Saturday, March 1, 2014

Where Mommy Blogs Fall Short


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,

- Photos by Ashely Jennet 




157 comments:

  1. Best of luck with the new venture. I admit, I've pretty much stopped reading most blogs for the exact reason you have written about here. I hate the consumerism and I'll admit I've been an easy mark in the past. Need THESE cute shoes,scarf,arrow leggings ( lol ) to feel cool and validated as a mother. Ugh. I've cleaned out most of my blog roll because so much feels very disingenuous anymore. I'm interested to see where you take your for profit blog. It's hard to stay true to your vision when sponsors are involved. I'm sure you will navigate those tricky waters well. -x

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    1. you're right. It is hard. Which is why I understand, to a degree, the desire to keep up an image, at all costs, to suit your sponsors. There is lots of money in blogging, especially when your target audience is females ranging from 20-40. So while I am disappointed in that state of where these blogs are at currently, I get it. I don't think there are awful people behind it, I just think as an audience, we deserve a little more. I'm not sure how to carry out sponsors and endorsements yet, but I can assure you I will consider it long and hard before I do :)

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  2. Such a great post.

    I am nodding my head in agreement and smiling knowingly... I had to make the decision a couple of years ago about dealing with sponsors or not, and it was tempting for two minutes. Then I really thought about why I blog, and it's for me. It's for my family and especially for my boys, not for anyone else, not to make money.

    I am so fed up with the "posed" nature of the mommy blogs you're talking about. I try so hard not to fall into that category, but sometimes I struggle with what I want to represent and show. But it all comes down to why. Why do we blog? If it is truly to document and reach out to others, I think that will shine through. And you always, always, ALWAYS shine. I've never once felt like you were false or presenting a competitive atmosphere. You are inspiring, and I can't wait to see what you come up with next. I'm sure you will do it with style and taste!

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    1. you are so kind Lauren. thank you for sharing such honest, sweet sentiments here. I feel the same way about your blog. It has always felt genuine and therefore affects me in a "good" way when I'm there. Even if I'm guilty of being a silent reader (I don't comment nearly as much as I'd like, on any blogs)

      Anyway, I appreciate your input.
      xo

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  3. So this post basically encompasses all of my thoughts lately on "the mommy blog" generation. I'm a 22 year old mom from Hawaii, with two kids and one on the way, and in this phase in my life I am ready to start my own lifestyle blog, but I knew going into its creation that I wanted more. I have absolutely no money to afford designer clothes for my kids, $220 jumper suits from these (of course amazing but overpriced) brands, and so on. My husband and I live with my parents. We are young and struggling, and I want my "blog" to be a place where people can relate to our trials and to our hearts. Of course, me being an artist, I want some kind of aesthetically pleasing atmosphere with pretty pinterest-like moodboard posts and photos when my house looks somewhat appealing to the eye, but if i'm going to make some kind of effort into posts and having something to offer the web, I want it to be something meaningful. Which is why this post speaks more to my heart than most I've read lately. Actually, more than any I've read lately. I love to indulge in reading the sponsored posts, and I am far too guilty of coveting the seemingly picture perfect lives of others (especially your life, Jessica. It's so beautiful and your children / home / business is incredible no matter how imperfect). But connection and realness is something I crave more than that. Real people, real stories, heartbreak, triumph, love. This web-savvy time in our lives need more of that. We as mothers need more of that. We need something hearty to cling on to, places to share, to be vulnerable. So thank you for this. For reminding me about what my convictions are. For reigniting the passion for writing about the important things along the lighter things in life, and finding a balance between the two.

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    1. I agree with everything Chanelle. I also appreciate your honesty in falling victim to the spend cycle. We've all done it and know it doesn't make us feel all that great even when we do snag the pricey jumper or the designer jeans. I mean, I enjoy a pretty, curated blog just like lots of people, but I also yearn for something a littler "realer" or deeper in addition to the style / home postings. Especially when it comes to raising kids. There are ENDLESS topics rooted under the radar. Things I really want this new blog to try and address - to help add a more balanced aspect to this kind of blog. I hope it will be something you enjoy too.

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  5. I love what you have to say here. If I may speak a bit openly, I am quite sick of the "mommy" blogs, I wonder how some of these women will continue living when their children are grown? It seems their complete identity lies with their children or that of being a mom, what about their personal interests as an adult and a women? I just started reading your blog and I follow your instagram feed. I love how real and authentic your blog and insta-feed is; it's refreshing to read something I can actually relate to. Your children are so cute and fun too!

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    1. thanks Jill!

      I feel the SAME way - I know we all love our kids. I mean, that goes without saying right? but I too think many times the aspect of SELF gets shoved aside and too easily overlooked. We're still women, with separate interests, goals and desires just outside the realm of motherhood. The fact of which, in itself, is a rather weighty topic I'd love to delve into at some point down the line. Thanks for bringing it up!

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  6. Commenting on my phone and deleted my previous comment... Oops. I don't really mind sidebar adds but the whole sponsored post thing drives me nuts. Especially when you get all the way to the end and realize you almost got had! Mentioning in the beginning that it's a sponsored post automatically makes me skeptical. I just don't like salesmen. Or saleswomen.

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    1. no, I don't mind sidebars either. And, I'm not a salesmen in the least. In fact I was fired from quite a few waitressing jobs because I couldn't bring myself to "upsale" ANYTHING. Those are stories for another post :)

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  7. There is soooo much I could say about this, but I will leave it at this. I've met you and two of your boys in person, and you are exactly as you appear in your blog. You are among a very small handful of bloggers I can say that about. MANY show up in our store and I have no idea who they are because they in no way look or behave like the photos they share on their blog. I applaud your choice to do a paid blog ... because more than anything, I know that in all likelihood you aren't going to try to sell me a lifestyle that isn't one you believe in.

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    1. that is a great complement coming from you Cheri. I appreciate it completely and do hope you are a fan of this new site. I'm excited to share it.

      Also, thanks for reminding me that we need to stop in and see what's new in the store! Hopefully this summer, when are days are free.

      xo

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    2. "OUR DAYS" - sorry. it's late and I'm not editing at best right now...

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  8. No, you are not the only one fed up with the carefully curated (I am really starting to hate that word-only it's lost all meaning), staged and stage-managed blogs, whether they be "lifestyle", or "mommy", or whatever "category" of blogging. In fact I have a whole post I'm working on about it, touching on a lot of these same points, although as is my custom, I take things a little further still.

    I really feel that though most bloggers have an "audience", the whole problem (or at least a big part of it) with the current incarnation, and in my opinion degeneration, of blogging as a medium, is this division into audience and authors, instead of community.

    Having started in the blog world when it was still pretty small, I saw the slow turning of popular bloggers into curators, advertisers and content creators, rather than people who wrote about their lives and interests.

    There were many small things that gave away the shift in these bloggers perspective on the hobby turned part- or even full-time job.First these blogs began to band together creating and insular "cool" clique, then, their authors stopped interacting outside their own blogs and their own audience, stopped referencing other bloggers and commenting on other blogs altogether, even in their own circles. Each blog has more and more become, not only it's own individual universe, but also increasingly similar looking and, because of sponsorships, providing similar content. The bloggers started treating the act of blogging as work, rather than a hobby, or (gasp) a labor of love and as you say the quality of those blogs and their author's interaction with readers quickly went downhill. Regardless of skill I am yet to see a non-awkward way to do sponsored posts, although there are few english-language blogs and a number of Finnish ones I read where the blogger has managed to keep their personal warmth and touch while going sponsored.

    It's amazing to look at three different popular blogs and see the same layout (all white, minimal, name of blog up top), the same chemex coffee maker and made well jeans, the same prints on the walls and the same sponsored kids clothes, the same angles, the same captions (for often they can not be called writing) saying something delightfully inoffensive, non-controversial, conformist. And most importantly, perfect. If nothing else, then perfectly imperfect.

    to be continued, too long...

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    1. I also feel like, though I agree with you that yes, to a degree it's awesome for a stay-at-home-mom, or any woman, to have a source of income created out of her own skill and good taste that one of the things often overlooked in the whole advertising game, is that the many of the companies that use bloggers, use the diy/ rustic/ artisanal/ heritage brand (barfed in my mouth a little bit there) aesthetic to push goods made cheaply in the third world by women/ mothers (or worse yet children) in factories. So many blogs started out as the advertising arms of the writer's etsy shop and have become just a place for modcloth and madewell to sell the idea of "handmade" and "quality" without the actual product. The rampant materialism of these blogs is one thing, often masquerading as "simplicity" that you can buy and is discussed and even ridiculed online often, but the idea that one woman's right to make a living from their home on the backs of another woman not making a living in a dangerous sub-standard job half-way across the world really epitomizes a lot of the glaring hypocrisies of blogging's image as being something that one woman shares with a group of others.

