I am currently on the train home from BritMums Live, a two day conference with amazing speakers, activities and sponsors. It has been a fantastic, albeit slightly overwhelming two days which have been so jam packed, it is hard to know where to start.
Ruby Wax opened the conference and it was refreshing to hear her candid personal experience of mental health. Having suffered from depression in my late teens and, more recently I worked in a mental health ward, I have experience of both sides of mental illness and the stigmas which are attached. The journey from shame and denial that people experience on hearing a diagnosis, to the confident person they can become during and after treatment is astounding. I would urge anyone who is affected by any form of mental illness to log on to Black Dog Tribe.
I attended five of the six workshops, taking a break from one purely to sit and have a cup of tea and take some time out to process all the information. Nickie O’Hara’s group on ‘taking your blog to the next level’ was highly informative, and it was really interesting as the panel had completely different angles.
Sarah Brown opened the day on Saturday, encouraging us all that we need to figure out who we are and what we want to say. She also said that blogging is almost like leading a double identity, you are ‘the person in your life and the person reporting on your life’. So when you go to an event, outing, conference, you enjoy the experience but at the same time you wonder how you are going to get across what you have experienced. This resonated with me as I often feel that I lead many different lives, as wife, mother, student and me and I find they rarely converge. I had a great time down at the Piggy Bank Kids stall making my jubilee/Olympics pig, or ‘Olympig’ as it was suggested I call her. Being able to be creative for half an hour without a small child
my work was refreshing!
Google+ has hopefully become less of a mystery and I am going to sit down and really spend some time putting in the hard work now, before I am back at university in September. The legal and SEO talk was also very informative although unfortunately there was very little time left to ask questions.
Inspiring, confident, passionate women were in abundance and I am honoured to have met so many of you. I think I was a little bit in awe initially when I saw people’s name badges, but hearing the speakers reiterates that, ultimately, they have all been in the same position the rest of us and they are 'normal' people. Whilst so many of the speakers have had blogs for a long time and are very experienced, they have also, at some point, had a one year old blog. When they did, there was probably far less of a vast supportive community than there is now.
My only disappointment with the weekend was on Friday night at the BiB awards party. When I first saw that there were half naked men serving alcohol, my first instinct was to leave the room. I am not a prude, but I believe in equality and I do not see how anyone in the room was on an even keel with the waiters. I wonder why it was necessary, how we would feel if our husband or partner had gone to a conference and been served by scantily clad women? Also, what kind of a message does that send to our children? In my mind, it is not OK to encourage inequality on any level and the idea that these men and women were there for our titillation unnerves me. Yes, they get paid, it is their job and they probably enjoy it, but this is my personal opinion and it really isn’t something that I felt at all comfortable with on a moral level. Next year you’ve got my vote for waiters in tuxedoes.
All in all, I have had such a fantastic weekend and I would like to thank BritMums for organising the conference and drawing together such a huge pool of blogging talent. It has been a truly inspirational experience and I can’t wait for next year!