Mumfessions: My Life and Reality as a Mummy Blogger
In recent times, we’ve seen the rise of “mummy bloggers.” In fact, some digital commentators argue that this category of bloggers, digital creators and influencers are the best kinds of people to showcase or market your product as a result of their trustworthy and relatable nature. A popular YouTube influencer jokingly noted that if you wanted a spike in viewership or subscribers, have a kid or two!
On the flip side, there’s also been a lot of bashing of such bloggers particularly in relation to the fine line of exposing their kids, oversharing, profiting off them for brand campaigns and generally putting them out there. It’s for this reason that some people are quick to denounce the title of mummy blogger. Others, however, feel that they are so much more than just a mum, and refuse to let a limiting tag define them or what they like to blog about.
In this Mumfessions feature, Tola Adeoti, who was born and raised in Nigeria but moved to the United States 20 years ago, proudly accepts her '‘mummy blogger” title. Mum to two beautiful girls — Simi who is 6 and Temi who is 2 — she describes her blog for mums as “your girlfriend having a good ole chat with you.” Tola shares why started blogging and sharing about motherhood, the challenges and behind the scenes, her views on sharing children’s photos online, and so much more — including whether or not she has an “Instagram husband”!
On starting a “mum blog” and initial challenges
I started blogging back in 2015 just as an outlet — not really consistent or doing much with it. But after I got married and was in a new city by myself with my own family, I decided to focus on motherhood and marriage, and speak on my own struggles with balancing this new chapter I had entered. I didn’t see many blogs that focused on this specific topic and I knew I wasn’t the only one dealing with this.
One challenge I faced was being consistent. At that time, blogging was a big deal already and people were growing businesses out of it, so it was difficult to focus on sharing my message rather than just the numbers.
Her blogging journey so far: surprises and milestones
Once I started becoming more dedicated I realized blogging is not for the faint of heart at all. Everyone sees the beautiful parts on the internet, but it takes a lot of work. Only within the last year and a half have I started to see my blog as more than just a hobby, and so with that mindset I have been able to get some more brand partnerships.
This last quarter of the year I was able to land my first paid brand deal which is a huge milestone for me because it just shows that if you stand for something and believe in it, someone out there will see that. I love hearing back from people who read my posts and tell me how much they relate to it, because I am in no way a big blogger nor do I consider myself an “influencer.” I started this thing just from being lonely in a new city, so hearing other women relate to that and actually gain from what I share is amazing.
It can be pretty vulnerable sharing personal posts — I do run a personal blog, so 95 percent of my content are personal stories and what I have learnt from life — but I also think that vulnerability is why people enjoy reading my posts. At first, I didn’t want to be too vulnerable or “overshare,” but the way I see it is, if someone can learn from my story then I’ve done something right.
How her husband feels about her blogging
My husband has always been supportive of my blog. At first he was very iffy about sharing our family and kids on the internet and oversharing generally. Now that he has seen just how serious I am about it and my vision for my blog, he’s definitely a lot more supportive and even reminds me to post about things. He’s in no way an Instagram husband, but whenever I ask he will go the extra mile to help take pictures. He’s also willing to just watch the girls so I can do an Instagram Live, sponsored post or if I have a photoshoot for a post. I think we’re just both learning how to balance it all.
Blogging misconceptions and social media vs reality
I really wish more people knew that it goes beyond just cute pictures of a mum and her kids. A lot of these women are juggling so much and being so vulnerable. I also want people to know that it’s not perfect. Thankfully, more women are being real about their lives which makes it seem more realistic, but it’s a lot of hard work, sweat, and dedication.
On the ethics of sharing photos of her kids
I personally share my kids on my page and on my blog, but I also try to be smart about that and what I share. Like I said, that was one of my husband’s worries initially, but I believe I am not sharing anything that the average millennial mother wouldn’t share. And the great thing about my blog is that it’s more centered around me as a mother than it is on how I raise my kids. So I try to create a lot of my content from that angle and keep the focus on myself rather than my kids. But you definitely won’t catch me making an Instagram page for my girls in the near future.
