• All About Fern
  • Life as a YouTuber: It’s Lonely

    I posted this on Instagram the other day.

    I was tagged practically forever ago by @thingswhatilove to share #20thingsaboutme So. Here are 20 things. 1. I am lazy. Like really, really lazy. 2. I spend a ridiculous amount of time wishing for change instead of making changes. 3. I hate social media because it makes me feel needy and awkward; pointless posts that were clearly made just to try and "engage" people make me so angry. 4. I'm just a generally angry person tbh. 5. I hate losing. 6. I often feel like I'm losing. 7. I wish I could have more babies just because I love naming babies. 8. I would love to make a career out of YouTube, but I don't see it ever happening. 9. YouTube makes me feel lonely. 10. I have always been impulsive and I am equal parts grateful and resentful that my husband and kids prevent me from making impulsive decisions. 11. My grandparents passed away last year and I dream about them all the time. 12. My dreams are so vivid that I often wake up and don't know what's real and what's not. 13. The only times I've been able to sing without fear as an adult were the times I was high on drugs. 14. Yeah, I used to do a lot of drugs. 15. I love wearing glasses and feel naked without them. 16. I hate wearing glasses because they slip down my nose and my kids are constantly smearing them with their grubby kiddy fingers. 17. I'm too scared to find out how big my student loan is – it's interest free so I'm not even going to think about it until I start earning money. 18. I can't look at the horizon or the sky for too long or I start to freak out. Everything is so big and I am so small. 19. I swear way more than I should. 20. I fucking hate typing on my phone and I'm pretty surprised I stuck with this! Okay I'm done. I tag @myfavouriteshus @ivfmummavlogs @jesschillinabout @bigtinylife

    A post shared by Fern P (@the_fern_life) on

    Excuse the swears (if you’re a person who’s offended by swears), but it took me forever to type all that out on my stupid phone. Also I wasn’t in the best mood. Also, I wasn’t kidding when I shared that 19th thing. But anyway.

    Linda (who is a person I consider to be a friend despite the fact I’ve never actually met her) left a comment on that post on Instagram. The comment included a question that I found interesting. And because I am completely lacking in the blog ideas department of late, I figured I’d answer her in the wordiest way possible.

    Hello, new blog post.

    Okay, so here’s (some of) what she said:

    It’s so sad that youtube makes you feel lonely, is it because you talk to a screen? It’s quite trippy when I think about it; us viewers feel connected when we watch you, but you prob end up feeling disconnected?

    So here goes. These are the reasons why YouTube makes me feel lonely.

    1. Most of the time when I’m filming YouTube videos I am at home alone. Sometimes my kids are there, it’s true, but anyone with kids will tell you that being surrounded by children is not the same as being surrounded by other adults. For example, I have to try not to swear. And I can’t even laugh at the really funny things they do, because the funniest things they do are always the naughtiest things they do. So then I have to get all growly, and then everyone hates me, and then I feel lonely. Ahhh parenting.
      But yeah. What I was trying to get at is this: My YouTube videos are literally me, on my own, talking to an electronic device that fits in the palm of my hand.
    2. My videos aren’t live. They are pre-recorded; edited, uploaded, and scheduled to appear on my channel at 8:30pm. And that means that when my wonderful subscribers are watching and responding to my videos, they are commenting on past events.
      I’m the first to admit that my moods and emotions tend to be a bit up and down (the husband is probably snorting at that understatement). I feel things strongly, but I get over things quickly. Unless it’s a major event, something that upsets me is likely to be something I couldn’t give two craps about just a couple of days later. So although the supportive comments I receive are wonderful (really, they are, please don’t take this as me not appreciating the messages you guys leave me), they never actually come at the times I need them most.
    3. This is the biggest one:
      I don’t actually know who you are.
      You know me. You watch my videos and read my words and sometimes you even laugh at my jokes. You know what I look like, what I sound like, what I have for breakfast… But what do I know about you?
      Some of my viewers have teensy little profile pictures that assure me they are real people. Some of my viewers leave comments using their first and last names, which makes it easier to remember who says what. But most viewers have pseudonyms and generic avatars, and it’s just like, Okay, cool. Thanks, faceless stranger! No matter how kind the comments, no matter how sweet the sentiments, there’s always going to be a disconnect when the majority of my feedback comes in the form of semi-anonymous comments (and 100% of that feedback is nothing more than words on a screen).

