You might love or loathe those AIBU threads on Mumsnet but you have to admit that they get us all talking. The latest AIBU has been taking a pop at “Instamummies” and predictably the papers have picked the thread up and turned it into a mummies hate mummies article.
I Dislike Labels
Now I hate a label and I would not call myself an “Instamummy”; I prefer the far more glamorous sounding “Freelance Writer”. It reeks of days spent tapping away on a laptop in some Parisian coffee shop as I smoke skinny cigarettes, looking effortlessly sophisticated. Only I don’t live in Paris, I can’t work in coffee shops as I get distracted, I don’t smoke (lung cancer, people) and there is nothing sophisticated about me.
I applied wing eyeliner this morning at 6:30am and by 9am I had already managed to rub it round my eyes so much that I resembled a demented panda. Special look that.
Most, if not all, of my paltry income comes from my freelance writing for magazines, other websites and my own baby, this website. Sometimes I will get asked to promote something on my Instagram and this is what is getting all of the Mumsnetters upset. However, I wonder if under the barbed comments that they might have a point. I won’t even feature on these Mumsnetters radars. I am not raking in £100,000 plus from my Instagram. Yes, some mums will be making that and good for them. I just wish the Mumsnetters agreed with me when I say good for them.
An Insta Sellout?
The Mumsnetters seemed aggrieved with the big time Instamummies and there were a couple of Instamummies that were pointed out at as examples of how Instamummies are sell-outs. I am not going to repeat those names here as I don’t believe that is fair or right. We are all entitled to our opinions but let’s not start attacking individuals and casting aspersions on that person’s character unless we have proof. Amongst the jealousy about the nice holidays that these individuals had been sent on, there were also some interesting points made;
- that some people are distrustful of the #ad or #spons on an Instagram post. They think that as a result the Instagrammer won’t be honest.
- That when the Instagrammer shares a product but hasn’t put #ad or #spons they are again being dishonest.
What It All Means
It seems that we can’t win so let’s talk about the first point. If you see #ad or #spons on my Instagram or “collaborative post” on my blog then I have been paid to post that photo or write that post. On my posts I have made this even clearer now by having a disclaimer at the start of the post and at the end. However, let’s be clear about this, Mother Pukka talks about this on her website and says it far more eloquently but let me try and explain why I do this too.
No, I haven’t sold my soul to the devil.
No, a paid Instagram post or collaborative post does not mean that I am a sell-out. I do these posts because this is where some of my income comes from. I walked away from my career so that I could become a stay-at-home mum to my two children. However, my children both might be in school now but I am unable to return to my career because –
1) I have now been out of teaching for almost 4 years and so am completely out of touch with the changes made in education.
2) Teaching is not a job that I can fit in with my children’s school hours. I am the one who has to do school drop off and pick-up due to the hours that my husband works. Even if I found a before school club and after school club it still wouldn’t work, but that is a whole other post and one I won’t go into it here.
Trying To Carve Out My Own Flexible Career
I am fortunate though because through setting up this website I am now able to earn an income from it. Something that I did not expect to happen but now that it is happening it is pretty brilliant. This website has enabled me to carve out my own flexible career. A career that allows me to run my children to school and pick them up and earn a living. Despite popular belief, living on Jersey does not make us loaded. The price of houses here are London prices (and renting is in the same ballpark). As a result our mortgage is eye wateringly huge. A 3 bedroom house that does not have a garden. However, you can’t have everything. Yes, we can now take holidays, something that we previously couldn’t afford to do. However, the reality is that we should probably stop taking holidays and start saving because as it stands neither of us are paying into a pension or savings. Also, the cost of living is a lot higher on Jersey too. However, don’t get me wrong, I realise that I am fortunate in that we don’t rely on my income but we would like to get into a position where we don’t end each month in the red and that’s where my work comes in.
