Say what you like about bloggers, we’ve got one thing right – the community.
When you attack one parenting blogger, you attack us all. When you make a half-hearted attempt to disguise personal attacks on parenting bloggers as “journalism”, you’d better believe that we’re going to respond.
If you’re not up to date on the world of blogging controversies, here’s some context. A certain newspaper, which I won’t link to because I don’t want to give them advertising revenue (but I’m sure you can probably guess which publication I’m talking about, purely by my hatred for it), published an opinion piece on its Femail section (oops, did I just give the game away?!) criticising successful bloggers like The Unmumsy Mum and Hurrah For Gin for glorifying “slummy mummies”.
Oh, and she mentions her own parenting book, which I’ve never heard of. It screams “jealousy” to me, but what do I know? I believe I fall into the category of “Wine-soaked parents with dirty, undernourished children who snarl expletives”, even though I am still Never Drinking Again following my hen night and the closest my daughter has come to snarling expletives is saying “I’m an arse” while trying to say “I’m an utter banana”. I am an honest parenting blogger, therefore I am a neglectful alcoholic parent. Or something like that; the writer’s point got a little distorted in the midst of all the bitterness.
Apparently, honest blogs are an implied put-down of “well-organised mums”. If any of my regular blog readers are offended by my honesty, I can only apologise. I’m not sure what there is to be offended about. If I was posting regular tirades calling you all squares and losers then fair enough, but I can’t figure out why people would read about my inadequacies – such as the time when I thought placentas would look like bacon, only to receive a very nasty surprise when I did a Google search – and take it as a personal attack against their own parenting style.
Are any blogs 100% honest? You’re reading a snippet of people’s lives. I can’t speak for the bloggers mentioned in the article, but my daughter isn’t always accidentally calling herself an “arse”, or putting her baby in the oven to keep it warm. In fact, the vast majority of the time, she’s a delight, and it’s an absolute joy to be her parent. These moments don’t make it onto the blog as often because they’re the normal, everyday moments. I enjoy them in the moment.
When the tough times hit; when she’s screaming at the mere mention of a potty, or when I work out the nutritional value of the cheesestring I gave her to keep her quiet for five minutes, or when we’re sitting in A&E a week before our wedding with her bleeding from her forehead – those are the moments when I feel inadequate, and they’re also the moments I’m moved to write about. They’re the moments that you aren’t warned about, and the moments we should be warned about.
Parenting isn’t 100% hell, nor is it 100% heaven. If you expect to have a full, balanced view of parenthood after reading one blog, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Blogging is incredible because we all have different experiences and different ways of showcasing those experiences. Some people blog, some people draw, some people record videos, some people write songs. Some blogs are happy and joyful and Pinterest-perfect; others are satirical and sarcastic and soaked in G&T. In that way, blogs are representative of parenthood, when you put them all together. You take the rough with the smooth.
If the writer of that article wants to be super-organised, feeding her children quinoa and organic fruit and dressing them in perfectly-matching outfits all day, more power to her. If other parents want to post about the hellish tantrum their toddler threw in the supermarket, and how they drowned their sorrows in wine later that evening, more power to them.
As for me; I’ll keep documenting life as I muddle through parenthood, always trying – and sometimes failing – to be the mother my daughter deserves, and talking about the ups and the downs along the way.
Blogging is like parenting. None of us are doing it right. We’re just doing it our way.