      I could go on and on and I probably will but these are first two things I thought of. I know that I said before that I don't exactly fall into the target market for mommy blogs, but regardless of "genre", the shift in blogging has been notable in the resent years and I actually feel like sponsored super-curated blogs are reaching saturation point and there's room for something different and more substantial. Glad you're doing this. I've often thought about starting a platform for ethical, issues-minded, but personal blogs, but I what do you know I'm not driven enough. I'm excited to see what you come up with and to read other people's thoughts on this. Thank you so much for opening up this conversation! Also, sorry for my classic mega-comment, I feel rather passionate and frustrated about this ;) Rant (not even close to) over!

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    2. First mistake: should not have saved yours till midnight to answer back.
      meaning, my response will have to come tomorrow, after a long and restful night's sleep :D

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    3. Milla,

      As always, you raise some really good, heavy food for thought on this issue. I totally agree with what you're saying about the clear divide that's pushed author so far from audience. I feel like it use to be so much more intimate - the whole tone and vibe, even on big name blogs. Now it's like you've got to play it too cool to connect with regular folk, who are the ones reading and supporting your blog in the first place. These days it feels like a sick and twisted version of high school in which the motives behind so much of what is shared on these sites is rooted in the sad desire to breed envy, and nothing else. I don't see very many major bloggers appearing even slightly eager to connect with their readers on a more balanced level. I realize as your audience grows it becomes harder and harder to do, but the efforts just aren't there.

      And, I know I keep saying this, but I really believe that humility, even in very small doses, goes a long way as far as readers are concerned. People generally want to feel like you respect and relate to them, that's all.

      As for the mishandling of advertisers berating the hand made products in third world countries, that is something I did not consider here until you wrote it. So I am grateful for the insight because I am aware of a few big name companies that adhere to exactly what you're explaining but didn't think Madewell was one of them? I was under the impression that they were a Made in America brand not showcasing anything "hand made" - so I will have to check into that now seeing that they are a brand I have supported in the past (dammit their jeans fit really well!)

      In short, thank you for all of your thoughts here. I look forward to reading your in-depth post on the same issue on your blog, and hope you feel inclined to weigh in and offer new light on whatever issue is at hand. Always a pleasure to get wind of your point of view, you know that.

      xo
      J

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  9. It's been interesting seeing lots of backlash against mommy blogs lately. I feel like anything, its a cycle, and people get sick of things after a while. I've had my blog since 2007, but I'm lucky in the sense I never took it very serious, and pretty much just do it for me. It doesn't make money, and I never felt like I had to censor anything on it. Sometimes I read other blogs (this is not one!) and just want to barf at the sanitized, identical, trendy boring stuff. This blog, and a couple others, keep my interest because you seem like you are being genuine. Anyway, thanks for the words on this, I find it really interesting.

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    1. hey, well thanks. That's very good to hear. I definitely "curate" my internet contributions to a certain extent because aesthetic means something to me too (it means something to anyone who is publicly sharing their life, lets be honest) but I always hope what I put out there is still rooted from a genuine place, so it's nice to hear you feel it does. I do question it constantly, which is probably a good thing.

      anyway, thank you for writing.

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  10. You know I love this! Amen sister xoxo

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  11. This probably isn't relavant or helpful to you, but thought I would share anyway. Because my boys are a bit older I feel like I missed the mommy blog thing. When I needed a blog or a chat room the most we didn't even own a computer and blogs were not a thing. Then when I had my youngest I was so busy with three I had very little time to check them out, or nothing caught my interest for long enough. I did follow one blog for a while and it was very inspiring, but left me feeling kind of inadequate. Then IG happened and I found this blog and for whatever reason I just really enjoy it. Never feel like I need more in my life (except maybe sun and beach days) or that I am lacking because of what I see here. Just can really relate and enjoy the journey that you are on. I think that for me, mostly, I feel like I am coming to an end of a certain period of parenting, that I see you in the thick of and enjoying so much. I feel nostalgic for it, maybe mourning my time as a mom to young boys and finding my way into this new stage of parenthood. Your blog feeds that nostalgia for me, while I celebrate and enjoy this new phase. Anyhow I feel like you are doing it right, it feels honest and comfortable and that makes you kind of the coolest cat. You aren't faking it and that shows. So whatever you have in store I'm sure it will be awesome and done with integrity.

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    1. this is my favorite comment so far.

      You describe your current shift into this "new stage of parenthood" so beautifully, and honestly too. It's something I think about constantly. Because, as we all know, it goes by in a flash and each stage takes some adjusting to. I love how you complement this space by saying it serves as a kind of nostalgia for you. Makes me happy to hear that. And, to know that you are relating to so much I put forth here, being a step ahead of me raising boys.

      I am delighted to have you as a reader. And looks forward to sharing this new venture with you as well.

      Thanks so much for sharing Jess,
      Xo

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  12. Yes! I don't care much for blogs since the shift. I wish guilty bloggers had any sense to them. they are like puppets, so blinded by a free pair of leggings or moccasins that they will turn their entire blog into a huge advertisement just for some free swag. it is like they are peddling stuff so hard, they have lost their identity as a blog. I was a loyal reader of Bleubird for years & years, & then she threw a party sponsered by Timex & gave away a bunch of watches & took a bunch of photos of her friends looking so cool. I literally couldn't think of anything more contrived. so Istopped reading her then & there. her husband is such a sellout on instagram. I blush for him on the regular. also, I feel like Ratalie is a full-time salesman. sheesh.

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    1. I have to say, while I do feel downright tired of all the shameless product pushing I write about here, there is something to be said for a blogger who makes a living by simply blogging. It does take a lot of time and effort, and for it to reach such a big audience shows that those efforts put forth do resonate enough to allow it to serve as a career for some. My goal was not to call out or name specific sites either. I just wanted to highlight how the overly curated trend everywhere is starting to feel kind of boring and leaving lots of people utterly unaffected. I'm hoping to provide something a little different, if only even slightly. But we'll see if it all works out. I do know that a well tuned, profitable blog takes a lot of work and attention. And it's not for everyone so I do respect anyone who manages to keep it rolling, and interesting to so many all the while.

      And just for the record, I have met James and Aubrey in person and they were both very nice, super down to earth people. Easily likable for sure. I know sometimes internet personalities can get confused with real life ones, but I think we're all at risk of that, to a certain extent so maybe take that into consideration?
      And, I don't even know who Ratalie is!?

      But thanks for sharing!

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  13. jess, love your perspective on this and i agree with a lot of it. i've really enjoyed following your blog! it's a tricky transition into the sponsored blog world (not that i would know) because i feel like there's an obvious need for the blog to be read and followed (hence the sponsorship) but as you gain more readership and more followers you have to protect your family to some degree. so then with the popularity comes this need to still provide content but at the same time maintain some privacy. like celebrities i guess. haha. so then you start blogging about things you love sponsored or not. i've still really enjoyed reading the bleubird blog, her pictures are beautiful and even with sponsored posts i dont feel like she's shoving products in our faces. same with @heynataliejean. i think they've both found a way to share their lives and endorse their sponsors in a way that doesnt make me cringe and i really enjoy them. there is definitely the need for a lot of mommy bloggers these days to be like the other in DIY's and tutorials and whatever and i just think those bloggers havent found their blogger voice or feel comfortable being themselves. anyways, thanks for letting us contribute some comments. looking forward to what you bring out soon! xoxo -Josie

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    1. You're right, it is a very tricky transition. Which is part of the reason I'm interested in this new blog working as a communal effort, because I don't want to put my family on display on a public forum dedicated to making money. I will indeed share personal aspects of our life, the same way I do here, but it will be much more diverse on the whole. With posts coming from all kinds of inspiring women in my life, addressing all kinds of issues I feel intrigued by. So that right there takes a lot of pressure off my conscience as far as investing in a for profit blog endeavor. The reason I am open to profit, is that I vow to devout a lot of time and energy to this new blog, as will the other people involved, so I feel justified in being open to us all making money while doing so. It's not my reason for starting it, but I'm not opposed is all. And you're right - those blogs you mention are beautiful and the photos are great. I'm just hoping to reach a little below the surface and open the site up to some real life conversations about motherhood. Aesthetic is important for any blog to consider, but I do believe actual content is increasingly lacking in popular blogs these days, so I hope to focus on that before anything else we put out. We'll have to wait and see if it actually resinates, but thanks for sharing your take on it!

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    2. Personally, I think Bleubird is one of the worst offenders..her whole gig is about profit. Her tone is clipped, her writing lifeless, and she has so carefully curated her blog/image. Overpriced toys, clothes, makeup. Homeschooling..really??? And she thinks she is oh so very, very hip. I'm 54 and I feel sorry for these young women who follow her lead...there are so many better role models.

