Fat Mum Slim's Photo a Day challenge, so the Facebook page now has photos going up regularly, that newcomers might be curious as to the somewhat eclectic nature of the blog and FB page...
Initially, I started the blog to give myself a place to explore parenting concepts as I saw them changing, quite some time after my own two boys were no longer living with me, but after I'd acquired a third boy, in the person of Dragon Dad's son. I'd always felt a bit out of step with my parenting style with my own children, being - as my friends often told me - really old-fashioned...and they weren't exactly being complimentary! Coming face to face, in my own home - after Dragon Dad and I moved in together - with another adolescent who was the product of a very different parenting style to my own was, at times, challenging. Finding my own way through that to be a step parent, without just falling in with decisions that I sometimes disagreed with was very difficult. So, I started the blog. I had to vent SOMEWHERE. Along the way, my No.2 son stumbled across it, and we had some interesting conversations regarding the content of some posts - as can be imagined. The three boys are now 31, 25 and 21, so definitely not children any more. But you never stop being a parent, and I don't think aging and observing younger children around us necessarily changes our parenting perspectives. So I do continue to write about parenting - from the perspective of my own experience and what I see now.
Then I got involved with chronic illness communities online. A 24 year 'veteran' of Rheumatoid Arthritis, initially mild, and now severe, I found I had things to say in that context. My first post that touched on RA was about parenting when you have a chronic illness, because I kept seeing posts from women, particularly, who still had kids at home and were struggling to be the parents they thought they 'should' be...and felt they were letting their children down by being sick. Eventually, I had to write about that. My youngest knows nothing different - I was diagnosed while he was still a baby. No.1 had to make some adjustments - he was a bit over 7 at that time. But I don't believe they were deprived in their childhoods due to my illness. That post lead to more RA themed posts, and then I participated in the RA Blog Week, hosted by my good online friend Rick's blog, RA Diabetes. That lead to blogging for Creaky Joints for a while, and then when I finished there, I figured I'd keep going, sometimes exploring RA based issues in the course of my personal writing.
With a past that includes professional cooking, I'm also a bit of a foodie. So there have been the odd recipe and food-based posts too. They're fun. Sometimes I've written them due to requests from friends and readers, but often it's just an impulse when something feels like it should go here.
Ultimately, this is the place where I do my personal writing. Any paid work I get as a writer tends to be fairly humdrum. Unfortunately, in the current financial climate, the arts journals where I used to get a lot of work published can't afford to pay freelance writers, so outside writing for those is supplied largely by those who can afford to write for free - I can't. But it means that the subject matter here is growing more diverse, and that's fine. We're none of us single-faceted. I am a parent, yes, I have RA, and yes, I'm a foodie, but none of those things define me entirely. I have other interests and other drivers, and as the blog continues, I daresay it will grow yet more diverse. There are other bloggers who do focus solely on those things, and that's fine, and many of them are doing a marvelous job, but it's not a direction I want to take. It's all in the interests of being well-rounded, and balanced. The blog will continue to grow ever more eclectic, much like my decorating, wardrobe and book collection!
So, welcome to all the newcomers - it's lovely to have you here, and please do comment if you feel moved to do so. It's always nice to have a conversation.