It’s sort of crazy to me that the MAD Blog Awards for UK parent blogs are now in their sixth year.
I remember sitting in my back garden chatting through the bare bones of an idea with Josie, way back in late 2009. The idea was that while Tots100 ranked blogs and used numbers and metrics and audience figures, the MAD Awards would just be about telling the world, “I love this blog”.
A few years down the line, the venue might be a bit (lot) more glitzy, there might be fancy stages and celebrity hosts and gifts bags and prizes, but at its heart, the awards are still about the blogs, and bloggers, that we love.
It’s a night that I hope doesn’t take itself too seriously, that invites people to come along, have a good time, be spoiled a little bit, and celebrate a slightly bonkers hobby that pulls together a community of such different voices, experiences and lifestyles.
During the evening, my blogging chum Becky from Baby Budgeting and A Beautiful Space gave an introduction to one of the awards that actually brought a tear to my eye. And I’m basically dead inside, so you know it was good.
What Becky said was that what we take away from blogging isn’t just money, or awards. It’s the friendships that we make along the way. That we fill our blogs with words from the heart, and build friendships with those words.
And I thought to myself, yes. THAT. That’s what I take from blogging.
I am very lucky to have a blog (and by extension, a job) that introduces to me to so many smart, interesting, funny people.
People like Becky, and Chris, and Molly and Jane and Ruth and Laura and Tom, and a dozen other people who I look at and think, wow, they’re a hundred times better people than I could hope to be, and how cool is it that I get to be friends with them?
There are bloggers who inspire me, like Hayley, who are always friendly and approachable to work with, and they’re the people I look to when I want to improve my own blogging (you know, when I get around to it) – people like Kelly, Emily, Colette, Katie, Fritha and Katie. People who are creating amazing success from their blogs while remaining lovely, decent people.
Blogging even introduced me to Dr Ranj, the filthiest, funniest kids’ TV presenter I’ve ever met, who was supposed to be at Fashion Week when he was still getting down on the dance floor at the end of the night. Also, I don’t want to cast aspersions, but it’s surely not a coincidence that auto-correct on my phone changes “Dr Ranj” to “drank” every single time.
On Friday night, I kicked myself because I suspect like many of us, I’m the sort of person who can easily spend half a day obsessing about that one Tweet, that one Facebook update, that one person who’s never going to miss an opportunity to put me or someone else down, just to boost their own sense of importance.
I’m too old for that nonsense.
I need to remember that I’m lucky to spend time with so many people who make me laugh. Who have helped me to create a business, and along the way, build a home and a life for myself and my daughter. People who make me look at parenting in new ways. Who teach me new things (hey, I learned how to make sparkly play dough from a blog, and you can’t under-estimate that as a skill).
And perhaps even more, I need to remember that there are always more people who might do that, just waiting to take the place of the other people – the ones I really need to let go.
The ridiculously lovely Di from Superlucky was also at the awards this weekend, and I was chatting with her at the bar (as you do). We commented on how many new faces were at the awards compared to the people we’d known in the early days of our blogging journey.
It’s tempting to feel left out when that sort of thing happens. To feel left behind, or uncool, or whatever. But Di simply said, “Isn’t it brilliant? So many new faces! So many new people to make friends with!”
I thought that was such a perfect way to look at things – and it really was great to meet some new people.
There was the lovely Emma from FACS who came along with Hayley, and ended up twerking with Dr Ranj. Amber from The Goblin Child who blew me away with her willingness to jump in and help out despite never having met us before. Al from The Dad Network who I only had the briefest of conversations with, but who was SO friendly, and made me smile by being one of the first to dance, with his impossibly glam wife.
In fact, I met so many new people this weekend that I can’t possibly list them all, but it was fabulous and I am so excited that our blogging community is continuing to grow, and my friendships are growing along with it. I wish nothing but the same for all of you.
Photos courtesy of Tom Arber Photography