It’s been a while since we’ve had a proper “Word from the Mr” – and Dave actually wrote this for me ages ago so . . .
Colette suggested I write a post about being a blog widower! A title she has re-purposed from the days when she used to be an Xbox widow. Days that are so so long ago! She asked me to write about this partly because she wanted me to write a post for her again (I’ve been struggling for a topic). But also, because she wanted to see what I’d say! Dangerous ground lies ahead folks! As I am a brave man I’ve extended the scope a little (without asking I might add!) to include how Colette’s blog has affected our family as a whole, because I don’t think it would have been a very long post if I had just said “This is good, and this is bad. See ya!”
So here’s my musing on having a blogaholic in the family!
To answer Colette’s original question, “What is it like being a blog widower?”. It’s a bit like losing a wife, and gaining a family biographer! A bossy one at that!
Now to some that may sound wonderful. To others not so much. Colette’s blog has taken off in a big way over the past two years. That is in no small part because of the volume of work that she puts into it. It is every waking moment of every day. Pretty much. I say waking, I’m quite sure that she dreams about blog things all the time. This prodigious output is visible in the blog. Colette has created over 1000 posts in two years. Which is pretty close to 1.5 posts per day! That’s a lot of work.
To fuel that huge output almost everything we do is documented and logged. (He exaggerates . . . ) Which can be a pain at times. Partly, this is because I am a grumpy bugger! Of that there is no doubt. Sometimes however it is justified. All events or occurrences must be photographed. Not with just any old photograph mind. Framed, posed, well lit works of art! This obsession with perfection plays into Colette’s focus on details. She has always been, what some people would call ‘picky’. I think ‘has an eye for the aesthetic’ covers it better. I have to say that. Or she’ll kill me! (It’s true! The devil is in the detail!) Now that she understands photography a bit better she applies this critical eye to all of her, and my, pictures. Meaning a lot of the pictures I take are now no good. When the editor’s eye is in there is no second best! (Ok, I admit it. He’s right. I’ve always loved taking photos but I’ve become increasingly critical of my own images over the last couple of years – and yes, Dave’s too – sorry love!)
Now the most immediate thing that is a plus is the things we get to review. If you speak to anyone they talk about the “free stuff”. Colette has a real issue with people saying that the items we receive are ‘free’, because they’re not free. She does work for each and every item. It’s a straight swap of labour for goods. Which is true, but as you’re not paying for stuff that you would otherwise pay for I can see why people make that error.
To be honest the review items we get and trips we go on are great. Some of the things we get are fantastic. There is no doubt that over the past few years a large percentage of the fun things we have done with the kids, and some for just the two of us, have come from Colette’s blog. It’s allowed us to do things I would never have dreamed of. Some things I just wouldn’t have paid for but were fun all the same.
An unexpected side of all the stuff is the parcels! The things you have to review have to get to you by some means. So that means parcels. Millions of the things. It’s a rare day when we don’t get some parcel delivered. Unfortunately we’re not always in. Colette still works part time so our next door neighbours have side jobs taking in parcels for us! We’ve turned the street into a postal depot! Our neighbours must think we’re loaded the amount of stuff that comes to our door. It’s embarrassing to constantly pop round and ask for the latest batch of boxes that happened to be delivered that day. (This does seem to go in phases and thankfully has calmed down a bit now but he’s right, my poor neighbours must be sick to death of our parcels!)
On the other hand there is the financial aspect. Things have been tight over the past few years. Three kids and an extension that needed paying for have taken its toll on our, already wobbly, finances. There is no doubt that Colette’s blog has helped financially, as well as given us the opportunity to get out and do things that our ‘pauper’ status wouldn’t have allowed us to otherwise. It’s been a blessing really. Something which the kids can’t really appreciate at the moment, because they’ve never known anything other, but has made a difference to their lives.
I mentioned before about the documentation aspect of blogging. That might be a deal breaker for some people. The kids are quite used to being photographed and videoed with products or on ‘adventures’. I think they like giving their opinions. Ben in particular enjoys being in front of the camera. He’s a bit of a performer. Just like his Dad!
I was asked if I had considered the impact this would have on our kids. That by making everything public we are teaching our kids to not be private. It took me back to be honest, because I had never really thought of it in that way. I spent a long time thinking about my position on this, and here it is: I think that photographing and videoing your kids is far more prevalent today than it ever has been. It’s just so easy to whip out your phone and take a video or a picture that everyone does it. You’ve only got to look at social media to see how commonplace people documenting their children’s lives is. I can’t see anything wrong in that. Now, whether this increased level of documentation creates a desire to be photographed I’m not sure. I do know that my girls will ask me to take their photograph and will pose accordingly. This is cute at the moment, but it might not be in 10 years’ time. I can only hope that by teaching our kids correctly we can counter any narcissistic qualities we may be rearing unawares. If we can’t counter those issues then at least we won’t be alone. There’ll be a whole generation of people growing up who can’t go 2 minutes without snapping pictures of themselves. Funeral selfie anyone! (I’m with Dave on this one, I am conscious of what I share on my blog with an awareness of my teaching job and also my children’s future privacy – but as Dave says, this is kind of how we as a generation live now – photos, videos, sharing – it’s become normal, though admittedly not to the extent we do it . . . )
What I do know, for a fact, is that without Colette’s blog our children’s lives would be duller. Less full of fun, excitement, intrigue and amazement. New experiences bring childhood to life. Seeing large animals upclose, visiting places which are completely different to where we live, doing something brand new. These experiences make our children more well-rounded and aware of the variety in life than they would have been had we not taken these opportunities and stayed at home. How could we not? I think it’s your job as a parent to provide the absolute best for your children that you can. That means feeding, clothing and loving, but it also means broadening their horizons as much as you can. Give them every opportunity you can. How else will they know what’s out there?
I know plenty of bloggers read Colette’s blog so I’d be interested to know your take on how blogging affects your life, and your family’s lives. Let me know.