Is “Mommy” a bad word?

Is “Mommy” a bad word?

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Mommy + Blogger= Mommy Blogger

There is much talk among bloggers about the term “Mommy Bloggers”. Some like and use the word freely, while others choke on air once they hear someone spill it from their mouths. I didn’t used to care. The way I look at it I am a Mommy and I am a Blogger. Therefore I, by default, am a Mommy Blogger. The word Mommy to me has pleasant connotations. Hearing my girls call me “Mommy” makes my heart swell with pride. Being a Mommy is the most important job in my life. No matter what else I do or accomplish in my life, being their “Mommy” is what I am most proud of.

Professionally, I have never had any issue with being a Mommy Blogger. I’ve worked with some great companies and PR reps. Never has there been any negativity associated with my Mommy Blogger title. I never felt it limited the opportunities I was offered as a Blogger, in the sense of events or brand partnerships. If anything I felt like it opened doors as it was obvious I was not just willing, but wanting to write about topics that would interest mothers. I never felt it limited the scope of what I could write either. Since I was a Mommy it was a good guess that I was also a female, a daughter myself, a wife, a homemaker, a business women and everything else that would encompass being a mommy. The sky was the limit as to what I could write about while retaining the Mommy Blogger title. Then it all changed.

I went to The Natural Product Expo last Friday and my world shifted.
It was that big of a change.

Before my morning appointments started I made my way through the press room and gifting suite. We were provided bags and offered the opportunity to grab some swag. Who doesn’t like swag right? There were a mess of full sized products for us to grab and smash into our bags. I had other plans. I took one bag and cherry picked a few things that I knew would be of interest to me and my readers. I wanted to try the product and if I liked it, I’d reach out to the company and start a relationship. There was a Mommy Blogger in line with me. She carefully grabbed 4 bags. Stuffed them as full as she could and then stopped to tell me that I should do the same. I asked her if she was planning on carrying it around all day. She said oh no… I plan on taking multiple trips out to my car. She also tried to share with me how to cheat the system so that she could go back into the gifting suite. She was a self declared Mommy Blogger and she was there for the freebies. I asked if she was meeting with any companies or who was on her list to stop and meet. There was no list. She would only be stopping for free food and samples. That should have been a warning of what was to come.

Let me stop for a second and talk about relationships. My job as a blogger is to create a relationship with my readers. They come back day after day to read what I write because they feel a connection to me. I write for them everyday because I feel a connection to them. We have a relationship. The same goes for the companies I work with. I have been offered professional advances because a company has a relationship with me that is valued. I have gone above and beyond for a company because I value our relationship. When it comes to my readers, I always go back to the same train of thought, it’s all about relationships. I want my readers to develop a relationship with the companies I work with. I only work with companies that I think are a good fit for me and my readers. Creating a relationship between the two is the natural next step.

Back to the Expo. Throughout the day I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the companies I was meeting with, their product and the people that represent it. Multiple times I was offered products to take home with me. Bags and Bags full of them. Each time I respectfully declined. I’m not in this business for free food. I’m in it for the relationship. I declined lots of food that day with this simple statement. Ah thanks, if you would like to have me try your product please email me after the show {hands business card over} and we can talk more. The utter shock on their face was sadly memorable. A Mommy Blogger not grabbing up samples? This was a shock to them.

After a while I figured something out. I realized that these brands were used to Mommy Bloggers selling their soul for anything free. Because of this they didn’t understand the long term benefits of how a real endorsement could really benefit their market share or long term success. They didn’t know what a real partnership with a blogger could bring them. I’m not talking about a quick review and giveaway. I’m talking about a thought out and planned {and paid for} commitment to each other… a relationship.

I stopped for a second and rethought everything I ever knew about Mommy Blogging. I regrouped and the next stop I made I introduced myself as a “Writer and Editor of an online publication”. That my friends is when the world shifted. I was no longer a frantic Mommy Blogger desperate for samples. I now had depth and value even though I was still me doing the same thing. At the end of all of my conversations they knew I was a blogger and yet no one offered me a sample. Instead I left with the opportunity to form a relationship. Four days later I am already cultivating these relationships into something great for me, the company and most importantly my readers.

