Thursday 3 January 2013

Blogging, competitions, voting and Special Needs Awareness.

Last year (such a long time ago already!!), thanks to lots of lovely people voting for me, I made it to number 20 in the Circle of Moms Top 25 European Moms 2012 list.

For me, this was quite an achievement. To see my name alongside some other amazing blogs was uplifting but also bittersweet. In the 3 years since I've been blogging, I've not actually made it to any heady heights in any sort of list, or received any great recognition. That's fine, really it is, I haven't expected it and I haven't stressed about it. I just accept that my writing is maybe not as good as others' (it wasn't an English degree I did, after all!), and I just don't hit the popular vote.

Of course it would be nice to be 'popular', but not everyone can be. As I often say, the world would be a boring place if we were all the same. Certainly life is never dull around here with my two girls, and I'm definitely happy with what I've got. My one motto that I really want to drill into my girls is that the only person who can make you happy in life is you. 

I haven't actually tried to make it to the top of a list before to be fair; I seriously can't find the time. I suspect if I had more time I may 'promote' it more, but I'd never let that overtake why I'm here. I blog for me. I started it to document what living with autism was like for us, and it's actually turned into therapy for me. I've found a lot of great advice and support from other bloggers, and I can't put a price on how much that has helped. More than 'real' therapy, that's for sure!

Anyhow I digress. I know that my name being in the top list was slightly contentious, and there were some snide comments made about others being more worthy and this list being pointless. I'm not a 'big name' blog, and it's true that this type of competition is based on how many people you can persuade to vote for you. I did vote for my other favourite blogs too, and some of them joined me in the Top 25. Some that I love weren't there at all, which was a shame.

Well I'm proud of the fact that it was all my lovely friends and family, and other bloggers who do read who voted for me, and several of them went back every day to vote. I didn't send the link round my husband's workplace to get hundreds more votes, I just asked quietly on Facebook and amongst friends. I really wanted to make the list, as in my head I was aiming for more Autism Awareness by reaching a wider audience. More awareness = more understanding, and that is the one main thing that will help Sasha's passage through life to be easier.

I now know that actually I have achieved that awareness - every one person more reading the blog is another person who may (if they read more than one post!) just understand Sasha a little better. To be honest, it's the people closest to us who will be able to help Sasha the most, so you could say I hit exactly the right target audience. I'm happy with that. Thank you all lovely family and friends for being so supportive and understanding, you are helping more than you'll ever know.

A new list has come out from Tots 100 of the Top 20 UK Special Needs Parenting Blogs. I'd far rather be in that list if I'm honest, so maybe I'll find the time to try harder this year. This list contains so many blogs that I read regularly that I really could highlight them all. Some are new to me but I've had a look and they're all amazing. Honest and open about the good and difficult sides of life, as I hope I have been.

In particular I do want to thank Soft Thistle , Looking for Blue Sky , Jonty Babe , Just Bring the Chocolate , Cheetahs in my Shoes , Downs Side Up , Scottish Mum , A Boy with Aspergers  , Crystal Jigsaw and A Tricky Customer for their brilliant words and comments which have kept me reading over the past year. Please do take the time to click on each link and check out their lives, it may just bring some more insight into different lives.

  1. Crystal Jigsaw
  2. A Boy with Aspergers 
  3. Pink Oddy 
  4. Looking for Blue Sky 
  5. Soft Thistle 
  6. Scottish Mum 
  7. Downs Side Up 
  8. Mum of 4, Wife of 1 
  9. Jonty Babe 
  10. Savette Gazette
  11. Walking with Angels
  12. Flight Platform Living 
  13. A Tricky Customer
  14. Mummy 2 Five 
  15. Just Bring the Chocolate 
  16. A Life Unlimited 
  17. Cheetahs in my Shoes 
  18. Let’s Talk Olly 
  19. A World of Spinning 
  20. Autism Mumma
The two names that spring to mind that are missing from this list in my opinion, are Deb from Aspie In The Family, and Steph from Was This In The Plan? (who I was lucky enough to have as a Britmums buddie this year). They both write intelligently and passionately about their Special Needs lives, and have both been a great source of inspiration for me. *Edited to add just one more, Life With An Autistic Son - how could I have forgotten this fab blog that makes me laugh every time I read it?!

Maybe this year I will have more time to focus on the awareness and raise some serious aspects (watch out for my one about Mr C running the London Marathon for the National Autistic Society), but I doubt my whole blog will change substantially. It's me, warts and all, and for now that's just how it is. So Happy 2013 everyone, and hang on to your hats (which Sasha funnily tried to do when I used that expression in the car a few days ago) as we carry on the wonderful rollercoaster!


