On Becoming a ‘Mummy Blogger’ – whether I want to or not
As I near the end of my pregnancy, I’ve had a few people ask me if I’m planning to become a “mummy blogger” once the baby is here.
And the answer? No, not really.
Or not on purpose, anyway.
The thing is, I’ve never really considered myself to be an ANYTHING kind of blogger. If asked, I tend to describe myself as a “fashion and lifestyle blogger”, but, well, that’s kind of a broad definition, isn’t it? It covers everything I want to write about, and that suits me fine, because I’ve absolutely no desire to “niche down” and just write about one subject all the time: I mean, been there, done that, totally didn’t work for me. I’ve learned the hard way that if I try to stick to a specific niche, then, no matter how interested I am in the subject to start with, I get bored quickly, and blogging starts to feel like a chore – and when that happens, it’s the beginning of the end for that particular blog, basically.
With that said, though, I can’t deny that this blog HAS been very pregnancy-centric over the last few months: and honestly, I’ve no desire to try to change that EITHER. My blog, after all, has always been a personal diary at heart – I’ve always written about whatever’s on my mind at the time, and I want to be able to continue to do that, without feeling like I should be apologising for the shift in subject matter, or like I’m putting off regular readers.
Sometimes, though, I feel exactly that: like, when I go onto Twitter, for instance, and almost immediately come across a bunch of sub-tweets from people complaining about how ANNOYING it is when certain unnamed bloggers get pregnant, and, all of a sudden, it’s all they want to talk about.
Now, it would be pretty egotistical of me to assume that ALL of those tweets are about ME, obviously (Although, I can’t be the only one who assumes that every passive-aggressive tweet she reads is totally about HER, can I? Er, CAN I?), and I should say here that no one has actually said this to my face – or screen, rather. At the same time, though, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t taken some of them to heart: especially the ones written by people who I know read my blog/follow me on Twitter.
I read those tweets, and even although I know it’s totally up to me to decide what I want to write about here, I can’t help but feel a little bit stung by them. I want to be able to write about this massive life change I’m going through, which is so totally all-consuming for me that it’s more or less ALL I can think about right now… but I obviously don’t want to annoy my readers, or alienate the ones who (perfectly reasonably) just aren’t interested. Logic dictates that if someone is no longer interested in my blog, they should just stop reading it (rather than posting scathing tweets they know I’m probably going to see), but, well, I am not logical, so when I read yet another comment about how TOTALLY ANNOYING it is that SO MANY BLOGGERS are pregnant right now (As if we all got together and decided to get pregnant on purpose, just to wind up Twitter), and how AWFUL it is when fashion/lifestyle bloggers become mummy bloggers, I think, “Yeah, I REALLY don’t want to be a mummy blogger.”
And I don’t.
At the same time that I’m seeing all of these comments on Twitter and forums, when people comment to me directly (either on the internet, or in “real” life), I sometimes feel like they won’t let me talk about anything else.
I buy a new sofa, and people tell me it’ll be “handy for the baby!”
I post an outfit shot, and all anyone wants to talk about is the size of my belly – normally while referring to me as “mama”.
I post a non-outfit post, and I get requests for “bump shots”.
I say that I’m hungry and I’m immediately told that, “the baby must want a drink!”
A few weeks ago, I mentioned to someone that we really need to do some work on the garden.
“Oh, is that to make it better for the baby?” asked the person I was talking to.
“Well, no,” I said, slightly confused. “It’s because the garden is a hot mess, and we really need to tidy it up a bit.”
“Oh,” said my questioner, clearly equally confused. “But… it’ll be better for the baby, too, won’t it?”
“I guess so,” I conceded, “But it’ll be a while before the baby’s playing in the garden, so I really just want to get it tidied up a bit before winter.”
“Very wise,” was the response. “Because you won’t have time for gardening once the baby’s here!”
And, at that point, I got up, walked into the kitchen, and calmly stabbed myself in the eye with a fork.
OK, no I didn’t: I did, however, have to accept that this person was going to do their level best to make sure that any and all conversational topics led back to the baby – and that this is the way it’s going to be now for a lot of people. Honestly, I find it quite frustrating. It’s not that I’m not excited about the baby, or that I’m under-estimating what a huge part of our lives he’s going to be: it’s just that I find the insistence that every single thought that goes through my head – right down to things like hunger and thirst – be attributed to “the baby” a little bit … “de-humanising” is much too strong a word, obviously, but it does make me feel like I’m no longer viewed as a person in my own right, just some walking, talking, human incubator, who must only now be spoken to about babies. (Terry, meanwhile, will be going through just as big a life change as I will, but is still permitted to talk about other things, and, to date, not one single person has referred to him as, “daddy” – go figure.)