I Want To Contribute
From a personal point of view I want to feel like I am contributing towards the household finances. Yes, I appreciate that I am in a privileged position and perhaps I should just get off Instagram and shut the blog down and shut up and enjoy my middle-class life. But you know, I’ve never been one for being quiet. I am lucky that I have carved out a career that is flexible enough to allow me to do this from home. But this doesn’t make me a sell-out! I will only promote products on Instagram that I believe in. Take my Berocca one recently. Yes, that was an ad but I meant every word. I took some this morning with my breakfast and I have literally been bouncing around. The amount of work I have managed to get done is amazing! So I do think that Berocca helps. However, if I had taken Berocca and didn’t think that it worked or I didn’t believe in the product then I would turn it down as I am sure would other Instamummies.
There is an element of trust there but AIBU to think that we have to look for the best in people, that we have to trust they are being honest?
Are We Being Shady?
The second point Mumsnetters make is that when they see Instamummies sharing a product and that they haven’t put #ad they are being shady. Nope. If we have been sent something and asked to share it on Instagram then we have to put #ad. If we haven’t put #ad then it doesn’t mean we are being dishonest. We are choosing to share something that we have discovered (without being introduced to by a PR company) and we love it. I treat both posts the same, whether it be an ad or not an ad. Whether I am being paid or not paid. If I don’t like it then I won’t share it. It’s my reputation on the line so I am not going to start sharing any old sh*t. I have recently been sharing the Elly Pear recipes and results of my cooking them on my Instastories. Yes, I am aware that this does make me appear annoyingly smug. But as my own mother would tell you, this is not my usual way. Me being able to batch cook healthy food is brilliant and I wanted to share this because if I can do it then anyone can do it! No ad involved.
Covering The Cracks With Twinning
I’ve also been guilty of the matching Pj trend (another thing Instamummies were criticised for according to The Independent) after I spotted them on someone else’s Instagram. See Instagram ads do work. I’m aware that twinning is really naff but it gives me joy. Life can be so hard at times and matching Pjs are my plaster for life’s cracks, if you like. Sometimes we need something pretty to put a veneer on the general sh*t show that is life. Also, for the record, matching Pjs in a photo is so much more aesthetically pleasing and I’m a bit OCD about things like that.
Yes, I might batch cook and I might make my family wear matching Pjs but I am always honest too. I’ve talked about the rubbish days, I’ve shown my face to Instastories, all bird nest hair after no sleep. I’ve talked about my anxiety rearing its ugly head and how even making a simple trip to the shop became something to fret about. I might not have gone into loads of detail on this because quite frankly I didn’t think you would want to know how thanks to anxiety I ended up picking all of the skin away one of my nails, the nail becoming grossly infected and me then losing the nail. Even I realised that was some oversharing I should probably keep to myself.
But that kind of brings me onto my next point. I am someone who frets, I am a naturally anxious person. I have to be kept busy and this was why I initially started the blog. The blog is my sanity check. It is frequently TMI. My mother-in-law probably doesn’t like the fact that I am talking about sex on it, but that’s my life and this is my space and I would say to her, my own family, what I would say to you, if you don’t like it then don’t read it. Come back tomorrow and hopefully you will like the next article. The same for Instagram. It might appear pretty but it is me documenting my life on Jersey, it is me falling in love with this island, despite the fact it drives me insane on a daily basis. Again, if you don’t like it, move forward.
Why Can’t We Try To Have It All?
This blog and my Instagram is me. That means it is frequently cringe worthy, but hopefully sometimes it makes you smile or even laugh. You might even like something that I choose to share. I think the criticism of mums like me, ones who are using social media to carve a new career for themselves, so that they can financially support their family, should stop. Why can’t we be a mum and a business woman? I mean where was the criticism of the Instadads?
One minute Instamummies are slummy mummies who swear and drink, the next minute they are sharing their too perfect lives and are complete sell-outs. Instead of tearing each other down AIBU I think that we should be looking for the best in each other?
Opinion is good, nastiness is not.