  1. Well done on your circle of Moms position. Happy New Year to you all, and some great blogs you mention there too along side your own.

  2. Well done! And a huge well done for what you do in terms of raising awareness. I remember the thing that first struck me when I first started reading your blog was the bit you have on the left hand side of the page explaining about ASD being a biological difference and about it being an unseen disability - that is just SO important for people to understand and I hope to (try) to put a permanent bit on our blog with just the basics of why / how josh struggles in his life but as with so many other bloggy bits i just haven't got around to it yet. We had such a huge battle with his school trying to explain that his problems were because of a medical condition and not just 'bad behaviour' which is what they wanted to believe despite the doctor telling them face to face directly that it was because of his autism. still makes me angry to think about how much lack of understanding there is even amongst those who we had hoped would understand better like (some) teachers! (not all - there are some very good teachers out there - i know that from the blogging community who have just been so supportive). xxx

    1. Thanks - I'd almost forgotten about that bit at the side but I def won't remove it now when I next 'fiddle' with the design!! It is frustrating when people won't believe things unless you have them written down by a profesional - especially when the 'professionals' are so blooming hard to get hold of!! Anyhow I hope 2013 is a good one for you too x

  3. Thank you so much for the mention Steph and I'm so pleased that you're in the Circle of Moms Top 25, you wouldn't be there if people didn't like your blog and believe that it is important :) I've checked out the blogs on the Tots List and it was great to find some new ones to read, and I totally agree with you about the exclusions and I'm off to check out Life with an Autustic Son now. Wishing you and your family a lovely 2013 xx

    1. well as you know, your blog has been a great inspiration to me, so thanks to you x

  4. Hey Steph, thank you so much for the mention and well done! You rock!!!I love your blog and you deserve high praise indeed. Happy New Year and lots of love. x

    1. and thank you for always being so upbeat and getting on with things! You remind me to stay positive too :)

  5. Fab post Steph and I'm so glad you got into the circle of mums. I know that there has been some criticism of it but in my opinion what counts as a great blog is a matter of personal opinion. Yours is a great blog and I always enjoying reading it. By the way I'm not in the tots list because I'm not part of the tots community; I pulled out of it a while back because I found the whole ranking thing stressful. Now that I see my fellow bloggers on it, I'm wondering whether to return as I'm feeling a bit lonely as a blogger at the moment. Deb xx

    PS Happy New Year to you and your family.

    PPS: Steph, could you update my blog on your RH side please; you have my old blogspot one listed which I no longer use. Thanks;)

    1. yes, me too re Tots, maybe we should go back with a vengeance :) I hope you stop feeling lonely and find some more inner strength -you've helped so many with your writing, you should keep going if you can x p.s. will try and make the blog list change now!!

  6. (btw I didn't even know I was on the tots100 list lol until I read this post) We have achieved what we all set out to do. It wasn't to get noticed or get a name for ourselves or even to get on a list (tho I am a bit thrilled). It was to raise awareness of our very special kids. But, lists or no lists don't change a thing. We need to keep getting the message out there. Hugs to all you very wonderful parents out there! Keep up the good work. x

    1. exactly. the world should recognise everyone - and I'm sure it's a much better place today than it used to be, but there's always room for improvement, right?!

  7. You do what you enjoy when you blog or it will become boring for you in the long run. I hadn't seen the tots lists as I tend to forget about those things, so thanks for letting me know about it.

    I don't know the ins and outs of the Circle of Moms though I vaguely remember voting for a few people who asked for it.

    It's a bit wierd to make any list when we're just talking about our kids. I tend to not be on the popular list either, as I think when we talk about our kids, others think we're having a whinge about the normal regular childhood things, when it's nothing like that at all.

    We should all keep blogging, and talking and chatting. Well done x

    1. Yes, it's the support from the blogging community that keeps me going - a problem shared is a problem halved, as they say!

  8. well done on those achievements! all of the parenting blogs re special needs help those of us without children with these issues understand more about what you have to cope with on a daily basis.

    1. Thank you so much. Your comment is particularly uplifting as it is so nice to know that we can reach outside of the Special Needs community and help explain to people who may otherwise not understand why our children 'appear' naughty (for example). We're all the same really; all children are difficult in their own way! I'm sure there are others who read too but don't rally know what to say about it - so thanks for taking the time just to leave a comment at all, it really helps :)


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