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Reflections on parenthood: Mama blogs and baby photos


When I changed my blog description a while back I was lazy and rather than rewriting it from scratch I added ‘musings on parenthood’ as one of the things that this blog is now about. Which isn’t quite accurate. While there have been many many baby photos and a fair bit of baby chat, I haven’t actually talked about being a mother at all. I do have lots of stuff to say, but some of this can be quite difficult to say without inadvertently offending anyone, so I’ve always pushed those kind of posts into the future when I’d have more time to draft them properly. Except that clearly isn’t going to happen, ever, now I have a little person. So I thought I might as well start somewhere small.

I’ve been reading a fair few baby blogs, because somehow when you have a baby yourself, other people’s baby photo’s become irresistible. I don’t know why that is, before I had a baby, I thought people’s babies were cute but I wouldn’t actively seek them out. Now though I can’t get enough.

In many ways, mama blogs are not really for me. I don’t read them for advice, since I decided early on to not read too much so as not to feel confused by contradictory things or guilty for not doing something. If it’s important enough the health visitor or doctor will tell me. Also because of my job I get unduly irate at people misrepresenting research, so mostly internet based advice is bad for my heartrate.

The other thing is that most of these blogs are written (and read) by people whose lifestyle is so different from mine that I find it hard to properly relate.* They mostly seem to be stay at home parents (i.e. mothers) who had their kids really young. Plus so many of them seem to be Mormons who think 1950s gender roles are natural and think it’s their religious duty to have kids and that childless people are selfish and morally dubious, so I kind of have to avoid the writing as well. And I do often find the lovey doveyness a bit much. I mean, of course you love your husband and kids, I kind of take that for granted since you have chosen to blog about them, no need to tell us into hyperbolic style every single post.** But I still love those blogs for the pictures, it’s so weird!

I was reading GOMI the other day and people were moaning about people putting pictures of their children on the internet and how that was a sign of neediness, wanting the whole world to confirm to them how flipping adorable their children are. I do think there are some privacy issues with posting pictures of their kids who have no choice in the matter, but I don’t see the vanity issue particularly. Clearly that criticism could be levelled at all sorts of blogs, the need to have the world confirm how pretty/welldressed/creative/talented/intelligent you are, and I never felt that to be too much of an issue. There are a squillion reasons why people blog, and it’s rarely if ever purely for external validation.

I did briefly consider not showing pictures of Milo, or not mentioning his name, but at the end of the day he is such a big part of my life now, and if I didn’t talk about him I don’t see how I could carry on blogging at all. I do love the connection and companionship of the comments I receive, but sometimes I don’t get any, and I still like the post. I don’t need anyone to confirm that Milo is incredibly cute because (1) I am his mum, so of course I’m gonna think that and (2) almost all babies are. Which brings me back to the other baby blogs. Even if their authors are fishing for compliments, I’m happy to oblige!

Sorry if this post was a bit of an unfocused stream of consciousness. Better get used to it I guess!

* If anyone has recommendations please do tell. The ones I like best are ones that used to be blogs about other stuff where parenting/kiddie stuff has come in as they’ve had kids, rather than specifically baby blogs.
** Yeah, I’m a heartless bitch.***
*** Not really

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • julia 8 May 2013, 9:50 am

    Smitten kitchen has some incredibly adorable links to pictures of the authors kid, which is not a baby anymore but oh, is he a cute little boy. Side benefit: awesome recipes from a working mom, and no parenting advice/judgement whatsoever.

    • Franca 9 May 2013, 3:43 pm

      Right, I must check it out, I keep getting recommended it!

  • Kerry 8 May 2013, 12:54 pm

    This is an interesting issue, as a pregnant woman I am being more drawn towards blogs featuring babies but I would not be interested in reading a blog mostly about babies because I think there could be a tendency to compare myself negatively to the kind of idealised world that these blogs tend to portray. Also I don’t want to mention pregnancy in every single post I write because I know not everyone is interested but then I can’t avoid that it’s a big part of my life too! I try to balance what I write but like any life change, it will affect your interests and your blogging. I like True Bias for a sewing blog which includes baby/child related making.
    Kerry recently posted..Tutorial: How To Convert a Denim Skirt for Maternity WearMy Profile

  • Cloud of Secrets 8 May 2013, 1:08 pm

    I never got into mommy blogs, either. Several reasons. I’m *living* mommydom, with its pleasures and trials (many, many trials) 24-7; I really don’t want to use much of my spare reading and netsurfing time soaking up others’ mommydom. I’ll only read a mommyblog entry when I’m Googling some particular concern, or when a Facebook friend posts a particularly enjoyable/heartening/humorous/supportive link.

