How Am I Not Myself,  Self-Care

I Am Not a Mommy Blogger, and This is Why

Did you notice the blog name change? This site used to be called Momma Bear Life (I’m still cleaning that up, so you may still see the name floating around), but I didn’t feel like the name really represented what I am here to write about. I used to be a mommy blogger. Now with my blog name change I can officially say now that I no longer am, and this is why.

I Am Not a Mommy Blogger, and This is Why

I feel like we really started hearing about mommy bloggers back in 2010 and  2011. Maybe it was earlier than that, or maybe that was just when I started hearing about them. I started reading blogs when I was pregnant with my first child and I clearly remember the first blog I ever read was Happy Health Mama and I ate it up. I’m pretty sure I found the blog through a Google search for something mom-related, being pregnant at the time, and I found recipes and fun stories and a whole different type of narrative than I’d ever seen online.

I searched through Maryea’s blogroll and found blogs like Daily Garnish and Kath Eats Real Food, and my reader (does anyone else miss Google Reader?) grew to well over 100 blogs. The mix of recipes, parenting advice, and a peak into the daily lives of these women was exciting.

Being a Mommy Blogger Was a No-Brainer

I’ve always been a writer, and I was about to be a mom, so starting a mommy blog seemed like a no-brainer! I started a blog focused around being a working mom, creating recipes, and my son’s milestones. I posted vegetarian and vegan recipes and treats, I posted pictures and quotes, and anything else I thought was fun and exciting. And I loved it! The only problem was that no one was reading. So, I started researching how to get more exposure, readers, and followers.

I read about how you have to comment on other mommy blogs to be a successful mommy blogger, you have to join link ups, and you have to have a social media following. You have to write list posts, and work with brands, you have to teach people something and be an expert. So I got to work!

Building My Tribe

I built up my social media following by joining groups that built social media followings. Something like, ‘hey, put your link here and we’ll all follow you as long as you follow everyone else.’ I got over 1,000 Twitter and Google+ followers this way. I got my Instagram and Facebook over 500 (which I know isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things, but for me it was huge!) and I was feeling pretty good about my presence. Then I started working with brands. I got sponsored posts for a wooden watch (which was beautiful, but seemed to not be water proof), dairy creamer (which was tough considering I was focusing on vegan foods), and baby bottles. I was making a little bit of money and getting free products. Honestly, I miss those days for that reason.

So What’s the Issue?

It all sounds great, right? The problem was that none of those social media followers were ‘real’ followers. They didn’t interact with my content, and I didn’t interact with theirs. I barely used Twitter and Instagram because there was too much content and none of it was interesting. This was during the tummy wrap phase of Instagram and my feed was loaded with it! And those products I was writing about? Some of them weren’t that great, and I didn’t know how to be honest about that. I just wrote about the positives, didn’t talk about the negatives, and walked away feeling like hot shit because I got free stuff. Even hotter shit when I got paid for the post.

Have you read this post by Josi Denise Parker? Whoa momma! Honestly this is how I felt about my own blog (thought not about the spelling and grammar, I am super meticulous about those things):

You’re writing in an inauthentic voice about an unoriginal subject, worse if sprinkled with horrible grammar and spelling, and you are contributing nothing to the world but static noise.

I realized I wasn’t being my true self. I wasn’t writing about arguing with my husband or having a behavioral disorder. Honestly, I wanted to write about both of these things so many times but I was scared to because those things weren’t my brand. And those damn list posts, I wrote so many list posts. 20 Scrumptious Skillet Recipes, 10 Ways to Know You’re a Crazy Blogger, 15 Things that Will Make you blah blah blah. I don’t think like that, why was I writing like that? Because that is supposedly how you get clicks and traffic, that is how your supposed to get readers.

Don’t Get Me Wrong

Don’t get me wrong, having readers is great. I miss my following and my steady readers. This blog is new and I am really struggling with getting a following. But I refuse to get it any other way than honest. If you like my content, follow me! If you don’t, that’s OK, you can move along. And I will do the same. If I like you, I will follow you. I will comment on your blog (though I apologize in advance, my schedule is so crazy, I may miss a few, or I’ll comment on three posts in one day. But hey, this is me and this is what I can do.

Let’s Be Honest

Whew! That felt good to get out! I will confess that I still fall into these traps. I use SEO for better visibility, I even turned my Winter Bucket List into a list post. And that’s for two reasons, one it’s my history. I started blogging when I was pregnant with my son who just turned six. That’s six years of blogging a certain way, so it’ll take me a while to break it. And two, I want my blog to be found! Who doesn’t?

So, every now and then I’ll probably follow a traditional blogging rule to increase the chances of my post being found through a Google search. But I am not going to hunt down brands, or manipulate my social media numbers. I’m not going to worry so much about how I will be perceived and I’m just going to be myself (this is the first time I have ever cursed in a blog post…and it’s honestly going to be very difficult to hit publish). Otherwise this whole thing ends up feeling too much like a job, and I already have a full time job that requires me to do a bunch of stuff I don’t want to do!

