By Katie Ellison
When you actually think about it blogging is a bit of a narcissistic thing to do. We sit at a computer screen typing our words, opinions and sometimes truly personal and emotional feelings into the vast world of the interwebs, then we press publish and just wait for people to read them. We live in a world fuelled by likes, hits and 140 character messages, but why exactly do we blog?
It sounds strange but sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I ask myself that very question. I have a tendency to over think more when I am lying in bed, willing myself to go back to sleep but failing miserably as my brain processes lots of random thoughts. When I started blogging three years ago, I had no idea where it would lead. I didn't even really know what I was doing, but I spent about five seconds coming up with a horrendous name (Mummy Daddy and Me makes Three- what was I thinking?) and soon was armed with a page ready to spill my thoughts out for people to potentially read. At first I talked about current parenting topics or things in the news, when that didn't sit right for me I began to try and write witty and amusing posts. (note to self- you are not naturally funny) After a while, I just decided that I would use my blog to document my life as a new mother.
I originally decided that I wouldn't put photos of my daughter on my blog, but I soon found that because my blog was becoming more of a story of our lives together, it made sense to start including photos of our adventures. I of course didn't put anything up that wasn't suitable for people to view but it still is the thing that I most worry about. That I am sharing too much on my blog, that I shouldn't be posting photos of my children online. They are just innocent snapshots, but I still have the occasional blip where I think that I am being too naive in regards to their privacy.
So why do I do it? Why does anyone do it? Why do I spend the very little free time I do have sat at the computer writing about our ever so slightly boring life? Why instead of doing housework or putting my feet up while my girls are napping, do I sit and upload our family photos for people I don't know to look at?
Let's be honest here, there's a small part of us that does it for acceptance. For reassurance. For a little bit of an ego boost. Everyone likes to feel proud of something. Fifty people liking that photo on instagram of your child and telling you that they are beautiful, what mother wouldn't be proud of that? When you are at home with your children the days are long and sometimes it's nice to know that other people think you are doing a good job. Or if you are a fashion or beauty blogger, of course it's nice to receive compliments on your outfit. There's no way you are posting photos of yourself for zero reaction, you want people to say you look nice, or that you have great taste. It's nice to feel talented and there are some incredibly talented writers in the blogging community. Of course they love people telling them that their writing skills are inspiring. Are bloggers secretly all just a little bit self obsessed?
Social media especially only gives such a small insight into a person's life and it is so easy to believe that certain people have perfect lives. Instagram especially shows an array of beautiful images- perfectly prepared school lunches, kids in the trendiest designer clothes and selfies of impeccably dressed mums in heels and red lipstick. Yes you don't photograph the ready meal you shoved in the microwave for their dinner that night, or the photo of you in stained jogging bottoms watching Made in Chelsea and you don't tweet about the fact you are on your hands and knees bleaching the toilet. It's a fantasy world, it's escapism at it's finest and you want people to think you are doing a good job. It's a rose coloured spectacle of mundane life.
Then of course there's the sense of community. Much like work colleagues, friends or even Mums at the school gate, the blogging world is smaller than you think. It's nice to feel part of a community, and to make friends through the online world. Yes you may never meet some of those 'friends' but you know more about them than some people you know in real life. You speak to them almost everyday, know what they had for dinner last night and know if their child is being naughty that day. In some cases you know their innermost thoughts and feelings. We all want to in some way belong.
Or there's the freebie side of it. Let's be honest here, the invites to exclusive events or the latest toy turning up in the post is a real perk of the 'job'. There are blogs who do it just for that and fair play to them, we all blog for different reasons but for whatever reason you blog, these perks have come because of the result of a lot of hard work and dedication. And brands realise this. They realise that these bloggers have a real influence online and that people listen to their 'voice.' Blogging for commercial reasons or to supplement an income is more popular than ever.
A lot of people do it to record the memories. Myself being one of them. That's the fundamental reason why. I want to create a legacy for my children. Blogging has brought so many things into my life and I am so thankful for that. I have recorded so much more of our life as a result and my daughters have got a full story of their early childhood years. There is the argument that I could do it privately, but having all the other reasons listed above means that I shall continue to sit online and pour my heart out to a computer screen. I have visions one day of sitting at the kitchen table with my two grown up daughters and laughing together as we click through the pages over a bottle of wine. Reminiscing about the times they don't remember, the times they do and the story of our ordinary life. Maybe one day when they are a Mum themselves they can learn from me. How I felt about being a mother. How it's ok to sometimes feel like you want to hide under the covers after a stressful day. How you can feel like you are doing everything right one minute and then failing miserably the next.
Then there's the fears you don't want to think about, but that are always there at the back of your mind. The one's that you try to push away but always linger however hard you try to forget them. The fears every mother has. Last week a mother of two tragically passed away. Peaches Geldof was a celebrity, but first and foremost she was a mother. Just like me or you. Her constant instagram photos of her boys, ones that seemed mundane before- constant 'selfies' of them together, silly photos in the bath, or eating meals in their highchairs- are now a lasting legacy of a mothers love. At the request of her family her instagram account was deactivated two days after her passing, the reason behind the account deactivation haven't been disclosed, perhaps it was the ghoulish comments, or the fact that it all became a bit too personal after her death. Whatever the reason, the fact is that social media and the way in which we now share everything online means that her boys will now have those photos as a memory of just how much their mother loved them.
Blogging is a funny old thing and unless you do it, it is easy to criticise those that do. Whatever your reason for it, and however you do it, everyone has their own voice and their reasons for writing their thoughts down for potentially a large number of people to see. Blogging brings a huge world of opportunities and possibilities to the surface. It's crazy but it's highly addictive and very fun.
Above all it's about telling your story. And whatever that story may be is up to you.
What are your reasons for blogging? We would love to know...