So, what do you do then?

So, what do you do then? I hate this question!

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So, what do you do then? Erm, this, but with more mess usually!! πŸ˜€

When I was just a Mum ha! Whatevs, just a Mum. What a ridiculous statement. I hate hearing that. When I was just devoting my literal every waking moment, (and plenty of my sleeping ones too!), to keeping a tiny, mewling human alive, (seriously, how have we made it this far in life?! No other mammal is as incapacitated as us for so long!), and fed, watered, entertained. The house clean, (or not actually dangerously unclean anyway!), food bought/ordered/ put away etc, never mind the extensive list of other things we do as a mother, (yes I said mother, I’m sorry but from my experience, fathers aren’t quite as worried about missing Great Aunt Ethel’s birthday, happy to be corrected on that though!), I still felt as though what I was doing was not enough.

I didn’t have a ‘proper job’. Which is what exactly? I think in my head it is something where you leave the house at a set time, in smart clothes that are different from the clothes you wear usually, and return in the evening and get paid by someone else regularly. That is what a ‘real job’ looks like in my head.

So, tied to the home, (quite willingly I might add, I have no real shame in being a stay at home parent, unless I’m talking to high fliers!), I felt that when people asked me that fateful question; ‘so, what do you do then?’, I felt I needed to give them a better answer then, ‘I stay at home and look after my children.’ I’m not entirely sure why. I mean, there have been many many days where I have envied mothers that worked simply for their ability to get a break from it all, to go out and talk to other adults and drink hot tea. Although I know that those mothers spend many days envying me my days spent with my children, duvet days, park trips, coffee with friends, the soft play being nice and quiet and not resembling a massive great escape by the entire monkey section of London zoo! The grass is always greener as they say! But something always made me feel like I needed to offer them more. That my life as a Mother was somehow uninteresting and not warranting of further conversation. I mean, who doesn’t want to talk endlessly about weaning and toilet trips alone?!

I needed a job. Or at least a thing. A thing that I did that was seperate to my other life as, in no particular order, entertainer, story teller, taxi driver, cleaner, launderet, doctor, nurse, teacher, professional cuddler wasn’t quite enough, I needed a career. Yes, at 30-something, I needed a career. I have never had one. I didn’t leave a great job to have my babies. I was right near the end of my training to be a counsellor when my first baby arrived and changed everything. Little did I know, as I struggled to get close to the exam desk with my giant bump, that my children would inhale my compassion with such ferocity that I was left with very little over for anyone else. Just ask my poor husband, ‘you’ve had a bad day? What was bad, the bit where you sat alone and ate lunch? When you drank a cup of tea while it was hot? When you were not dealing with the contents of a nappy leaking all over the carpet and you? Which bit was so bad, huh huh?!’, there was literally zero cares left over! (I’m better now, honest, now I try to look like I care at least!) πŸ˜‰

So counselling was out for the time being. I was also a pretty great barmaid and waitress. Which either involved days, (busy), or nights, (are you freaking kidding me?!), so also not a path I was keen on venturing down. And that left my great passion. This. What I’m sitting doing now. Writing. I love to write. I wrote so much as a child. Even now, I find stories that I’d started when I was younger and get so cross with my child self because they are unfinshed, I am desperate to know what happens. But making a job out of it? Hmmm, not so sure. But I did think, every time I read a post that resonated with me, ‘I could do this’, I could write a blog. And so I set myself up a free blog and I started to write. And then no-one read it! And I realised that for anyone to actually see your words, you need to be on social media. You need to put yourself out there. So I did, and the more I wrote, the more confident I got, the more followers I gained on social media. But, I’m still not convinced it’s a career. I get opportunities now, people find me and email me, asking me to work with them, I’ve built a great group of friends through it and I’ve even been paid for my time and effort.

But still, it’s not a job that many people understand, it’s not like a doctor or lawyer, and I’m not even convinced I’ve made it into a proper job myself yet! (Just to clarify, I mean my blog, there are plenty of incredibly successful bloggers out there.)  So because of this, when I hear those words, ‘so, what do you do then?’ I get awkward, I tend to mutter, ‘I’m an, erm, blogger?’ like it’s a question, sort of checking whether the person I’m talking to has any clue what I’m on about, before I go on. But actually, that is unjustified. I don’t want to say something really wanky like, ‘I help people’ but I have written posts recently like this and this that have resulted in total strangers messaging me and telling me that my words have done just that, helped them. And that means more to me then any accreditation and financial remuneration, the fact that I, usually in my pjs on the sofa, can do something that I love, something I’m passionate about and make someone else’s day feel just that tiny bit better means everything to me.

