When I was pregnant with Leon I spent a little over three months on bed rest. I had recently suffered a traumatizing, late term miscarriage and was absolutely terrified I might be forced to go through it all over again. I went into that pregnancy bound by the grips of extreme fear and heavy heartache. I also felt incredibly alone dealing with such raw and lingering grief over losing one baby, mixed with the faltering joy accompanying this new pregnancy (Keep in mind, this was almost six years ago now - so just before the big social media boom - and prior to the days of incessant Facebook log ins, and Instagram feeds, and Pinterest, twitter, ect. All that stuff that provides a sense of self-serving, immediate "connection" all hours of the day, depending on how and when you decide to use it) I spent the bulk of those lonely bed ridden days completing crosswords puzzles on my couch watching whatever random DVD box-sets my friends happened to have on hand while Arlo - a toddler then, spent most of his time with various members of our family so I could properly "rest" as was my sole duty those few hot summer months. My only saving grace came in the way of an online support group for women suffering from the same diagnosis - an "incompetent cervix" that I stumbled across sometime right when I felt I as if I were going to loose pieces of my sanity due to having to lay flat on my back for most that summer season (a gal can only do so many crosswords puzzles, you know. . .) It was here where I would come to embrace a forum filled with women who had all experienced the same loss, were going through the same fears and helping each other cope with this trying period in their lives - fleeting as it was - it saved my sanity by giving me a place to empty my thoughts where I knew they would be nourished, and relateable. In sharing the woes of being on bedrest (as well as all kinds of other juicy details about our personal lives) we naturally became pretty solid friends. To this day, a handful of these women I still keep in regular contact with and hold dear to my heart simply because of the strength and support they gave me during such a bleak and trying time.
Fast forward a few years down the line, I remember feeling a similar connection to some of the new 'mommy blogs' that started popping up everywhere around the time the big boom in social media started to take shape. These ladies, mothers, sharing their day to day plights as (mostly) stay at home moms like myself, or "SAHM" as they would come to cutely abbreviate themselves on the regular. Touting creative new craft ideas, useful baking tips, or just the general frustrations & admirations that accompany long days spent at home with your children, as well as the expected, sometimes enviable home decor, which, for the most part, still felt genuine and therefore inspiring. Like a cool new way to easily dip into a community all engaged in the same, enormously challenging endeavor this is: Raising Children.
However. Things changed.
And quite quickly if I remember right.
Big name companies took note of the big time advertising pull linked to these beloved personalties and the sites they were so successfully curating. They started flooding the market with all kinds of semi obnoxiously generated "sponsored posts,"in which c/o was everywhere, and so on, preying solely to the consumer in us all while setting any aspect of heart, in blog content, to the side. Somewhere along the way, personal narrative got lost and suddenly the tone had a whole lot less to do with actual "motherhood" and just about everything to do with spending. Understandably, most of these sites / bloggers started to aptly alter / censor their regular social output to conveniently meet the likes of these companies now oufitting their kids in chic designer duds, directing even the themes defining the nature of what use to be regular, genuine posts about real life happenings, to meet the standards of these various cooperate partners. In time, the content (and personalities) became safely sanitized and watered down, to meet larger based audiences which in turn, helped upped their market value appeal.
Which brings us here.
