Friday, 25 March 2016

Am I a "Mummy Blogger" if I don't always write about being a Mum?

I have now been blogging as The Different Duck for just over a year. When I first started out, the plan was to write about my experiences as a new Mum, probably for the same reasons that the thousands of other Mummy bloggers out there do: I needed some form of brain exercise beyond inventing bathtime songs and critiquing cBeebies to my husband via WhatsApp ("Mr Pontypine's moustache just flew off! I mean what the actual f**k???!"). I was also a little overwhelmed by the full on nature of parenthood and wanted a forum to share my thoughts and experiences that would allow me more waffling space than a Mumsnet message board and result in fewer eye rolls than I get from Drake.

What started out as a pure Mummy Blog quickly turned into a "little bit of everything" blog. I wrote about politics. I moaned about advertising. I wrote some dubious poetry. Before I knew it, my blog had become part diary, part soapbox, part literary experiment and all pretence at sticking to a theme had evaporated.

The question is, does this matter? Part of me is disappointed by my lack of discipline and scattergun approach. I know the golden rules of blogging, and I know that it is very hard to engage long term followers if you constantly change your focus or style (mostly I try to be funny, but sometimes I can't help but be serious). Plus you're never going to be blog of the day on Mumsnet if you're not actually writing about being a Mum. 

Another part of me is perversely pleased that my blog is such a rambling mess however, because you know what, that's what life is like. I am a whole, complicated person, as we all are.  Being a parent is inextricably linked to all the other roles and experiences in your life, and while I am a Mummy and my blog could thus be described as a Mummy Blog, I am not ONLY a Mummy. So many female bloggers (and really good ones that I read regularly) describe themselves as "A Mum to Fred and a Wife to Barney" and I often think, great, but it's 2016 not 1956 - who are you in your own right? I am of course a wife and mother and that is a big part of my identity, but I'm also a manager, a runner, a writer, a singer, a (lapsed) clarinettist, an atheist, a feminist (or at least a liberal egalitarian, whatever that is), a reasonably decent cook, a daughter, a clumsy clot, an MSc holder, a great problem solver, a flat pack construction whizz, an appalling tennis player, a frustrated ballet dancer (damn you strapping Dutch genes!)...  I could go on.  All of these things do not fit with the one dimensional stereotype of a "Mummy", and I'm proud of that.  If my blog is about anything therefore its being different and complex, which I guess I knew all along, given my profile and chosen moniker...

So no, my blog is never going to get a million followers, and I'm never going to make a fortune off it, but I'm fine with that. It would be lovely to have a loyal following, but a lack of it isn't going to stop me writing, and to be honest, if you take away the imperative to attract and keep followers, it gives you more freedom to write what you want.  Plus I don't have the time or inclination to go chasing readers or the stomach to promote brands and host adverts, so a handful of post views a month and zero income is just fine by me. And hey, if one of my readers turns out to be a fellow scatter-brained flat pack loving odd-bod, and they find kinship in my blog, well then that's just peachy.

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