But don’t be surprised if you meet me and ask me what I do and I shuffle my feet a bit, long uncomfortable and mutter, “I’m an, erm blogger?”, it’s a journey and I’m not there yet! Plus, professional pyjama wearer is probably slightly more accurate at the moment! Or maybe, cake tester. Yes I think that has a certain ring to it! πŸ˜‰

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54 Comments

  1. November 7, 2016 / 9:31 am

    I ran a home daycare for over a decade and people would always look at me like it wasn’t a real job. Except the parents, they always knew how hard I worked! #bigpinklink

  2. November 7, 2016 / 10:21 am

    Stand tall and be proud my lovely – if you’re earning a living from blogging then you totally should be proud to say that is your job! I dream that this will be my job one day – I just haven’t worked out how – you’re so much further along that path of it being a career and I completely admire you! Seriously well done and no more shuffling your feet and erming!! #BigPinkLink

  3. November 7, 2016 / 10:57 am

    I completely agree with ALL of this and relate to every word too. I suppose blogging is the new ‘being a musician’ or ‘actor between jobs’ because it’s one of those things that you have to do for ages and work at every day with no guaranteed result (at least not immediately) and meanwhile people assume you’re not working because you’re not making a living. My husband just laughs if I say I’ve been ‘working’ on my blog because even though it is my choice to do it and it’s something I enjoy, he doesn’t see it as work. I can honestly say I put more effort into my blog than I did some of my ‘proper’ jobs because it comes from the heart, so despite not gaining financially, I gain so much more in return – like you say, the new friends, the feeling of achieving something, the creative outlet and the fun of just being part of something that is just for you.
    I’m honestly surprised that you feel this way though, I always think of you as a ‘serious’ , ok maybe not serious, but ‘proper’ blogger πŸ™‚ You’ve definitely earned the right to say it say it loud and proud lovely. X #BigPinkLink

  4. November 7, 2016 / 11:29 am

    The ‘just a mum’ thing drives me mad too. What is the ‘just’ about. If someone doesn’t do it then others have to be paid to do it. Now that rant is done – I see it as a real privilege to do something that I enjoy to do and likewise for you, being able to be there for your children and to have discovered a passion for writing is great. I wrote a post on this ages ago and it had a great video in it that helps us answer that question in a much more powerful way. You might like to read it http://www.theguiltfreeguide.co.uk/what-do-you-do-im-a-mum/ Great post. Keep on writing. #bigpinklink

  5. November 7, 2016 / 12:29 pm

    No more feet shuffling! Say it with pride. You have worked so hard to get to where you are and it really is important that you recognise this yourself and the first step to this is being proud to say that you are a blogger πŸ™‚ Alison x #BigPinkLink

  6. November 7, 2016 / 12:38 pm

    Staying at home can be so difficult, having a focus away from it can be a massive help. If you can make a living out of it too, you’re nailing it!

    #bigpinklink

  7. November 7, 2016 / 1:00 pm

    I love this. I think it’s such a real and insightful read. I think we need to get away from this concept of ‘do’ and focus on ‘be’ as work – in its many forms – is just one part of me. There should be no stigma or hang-ups associated with the path we follow (interestingly, I conversely felt embarrassed when I spoke to people to say I was back at work – relatively early) after having my baby. Whatever you say to describe yourself, you should stand up tall and be proud of who you are xx #bigpinklink

  8. November 7, 2016 / 1:06 pm

    You should be proud of being a top notch blogger so get practising in front of the mirror, ready for the next time you are asked. #bigpinklink

  9. November 7, 2016 / 1:34 pm

    You can be my cake taster! I know exactly what you mean, I’m pretty ok with saying I’m a stay at home mum despite some of the ‘looks’. But I want something for myself when the girls are at school. I have something in the pipeline which is keeping me sane. I think you should turn your hand to professional writing if thats what you love doing. Just because some people don’t understand it doesn’t mean you don’t. Plus the only people you need to understand your writing and blogging are the people willing to pay you for it. Go for it! What have you got to loose by trying?
    #BigPinkLink

  10. November 7, 2016 / 2:09 pm

    Wow I feel like you’ve just splurged my life-story onto a page! I’m also a stay at home after finding out in my last week of uni that I was expecting (so I didn’t have a career to leave either). And the ‘what do you do?’ question is the one I dread the most. I just don’t feel like saying ‘I’m a mum’ is enough and I just panic and worry that they’re judging me. It’s sad really that being a full time mum isn’t more respected as a choice. Maybe one day…