How do you feel about the term Mommy Blogger?

42 Comments

  • Jess says:

    I am a blogger as well and I am amazed at how many women are out there to get the free items. Yeah they are nice and all . But there comes a time that you need those companies to be more then a place to get free products. I would rather work with a company that I am able to make that bond then just get free stuff. I love this and I wish MORE “Mommy Bloggers” would read this. Thank you for sharing this!!!

    • admin says:

      Thanks Jess! I’m glad there are others feeling the same way. Maybe we can start a new movement towards relationships not just freebies!

      • Jess says:

        I think that is a great idea. I think if they see bloggers getting along and not on the bases of farming likes on facebook or twitter. but more of an interaction. It might help them see we are all working for the same goal and not trying to be better then the next up and coming blog.

  • Laurel @Let's Go on a Picnic! says:

    I’ve always disliked the term for some reason. It felt silly, frivolous, and at times, a little insulting. Now I know why I felt like that. Because companies never take someone with that title seriously.

    • admin says:

      Very true… I never really used the term to describe myself, more I agreed when called it. I just said Blogger. But you are right!

  • Lindsay says:

    Well said! I agree completely. I love to discover and introduce my readers to a variety of products but it’s the long-term relationships with brands that I really value and think we both benefit from. Thanks for writing this. Important words to think about!

  • Tazim says:

    I was at an event a few months ago where a woman introduced herself as a Mommy Blogger, and I just felt a little bit sick. Why was this woman selling herself short? I feel like the term gives people preconceived notions about what ‘mommy blogging’ entails. I wish the woman had elaborated, told everyone what she blogs about or just gave more information on what she actually does for/on her blog. She has a really good blog where she seems to connect with her readers, but like in your example above, I think that a lot of the people at the event just thought she was there for the free stuff. There was also a dad there who could have said he was a daddy blogger, but didn’t – he explained the series he was currently working on, which happened to be car related (as we were at a Toyota event), which really intrigued me.

    I really like what you said about being a “writer and editor for an online publication”, which makes me want to know more about what that involves and ask you questions.

    • admin says:

      Interesting. I think we as women short sell ourselves all the time and I have never heard a man call himself a Daddy Blogger LOL. It even sounds kinda funny. That’s a very interesting way to look at it!

  • Kristin says:

    Wow…you are SO right. I don’t like the association, either…not because all “mommy bloggers” are “bad” (in whatever way you want to define that), but because of how brands and corporations perceive us as a whole. We are compartmentalized as a group of greedy, swag-grabbing bloggers who will do anything for money or coupons or product, etc. It’s not good. It’s not how I want to be seen, that’s for sure.

    • admin says:

      Right! There are some very wonderful self proclaimed Mommy Bloggers. I really don’t mind the name per se… it’s just that it now has a bad rap…

  • Darcy says:

    Over a year ago I wrote about reclaiming the term mommy blogger. Now I’m moving away from that.

    I experienced this stuff at BlogHer too. PArt of the issue is brands having no clue how to work with bloggers at all. It was sad how many weren’t interested or had no intention to develop any blog outreach plan when I asked about working together. I wanted contacts more than swag. I left most of it behind.

    Most insulting thing was PR emailing afterwards about posting about my gift bag contents …

    • admin says:

      I was the same way Darcy… the name wasn’t bad to me really, I mean we are moms and we do blog, but it just makes us look unprofessional, like it’s not a real job. I can’t believe the gift bag email. That is so not cool! Cheapens everything we do!

  • Tammie Pankuch says:

    Heather, what a terrific post. I hope you don’t mind if I share this. This is a subject that needed written and I a glad you wrote it. Why do you( not you) have to always get something for free in order to do something. Hats off to you!