I’ll also continue to link up, I love link up parties, and even though they really don’t generate traffic, I enjoy them. I want to build a community, and a tribe. And I’ll leave long comments, I’ll link to posts internally, I’ll check my SEO and readability. But I will also try my hardest to show my true voice. Me as I am, not as how I want to be perceived.

We’ll see where this new blogger me goes, and how it all plays out. Even if it’s not more successful, I’m certain it will be more fun!

Speaking of Blogs, do you have a reader? I used to use Bloglovin, but now I use Feedly. Feedly is more like Google Reader, which I loved! Follow my blog with Bloglovin

13 Comments

  • Tricia Murdock

    GOOD FOR YOU! I love it. Love love love it. I do not think that you should force yourself to write about things or do things that make you unhappy. This is a hobby (right now) but that’s why people blog is to write about something they are passionate about and turn that love into something that will benefit them from the long term.

    • anikay

      Thank you so much Tricia! I enjoyed it, I really did, but I wasn’t able to completely express myself. And isn’t that kind of a contradiction in intent? Here’s my blog it’s all about me and my family, but not the bad stuff, or the uncomfortable stuff, or anything I think you don’t want to hear. What’s the point?! I’m so excited for what I can do with this blog now 🙂

  • Kari Wagner Hoban

    Girl, I hear you.
    I’ve been blogging for almost eight years and I have seen this trend increase over that time.
    I love writing but the art of blogging has completely changed and not necessarily for the better.
    Write for you, and if you do that, the good stuff will follow. 🙂

    • anikay

      Thanks Kari! And I agree, I am enjoying this new direction a lot. I was out of the game for two years and even in that short time, things have changed pretty dramatically.

  • Kelsey | Precious & Petite

    Wow, I really found this interesting! I have just started blogging this week so I’m new to all of this. I’ve already found myself disheartened because I really began blogging so that I could connect with a community. Even though it’s only been a week, I’m not seeing my visits shoot up (even though it’s probably unrealistic!) and I’m not obtaining any followers. That’s been hard because I really want that community that I’ve heard people say is available to bloggers. We’ll see if my readership continues to grow, but I’m trying to stay true to myself and still only write on what I enjoy, not write for what will get me visits.

    • anikay

      Thanks Kelsey! In the blogging world, starting is the hardest part! When I started six years ago, I was feeling very much the same thing that you are feeling now. My best advice is to connect on social media and through link ups. I was good with the link ups, but crappy on the social media front. I barely used Instragram, and when I did I didn’t use hashtags! And was like, what the heck? Where are my likes? The only issue with me was that I rushed it, I was so desperate for likes and views that I didn’t care who it came from. This resulted in a lack of community because the people following or viewing, weren’t really interested in my content.

      It’s really all about *how* to make that connection. I truly believe that if you write with your true voice about what you really feel and think, you will get readers who stick with you. The hard part is finding the readers. I know that Pinterest is huge and used to be my highest traffic source. Nowadays I’m using Instagram to post pictures, Twitter to post links and thoughts, and Facebook to try to start my own community. It is VERY slow going, but worth the wait and dedication!

  • Michelle Byfield

    I hear you about the free stuff I miss those too and dang go ahead do you it is so hard to get noticed out in the blog world .

    • anikay

      Thanks Michelle! The free stuff, and the getting paid for writing about free stuff, was so much fun! Though some stuff was just not what I should have been writing about. That reminds me of a blogger I used to really enjoy, or maybe just guilty pleasure enjoyed, who started writing nothing but paid posts and when they got to Depends underwear and leakage, I had to stop reading. Not that leakage isn’t a worthy topic, but if you don’t need it how can I trust your review of it? Maybe that’s not a fair assessment, but it feels very much like posting just for the money.

  • Vicki

    Love the honesty of this post. Although I am a mum, and I do occasionally write about that, I am so not a mum blogger, I never was. There have been a lot of changes in the blogging world over the years, and it’s so hard sometimes not to go with the follow for follow stuff, but ultimately I have also found it’s a huge waste of time. Time better invested in building up a real community of people who love to read what you write.
    Vicki recently posted…WEET BIX SLICEMy Profile

    • anikay

      I agree, it is very tempting to get swept away in the mommy blogger world. And I have nothing against writing about being a mom, or even writing about products, it just didn’t work well for me the way that I was doing it, and the way everyone was advising me to do it. I also agree that time is best spent building up a *real* community. I am enjoying blogging so much more now that I am finding people I really enjoy and writing about things that really interest me. I’m sure I’ll throw in a mom post here and there, and believe me I’m not going to turn people away who want to give me free stuff (Whole Foods, I’m looking at you). As long as we are doing what we truly enjoy, and what makes us happy, it will reflect in our writing.

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