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10 Questions To Ask Before Putting Your Kids Online, According To Mummy Bloggers

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We spoke to Louise Clarke and Hattie Harrison to find out about the reality of sharing your children's lives online

You wouldn't be blamed for having the urge. When you have a gaggle of the adorable children (in your opinion, anyway), and you're already sharenting anyway - so if you can make a bit of extra cash out of it, what's the harm? Mummy bloggers often get a bad rep - sometimes for good reason, sometimes not. But could you ever do it yourself?

And more pointedly, what can we learn about putting our kids online, from the women who do it day-in-day-out?

We spoke to tried and true mummy bloggers Hattie Harrison and Louise Clarke to find out. With Hattie's That Mum Blog opening up honest, and hilarious, conversations about parenting, she's forged a career in comedy writing off of her journey as a sharenter. And Louise? Her award winning Mum Of Boys & Mabel blog has garnered get 65,000 followers on Facebook and led to the publication of her first novel, From Mum With Love, out next February. Both very well aware of the ups and downs of mummy blogging, here's what they advise asking before doing it yourself...

1. Am I just doing it to show off?

‘Sounds like an obvious question but asking "why" you’re doing it is super helpful to have a modus operandi before starting a Mum Blog,’ says Hattie, ‘If you are doing it for financial gain then be clear about your strategy and how you are going to make money, adverts? Instagram? Affiliate links?

‘If you are doing it alongside another relevant job then be clear about how your expertise are relevant. Are you a teacher? A stylist? A baker? A candle stick maker? Tell your readers why they can trust you to supply them with specific information, otherwise they’ll be inclined to find it elsewhere.

‘If you are doing it to gain experience in order to break into another career then be clear about what makes your blog different from the start - is it particularly well written? If you want to be a writer then make sure that it is. Is it funny? If you want to be a comedian then it’s basically the only entry requirement, so again - make sure that it is.

‘If you are doing it solely to show off about your family and how great they are then I’m pretty sure that there are plenty of self-help groups, and private settings, available.

2. What is my niche?

'With so many mum blogs out there in 2019, the first thing you should consider is your niche,' says Louise, 'Perhaps you have an interesting job that you have to juggle around parenting, or live in a town or village that doesn’t already have a blog aimed at parenting, or want to promote a certain cause or charity though your words.

'I started my blog as "Mum of Boys" back in 2014, as I was frustrated by the lack of shopping recommendations for mums of boys in the mainstream media. It has since become "Mum of Boys & Mabel", when my daughter was born in 2016, which has allowed me to move the blog to a more mainstream focus, but I definitely attribute the quick growth of my blog in the early days to finding that niche.'

3. Is it a viable career for me?

'At first, your focus will be on writing blog posts and building your readership but the day may come when you have enough followers to turn it into a source of revenue of your family,' says Louise, 'Ask yourself whether you want to go down this road as if you do, it will be worth fostering relationships with family brands, keeping your ear to the ground about relevant events, and focusing on building your social media platforms from the very beginning.'

4. Should I be anonymous?

‘Lots of big bloggers started out anonymous as a type of online therapy for the writer,’ says Hattie, ‘My blog was initially anonymous while I decided whether I wanted to continue working as teacher and when I decided that my career in teaching was over I decided to put my name to it.

‘Apparently, slagging off your children online is frowned upon in the teaching profession. If you think being a mum blogger would be frowned upon in an interview then seriously consider whether you can risk putting your name to it.'

5. Should I be photographing my childrens' faces?

'There are no rule books when it comes to blogging and one of the most hotly debated issues in parenting blogging is whether children should be photographed,' says Louise 'I think this comes down to what you personally feel comfortable with as a parent.

'I did photograph all three of my children in the early days, but felt uncomfortable featuring the faces of my boys when they reached school age. I still photograph them, but only the backs of their heads, or their hands, or wearing superhero masks, for example. I’ll do the same for my daughter when she reaches the same age. I think it’s also important that you allow yourself to change your mind on this at any point, it’s your blog and your children, so do what feels right at the time'

6. Are you ready for people to take everything you say very literally?

‘Obviously this is totally up to you,’ says Hattie, ‘If you had a dodgy curry last night and you want to show your followers what happened via interpretive dance on your YouTube channel then it’s your call, I’d watch. But when it comes to your kids it’s more complicated.

‘Most things I write are hypothetical rather than literal and I hope that they are read as such, but more people than you’d think read things completely literally and I once had an email conversation about how my children’s teacher didn’t really change the ending of their nativity to emulate the end of a Quentin Tarantino film.'

7. How can I protect my children online?

'I personally never reveal exactly where we live, the school my children go to, nor my married surname,' says Louise, 'I never "live share" our location, working on posts or insta-stories when we get home instead. Every blogger has their own rules, and again, it will come down to what you feel comfortable with. '

‘When it comes to sharing photos online it’s a whole different ballgame, I’m not one to preach but general guidelines I stick by are not to share the front of my house, my kids school uniform or anyone who asks not to be photographed, husband exempt,’ Hattie continues, ‘As a compulsive over sharer I have certainly overstepped the line more than a few times and on reflection, deleted posts.

'But once you’ve given something away to the internet it’s no longer yours, it’s not like you’re at a party and you can get everyone drunk and hope they forget about it in the morning like that ONE time you fell off a table when dancing to One Direction. People don’t forget anything either in real life or online. And if they’re real dicks then they also have photo evidence.'

8. Am I prepared for people not believing my 24/7 job is a real job?

‘If it’s your sole income source then you have to be seriously dedicated. You need to be an expert freelancer, social media manager and writer,’ says Hattie, ‘It also helps if you have kids to be a Mum Blogger, for authenticity’s sake. So just by the nature of those requirements you’ll have a LOT going on. It’s a lot of work. You’ll also have to be prepared for people not to realise the amount of work that goes into it and make patronising remarks about “your little blog” and call it a “hobby”. You are legally allowed to overshare about these people online.’

'My blog was a hobby at first, alongside my career as a freelance journalist,' says Louise, 'but I took the decision to focus on it professionally about two years after it launched. It is now my main revenue source and I feel very lucky to be able to work from home, around my children. The money, however, can be sporadic, which can be very stressful at times. It isn’t the same as getting a guaranteed salary into your account every month.'

9. Can I cope with the sting of people trolling my kids?

'Mum blogging can bring some amazing benefits, whether financially or through new experiences but the internet can be a dark place too and you’ll probably need to develop a thick skin as your blog grows bigger,' says Louise, 'I am lucky to have a wonderful following of like-minded mums and don’t receive a huge amount of negativity, but I've still received countless anonymous messages and negative comments over the years - and it always stings to read it. I do try to avoid controversial subjects and I also have a policy to block anyone that wants to cause trouble, which limits it as much as possible.'

10. Is it worth it?

'For all the shit you get online - big shoutout to my troll, Paul - for the judgement over your choice of career and for every patronising comment about the end goal you are chipping away at, I would say a resounding yes,' says Hattie, 'The sense of comradery you both receive and can provide for people who are right in the parenting trenches is both a relief and a privilege. Overlooking the rogue judgemental keyboard warriors, Mum Blogs have provided a place for females to support and promote one another, at often our most vulnerable time, online. So, I would say to Hattie of the past, “go ahead, start a Mum Blog - you never know where it might take you. Please avoid dancing on any tables to One Direction though”.'