Should we take social responsibility as bloggers?

Social Responsibility

We all hate a troll, right? Those nasty people on social media who criticise others openly and unabashedly. In parenting, especially there seems to be a lot judgement and criticism over a mother’s (and father’s) choices. I’ve seen and heard them all. ‘You are breastfeeding aren’t you? Co-sleeping? Baby-led weaning?’ I have also read a few articles recently that suggest that there is a new and rather unpleasant trend amongst parents on social media openly and publicly calling their children unkind names and regularly bashing their behaviour. I personally haven’t witnessed a lot the latter so I won’t go in to too much detail about that but it did make me wonder whether as bloggers and vloggers we need to accept a certain level of social responsibility?

Before I get in to this topic, I’ll state for the record that my experience of parenthood has been hard. It is the hardest ‘job’ I have ever had. I’ve had really bad morning sickness and HG during pregnancy, I’ve had two traumatic births resulting in emergency caesarean, endless problems breastfeeding, postnatal depression and to top it all off my dad was diagnosed with stage four cancer and died not long after Annabelle was born. Despite all this, all the sleepless nights, all the arguments and tears, I can safely say that it’s also the best job in the world. I’m extremely lucky to be in the position I am as a stay at home mum and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have two beautiful, healthy and happy children who enrich my every breath (soppy or what!?).

Up until now, you may not have known all that as I am quite selective about what I choose to blog and blog about. You may think that I portray an unrealistic version of parenthood because of this but I choose not to share a lot of the negative moments. Sometimes it’s too tough for me to talk about. Sometimes I don’t feel that what I have written feels like it is a true enough version of events but more often than not it’s because it might not be something my family will want others to see. They are too young to voice their opinions and until they can, I have to put myself in their shoes and think about how they would feel. I also choose to think about how the reader and viewer will feel. I know I can’t please everyone, and that isn’t what I want to do by censoring myself but as a mother who has had difficult experiences and one who has not been able to breastfeed, for example, I am very conscious of what is said in social media on this topic and parenting in general.

I used to feel tremendous guilt over having to bottle feed Annabelle. I thought that I couldn’t breastfeed because of something I was doing wrong and that it was my all my fault. Hearing women say that they persevered for months until they finally cracked it made me feel like I had given up too soon. After Heath however, I realised that sometimes, it’s not something that can be cracked. No matter how much I wanted to, it just wasn’t going to happen. It therefore fills me with sadness and sometimes rage to see some women, who also claim that they have experienced months of difficulty breastfeeding write, ‘Breast is Best’ on a bottle feeding mother’s social media page. I wonder what they hope to achieve by writing such a comment and how they expect the target to feel in response?

With bloggers and vloggers, I sometimes wonder how much of what is put out there is actually a true version of events and how much of it is sensationalized for likes and subscribes. I think the new trend of name calling and behaviour bashing probably started doing the rounds, quite innocently because there were people who wanted to show the bad, the nitty gritty and the ugly. Some of these bloggers and vloggers became popular for their ‘honesty’, so I think copycats may have felt the need to sensationalize the bad to get their share of the fame. I don’t know. It’s just a theory. Like I said earlier, maybe I don’t know enough about it to comment. Maybe some parents really do think their children are ‘D!@ks’ and tell them to their face, so they see nothing wrong with doing it for a camera. It’s not something I would ever do or think is acceptable but who am I to judge someone else’s parenting style?

Perhaps then, as social media isn’t censored in the same way as television or radio, we as social media consumers should take what we see and read with a pinch of salt. Is it our responsibility to teach that to our children and avoid censoring ourselves as bloggers and vloggers?

Please let me know your thoughts on social responsibility. Who should accept the responsibility, the creator or the consumer? Or let me know if you think that I am just over thinking this topic and that there shouldn’t be any censorship regardless of what someone says or does in social media. Bx

New Year, New Direction

I’ve been thinking about the direction I want my blog to go in and rethinking the articles I want to write, probably starting when Heath was born and more so with the start of the New Year and after reading this article about wanting more from mummy blogging by Steph at littleeandbean.com. When I started this blog, over a year ago, it was mainly about my passion for food and craft. But after I found out that I was pregnant, I knew I really wanted to share my pregnancy experience. You may wonder why I would share that publicly and it is quite a selfish reason actually. I knew it would motivate me to write regularly and not to delete anything. As a teenager, I used to rip up everything I wrote as I was so critical of myself and now have no written memories from my younger self. So I shared and the number of monthly visitors soared which was obviously thrilling, especially when I hit 10,000 views. Now that I don’t have my weekly pregnancy updates to think about, I didn’t really know what direction to take. I didn’t want to be motivated by stats, freebies (as nice as they are) or to follow the crowd. As a reader, when I see my favourite blogs contain too many ‘Sponsored Posts’ or ‘Ads’, I feel a bit cheated. I absolutely loved reading a couple of blogs until I knew that it was all a bit fake (not saying it applies to all of them, just some of the ones I used to read regularly). And this is where Steph’s article fit in. What I used to love about in those aforementioned blogs was the truth. The things good or bad that happened in their real life. I enjoyed seeing the process of decorating their nursery and I was saddened to hear that they had postnatal depression. I didn’t however like reading an entire article only to find that it was sponsored by a really big company that didn’t really fit in with their style before the moneymaking revamp! I also hated scrolling through a blog seeing endless product reviews. But enough about that, you must be wondering how this related to my blog and my plans moving forward, right?

Well, I’ll first start by saying that although I haven’t been dishonest up until now, I haven’t really shared the nitty gritty of my life. I have only focused on the positives as, like Jonathan Saccone Joly believes, I do think there is too much negativity out there (I can’t watch a lot soaps for this reason!) but I do feel that I should try to strike a balance. I still won’t tell you anything that may upset my family or friends or that would embarrass my children when they are older for obvious reasons but I will let you know about my hardships. I will tell you about my battle with postnatal depression (after Annabelle was born and triggered by finding out that my dad had cancer, which up until now I had only told one or two friends and my closest family about) and the tough times we have had since Heath was born (I haven’t had postnatal depression this time around as the challenges have been ‘fixable’ and temporary). Phew, that was a long sentence…

In summary, this is a taste of what you should expect to see going forward:

  • Two birth stories
  • My struggle with breastfeeding and postnatal depression
  • Our family adventures: Trips to visit the in-laws in Cornwall, hopefully a family holiday to Thailand
  • Some OOTD (Outfits of the day as I love reading these!)
  • My Monday Meals (same reason as last bullet point)
  • Postpartum Monthly Updates
  • A few parenting articles: What’s in my Changing Bag, Mummy Must Haves

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for reading in 2014 and to wish you a Happy 2015! I hope it is kind to you. With love from me and my family to yours. Bx