This is a post I’ve wanted to write for about 12 years.
I began blogging, ooooh, yup, that would be about 12 years ago. Like pretty much every fledgling blogger, I started with the whole journal-as-blog thing. I did what all novice writers do: I drew on my immediate and past life experience and regurgitated it or, rather, re-presented it in a way so other people could relate, but, fundamentally, those early posts were all about me. My expression. My world. Myopia.
Once the initial buzz wore off – that selfish joy in creative expression where our own voice is really all that matters – I figured out that blogging is a bit like farting in space. You can be gloriously flatulent, but you’re largely doing it in a vacuum.
Subsequent blogs morphed into content that was more useful to other people. After all, that’s why we’re on Google, right? Because we want something. I really don’t care what you think about Donald Trump, I just want to know how to get red wine stains out of seagrass. That kind of thing.
None were particularly ‘outstanding’ but, occasionally, I hit the mark. People showed up so I kept at it. I honed my craft. I’ve put more unpaid hours into blogging and website tinkering than is probably healthy. If I didn’t understand something, I didn’t complain or throw in the towel, I googled it, I experimented. I figured it out.
This blog – my website – is about as meta as you can get. On the surface it’s just another blogger blogging about blogging. But it’s 12 years of trial and error, in-the-trenches farting in space.
After a while, you learn to bottle it and send it back to earth with a handwritten note and a ribbon. (I realise I’ve just likened my blog to a fart, but stay with me here).
I can guarantee you that note does not say, ‘Enjoy! From Sam, a Mom Blogger xxx’
I mean I’m a mum/mom whatever. You probably are too. I also blog. But they’re not inextricably linked in the same way I doubt many CEOs rock up to a meeting, hand outstretched saying “hi, I’m a Mom CEO, pleased to meet you”.
Unless you’re blogging about your experience of being a Mother, can we just put the kibosh on this as a genre?
It may sell courses and you may even identify as a Mom Blogger, but it’s not moving us forward ladies.
You’re a Blogger. You may happen to be a Mother. That’s amazing! But it’s not the whole picture…
We start blogging for many different reasons. Creative expression is a huge, driving factor in many cases and, in doing so, we tend to start with what we know. Those first, tentative forays into blogging are almost always autobiographical in nature. It was the same for me. So I get it when women start blogs about parenting; about being a mother and all the other hats we wear.
Let’s face it. Parenting is complicated. It isn’t always a bed of roses. Sometimes it even sucks. Blogging certainly gave me an outlet and sense of fulfilment no amount of cuddles or glorious childhood ‘firsts’ could ever assuage. I know only too well what drives women to blog and why sometimes we want to blog about being a Mum. That’s a bona fide niche.
But as someone who helps other people build blogs – actually my audience is almost exclusively other women – I know this represents only a tiny percentage. Most women – mothers or otherwise – are starting blogs in just about every other subject and niche you can shake a pacifier at.
Believe me, I’m not trying to diminish your ability to procreate and share your experience so other women can benefit. Amen to that! Do I respect womens’ right to label themselves however they darn well choose? Well, yeah. Of course. But do I also want to help women step outside of what society dictates? Hell, yes!
I just feel genuinely uncomfortable with the idea that Mom Blogging is a genre or a niche. It isn’t. Even as a mother who blogs to an audience of what is probably mostly other mothers, I’ve never, ever identified with the term. Probably because my blogs have all been about something other than being a Mother.
What does it even mean? I mean, do you really want to start a blog about parenting or do you want to just start a blog?
I ran a poll on Twitter a few months back. ‘What does the term Mom Blog mean to you?’
Granted, I only got a few responses, but the almost unanimous view was not ‘a parenting blog’, but ‘any blog written by a mother’.
That made me sad. It’s about as sweeping a generalisation as I’ve ever heard and it’s being perpetuated by our peers, ladies. You can blog about psychology, cars, entrepreneurship, gardening or travel and still be lumped under the vague and meaningless ‘niche’ of Mom Blog in a way men and other women rarely are.
The world does not need another generic Mom Blog. What it does need is more female bloggers and entrepreneurs – mothers or otherwise. While it can always use a blog about being a Mom, if that’s not what yours is about, embrace your niche for what it is and avoid hiding behind a generic ‘Mom Blogger’ label. You’re a blogger. Own it.
And if you know how to get red wine out of Seagrass, I’m all ears.
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