Does Professional Blogging Allow Parents to Have it All?

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The photo above was what I imagined balancing professional blogging and motherhood to look like. Baby having fun, me happily giving them attention while I got my work done. In reality, it's only like this for about 30 seconds a couple of times a day.

“They” say nothing can prepare you for changes you experience by being a parent. I would have to say that's a gross understatement.

This year I had a baby. I am not a “Mommy Blogger” and could not imagine dishing out advice about parenting. Especially if you saw me on Monday, with a screaming baby… frantically running around trying to get everything prepared for a business trip, losing my keys, getting to the post office 5 minutes after they close, missing deadlines, unanswered emails, spaced appointments, and an apartment that looks like World War Z hit it. Apologizing to everyone for something I did wrong. I'm losing my mind. I feel crazy, I know I sound crazy to people and can't help it.

Those scatterbrained moms I passed judgement on? I am truly sorry (See? Apologizing!). I am now one of them.

I don't know if it's just because of my baby and am paying attention, but it seems like a ton of fashion bloggers had babies this year. Budget Babe, Parker etc, Fashion Bananas, 9 to 5 Chic, Honestly WTF, Glitter Guide (pregnant), Dream Sequins, Shop Sweet Things, there are more, but you get the drift, there's a lot of new mom bloggers that aren't mommy bloggers. Which makes sense, being as they are women of child bearing age. I don't want to say “inevitably” because a lot of people decide to forgo parenting, which is completely understandable. I could have gone either way.

The Myth of Working From Home

Fashion blogging seemed like the ideal career, it's fun, you can make a living if you play your cards right, and the hours are so flexible!

Fashion blogging seemed like the ideal career, it's fun, you can make a living if you play your cards right, and the hours are so flexible! It could give you the perfect scenario for having a family if that's what you decided to do. You could have the benefits of a satisfying career while being able to spend quality time with your family. Or so the legend of “working at home” promises, even more so if you work at home and you are your own boss. What more do you need to “do it all?”

With all the debate about women deciding to be work or stay at home to parent, not much has been said about the moms (and dads) who stay at home and work. Even with work-life trends changing for everyone as people of both genders, parent or not are more people are opting for a variety of work styles. Once I read about a woman who could bring her baby to the office with her to work, which gave me the idea that working from home with my new baby would be a walk in the park. This has not been the case for me. I have a wonderful baby who is pretty mellow, but I'm still doting on him throughout the day. People have said to blog while the baby naps, but my baby– like me, doesn't sleep a lot. When he naps, by the time I hit my stride, he's back up again. Should I try to use an iPad to entertain him while I work? Should I drug him? Should I neglect him and let him cry? There is only so much I can do, only so fast I can work.

Should I try to use an iPad to entertain him while I work? Should I drug him? Should I neglect him and let him cry? There is only so much I can do…

Does blogging allow for career flexibility? Absolutely.  However just because you don't have a person to call your boss, you still have to answer to your readers, your clients, and  your advertisers if you want to keep your career going. Perhaps if being a mom is part of your brand persona, you can always fall back on this, but from what I see, the mom-brand-people tend to be so organized it's almost superhuman. At least beyond my human abilities.

Taking an extended break is not a feasible option for professional bloggers.

I ended up taking only three weeks of full maternity leave, of which I had to pay out of my own pocket to keep the sites going. Why? Like many careers, momentum is part of the job. It's highly competitive in the blogosphere, it takes a lot of work to cultivate a following, and if you take a break for a year, they'll find someone new to follow, and you'll have to start all over again. From scratch.

This is the week I cry “uncle.” After trying not to have to send my baby to daycare, or get a nanny, after trying to have my cake and eat it too. I've found I am not exceptional, especially when it comes to parenting and blogging. Trying to be all things to all people has made me a lunatic, a flake and a bit of a liar (especially to myself) and LATE FOR EVERYTHING. It was necessary to try… seeing how much you can handle is a luxury of creating your own career.

Can professional bloggers really have it all?

Becoming a professional blogger will not automatically mean you can “have it all.” Of course, some bloggers are able to do it, that's another post. The truth is, each person has their own threshold of what they can handle. I apparently need daycare just as I would if I worked for someone in an office to maintain (and grow) the level of professionalism for my career. Was it still worth pursuing the dream of professional blogging? Absolutely. But I wouldn't advise banking on professional blogging as a career that will enable you to “have it all.” Professional blogging is like any other career, any other job, it's not a magical unicorn that will make you a rock star. Become a professional blogging because you love blogging and you love your niche. That way, the time you spend away from your family is truly worth it.