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  14. aaaand...all i can say is, whatever you blog, whether for profit or not, make sure somewhere reflects who you are as a person so your babies and their babies and their babies' babies can get to know YOU long after you are gone. that's a 'mantra' that's helped guide me in my blogging efforts. sometimes i think i should try to be a blogger but then who is it really for and all i want is for my posterity to know who i was in the end. and now i am really done. sending positive vibes your way the rest of your pregnancy, you have the sweetest boys can't wait to see this new baby! ;) - josie

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    1. Yes, I think that's a wise and valid piece of advice for sure.

      xo

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  15. finally !
    thank you thank you thank you for this post .
    :)
    i always appreciate your honesty . its so refreshing and pure .
    much love,
    V

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  16. I love that you wrote this. I love that this matters to you. I have followed/unfollowed so many Instagram mommys and quit their blogs because of this reason. As a mother of three boys I was instantly excited when I stumbled across your Instagram. You're one of just a handful that I continued to follow - mostly for the reasons you've mentioned. Motherhood can sometimes feel so lonely, and for whatever strange reason, blogs and an IG account can make you feel a little more connected sometimes.

    I don't blog - I have no idea how you find the time, but I'm so glad you do! For me, I guess I'm just looking for a little inspiration throughout the week. Your Instagram feed feels very genuine and when I see you all hanging out in your RV or taking hikes (even when one kid is sobbing ☺️) reminds me to slow down and fight for those moments too. I guess that's what keeps me coming back and reading your blog and following your ig. Those simple moments that don't look like an advertisement for something. Your feed doesn't make me want to shop, it makes me want to sit down and read to my kids or take them on a walk. I appreciate that. Looking forward to your new blog as well. -molly

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  17. I just have to say that I couldn't agree more with you more. I love that you write for you and to document your stage of life right now. Your blog seems to reflect a genuine happiness in your life and I find that so refreshing and honest. I try to do the same with my own (very small) little family blog. I want it to show how we really lived and to be a journal for me and my children to remember. I want it to be a place that reminds me of the beauty of our life and my purpose in mothering them.

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    1. I think in the long run you will be happy you did. And so too will your kids.

      xo

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  18. I LOVED this. I felt the same way with many of the blogs I began to read as simple fitness and lifestyle blogs. Most of them turned into mommy blogs, which I thought was fine, and I continued reading at first. I don't think there's anything wrong with making money with a blog either- if you find and audience, go ahead. I just got SO bored with all the ''what we are buying for our baby'', ''what we are feeding our baby'' and weekend recaptures where I could look at pictures of neat little GAP-Babies in different kinds of restaurants and hip farmers markets, that I stopped reading most of said blogs. Or house tours through the cleanest, most organized houses I have ever seen (sanitized lifestyles, just like you said it). Those blogs might be inspiring for some, I don't want to say they aren't. For me they just became utterly uninteresting, because I don't think I will ever (want to) make my life about buying things for me or my children, or have the perfect family and life that companies are trying to sell me.

    I love your blog, because it feels like you are blogging about your life as it is, un-sanitized, if you will. Your blog inspires me, but not to be like you or have a similar life, but to enjoy what is, my life (un-sanitized, thrift-shopping, playing in the dirt, being with people I love, hiking....collecting moments, not things).

    Keep on doing what you enjoy, here and elsewhere.

    Helena

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  19. im so glad you posted this! You are truly spot on in your opinion on all these blogs. A few years ago is when I started reading blogs and have thoroughly enjoyed them. They posted frequently and made it personable with some sponsored posts. I longed for that ability to be successful while being a stay at home mother myself. But as time went on the "real" posts become farther and fewer in between and many of these loved blogs of mine have turned into pure profit blogs. Nothing seems real anymore. Now instead of walking away from these blogs having read a thoughtful and real post on being a mommy, I walk away being envious of their childrens cool clothes and their really beautiful house. There is this one blog in mind that I just get this bad feeling about. Every photo, pinterest pin, and instagram post makes me feel as if everything is staged. An example is "oh, here is my baby boy playing in the kitchen with a wide shot that happens to include this gigantic record collection that people will definitely be envious about and want". And you know what, even if it was a genuine instagram post, it really doesnt matter anymore because they just cant be trusted, you know?
    This is why I love reading your blog so much because its real, its simple, and the fact that you have no sponsors has not gone left unnoticed. I have started my own blog a few months back in which my family and I are going to document our lives and our school bus conversion etc. But with such competition out there amongst blogs, I feel so much pressure to post everyday and etc. to be able to "compete" with others. Instead of stay true to ones self, this whole machine has made it a game instead of something to do because you enjoy doing it. I have told myself that I will no longer feed into this bullshit because the only person being effected by it is me. But with this post I see that I am not the only one! Thanks so much!

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    1. oh God, no. You're not the only one. That's a for sure fact.

      :D

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  20. I am interested in reading about how other women navigate the daily struggles and joys of being a mother, wife, daugther, employee, etc. There are two issues at play for me with the for-profit blogs. First is market saturation. They are everywhere and they all look the same, The second is the idea that many of these bloggers pulled what feels to me like a bait and switch. Let me lure you in with honest narrative about pregnancy loss, relationship struggles or some other real and personal struggle and then start selling you things once I have your attention. I don't need someone's 'advice' on how to piece together a $900 outfit. If I had that kind of money I could figure it out for myself. Reading someone's 'review' of $250 flats they didn't pay for is insulting and totally absurd.

    Anyway, that is my two cents. I

    Erin

    PS - I too had a late term miscarriage and was carried many days by beautiful, generous, woman online with shared experience. Thanks for reminding why the Internet is so incredible at times.

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    1. yep, I agree completely.

      And am grateful to know you can relate. With all the negativity to dwell on, there are still good things about modern media - and these social online ties. Connection in grief and hardship is a major one.

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  21. I agree with so many of the comments above and I love that you decided to publish this post. I just recently stopped following several of the most popular women's personal lifestyle blogs for this very reason. The push for perfection and consumerism (at the highest level) is out of control. I just took an online survey this week investigating the effects of these types of blogs on women readers. As I worked my way through the survey I realized how much of an impact they have on my self-image and worth and life and...so many things really. And the impact is a hugh and negative one. I generally feel "less than", which is why I decided to dump the blogs that are so obviously representing an unrealistic life.
    I love your blog. It has staying power because you are real and honest, and you have a seamless way of writing about and representing the things you love in life (material and not) without compromising who you are. Thank you for that! I have no doubt you'll be able to transition all of that to your new venture as well. Because you care. x

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    1. hmm. . . the survey I find intriguing. Any link for me?

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    2. Yes! Pass it on: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/10g-_XlnEFGQBNTKJ0un1l_B8517_DZb5RV34xk5yGEE/viewform

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  22. This is spot on. When I married, and then had my first son, it was at the beginning of the "online wedding and baby site boom". Which I was a part of and it was wonderful. And then it seemed that everyone shortly after that had a "mommy blog". Some of them were great, some not so much. The few that I was able to read in between raising two babies really had something so new and original about them. And then they became a commercial. Every post was a sponser spot, and it felt like less of what I "needed" to hear, (advice on breastfeeding woes, sleepless nights, night terrors, post partum depression) and everything that they thought we "wanted" to hear, one recommended product after another. I was instantly turned off.

    I read very few blogs now. They have become very much like a good circle of friends. You don't have to read a ton of them to feel nourished and satisfied. Just a few, real, men and women writing great pieces about his roller coaster of a ride called parenting. I have no desire to hear about their paint sponsership with Glidden. Or their kitchen renovation that Home Depot paid for. Or even the new trendy products they are using to bathe their little ones. I can't afford any of that, it's not any of my interest and really do they care? I don't think they do. In my eyes, it;s just another competition, the same way that Pinterest has turned out. Lets see how overwhelmed we can make you?

    You seem to have stayed the same, genuine person as when I knew you. I doubt you will have trouble with maintaining that as you venture into sponsers and so forth. Just go back a few times and read that first blog post. It will always remind you of why you started and what direction you wanted.

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    1. wow, so good to hear from you Shannon! Hello!

      And, as usual, I loved everything you offered. You also reminded me of two major post ideas I had somehow forgotten about - night terrors and post partum. Both of which I have experienced to a degree and perfect examples of what some of the personal posts should rightfully entail. All the stuff we are all experiencing that don't seem maybe 'pretty' enough to dictate mainstream blog content. Yet those are the stories many of us are so desperately craving at this point, and this response and feedback here helps me see that I am not alone. I promise what I put forth in this new site with take all of that into consideration - the break I'm making is not so much to simply pursue the profit, but more to expand my reaches by way of offering deeper content with help from some equally engaged editors so that it does not relay solely on my family. I will have help which will help add balance the load. And because I know there is real work and effort involved in doing so, I feel any money that coms of it will be well earned. I only mention sponsors because I want it to be clear from the start, that I am not opposed to it. I want the blog to outright in what (and when and if) it's selling something and whatever that product is, I want it to be something I feel the audience would really appreciate. A simple notion that still takes lots of consideration if one plans on keeping their space authentic in tone. Which I do. And I will obviously be open to critique as far as the blog direction is concerned. If audience starts to ever feel like it's loosing touch, I am 100 percent willing to hear about it. This being another major downfall for big time bloggers who do not open up the forum to allow real voices to vent or offer much by way of (usually valid) complaint. Like I said, it will aim for a community type vibe where all voices count equally as much as the moderators. I want it to be stylish, fun AND informative by way of featuring real moms, real homes and real issues that I know are being overlooked by so many of these mainstream sites. I am fortunate in that I am surrounded by lots of incredible women so I'll be pressing them for as much contribution as they are up for, in addition to reaching out to others I am drawn to via social media ties.

