Mother and Baby

10 questions to ask before putting your kids online, according to Mummy bloggers

Section: trending

You would­n’t be blamed for hav­ing the urge to put your little ones online.

When you have a gag­gle of the adorable chil­dren (in your opin­ion), and you’re al­ready shar­ent­ing any­way - if you can make a bit of ex­tra cash out of it, what’s the harm? Mummy blog­gers of­ten get a bad rep - some­times for good rea­son, some­times not. But could you ever do it your­self?

And more point­edly, what can we learn about putting our kids on­line, from the women who do it day-in-day-out?

Grazia spoke to mummy blog­gers Hat­tie Har­ri­son and Louise Clarke to find out.

With Hat­tie’s That Mum Blog open­ing up hon­est, and hi­lar­i­ous, con­ver­sa­tions about par­ent­ing, she’s forged a ca­reer in com­edy writ­ing off of her jour­ney as a shar­enter. And Louise? Her award win­ning Mum Of Boys & Ma­bel blog has gar­nered get 65,000 fol­low­ers on Facebook and led to the pub­li­ca­tion of her first novel, From Mum With Love, out next Feb­ru­ary. Both very well aware of the ups and downs of mummy blog­ging, here’s what they ad­vise ask­ing be­fore do­ing it your­self…

10 questions to ask before putting your kids online:

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1) Am I just doing it to show off?

‘Sounds like an ob­vi­ous ques­tion but ask­ing “why” you’re do­ing it is su­per help­ful to have a modus operandi be­fore start­ing a Mum Blog,’ says Hat­tie, ‘If you are do­ing it for fi­nan­cial gain then be clear about your strat­egy and how you are go­ing to make money, ad­verts? In­sta­gram? Af­fil­i­ate links?

‘If you are do­ing it along­side an­other rel­e­vant job then be clear about how your ex­per­tise are rel­e­vant. Are you a teacher? A styl­ist? A baker? A can­dle stick maker? Tell your read­ers why they can trust you to sup­ply them with spe­cific in­for­ma­tion, oth­er­wise they’ll be in­clined to find it else­where.

‘If you are do­ing it to gain ex­pe­ri­ence in or­der to break into an­other ca­reer then be clear about what makes your blog dif­fer­ent from the start - is it par­tic­u­larly well writ­ten? If you want to be a writer then make sure that it is. Is it funny? If you want to be a co­me­dian then it’s ba­si­cally the only en­try re­quire­ment, so again - make sure that it is.

‘If you are do­ing it solely to show off about your fam­ily and how great they are then I’m pretty sure that there are plenty of self-help groups, and pri­vate set­tings, avail­able.
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2) What is my niche?

‘With so many mum blogs out there in 2019, the first thing you should con­sider is your niche,’ says Louise, ‘Per­haps you have an in­ter­est­ing job that you have to jug­gle around par­ent­ing, or live in a town or vil­lage that does­n’t al­ready have a blog aimed at par­ent­ing, or want to pro­mote a cer­tain cause or char­ity though your words.

‘I started my blog as “Mum of Boys” back in 2014, as I was frus­trated by the lack of shop­ping rec­om­men­da­tions for mums of boys in the main­stream me­dia. It has since be­come “Mum of Boys & Ma­bel”, when my daugh­ter was born in 2016, which has al­lowed me to move the blog to a more main­stream fo­cus, but I def­i­nitely at­tribute the quick growth of my blog in the early days to find­ing that niche.’
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3) Is it a viable career for me?

‘At first, your fo­cus will be on writ­ing blog posts and build­ing your read­er­ship but the day may come when you have enough fol­low­ers to turn it into a source of rev­enue of your fam­ily,’ says Louise, ‘Ask your­self whether you want to go down this road as if you do, it will be worth fos­ter­ing re­la­tion­ships with fam­ily brands, keep­ing your ear to the ground about rel­e­vant events, and fo­cus­ing on build­ing your so­cial me­dia plat­forms from the very be­gin­ning.’
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4) Should I be anonymous?

‘Lots of big blog­gers started out anony­mous as a type of on­line ther­apy for the writer,’ says Hat­tie, ‘My blog was ini­tially anony­mous while I de­cided whether I wanted to con­tinue work­ing as teacher and when I de­cided that my ca­reer in teach­ing was over I de­cided to put my name to it.

‘Ap­par­ently, slag­ging off your chil­dren on­line is frowned upon in the teach­ing pro­fes­sion. If you think be­ing a mum blog­ger would be frowned upon in an in­ter­view then se­ri­ously con­sider whether you can risk putting your name to it.’
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5) Should I be photographing my childrens’ faces?

‘There are no rule books when it comes to blog­ging and one of the most hotly de­bated is­sues in par­ent­ing blog­ging is whether chil­dren should be pho­tographed,’ says Louise ‘I think this comes down to what you per­son­ally feel com­fort­able with as a par­ent.

