Today as I was trawling through the many blogs that I follow, I came across an awesome post by Hugzilla (who can I say has one of the best voices out there – in my opinion!) busting the myths about Mummy Bloggers. And I enjoyed it so much I wanted to respond to these myths myself (whilst giving full and absolute credit to Hugzilla for the concept of the six myths she has so eloquently busted lest she misinterpret my intent and think that I’m stealing her original work for my own evil purposes <—- see that hyperlink there, you should check her post on that, having had that experience once before – absolute pisser!)
But moving along now shall we! It’s become abundantly clear to me in my short blogging career, that the motivations for doing so are very varied and often very personal. Yes, many of us probably have dreams of one day making a full-time gig out of writing a blog, but I suspect that even if that dream was never realised, the reasons for having a crack in the first place would still remain, and probably be enough regardless.
So it’s a little insulting and definitely condescending to be lumped into a very broad label of being a Mummy Blogger. I love how Hugzilla has taken the myths and fired back with her own POV!
So, let’s see how these myths stack up through my own filter!
Myth #1: Mummy Bloggers Have Too Much Time on Their Hands
I can only wish. There’s probably not much more to be said other than to call BULLSHIT on this myth. Just about every mother I know, whether or not they have one child or 5, are some of the busiest people out there. I will concede that I’m am no where near as busy as what I would consider ‘normal’ for me given I’ve been on maternity leave the past nine months, but of course now that I’m returning to work, I’ve somehow managed to amped up my extracurricular activity again with some further involvement on a committee again, not to mention writing this blog and other projects. I’m already wondering how I’m going to fit it all in!
Myth #2: Mummy Bloggers are Amateurs Who Can’t Write
Hmmm, if there are words on a screen then there is some capacity to write isn’t there? It may not be outstanding, profound or even good, but you know what… either was 50 Shades of Grey and look at EL James now… laughing all the way to the bank on the back of her amateurish writing. In my humble opinion, I believe there is a market for everyone and everything. I don’t think the challenge is necessarily having the capacity to write a literary masterpiece, but more so the ability to find your niche and maximise the opportunities that spring from that.
Myth #3: Mummy Bloggers are Narcissistic and Self-Absorbed
Eh, well there might be some grain of truth to that somewhere, after all there is nothing like a good ol’ stroke of the ego (well at least for the extroverted, thrive on praise and recognition types like me), however I tend to agree with Hugzilla on this one – the bloggers I love the most are anything but self-absorbed. They’re the ones who have built little communities around them through positivity and a willingness to help – either help with advice in their chosen speciality, help through humour and wit or help by providing a little window for us voyeurs to have a sticky nose in and escape from the mundane or shitty part of our own lives, even if only for a 5 minute period.
Myth #4: Mummy Bloggers Have Nothing of Value to Contribute
Again, like writing, isn’t value in the eye of the beholder aka the reader? If someone enjoys a post, thought or piece of advice that another has written, is that not valuable? Notwithstanding this simplistic view, I would argue that most of bloggers I know have an enormous load of value to contribute. You know that saying that if you want something done give it to a busy person? That’s how I see a lot of the bloggers (and in particular women) that I follow. They are already so busy with their families and work and/or businesses and then on top of that many of them are involved in community groups and sporting clubs and, still find the time to blog (usually into the wee wee hours of the morning). If just one person walks away having enjoyed reading a post or thinking about a different point of view, then as far as I’m concerned that’s a contribution. Sometimes I wonder if the people who perpetuate these myths are expecting that every blogger must to be profound or compelling in order to validate the worthiness of their contribution… which is of course, rubbish. One of my favourite blogs (well it was originally a blog but now it’s a tumblr) is text from dog – nothing profound there, but the contribution it’s made to pop culture is actually quite significant. So again, I’d argue it’s all in the eye of the beholder (and the bulldog lover, in this case).
Myth #5: Mummy Bloggers are Over-Sharers Who Talk About Their Kids Too Much
Ok… so what about nutrition bloggers who talk too much about paleo diets or style bloggers who talk too much about fashion that some of us who are bigger than size 8 will never fit into? If anything, Mummy-bloggers are more interesting and diverse because no topic is off limits. Yes, they talk about their kids… a lot… but usually that’s where a lot of the interesting stuff is. My blog covers everything from the grief I still have over losing my mum nearly 17 years ago to breast cancer, my kids, our IVF journey, my kids, how I am a master procrastinator, oh, and you know what, I also post about my kids. And if you’re confronted by a severe case of oversharing, it’s quite simple… click away my friend, click away.
Myth #6: Mummy Bloggers are Boring and Whiny
Business blogs are wanky and convoluted, cooking blogs are purveyors of food porn and unachievable meals, design blogs simply make you feel like you live in a shit hole. Seriously? When you find a blog with a voice that aligns with your own sense of humour and personality, that blogger could talk about their worst day ever or their most mundane, boring day for a whole week and you’d still find it enjoyable. The topic is sometimes irrelevant if a blogger has a fabulous voice so I hate that certain ‘types’ of bloggers are labelled. Some Mummy bloggers are amazingly witty and insightful – geez, did I say that out loud?
