Thinking Out Loud

To #ad or not to #ad

If you’re a fellow mum blog lurker on the gram, you can’t fail to have picked up on a recent anti-ad mood. I’m not an influencer. Not by a long shot. No siree. Not in the blogosphere, on any social media platform or even in real life (I can barely influence my own kids to eat vegetables). My relentless “Easter things to do” recommendations are exactly that, they’re ideas and suggestions. Some I’ve tried out with my own kids in the past and some just sounded incredibly cool and I wanted to tell more people about them. No one has paid me to mention their place or promote their thing. No #sponsored #gifted or #ad here.

That said, I’m not anti-ad. A gal’s gotta eat. I blog, insta, tweet and facebook in between work and mothering and the rest of my life. It still takes up a heck of a lot of time. My following is miniscule (but ever so appreciated, thanks for coming). I’m typing into the ether, ranting in a vacuum most of the time.

From comments on social media and chatting with real life mates I’ve picked up a sense of frustration with influencers, with mum bloggers who’ve built up a “I’m just like you”, “we’re all just muddling along together”, “yay for Mums” type of vibe. Then it turns a little sour, a tad ingenuous when they’ll go on a fancy holiday, go to a swanky restaurant or wear something and you’re foolish enough to click through to the company and then you do a little sick in your mouth at the cost. Jealousy is an ugly little beast but sometimes I just can’t help it. I feel out of depth, poor, worthless and a bit like I’m still at school where it felt that it mattered to be cool (which I wasn’t) and popular (which I wasn’t).

It’s made me question why I’m even bothering with this. Why me? What have I got to say that some other mum isn’t already sharing online? Does the world really need another white, straight, female, English language parent blogger? Nope. I might come across as confident in real life but I assure you that nearly every waking hour I am wallowing in self-doubt. I’ve not started this to make money. I’ve not started this to be popular. I’m doing this, in the words of Billie Piper, “because I want to, because I want to”.

So good luck to the others, the behemothers (see what I did there?) and monetising moms. I follow a massive range of them, some for their clothes, some for the giggles, some for the campaigns, some for a mix of all three. I’m just using the approach I apply to the rest of my life, making it up as I go along. Some people feel a weird fandom ownership over the most followed and well known mum bloggers and intagrammers. They’re just playing the game like all of us. Maybe they’re better resourced or ahead of the game but so what. Just do you. There’s room for all of us and if only 5 people read this (OK, that’s optimistic and I’m definitely related to at least one of you if there are 5) then that’s fine too. Oh and if anyone wants to give me any free stuff I’m definitely not too principled to consider the offer!

Thinking Out Loud

10 Reasons why I am a Terrible Parent Blogger

1. Time (or lack thereof)

I struggle to find the precious time to write anything half decent between my jobs, chores, child taxi service, exercising and socialising. (Not that there’s a hell of a lot of time for the last one or that I spend as much time as I should doing the penultimate one.)

2. Desperately Seeking Approval

I’m too cynical to be sycophantic and too desperate to be liked to be truly cutting.

3. Friends

I don’t need new mum friends. Does that make me weird? I barely have time for the friends I already have. I like my friends. That’s why they’re my friends.

4. Bloggerholics Anonymous

I decided to blog anonymously but this is proving to be a real challenge on the old content front. Thankfully for you it means I’ll not be doing any cringey vlogging any time soon. (Look, I used the word vlogging! It’s the future, I’m down with the kids. Probably not.)

5. Respecting my Children’s Privacy

I don’t feel comfortable exploring the trials and tribulations that my kids are struggling with through the medium of blog. A three year old struggling with toilet training isn’t quite as exposing as the emotional, social and developmental rollercoasters of eight and ten year olds.

6. Not a Mama or Mummy. Just a Mum. Or Mam.

I’ve never called myself a Mama or a Mummy. Tell a lie, I’ve signed birthday cards to my toddler offspring with “Mummy” but mainly because I like doing a twirly y in my fanciest handwriting. The words are too cutesy. I am not cute. I’m Mum to my boys and Mam on the blog because it’s Welsh and it rhymes with Glam. Love a rhyme.

7. Self doubt

But it’s ok to be a bit rubbish at this writing lark when no one is ever going to read it as it floats aimlessly in the world wide web of lies. If a tree falls and no one hears it…

8. Not an Expert

I’m not an expert on anything. I read some blogs where the writer has assumed some sort of moral high ground or preaches as though they are the Holder Of All The Knowledge or Explainer Of All Of The Things. I’m reluctant to launch my “Crafty Mam” element because I can imagine it being a bit “here’s a tutorial on doing something I can only just about do myself.”

9. Waffly Versatile

I waffle. As one of my incredible A Level English teachers said in the late 90s “you have a rather cavalier approach to writing”, which, turns out, wasn’t what they were looking for in exams or Uni assignments. Who knew.

10. I’m Late to the Party (or was I too early?)

I can see there are so many opportunities and movements to join up mums with mums. Which is lovely. I went through a more analogue and informal version of this when I was preggers the first time age 25. I don’t feel it’s for me now. I prefer to vent and rage at my friends (and at you, strangers on the internet), some of whom don’t have kids. They still know me and they know my children. Perhaps working and having no pre-schoolers excludes me. I’m entering a stage of motherhood where I have more freedom, I’m not tethered by boob to a baby, juggling days around inconvenient nursery hours or lugging around the world’s biggest bag full of tiny spare clothes.

But mainly it’s the never having time to blog thing. OK, not “never” as I’m clearly doing just that right now… and waffling again.