Nine Years of Blogging: A Love/Hate Affair

sally whittle

So here we are.

It’s been nine years this week since I first posted on Who’s the Mummy.

To commemorate the occasion I thought it would be interesting to reflect on how I feel about my blog after nine years. What are the things I enjoy, and what are the things that frustrate me?

On balance, there’s a lot more to love than hate. Clearly, since I’m still here, babbling away every week or so.

But I’d love to know if any of these things resonate with you? What would be on your list of blogging pros and cons?

Just as I finished this post, I heard the news that my old-time blogging friend Kate has passed away suddenly. And it made me think, life’s short but isn’t a blog a marvellous gift to leave your children when you’re not around? Rest in Peace Kate, we are all going to miss you more than you can imagine.   

5 Things I Hate about Blogging

Perfection 

I confess when blogging first started, it was fairly rough around the edges. It was a space that allowed women to be imperfect, and to share their real lives online.

what i love about blogging

These days, it can sometimes feel as though that has been replaced by yet another aspirational, glossy magazine that we cannot hope to live up to. I worry sometimes that we’re not leaving enough space for imperfection – unless it’s dressed up in snarky humour and carrying a bottle of wine.

Then I burn dinner for the third time in a week, and remember that I am carrying the flag for mediocre mothers everywhere.

Transience 

When you’ve blogged for as long as this, you see people come and go.

Every couple of years there’s a new “big name” blogger. But inevitably, life moves on, and that person’s time in the spotlight passes. Children get older, people go back to work, tragedies happen, priorities change, blogs get put to one side.

But I do really miss some of the bloggers who were around when I started blogging. I’d love to know how their lives turned out, how their kids grew up. It’s like missing the last episode of a really good box set.

Chore-ism 

In 2018 blogging is a fully-fledged job. There are endless posts and communities telling you the plug-ins you must have, the SEO changes you need to make, the 27,000 things to do to “beat” the algorithm.

But here’s what I believe – when blogging isn’t your job, it doesn’t matter if 100 people or a million people read your post. What matters is that you wrote it, some people loved it, and commented on it. And you still had enough free time to spend an hour in a hot bath this evening.

blogging tips

Do what you love, people. If you love the business of blogging, then YES! You do you. I’ll be here downloading a new box-set on Amazon Prime.

Technology 

I am fibbing slightly here. I love technology. I own far too many devices to be anything other than a fan.

But blogging – the actual technical business of hosting a website and making sure it’s reliable and fast and backed up and secure? YAWNSVILLE. I cannot make myself care about hosting packages and MySQL and simultaneous connections or bandwidth.

flea sally

I literally handed this stuff to a developer about seven years ago and never got involved again, much beyond, “Can I have something that looks like this [insert screenshot] except blue?”  

Facebook Groups 

I am a firm believer that Facebook groups about social media do nothing but add to the overall level of unhappiness in the world, and I refuse to be a part of any of them.

Except mine, because then I get to just delete everything I don’t like and pretend it never happened.

Seriously, Facebook groups are hotbeds of gossip, passive aggression and bitchiness. And they don’t fit my life motto of: didn’t see it, didn’t happen, can’t care.

 

5 Things I Love about Blogging

Friends

Blogging for nine years has given me some fabulous friendships. Jen is my go-to person for a long, gossipy phone call. She’s also the most amazing source of wisdom and support when I have parenting challenges. She doesn’t judge me EVER, and I love that about her.

Lindy makes me laugh more than almost anyone I know, and I love working together with her. I think we balance each other out because she calms me down when I over-react to things, and if I’m under-reacting, she’ll be enraged on my behalf.

amsterdam with kids

And there are others, too many to mention. Friends who I don’t see very often, but who always make me laugh when we do catch up. If ever I’m feeling jaded about blogging, they’re the ones who remind me why I love it as much as I do.

Memories

It’s not nothing having nine years of memories captured. I love this blog because of the little moments and stories.

You don’t think you’ll ever forget that hilarious thing your child said in the middle of the night when they’re three. But you do. Except if you have a blog, you get to remind yourself. It’s pretty special.

Honestly, one of my favourite things to do sometimes is scroll years back on my Insta feed or follow the recommended posts links on my blog until I am lost in old stories and photos.

Experiences

Without this blog, Flea’s childhood would have still been lovely, don’t get me wrong. But the experiences blogging has brought us couldn’t have come from any other job.

Petra

Flea has ridden a camel in the desert, walked through the ancient city of Petra. She’s parasailed over a tropical island and learned to scuba dive in Jamaica. She’s learned to cook pizza in Florence, and had surf lessons in France.

I know it’s considered deeply unfashionable in some circles to say you’re “lucky” as a blogger, but you know what? I’m lucky. I’m ridiculously, stupidly lucky.

This blog has brought us some amazing experiences for really not very much effort in return, and I am deeply grateful for that.

making pizza in florence

New Skills

My blog isn’t my job. I’ve no aims to become a full-time, professional blogger. I decided a long time ago that I don’t want to commercialise my life. I also didn’t want to write about stuff I wasn’t interested in.

