Flea Enterprises

tots100

How many times have you heard someone say that all Mummy bloggers write about is nappies and weaning?  Or that a parent blog has a natural shelf life, and will expire somehow when the children are no longer young?

As if!

A third of the bloggers in the Tots100 have children aged 5 or under, and we list hundreds of blogs written by parents of older children and teenagers. So how does blogging change as your children grow up?

Louise from Bloggomy has children aged from almost two to over 19, so knows more than most about blogging through the different stages of parenting! Here, she shares her thoughts on blogging about older children:

Picture this – you’re a parent blogger happily babbling about your baby and life with a new-born. There are the highs and lows of nappies, and sleepless nights. All too soon, you’re on to toddler tantrums, and the terrible twos. Then there’s nursery and toilet training and getting ready for school.

At every stage, there are fellow bloggers at the same stage in life – sharing advice and many of them at home during the day, or awake in the wee small hours, just like you.

But sooner or later, you reach the stage when the children start school. You might go back to work, start a new career, get caught up in activities and family days out. Where does this leave you and your blog? Does it become irrelevant?

I think lots of people worry about being washed up on the shores of parent blogs when their children reach school age. As a Mum to four children aged 19, 12, 10 and just 15 months, I have had experience of all the stages of parent blogging.

Yes, having a pre-school child does mean you have a whole array of blogging material close at hand. But parenting older children is also a rich source of blogging inspiration. I write about my older children, but perhaps in a different way – those stories of mishaps, worries and ‘firsts’ are less frequent these days, and I have to bear in mind that they may not want to be the ‘star’ of my latest blog post every time they do something I find hysterical, but they find less so.

The older children are very conscious that their school friends may find my blog, and that limits my ability to share their lives on it. I’m very sure they don’t want me to post photos of them in cute poses, while my 15-month-old is a very happy model!

So what are the options? Short of adding to your family and starting the blogging journey all over again (bit extreme) how do you blog successfully as a parent to older children?  What parent blogs have real longevity?

In my view, the parenting journey doesn’t stop when children turn five, so why should a blog stop then? Your blog is your space and if it is important, therapeutic or downright hysterical, then by all means share it!

Many parent blogs evolve over time to include more of the “parent” – as we’re able to claim a bit more time and space for ourselves, our blogs can change to reflect this shift.

Blogs written by parents to older children can also address the challenges of this phase of parenting – homework, balancing school and play, healthy eating, family budgeting and holidays – these are issues faced by all parents, and blogs play a vital role in allowing us to share our experiences online.

If you’re a parent to an older child, there are some fantastic Tots100 blogs written by Mums of older children and teens. Here are a few you might like to explore:

Nickie is a Mum to two grown up children, and uses her blog to write about, well, just about anything that takes her fancy!

Rosie’s daughter IJ is an inquisitive, lively eight year old, and Rosie’s blog has evolved to become a charming mix of parenting stories and posts about Rosie’s own life.

DD’s Diary is a gorgeous blog that combines book reviews, opinions and tales of family life in Dulwich from journalist and author Alice, Mum to two teenage daughters.

Crystal Jigsaw, written by Kathryn, is a fabulous insight into farming life, and also shares the story of Kathryn’s life with her daughter Amy, who has autism.

Not Supermum is Mum to a teen and an almost-teen, and combines family life with a career as a primary school teacher.

What do you think?  Do blogs have a shelf life? And how has your blog evolved as your children have got older? 


About 

Sally Whittle is founder of the Tots100, Foodies100, BlogSummit and the MAD Blog Awards. When she’s not working, she can be found blogging at Who’s the Mummy, or having fun with her 8 year old daughter, Flea.

24 Comments

  1. Posted 19 January 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    My kids are 3 and 11 months, so I am definitely still in the preschool/baby loads to write about phase. However, I also write about my craft business, how I am working with a charity this year, I post recipes too, and not just kid food – I did a Loving Your Leftovers series after Christmas which focussed on what to do with leftover Christmas food.

    I have found the more topics I write about, the more I have to write about, and the more often I can write something of interest, which seems obvious, now I type it out. And it’s a great way to reach a wider audience as well.

    • Posted 19 January 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      I love what you say about the more topics you write about, the more you have to write about – that’s really inspiring!

