I‘ve been forced to look back on my mum blogging days lately by accident. It was a slap in the face that filled me with regret.
Remember how I mentioned we lost most of our baby photos, children’s photos in our house fire? How I was on a mission to collect them from wherever, whoever I could? Ok.
We’ve been doing that.
My partner, I don’t know how, made what felt like a miraculous discovery: loads of baby/toddler videos we thought were lost forever! At first, I felt teary with love, excitement and pure reminiscing. Then, as I continued to watch video after video, my feelings turned quickly to shame.
Imagine how you would feel if you’d lost 90% of your baby and toddler videos and photos, but then found loads and loads of these:
Imagine if it were a big deal for you to actually find a photo or home movie that wasn’t spruiking a product with your child? I have video after video of my kids playing happily, with me interrupting them to ‘show Mummy how this toy works!’ I have a couple that are true family videos of memorable times together, and those I will treasure, of course.
To see my baby girl and my toddler boy playing, to hear their voices as infants once again is an honour I thought I’d never have again. I have true home videos with my eldest talking in a squeaky voice as a primary school kid. I forgot she sounded like that! It’s so sweet to hear again.
It’s funny that I decided to quit mum blogging the day before the fire; before so many mementos were destroyed, and I’d be left with mostly commercialised memories of my children’s younger days. Thankfully, not all, but mostly. I quit sponsored posts quite a while before that also, but was still open to running giveaways and gifted posts. In fact, that’s been a habit that’s been hard to break.
In this blog’s infancy, I completed one last obligation to a company as my first post. I also participated in a few other company-related things. I wonder if readers who don’t blog understand the lure of it all? Of course, I started my mum blog with the intent to run it as a business. This blog wasn’t created for that purpose.
Despite that, I’m still offered pitches, as I’ve mentioned before. When your kids are obsessed with Skylanders and you’re offered to visit the Skylanders museum in Melbourne with them, what do you do? Do you let your kids enjoy that experience, or do you devastate them and refuse to cheapen your blog and your family’s life experience with these things? When you’re offered a voucher to spend on your kids, do you say yes and save some valuable money for the family? Or do you get up on the moral high horse and refuse to be bought?
In my mum blogging days, of course, I said yes. Not to everything. But to things that would help us? Absolutely. To things that would treat my children? You betcha. To things that my readers could win? Yes, every time I thought they’d like it, yes!
I always felt weird if I shot a photo or video involving my kids when it was to promote a company. It was so easy to talk myself out of it, though. My kids genuinely loved receiving all those goodies. They enjoyed showing off for the camera, but would’ve preferred to play with something different to the product I was hoping they’d interact with. It was ridiculous behaviour on my part, and not how I’d normally encourage my kids to play, of course!
It’s easy to tell yourself you’re not exploiting your kids when mum bloggers everywhere are working with brands. Am I saying other mum bloggers are exploiting their kids? No. I can and will only speak for myself. So, while my kids don’t suffer any long-term damage from the gravy train they enjoyed, I’m glad I pulled the plug. I’ll always regret those times. I feel ashamed looking back on it, but I’m trying not to flog myself about it. I try to treat those videos and photos as a reminder of the mother I want to be, the family I want to have and the childhood I want my kids to remember.
I’m not saying working with brands, making money or being gifted products is a bad thing. But I do hope any blogger reading this understands that our lives, our memories, shouldn’t be informercials. Always seek the balance, if you’re going to do it.