    There are many things I love about YouTube, and there are many reasons I stick with it. But the fact remains that life as a YouTuber is lonely. Unless my husband suddenly decides he wants to stick his face in front of the camera with me (which is never going to happen, I can assure you), I’m almost certain that the feelings of isolation are set to be a permanent side effect of my vlogging life. It’s okay, because I’ve accepted it. But I do wish it was possible to interact more tangibly with you all.

    – Fern xxx

    If for some reason you’re not subscribed to my channel yet, you should go and do that now. If you want to, I mean…
    Here’s the link: Subscribe to The Fern Life 

  • All About Fern
  • Learning as I Go

    If you were to ask me how I was feeling today I’d have to answer with, Not great. It feels kind of weird sharing that, because no one has actually asked me, but whatever. I’m putting it out there. Sometimes it feels good to admit that life is a wee bit shitty sometimes.

    I’ve been in a funk all day. Grumpy and irritable. Impatient with the kids. Wanting to hole myself up in my office and work on things, but instead just sitting hunched over my desk, my neck strained, staring at my computer screen blankly.

    I ended up unfollowing people on social media, which is a bad sign. I only do that when I’m feeling truly down on myself. I sign into Instagram and I look at the photos posted by the women I am not and I think, I am ugly. I am small. I cannot do what they do. And it hurts. And when it hurts too much, I unfollow. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye. I doubt that you will miss me.

    A couple of things have come to a head this weekend, which have led to my not so great day. Yesterday an old friend made contact with me, and it’s kind of put me in a spin. It’s weird because reconnecting was really rather lovely. But the truth is I’ve been avoiding her for a while now, telling myself that the past is the past, that I need to leave things, all the things, behind me.

    Despite my attempts to stay out of touch, we chatted a bit and we’ve both come so far. Finally. We are in good places. We have moved on. And now I’m realising that trying to ignore my past, pretending like I didn’t think about the person I was and the people I loved Every Single Day, convincing myself that reconnecting with those people would be taking a step backwards, was not exactly a healthy way to live. I mean, she was my absolute best friend for practically my entire life. And without knowing what she had become, I managed to convince myself that any contact with her would be Bad. And that gave me anxiety. That made me feel scared.

    Really, things are good now. They’re better for having spoken with her. And yet I feel terrible. It’s dumb, I know, but who wants to learn they’ve been believing things they never should’ve believed?

    The other thing is just the whole blogging, vlogging, content creating thing in general. I’ve been working really hard, you see, on establishing a community that I honestly reckon could be a truly amazing thing. I’ve been building a website, and setting up social media accounts, and trying to get people excited about it all. And while I’ve been doing that I’ve also been promising myself that this year I’ll share myself even more authentically in all my content, because authenticity rocks and so do I.

    But today I don’t feel like I rock. Today I feel like I suck. I shared things I was passionate about on my YouTube channel and people unsubscribed. I shared my ideas with my community and the response was underwhelming. I scrolled through my Facebook and Twitter feeds and I read post after post made by blogger after blogger and I thought, Well who am I..?

    Who am I?

    So I’m struggling a bit. Just for today. Or just for this week. Or just for this month. As always, time will tell. But I dunno, I just wanted you to know that. I wanted to be real. Because I really am trying here. I’m trying my absolute best. And I feel inadequate and I feel pathetic, but I still feel like I have something to offer. I know I have a voice. Today my voice is weak, but maybe tomorrow I will sing. Maybe next week I will roar. So I’ll keep on working, and I’ll keep on trying, and I’ll keep on being me. But if you’re here, if you’re reading these words, perhaps you could let me know?

    I am small today. I feel I am a child. I am learning as I go.

    – Fern xxx


    I embedded this in my last blog post, I know. But it’s relevant to the thoughts I’ve just shared, so I figured I’d chuck it in anyway. A mistake is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it…

     

     

    Run Jump Scrap!
  • All About Fern
  • New Year, Old Me (and Why I’m the Worst Blogger in the World)

    Okay, so here’s the truth: I keep thinking Bad Thoughts about blogging. All blogging. There’s a grumpy old cow in the back of my mind, you see, and she’s forever saying things like, There are already a million bloggers. It’s all been said before. Nothing is original anymore. You have nothing worth writing about.

    It’s kind of weird that she very rarely says that sort of thing when I think about my YouTube channel. Maybe she just thinks YouTube is where it’s at. And I mean, yeah, that’s cool. I feel like I’m doing pretty well in the vlogging side of the internet. But the thing is I’ve always wanted to write. And I still want to write. So I actually feel like I need to bloody write, goddammit.

    So here we are.

