If I see the phrase “Just a mummy blogger” one more time, I may scream.
When this is said, it’s usually done with condescension and punctuated with either a sneer or a patronising smile. The inference being that a mother with a blog could surely not have anything of value to add. The hours spent writing, researching, sourcing or taking photos, developing recipes or whatever else a woman pours into creating her website, not to mention the social media promotion, interaction with readers and all the other work that goes into it, effectively reduced and minimised with those four words: Just a mummy blogger.
Those people who want to put you down? Fuck those people. Instead of the Mark Lathams of the world rolling their eyes and sneering or verbally patting us on the head, they should be amazed at how we manage it all. Whether you work outside the home or not, you are raising the next generation and while you do that, you have given yourself a creative outlet. Having a creative outlet is actually healthy, did you know that? It can aid in the recovery from depression and writing itself can be very beneficial, both mentally and physically.
Maybe you work with brands and bring in money for your family or maybe you do some freelance writing, as well. Or maybe writing is simply your passion and, despite a busy life, you find time to pursue it because it makes you happy. Whatever your reason, you have something that generations of women have previously been denied.
You have a voice. And you are using it.
Parenting has long been considered women’s work and although women have obviously spoken about such issues among themselves throughout history, did you know that actual books about motherhood only started to be published in the mid 1970s? It’s true. It was Adrienne Rich’s ‘Of Woman Born‘ that set the wheels in motion for women to speak about motherhood. She did it from a feminist perspective and since then, the topic of motherhood has been covered in many ways in book form, everything from advice to humour. Blogging about motherhood is an extension of that.
Raising a family is important but still terribly undervalued– and mocking or diminishing the women who talk about it online is just another way of making sure it stays undervalued. Talking about life as a parent holds immense value for other parents. Think for a moment about something like post-natal depression. If you have had this condition, you’ll know that it can be terribly isolating and frightening. Does it help you to know that others have had it? Would reading someone’s personal account of surviving it and coming through the other side make you feel less alone? Maybe reading something about it is what made you think you (or someone close to you) might be struggling with it.
Lots of mummy bloggers who have written about their own experience with PND and while they aren’t doctors with magic cures, they are providing something super-important to many women. They are giving them someone to identify with, providing a connection and telling them they don’t have to suffer in silence because, by publishing their thoughts and stories online, mummy bloggers are helping to raise awareness around (and often, to remove stigma from) many issues- mental illness is just one of them.
Mummy bloggers start conversations and get people thinking, they make people laugh, they share tips or advice or recipes and some might not recognise the value in that, but you know what? Mummy bloggers are all about inspiring people. That might sound trite, but think about it. A blog post might inspire you to think about something, it might inspire you to parent differently or it might inspire something as fundamental as what you have for dinner. All that inspiration at your fingertips, for free. Mummy bloggers are inspiring people all over the fucking place!
And while some are still rolling their eyes at the value of the mummy blogger, perhaps they should have a look at where the content they do read comes from. Major news and entertainment websites, for example, source loads of their content from bloggers. Kidspot, Mamamia and even The Huffington Post publish blog pieces every day. This is because they’ve realised that relateable content, like that provided by parents who write, is what many people want to read.
Mummy bloggers are a mixed bag. Some are passionate about food or fashion, others about parenting and politics. Some are skilled writers, satirists and poets. Some will catalogue their daily woes in slabs of writing where proper spelling and grammar are optional extras. I don’t love every mummy blogger’s work. Some grate on me, some just don’t resonate with me and some I simply disagree with too often to read regularly. But that’s okay because they’ll resonate with someone, I’m sure. And they’re all making history, telling women’s stories in our own words- something that many generations of women missed out on.Mummy blogging is a feminist act, the way I see it. Feminist as fuck, and here is why: Not only has mummy blogging been a way for women to have a voice, it’s also inspired something else that’s growing in popularity: daddy blogging. The idea that raising children is the domain of women alone is one that stems from a patriarchal society. And a patriarchal society doesn’t encourage dads to be hands-on, involved parents. Because a man doing woman’s work is not okay, right? He might as well hang up his testicles because he’s clearly done with them. However, families are changing. Many mums work outside the home and there are dads staying home. The dynamics have shifted. Women who write online about life as a parent have paved the way for dads to do the same. Men can really benefit from feminism and this is just one example. These days, men can connect online with other dads (and mums too!), read their perspectives, share their experiences and reap the benefits of an online community. I think that’s fantastic and I think mummy bloggers have a lot to do with that. You’re welcome, guys!
You are not “just” a mummy blogger. You are a mummy blogger and what you do is valuable and important on many levels, so keep it up!
#FYBF @ With Some Grace