      Anyway, thanks again Shannon.
      So great know that someone from my very distant past has made their way here to offer such solid advice.
      xo

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    2. So glad I found your blog! Let me tell you, It's a breath of fresh air and a joy to read. And if a trickle of that translates into your new project, I think you will have no problem balancing it well. I am really looking forward to seeing what ideas and plans materialize.

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  23. Wow - really interesting reading this post and the comments. My brain is not working properly today so I'll respond again to answer what are mommy blogs missing for me when I can order my thoughts better. I would like to say thank you for asking the question and starting up this debate. I'm very interested in lots of the topics surrounding motherhood beyond interiors, recipes, crafts and clothes (although I like those too) and I really liked the comment that flagged up that our identities are not just that of 'mother'. I'm also very fascinated by other women, these other worlds as well as the universal challenges and joys of 'raising children' as you put it. Quick thoughts are as long as the new blog venture was an idea you had prior to the decision to make it 'for profit', as opposed to a solution to keeping House Inhabit 'not for profit' it should be fantastic - the ideas you outline for it sound great, the collaborative nature of the blog sounds great, you write beautifully, your photography is always brilliant (and that is really what makes a lot of these blogs work - the images). If you made House Inhabit a for profit blog I'd follow happily and I feel you'd do it very well but I totally understand your reasoning behind skirting this so I'm very keen to see this new space on the internet! xx

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    1. thanks! The idea has been with me for nearly a year now. Stemming from the fact that, when I apply myself, and have enough quiet time to collect my thoughts (which is not often) I think I write fairly well - in the sense that I can articulate to a degree, what is around me in a way that I hope speaks easily to others. With this site here, I keep my posts mostly pretty brief because I feel like I am really only writing and sharing for myself, in spite of the audience growing. I don't care if 15 photos of my kids on the beach might be boring and whatnot because the space feeds my own heart first and foremost. The decision to make a break with a wider, more public (for profit) blog was due to the fact that I am interested in so many stories that just are not out there right now detailing all kinds of mothers I know. So at a certain point, in the midst of real frustration, I started to think, why not stop with the complaining, and just be the difference. The more I considered it, the more I began to see it was a place where what talents I do have, could maybe come to flourish. And therefore give light to a space I am proud of, people come to enjoy and women visit to relate. Which is why I would not feel bad if the money and sponsors we include follow when they from a place of genuine interests in regard to blog audience. If I, and others who contribute, plan on devoting a good chunk of our time and efforts in upholding a cool, and inspiring new blog forum, I see no real harm in profiting financially from these efforts.

      In short, happy to read all your insights and contributions here, and others that you might want to share down the line.
      this feedback is all really really good to hear.

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    2. Hi Jessica - thanks for this response - my brain really wasn't working the other day, all my words were clunky and I've a tendency to waffle on too much anyway - argh not good combo. What I meant to say was that it is so so nice that someone thinking about a for profit blog actually asks her readers what they'd like to see - I'm amazed more for profit bloggers don't do this and I've definitely stopped following bloggers when I feel they are slightly dismissive of their followers. On the 'when was the idea of the new blog' thanks for explaining - it makes total sense that you want a separate space to expound on ideas, experiences and views you have that don't quite fit House Inhabit - and I'm so happy you will do this - not only do you write beautifully, articulate concepts well etc, it's always interesting to hear what you have to say - your take on things. Like another comment said, I too like your morals and manners, how you speak to and about people and the subjects of conversation you raise. All I meant was that I reckon sponsors want to buy into the House Inhabit 'brand'. Ok so on the question - I really chimed with a lot of what others have been saying - the small number of blogs I follow are like a nice space to come into, relaxing and inspiring. It's like my real life mum friends - a few I know I like their outlook and views on parenting so its really only them I turn to for advice although I will listen to everyone. I also like the 'quotidien' nature of it, following the blogs over time, I love seeing these other worlds. They do definitely help me feel connected as a mother (I'm the only SAHM i know!! although I do have lovely mum friends) and sometimes sane - a quick flick on instagram or a blog can relax me v v quickly or help take me out of a stressful moment (too much internet is another story). So I mainly look at these blogs for inspiration (I do love all the pretty clothes, interiors, beauty, recipes and crafts ideas) but also for practical ideas on style, clothes, things to do with my little (some fantastic ideas out there) and how to raise my little - it's really hard learning how to be a mother and run a successful home and happy relationships with all the important people in your life (not just children) - I feel like this is universal to all mothers but equally now is very different to our mothers generation, our partners are not expected to be like our fathers were etc (our mothers therefore think they are AMAZING for smiling at their children - I joke... a little...) so I'd be very interested to read more opinions on things like this and how others 'try' to make it all work. I'm also interested in how parenting differs culturally around the globe - that's so fascinating. And advice!!! Tips and advice - what works!! From the mundane (how to not ruin my kids clothes by literally just washing them) to the deep (how to deal with the tough times, be it toddler tantrums or feeling trapped by motherhood). I read a great piece of advice from a blogger on how she gets her child to eat - if she refuses the plate the mum just says 'oh you are not hungry' and puts the plate to one side but offers no alternative. And honestly I've been using this approach with everything now - won't wear her coat 'oh you don't want to go outside' etc - really works!!! I guess it's always nice if bloggers get that their readers have varying budgets, I still like seeing the beautiful clothes/interiors but nice to have cheaper alternative shown. And the c/o thing is a bit ridiculous, its rubbish when kids are in 100$ plus stuff you know the blogger never would have bought.

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    3. Also overt religion is a turn off for me and while I like montessori, some blogs feel a bit homeschooling/waldorf overload so I just stop reading as I'm not their audience at all, ditto anything that could be branded 'Kinfolk'. BUT that said I actually cannot believe that Get off my internets is legal, the couple of times I've looked at it I cannot believe people can be so vitriolic against mothers - the bile against Bleubird is particularly horrendous - it should be illegal - it is trolling. On a much nicer note all the blogs I follow have wonderful wonderful photography so I guess the images are important! I'm sorry if this is not remotely helpful and I've written loads and loads - used up the text limit!! Looking forward very much to seeing the Ma Books!!

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    4. Argh final final comment - I mainly just like following these nice families, seeing the little bits of their journey - like that lovely comment about how fleeting this time is, how precious this time is. SORRY NO MORE FROM ME!!!

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  24. Once again a great genuine, thought provoking blog post :) i so enjoy your blog and a excited to see where you take things. i started reading mummy blogs when my daughter was 1 when alot of my friends hadnt yet had babies and i enjoyed the insights into motherhood, i did however struggle a bit with insecurites around this time, something i hadnt really had up until this point and i cant help but feel that this went hand in hand with these blogs making me feel like i was inadequate in some way. whilst i know lots of people look up to/are inspired by certain people/individuals and that can sometimes be benificial alot of these blogs left me feeling cold, and like others have said made me feel like i needed more 'things' (not a nice feeling). I started to drop reading them/following on instagram and then i found yours.... your blog is so different, you arent trying to show a 'perfect life', just your life thats pretty good to you. your blogs never seem to be acting like you are staging a photoshoot, simply depicting moments honestly , its a breath of fresh air and in some ways feels like a relief! without sounding too much like fan mail your blog simply inspired me to reconnect with the things that sometimes gets forgotten in motherhood days, the things that help make us 'me'. thrifting more, getting outside more, dusting off the records etc. all these things have slowly but surely led me back to myself. thank you. us women/friends/mothers ought to stick together in this life, encourage to thrive and grow and your blog feels like a positive place that nurtures this rather than holding something up to high to reach. anyway...sorry so long! looking forward to seeing your new space...
    Emily xx

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    1. sorry...one more thing... basically, yes i think the one thing lacking in the existing blog world is a more supportive and collaborative blog forum, which it sounds like you are hoping to fill :) brilliant! x

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    2. you are so sweet! Your complements are much appreciated too. Thank you so much for writing and sending such positive vibes this way. You sound like someone I am honored to have as a reader here.
      Really.

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  25. I've come to love reading your blog, like a favourite magazine, paper or even column, I look forward to returning to the quality, not quantity of your space. Your space is real, it's honest, it's warm and it's respectful to yourself and to your readers. I enjoy the fact that you don't feel the need to update everyday with meaningless posts or posts aimed at securing commercial interest or a few freebies to be perfectly styled for Instagram or blog post. Your blog gives me a sense of old school morals and old school interests where life is about the moment, about the people in it not things. For your new venture, I would enjoy a place created for mutual respect and consideration, a place to encourage and admire but not envy. A place to be real.

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    1. Hi Lois,
      First off, thanks for writing. Second, I too have no interest in breeding more envy online. A real blog with life life issues and real life houses and real life children wearing realistic clothes is where my sights are set so I thank you for sharing here, showing me just how many others out there are eager for the same exact thing.

      xo
      J

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  26. Thank you for this post. I have felt saddened by the shift in Mommy blogs especially blogs which I followed through out my pregnancy.

