Starting School and Social Media

Parent blogging is a funny beast. Like anything, I find there are certain specifics attached to the genre, features of writing to tick the perfect parent blogger boxes. Expectations. If you want to be the typical parenting blogger, you need to talk about feeding, childbirth, crafts and healthy snacks. Run giveaways. Review. Post images of your children using the toy/ wearing the wearable technology or at the sponsored playpark. These blogs are important and I have read and continue to read dozens. Many are extremely ‘successful’ but maybe therein lie the problem for me. What makes a successful blog? Is it when the blog becomes monetized? Is it readership? Is it achieving personal goals? Is it even something we can quantify consistently from blog to blog? I personally tend to stop reading blogs that begin reviewing/ raving about products, winding them into some kind of home life story, which turns out to be a poorly disguised advert. Getting free things to write about is fabulous if you want them but unless it is a book, food or an experience, it is not for me. This may be another writer’s tale of blogging glory. I applaud this business acumen in writing. I just don’t have it. Any email I have ever gotten about promoting a baby product sends the shivers of sales pitch at me. Not my bag. I feel totally disingenuous. Humbug behind a curtain.comic-characters-2027416_1280

When I started blogging, I often attempted those posts of tips and advice you see. Other parenting blogs did it. It seemed wanted. Required even. As I progressed however, I began to feel like a dodgy trader. Who was I to give advice??? I was barely holding it together. Interestingly, I avoided sharing an old post in this style on the #ThrowbackThursday theme feeds as it felt fraudulent. How can what I have to say on Kitchen Timesavers be anything less than patronising or futile? Last week I just risked it and posted the thing. The feedback surprised me. People learned something- or at least they said so. Either way, they were interested in what I had written. Social media never fails to amaze me; what sticks, what doesn’t. My timesavers were not life saving. In retrospect they are a bit quirky meaning they probably suit the blog. (Quirky was my nickname in my masters year at college. True story).

The phone is a constant in my palm. Scrolling, liking, avoiding, sharing. How can you feel like an authority on the world and stay in one place? Internet. One thing I do not do much of is post my children’s pictures online. I am not fully sure why. Safety? Possibly. Possessive nature? Absolutely. I have thousands of pictures of those beautiful little mites. They would be very Instagram friendly. Facebook loving triggers of cute. Parenting blogs that post their children’s pictures win awards. Stories and all of that jazz. I just cannot do it. I cannot play the game. I don’t want to.tree-200795_640

Posting image after image of Gigi and Betsy doesn’t float my boat. I like using images of them that do not show too much personality- as if social media will own their little faces if I post them! Sound ridiculous? I never claimed to be sensible.people-41819_640

I always understand when a parent gets snotty about a picture of their child posted online without permission. Always. I remember Stella McCartney being eyerolled for a reaction to her daughter being in a group photo posted online and getting it. My little girls will never be at Harper Beckham’s party in the palace and we are not celebrities. I still feel it is a violation. What were you at David Beckham? Look at yourself! Not your child!york-987672_640

So my Gigi will start school soon. As you may have read before, I am allergic to a cross section of opinions on the matter. It is out there now though. Once I type it, someone can talk about it. That is how this whole social media buzz flies. I will talk about this life changer in my writing. I will interact socially both online and in real 4D life. I will not give a pictorial account.

I am not an Instagram blogger. You will not see endless selfies of this Aero fond mug pushing a buggy whilst jogging, planking (plonking?)and looking like a decomposed Michelle Keegan. (She would probably rock that look as only she can). I won’t be posting the first morning at school perfect picture. I will take dozens. They will be stared at, cherished, framed and passed on lovingly to the grandparents. I will tick like on many others as I feel everyone has their right to decide on posting images in their own domain. My visuals will stay private but what I will make public are my true concerns on the first day. I know many won’t do this. They will fret behind closed doors and show the world a posed picture of family life. I will blurt it all out, warts and all. Words no picture as opposed to picture no sound. This is what works for this parenting blogger. Anything else feels strange to me.bitmoji-20180625112028

Anxiety hits vertigo inducing levels at times like this. Just because I am aware I worry doesn’t mean it is an elite concept. In fact we all have the ‘gift’ to be anxious albeit an unwanted present much like a celebrity perfume gift set.statue-670340_640 It must be good for something else however. We need anxiety just as someone feels the need to think they smell like Britney. It makes us enjoy security.

On occasional occasions, I tend to do the opposite to societal expectations and here we are again. I will crib and concern over the new school venture. We will start. Adaptation will occur. We will all hopefully be OK.

You just won’t see any pictures unless they are a random pretty pencil case shot, a couple of LOL dolls or back of head frame in a doorway. Picture_20180625_203052006.jpg

Starting school is a picture moment. It always has been and always will be one to recall. I want to be in it. I want to live it and not just point, shoot and post. I will write it after the time. It is our moment. Not Twitter’s or Facebook’s. They can have rivers, gifs, memes, lakes, Melania Trump’s poor taste, clever infographics and gustatory prodding portraits of Baked Alaska.

