Mommy Blogging Madness

"Mommy Blog" has a lot of connotations.   When I started blogging seven years ago, there were only a few of us.   Most of us wouldn't have even entered into much of a thought of what we were going to get out of it and many of us would have laughed at the idea of achieving mommy blogger "status".

We were moms and we blogged, of course we were mommy bloggers.

It didn't matter if we posted once/month or once/day.  It didn't matter if we had professional looking pictures, clean houses, or what our kids were wearing.  It didn't matter if we were on Facebook.  I met people.  I guest blogged there and hosted others here, entirely for the fun of it.  Wrote a few reviews for the same reason.   I was featured on a few lists of *must read* blogs, mostly for being on the front edge of talking about Montessori homeschooling.

Work & Play Kids Circa 2009
Nobody really thought about their future potential for book deals and speaking engagements.

Wistfully, I think of these as the good-old days.

Now it often seems like it is all about status and doing things the *right* way and I don't like it very much.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love blogging and writing.  I love homeschooling my kids and sharing stuff with online friends and getting ideas from other families.  I have found great support and friendship in extremely challenging life circumstances.

With all the pressure to be paid for content (or at least for content to open the way to paid gigs in speaking, writing, and more), however, now it has come to paying for a following.  Building an organic following is increasingly difficult to do unless you have hours and hours to invest in doing so (which really, if you do, I call foul on the authenticity of your mommy status).

Sometimes when I see a new blogger asking questions about how to do it I want to tell them don't.

Just don't and save your self esteem.

Because there will be days when you are at your wits end and post a picture of pizza boxes and admit your kids will be spending the afternoon watching movies while you nap and you get more likes and comments then on your dead daughter's birthday.


Now, lest it sound like I'm complaining about my own following or popularity, I'm actually not at all. I'm complaining about a system that won't just let readers be readers.  Where Facebook decides how many of my readers will even know that I posted something new.  Writing what people are interested in reading is only one tiny piece of the puzzle.

Two years ago I was told by a popular blogger that I wasn't actually blogging until I had been to a blogging conference.  She was serious.  She had also been blogging half the time I have, she just picked the commercial route (and she's very good at it).  Just recently in a private blogging group, myself and another group of Catholic moms were told that we weren't really part of the New Evangelization because its about more than homeschool crafts and cupcakes if we want anyone to take us seriously.

About a year and a half ago, I did a trial period of social media free blogging.  I still wrote, but I stayed away from any and all Facebook or other social media promoting or interacting.

I had an average post read of 5-10 people.

Back to Facebook and back to 100-300.

Add Twitter and Pinterest promotion and up to 300-500 consistently.

The competition for readership is turning grown adults into high schoolers fighting for prom queen status.  There is a push to be better, do more, PROVE, that you are worthy of whatever prize is being handed out this month... be it a book deal, sponsorship, or more.  And worse than the popularity contest existing in the first place is that we have numbers to put on it.  We can *rank* ourselves with followers the way our school used to rank us with GPA.

One of the big problems with mommy blogging being a defined and commercialized thing is that it has a time frame.  Eventually we all stop having children and eventually our children grow up.  Anyone who builds a commercialized blog on a niche, will probably eventually lose that niche when they lose their cast of characters.   Will you still want to make cute preschool crafts when all of your kids are in middle school and high school?  Will you even have time?  Certainly some group blogs and other websites have found ways to circumvent this dilemma, but many more have simply faded into oblivion because their entire following was built on one topic.

I am not leaving the rat race because I like it here and I have way better things to do than care about being the story of the hour.  I accept that sometimes my readership will grown and sometimes it will shrink.  I have been relieved to see that Siena's story has continued to build and grow a little bit at a time.   Truth be told, that is not usually the case in stories like her's.  Often they fade as quickly as they grew when readers move on to the next best thing.

Time and time again I observe exactly that happening in the online madness.

I also observe so-called experts telling long time bloggers they are doing it wrong.  Sometimes out of charity and humility, but just as often not.  Most big blogs are no longer willing to promote content of the smaller blogs.   I read bloggers frustrated by their lack of following even though they feel they are writing good content.

Whenever I see this stuff, I sigh.

And I wish for the good old days.

(When I didn't have to end every post by telling you where you can follow more of wonderful old me, like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!)

1 comment:

Katie said...

Oh this was so good and real. I've been investing more time in my site and really enjoying it, but it's when I start shooting for Likes and followers that I have to check myself. What's the point of what I'm doing? When will my 15 minutes be up?

And then there's the competition thing, an modern aspect of the notorious Mommy Wars. Dumb. I was just saying the other day that I miss the days when blogging was writing - no Pinterest and Twitter sized promotional images with MailChimp subscriptions, etc. Just a blog. Not even a private host. Good ol' days indeed.

God bless your work!