    Another thing, like you mention: I don’t identify with the lifestyle, emotional scapes, and/or aesthetics of a lot of mommybloggers. I’m a stay-at-home mom but I struggle with it, I’m in my late 30s, I’ve given up of a lot of my worldly goals for the time being. Also I’m kind of a wry, non-dopey-lovey-dovey person and the glowing, melting hyperbole makes me nauseous.

    Then there’s the guilt when a mommyblogger seems to be doing it all so much better, more thriftifly, and more creatively than me; or the helpless horror when I come across a mommyblogger whose medical, food, and educational decisions for her family don’t seem wiser to me.

    I could go on! I’m glad you’re getting enjoyment from baby photos, though, and I admire your conscious decision-making and balance in blogging your life and style with baby a big part of it now.

    • Franca 9 May 2013, 3:43 pm

      Oh my god, yes: ‘helpless horror when I come across a mommyblogger whose medical, food, and educational decisions for her family don’t seem wiser to me’

  • madam0wl 8 May 2013, 4:48 pm

    I never got into the mama blogs much myself either. But I can totally picture the mormon perfect family ones you are talking about. For a while I was trying to follow sites with recipes for kids’ food and stuff but OMG they can be so twee and overly organic sometimes I just got annoyed. Plus I really get what you mean about trying to not read “too much so as not to feel confused by contradictory things or guilty for not doing something.” That is basically why I cut back on all blog reading on a whole. I agree blogs can be for more than just external validation, but at some point it almost feels like people are blogging just to keep up with other blogs ya know? Anyway, my favorite parenting type blogs are usually the ones that seem more realistic to me, like people complaining about kids driving them crazy and stuff. Just wait, that might come later on once the “oh look at all the cute baby photos” phase wears off. 🙂 I like freerangekids.com for a breath of fresh air every once in a while.
    madam0wl recently posted..Brain Dump #? w/ Outfit Photo QuestionMy Profile

    • Franca 9 May 2013, 3:41 pm

      I kind of know what you mean, I think it’s quite weird how most bloggers audience is basically other bloggers. I have cut back on my reading as well, I only do it when I’m in a frame of mind where I actually want to take things in. It definitely can feel like a chore to ‘keep up’ through reading and commenting. That more than the posting, which I almost never have a problem with.

  • Lucy Nation 8 May 2013, 5:26 pm

    I never read baby blogs. My daughter is 6 now but I don’t think I’d be interested in them even with a newborn. It’s not that I don’t like babies. I am always interested in my friend’s children and never get bored with anecdotes and pictures etc. but I tend to find parenting blogs boring, patronising and desperate to create a false impression of schmaltzy domestic bliss. I do understand the conflict of whether or not to post pictures of your children online as so much of your life is shared with them. Personally, I decided very early on that I would not do this. For many reasons, including that I want my family life to be just between me and them and my blog to be an outlet just for me. Also because my family are too precious and personal to me to share with what are essentially, for the most part, strangers. Hope that makes sense! x
    Lucy Nation recently posted..If they don’t dance well they’re no friends of mineMy Profile

    • Franca 9 May 2013, 3:32 pm

      I totally understand why people are doing it, but I guess I’m happy to share some of it. My compromise is that i am not talking about the details of day to day life, much as I love to have a moan about mastitis and a discussion about poo, this sort of stuff I don’t want on the internet (also, I’m sure no one would want to read that, I’d be like those crazy oversharers on STFU parents. It kind of helps that almost all my posts are scheduled, and having a week between events as they happen and writing about them helps to give me some perspective.

  • jennifer 8 May 2013, 6:21 pm

    I don’t read baby blogs unless someone sends a specific link, but sites I check occasionally include rookiemoms.com, combo of blog and ideas, and they don’t hit you over the head with advice. Another hilarious blog is Jason Good, well-known for this post: http://jasongood.net/365/2012/12/46-reasons-why-my-three-year-old-might-be-freaking-out …And, thenextfamily.com has great articles about parenting in diverse family models (same-sex parent, adoptive, etc.).

    • Franca 9 May 2013, 3:28 pm

      thanks for the recommendations!

  • Lorena 10 July 2013, 9:10 pm

    I am guessing that when you have kids ( i don’t) it’s similar to when I was not married I would be caught dead in a “home goods and furniture” shop – then when i got married it was the only place i wanted to visit.
    I agree with you in seeing quite too many blogs out there (mom+kids) were it just seems like they live in another planet – just totally unrelateable-