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]

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11 Responses

  1. Oh K

    I definitely agree that pro-bloggers can never have it all, so to speak. I’m not one but from what I’ve seen, they have to constantly at the top of their social media game – which takes up a lot of time. Then you have to create unique content all the while!

    So an extended break is not feasible which I haven’t thought about.

    doitfortheirony.blogspot.com

    Reply
  2. Jadore-Fashion

    Like 9 to 5 Chic and the rest, I had a baby 3 months ago and taking an extended time off is out of it. I was back to responding to my readers and emails in less than 2 weeks after delivery.

    I definitely agree, being a stay at home mom and blogging is not easy. In my case, returning back to work is even harder trying to manage all three…work, baby and blog.

    Great article 🙂

    Stella
    http://www.jadore-fashion.com

    Reply
  3. riris

    I wish when I get merried and have a baby I’m still have time to write post on my blog,,, I really enjoy with blogging world..

    Reply
  4. Kylie

    I absolutely detest when people call me a mummy blogger. The most I feature of my daughter is an outfit here and there. I am a mother who has a blog, I am just like any other fashion blogger.

    Yes it is very hard. My daughter is 3 and goes to daycare 9-5 3 days a week now. So it gives me a lot if time to myself. During the summer holidays I could barely blog and it had an effect on readership and traffic. I have had to work my butt off the last couple of weeks building it up again. She wanted entertaining and I couldn’t type a sentence without “mummy, mummy”.

    I am still making pocket money from my blog and other freelancing opportunities, I know if I worked harder I could make a salary out if it. It is more flexible than the basic 9-5 so is a good option for mothers. Just not the walk in the park people might think.

    Reply
  5. CynthiaCM

    Definitely NOT. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean that you can do everything. I don’t have a “traditional” 9-5 job – working from home allows me to be more flexible and attend more blogging-related events, but press previews and fashion shows means that you AREN’T home for your family. I don’t have any kids yet, but I do want to spend more time with my husband. I like making dinner for the both of us and taking evening walks afterwards. Can’t do that if I have an event. Between Canadian and American Thanksgiving (second week of October to the fourth week of November), I’ll be gone at least one night a week at previews or galas, with one week where I’m away every night because of Toronto Fashion Week. I am thinking of cutting back, but Fashion Week is Fashion Week and that’s not something that will be part of the cut.

    Cynthia
    http://www.delectablychic.com

    Reply
    • Kylie

      I think the trick is to be selective going to blogging/press type events. I go to on average 1 a week (Apart from fashion week or press day season). They are usually in the evening so my husband has my daughter. They get that quality time alone together too. I find I do minimise going out to meet friends though, which is a shame.

      Reply
  6. April F

    I am just starting out, but I have a 9 month old. It is hard to keep him occupied while I want to work. Although I don’t blog about mommying, I am grateful to many mommy blogs as they have been a great source of information and inspiration when dealing with specific issues

    passionateturban.blogspot.com

    Reply
  7. MJ

    Girl tell it like it is!!

    I had a baby last year and I decided to stay home and do freelance writing/blogging and I thought it would be easy. Super. Wrong. In the early months I would be up at 5 am while the baby was still sleeping and do work. I would do work when I couldn’t go back to sleep after late night feedings. I would have a serious case of starting things and not finishing. Now that she’s going to be a year Saturday, I have that 3 hours of her nap time to really get things done.

    I would say if people really want to make the leap, start saving before baby comes and expect to start your business slowly because you simply won’t have the time when the baby gets here. I’m extremely blessed to have a husband with a good job to help with things because otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to do it.

    Reply
  8. Asma from Haute Muslimah

    First of all congrats!!
    And I can absolutely relate! I have two kids with the youngest being 11 months and omg it’s so hard to be on top of my blogging game and be a wife and mom!
    I loved, loved reading this and thank you for always keeping it real Jenine!

    Reply
  9. Stacey

    Crazy me, decided to start my blog when my son was 7 months old. He isn’t in daycare, but my husband and I have to juggle the blog (he’s my graphic designer) with taking care of my son. Its very difficult. I hope blogging can become a full-time career, but right now, I still have to work full-time, so that adds another layer of difficulty. I look at the blog as my creative outlet though, so when you find something your passionate about, I guess you can always find the time:)

    Reply
  10. Nikolina Seleck

    Thanks for this! Very useful blog post! I like it so much, and I’m one of these types of women! 🙂

    Reply