    Personally I don't have an issue with bloggers posting photos of their carefully cleaned corners of their houses. I know when I post photos of a flowers I pick from my garden on Instagram I clear any clutter that might appear in the photo so it looks nicer. And I rarely post photos of my daughter if the background is really messy because I don't want people to see that. Im not lying I'm just not posting my mess for the whole world to see. I don't think many people do.

    I'm also not opposed to a sponsored post if the blogger genuinely believes in the product. I discovered BumGenius diapers and ergo baby carriers through reading what I think were honest reviews and they have been great for me.

    What I don't like is when the blogger is just selling whatever they have been offered for free. Especially when it is at least every second blog post. It's insulting to their readers. Or when they post recipes without giving credit to the original creators of the recipe. It's lazy blogging and I have stopped followingThank you for this post. I have felt saddened by the shift in Mommy blogs especially blogs which I followed through out my pregnancy.

    Personally I don't have an issue with bloggers posting photos of their carefully cleaned corners of their houses. I know when I post photos of a flowers I pick from my garden on Instagram I clear any clutter that might appear in the photo so it looks nicer. And I rarely post photos of my daughter if the background is really messy because I don't want people to see that. Im not lying I'm just not posting my mess for the whole world to see. I don't think many people do.

    I'm also not opposed to a sponsored post if the blogger genuinely believes in the product. I discovered BumGenius diapers and ergo baby carriers through reading what I think were honest reviews and they have been great for me.
    Thank you for this post. I have felt saddened by the shift in Mommy blogs especially blogs which I followed through out my pregnancy.

    Personally I don't have an issue with bloggers posting photos of their carefully cleaned corners of their houses. I know when I post photos of a flowers I pick from my garden on Instagram I clear any clutter that might appear in the photo so it looks nicer. And I rarely post photos of my daughter if the background is really messy because I don't want people to see that. Im not lying I'm just not posting my mess for the whole world to see. I don't think many people do.

    I'm also not opposed to a sponsored post if the blogger genuinely believes in the product. I discovered BumGenius diapers and ergo baby carriers through reading what I think were honest reviews and they have been great for me.

    What I don't like is when the blogger is just selling whatever they have been offered for free. Especially when it is at least every second blog. It's insulting to their readers

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  27. Yes! Exactly my thoughts on a lot of the blogs that I've kept on reading, some of them, over the years. Seeing the transformation is really sad. I've come out of reading some posts feeling dirty and lied to almost and feeling tricked after you realize you spent your time reading an advertisement for more useless, overpriced crap. I think most intelligent people realize that there is no depth to a lot of the blogs out there and just take it at a face value, pretty pictures, people pimping their kids for a few bucks. I can think of several where there is complete lack of respect for the reader, not even bothering to proofread and not allowing any criticism whatsoever (even constructive) to be shown in the comments. A lot of them just plagiarize and recycle the same useless hipster crap over and over and over again, trying to jam $60 candles and $400 Norwegian kid backpacks down our throats. I think that's why blogs like Get Off My Internets exist. I really love reading your updates and seeing your boys transform and grow up, especially from my working mom position. I can't wait to see your new venture. I hope you can figure out a way to support your family and keeping it real as you have been in a past. Good luck!

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    1. thank you! I relate to a lot of your points here, and I hope the next space I create doesn't feel like it's ever forcing anything at you as far as useless crap goes. I just hope to offer real writing, pretty pictures with real stories about mothers of all kinds. And hopefully share some funny relatable insights.

      thank you for your well wishes.

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  28. Thanks for this post! I'm new to the "mommy blogging" world and I hope I never get perceived as the type of blogger you've explained above. Since conscience consumerism is something I strongly believe in, I do enjoy sharing companies that reflect my own values. I have seen a recent trend of blogs I once loved go through a "relaunch" that all seem to lack that "YOU" factor that made me enjoy them so much. Anyways, good luck with everything. Cheers!

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  29. Carrie CervantesMarch 2, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    Mad love and respect for you and your transparency. I try to limit social media participation for the reasons you articulate so well. I find that it's crippling on individuality too. And then there's that divide between cool and uncool which is disheartening to me. Main stream or not, it's irresponsible to boast about this picture perfect life you've created when there are young girls out there that will make themselves crazy trying to attain just that. Keep doing what you're doing Jess, because this non mommy is captivated by your crew and perspective on life. XO Carrie

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    1. you know I always appreciate hearing from real people in my life here :)

      Thank you Carrie. Your opinion and support mean a lot. Always have.

      Xo
      J

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  30. Hi, great post. Bleubird is the worst. So curated, panders to sponsors, she is a chameleon and a fake. This is my opinion. If a company sponsors her blog...I won't shop that company.

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    1. HI!

      So, obviously you are 100 precent welcome to your opinion. I meant this post more as a generalization of lots of things I see on blogs these days ... Pinterest, tumbler, nameless mommmy blogs, ect. SO, MUCH, PRETTY, STUFF everywhere you turn. It starts to wear on you, right? And, at some point you might start to crave a little more because all that STUFF just gives way a new desire to buy more STUFF. And then what?

      But in defense of the Bleubird blog, I just have to say that I can sympathize with certain aspects of "the other side" on this issue here too. The fact is, there is a reason she has managed to secure a major place in the profitable blogging community. Lots of it has to do with the fact that she has a natural knack for highlighting stylish things. She just does. I'm not totally against that kind of product endorsement when it feels genuine either, and have admittedly been introduced to quite a few really cool items because of her sharings there on the blog. I think if we were all honest here, we might all admit to that. Plus the photos of her children are beautiful -- she has a great eye - and offers up some amazing recipes I've enjoyed there as well. I'm only guessing here, but I would imagine that with so much sudden success stemming from a personal blog, it would be incredibly hard to navigate the tone and content presented when companies are constantly sending you stuff, simply begging for your endorsement. If you think about it, it would be hard for any of us to turn down those kinds of offers, right? J

      Now, coming back to nature of this post here - I should say that while I do believe there is and should be a place for beautifully curated sites, it still feels like the trend is becoming over saturated & therefore slightly boring. I was simply curious as to how many people are thinking and wanting something else, in regard to adding yet one more mommy blog to an already overflowing market. So far, the responses have helped tremendously.

      I am grateful for each of them.
      Your included :)

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  31. I'm excited for you! And looking forward to seeing what (more precisely) you are cooking up. I have a lot of my own thoughts on this topic. I came into blogging late, only a couple years ago just as my son turned one. I stumbled on my first few blogs through random searches on various baby concerns, and started my own before I came to see any of the 'big for profit' sites and realized what a massive culture this all is.

    Among my real life friends, I am one of the few 'full time moms'. My circle is all single career minded women or working mothers, and it was a pretty controversial decision when I did decide to stay home with my baby. I also found that I had little in common with many of the SAHMs I met after my son's birth, most of whom were extremely financially comfortable and had no need for a second income. I couldn't swing daily lunches out or babysitters and housekeepers, because for us one income meant careful budgeting. It was a choice no one in my real life seemed to understand, and while I was supremely happy in that first year of motherhood, it was also very isolating.

    When I discovered this pocket of mothers who had made a choice similar to my own, women who were smart, creative, had broad interests, and pushed themselves in so many areas... it was a comfort and an inspiration. I love that I can connect with families around the world and watch as they grow and change. I also enjoy seeing beautiful photographs and spaces, etc. I had no idea!

    My own blog has always and will always be my journal. When I had more time, I was able to include interests beyond parenting (design, gardening, cooking, whatever). Now that I have a second young baby, I find that the focus is mostly the kids with a few other highlights, and honestly I feel like that's a natural reflection of my life. I didn't get to read many of these comments, but did see one where the author was 'worried for these mothers who are so obsessed with their kids' (I'm paraphrasing). I have heard that before and I do get it, it's so boring to think all we care about is our kids, but I also often find those types of observations patronizing. I know for myself, I teach and do freelance work that isn't always appropriate to include in my personal blog. When I do find time to collect thoughts or images about my life right now, the things I want to remember most are these babes, my home, and what I was experiencing as a mother. As the year goes on and (maybe) I get more time and sleep, I expect that will continue to shift.

    With respect to a for profit blog, I really am excited to see how you make it work. I generally don't enjoy sponsored posts or give-aways. I love design and beautiful things as much as (okay maybe more than!) the next girl, but that type of marketing just never seems to engage me. It sounds like your formula will be different. How are you going to do this all with a new baby and three boys?! Amazing. I'm tired thinking about it :)

    xox Lilly

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    1. And just to add to my monster comment, I did want to say how much I have always enjoyed your space here. You manage to incorporate a coherent aesthetic that extends from your photographs to your home decor and thrift finds (to those swoon worthy vehicles) without any of it ever feeling posed or insincere!

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    2. wow, so many points you bring up are very interesting - especially about feeling slightly isolated by your stance as a stay at home mom with a budget, amid a circle of financially comfortable, or working mothers. I've always had a full circle of supportive moms in my life, on the same page (stay at home, same aged kids, ect) so I feel very fortunate for that support because I can see how it could very easily get kind of lonely otherwise.