  11. November 7, 2016 / 2:55 pm

    Ooh “cake tester”? Please may I be your assistant? I love this and I know exactly what you mean. I tend to cringe when I drop into conversation that “Well actually I have a blog” and then I wait a second for the obligatory blank stare before going on to excuse myself with “and it’s just a hobby, but I love it and it’s good fun…” etc etc. I can absolutely see why so many of us reach out and blog as mums (and dads) though. It’s just a little bit of me time in the land of “all about what everyone else needs”. #BigPinkLink x

  12. November 7, 2016 / 3:00 pm

    I love this! I never know what to say when someone asks me what I do. A writer always sounds so pretentious but a blogger raises too many questions or people assume I’m some kind of dosser. I just say stay at home mum, it’s much easier! Ha! #bigpinklink

  13. November 7, 2016 / 3:10 pm

    Great and honest post. I just say SAHM and I run a little blog. I make peanuts. That is my actual income at this point.

    #bigpinklink

  14. November 7, 2016 / 3:54 pm

    Professional cake tester or pyjama wearer sounds like a great job to me! I don’t think there should be any shame in being a stay at home mum, my mum did it once she had had me and my sister because it was what she wanted to do. I also don’t think there’s any shame in being a blogger, it’s such a great creative outlet and for me it gives a space to do something I enjoy, writing! #bigpinklink

  15. November 7, 2016 / 5:39 pm

    Being a blogger takes SO much time,it is only another blogger that can appreciate this. I didn’t find the time to blog until my youngest was 7, now I work longer and harder than at any time in my past, yeas I have the holiday business and my family but blogging takes a huge amount of time too. My friends don’t get it, but they don’t blog! #BigPinkLink

  16. November 7, 2016 / 6:39 pm

    I love the expression I get from people when I say I have a blog. I also love reminding them that pretty much everything they Google on the Internet stems from a blog. Being a stay home parent who blogs takes up more time then any profession I ever had. Therefore lately, I just don’t feel the need to justify to anyone what I spend my days doing. I figure as long as I’m not setting their houses on fire or slashing their tires at the supermarket then I’m golden :)) thanks for hostessing #bigpinklink :))

  17. November 7, 2016 / 7:19 pm

    Who cares what your job title is as long a you are happy with whoever you are and whatever you do? Great post, thanks for sharing! #bigpinklink

  18. November 7, 2016 / 8:04 pm

    I’d ditch blogging to become a professional cake taster if the opportunity arises! Until then though, I’m happy to be “just a mum” who happens to be dabbling in blogging. I don’t call it a job as I have no income from it. Maybe the time will come when I do, or maybe it won’t. I’m having fun anyway!

  19. November 7, 2016 / 8:23 pm

    I usually reply with “not a lot” and leave it at that. In reality I’m a mother, a cleaner, a cook, a pool guy, a gardener, a handyman, a taxi and a personal shopper, but ‘career’ people don’t get it so I don’t bother validating. I myself used to be the career person that didn’t get it so I understand it’s not worth arguing! Proudly do “not a lot”. hahaha #bigpinklink

  20. November 7, 2016 / 8:26 pm

    Oh you’re doing so well at this blogging lark Louise, you should hold your head high when you say that you’re a blogger! I’m still not managing to make blogging my job and I’ve done it for a few years now, you’re doing brilliantly.
    Nat.x

  21. November 7, 2016 / 8:42 pm

    You should be proud of being an amazing blogger, I hope one day I can be a successful blogger too and help people like you have! #bigpinklink

  22. November 7, 2016 / 8:59 pm

    I can honestly tell you that when I tell my friends and family that I am into mummy blogs now and they ask which ones I read. Pink Pear Bear is one I list as my top faves and examples of how to do it right. I love your mix of good writing, humour, honesty, crafting and Wilma adventures. You are doing a great job! #bigpinklink

  23. November 7, 2016 / 8:59 pm

    It’s a wierd one. Being a SAHM is a job & you right about the grass is greener. I wasn’t a very good SAHM & craved work. Now my children are 6 & 9 I crave hometime & writing time. I’d love to make a small income from blogging & reduce my hours at the ‘real’ job. #bigpinklink Lifeinthemumslane

  24. November 7, 2016 / 9:47 pm

    Ha ha! Cake tester would be an awesome job! I love being a SAHM but I also need to make some money so I transferred my teaching skills into supply teaching and training as an antenatal teacher. On top of that I am also blogging (although I am much earlier on the journey than you) and I am not sure if it will take me anywhere… it is a tough one. Maybe freelance writer… it has a ring to it πŸ™‚

  25. November 7, 2016 / 9:48 pm

    Our childcare fell through today so I took a day off work to look after Evelyn. I love her unconditionally so please don’t get me wrong when I say that my day was a mixture of boredom and frustration!

