Celebrating diversity in parent blogging: Patch of Puddles


Patch of Puddles

This week, we are celebrating the diversity of British Mummy and Daddy bloggers to demonstrate the many different families, lifestyles and points of view come under the umbrella of ‘Mummy blogging’.

Yesterday, we kicked off with a guest post from Marylin at Soft Thistle about parenting a child with Autism. Today, we have a guest post written by Merry, who blogs at Patch of Puddles about her experiences blogging about home educating her daughters and coping with the loss of her baby son:

I am a dinosaur. This alarming discovery came after I read a post that argued ‘Mummy blogging’ is a new phenomenon, a big step forward in networking and sharing opinions on products and services.

It’s surprising because I’ve been part of a network of women bloggers for eight years. We’ve been firm friends even longer than that – meeting online via forums, Yahoo groups and newsgroups.

As a home educator in 2001, one of the first things I did with my dial-up Internet access was to find people. The idea that the Internet isn’t a safe place to make friends seems strange when you home educate – my daughters’ closest friendships were forged online, and they have godparents I met on the net. Their births were planned and announced online, teeth have been lost and nightmares unravelled in glorious bloggy-colour.

Blogging has been a brilliant way to network with other home educators, particularly through our blogring, hosted by Making it Up. We share ideas and support – invaluable when home educating is sometimes seen as something odd and likely to be done by hothousing academics producing weird, geeky kids.

When I started blogging about home education, people tended to say, “Are you allowed to do that?” but today I am more likely to hear, “Oh, I know someone who does that.”

Lots of parents have been inspired by bloggers to take their first step into home educating, and I like to think we’ve been part of a quiet revolution to promote a valid and meaningful way to bring up kids. It’s amazing to see an idea I blog about pop up on another site a few days later, being enjoyed by another set of kids.

Parent blogging isn’t just about how to manage nursery or choose the best potty – it’s also about parents who spend days with their kids, being a massive, active part in preparing them for being our next generation. We’re humans too, equally delighted by the offer of a great day out or something new to try.

My blog is also a living testament to real-time, genuine product evaluation. My use of Hama beads with the girls led to a fledgling business that was supported by online friends. Today, that business occupies 3,0000sqft premises and supports our family.

My blogging has evolved over the years. With the onset of the teen years my girls don’t want every detail of their lives on the blog. The death of our son last year changed the blog again, turning it into a place where I talked less about home educating and more about being a woman without her baby, and a mother helping her daughters survive the loss of their sibling. Without the Internet to carry me through, I’m not sure I would have made it.

In essence, the blog is a part of our life the girls adore. When we’re feeling low and under-inspired as a family, we say, “Let’s have a good day we can blog.” We look back together and find the memories of good times and laugh at how they and their wonderful friends have changed. It’s beautiful to click on an old entry of friend and see one of my girls smiling back at me. I wouldn’t blog their intimate moments any longer, but I know they are glad we have this record.

Now the blog is changing again; it is less about them, more about us, more about me. It’s about my past and my future. And maybe I’m not such a dinosaur after all.


Sally Whittle is founder of the Tots100, Foodies100, Trips100 and the Flea Retreat. When she's not working, she can be found blogging at Who's the Mummy, or having fun with her 13 year old daughter, Flea.

Discussion15 Comments

  1. What a great post, you’ve shared a lot of your life through blogging both happy and sad – sorry to hear about your son, and thank you for being brave enough to share – it’s much harder to share the heartbreak than the joys. It is interesting to see how parent blogging is evolving – I feel like I’m still a newbie to parent blogging, it’s very different to business blogging which I used to do before I chose to be a sahm x

    • My girls definitely feel like they live their life “on blog” as they say, though they don’t seem to mind. The hardest thing for me was 5 years ago when I went through something, and subsequently almost lost my marriage, where I really couldn’t write in public. It was very silencing to have a taboo I couldn’t risk crossing.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story Merry. When my boys were smaller, I heavily released on home educating blogs to give me inspiration to get through the days and I am so glad I found you and them. It is great to hear that we can also change as the www does too.

    • it’s good to know they’ve been appealing to people outside their own sphere for a while now. I really like visitors from non HE places, much like I happily go to childminder ones etc

  3. Great post sweety. Blogging is a hugely cathartic process for a lot of us, isn’t it? The support, advice and information available is SO much more than you can get from most websites as it’s about personal experiences! *hugs* x

    • I would desperately miss my blog if I didn’t have it. I diaried all through my teens and that was very private of course, but blooging is great for the connection.

  4. “‘Mummy blogging’ is a new phenomenon, a big step forward in networking and sharing opinions on products and services.”

    Personally I don’t think blogging has anything to do with products and services for most mummy bloggers – it is about life experiences, support and sharing what is close to you.

    • Yes, that was my point.

      The argument was that ‘mummy blogging’ was new and all those things my point is that actually a lot of mummies have been blogging a long, long time and it has very little to do with those things at all.

      Personally I have pretty much no time at all for anything that has no personal voice involved. Before I’m prepared to read a sponsored post o occasional review, I absolutely want to know and like the person and family on the blog.

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