Is Mom Blogging A Time Consuming Hobby or a Career?

09.21.12

The Mom Blogiverse is aflutter about a post by Amy Suardi over at Frugal Mom where she announces that she is no longer in the business of blogging. In addition to hitting on every point that a work at home mom would feel conflicted about she states the following:

Jockeying for attention in the age of a million blogs and still trying to care for my family, live by my values of meaning and connection, and maintain a simple, sweet, slow life was an impossible ideal.

Is mom blogging saturated? Are we competing with one another for some spotlight? Are the kids neglected? Sort of yes, not really, I hope not but probably.

Every private forum and facebook group is talking about this post. I’m hopeful that at least a few women who are pouring time and money into blogs that don’t create joy or revenue will rethink how they wish to spend their days. It’s important to define success for ourselves wisely and though a large online audience may make you feel good your family will always feel better. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to work a small number of hours so that we can be with our families, some folks really don’t have that option. Giving up even a few dollars a month could be tragic. These are tough times and quitting a job (even a freelance one) isn’t always an option.

I read Amy’s post and was quite puzzled. I think that Amy has four kids, they look to be little. I’m trying to understand how much a babysitter costs for four kids (my mom was my only real babysitter and we paid her in hugs and gratitude) because of statements like this:

The money I made from writing a post for Parentables did not even cover the cost of a sitter. Freelance writing is not about the money, I eventually learned. It’s about the flexibility of working in your pajamas, the freedom to write about your last vacation, and the cachet of being associated with a large publication.

I’d never actually heard of Parentables before today but I’m trying to understand how a writer could make less money than a babysitter? This confuses me in every way. If you’re new to freelancing I’d really hate for anyone to think that it’s about flexibility, sloppiness and cachet. Freelancing is about owning your time, knowing your value and writing your passions. I was recently published in a large publication and I assure you I was not paid in accolades.

I asked some other folks what they thought of the piece and Kori said, “I thought it was a good article because I can relate to what she is saying.  I think all of us have to find a balance that makes sense in our lives. With that said though, I think you can find a balance and still make money blogging.”

Jenn thinks she’s not much of a blogger anyhow so the conversation isn’t applicable, “Do you consider making a TV show blogging? Now I’m even more confused.” I’m with Jenn. It sounds like being in front of a camera was a lot of work for a mom with little kids. Some folks aspire to be on camera, some just sort of land there. I think it’s a softer landing when it’s actually a goal but it’s a tremendous amount of work and it’s not time that you’re in control of. I’m not really clear on the show but some talent isn’t particularly well compensated. Perhaps that’s the cache she’d mentioned?

Trisha suggests that a successful career blogging comes from being a savvy entrepreneur, “The key to being online and making a living is learning to know your worth. You have to absolutely learn to say no when there is no benefit to your brand. That clears up your time to dedicate to the companies that are more seriously dedicated to you resulting in better posts, and more importantly, better opportunities.”

I wish Amy well and I’m sure she’ll have great success. She’s a smart lady because she knows that success is self defined and putting family first is her truest measure right now.

Blogging serves many masters. I’ve recently changed the way I do things and it might look like a not-very-smart move to some but for me it was the best thing I could have done.

Can a new blogger come on the scene, set up shop and make a good living? Are we quite simply saturated? I don’t know the answers to that. I’ve often compared blogging to the MLM industry. There are many more women who will lose time and money (time that cannot be replaced, money that can) from jumping into the business of blogging. They’ll be sold websites, templates, mailing lists and conferences that are all unaffordable but allow them to feel like part of the workforce without really entering it. Is this a bad thing or just a thing? Is working at home part of a phase that stay at home parents need to experience?

I really don’t have any answers. I do know how to run a business. I’ve been working for myself since 1998 and I know that I’ve redefined success a thousand times in as many days. Sometimes I need to stretch a little more, sometimes the new definition of success means doing less.

Bloggers, ladies in particular, it helps to be realistic. If you’re making less than minimum wage it’s a hobby. Hobbies get different hours than jobs.

Photo courtesy of Flickr via creative commons.