The Conflict of Popularity....
I started to write this blog to share with you our delight in reaching 500 likes on Instagram...however, as usual, thoughts pour, ideas appear, and conflict arises. So instead of trying to make this simple, I'm gonna take you with me...where my head has taken me when I first wrote the original title "500 likes on Insta...Ahhhhhhh!!!!" (And please bare with me, this may not been in chronological order of thought, more a brain storm and download...mummy style!) So if you can, grab a cuppa and have a read..
I'm passionate about most things I choose to do (if you read my first blog you'll know what I mean), but I'm most passionate about my boys...my love Dave and our two young growing individuals. Their mental health is paramount to us, but striking a balance between work and quality home time, time to notice those things that may be wrong or worrying is harder than it sounds.
When you're self employed, and work in some form or another every day, the routine of school keeping us in some kind of resemblance of normality, you're always playing that balancing and juggling game. I'm currently typing this whilst Winter has a nap and when he wakes I will put this laptop away and off into the garden we will go...! (I've just checked this and added the above pic which is of Winter after nap in garden).
To be mummy to a striking, confident, energetic, funny and reactive 14 year old boy just starting his GSCE's; and a cute, smart, willful, thoughtful 2 year old boy who is developing fast and too clever for words, along with running a business is hard to explain to anyone who doesn't do it. Other than to say, we work to build a better future for our children, in a wonderful spacious environment, working doing what we absolutely love from home so that we can parent...together....always showing these two boys that we are a team in all we do and how important that lesson is. But striking the balance is a mine field sometimes, and easy as breathing other times. We don't get it right all the time....
Dave and I agreed from the moment we found out we were pregnant with Winter that we would we learn from our pasts and that we would parent and work equally. I remember the moment very well when I knew with one set of butterflies and a dazed kinda feeling that I was pregnant, and went immediately to tell Dave at Holme Grown. He was having an intense yet relaxed, intelligent conversation with our wonderful friend David Henley (please check out his work, we are lucky enough to own a few of David's paintings, and we adore them, everyday!) I sat and watched and listened to the man I love, sat back and engage with his friend in that beautiful tone of voice that he has (any of you that know Dave know what I mean). I couldn't interrupt so just sat and considered the coming changes, the fear and joy of turning our world, and some of our plans upside down. But plans evolve, journeys take you to places you hadn't anticipated, and the fear turned into joy...the rest is history, and 3 years later we have built a new life together, totally equal, a team.
So, back on track...when you work so hard to establish a new business, in a new place, around new people, with the new world of social media at your fingertips, it becomes important to try to monitor your success. I'm no 'influencer', and pretty new to this world of digital media, but I would like to share our world with you, our journey and our reasons why (hence the blogs), show people the pottery we make, show how its made and how it might look in your world, so I guess I am influencing your lifestyle, or influencing you to buy a piece of Penrhiw Pottery, but certainly not in any hard, impersonal way, but more a gentle invite and an education.
So imagine my delight when some of my ideas people actually like, people are beginning to know us, locally and further and we are so appreciative. It's actually not just a number game for us, its about quality (or I would have just bought 1k followers), and because of that quality of follower is why I celebrate it, and am thankful for it.
So, to the conflict of it, the fear of influencing my children that its important to be popular. The fear that I might be feeding this dreadful epidemic of 'likes' to my children. I remember when Jack was in Year 7, a new school in Jersey and life was all about his phone, we had some tough times, forcing us to educate ourselves about technology and be responsible again for balancing his world (a big factor in the decision to move to Wales). I was very bullied at school so I know a thing or two about not being popular...(in the days before mobile phones). The faceless technology that can effect and influence our young people more than our generation ever thought possible. To quote from a film I've been watching (far too many times), about social media....
"everyone's talking about themselves, how does he know so many people?"
"None of these people know him, but they 'like' him and that what matters in this life...popularity"!!! (and another)
"It's not cool to use actual words"!!!
So firstly, I'm obviously using as many words as possible to be a tiny bit rebellious....and show my age!
Secondly, the fact that we are aware of technology, the pros and the cons, the downfalls and the benefits, hopefully we will be able to guide these children through using social media as beneficial and not in an obsessive way. Always balanced by play, the outdoors and good old fashioned communication, using words!
Thirdly I am delighted to have reached 500 likes, but not because it feeds that thing we all have to want to be liked...cause lets face it I'm too old to really care, but that it reflects our work which I do really care about and is important to me.
In the week where we hit 500 likes, Dave is away at the Lake's with the teenagers, and I'm at home with Winter. Iv'e needed it, to gather my thoughts, look after just the two of us, and re connecting with Winter has been wonderful. This child that looks up at me with beautiful blue eyes and this blonde mop of hair, holds his hand out to hold mine....has reminded me of the moments that are precious and forever burnt into my mind...
Have I struck the right balance...this week yes I have! We have been to the beach in the rain and the wind, we have walked, played, and just taken a breath...Iv'e worked whilst he has slept and here I am writing this in the hope that I can convey the constant conflict that is parenthood and 'businesshood', both ever changing, developing and growing, but both always with loyalty and love.
So lets celebrate the work we do, the people we are, to all those parents who run their own business (and those that don't or haven't yet), here's to emotional conflict being at every turn and facing it with energy, ideas, compassion and spirit.
Did I mention we hit 500 likes on Instagram...whoop whoop!!
Below are some pics of my boys...Winter as just a tiny bald thing with his beautiful balding Dad, and with his gorgeous big brother...and some of Winter playing this week...love at first and every sight!