But the skills I’ve learned as a blogger make me better at my job as a digital consultant. I write and read blog posts, so I get a feel for what content resonates with an audience, and what falls flat.

I’ve had to learn how to make use of new social media platforms, I’ve edited videos and learned SEO step by painful step. I’ve had to learn about metrics and design and marketing. And I keep learning, every day.

Confidence.

By its nature blogging forces you to put yourself OUT there.

I’m not sure that ten years ago, I’d have been confident enough to share personal experiences with strangers. I would have shied away from sharing photos of myself online. I can’t imagine I’d have been confident enough to appear on video, or even on TV. Well, not without hyperventilating.

sally whittle

But blogging has forced me to do that.

It’s given me opportunities to be brave, and a community of people who have my back, and help me laugh when I get it wrong. Every day, my blog reminds me that it’s okay to be exactly who you are, and not apologise for it. That’s pretty wonderful.

 

How about you? What are the things that keep you keeping on at your blog and social channels? 

 

 

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

10 Comments

  1. Beth
    17th July 2018 / 8:34 pm

    I bet you have seen the industry change so much since you started. I’m not a blogger but I love reading blogs and it saddens me that lots of people have stopped posting in favour of Instagram!

  2. 17th July 2018 / 9:01 pm

    Nice to read sally, congrats on the anniversary! I am definitely on the 100 rather than 1000 readers but you are right- it’s fun, decompresses me from my day job and a comment makes my day :). I have found Facebook groups super helpful for blogging tips but it sounds like you have not had such good experiences. Sorry to hear the news of your friend.

  3. 17th July 2018 / 11:38 pm

    An hour in a hot bath?! Amazing, where do I sign up?! (Let’s be clear, it’s not because I’m doing the business blog things. I’m not even doing the general blog thing very well at the mo!). Although I am a bit old school and love a comment… Love all your points of course, you’re always right. Such sad news today – Kate will be missed massively.

  4. 18th July 2018 / 12:14 pm

    Like missing the end of a box set…
    So many people who stopped blogging, whose stories I loved to read.
    But the memories! I might not have done half the things I’ve done without my blog!

  5. EmmaB
    18th July 2018 / 8:10 pm

    I saw about Kate yesterday and reeled. I also saw your generous contribution on the go fund me and was touched by it. In fact I was thinking earlier, I have followed both yours and her blog for around 7yrs now, I am a bit of a lurker and don’t often comment. I blogged a while myself, around 4yrs and then life things came in the way and I no longer enjoyed it. The field I blogged in moved directions, Instagram took over, people were having 100000 followers and I was stuck at 1000. You have done amazingly to keep at it so long. A post I always remember is Flea and the smear test!

  6. 20th July 2018 / 2:46 pm

    I totally agree with you about the ‘lucky’ thing. It is unfashionable to say it, but we are so lucky that our children have experiences that money can’t buy – or at least the amount of money we have can’t stretch to! I’m glad there have been more positives than negatives. Here’s to the next nine!
    Nat.x

  7. 20th July 2018 / 4:51 pm

    Of course I had to go and read your first post. Being only 7 1/2 myself (in blog years) I missed it in real time. I found it very interesting to see the photo of the back of Flea’s head. I laugh when I remember that I intended to be anonymous when I started bogging and also not show my DD’s face for safety reasons. That lasted about 5 minutes. Although I was possibly more nervous when she was little enough to be snatched without a fight. Nowadays she posts her own photos of herself all over the internet.
    You know I’m firmly in your camp when it comes to imperfection. More Caitlin Moran that Nigella Lawson. However, I disagree about facebook groups as I’m in some very useful and supportive ones. Although I do keep well away from the mums’ forums – they seem to be vicious.
    As for old blog friends who disappeared, I miss Ella from Notes from Home and also Rosie Scribble. I sometimes think about them and wonder what they are up to and hope life is being good to them.
    Here’s to another 9 years and beyond – I look forward to blogging about our grandchildren together. xxx

    • Sally
      Author
      20th July 2018 / 9:26 pm

      I think my Facebook group experience is really about blogging groups. And UK blogging groups, really. I’m in some fab US Facebook groups, and a few local community groups.

      Rosie Scribble is now working at a YouTube agency, having had spells working at Google, then a PR agency and then a publishing company.

      I also miss Ella from Notes, and Emily from Maternal Tales, and Clare when she wrote More Than Just a Mother, and Sandy at Baby, Baby, and Carol at New Mummy, and oh so MANY people who have fallen by the wayside. I’m still friends with some of these ladies on Facebook so we keep in touch, but I do miss the blogs and the stories of the families.

      Thanks for following along x

      • 21st July 2018 / 2:22 pm

        Yes, MTJAM was one on my blog list too. And there was a single mother with a very preemy daughter who lived around Newcastle and I can’t even remember her name – but I often wonder about them too. Please give my love to Rosie when you next speak to her. xxx

        • Sally
          Author
          21st July 2018 / 5:42 pm

          I think you might mean Not Even a Bag of Sugar – Kylie? She was from New Zealand. Lovely lady.

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