One day my girls will hopefully have a very happy, fulfilling life that they may or may not want to share online. That will be their choice. Until then, a few unfocused, blurred, shady profiles may appear here to illustrate the point but mainly objects and nature is what you will get from me. And a whole lot of truth. Ugly and beautiful. It may not be successful in some eyes but for me it is glorious.

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I don’t look like this or maybe you already knew that.

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Mum Muddling Through

Mix It Up Linky
Bringing up Georgia

 

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47 thoughts on “Starting School and Social Media

  1. Wow this is good, really good. I feel the same as you on so much of this, not everything, but most 🙂

    I tried a sponsored post once. I wrote it myself, enjoyed it, and stand by everything I said promoting the website/product. But yeah, it doesn’t feel right for me, my voice, my blog. I’m not salesy. I’ve worked in retail and would never ask people if they wanted random crap by the till, even when I was meant to. I’m not a natural business owner, am I? Haha!

    I read some of those parenting blogs too. They do sometimes highlight useful products. I may have bought things I’ve seen in blogs, so it does work even on a cynical soul such as me. But some are terribly written, it has to be said.

    You do you, and keep standing for what you believe in, and writing exactly as you do 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Em.
      I would never rule out sponsored post-I just cannot force it. It has to be enjoyable. I have written several book reviews for Boolino which was good fun. Loved that.
      I just couldn’t do the ‘try out a travel system gadget ‘ thing and make it sound real. Not me!
      I am the same as you in retail. I cannot upsell without really believing in It!! #You’reFired 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed your post and am with you, too many shots of children on social media presenting false perfection pretending their lives are perfect is not for me. Having said that I did post one collage of shots last week of all the grandchildren on instagram … with permission, as a new one had just been born. I had a Grandma is proud moment and it was allowed. Our 3yr old granddaughter started nursery two days a week. On day one, ( which was half a day) she announced ” I won’t go again mummy, it was nice but boys smell they are stinky so I will just stay home.” You can’t beat a first day quote. Good luck with yours and keep on posting, you’re fun.

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    1. And that to me is what it should all be about! Congratulations on the new grandchild x picture perfect moments.
      Best first day quote and one she might use again in future!!! 💟🤣
      I will keep posting xx

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  3. Lovely post Orla!

    I totally get where you are coming from. I really like your blogging style so I honestly think there is no point in you imitating other mummy bloggers. Just do your thang, because your blog is brilliant the way it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. when I first started my blog, I wanted to just use partial pictures, like a hand or a close up of an eye, but never did. I wanted this to be anonymous, and was for years, I have posted some pictures, but, I tend with my grandchildren to post the back of their little heads or a blurred vision of them, I totally get why you do this, I applaud you. I wanted to write and be encouraging and funny and spiritual… I have found I really am not any of this, just me. Such a great post, thanks for sharing your words and your heart. So glad I found you! Cathi

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  5. I have shared images of my boys on FB, but I mostly know everyone on my list, or I’m interacting with them fairly regularly. I don’t have 100s of folk I’ve never met. My privacy is tight and location services is off.
    The unexpected bonus is that I get random ‘on this day’ photo.memories with them that I have forgotten about. I do love that.

    I have one photo up on WP (that I remember) but I couldn’t bring myself to post an up to date photo of my youngest, so I used an old one, and his face has changed loads, so it felt ok. Ish.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love this. There was no social media when my kids were small, and I joined into the whole thing late anyway. Now, I do share pictures of my family, but only when they have granted permission. I do not like it when people share pictures of me or anyone without consent. Recently, I had a “friend” share pictures of me on FB that were not flattering at all. As a matter of fact, I think she tried to find the worst possible pictures of me ever made and posted them. It was very upsetting, I would never want a friend or a family member to be embarrassed or hurt by a photo I shared online.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! With permission!! U get it.
      I had pictures of our wedding posted without my permission and I didn’t particularly like them. Awkward.
      I can imagine how that friend made you feel. There is a social etiquette and friend code I believe to follow. Or just common sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It always makes me happy when parents allow their children to choose if they want to be online or not. I was lucky for there to not be any social media around when I grew up, even to this day I hate sharing personal information about myself online so I know I would have been upset with my parents if they shared everything about my life with others. Great post x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I started blogging when the Tubblet was older and able to express her opinion. She didn’t mind being on the blog every so often, but not as the main feature or in photos. If I’d started earlier, I think she’d have asked for material to be taken down when she started secondary school “because embarrassing”.

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  9. I love this post so much! I sometimes post images of my daughter on Instagram and then mostly again it is the back of her head. Even more rarely on the blog. But do you know I went to an Annabel Karmel event yesterday and I felt very awkward indeed. It was full of bloggers and Instagrammers chasing their kids around with a phone trying to get the perfect shot and it really made me cringe inside. Horses for courses though. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub with this honest post x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very interesting viewpoint- thank you for It! I can imagine that event. I reckon full of wonderful bloggers with hearts in good places but overtaken by the need to snap and share x #CoolMumClub

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  10. I guess I’m the opposite! I moved far from my family and friends and if I want them to “know us” I had to share us. My dads family was in Ireland, I saw each cousin a couple times in my life. Once they got online (as adults) the pictures created a shared experience that we can relate on. I’m closer then ever and if I get to visit someday we are already aquatinted. In reality, without social media I would never take the chance on visiting them. It is absolutely a personal choice but I hope you see my side also.