Sadly for the world, I’m not one of those types of bloggers, although I wish like hell I was. I love the voice of bloggers such as Hugzilla, Woogsworld, Renagade Mothering, Baby Mac, Young House Love (when they were still blogging), FatMumSlim, Edenland, Cooker and a Looker, A life less frantic and Styling You. They are just a few of the many voices that resonate for me. And seriously, some of the shit that these ladies write… it ain’t rocket science or nobel peace prize winning stuff (and I mean that in the nicest possible way, I promise) and that’s what I love about them. If I wanted profound, literary masterpieces, I’d probably go and read Tolstoy or something, but that’s not why I follow blogs. For me, I enjoy different perspectives, different world views that have shaped their opinions. I enjoy getting to know someone and learning something new. It actually reminds me a lot of Sex and the City. Remember the feeling that you’d get watching SATC? The one where you’d sit there wishing you could be the fifth member of their little gang because each and everyone one of them was just super-fricken-liscious? Yes, you probably had a favourite (I’m a Carrie girl myself) but you loved each of them because each of them gave you a glimpse into something in yourself (wowsas… that’s pretty deep for a Tuesday night!). Anyway, my point is, blogging voices that resonate and that you can relate to means that no topic that they chose to post about ever makes them sound boring or whiny.
So there you have it, the six myths of Mummy Bloggers sifted through the Nardia-filter and are well and truly busted.
In an industry that is still young and exciting, I think it’s easy to get caught up in labelling something that is still relatively new and unknown. Yes, there are some bloggers who have been able to parlay what was probably the result of a very personal and courageous step to throw out their thoughts into the universe into a business and in some cases an empire. Sometimes, I look at certain bloggers and think, man I want their life! And then I remember that once upon a time they didn’t have fabulous graphics or blogs that were beautifully designed and laid out, or fabulous communities of fabulous followers. Nope, many of them built their platforms through developing their voice over many years and offering up THEIR perspective on life, whatever the theme of their blog. Many of my faves paved the way through an industry that is still a baby. Most bloggers in my experience (as a reader, and now as a blogger), whether they have been prolific or otherwise, have been welcoming, friendly and pretty generous with the information that they share with the world. Yes, some are great at putting some gloss over the top with all the bells and whistles, but that’s only superficial marketing as far as I can see. Sometimes, if you look closely enough, you can see the cracks in their worlds which give away the fact that they are human and have feelings and yet, they put it all out there for us to enjoy anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I think that there are a lot of negative, judgemental people out there just waiting to insert commentary to stir the pot, but I actually think the notion that Mummy Bloggers themselves are silly bored mothers espousing judgemental views on the world is not accurate, at least in my experience.
Thankfully, with my fledgling little blog, I’ve yet to experience any negativity or condescension from trolling commentators with nothing better to do with their time, but I must confess, I do get annoyed when I see bloggers that I enjoy and admire get ripped to shreds either directly on their blogs or via social media.
Perhaps my many years of PR & marketing environments has allowed me to develop some very clear boundaries for my personal ‘brand’. And mine is quite simple – If I wouldn’t want it published on the front page of my local newspaper, I don’t say it. I’m all for espousing my own point of view, and even enjoy a little sparring match or difference of opinion now and then, but only if it’s done respectfully. I often find myself shaking my head and wishing I could dole out some virtual slaps to people who sound off half cocked either just because they can (and are trolling) or, have not taken the time to read the post or article and have simply reacted to a headline or section.
I struggle to keep up with the blogs that I love and engage with let alone sit around and stir the pot through baiting people on social media or comments sections. Life is too short to be so hateful and the answer is just so simple. If you don’t like what someone has to say and you can’t proffer a respectful counter-argument in response then simply click on. There are literally a million other blogs out there that might suit you more… and maybe even make you smile. If only it was that simple right? I suspect that the sort of people who go for trolling love it and a rational and logical argument such as moving on would not appeal whatsoever!
At the end of the day, I blog for me. I blog because I want to write but have been suppressing my creativity under the weight of briefing notes, reports, memos and a million other forms of corporate blandness for many years. I blog so that my girls will have an understanding of who I am and what I stand for if there comes a time in the future that I’m not around (which is where I’m at without my mum).
I’m the first to admit I’m still finding my way but as has been my mantra so far this year, I’m doing it anyway! Whether or not anyone thinks I have anything of value to contribute or worthwhile to say is not worth me worrying about because I’ve felt more free in the past two months being a boring, whiny, talk-about-my-kids-all-day amateur Mummy-blogger than I have in years.
What is your impression of so-called Mummy-bloggers? Do you think there is a space for us all to exist peacefully?