By BRIGITTE ROZARIO
Bloggers come in all shapes and sizes and the subject of their blogs range from politics and fashion to their daily lives. It is not surprising then to find some mummies among them. Some blog about their children, some blog about crafts and some blog about their daily lives.
ParenThots speaks to a few mummy bloggers to find out why they blog and what they gain from it.
One hot mama
Just like her blog Red Mummy (www.redmummy.com), Mira Abu Bakar a.k.a. Red is also in great demand.
Mira started blogging five years ago. It was after she was a finalist in the Fear Factor Malaysia 2005 reality TV programme. Being the only mother among the finalists, she decided to put her thoughts to a blog.
|Mira writes about everything in her blog except politics and religion.
Since she loves the colour red and she's a mother, she named her blog Red Mummy.
Although called Red Mummy, her blog is more about the day-to-day issues in her life rather than just focusing on parenting. Mira writes about everything from shopping, fashion, beauty, celebrities and entertainment to her kids and functions she attends.
“There are two things I don't talk about – politics and religion,” says Mira.
Currently, her blog has about 4,000 to 5,000 unique visitors daily. Mira believes that people are fascinated with her because of her love for the colour red and because she writes about fashion and cosmetics and not just on parenting.
She believes that her readers are also fascinated with the fact that both her children go to a chinese school.
“That's another thing that people like to read. It's not easy to find a Malay family whose kids go to a chinese school. It's a nice package for the readers.”
Today, the Red Mummy blog functions like a well-oiled machine. Mira writes at night and schedules the posts to be uploaded the next day. The blog has advertisements as well as advertorials. Mira is also invited to functions and then writes about them – for a price, of course. At such functions, her husband is her photographer.
The blog earns Mira and her husband a decent and sizeable income. However, she says her husband still wants her to continue with her full-time job because the future is uncertain. Who knows if the blog will be as popular two months from now.
Mira, 35, says she is sometimes recognised on the street and people even approach her to take photos with them. However, she doesn't consider herself a local celebrity.
“I am still the same, mah!” she exclaims. “At home, I am still a mother.”
The reality is she has been stalked in the past because of her popularity. Since then Mira does not use her home address for Red Mummy mail or deliveries.
Although there are some disadvantages to having a popular blog, Mira definitely appreciates the advantages. For example, when her son had the A(H1N1) flu last year, the blogging community put up posts asking everyone to pray for Red Mummy's son. So having the blog has allowed her to reach out to others and to gain their support when needed.
Try to improve
Intan Zalani also gets a lot of encouragement and support through her blog. She says the other mums who read her blog Malaysian Supermummy Unites! (http://malaysiansupermummy.blogspot.com/) have been terrific.
However, the feedback is not always good.
“Sometimes readers leave comments that will leave you frowning but I guess I have learned to live with it. Since I have decided to share my life with the public, I have to take everything with an open heart and try to improve.”
|Intan: 'It's good to have a niche for your blog to attract readers and to connect with them.'
Intan has been blogging since May 2008 when her son was one year plus. Her son is now two years and nine months and she is expecting her second child – due in July.
“When I first started my blog, I was already a mother. It's good to have a niche for your blog to attract readers and to connect with them. But I'd like to think my blog is not only for mummies. It is also for all the single men and ladies who are going to be parents some day,” says Intan.
She has a full-time job with a government department and says she doesn't have much time to concentrate on her blog.
“I guess it is harder to concentrate on your blog when you have your hands full with work. But I try to update every day when I have some free time at work or at home. I always feel kind of guilty if I don't update,” adds Intan.
For Alice Phua, blogging was one of the projects in her office's staff development training. It was to be an introduction of sorts to various forms of new media.
The training ended but Phua continued blogging and in fact she started a blog called Adventures of Juan Or and Mommy (http://juanorandmommy.blogspot.com/) to record her son's development. He was then four months old.
Today, her son is one year and eight months old.
She explains her decision to blog his development: “This way, I don't have to commit everything to memory. So, when he grows up he can read it and know all the things that I have done for him. If next time he asks me when he started to walk or talk, I can just do a search on the blog because the record of it is there. Maybe he will laugh about it when he grows up.”
She says that the fellow bloggers who comment on her blog have become her friends because they support each other.
She has another blog – Mummy's Blog of Warehouse Sales (And Other Offers!) at http://alicephualthing.blogspot.com/.
|Phua: '(This way) I don't have to commit everything to memory.'
“It's for mummies who are on a tight budget because nowadays the cost of living is increasing so everyone has to be thrifty.
“This one started much later – in July last year. I had announced some sales on my blog but the other mothers asked me to put up more and announce to everyone whenever there's a sale so I thought I better come out with another blog,” she adds.
Inspired to blog
Like Phua, Wong Chooi Peng started her blog - An Amazing & Adventurous Journey (wchpeng.com) – to record all sorts of details about her children. She started blogging in 2006 after she had her first child.
“I thought of just 'playing' around when I joined the blogosphere but later was inspired by other mummy bloggers and started to blog about the kids. I just love the idea of recording my children's growth. Many times I have to search my blog to check out their previous weight and height. Also, I think it will be fun for them to read about it later when they grow up,” says Wong.
|Wong: 'I thought of just 'playing' around when I joined the blogosphere.'
She has two kids, now aged three and five years old. As a working mother, she admits she used to stay up late at night to surf the Internet and to blog.
While she does get some encouragement through her blog, Wong says there aren't that many comments.
Her blog does earn her a side income though and it is enough to pay for family vacations.
All of the mummy bloggers admit they enjoy blogging and getting feeback on their posts. But, what are the real benefits to doing it?
“Ringgit Malaysia,” admits Red.
“It's about money. You can just sit in front of a computer at home and earn money.
“People keep asking me how it is that I can earn more money than them. You can't just start a blog, register with the blog advertising company Nuffnang and expect to earn money. For me, it took five years (to get to where I am now).
“It took about two to three years before my blog started getting popular. My first cheque was only RM90 and I remember I was so excited about it.
|Mira and her 'Red Family' at one of the many functions she attends.
“You have to be very diligent in blogging if you want it to be successful. When I started, I had eight to 12 posts a day. Now I reduce it to three to four entries a day because I also have advertorials every day and my kids are getting bigger so I need to spend more time with them.
“I'm targeting this year to sleep before midnight!
“Sometimes I do get fed up of blogging but that's why on weekends I have fewer posts.
“It takes determination. Some mummy bloggers have the determination but not the support of their husband. It will become an issue if you don't have your husband's support. When you need to blog, you will be concentrating on your computer. Some husbands want the wife to be with them instead. That's why they can't blog every day and they have to blog from the office.
“If you are 'hangat hangat tahi ayam' (only enthusiastic at the start) and only blog once a month, then forget it. Then don't complain that you can't make the money,” says Red.
Although Phua has not started earning much from her blogs, she says they are an avenue to forge new friendships with other mothers. She says there is also the exchange of parenting tips and real-life experiences which is something you can't get from books.
Intan agrees and adds that there is nothing like sharing ideas on parenting, life in general and sometimes even your own problems.
“You always have a group of people who are willing to read your daily rants and even take the time to comment which I think is really nice.
“As a mother, I get to mingle with other mothers when we have get-togethers and my son gets to have new friends, too! I also find myself taking photos everywhere I go or photos of any activities I undertake to share with my readers.
“I definitely would recommend blogging to other mums out there! Not only can you share your experiences with other mothers, but you also get to document your child's development or any memorable moments with your family.
“One day, you can look back at your old entries and say, 'Hey, I don't remember doing this!' but you have it in your blog as proof.”