In which I ask, am I the only one feeling sorely fed up with the onslaught of product based postings dictating the inter-webs these days? The non stop generic give-aways, affiliate links and overt product placement blighting so many of today's popular "lifestyle" blogs? To the point that when I scroll through, say, something like Instagram my first thoughts on a majority of my feed, is "ok, what is the picture selling me?" even when it's a cute family gathered around the table for dinner. Where the majority of posts on mainstream blogs feel about as emotionally inflicted as a late night face cream informercial? I mean, in their defense, we all adhere to a certain level of "cool." Especially on these socially based sites, where we can freely cultivate our online identities to match the ideal version we carry around in our heads. It's just a part of these times, and for the record, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. What I do believe is that it's kind of a cop out to cling to that superficial aspect - to allow it to get so swollen that you come to lean solely on that "image" you've so carefully created. Plus it just feels like a pretty immature and irresponsible move to feed this ideal only, on your audience you have now buying into that whole glossy, overly primed facade. Literally. In many of the cases I'm referring to here. And while I don't think it's wrong to make money at blogging - actually, quite the contrary, I think it's amazing to make money blogging - to secure a job that allows you to be home with your children and still make money by sharing what moves you in a space you've created. I just think we can be a little smarter about it is all. Maybe some more respect for the audience by way of providing a remote sense of humility & authenticity to balance out what you share - so, that if you're going to pimp 'stuff' out, be outright in your selling, and be sure it's something you wholeheartedly believe in and therefore feel your audience might too. Respect for the reader first, sponsor obligations second. Wondering . . . is that too much to ask?
So, I present this post not to simply call out or question so much of the overall downfall of morale in these overly crafted / curated blogs. But more to ask what it is that YOU, as an audience feel is lacking on the big scale here. What, for you is missing in your daily reads as far as these types of blogs genres go? What are some of the aspects you long for in a quality site that revolves around motherhood? I know for me, it feels like an increasingly soulless forum - the Mommy Blog - where what is now intended is simply securing sense of style and accomplishment. 'Share when you shine' type mentality. They want you to believe they do it all, and much better and more fashionable than you too. I know we all enjoy pretty photos of tidy homes and happy children to a degree, but do any of you start to wonder where even a sliver of genuine sense of connection has disappeared in these now very profitable corners of the internet? Or do the endless supply of consumer links and staged home life simply satisfy the desire for lush internet eye candy and nothing more? Does it get the same kind of "pass" as collapsing on the couch after a long day soaking in the Kardashian reruns because you're too tired to think or do one. more. thing that calls for the firing of any additional brainwaves (I mean this in the nicest way possible, as I am equally guilty as the next on this one)
I know for me, I can only handle so much Pinterest intake before every fucking single Turkish rug looks the same as the last,
and so on with the pretty blogs . . .
As for this space here, it is and always will be a non-profit blog. The benefit being: little pressure to adhere to any sponsors or even a real audience for that matter. I share here because I enjoy keeping a documentation of this period in my life. For myself, first and foremost. Whether three people are reading or 5,000 - House Inhabit remains simply a space to house favorite photos of our children growing up, our adventures as a family, stories of our triumphs, vacations, funny things they say that I don't want to forget, aspects of pop culture that inspire me, as well as the occasional brands / trends & business's I enjoy. As my audience has slowly grown over these past few years, I still feel at ease to share only what I like, am capable of, on a schedule that suits my life on a week to week basis. So that at times I may share four posts at a time, and then coast on radio silence another week before I can rightfully manage anything else. Sometimes my posts are briefer than I would prefer, my thoughts thinner, and my efforts weak because my time just doesn't allow for much more. Though in the end, this space has always been an easy and fulfilling outlet but more for my own personal sentiments than anything else. This new venture, however, "The Ma Books" that I am have mentioned in passing in pervious posts, will be much different in that I am seeking to forge a real sense of connection by way of community - it will be a for profit blog I hope to stake with careful integrity. Which for me, means choosing partners and sponsors I feel meet the platform at hand, while offering real, humble insights linked to parenting as a whole. Quality, real life contributions ensuring that the reader walk away from the site feeling, above all: related, inspired, humored or simply entertained.
It's why I bring the questions here, where I genuinely care about your voice and feedback in regards to this new site. I want it to be space I feel proud of as a writer, a mother, and a reader. The kind of site I kept hoping to run across these past couple of years, but haven't yet.
So please, feel free to share your thoughts on the matter.
If I haven't made it clear already, they are valued greatly and vital in helping me get this thing rolling, on the kind of page we might all be benefiting from soon.
Thanks for listening,