  2. Posted 19 January 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Hmm I’m on the cusp I suppose with children who are five and eight – but I am not really looking at their journey through life (perhaps it is more mine) so I write about funny stuff the kids do and say but also nice places to go locally, fun stuff to do that doesn’t cost too much ( in a very expensive area!) Like Stpeh a bit of charity stuff, health information etc.
    Really I’m aiming to be a useful resource for people visiting this area – with or without kids so I guess I could carry on forever – though as I’ve only been doing it just over a year I can’t really judge whether bloggers themselves may simply move on and not want to continue after a few years….

    • Posted 19 January 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      I do agree about a blog being about the writer’s journey and observations, rather than the child’s – that’s definitely how I feel about my blog, although yes, it captures lots of lovely memories about Flea, too.

      I think you might also have a point that it may be that there are bloggers who want to document those early years very closely and then don’t feel the same as their children get older – while other bloggers just have an itch to write and will continue through all kinds of phases.

  3. Posted 19 January 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I dont have a clue what I’m going to blog about when my children get to school age, this whole potty training/popping out babies lark is enough blogging fodder in itself. Strange to think that one day I might not be no longer talking about toddlers and babies but the day my son brings home his girlfriend for the first time. But then would he even be happy about me still documenting his life in such a way?

    • Posted 19 January 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      I definitely think all bloggers should be respectful of the people they write about – their children included!

  4. Posted 19 January 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    As a mum of two adult kids (24 and 21) and twin 3 year olds (and a granddaughter and a grandson on the way) I don’t think I’ll ever run out of things to say.

    Firstly my blog is like a diary for us to look back on, it’s a creative outlet for me stuck at home and can’t get a job that fits with my childcare, also it’s also starting to pay a few pennies back by the way of sponsored posts and so therefore it is becoming my job.

    Parent bloggers are so much more than nappies and potty training, what about the books we read, the crafts we do and the keep fit we have a stab at and the cooking!

    I have never met so many inspirational people since I started blogging, it’s opened up my world, I wont’ stop when the girls leave home, count me in till my light’s out :)

    • Posted 19 January 2012 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t agree more – my blog is really more “me” than “Flea” – I provide the words, she provides the cute. We’re a pretty good team.

  5. Posted 19 January 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Funny, I was talking about this very topic with a friend this morning.

    My mantra remains the same, and is the one piece of advice I always give new bloggers:

    If you blog as your authentic self your blog is as varied as your life and the things that happen to you, of which your child(ren) is just one part. Even if your blog is concerned 100% with babies, it is your reaction that remains universal, not the subject at hand.

    • Posted 19 January 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

      Well, quite. There can be some amazing posts about the most mundane of topics.

  6. Posted 19 January 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I see my blog as a record of family life and my thoughts about our life. In that respect, I don’t think I’ll ever run out of blogging fodder – even as someone who writes anonymously. I agree that blogs have a life-cycle which reflect the real life of the blogger.

    However, I also know that blogging itself has a life cycle. Blogging is an innovation, a philosophy almost, which filters through society, being picked up by more educated, intelligent and driven people first before others start doing the same. Once everyone is blogging, it won’t be a unique thing anymore, which isn’t a bad thing in itself, but some of the early bloggers will find something else to move on to. This is a long way off yet, but blogging should be enjoyed while it lasts as a network of like-minded, mutually-supportive people. I know I do, but I’m not sure it will have the same appeal once the chavviest mum at the school gates is telling everyone about her blog and asking me to follow her on Twitter.

    Great, informative post!

    • Posted 19 January 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      This reminds me of a conversation I had with a client a few years ago. We were asking them to fund a blogging project and a marketing director asked me, “What if people stop blogging?”

      My theory is that people will always communicate. They might move to Pinterest, or Facebook or an as-yet-uninvented platform but the desire to connect, and share experiences is universal, and timeless, I think.

      Well, they funded the project so the client believed it!

  7. Posted 19 January 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I think think parent blogging doesn’t necessarily have a shelf life, but for anyone to carry on blogging past the earlier parenting years then they do need to adapt, at least that’s what I’ve found.