‘I did pho­to­graph all three of my chil­dren in the early days, but felt un­com­fort­able fea­tur­ing the faces of my boys when they reached school age. I still pho­to­graph them, but only the backs of their heads, or their hands, or wear­ing su­per­hero masks, for ex­am­ple. I’ll do the same for my daugh­ter when she reaches the same age. I think it’s also im­por­tant that you al­low your­self to change your mind on this at any point, it’s your blog and your chil­dren, so do what feels right at the time’.
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6) Are you ready for people to take everything you say very literally?

‘Ob­vi­ously this is to­tally up to you,’ says Hat­tie, ‘If you had a dodgy curry last night and you want to show your fol­low­ers what hap­pened via in­ter­pre­tive dance on your YouTube chan­nel then it’s your call, I’d watch. But when it comes to your kids it’s more com­pli­cated.

‘Most things I write are hy­po­thet­i­cal rather than lit­eral and I hope that they are read as such, but more peo­ple than you’d think read things com­pletely lit­er­ally and I once had an email con­ver­sa­tion about how my chil­dren’s teacher did­n’t re­ally change the end­ing of their na­tiv­ity to em­u­late the end of a Quentin Taran­tino film.’
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7) How can I protect my children online?

‘I per­son­ally never re­veal ex­actly where we live, the school my chil­dren go to, nor my mar­ried sur­name,’ says Louise, ‘I never “live share” our lo­ca­tion, work­ing on posts or in­sta-sto­ries when we get home in­stead. Every blog­ger has their own rules, and again, it will come down to what you feel com­fort­able with. ’

‘When it comes to shar­ing pho­tos on­line it’s a whole dif­fer­ent ball­game, I’m not one to preach but gen­eral guide­lines I stick by are not to share the front of my house, my kids school uni­form or any­one who asks not to be pho­tographed, hus­band ex­empt,’ Hat­tie con­tin­ues, ‘As a com­pul­sive over sharer I have cer­tainly over­stepped the line more than a few times and on re­flec­tion, deleted posts.

‘But once you’ve given some­thing away to the in­ter­net it’s no longer yours, it’s not like you’re at a party and you can get every­one drunk and hope they for­get about it in the morn­ing like that ONE time you fell off a table when danc­ing to One Di­rec­tion. Peo­ple don’t for­get any­thing ei­ther in real life or on­line. And if they’re real dicks then they also have photo ev­i­dence.’
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8) Am I prepared for people not believing my 24/7 job is a real job?

‘If it’s your sole in­come source then you have to be se­ri­ously ded­i­cated. You need to be an ex­pert free­lancer, so­cial me­dia man­ager and writer,’ says Hat­tie, ‘It also helps if you have kids to be a Mum Blog­ger, for au­then­tic­i­ty’s sake. So just by the na­ture of those re­quire­ments you’ll have a LOT go­ing on. It’s a lot of work. You’ll also have to be pre­pared for peo­ple not to re­alise the amount of work that goes into it and make pa­tro­n­is­ing re­marks about “your lit­tle blog” and call it a “hobby”. You are legally al­lowed to over­share about these peo­ple on­line.’

‘My blog was a hobby at first, along­side my ca­reer as a free­lance jour­nal­ist,’ says Louise, ‘but I took the de­ci­sion to fo­cus on it pro­fes­sion­ally about two years af­ter it launched. It is now my main rev­enue source and I feel very lucky to be able to work from home, around my chil­dren. The money, how­ever, can be spo­radic, which can be very stress­ful at times. It is­n’t the same as get­ting a guar­an­teed salary into your ac­count every month.’
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9) Can I cope with the sting of people trolling my kids?

‘Mum blog­ging can bring some amaz­ing ben­e­fits, whether fi­nan­cially or through new ex­pe­ri­ences but the in­ter­net can be a dark place too and you’ll prob­a­bly need to de­velop a thick skin as your blog grows big­ger,’ says Louise, ‘I am lucky to have a won­der­ful fol­low­ing of like-minded mums and don’t re­ceive a huge amount of neg­a­tiv­ity, but I’ve still re­ceived count­less anony­mous mes­sages and neg­a­tive com­ments over the years - and it al­ways stings to read it. I do try to avoid con­tro­ver­sial sub­jects and I also have a pol­icy to block any­one that wants to cause trou­ble, which lim­its it as much as pos­si­ble.’
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10) Is it worth it?

‘For all the shit you get on­line - big shoutout to my troll, Paul - for the judge­ment over your choice of ca­reer and for every pa­tro­n­is­ing com­ment about the end goal you are chip­ping away at, I would say a re­sound­ing yes,’ says Hat­tie, ‘The sense of com­radery you both re­ceive and can pro­vide for peo­ple who are right in the par­ent­ing trenches is both a re­lief and a priv­i­lege. Over­look­ing the rogue judge­men­tal key­board war­riors, Mum Blogs have pro­vided a place for fe­males to sup­port and pro­mote one an­other, at of­ten our most vul­ner­a­ble time, on­line. So, I would say to Hat­tie of the past, “go ahead, start a Mum Blog - you never know where it might take you. Please avoid danc­ing on any ta­bles to One Di­rec­tion though”.’

 

This article originally appeared on our sister site Graziadaily.co.uk

Feature image credit: @father_of_daughters

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