    I’m mainly blogging because it’s a new year. I hate that I’m blogging because it’s a new year, because I hate the way everyone starts going on and on about their goals and detoxing and how they’re going to become better people. I mean, I actually quite like myself these days. And yeah, there are plenty of things I could do better, but I don’t want my only motivation to be a new date. Well, shit in one hand, want in the other, I guess, because it looks like the new date is exactly what has motivated me to finally dust off my keyboard. Once again, I’m a walking oxymoron (please don’t emphasise the moron).

    To appease the grumpy old anti-blogging cow, I’m not going to write out my goals here for you all to read. Nor will I list all the things I learned in 2016 (though you can check out the embedded YouTube video if you want to hear about some of the mistakes I made – eep). But I am willing to share that I’ve got a few ideas floating around in my head that I’d like to make a reality this year. And if I can make at least some of it happen, if I can extend myself just a little, then I think I’ll be feeling pretty pleased with myself by this time next year.

    What I’m not so sure about, however, is the direction in which I want to take this blog. Do I want it to be all the mum things all the time? Definitely not. Do I want to write open letters and vaguely humourous (i.e. not actually funny) lists all the time? Shit no. But I do want to make sure I’m writing things that you genuinely want to read. And there are a hell of a lot of incredibly popular blogs out there that seem to write only those things I don’t want to write… So what’s a blogger to do? Do I pretend to be someone, or something, I’m not in the hopes that people will start eating up every word I type? Or do I do my own thing and accept that I’ll probably just float around making little to no difference in anyone’s life?

    There’s this whole thing in the blogging world about having a brand, even being a brand. And if I had to give myself a brand it’d just be Fern. Me. A woman with a lot of kids and a little time and a desire to share things about her life in an entertaining sort of way. Which I’m beginning to suspect isn’t really a brand at all.

    Ah well. The grumpy cow is telling me to just forget about it, so I suppose I will. For now. In the meantime, feel free to give me a kick up the butt if you realise I haven’t written anything in a while. And hey, if you’re keen to share with me the sorts of things you’d be interested in reading about then leave me a comment down below. Drew Monson isn’t the only one who’s very lonely…

    Happy new year, you.
    – Fern xxx

    Follow my blog with Bloglovin

    Run Jump Scrap!
  • Vlogging
  • Tag, I’m It!

    If you’re confused right now, it’s okay. I understand. You’ve probably just forgotten that I have the ability to blog about things that are not sh*t sorting. It’s been over 80 solid days of sh*t posts, so believing I live to sort sh*t is quite understandable. But really there is a lot more to me than just tidying things up and then writing about it. Like #VlogStars, for instance. It’s a monthly linky. And I always take part (even if I do forget to actually link up).

    So #VlogStars is hosted by Aby and Amy, and it’s kind of fun. I mean, sometimes the questions are a little lame, but don’t blame them. They just steal the tags off other people’s YouTube videos… This month we all answered 16 random questions:

     

    And last month we talked about our dream dinner party (that’s the one I forgot to link, sorry Aby and Amy. I’m the worst):

     

    If you do the whole content creating kinda thing too, you should definitely join in. Next month we’re all uploading “The Christmas Tag”, and honestly I’m so excited about it that I’ve actually already filmed mine. While wearing a Santa onesie. Christmas 4 lyf, yo.

    – Fern xxx

    Vlog Stars Badge

  • All About Fern
  • Let’s (Not) Talk About Sex

    It was a while ago now that the email came through: The beauty editor of a nationwide parenting magazine had found my blog and wanted to know if I was interested in being featured in a piece she was putting together. Would I mind answering a few questions about beauty products and routines? Of course not! In fact, typing out my replies was an absolute pleasure.

    This morning I got my hands on a copy of the actual, real magazine that actually, really has my name and my face and my words printed in actual, real colour on page 98. It was exciting. It was cool. But when I saw that I’m considered a “well-known Kiwi mum who blogs” I almost exploded. I’m well-known? Me? Most of the time I feel like I’m just talking to myself!

    It’s confronting, to say the least, to suddenly realise that anybody, everybody, has free access to my life. For the most part I ignore the fact that there are people watching my videos and reading my posts, but when you see your picture in a magazine, or (true story) one of the school mums approaches you and says, “Oh I enjoyed your vlog about your daughter’s birthday gifts!” it all starts to feel very real, and very, very public.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know what I’ve signed up for, and for the most part it’s exhilarating. Over on YouTube I can literally watch my numbers, both in terms of subscribers and actual viewers, grow. Here on my blog I’ve been enjoying reading through the comments you leave me. But every now and then I feel the need to pause and reevaluate my choices. Are blogging and vlogging in my family’s best interests? Am I disrespecting their privacy? Will my kids grow up to resent my decision to share my life, and theirs, on the internet? I mean, I’ve already spoken about the fact that I fear I’ve been inadvertently putting my children in danger. Am I really doing enough to keep them safe now?