    In my experience, around the age of eight or nine, children can suddenly become quite self-conscious or develop worries about the world that are quite natural and all part of growing up, but would not be helped by being documented online. For me, that’s when I decided to write about my daughter less because if I didn’t then I’d be invading her privacy.

    I also think that as our children get older and their needs change then many of us will starting focusing on our own lives more – decisions about the future, about careers etc, and as a result, that is what gets more coverage online, whereas before it was posts that revolved around our children. As to whether it makes quite such an interesting blog remains to be seen!

    • Posted 19 January 2012 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

      Great advice, thanks for sharing your experience, Rosie.

  8. Posted 19 January 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    First of all, many thanks for the kind mention in your post.

    I would most certainly hope that parent blogging does NOT have a shelf-life. I didn’t start blogging until Amy was 7 so for me it was an array of posts about school, autism and growing up. As I’ve never blogged about nappies, weaning and toddler tantrums I can’t comment on that! My blog is particularly varied because I blog about many things, not just Amy. In fact, when I first created CJ, I didn’t do it to blog about Amy but to blog about me; about my writing, my book, my mediumship. Amy came after I’d established myself as a blogger.

    Blogging should be a life-long hobby if you want it to be; there shouldn’t be any time limit or rule that a parent blogger can only blog about their children – however young or old they are. I’ll be raising autism awareness on my blog, hopefully, well into Amy’s teens and my intention is to keep it updated as she becomes an adult. Special needs are so often forgotten about when our children reach 18 and there is definitely a need for many more parent blogs concerning adult-children, especially with disabilities.

    CJ x

    • Posted 19 January 2012 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

      Your blog is one of my favourite examples of how a blog that’s a parent blog can incorporate so many things – how many of us look forward to your lambing posts? And there are so many things you’re passionate about, and share on your blog, and so many readers who are interested, too!

      • Posted 20 January 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Sally. That’s a really kind thing to say xx

  9. Posted 19 January 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    My blog is about anything I find interesting and relevant at the time. 15 months ago I was nearing the end of a difficulty pregnancy and wrote about that, recently I wrote about lady gardens. The title of my blog is such that it can be about anything I want it to be and that’s how I blog. All things change and I don’t see why that should mean the end of a parenting blog after the kids start school or anything else.

    • Posted 19 January 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      Oh, don’t remind me of THAT post.

  10. Posted 19 January 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the mention! I think if you blog about your life, then it doesn’t really matter how old your children are – after all you’re still a parent – so I don’t believe blogs have a shelf life for that reason. My daughters’ needs are changing as they get older, but I still think our experiences are occasionally worth sharing on the blog. I don’t just blog about parenting though, I include all sorts of nonsense and I’ll always be able to find enough of that for the blog!

    • Posted 19 January 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      Life does provide me with a never-ending supply of nonsense, so I’m cheered up by your comment!

  11. Posted 19 January 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    No, I haven’t read it, sorry.

    I think it’s important to differentiate between the issue of whether you want to be called a Mummy blogger, and whether you want to only blog about small children – I don’t personally see there’s necessarily a connection between the two.

    I’m quite happy to have Mummy in my blog name, because it’s a joke, it makes me laugh, and it reflects my personality in that respect. I won’t have a problem writing about a teenager and being called “Who’s the Mummy?” – I think it still works.

    What’s funny is this idea of “Mummy blogger = writing about toddlers” is actually nonsense. I probably look at 100 plus blogs every week and there are HUGE swathes of content to do with books, work, health, beauty, fashion, DIY – all sorts of things. I read a great post tonight about sculpture.

    For me, if you’re a good writer, then you’ll always have something to write about. And there’s nothing wrong with writing about being a Mummy, if that’s what you’re passionate about!

  12. Posted 9 February 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    In my case I set up my blog in the run up to my son starting school. Partly because I thought I would have more time and partly because I wanted to share, record, enjoy his time at school and outside of school. I find I have lots of ideas and always have a list of things I want to write about – a backlog in fact.

  13. Posted 14 March 2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the lovely mention :)! I like to feel I’m providing a dire warning about life with teens for those with cute toddlers ….. I’ve also just acquired a 5-year-old and 7-year-old as stepchildren so I’m suddenly having to return to quite a boisterous phase – much to my surprise …