I dug up this post from my drafts, after months of not hitting the “publish” button. This is because lately, I’ve been talking with several moms about “the state of the mommy blog.” Just yesterday morning, I was talking with a lady who made some keen observations about mommy blogs, and how they’ve changed, for better or for worse. It was enlightening to hear these views from her perspective, and I remembered this post, which I had put in my bank of unpublished blog posts.
Other influencers for this are: Heather’s post on “mom blogging and our digital footprint” some months ago on Theta Mom, which led me to go on a “thought trail, back-track” on mommy blogging; Gigi of Kludgy Mom’s poignant post on the “new black” of mom blogging; Meagan’s honest look at having it all as a mom blogger and the guilt associated with certain aspects of motherhood. Finally, my last reference was the NY Times’ Motherlode’s article on mommy bloggers becoming brands.
We have heard it and acknowledged it: Mommy bloggers are a force to be reckoned with.
As a mom reading this blog, you know it to be true. You’re likely among the 1,000+ subscribers to my newsletters; you have actually opted-in so that I can send my latest posts (and my free e-book) to you, because you like what you read here on the blog.
You know this is true when you read the blogs of other moms, like those who collaborate with brands, or who have made the right connections and are enjoying active bloggy lives.
You know it’s so true when you look at your blogroll, at a list of bloggy women that you read about the “I-suck-at-life rants” of other mommy bloggers who document their crap-tastic days and feel fully entertained that your feelings of mommy guilt are validated.
It’s a fact: We’re all influenced, somehow, by the documented lives of mommy bloggers.
It’s no biggie. Everyone’s blogging; everyone’s got a mommy blog, it seems.
Even as the mom blog world is booming, it’s changing, too. Content has evolved from mere memoirs; mom bloggers are endorsing brands; writing has become branded; blogging has become an industry on its own.
I know, because all this has happened to my blog, too, and I won’t deny that. Still, it makes me think sometimes: Am I really the kind of blogger I want to be?
In an article on mommy bloggers entitled “Honey, Don’t Bother Mommy. I’m Too Busy Building My Brand,” the New York Times’ Motherlode blog quoted super-blogger Jill Smokler of Scary Mom as saying:
“I wish we could go back to where blogging was five years ago, when it was just about the writing and the connecting and none of the free stuff and the vacations and the swag bags,” said Ms. Smokler, of ScaryMommy .com
(Note: For balance, this quote came from an article that is actually objective. The article presents the situations and views of other influential mom bloggers who have been working with brands and growing their own brands as well.)
Still, I totally get what Jill meant here.
I do miss the days when blogging was about writing — and writing well.
I do remember those days when we had no inklings to work with brands.
And yet, I do know today that there are more and more “influential” mom bloggers out there, both in the marketing-brand sense of the word, and in the community-advocacy sense, too.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with building your platform. There’s nothing wrong with using your blog as a money-maker. As research has shown, the generation of “smart moms” has seen the rise of the mommy blogger, and brands have acknowledged this, even leveraged it to their benefit. I myself run sponsored content on my blog, on occasion. It’s a totally valid source of income.
Still, I’ve had to put limits on this mommy blogging thing. For instance, I don’t go to many blogger events, simply because I’d rather spend time with my young family, build my little business, and do the things I love. Still, I do understand that brands look to bloggers to help them. This is something my friends and I have talked about, in open conversations with other women bloggers.
But as a mom blogger, my family, my husband and my son: They need me more than brands need me. Right?
Truth be told, my blogging journey has been less than pretty. My social media history is no more pristine. I’m not for going into the gory details, because the people who need to know about them already know. I have learned from my past mistakes as a blogger. I have moved on, and I’ve grown.
On a personal note, I do consider myself an influencer, and I don’t feign humbleness when I realize this. I’ve been credited with being the “go-to” mom for the work-at-home lifestyle, so much so that I’m even the director of a brand of workshops that advocates WAHMs. I’ve even responded to my community’s insistence to hold writing workshops, even though there are far better writers out there.
Am I proud of where blogging has taken me? Do I acknowledge this influence?
Totally. I’ve grown a brand, and I consider that a blessing. While I may not have the same page views as other mom bloggers out there, I’ve created a small yet inspired community around this space.
And the thought of this is sometimes scary.
It scares me to have to be responsible. This is why I’m so glad for people like Ginger, Marge, Jenn and Patty — my WAHMderful Life partners, who have joined me in nurturing the WAHM community. I’m grateful for friends like Toni, Jayme and Michelle — my “co-conspirators” in Blog Inspired — who share the passion that blogging should be purpose-filled. I’m thankful for online friends like Jennifer and the ladies I’ve “met” through World Moms Blog, like Jennifer, June, Ruth, Kyla, (even former WMBs Alison and Galit) to name just a few of these global moms who have made blogging a true sisterhood.
All these women — and others I’ve not mentioned but are nonetheless valuable — have helped keep me in check, keep me sane.
They make me want to be a better blogger, a better wife, a better mother.
Because I don’t want to screw that up.
And so, I do all I can to make sure I’m a responsible blogger. I will keep on being extra choosy and picky about brands. I will preserve the friendships and connections I’ve made through this blog and beyond. I will learn from mistakes I’ve made in the past, and make peace with them. I need to. Not just for my readers’ sake (and I love all of you), but more so for my family’s honor.
Finally, I’d like to make sure I live my life fully. You know me as a blog coach, a workshop organizer, a mommy blogger. But strip all that off, and I’m first and foremost a wife, a mom, a sister and a friend. I’m not always online, because I know it has the potential to suck me out of living. As Heather says,
I have to continue do what feels right to me. And right now, that means being completely connected to my kids. My blog, Twitter or Facebook won’t remember my son smiling on the soccer field. But I certainly will. — Heather Reinhard, on “The Evolution of Blogging” from Theta Mom.
Many things are going to change here on Dainty Mom — and if you’ve been following my updates, particularly on Facebook and Instagram, you can very subtly see the changes. They are exciting, scary, thrilling, enlivening. And I hope you’ll be tuning in as they unfold. Because while the mommy blog world will continue to grow and grow, we still have to nurture our worlds beyond just our mommy blog handles. It’s only then that life really, truly becomes the bliss we feel blessed to blog about. (That’s a lot of alliteration just there, isn’t it?)
Have you ever thought the same things about mom blogging? What are your current musings, questions; yes, violent opinions, even? Let’s chat.