Men's Articles

Parents Who Choose To Blog Online


Baby books and scrapbooks are making way for a new generation of parents who choose to journal online. Irene, an IT manager in her 30s and mother of two, first heard about "slogging" two years 'ago when some mothers started discussing it on a mother's forum which she visited often. Back then, blogs were still relatively unknown and their discussions made her curious and interested.

She decided to sign up at blogger.com, as it was one of the few free blogging services then. Blogging was not as difficult as she had thought it would be. In fact, within a few hours of playing with the software, she became hooked and started blogging about her son. A blog, short for web log, is like an online version of a private diary. The difference is that blogs are usually public which means anyone can read your entries, unlike a diary that can be locked away in your drawer.

People are using blogs to write about life events, thoughts, feelings, or any topic they want, from aeroplane food to dogs, in daily, monthly or ad hoc updates. Bloggers also post photos or video clips along with their entries. Blogs or certain posts can be locked, which means you can restrict your posts to certain visitors who can read your blogs and also post comments or replies to you.

Sometimes, bloggers get together to form communities, based on similar interests like travel, biking and of course, parenting. There are many parents out there who now blog regularly about their children and their emotional, physical or cognitive development, coupled with their own personal thoughts and feelings as parents.

Peter, 35, a father of two, started an online journal on his own website about his first son two-and-a-half years ago. It was a way to share photos of his first child with family and friends but there was minimal writing. Back then, he was using basic HTML and found it taxing to write and post, to link the pages together and being unable to archive his posts.

So he decided to use Greymatter (a tool for blogging) and created his first blog called Letters To Ethan, It was a blog about his son, for his son. In it, he writes about Ethan's development and his own personal thoughts to him. He says: "It is for Ethan to read when he's older, so that he'll know what Mummy and Daddy went through.

People of our generation don't really know what happened during our childhood. So I thought that the blog would be a nice way for Ethan to experience his childhood all over again, with words, pictures and videos." Like Peter, Joanne, 33, and a mother of two, likens blogging to writing her children's biographies. She blogs not only for them, but also for her husband and herself too.

The blog keeps her husband, who travels frequently, updated about what: happening at home. "But I also blog for myself too. I have habit of looking at old photos and reliving fond memories. I just don't want to forget," says Joanne. But more significantly, many parents like Peter and Joanne  are doing it simply because they are proud of their children.

For Irene, what initially started out as a blog about the growth and milestones of her son progressed to a family diary of sorts - what they did and where they went. But it became boring, so she is writing less of that these days, Nowadays, she still records the major events of the family - like the first family trip, or the first day of school - so happened that she can remember what when she reads it again.

More importantly, the blog has now become an outlet for her. "It's for me to jot down my thoughts, share my joy and anguish, record interesting findings, chronicle the ups and downs of my life as a working mother," she says. An easy-to-use blog service is essential to parents as one of the main problems parent bloggers face is simply trying to find the time to blog in the midst of juggling a busy life of kids, housework and/or work.

Says Irene: "The truth is, I have very little personal time, so I blog mainly during my lunch break or after the Kids have turned in. That means my updates get irregular when I'm busy at work or my kids need attention. But my family comes first, always." Peter feels that it takes discipline to keep on blogging. "A blog is like a commitment. You must make it more flexible for the more adventurous a point to blog.

Once you lose the mother who wants to customise her blog momentum to blog, you'll forget how to." He makes it a point to try to find the time to blog, especially if there is a significant event. Many parents stop blogging too because they find that they have run out of things to write about. But Peter says they should just keep on blogging, even if it is about the little things their kids say or do because that is what matters.

Another problem of blogging is its public nature. Irene has a few simple rules: "I don't talk about my work and my company. I don't give specifics of our full names, home address, phone number or the kids' schools. Anything private I want to write, I'll lock it. "Very few friends in real life know of my blog. I don't mean to hide it; if they find it, I'll welcome them to read, but I don't voluntarily tell them about my blog. I don't hide behind some secret identity though, as I still post my photos and my family photos online."

Joanne, who used to keep a private diary before blogging, is also very wary about what she writes. "When I write, I usually bear in mind that the whole world is reading. I make sure that I am tactful. I really pay attention to how, and what, I write. I don't jot down deep thoughts and I don't share everything. In any case, my blog is mainly about my children."

Blogging 101

The easiest way to start is to register with a blog service. Irene recommends two easy-to-use and popular blog service providers, blogger.com and livejournal.com which are both free. "Both of them provide easy step-by-step guides at their site. For a first-timer Mum, I would recommend Livejournal as there is a very big and lively Mummy community here, and you'll feel welcome immediately. "Blogger.com on the other hand, is more flexible for the more adventurous mother who wants to customise her blog layout. But for a start, you may feel a little 'lonely' there if you have no readers." say Irene.

 

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