Three years ago, after I just started this blog, all the talk on Twitter was about Cybermummy – an upcoming conference for mums that blog.
As someone with an aversion to all things ‘mummy’, (and coincidently to the word ‘Cyber’), my first thought was to instinctively recoil at the lameness of the title and declare it as definitely NOT my thing. “I’d rather hang out with my friends. I don’t want to label myself as a ‘mummy‘”, I said to Sam.
I have seen the derogatory way in which the term ‘mummy blogger’ is used. A quaint little hobby where we don aprons and talk lovingly about our stay at home life, making homemade baby food. (I swear I’m not paranoid in thinking this – even at this year’s Britmums I counted two non-parent speakers who listed nappies as an example of something we mummy bloggers might like to talk about).
Although I’m not an anonymous blogger, I tend not to promote my blog to my ‘real life’ friends and acquaintances, because I felt uncomfortable at being equated with the stereotype of being a ‘mummy blogger’. I have been scared of being associated with something I am not.
Fast forward to last weekend and we now have Britmums Live, which is the UK’s biggest two-day social media conference and blogger event.
I have been to the past three Britmums conferences, (and other blogging conferences), with varying degrees of feeling. At the first one, I hung back, unsure of whether it was really ‘my thing’. At the second, I was half and half. But this year, I fully embraced that it really is, most definitely, my thing.
I loved meeting so many friends. I loved the targeted sessions (I wrote more about that here). But the overriding feeling that I kept taking from the event was to be proud of our status and achievements as mummy bloggers.
Mummy bloggers are a powerful, influential group who show realistic life for women and mothers today. Mummy bloggers are social influencers who reach over 8 million people per day. Being a ‘mummy blogger’ is not something to be ashamed of at all – thank you to speakers Emily Beecher and Emma Freud for really bringing home that point for me. And to Benjamin Brooks-Dutton for emphasising the importance of upholding memories.
Mummy bloggers don’t just talk about nappies. Mummy bloggers are brave, inspiring, offer comfort and support, and drive social change. Just take a look at the following blog posts that were read out on stage at the Britmums Live bloggers keynote:
Does he Take Sugar? By Chocolate is Not the Only Fruit
We need to talk about the M word, by Grenglish
Ross, by All At Sea
Alison’s Idol, by Tired Mummy of Two
Something else has been brewing inside of me lately. I hadn’t quite realised what it was until a conversation with Sam one evening. He was talking about a female work acquaintance, an example of someone who had juggled career and childcare and now it was starting to pay off.
And I found myself exploding into an unstoppable rant about how I had WANTED to keep my career going until it started to pay more than the childcare, I had WANTED to keep my options open, I had never wanted to be a stay at home parent, and definitely not a work at home one. I had WANTED that distinction between work and home life. I had been up against too much for it to work out like that at the time we had Arlo, but I had SO wanted it all to work. I have watched my old company reach important milestones and expand incredibly in the past few years since I left after maternity leave with Arlo. I have wondered “What if?”, and “Where would I be now?” I have felt panic at the way in which my work life has stagnated since having children.
At this point, Sam would usually say something dismissive like ‘Yeah, yeah, so what?” and move the conversation on to something a little less ranty and boring for him. But this time, he waited quietly until I reached my weary conclusion, then turned around and listed off all the ways in which I have NOT just stagnated since having my babies. All the ways in which I have remained sharp, kept up with online marketing trends and new social platforms, taught myself SEO, schema, etc. “That’s an actual full-time paid role in a lot of companies, you know. Every company needs social media marketing, but many don’t understand it yet, and you guys have hands on experience with engagement and SEO, every single day”.
He made me see that I have not just been resting on my laurels since deciding to ‘stay at home’. And you know what I have to thank for that? Mummy blogging.
There is also the fact that through advertorials and sponsored content on my blog, freelance writing for brands outside of my blog, and photography referrals that come through from readers of this blog, I am making a really decent amount of money. It’s not always steady, but on an average month I can definitely say blogging is how I make my living now. And that is something to be proud of, too.
I no longer hold back from posting too much ‘blog stuff’ on the various social platforms where my real life and online life collide in what used to be an uncomfortable mix for me. This year, I walked happily out of The Brewery, after an excellent couple of days learning loads and meeting up with ‘online friends’, straight to an equally enjoyable evening at the pub with my pre-children friends. This year, I tweeted and instagammed the hell out of Britmums Live, and this year I had friends with ‘proper’ media jobs say, “I really need to pick your brains about some of the stuff you tweeted”.
This year, I am blogger and mother without either one thing defining me.
There is more to life than blogging, but my life has been enhanced by it, and I wear my geeky, oversharing blogger badge with pride. Mummy bloggers are bloody awesome and don’t let anyone make you think otherwise.