I’m at a crossroads. I was wondering after a few years of sporadic musings on having babies and family life and a few friendly followers (and a few more on Twitter) should I be trying to make money from this blogging? Should I be trying to get sponsorship, advertising, paid for posts? I’m a journalist so for me writing has always been a living. In order to try and grow my reach, I spent two weeks joining “linkies”, where you read a few blogs, like a few and they do the same to yours. All with hashtags. Lots of back scratching. It made me itchy. In fact, it turned into an exercise that left me morally defunct and ethically spent. I had to read a whole blog post about another woman’s child’s bowel movements in order to abide by the “rules.” I was grinding my teeth in my sleep.
Then I saw it. The Instagram post from a blogger who had snapped her kids and their Dad at bedtime story, trialing a new kind of drinking cup. And there it was. From feeding your babies milk from your aching bosom to making them an advert. To turning the most private family moments into a commercial venture. This might all be done in the name of making a living as a parent, but what do we lose in the process? And what do we teach our children?
I’ve grappled with making my children’s lives public. My Facebook page is locked down and private, and if my friends (and they are all people who I have met and care about) don’t want to see my children then they can hide me politely. They might want to hear about how my children have been delightful little prats but they might not. For safety, on my blog and Instagram, I try to keep images of my children as limited as possible.
But I need to write stuff down. You go the gym, I write. You do yoga, I write. It’s what keeps me sane, like those things keep you sane. Time is limited. I am already spread thin between three small children. I ricochet between schools, between clubs, between meals, between shops, between versions of me, to keep these children where they need to be. I want to spend more time with them. I want to spend more time with me. With their father. I see them, no longer small pudgy toddlers but long, smiling, gangly kids with attitudes as sharp as knives. Their childhood is playing out in front of me. I don’t want to be instagraming 40 times a day or hitting up brands for sponsoring opportunities. I want to hear my children. But if my heart sings, even if it’s out of tune, I will write it down because it’s what I have to do. And one thing I have learnt along this parenting journey is you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
But for me, parenting no longer feels like a separate part of my life, a new role or something to grapple with. It’s just me now. In September they will all be at school. Plus, I’ve never just written about the bubs in DiscomBUBulated.. Oh no. I’ve written about lots of different stuff —writing, relationships, health, travel, Australia, diet and education. Oh and Mr Hankey, the Christmas Poo. It might just be time to start something new.