“Do you remember long lie-ins and then going out for brunch?” asked Pete, my husband. He started laughing when he saw me struggling to remember that child-free world of lazy Sundays.
“But it’s at least 14 years ago… it’s all a bit vague,” I said. “And it sounds rather expensive too!” At 11 and 14 years old, our daughters are big enough to brew up a cuppa and make us breakfast-in-bed, but it’s not that long ago when we had to do everything for them.
“Why do so many people drive cars?” asks 10-year-old Nell as she wheezily roller-blades her way to school. As I try to answer this puzzler, I realize she’s given me a fascinating blog topic about fitness and asthma. I used to think childcare distracted me from blogging, but now I find my kids a rich source of material for posts – especially if I can find a universal theme in what they did or said.
Looking after children is no small task: lots of cleaning and cooking is involved. But this mix of love and drudgery unites millions of us – working and stay-at-home mums (or a combo) world-over. Wits say that when raising children “the minutes drag and the years fly,” so allow yourself to enjoy being offline and distracted by your little distractors. It’s sure to lead to a blog post other parents will value, even if it’s just what to do when you serve up a slug in the lettuce to an already fussy eater! Here are some tips:
- Jot down ideas in a notebook. To avoid forgetting post gems, and to spark ideas about what to photograph, carry a notebook everywhere. I dodge writer’s block by ear-wigging conversations (easy on public transport or at the shops), working out a solution to a problem that makes me angry, or sharing my feelings about the hot parenting news topic (e.g., tiger mums, education, alcohol).
- Post lists. Ever wonder why so many blog posts offer the top 3, 5, or 7 ways to do something? Perhaps it’s because most time-starved parents get interrupted before reaching #10! Luckily, readers love lists (well, I do).
- Establish once-a-week themes. If photos are your thing, try offering a regular Silent Sunday where you just post a great photo, no need for a caption. Confident cooks could run a Foodie Tuesday with your take on a seasonal recipe, or a food diary of what your child ate (or rejected) that day. Mummy bloggers love posts about thrifty and time-saving tips, such as making and sourcing Christmas gifts, Diwali decorations, or Thanksgiving dinner. Linking to other blogs diarying the same festive countdown can grow your blog’s followers and may make you blogger friends.
- Keep it positive, please. Only moan if it’s funny. Every rule can be broken, so it’s OK to post a raw moan of despair occasionally – but ideally less than one a month. On the other hand, we could get sick of your faultless family, so write about your mistakes, too. For instance if you’d left your eight-year-old daughter behind in a pub as British PM David Cameron did. Mistakes are the posts readers empathize with…or get outraged about. They make the comments flow.
- Be super flexible. Some people manage to run babies and children on schedules – but most of us don’t. If you want to post or add tags, but your child is awake and cannot be distracted by food or Angry Birds, re-schedule.
Oops, no time for more. Doorbell rang, wet laundry needs hanging up, job deadline … you see, it’s hard for mums to get to #10.
What blogging tips have you got for the super-busy?
Nicola Baird lives in London with three hens, a dog, veg garden and two daughters. She is author of seven books and an eco-specialist. See her blogs at http://homemadekids.wordpress.com and http://aroundbritainnoplane.blogspot.com.