      In regards to the comment about women loosing pieces of themselves due to their obsession with their children, for me, it did not feel patronizing or offensive in tone. I think, it goes without saying that we all adore our children. As mothers, we all understand this job of raising well rounded kids is the biggest job we'll ever be invested in, we are proud of everything they do, or accomplish, but I do agree that sometimes, to a certain extent, we tend to neglect the fact that we are - in addition to mothers - still women with unique hobbies, interests and desires separate from our roles as mothers. Obviously most of the content on this blog revolves around my own home life, but I do admire other blogs that share aspects of their live outside of that realm too. I think it's good to have the option in way of variety out there. And with all the social media and camera in hand 24 hours a day, I don't think our generation of kids are going through any stage of their life that isn't documented and frozen in time for us all to cherish forever. I mean, think about it, so many of them have whole blogs to reminisce and look back on!

      Lastly, I don't think I meant that I intend to include sponsored posts per say, I just wanted to be clear that with this new site, I am open to sponsors in general, however I work them in, if they feel true to what the blog offers as a whole. I just think there needs to be more consideration when it comes to deciding what to feature, how, and why. That's all I was trying to address. I don't have any big money goals here, but I also don't think making a profit from blogging is not something awful in itself. Back in the day, someone with an English degree (like myself) might fantasize about starting up a small newspaper publication or magazine dedicated to all the stuff we're discussing here, but these days, those in- print endeavors just typically don't hold up, so our other option becomes blog space. Where, if efforts are real and content sharp & embraced on a wide scale, profit shouldn't exactly be something that's frowned upon. Or at least that's how I see it.

      Also, I'm not sure how I'll manage it all. I have contributors on board which will help lessen the load, but for the most part, the boys will all be in school to a varying extents this coming year, so I do have more time for myself than ever before, and really, both Mike and I are pretty busy by nature. We are constantly involved in projects of all kinds. Always have been. This will be one more. Hopefully something that brings more pleasure than pressure. Because I like writing, it's been years since I've done so, seriously at least, so it just feels like the right time for this particular venture. It's something I feel passionate enough to embark on in the midst of being generally exhausted, so I hope others will come to enjoy it too.


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  32. Jessica,

    I love this post. The honesty is really lovely and genuine, and I think it's something the internet happens to be lacking these days in terms of the mother blogs. As you know, I am a new mother. I used to blog and when I was about halfway through my pregnancy, I decided it was not something I wanted to share with the whole world. I guess my stance was that I spent far too much time on the internet, twitter, pinterest, blogs and I wanted to take the focus off line and live my life in the real world. Blogging had felt strained to me for some time, so I just decided to quit. Obviously, it held a place for me for a long time and I met some really wonderful internet buddies through that outlet (you, Jamie, Celia) and I found a lot of like-minded women who I respect both as mothers and humans. But I wanted my baby's life to feel private. My mom shared with me when the baby was first born that I needed to be calculated and prayerful about the people I let into her life. I don't want her to be on display before she has that opportunity to make the decision for herself. So I just took it down. I turned my Instagram on private and cleaned out my follower list of folks I don't know. I still use Facebook, but it's far more thought-out since it's how a lot of my family and close friends who are far-flung keep up with us. But I even have reservations about that. At the same time, I'm conflicted about my child and the internet. I just want to make sure people who are seeing her are people who care about her well-being.

    That being said, I come back to this blog (and a few others) regularly for the realistic and sweet approach to motherhood you present. I really look up to you and your little family and hope that we can be as well-rounded as the Kraus clan one day. I sort of had to just stop with some of the other blogs; I know that sponsored posts, etc. are necessary for blogging as a career and I don't begrudge these women for that. You gotta make a living. I just happen to make mine in an office setting. A record label, to be sure, but still. I'm away from my girl all day and that is also difficult. I think I would be more apt to read the "sponsored" blogs if they were actually promoting things I could afford. Obviously they are well-curated and beautiful, and certainly a point of inspiration for many. But they were breeding in me a sense of envy, and that is a feeling a) I do not like and b) I try not to give time to those types of feelings. They don't foster personal growth. I also feel icky sometimes reading the blogs that use their children as marketing tools. It skeeves me out.

    Anyway, all of that being said, I think the internet is a wonderful source for mothers. There is a sense of community and support I've found in you and several others. I am sure that however you decide to proceed with your new venture will be well thought out and impressive, as always. This post alone shows a marked effort to not alienate anyone, and you are a most excellent mother. I would love to see what you are cooking up, and as always, you have my full support!

    xo,
    Naurnie

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    1. so nice to hear from you here Naurnie.

      Your blog was one of my favorites - Jaime's too, but I totally respect your reasons for putting it aside once you became a mother. And I fully respect you because of it.

      I also agree with so many of the issues you bring up. I find it icky to see kids used as marketing tools too. Especially to the extent that it's become. I have brands and stuff that I truly embrace and admire and feel excited to share about, but to build the basis of your blog on the designer shit your kids are wearing, bores me to death.

      I'm hoping, that with all the inspiring women I know - hopefully willing to share in this new forum - we can forge something a little deeper and leave people with something a little richer. And connect and relate as a community online. Because all of those ideals are dead to the mainstream blog trends of now and it makes me both sad, and frustrated that it's been allowed to go so far south at the expense of us readers yearning for a place to share our plights as women, and mothers of all ages and backgrounds.



      Anyway, thank you for jumping in and giving us your two cents. You know it's always much appreciated and I do hope the new site is something you enjoy, because, well, you're pretty much my ideal reader.


      Much love,
      J

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    2. Coming back to chime in again. I would be far more likely to listen to a sponsored post from someone like you who is genuine in their intent than someone who is recommending $1500 outfits that I can't afford. Or someone who recommends a baby store that offers jumpers for $150+. I think that you are the perfect person to make the leap into mom blogs that are realistic. I never get a sense that you are overly curating your life for public consumption. I do think that you're an amazing photographer, but it is your attention to detail in your children that keeps me coming back. And also makes me feel like we would likely be good friends in non-internet life.

      Thanks for being awesome, J!

      xxo,

      Naurnie (again)

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  33. What an amazing "conversation" among mothers this whole comment section has turned out to be! I've read through each and every comment, enjoying (most) of what has been brought out. I love it that underneath all of our differences, the one similar yearning we all seem to have is the connection that the instagram/blogging world brings us. We have an amazing ability, with all of this technology, to be a community of support for one another.

    That said, I am very susceptible to the lures of consumerism. It's something that I fight daily--wants vs. needs--and something that I have become a whole lot more aware of in the last few years, so I am really quite weary (and wary) of someone trying to sell me something in a sponsored post. (Especially something that my family could never ever afford.) However, I don't at all mind sponsors on a side bar.

    I do miss the "feeling" of many of the blogs I once enjoyed reading. I haven't yet stopped following a few of them because I do really enjoy their photography, and the occasional "authentic" feeling post that occasionally pops up. But the ones I really love (and there are just a hand full, yours being one of them,) are the ones that make me feel like I'm sitting down to listen to a friend tell me about something that's truly important to the heart of who they are, and maybe even sometimes getting a response to a comment that I've been moved to leave. You are one of the best at this part, just so you know ;) I'm excited for your new venture, because it sounds like you'll be doing just that. Giving us good reads, maybe introducing us to products that we really can use for our families, while keeping things personable.

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  34. Words don't even begin to explain how much I love and appreciate this. I am weeks away from being a mama and have wanted to be a mama blogger for years, not for free stuff, but for the same reasons as you... to hold a place for photos of my children, stories of our adventures, etc. It's refreshing to know that despite all the mama blogs out there, there's at least one person who is holding strong to that mindset of this style of blog.

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    1. well then I hope to have you as a reader in this new venture. I'm excited to share with people like you because I think it comes at a time when we are all desperately craving something MORE.

      Although at this this rate, it wouldn't really take much, right?

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  35. Thank you, thank you for putting into words but I've been thinking about for a long time. Blogging has changed and shifted so much in recent years. I think the popularity of sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram have shortened our attention spans and beautiful, thoughtful, personal blog posts have slowly disappeared because fewer people take the time to read them (or write them). As a mother of one and another on the way, my blog and instagram have always been a collection place for my children. I often wish I would have had a glimpse into the everyday lives of my parents when I was young. I hope I can give my kids that if they want it someday. Once sponsored posts/giveaways begin to outweigh the personal posts, I find my eyes glazing over and clicking off. The blog loses its voice and authenticity and feels impersonal. There are very few blogs that have managed to keep it real, personal, and beautiful and yours is absolutely one of them. If anyone can manage a for-profit blog with the right intentions and voice, it's you. I really look forward to seeing it. Keep it up!

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    1. thanks Myndi!

      The eyes glazing over is so true. I find myself checking in to certain sites, hoping to find something even remotely moving, and am disappointed every time. Same thing goes for instagram and pinterest for me too. Scrolling quickly past the non stop pretty BS that just keeps growing.

