Is it a diary? Is it an ad? No, it's a mummy blog

New mothers are turning to the internet in ever greater numbers to record the highs and lows of parenting. Susie Mesure reports

It initially gave lonely new mums the chance to reclaim some form of social life once they'd finally got DD* or DS* down for the night. But the phenomenon that is mummy blogging is gaining a life of its own, turning from a virtual take on the church hall coffee morning to something approaching a business for many of the UK's emerging community of parent bloggers.

Mummy bloggers report companies are queuing up to bombard them with the latest children's DVDs, books, shoes and even kid-friendly holidays in the hope of scoring a favourable online review that might help their product to stand out amid the clutter in a fiercely competitive children's market.

Some blogging parents (there are a handful of dads among the mums) get at least 10 pitches a day from retailers and brands keen to harness one of the internet's newest sub-groups. And earlier this month, Butlins took a group of bloggers to the launch of its Ocean Hotel Spa in Bognor Regis, hoping to swap a free mini-break for some free publicity online.

Although a handful of mummy blogs were around as far back as 2006 – three years is an eternity in webworld – the vast of majority of bloggers such as mommyhasaheadache or londoncitymum are much newer to the scene. One relative old-timer, Laura Driver, who has been writing arewenearlythereyetmummy? for the past 13 months, said: "I can't believe how quickly it is snowballing. There used to be just a few high profile mum bloggers but now there are so many starting up each week that you can't keep up with them all. It seems everybody is fighting for a place in the top 100. People are getting quite frantic about it."

Last week, British Mummy Bloggers, a forum for the burgeoning community, hit a milestone when its 500th blogger signed up. By last night, it had gained another 25 members. Susanna Scott, who set up BMB in late 2008, said the UK was making up for its slow start compared with the US, which has at least 6,000 mummy – or mommy – blogs. "Mums used to share information over a coffee at the church hall. With blogging, you can effectively have a coffee morning whenever you want – even at midnight if that is when you have a laptop and a few minutes to yourself," she said.

The boom means that "everyone is targeting mummy bloggers these days", according to Ms Scott, 44, who has three daughters and writes four different blogs, including A Modern Mother. She has reviewed products for Dyson, HP, Sainsbury's, Snapfish, Disney and Blu-ray. "The whole market has gone crazy. I get, not kidding, about six to 10 pitches a day," she said.

Dulwich Mum, the nom de blog for another veteran, Bea Parry-Jones, is another popular target for companies anxious for an online mention. "I've been on luxury holidays, I've been sent designer coats, DVDs, handbags and copious amounts of cosmetics," she said.

As Dulwich Mum, she doesn't review products as such, but will instead "name drop appropriately" – product placing for a digital readership. What Ms Parry-Jones, who has more than 1,000 readers for her satirical musings, doesn't do is regard blogging as a get-rich-quick scheme. "I have a job. I don't see blogging as a business," she added.

Others, like Tara Cain, who writes Sticky Fingers, insist they're "not a news service" for new product launches. Instead, her blog is "the perfect online diary for the big things you don't want to forget" about her children. She discovered mummy blogs while she was pregnant, enjoying them for the "nitty-gritty details and brutal honesty" they provided about parenthood.

Freebies aside, most bloggers regard writing online as a form of escape. Catherine Sanderson, who is the "petite anglaise" who has been blogging about her life as an expat' British mother in Paris for the past three years, said: "I found it a nice way to reach out at a time when my social life had been reduced and I was groping to find my identity again."

*DD stands for Darling Daughter, while DS is Darling Son

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Web / Graphic Designer

    £10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to rapid customer growth, a...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree have recently been awa...

    SThree: IT Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Are you someone that "makes th...

    Recruitment Genius: Apprentice Receptionist

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join this w...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn