“With book deals, TV appearances and thousands of readers, moms who detail every moment of their domestic lives online produce some of the Web’s most well-read blogs.
Many of these “mommy bloggers” even draw the attention of companies that send them free product samples — everything from toys to baby strollers to video game consoles — in the hopes of getting positive coverage.
But to some, these freebies aren’t necessarily a good thing. Readers have complained they can no longer trust their favorite blogger’s advice. Veteran women bloggers grumble that newcomers sully the genre’s reputation by demanding free products and trips. Newsweek.com published an article last month headlined, “Trusted Mom or Sellout?”
“There has been a turn of goodwill [against mommy bloggers],” said Liz Gumbinner, the publisher and editor-in-chief of Cool Mom Picks. “A year ago, bloggers were rising stars. Six months later, really big marketers like Wal-Mart got into the game and started backing bloggers.
“That created a new paradigm: An A-list blogger was not the one who wrote the best and had the most influence, but had the most marketing attention and free products,” she added. “It created a new generation of bloggers who blogged to get free stuff.”
I’m glad that this article was written, because I do believe that this is a problem on some blogs. I receive several PR offers each week, but in almost two years of blogging, I’ve reviewed only three toys, and one magazine. Why? Because I write for enjoyment, not for free stuff, and I’m only interested in promoting items that I think are worthwhile and useful. The one time that I received a product that didn’t live up to my expectations, I was honest about it. This means that I no longer receive offers from that particular company, but I’m OK with that, because my integrity is more important to me than free stuff that I don’t really need anyway.
For this reason, I have signed the Blog With Integrity pledge:
In doing so, I’m making a commitment to being an honest blogger. But more than that, I’m doing my part to support the community of Mom bloggers, who, contrary to some of the comments on the CNN article, do have something worthwhile to offer.
Here are some examples of the negative comments I’m referring to:
“Mommy bloggers are self-important and annoying anyway. You have kids? So have billions of people now and in history and in the future. So what. Those blogs are the dullest wastes of bandwidth on the Internet.”
“How about these women get real jobs? Most children I know who have a stay at home mother are spoiled, indulgent, coddled and the mothers generally feel as though their children can do no wrong. How about teaching them that mommy is just as smart as daddy and that you have to take responsibility for your actions and contributing monetarily to the household is important. I can tell you that is not what most stay at home moms teach. additionally, after reading some of those blogs, it scares me to think that these women think that what they write about is important in the general scheme of the world.”
“To Moms everywhere:
Put down the laptop! Put down the blackberry! Pay attention to your kids rather than blogging about it!”
“I put “mommy blogs” right up there with Bridezilla – women who are in an incredibly lucky position that millions of women would love to be in but still find a way to complain. Seriously. Have you ever read them? They get to stay home with their kids and have someone else pay the bills but somehow their life is just so hard. Please!”
These comments make me so sad and angry. I just don’t even know what to say to these misogynistic, ignorant people. Oh wait…I guess I do.
Anyone who thinks that raising children is not a “real job” has clearly never done it, and there is nothing more important in the “general scheme of the world” than raising decent, responsible, loving human beings. If more people placed more importance on home and family than the almighty dollar, perhaps the world would not be in its current sorry state. Furthermore, in my area, it costs almost $900 a month to put one child in day care – even more for a baby. If I add up what I save on childcare, plus all the money I save with frugal efforts like scratch cooking, bargain shopping, cloth diapering, making my own….everything, and running an organized household, I probably save as much (or more) than the salary I could earn outside the home. My husband always says that if he brings home $5, I put $8 of it in the bank. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Some mothers genuinely have to (or want to) work outside the home, and I support their choice, because instead of cutting mothers down (like you), I understand their great importance in the world, and I think that they deserve support. My personal choice is to stay home with my children, because I went through hell to have them, and I don’t want to pay someone else to raise them. I want to be there for every milestone and every moment, because I will only have this opportunity once. How sad that I have to defend that choice to anyone.
And while some bloggers might be “self important,” most of us are just average women who are trying to do the best job we can in our chosen profession, and we lean on each other for support and encouragement. So no…I will not give up the half hour a day I spend blogging, and “pay attention” to my kids, because personally, I think that 15 1/2 hours of attention every day is plenty. Call me crazy.
Oh, and you know what else? I am thankful to be home with my children. I consider myself to be very, very fortunate. But that doesn’t mean that I enjoy my job every single day. I have bad days, just like most people who work outside the home, but instead of griping about my boss around the water cooler, I gripe on my blog about how my kids are being little you-know-whats. Last time I checked, this was a free country, and I have the right to complain if I feel like it. If you don’t like it, well….I’ll tell you what I tell my kids when they take issue with my policies.