  • Sue says:

    I don’t think its just “mommy blogger” but more of a “blogging for free stuff” syndrome. I do see some blogs written by males like this as well – or book review blogs. When I started thinking about blogging as a business venture (which I never adopted really), I found out about a lot of places online where you could sign up and be paid for click-thrus, but all the things were services or items I would never personally use. So, why would I blog about them? Just to get the few dollars from click-thrus? Worse, I started to notice the flood of blog entries on SAME EXACT TOPIC from multiple different blogs that were all based on those click-thru offers. To me, that didn’t seem really informative or responsible, because a lot of those services don’t even require YOU to use them – just to write about them. Seems silly for me to write about something I know nothing about. So, I agree with you. When I see an offer for something I would use myself than I will blog about it, but other than that, it seems really disingenuous.

    • admin says:

      Sue you are right. I think that the generalization with the name Mommy Blogger is blogging for free stuff. It’s a hard line to cross. I totally got into the affiliate marketing business and I turned into a online marketer. It was easy {relatively speaking} way to make a good amount of money… but I started to feel like a spammer. There is a fine mix that can be perfected between content and affiliate posts… but I just wasn’t into it. I wanted to keep the blog more about content and my relationships with brands… ones that I know my readers would benefit from!

  • Honestly, I’m really not fond of the word mommy blogger. Yes, I’m a mom (note not mommy) and I’m a blogger. However, my children are teenagers and I have not been a mommy in many, many years. If I were an engineer, would people be referring to me as a mommy engineer simply because I had children?

    • admin says:

      Ellen, I’m a Mommy mainly because I have a 3 year old! :-) But you are totally right…. I’m also the VP of Marketing at a Real Estate Brokerage… never has someone added the word Mommy before it. That would be insulting. Yet it happens all the time in Blogging.

  • Barbara says:

    Very well said! I’ve not yet experienced the Mommy Blogger phenomenon as you have. I’ve been blessed with a solid base of fellow, professional bloggers (who also happen to be mothers, too) in my area — however, I know the stereotype of “mommy blogger” is growing, and it is up to us, as professionals trying to carve out a definition we can all be proud of, to change that image.

    • admin says:

      Barbara, I too have a really awesome group of bloggers that I am friends with that are nothing like the stereotypical Mommy Bloggers, that’s why this took me by surprise. We can defiantly change this. I think the changes needs to come from the seminars that are held at conferences to educate brands on the proper use of blogger relations and from us!

  • Crystal Gibson says:

    I do not like the term at all. I am a writer, a business owner, a blogger, a graphic designer, a virtual assistant, etc. None of those things have ever had the appendage of mommy. Maybe if my kids were younger? But I doubt it. I value, highly, the work I do and my blog is my brand. Why would I, so frivolously, lessen the perceived quality of what I do? I am building a brand, growing a business and wish to be seen as the business woman behind it. I love my kids and am blessed greatly by being their mom. But “mommy blogger”? No, thank you.

    • admin says:

      So I shouldn’t call you a Mommy VA? LOL! I totally get where you are coming from. Mommy means not serious. Not professional, not long lasting!

  • Amber says:

    I used to cringe at the term Mommy Blogger, but lately have just smiled when it’s used. When I introduce myself, I normally stay away from the term blogger at all and say I own my own website where I share my tips, ideas and advice.

    • admin says:

      Amber, that’s the direction I’m going. I have an online publication where I am a writer and editor. That is what I do. I don’t blog really… a blog is more of a journal to me.

  • Desiree M says:

    This is an excellent post, and at least an eye opener for me as I used to think of myself as a mommy blogger. Well, I STILL think I am a “mommy blogger” but in the sense you stated at the beginning. I am a mom, and I blog. lol.

    When I first started my venture I was out to find anything and everything I could try to review because it was out there because I thought it was fun and because I didn’t know. But you know what? I figured out I was doing a disservice to my readers with promoting stuff I didn’t feel passionate about. I got overwhelmed and started to hate what I was doing. Now I’m much more selective. I want to work with brands I feel not only I will like, but with brands I think my readers will like too. If I receive a product I feel I can’t write a neutral or positive review I contact the company to let them know. I’ve shifted MY focus from mommy blogger to professional blogger and brand advocate. I am making a career out of my own brand. I want to be taken seriously. I’ve learned so much in this past year than I ever would have dreamed.