    Whatever the answers to my questions may be, I’m not really willing to stop what I’m doing. I feel like I’m onto a good thing here, that these “hobbies” of mine can and will take me in the direction I want to be heading in. I do, however, have every intention of stopping and thinking before I post, before I vlog, before I share my innermost thoughts and feelings. The thing is, I know what sells. I know that there are many parenting bloggers out there who’ve made a name for themselves by discussing their sex lives, or their relationship issues, or what their vagina is like now they’ve given birth. And while those topics may result in a huge increase in traffic, discussing that sort of thing is a path I flatly refuse to head down. My kids will grow up and they’ll use the internet. No doubt they’ll check up on me at some point. I would hate for them to ever feel embarrassed or disturbed by the stories I’ve told. I just can’t do that to them. Ever.

    So far I think I’m doing okay. A few months ago I went through and privatised a whole bunch of videos I’d uploaded to my channel due to safety concerns, but I think I’m on the right track now. Though the kids’ faces have slowly started appearing in my vlogs again, though I have definitely been sharing some of their experiences, I do feel like the stories I’ve been telling are my own. And I’d like to think that I’ve been sharing them with care and respect. Sure, all parents embarrass their kids at some point, it’s inevitable. But if I can manage to limit that shame to in-person experiences only, then I’ll feel like I’ve done something right. Fingers crossed I can actually pull it off…

    – Fern xxx

    I’m featured in the latest issue of Little Treasures magazine. Look out for me!
    Or, if you don’t yet have a copy, stay tuned for a giveaway over on my YouTube channel.
    It’s coming very soon!

    friday-favs

    2mzcm79 kcacols200x200

  • All About Fern
  • What Makes Me Me

    I join in with #Vlogstars every month. Hosts Aby and Amy set a theme, or a list of questions, and vloggers from all over the world film and upload videos in response. This month we were asked to share 10 things that define us as people. Wow. Tough. What are the things that make me me?

    I watched a few videos before I made my own, but I didn’t feel right just listing the objects I use the most, or the things I enjoy doing like other participants did. I feel like I’ve shared all that sort of thing before anyway. And surely the person I have become is actually a culmination of all the things I have ever done. I mean, that’s kind of how life works, right? I can’t be the only person who regularly thinks, Oh my god, every moment of my entire life has lead me to where I am right at this very second. Can I?

    I took the liberty of tackling this month’s theme in my own way, because being different is good. At least, that’s what I tell my kids. I talked a lot, so ended up splitting my 10 “things” into two videos. I hope you enjoy them!

     

    Vlog Stars Badge

    Another thing that makes me me is my desire to make the world a better place by helping other people out. In this spirit, I am hosting a fundraising event over on Facebook this weekend, and it’d be great if I could get as much support as possible. I will be running an online Jamberry party, with 20% of the purchase price of every order made going to a young girl who was born profoundly deaf, and is in need of a cochlear implant.
    If you don’t have plans for this Saturday evening at 8pm (NZ time), I would love to have you participating in this special event.
    Jurnee’s Jammin’ Online Fundraiser

    – Fern xxx

  • All About Fern
  • 20 Questions!

    It’s #vlogstars time again! This is a monthly vlogging linky hosted by Aby and Amy. I first joined in back in February, and am pretty certain I’ll be participating every month from here on in. It’s so much fun, and so easy. I love making videos without having to decide what they should be about…

    This month all the #vlogstars participants are answering 20 questions. I had a great time answering them all, and was thrilled when I got to the editing stage and felt like my viewers would definitely know me better by the end of my video. I admit some pretty crazy things about myself (which I hope everyone will laugh at, I’m not looking for pity!) and share a few pointless personal preferences too.

    Want to take part in #vlogstars for this month? The questions are below:

    1. What thing can you not leave the house without?
    2. Favourite brand of makeup?
    3. Favourite flowers?
    4. Favourite clothes shop?
    5. Favourite perfume?
    6. Heels or flats?
    7. Did you do well at school?
    8. Favourite colours?
    9. Do you drink energy drinks?
    10. Do you drink juice?
    11. Do you like swimming?
    12. Do you eat fries with a fork?
    13. What is your favourite moisturiser?
    14. Are you married?
    15. Do you get mad easily?
    16. Do you believe in ghosts?
    17. Any phobias?
    18. Do you bite your nails?
    19. Have you ever had a near death experience?
    20. Do you drink coffee?