    She didn’t want to do anything I’d planned, she wanted to stay in. I had to be fireman sam all day and she was a dog who’s only word was “woof”. Then there’s the housework on top of that, and preparing meals, and making sure she’s always engaged and out of trouble. I’m exhausted!

    Anyway…I think Professional Blogger sounds quite impressive. I understand why people might not understand it, they read blogs on the train and a blog to them is probably just something to read for a couple of minutes a day at most on their commute. But the work that goes into it is phenomenal. And if you can write in a way that people love it, and follow it to the point that brands notice you and pay you money for stuff – then that’s bloody impressive!!

    Plus, you’re doing a great job of it πŸ™‚

  26. November 7, 2016 / 10:01 pm

    Oh goodness being a blogger takes up so much time. Not just blogging, but the promotion, the emails, the admin, it goes on as you know. It really is only another blogger that can appreciate and understand this. I started 7 years ago on my middle ones first birthday. It is hard and I work it around work, kids, life. But I love it. My non online friends don’t get it, but I like my online ones, they get it. You are doing amazing. xx

  27. November 7, 2016 / 11:43 pm

    Yep i know how you feel! Funnily enough a few months ago I was on a confidence high and was quite happy to say i’m a blogger but recently have been feeling a bit embarrassed about it, maybe because I don’t have time to blog as much?! I was asked my occupation in the opticians and I said writer but then i felt pretentious!! i totally resonate with this post Lou!! #bigpinklink

  28. November 8, 2016 / 1:33 am

    Though you have something fantastic to be super proud of (stop shuffling!), I get this post entirely! I think it’s the belief that ‘anyone’ can have a blog. I have started saying I’m at home with my kids and doing some freelance writing. I am (slowly) learning to say it proudly and not feel like I’m sugar coating, bugger it! #bigpinklink

  29. November 8, 2016 / 3:22 am

    I totally feel what you are saying here, i could have written this only not with as much awesomeness as you (you are fab), but I agree that there is nothing better than knowing a post has made a difference to someone, knowing that it helped them out of a funk, it is still bizarre to me when I get a comment saying that I have helped someone, but I love it and it does mean more than money to me xx #bigpinklink

  30. November 8, 2016 / 8:44 am

    I never ask people what they ‘do’ as I HATED being asked when I was trying to figure that out. Judgy wudgy people. Enjoyed your post a lot. It points out quite a few truths! #bigpinklink

  31. November 8, 2016 / 9:52 am

    I think we all feel slightly insecure about things and then use that insecurity to assume others are judging us – not everyone but often people are asking what you do simply as a conversation opener – it’s like asking how the baby is sleeping or how well the toddler is talking – they’re not necessarily judging but we feel judged anyway. Not sure if that actually makes sense – it’s interesting to realise everyone has the same angst!

    Maybe when you’re feeling really confident you’ll be able to say, “I’m a writer’

    #bigpinklink

  32. November 8, 2016 / 1:50 pm

    Ooh I like the sound of Cake Tester – can I be one too?
    I got asked this very question the other day and I answered with “I’m a blogger” – I surprised myself with my confidence and couldn’t believe that I’d actually said it! The last few months I’ve definitely got more confident and while my ‘numbers’ might not be as high as others’ I love it. I love that every day I get to sit in front of my computer and write. Like you writing is my passion, I couldn’t imagine not doing it.
    You’ll get there eventually hun, and even if no one else knows what you do, YOU do! And you’re helping people… that’s something to be proud of. xxx
    #bigpinklink

  33. November 8, 2016 / 2:22 pm

    Professional cake tester? Where do I send my CV? Hahha! I feel your pain, I’m job hunting as my old job just won’t suit motherhood but all there is is xmas temp jobs in town and the snob in me fears saying “I work in London” to “oh I work up the town on a zero hour contract” just doesn’t have the same ring!!
    #bigpinklink

  34. November 8, 2016 / 3:43 pm

    So true on being a stay at home mom and a blogger. My kids are grown now and noone I know takes my blogging serious in my personal life except my husband because he sees the money. Recently I told someone exactly what I am making which is equal to some full-time jobs and they told me I was lying. It is a no win thing and that’s what is so great about this community. At least we have each other. #bigpinklink

  35. November 8, 2016 / 4:09 pm

    That’s it! You’re a mum. You’re a blogger. You’re a writer. And you most certainly, definitely help people. You helped me and I’ll never forget your kindness xx #BigPinkLink

  36. November 8, 2016 / 4:10 pm

    Oh forgot to say. The counsellor thing. I can totally see it. You’re that too, just not in the way you may have previously expected to be.