And then I go onto Twitter, and see a bunch of eye-rolling comments about those idiot fashion and lifestyle bloggers who just WON’T STOP talking about their stupid pregnancies/babies, like there’s nothing else happening in the world/their lives… and I feel like I can’t really win here.
If I write about my pregnancy/the baby I’m going to be criticised for boring people rigid by totally changing the direction of my blog.
If I DON’T write about the pregnancy/baby, meanwhile, people are just going to comment and ask about it anyway, sometimes whilst totally ignoring whatever the topic of the post/photo was in the first place. (And, of course, the majority of the comments mentioned above have been “real life” ones, so it’s not like refusing to blog about the pregnancy would stop people grabbing my belly and asking me what my weight is, as happened earlier this week…)
I don’t want to become a mummy blogger – but I sometimes feel like I’m being pushed in that direction regardless, and that there’s really nothing I can do about it. For some people, my name is no longer “Amber” – it’s “mom”: and the fact that I didn’t actually give birth to any of those people makes that pretty damn odd, really.
Just to make matters worse, though, I have to concede here that I’m just as bad as anyone else for this: I mean, in this post alone, I’ve complained about people criticising bloggers for writing about their pregnancies AND about people who won’t let me talk about anything other than my pregnancy.
Confused? I am.
So, what’s a fashion/lifestyle blogger to do?
Honestly, I think I’m probably just going to continue doing what I’ve always done, which is to write about whatever’s on my mind at the time, and try to ignore the sub-tweets from people who seem to feel that I owe it to them to keep my blog exactly as it’s always been, and to never, ever change. Because the fact is EVERYONE changes. If I’d kept my blog exactly the same as it was 11 years ago, when I first started it, I’d still be obsessing over my wedding, and you’d all probably have gone blind from squinting at the teeny-tiny images I used to think were perfectly acceptable blog fodder back then.
Everyone changes. Right now, I’m in a phase of my life where the pregnancy is basically dominating everything, and making it pretty hard for me to concentrate on anything else, really. I’d love to be able to write about other things – and I’m doing my best to continue to do that, when I can – but it’s not always easy: I can’t really do outfit posts right now, for instance, because I don’t have many outfits left that still fit me (And, to be perfectly honest, I feel too self-conscious to want to take photos of myself…). I’m too tired and uncomfortable to be able to get out much, or do anything interesting, and I also seem to have back-to-back medical appointments, plus a ton of house and work related stuff I need to deal with, none of which makes for scintillating blog content, does it?
So, right now, you can probably expect more pregnancy-related content – but it won’t be like this forever, obviously: I mean, I know it FEELS like I’ve been pregnant forever (People keep telling me that it’s “really flying by!” and I just fall about laughing, like HAHA, NOPE!). but it has to end SOME TIME, right? Let’s be honest, though: once the baby is here, it’s not like things are just going to instantly go back to normal, is it? Especially not the size of my thighs – which is why I’d imagine outfit posts will remain on hiatus for a while longer, pregnant or not.
I still don’t think I want to be a “mummy blogger” – or, at least, not in the sense of writing exclusively about parenting. The thing is, I’ve actually always been kind of fascinated by pregnancy: even when I had absolutely no intention of doing it myself, I still used to love reading other people’s pregnancy and birth stories, because it seemed like such an extreme thing to do that I couldn’t help but be interested in it. Child-rearing, on the other hand? Not so much. I’m not nearly as enthralled by stories about potty training and nap schedules and the like, but while I can’t currently imagine wanting to write about that kind of thing myself, I’m also not naive enough to think that they won’t suddenly BECOME interesting to me once that’s my life 24 hours a day.
I like to write about my life, is the bottom line – and I’ll continue to do that, through whatever twists and turns my life takes. So, for a while, you might well feel that I’ve gone full on “mummy blogger” – and you might totally hate that, for sure.
I ALSO, however, can’t imagine NOT still being interested in fashion, makeup, travel, blogging – all of the things I write about NOW, in other words. So, I’m going to continue writing about those things, too – it just might take me a few weeks to find my way back to them, at first. And, as always, if there’s something you’d particularly like me to write about, feel free to drop me a comment – I can’t promise I’ll get to it quickly, but I will do my best!