I’m taking a little time away from here, perhaps for a day, perhaps for good.
You all know I love Mummy Says. I love planning posts, crafting them at night when the children sleep, and reading the next day what you all think. I love sharing my thoughts, using my voice, and listening to your voices too.
This has been my place to speak out, to make friends, to reach out at a time while life has been all about two babies who I spend most of my days with at home.
I have written here, on Mummy Says, for a few reasons. I’ve needed to keep writing. It’s how I make my living, it’s what I know and what I do. When I have been sleep-deprived or feeling like motherhood has beaten me, this has been my refuge.
It’s been my digital baby book, my record keeper of the most precious years of my life.
It’s also been my place to have a voice.
I believe that women’s voices are struggling to be heard. It is fact that we are under-represented in public life – in the corporate boardroom, on the political landscape, in the media. I never expected Mummy Says to change things – but it gave me a space at least for my words. At a time when I was no longer working within the mainstream media, this was my corner in which to think, to talk, and to keep on trying to get women to use their voices too.
The blog is an incredibly powerful phenomena. It is the voice we haven’t had. The voice that was silenced.
Today, my voice is being silenced.
I don’t want the trolls to win. But for now, I don’t have any fight.
The trolls targeted a post I wrote elsewhere – it was a redraft of a version which appeared here on Mummy Says – a post about teaching feminism to toddler boys. I stand by this not-very-newsworthy position.
The trolls, on the post and on Twitter, accused me of child abuse repeatedly. They said horrid, hateful things. I stopped reading after it was wished that I would put my son up for adoption and have my tubes tied with barbed wire.
I am no newcomer to the wrath of online commenters or newspaper letter writers. As a news journalist, I was called scum repeatedly, my integrity was questioned, my actions were criticised. No-one ever attacked what I did at home though.
I know that this from the trolls is not a personal attack. I know this is a cowardly, orchestrated game and tomorrow they will pick on someone else whose post has a headline they don’t agree with. I know not to respond. I know to ignore it.
I know I shouldn’t let them win. I shouldn’t allow their voices to bully mine.
But, I have a two-year-old and a one-year-old. Really, making them happy is the only thing that matters. I’m tired, to be honest, of trying to be heard. Right now, I’m learning how to be a mum, how to be a woman, how to be a wife, how to be a magazine editor, how to find enough time to be there enough for my children, how to do this thing that is life. I’ll keep talking but quietly, and with the hope that every woman I know is using her voice too. Perhaps I’ll find another way to use mine.
Thank you for listening, and thank you for making the last 24 hours so much brighter. I have been awed by your strength and support. Please continue to natter to me on Twitter, and come see me on Pintrest and Instagram – I’m not leaving those places that I still see as areas of companionship.
And, please, also, use your voice.
I hope to find mine again soon – perhaps it’ll be elsewhere though, on that blog of pretty clothes and lovely things that I’ve thought about starting for years. Maybe I’ll finally find more time to work on the little novel I started long ago. Or perhaps I will write here again sometime.
In the meantime, I’ll be preparing to explain to my children one day why mummy stopped using her voice for a while.