      I want stories and voices, and real life issues to read about. But it seems impossible to reach these days. Which is such a shame. Especially when it comes to motherhood - and there are really SO many dynamic aspects to share. But time and time again we're getting cute outfits and overpriced toys.

      I'm pretty much OVER it.

      Seems I'm not the only one. . .

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  36. I love this. Every. Single. Word. I am a SAHM with 5 kids, and love reading about the experiences of other moms! I like knowing that I'm not the only one facing the trials that come with motherhood! And, of course, who doesn't like to look at pretty pictures?! I don't mind endorsements so much. However, I do wish that they were a bit more practical in the stuff that they chose to endorse. Why does everything have to be so very expensive?! That's when I begin to feel a disconnect. I have nothing in common with people that can afford to spend $600 on a blanket. They become un-relatable - and isn't that the point of the mommy blog?! For us to be able to connect and relate to one another? It would be so refreshing to see products that someone like me (a family living on one income) could actually afford! I'm not talking cheap - just not overly expensive! There has to be a middle ground! I wish you the best of luck in the your future endeavor - and can't wait to read and support you! I love this blog, and I just know that whatever you do will be just as beautiful and tasteful! Xo

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    1. YES! Jasmine.

      I agree completely with EVERYTHING you mention. I think it's awful to take an audience, built on lower to middle class incomes and start force feeding these insanely expensive clothing items to them like it "ain't no thing." HUGE turn off for me too. Especially when the blogger is receiving them for free. And then I think, Geeze, can't you maybe break it up and offer up an outfit post with decently priced items mixed in too? The average mom I know cannot begin to even fathom 1,500 dollar outfits so I think it's a slap in the face to a big majority of readers, and one that only pushes the core audience further and further away because the money, the items, the perfection, all of it, become so far removed from the life any of us are living, that we decide, at some point, to finally tune it all out.

      Which is to say, I would never have the guts to toss this stuff at people so carelessly & just expect that they'll accept it because, maybe, they admire my style? Especially these days, when times are tough and most people are focused on merely providing the bare essentials for their families.

      With five kids, you understand the crucial aspects of budgeting. I do too. One more reason I feel so passionate about this new blog is that these are the things I'm interested in highlighting. How big families budget their households and where and how they cut corners, ect. All the stuff we're basically dealing with on a day to day basis that, until now, hasn't seem to hold a real place in popular blogging.

      I really hope I can help change that.


      Thanks again for your insight and well wishes too!
      J

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  37. I'm ashamed to say that I've come to your blog for the first time via reading about it on a GOMI thread about another blogger. One who may or not be guilty of all you've mentioned above. I can't even tell who's being "real" anymore. But to everything you've said.. RIGHT ON! I appreciate your refreshing honesty. This is exactly the kind of post "mommy blogs" should be sharing. It's all so competitive, and saturated, and frankly-- boring at this point. Thank you for sharing this. Clearly, you are a talented writer. I found this to be very uplifting and "real." I follow several mommy blogs… I guess I'd consider my own family blog a "mommy blog." But being a woman and a mom is about so much more than giveaways and sponsored posts. It is such a beautiful, challenging, and wild time in life. There are incredible moments to be shared. THAT should be the content we're getting from each other. Not.. "be like me, dress like me, buy my life." Yuck. You are great.

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    1. Thank you.

      This topic has been on my mind for months, and I started to realize maybe it wasn't just me. Posting this rant here was something I kept putting off, but finally decided if the conversation doesn't start to open up about how we're all being treated like fools by the half-hearted marketing that's taken over these blogs, then in our silence, we are simply saying it's ok to overwhelm us this way, with product, product placement, sponsored posts, and so forth.

      There is a tactful way to share quality products, I still believe that. But once you loose the trust in your audience, they start to doubt all and anything you share, be it personal, or product based posts.

      I also believe that if you work hard to offer a balanced space in which genuine, well thought posts are presented, in addition to the affiliate link stuff, people are much more forgiving.

      In short, I just want to urge these sites to see that even the slightest bit of humility and gratitude shown in what you put forth, makes a world of difference. People want to feel related, and respected. It's not rock science, it's the basis of human connection. And sadly, all of that is dwindling faster than I can even believe.

      Thank you for writing. I sure hope this next venture is something you might enjoy, on multiple levels, for multiple reasons.
      J

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  38. When I showed up at your house, your boys answered the door. It was unexpected. Mike filtered in from the backyard, I think, and said he'd go up stairs to "wake you up". I giggled to myself and immediately felt like, "well shit, this girl is the real deal". You came down a few minutes later, in your house clothes, and not once - after actually seeing you - did I feel uncomfortable. I get nervous before any family shoot... worrying about everything from the lighting of the house to the dynamics of the family. It's even harder when I know who I'm shooting through social media but have yet met them in real life. I've met a lot of people via the blog and instagram world and you build up this perception of how you think someone is going to be prior to actually meeting them and sometimes it's right and sometimes it's not. You are exactly who I thought you would be. Within minutes, Rex was babbling about batman, Arlo was at the piano playing imagine, and Leon was quietly observing me. Your children are exactly who I thought they would be. And Mike, though a man of a few words, was both sincere and thoughtful. He helped me down out of the Land Rover for goodness sakes. That's quality right there. What I'm trying to say is that, like you, I value authenticity. I don't think you can go wrong so long as you approach whatever you are doing with sincerity and keep that value at the forefront.

    I enjoy writing my blog, I really do. It pains my brain when I have thoughts that are dying to make their way out. Writing and photography are two things I'm very passionate about, so blogging is my happy place. I love that my boys will have the opportunity to look back in time.... and to realize how hard parenthood really is but how love is so beautifully interwoven in it.

    You have my full support.



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  39. I completely agree. I don't even have children, yet I can't afford what some bloggers keep advertising. The worst one I saw was a blogger would hosted a small party to give their friends Timex watches. The photos were of people wearing the watches holding drinks and that was it. I learnt nothing from that post except someone got a lot of free watches. If anything it makes me feel taken advantage of and a bit stupid for reading through it.

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  40. Thanks so much for sharing I so agree with this post. I am a expecting mommy and I love reading other mommy blogs and some stuff that I read is very helpful while others I read are just absurd. So thank you for sharing some light!

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  41. I'm really excited to see this new space you are creating. It sounds perfect and so well needed. I find the list of blogs I read gets slimmer each week. Just so few that I relate too. I don't own a business, craft, design, cook or have little children. I have a teenager, I work full time and I'm just me. I feel like as a blogger and a reader of blogs I belong in the land of misfit blogs most of the time. Because I don't have small children, stay at home or some skill I'm showcasing that there is no room for me, if that makes any sense. Even though my struggles as a mom and wife are the same as any other woman's. I'm tired of giveaways, sponsored posts and all the crap. I want to connect with other women who understand, I want to share with women so they do not feel alone, I want to talk about things that people are too scared to admit for fear they will loose followers or sponsors, I want to share and connect about life. This is why I completely redesigned my blog and stepped away from sponsors of any kind. I just couldn't do it anymore. It didn't feel right. Ever since I made that change, I have felt a million times better about myself and what I put in that space I call my blog. Sorry to write so much in a comment but that felt good to type out. Best of luck in this new adventure! I am so excited to see and read it!

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    1. Do not apologize for writing so much. You are SO right - there isn't a place for you on mainstreams blogs. Just like there isn't much consideration for single moms either. You also bring up another issue that really irks me. The fact that teenage children don't count as far as quality blog content is concerned. I feel like it's all babies in cute onesies and knit booties and all the adorable crap that goes hand in hand with having an infant. Like, the very cutest accessory to your online presence. When really, I have lots of friends in the midst of raising Tweens and teens and I'll definitely be sharing posts that pertain to that aspect of motherhood as well. YOU, Nicole, are the kind of reader I am really reaching out to here. To offer a breath of fresh air, by highlighting stories about mothers who work as well, and the issues that come with that, as well as insight to some of the plights that come with raising older children. Or going at it alone. That's what I mean, when I say the topics really are endless. It's just that somehow, they became pushed to the sidelines because it didn't feel "Cute" enough for all these pretty spaces. I think it's absurd.

      I also have a feeling you, and others like you, are going to appreciate the Ma Books because it will give light to you voices and stories to relate to, which really are not out there. That I know of, anyway.

      Thank you so much for writing,
      J

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    2. This is such a great post and there's so much food for thought here. Thanks for opening up this dialogue. I have teenagers and a younger child and what I wouldn't give to write more freely about the preteen/teen stage. For me, it's not so much that it's not "cute" enough but more that they and/or their friends could be reading my blog. Their privacy becomes more important and more sacred once they're older. It's quite literally the hardest parenting stage and the one people write the least about. I am no different, I'm not writing about it either. I'm just not sure how when their very sensitive eyes could be on the blog. Anyway, thanks again for bringing this up.

