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Don’t call me baby, or mummy blogger

This blogging thing is funny, cyclical. Sometimes dog-eat-dog.

mummy_blogger

Don’t call me mummy blogger!

But always entertaining. And one of the most entertaining discussions in the blogosphere is the discussion about what to call non-male members of the community who are contraceptively challenged as Mrs Woog defines them. Love that woman.

They are bloggers, yes. Most are proud to be called thus. But what kind of blogger?

Non-male blogger who is contraceptively challenged, is a fairly long moniker. So what about ‘mummy’…. as in .. gasp… mummy blogger.

For many women online writers being called mummy is fine. They surely do have little people about their persons as they attempt to cook a five course meal, clean the house, catch up with international Skype discussions and blog an award winning blog. They’re called mummy all the time, by the people who are the most important people in their life – their offspring. It’s all good.

And then there are those of us, non-male writers of the internet who are contraceptively challenged who feel frankly a little uncomfortable being called ‘mummy blogger’. For us it’s like being called ‘girls’ (as in ‘you’re a good girl…’ Don’t get me started..) or babe (seriously, put the coo-cooing patronising tone away). We don’t like being diminished or shoehorned into one aspect of our life, a stage of our life that has passed.

Don’t get me wrong, my mother was absolutely right when she told me gently when I was pregnant with my first child that’I would ‘be a Mum now for the rest of your life’. It’s true. Even now I start when my son, now sporting a weird beard and learning to drive and how to negotiate the social mores of young adult life, enters the room. Cor, he’s grown. But I still see the little wee boy with dark eyes and a penchant for dinosaurs. The one who called me ‘mummy’. I gave him a hug the other day and told him he was stuck with me being his Mum for ever and in reply he hugged back and said quietly ‘thanks Mum. For everything.’

Yeah, being a Mum is right up there as being the most important thing in my life. I have contributed three fine young people to this human race and I am damn proud of who they are becoming, but the last time anyone called me ‘mummy’ it was because they were wheedling for the car.

Or when they were trying to get away with diminishing my efforts here. ‘Dear Mummy blogger’ the emails sidle into my inbox. Call me oversensitive (and some will) but surely, surely there is a sense of  dismissal in that. A slimy familiarity that is out of order. I’m a 45 yr old woman with three almost-grown children, 25 years worth of career, one current husband and an ex husband.

I am a woman, a  businesswoman, an entrepreneur, a Mum, a wife, a sister, a friend…and I am proud of all those roles, but it has been a very long time since mummy was something pertinent to describe me.

I woke this morning to a flurry of tweets led by Jen Howse and Susanna Scott – the fab women behind BritMums, and Cision a large agency working in the digital space  in the UK. The tweets all talked about how agencies should not diminish mother bloggers by calling them mummy bloggers.  As the post points out succinctly, being a parent is something bloggers in this space have in common it’s not all they write about.

Mum bloggers don’t just write about a specific stage in your life when your everyday is ruled by an adorable though merciless little tyrant. When you can’t even have a decent sit on the loo, without an audience. Even bloggers who are in this stage of their life don’t write endlessly about poohey nappies and leaking breasts. As BritMums sagely says, parent bloggers talk about their lifestyle, travel, food, politics, being an expat, balancing work and family, holistic health and a far wider range of topics than I can list here.  And yes, in answer to that question in the Cision Meet the Bloggers’ event I spoke at two years ago now in London, there are grandparent blogs!

Parent blogging has grown way beyond mummy blogging. We’ve not outgrown our children but we have outgrown being treated as the mummy brain afflicted little woman at home tapping away brainlessly on her keyboard whilst her womb fruit play beatifically at her feet. For many women, and increasing numbers of men, blogging has become our ‘room of one’s own.’ A place to express who we are and to extend our view way beyond the kitchen table.

And what about Dads? There are huge numbers of Dad bloggers out there now and growing numbers here in NZ. Check out Stark Raving Dad writing from Dunedin for example, he’s wicked.

Yes, the blogging world is amusing and entertaining and this ‘mummy blogger/mum blogger’ issue comes up again and again, though surely we are beyond that now? Haven’t we, as a professional industry of online writers/columnists grown way beyond that at best inaccurate at worst dismissive, moniker?

I think so. That’s why when I moved back home to NZ I was careful what I called our new parent blogging community. I wanted a name that was inclusive not exclusive. Something that referenced what we have in common as a group, not what we don’t. That’s why I called it Parents Online New Zealand. 

What do you think? Why would you not call yourself a mummy blogger?

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  • http://expatmum.blogspot.com/ Expat Mum

    Hmmm… I don’t really care about this one way or the other. I suppose if people are using the term as a derogatory, condescending way of patting us all on the head, then it’s offensive, but I think they now realize we’re a collective force and they need us, so they’re not doing that. Although the moniker has remained the same. And really, no disrespect to BritMums, (of which I am a founder, proud member) but if you call your group Anything Mums you can’t then get upset about being referred to as mummy bloggers. It’s not so much the term as the way it’s used, and if they called us “women bloggers” in the wrong way it would be just as annoying.

    • vegemitevix

      It’s the semantics isn’t it – mummy versus mum – but that’s only one angle. IN the end the real issue is that we don’t fit the label, it’s too small for us. Mummy bloggers don’t just write about being mummies, that may be our common denominator but it’s not our outlook. Having said that I will bristle if anyone tries to pitch me by typing Dear Blogger, instead of taking the time to read my blog and find out a little more about me, like my name. Thanks for contributing to the discussions Toni, and I’m a proud member of BritMums, and Mumsnet and Kiwi Mummy Blogs etc.

  • donnasimone

    Some good points made here Vick! Especially, we are parents but that’s not all we blog about. Very very true. BTW the blog is looking fab – lovely and clean and loads so much faster now! x

    • vegemitevix

      That’s the point really. It’s not that we aren’t ‘mummies’ even though some of us are past the ‘mummy’ stage, it’s that even as Mummy Bloggers we don’t just write about being a mummy. Thanks for your comments about the blog, lean and fresh was what I was going for. Vix x

  • http://bloggertropolis.blogspot.com/ Steve

    I think if you blog then “blogger” should suffice! The cynic in me worries that as soon as we start attaching labels to ourselves those labels are then quickly used as excuses to dismiss our views and opinions by lazy journos and such like.

    • vegemitevix

      Exactly what I’ve been wittering on about my dear ‘Daddy Blogger’ friend. :-p At best labels can be descriptors, at worst they box us in. I agree completely.

  • MidlifeSinglemum

    Dear Mummy Blogger does indeed sound patronizing so just write back: Dear Daddy PR (or Dear Mummy PR – depending on the name), thank you for your email….
    And at the bottom: P.S. You may not be a Mummy (Daddy) but I’m sure it makes no difference either way to your work as a PR.
    And sign it Blogger.

    • vegemitevix

      This is a brilliant reply actually. I might just do it. As you say it’s a bit one-dimensional this label thing eh.

  • vegemitevix

    Hi Anna, thanks so much for commenting and congratulations on taking over Kiwi Mummy Blogs. I’m a proud member of that fab network and have been for years now. You are absolutely right, it is important to not confuse label and content and that’s exactly what I was getting at. Being a ‘mum’ or ‘mummy’ blogger is a common denominator not a descriptor of our entire focus. As Steve said ^ in fact it’s not so much what the label is, but rather the fact that there is a label that can make make any approach feel dismissive. I too look forward to working together. Kiwi Mums rock! :-)