We are charging on with the “How to be a ______ parent” shenanigans, this time featuring parent blog extraordinaire, Kelly, who blogs at Domestic Godesque. Kelly is lifting the lid on the dark and mysterious world of blogging. Or really just sharing all her wisdom and the ways blogging positively impacts her family’s homelife.
It is possible you have missed the other stupendously excellent contributions to this series so far, if so do take a peep at the ones from the last few weeks- How to be a Feminist Parent, an Expat Parent an Eco Parent and a Spiritual Parent.
The blogging world is growing at a fast rate so when you tell people you are a blogger at the school gates they rarely give you the look that says “someone call Carson, they’ve let a Popular Singer into the playground”. In fact it’s only really since I was nominated for a BiB Award this year that I actually told the school mums that I blogged. And I still get a very polarised reaction: either parents are interested as they read blogs or perhaps even have one themselves. The other side of the coin is the person who has heard bad things and anticipates you going home to write about them immediately. I don’t have that kind of blog for this very reason. I store those moments up to rework in the Great British Novel I carry in my head.
The children have a very sketchy idea of the blogging world. They don’t know what the internet is. They know I do ‘work on the laptop’ which is responsible for an almost-daily delivery of goods and services. If they are particularly inspired by something we have done, they often stand by my side inciting me to ‘work harder, Mamma. We want to go back to the Minnie Mouse Hotel.’ The Girls are the focus of the writing, the crafting, the baking that I do and- as has been said many times before- they are absurdly photogenic. They are an intrinsic part of my life and, accordingly, my blog. Without them it wouldn’t exist. I need their input, their participation in my blog as in my life.
But how do you parent when you are also a blogger? Lulastic and the (European Touring) Hippyshake has been running the feature “How to be a _________ Parent” on her blog of late and it got me thinking. My approach to parenting has always been innate, moulded to our lifestyle and, often, my convenience. This has caused issue in some areas- an unwillingness to go to bed without you holding their hand was one that lasted far longer than Supernanny would have allowed- but it has also means that DH and I have ‘developed’ well-rounded, articulate and interested children.
I’m approaching the question backwards, since it’s only by looking at the things that my blog is teaching my children, that I can extrapolate and look at the the way blogging has influenced my parenting. So, what are the benefits of having a Blogging Parent to my children?
1. Flexibility: I attend events without the children. I am lucky- as they often cross over with school pick up times- that my mother or husband can usually fill the gap when collecting the children. It’s rare that they don’t know who is picking them up. But it has taught them to be flexible: they will have other people caring for them but that’s OK. I will always come back and in the mean time they get to spend time with someone with different opinions, ideas and influences.
2. Opinion: I regularly get sent products to review. We have also been invited to events, meals, overnight stays or holidays. I need to know what my children think of the meal, the toy, the bedroom, the service, so that I can write about them honestly. Their thoughts are as important as mine, especially in cases where the products have been sent to them specifically. They need to be able to articulate what they like and what they don’t and why. In turn this stimulates their self-confidence because I can show them that their opinion has worth, both in my eyes and that of the wider world.
3. Creativity: a large part of the blog is craft-related. We love making things, and having a platform to share our ideas can only strengthen their creativity. Because they know that something may end up on the blog they feel an obligation to do their best work. But I have also found, when reviewing products, that we go off on a tangent because The Girls have come up with an idea. A case in point is the washing up liquid we were sent, which got used in ‘science’ experiments rather than cleaning dishes.
4. Independence: of thought, word and deed. Writing to a deadline means that I may not be able to go and jump around on the trampoline with them right now. If they need a snack and I am on a call, they know where to find the fruit-bowl, the dishes, the snack cupboard. They know to put the dishes on the side when they are finished and to put their rubbish in the bin. Reviewing products has lead to them wanting to do things on their own first- to see if they can- before asking for help. LBG is almost at the point where she can read directions to construct things. And them playing by themselves leaves me free to take photographs and notes.
5. Confidence: Some children are born with confidence. Mine have plenty in their own environment but at an event where they know no-one, it’s a great deal harder. But taking them to events is helping them to develop new social skills, make new friends, and try new experiences.
6. Patience: blogging is about imagery. My children are professional waiters. Which is to say that they are used to waiting. They are used to posing for photographs, not eating until I’ve taken a picture of their food, made a note of their thoughts. They know that you need to wait until something is built to play with it, and that the wait may be longer as photos need to be taken. They have learned that if you are at an event where swimming has been promised that you will need to wait to be allowed.
7. An Understanding of Value: Nothing that comes into this house is free. Granted we have a comfortable life, but everything has an intrinsic value. DH works many hours to pay for our holidays. They know that the latest Barbie DVD or their favourite new Littlest Pet Shop toy require playing with, photographing, editing, writing and promoting, all of which takes up my time. So whilst we do not talk about things in terms of pounds and pence, they do appreciate that everything we have has been earned through work.
8. Manners: patience has already been mentioned, but through blogging my children have learned manners. When we attend events, stay in a hotel, eat at a restaurant, they are learning to behave politely, do as asked & speak nicely to those hosting. All of these skills are evident in school where teachers have made a point of telling me how polite my children are.
9. Focus: My children have grown accustomed to noticing the detail in things: the work that has gone into decorating a cake, or the small widgets on toys that do extra things. They notice cushions, or architrave. They mention good service, and thank people for it. They notice the small things. This is a great skill to carry with them through life into the work place: if you take care of the small things, the big things will take care of themselves.
10. Gratitude: there is a delight that comes with a job well done. When the work is done we snuggle together reading, or get out on the trampoline. We go to the Beach House or do a Home Exchange. We take joy from each other’s triumphs and commiserate defeats. We are grateful for all that we have, thankful for health and happiness and our home. We read, play board games and laugh. Taking care of the small things.
Enormous thanks Kelly!