  37. November 8, 2016 / 7:44 pm

    I love this post, mainly because it’s like you are talking about me I haven’t made any money yet though (I’m only three months in). When I was younger all I ever wanted to do was write but then you do your school exams and you’re pushed to choose a ‘career’ and writing is never really put forward as an option so I never really considered that it could be. Since starting my blog I feel like I am finally becoming me. I still hate the ‘what do you do?’ question but I have stopped myself from saying ‘just’. I’m a stay at home mum and proud. Once I start making money from blogging I hope I can pluck up the courage to call myself a professional blogger, you certainly should x
    #Bigpinklink

  38. November 8, 2016 / 9:23 pm

    Absolutely YES! Blog your socks off and enjoy every bit. I never thought I’d work for myself, now iI do I could never go back to working for someone else! #BigPinkLink

  39. November 8, 2016 / 10:53 pm

    You are a writer, you just happen to write blogs. I’m a professional coffee drinker, dog walker, cook, shopper (staples), school runner, homework ninja and also a writer! Let’s hold our heads up with pride! #BigPinkLink

  40. November 9, 2016 / 12:07 pm

    Writer !! I agree with Toothing Mama. I do have a high flying day job and earn lots of money and have a fancy car but i dont feel happy until i am writing . I need to build up my brand and its going to take years but i will get there. Keep the faith. Fancy jobs are not everything #bigpinklink

  41. November 10, 2016 / 12:15 am

    Your doing something which you love! That’s not something everyone can say so in my eyes your a winner!

    The fact that you get to do it on your PJs just makes you even more of a winner! #bigpinklink

  42. November 10, 2016 / 9:58 pm

    Aw I think your fantastic!! And look how many followers you have now! I actually find blogging very demanding and it’s much easier for me to just get up and go to work as a teacher! Keep up the fab work lovely. And thank you for hosting #bigpinklink

  43. November 12, 2016 / 9:00 am

    You’re doing so well, so you should be proud that you are a blogger. I think we have to recognise that not every job is the same and we shouldn’t feel pressured to be something else, besides Mom. I stayed home for a long time and felt so much pressure that I wasn’t doing anything until I realised I was raising children and that would always be the most important thing in my life. #bigpinklink

  44. November 12, 2016 / 1:35 pm

    As you may know I work behind a bar during the evenings and also blog… None of which are apparently a ‘proper job’. Jesus I am so fed up of people telling me about proper jobs, quite frankly they can shove their ‘proper jobs’ right up their…

  45. November 13, 2016 / 4:02 pm

    I find people either look miffed or they get it – nothing in between! #bigpinklink

  46. November 13, 2016 / 8:28 pm

    Very few people ask me what I do and if they do I tell them that I write social media for businesses and individuals(which is what I tend to make most of my income from these days so it is true!) or I just say I work from home and they don’t ask any further. I did give up a fairly high flying career two years ago to stay at home with Siena and I would far rather be at home with her any day!!! Every day I wake up and I go over all the things I miss about working outside of the house and after 1 second I get up πŸ™‚

    Be proud of what you do and what you have achieved!!!

    #Bigpinklink

  47. November 14, 2016 / 12:08 am

    I had this question asked to me not that long ago on twitter and the block feature was my best friend that day. It’s incredibly insulting to ask. Love your post! #bigpinklink

    Jordanne || Thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk

  48. November 17, 2016 / 3:21 pm

    This is great! For sure, you are exactly where you are supposed to be! Say it loud and proud! #bigpinklink

  49. March 26, 2017 / 7:01 pm

    I loved this! I love your writing style, you can hear your personality so easily through it. I totally get what you mean too.

    • March 26, 2017 / 8:35 pm

      Oh thank you!! That’s really lovely. Did you enjoy it???

    • March 26, 2017 / 8:36 pm

      Duh! I thought that was a comment on the beauty and the beast post!

  50. October 17, 2017 / 10:37 pm

    Such a relatable post. Sometimes it’s difficult to be confident in your passion when it isn’t regular. I study a normal respected job career and yeah t is useful to have. But being creative is such a joy. Like you, I love writing. So currently that it what I will do! Life’s too short.

  51. November 9, 2017 / 3:39 pm

    I know exactly how you feel – I’m a stay at home mum & carer to my 2 disabled children so I feel I’m considered the lowest of the low.
    Now I’ve started blogging too & it’s opening up the world to me.

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