    – Fern xxx

    In case you missed them, you can watch my #vlogstars video for February here, and for March here.

    Vlog Stars Badge

  • All About Fern
  • Vlogger? Yes. Narcissist? Maybe.

    Something kind of strange happened to me this week. A journalist, a real, legit freelancer who writes articles for all sorts of real, legit websites, asked me if I’d mind talking to her about vlogging.

    She told me she was writing a piece on the dangers of family vlogging, and she wanted to chat with me because I recently made the decision to stop featuring my children on my channel. Although I felt I wasn’t the right person to interview – my channel wasn’t targeted by any paedophiles, as far as I know – she said it was interesting that I’d made this choice, and wanted me to answer a few questions for her. So, after checking out her website and reading a few of her articles, I agreed to speak with her.


    In the end my interview was conducted over email. This suited me fine as I don’t enjoy talking on the phone and I find Skype incredibly awkward. It also meant that I could be sure I was answering the questions exactly how I wanted to. Talking in person is great, but I always say things that I later realise weren’t phrased properly. Plus, to be honest, I was really quite scared that I’d come across as a complete idiot. No one wants that.

    I spent a lot of time going over her questions and writing out my replies, checking over and over that I was okay with all the information I’d given her. I was just about to hit send when I thought, Maybe I should read some of the comments on her articles first.
    Big mistake. Never read the comments. Ever.

    The journalist has written a number of articles on family vloggers, particularly the more “successful” families, who have chosen to turn YouTube into a career. On each piece the comments were the same:
    Who the hell puts their kids on the internet anyway?
    What is with these narcissists?
    Why would anyone even want to watch that crap?
    These parents are using their children!
    Eep. Everyone will think I’m an idiot. And why did I start vlogging anyway?

    I wanted to create a YouTube channel because I wanted something to do. Something that wasn’t changing nappies and cooking meals. Something that was challenging, creative and exciting. Something that could possibly prove to future employers that although I’ve been a full-time mother for almost eight years now, I haven’t just been sitting in my house, dumbing myself down watching inane daytime television, and reading nothing but Hairy Maclary. Basically, I wanted a hobby. And, because I have a (somewhat limited) background in theatre, radio, and film, YouTube seemed like the ideal choice. It still does really. Vlogging has ticked all those boxes and more.

    Since starting my channel my self-confidence has grown. When you’re filming yourself on a regular basis, and then watching and hearing yourself as you edit the clips together, you begin to realise that perhaps you’re not quite as ugly or annoying as that inner voice says you are. When people watch your videos and reach out to you, saying they can empathise with you, or offering encouragement or praise, you begin to feel that you are worthwhile. You are enough. And when you start building real friendships, even if they are based online, your quality of life improves too. I have new fabulous people to talk to and share my life with now. I have a sense of community. I can see how the platform through which we communicate is strange or unnatural to plenty of folks out there, but it works for me. And it works for my vlogging friends too.

    I included my children in my videos because they’re a huge part of my life. The hugest! Caring for them is the most important thing I do. Making lasting memories with them is priceless. I thought that creating vlogs with them would be a fun venture for us all, a way to spend more quality time with them while keeping records of all the best moments, and I was sure the kids would love watching the videos of themselves. They did. They were both disappointed and confused when I told them they couldn’t be in my videos anymore. The three-year-old still asks if we can make a “vimeo”. I don’t think for a minute that vlogging with them was exploitative. I’m just sorry I was naive enough to believe that not revealing our surname or place of residence was all it would take to keep my kids safe on the internet.

    Despite what the people in the comments section may think, I didn’t start putting myself on YouTube because I’m a narcissist. And I definitely didn’t upload videos of my children for my own benefit or revenue. I was just a regular, slightly depressed mother of four, who wanted to inject some excitement into her life. It was a project I began without any expectations or grand ideas. I didn’t go into vlogging hoping to become rich or famous. I didn’t think everyone would want to watch me. I just hoped that there would be a few people who might have fun getting to know me, and as it turns out, there were. A lot of them have become my friends. These friends have made me feel better about myself. Does that make me a narcissist? I don’t think so, but you can decide that for yourself.

    – Fern xxx

    Linky!