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  11. This is a really interesting read and do understand your concerns with posting your children’s images on social media. I’ve been thinking about it recently too and will now only post an image of her with her permission. I don’t post images of her that often either. Well, not compared to some people. I completely agree with the sentiment of living in the moment. So often people are too wrapped up in getting the perfect Instagramable photo, to just stop. And enjoy the moment. Like you say, to actually live it. Rather than posing it. Great, thought-provoking post, Orla.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Hayley. It took a few drafts as I found myself circling a lot- a few points and kept having to remove parts for another day.
      It became very important to me recently- the image thing- I wanted place them in my blog but they cannot give me an opinion yet!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You sound like you know what you want from your blog and have boundaries in place. Don’t know what makes a successful blogger, sometimes I wounder if it is who you know more then the content. Things like blogging events but I don’t really have an answer X

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  13. I’ve thought about this a lot. Will I someday regret posting a few pictures of my son online? Will I regret the pictures of myself when I someday run for office (not that I am, but maybe I will)? It’s possible. I’m with you on never ever posting other people’s children’s photos online. That feels not right. But my own, and with his permission, I do. Then again, he’s old enough to be asked. Though certainly not at the age of consent, at least he has a say. I asked him if it was okay that I shared when he got in trouble. He agreed. Not that it’s an excuse. Someday, I very well may regret it. I have heard it said, you are the owner of what you don’t say, but hostage of the things you do. I try to manage, as you said, what illustrates the point and what’s gratuitous. But you’re whole post reminded me of the importance of authenticity, that all this is a choice–best to make it consciously no matter what.
    Very well written and a delight to read–even as it gives me pause.

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    1. Of course your own with permission must be ok- I think so anyway!! I think your blog is always more than appropriate and am.sure you will never have to worry about it!
      I don’t want to make people uncomfortable with how they blog but am making it clear what doesn’t work for me.
      Am so glad it has inspired opinion though- never had such long comments- peope have a lot to say on it which is super.
      On an extremely important point- Please run for office!! I may not get to vote for you buy I think your way of looking at the world needs to be in power. X

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aw thanks for that! I am not sure if it will ever happen. But the more I think about ways I’m hoping the world can evolve, the more I’m thinking about what role I could/should play.
        I’m glad your post generating opinions and thoughts. You obviously hit on something important!

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  14. I admire this hugely Orla! It can be so easy to get swept along with the whole self hosting, monetizing, making millions from your blog game that the reasons for writing in the first place can be lost – well unless you set out to do so, which I didn’t. I have put myself forward for reviewing products (through chronic blogger groups), but evidently haven’t had the right kind of blog/enough numbers etc, etc to qualify so I don’t even bother now. I do review books, but I love reading and they are books that I choose – and I am honest!! As for the whole perfect family thing….don’t get me started!! When mine were younger I certainly didn’t have time to write, let alone take perfect poses between night shifts, homework, karate runs, oh yes and cooking the odd meal! My kids are older now so have a say (although they would say they don’t – but I do listen) – I rarely post on my facebook personal timeline and insta was set up for the blog, but I’m hopeless at using it regularly. Funny that I actually posted a pic of my girl on the blog this week as I thought she’d refuse – but she sent it to me and I could only put it on the blog. She thinks that it is less likely to be seen by people she knows than if it was on my personal facebook!! I am glad that this wasn’t a thing when mine were younger – they all use it now, but rarely post photos of themselves. I don’t really like pics of myself, so why should they?! Apparently there may be a law heading our way (started in the States) that allows kids to sue their parents for posting photos online!

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    1. I can totally imagine that law getting here and we having to go back through the logs!!
      I think I would enjoy many elements of Instagram but I know already that the blog element of it here in Ireland is all sbout facade and appearance. I have seen groups of people pouring over Insta images and rarely positively. They then treat the people like mini celebs- to be mocked and envied. They forget these are ordinary people living down the road on many occasions!!
      I think I would have to gave let a lot give if I were to post my perfect Insta life when the kids were babies- like feeding them or washing them maybe!! 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  15. The good thing about blogging is that we can all do what we want to do, that’s the whole point. And scroll on by for anything that doesn’t interest us. I only stopped having N on my blog and social media (even my private profile) because he asked not to be on there. Tbh, I’m gutted because my blog was started for us as our journal and I feel the blog and diary is missing a lot not having him on it. However, that’s his choice, and I can’t go against that. Some people do parenting blogs and don’t have photos of their children at all, others have part photos or covered up faces. It’s all what works for you and them. #coolmumclub

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I enjoyed this post. I am one of those parents who posts lots and lots of pictures of my children – Instagram is like a huge photo album and I love looking back on our adventures. I know as they get older they might not want to feature on my social media and I will respect that. #coolmumclub

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love when I get a memory on my cloud like that- what we were at 3 years ago etc!
      You never know they might love more of it when they are older🙂 thankyou for visiting!
      #coolmumclub

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