    • admin says:

      Right, I’ll always be a Mommy Blogger, but in a different way. They are #1 in my life after all… I went through the same evolution with reviews and giveaways. It was taking away from my earn-able hours all for something I didn’t really want or need. The authenticity with my readers followed. Now I want to work with brands that I know my readers will love. Keeping it real.

  • lena says:

    Really love your post. I was working at the trade show booth a year ago and our usual visitors were buyers with appointments set well in advanced. I was there to meet the bloggers. Do you want to bet that everyone new when I person walking into the booth was a blogger or a buyer? Clothes? Yes! But also – big bags with wheels.

    • admin says:

      That is so sad. That pretty much sums up what happened last weekend. In all honesty I set out to not bring home any samples. I still did. There were a few products that I wanted to try before working with the company. And then there was the product info fliers! I loaded up on them. I have stacks and stacks of info that I still have to sort through. Piles of papers… that I’m sure made my bad look huge! I asked endless companies to email me info but so many wanted to give it to me then and email!

  • Ashley T says:

    The term “Mommy blogger” never really bothered me until recently..e-mails from people assuming I just wanted the product and nothing else turned me completely off from that. That’s not who I am, and I was never like that. Thanks for writing this post… it is exactly how I feel about it but never really put it into words.

  • Bonnie says:

    Wonderful post! This is the exact same way I feel about building long term relationships with our advertising partners and readers. Over the past few months I have learned to just say not to so many opportunities that were really not right for my readers or myself.

  • Jenny K says:

    What a great post! I, too, have never liked the term “Mommy Blogger” and never used it to describe what I do. I’m a “blogger” plain and simple.

    I’ve never gone to an expo or a conference, but I always see posts from other bloggers about all the free swag they got. I was always a little jealous, but your post paints such a different picture. I always thought people got products from companies they were forming a relationship with – one’s they were truly interested in blogging about. Your description of a room full of swag galore and bags to shove it all into to makes “mommy bloggers” seem so unprofessional. I’m glad I don’t call myself that.

  • Michelle Ferrari-Johsnon says:

    I am happy that you were able to get the feedback and opportunities necessary to move your job forward. Unfortunate that we live in a world where “I am a stay at home Mom” still gets viewed upon as “not a job”.

    • admin says:

      Ridiculous right? I’ve had many different job since becoming a mom and being a full time at home mom was the hardest. The skills you learn from being a stay at home mom… or mom at all, are more qualifying for most jobs than any college class can ever teach!

  • Kari Johnson says:

    What a great post!! Thank you.

  • Lorna England says:

    Wow, that’s really sad. As the mother of a now 18-year-old son, my days of hearing the word Mommy are long gone. And I miss that. He is the only person in the entire world that can call me that. It’s a shame such a precious word (name!) has been tarnished for you, by a greedy few. I believe your reputation will stand for itself… don’t let the stigma of the bad apples ruin the precious association with your temporary Mommy name!

  • June S. says:

    Was glad I got to read this. Thanks so much.

  • Angela Bellamy says:

    Thank you for this blog. My husband & I started a company that sells handmade/sewm baby products. We have asked bloggers to review our products. I think I’m going to be a bit more picky about who we send things too.

  • Lauree says:

    I’m not a blogger but I am a mommy first and foremost and love it so I don’t think I’d have a problem with the term.

  • Elizabeth Rodriguez says:

    It’s like you were living inside my brain!!! I started blogging for the same reasons, I wanted to establish relationships with the companies, yes I like free stuff like the next person, however I don’t want to sell out who I am for that free item. I started by trying to get whatever I could then realized I was putting way too much pressure on myself. I still am not perfect, but I am a work in progress! Now I do feel like I made a huge mistake in the name I chose for my blog, it immediately has me put into the Mommy Blogger category. Now when I reach out to companies and say I would like to work together long term or establish a relationship, I feel like I am getting the yeah, yeah, here’s your free product, thanks, goodbye. I have even contemplated starting over with a different blog, one without Mom, Mommy, Mother, Momma in the title. So unfortunately, now I feel the term “Mommy Blogger” has a negative vibe, at least in the blogging/PR world!

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