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  42. finally someone is saying something I have recently started to feel. while I do not read too many blogs, simply because I do not have the time, mostly I have felt this way about IG since that's about the only social media I keep up with. so many cute and trendy products that I just cant spend $60+ because I cannot afford it ( I have a 4 yr old and 3 yr old twins and am a SAHM ) don't get me wrong, I love trendy clothes on my children, but I bargain shop, and buy all their clothes on sale. aside from all the products I cannot afford are the always perfect family outings with the impeccably dressed kids and moms that look so put together. while sometimes our family outings are major fails, with tantrums and crying which leads to grumpy parents. seeing all those posts on IG from the mommies that seem to have it together all the time, leaves me feeling a little envious, and inadequate. and I never wanted to say that out loud.... like a lot of the comments here, I do not see anything wrong with making money using social media while being a stay at home mom. in fact that can be inspiring to try to find something I enjoy doing, make money from it and still be a SAHM. what bothers me is that its not always a realistic depiction of homelife with kids, but staged, styled moments. I have always loved your IG feed, and have often times felt so much better in knowing that it wasn't just my kids that didn't enjoy the perfect Tanaka Farms trip, or the hike we went on. kind of like, ok, im not alone here, I can relate to the type of day you had. so thank you for voicing your thoughts and saying out loud what a lot of us have been feeling but perhaps did not want to say out loud because we would appear negative or spiteful. thank you

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  43. What a raw and great post. I so appreciate your honesty and your words. This post has inspired a change in me. I had an evolving conversation with my friend today after we read this and the subject of Instagram came up. To be honest, I have become somewhat consumed with the incessant ' product tagging ' on IG since having my baby and my eyes have really been open. It's sort of crazy how consumed one can become with keeping up with the next person or trying to look like that popular IG mom. I hope to , along with my friends, change some views soon. I literally breathed a sigh of relief after reading this and having a detailed conversation with my friend, it's okay to be real and SHOW the real too. I would much rather see that. You can still have amazing pictures, but keep it honest and true :) Again, thank you so much for your thoughts. ( This will even make look at my own blog in a different way now )

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    1. Um yea- horrible grammar mistakes but I had to hurry before my 14 month old woke up, haha!

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  44. To me it seems like you are on both sides of the fence, talking about being real, then peppering in a little promotion. Frankly I have no issue with curated blogs, for profit blogs, non profit blogs, or any blog really. I read what I like, buy what I like, try what I like. I know what I'm reading. I know what promotion is. Why is there this assumption (not just here, GOMI, and everywhere else too) that readers don't know what they are reading? If I'm reading a curated blog, I'm basically reading vogue on the beach. No one is forcing me to buy things or look at things. Let alone making me feel bad about what I can afford. So I'm just confused by all this blogger weirdness. It's no fun ( This comment is just being honest, I think your blog is awesome.

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    1. Well, I have to say - if I am promoting something here, it should be pretty clear: it's a new blog I am understandably excited about. I've been thinking about it for nearly a year now, holding off or talking myself out of it only because I am, for the most part, generally exhausted at the end of the day after chasing after three kids and the responsibility at this point feels quite daunting. I kept hoping to run across something that someone else was putting out that I could look forward to reading at the end of those long days, but haven't. So I finally decided, very recently, to make a go for it was because I feel that passionate about the whole thing. I posted here because I was feeling pretty much disgusted by how saturated social media has become with slamming product non stop. I don't mind it on occasion - I mean, like you, for the most part I simply tune it out. I even share some of the same crap everyone else does because I follow the same trends and am interested in current style that pertains to home decor, kid toys, clothing, ect. I'm not riding on some moral high - All I'm getting at is that I wish there was more respect and balance between bloggers and their audience on lots of levels. Some of these bloggers are making big money putting forth little effort with no care for the people who warrant their page-views, which in turn, help secure their market value. I think everybody deserves more respect. That's all. Yes, we can each avoid what doesn't suit us, or our incomes, but when nearly every one of these mommy blogs look and sounds exactly the same, our options are only becoming more and more limited.

      So yes, maybe it feels like some grand promotional scheme. But that's not my core intention. I honestly didn't expect the discussion to get this big. But I am looking forward to writing (seriously) again, interviewing people I admire and sharing stories and voices I find inspiring. Hopefully my dedication to these ideals is apparent in how the blog evolves.
      Otherwise it's just more of the same. And then you can tune me out too :)

      Thanks so much for writing.
      J

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  45. Connection. I think that's what we blog readers really want. Yes, there are a lot of blogs that don't feel real anymore- it's all about "things" and not a lot about life. Real life. Less about family, and more about "look at my cute baby in these pricey leggings on my sofa c/o....!" Sponsorship is fine when it's done tastefully and respectfully. I think SouleMama does a wonderful job with her sponsors. Someone mentioned the Timex sponsored post from a certain blog and that was a real turn-off for me as well. You're completely right, readers come first and then sponsors. I think a lot of bloggers don't believe that anymore. Or just don't care.
    I'd love to see a blog that talks about the nitty gritty of parenthood. Lessons learned, wisdom to share. A place for women that creates a sense of community. I can't wait to see your new project!
    I also have to say, I love your blog. It's refreshing that you share the real stuff- the meltdowns, trips that don't turn out perfect, sibling squabbles, and the adorable quirks in each of your kids. Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. I agree. I think Soul Mama is good example. When I visit her site and see product and all that I feel like I can trust that she has put some thought and consideration into the endorsement - I trust her because she writes with genuine character and that character feels real to me. She is relatable, inspiring and I generally enjoy visiting when I do because she has so many talents and seems to fully embrace her role as a mother. AND and blogger.

      Thank you for that example Angie. That's good one. And, thanks for visiting too!
      J

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  46. It's funny because last weekend I was talking to my husband about that "so called mommy bloggers" and just social media overall. I don't relate to alot of blogs anymore like I used to for many reasons but I been a reader to your blog for as long as I can remember, your blog is number one on my reading list, I found your way of writting so beautiful and inspirational, to me your blog feels pure and honest and you make me happy. I would love of more of that! I talked about wanting to start a blog forever but I always compare myself to other bloggers with pretty amazing houses, living in awesome cities dressing their kids in mini rodini and there I was a 23 year old with twins with none of that, so one day I got tired of comapring myself and I start a blog to just write things without wanting anything in return, just to remember stuff, I may be the worse blogger in the planet but my blog makes me happy, and my life seems happier since I decided to not want to be like everybody else.

    You are one amazing human lady, thanks for sharing your life with us!!

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  47. Hi, Jessica!

    I've been trying to set aside some time for days to join the discussion. Honestly- I'm over it all, at least the business side of it that totally ruins the artistic (for lack of a better word) side. I'm over everything being "magical" or "dreamy" or "perfection". The lingo is so pervasive in the blogging culture and it just drives me up a wall- and honestly sometimes puts distance between me and people I consider to be in my community. Perhaps they're being genuine, perhaps the word "darling" really is something they would say, but it's as commonplace as saltwater sandals and kinfolk mag/coffee instagram shots and I just have a hard time making connections once I feel like I'm talking to Sally Playing a Blogger, instead of just Sally.

    And before I come off as self-righteous here, I should own up to not being immune to the pull of doing things a certain way. I've written ridiculous things that would never come out of my mouth in the day to day, taken pictures of my coffee, etc., etc. But where I stand today is that for me to be real, I have to surround myself with real people. A lot of people I considered friends at one point have fallen off of my reader- and not necessarily because I don't like them, but more than anything out of self-preservation. I have to surround myself- in the real world and online- with people that don't get in the way of the life I want to lead. That means I can't deal with blogs that talk primarily in Things to Buy. We're broke hippy farmers. All my money goes to the chickens! Who would- for the record- shit all over whatever nice thing that's being hawked.

    I think at the end of the day it's a hard thing in this online world to accept that everyone won't like everyone. I have to accept that every time I share pictures of my tarot readings or type out the word 'fuck', I'm going to lose people in my community. BUT- I read tarot and I say fuck. The thing I try to keep in mind is that those people probably shouldn't have been following me in the first place. In the real world, if we offend someone to the point that they cut off all ties to us we go and apologize, right? But it's so different online and regardless I think we're inclined to play by the same rules, which is why I think so many find it easier to whitewash their lives. We're exposed to so many more people and not always brought together because we have like minds or interests or spirits. I get a bunch of new followers from a vegan instagrammer because she's highlighting farmers, does that mean I can't post pictures of our animals we're raising for meat and talk about their purpose? No, but it certainly does feel that way because I never want to offend or push people out. It's a really easy trap to fall into but I think it's worth making the effort to resist, even if that means cleaning house and limiting who you're exposing yourself to.

    Bottom line- I don't scroll instagram or my blog reader so that I can get ideas of what to buy or wear. I'm pretty well on top of what I need. I go to those places to feel connections to people. We're pretty isolated sometimes, especially in winter, and I want to know that I'm not the only one feeling like a crap mom or wife or farmer some days (among other things), you know? When everything turns into a business, when everyone looks/writes/photographs the same it cheapens what I think most of us set out to do when we started sharing our lives online.

    Happy to have you in my reader-

    Julie

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