Nothing against the parents who do, but I just feel like I choose to share my life and experiences on the internet — my kids don’t, so it’s not my place to make that decision for them. I am a firm believer of letting kids be kids, and the internet and the influencer space really blur that line.
I could never tell a mum what to do with her child. I mean kids are cute and I know I love watching and seeing these beautiful children on the internet, but you also see the flip side where strangers now feel they have the right to speak on people’s kids and tell parents how to parent their own children. That’s also because these parents have opened that door for people to enter the conversation.
It’s just a gray area for me, and something I personally won’t do, but would never tell someone not to do if it’s the best fit for their family.
Doing more for her kids
I want my kids to be well rounded than I am; I would love to introduce them to other cultures and thankfully, raising them in the United States does give them a little taste of that. But I definitely want them to travel and experience other cultures and countries, because I never got that opportunity.
Favourite thing about being a blogger
I really love hearing from other young mums and even young dads who reach out to me and tell me how they really enjoy reading content I shared. It makes me feel like I am making an impact, which is why I started this platform. I really enjoy writing the vulnerable posts, like the ones about learning to love your body after baby, the reality of marriage and what nobody tells you about that first year of marriage. Those posts were so good to write because they were my reality and I knew that other women have felt those same emotions and would relate.
Blogging has made me think beyond myself. When I started this platform, I was very lonely, but when I started to share and talk about my own experiences, I realized there are so many people dealing with the same thing but they didn’t feel they could talk about it. Part of this is because we live in a “perfect” social media world where we all show our best selves. So, being real about my own stuff has allowed me to meet and interact with other people who DM and say “omg what you shared the other day or said the other day really hit home for me.” It just forms such a connection to know that I am not alone and that my goals for this platform are slowly coming to fruition.
Favourite blogs to read and women who inspire her
Motherly is my favourite!
I love Ayesha Curry — a young mum just like me with young kids and is still able to run businesses and be a cool mum. Also recently I learnt about Sara Blakely’s story and how she created her company, Spanx. It was such an inspiring story about how far hard work and consistency can carry you in life, no matter how silly your goals may sound to others.
On working full time and blogging
I have a full time job as well as my blog, and honestly it’s hard. Probably one of the biggest reasons why I have not been able to hit a lot of my blogging goals is that I suck at balancing. This year I’ve been using my content calendar a lot and trying to do better with planning things, but I am a realist and I understand that some things are just going to take priority over others, so I try not to over stress if things don’t always happen the way I’d like.
I am not a meal prepper and honestly not a planner. However, I do prioritize, so I start my day with my to-do list and tackle things based on their priority ranking. So if certain things just have to sit on the back burner for that day, then that’s what it is.
Advice for other mum bloggers
I say if you want to get on the blogging train, start. I won’t lie and say I don’t sometimes think it’s oversaturated, or that my voice doesn’t matter. But whenever I start to feel like that, I remember this analogy: there are so many different brands of bottled water, yet they somehow all sell. So if blogging is something you’re interested in, don’t let anything hold you back — someone out there needs whatever message you want to share.
On expanding outside her niche
I don’t think mum blogging will ever get boring for me. As mums we are constantly learning and growing, especially as my blog is more focused on the care of mothers and how they transition into this new role. I don’t know that I would ever want to branch out, but never say never; who knows what my mindset will be in a few years.
Her vision for A Lot of Tola
I would really love to grow my platform to be a place where young black mums can see themselves represented — especially young African women. There aren’t a lot of places where I see African women speaking about their journeys. So I would love to use my platform as that space where African mums and wives can discuss the vulnerable topics that our mothers choose to deal with in private.
I honestly have too many visions of where I hope this blog will take me, but my ultimate dream would be to expand my platform into the African continent in some way either in a conference setting or a magazine.
A dream collaboration?
I would really love to work with Disney. I just think it’s the ultimate mum brand and one that both mums and kids would love. So being able to connect with them in any capacity would be a dream.
Many thanks to Tola for sharing her truth with us as a mum blogger! I particularly love how she owns her lane and why she sees no need to expand beyond that reach. And I really do understand the need many new mums feel to share experiences. After I had a baby, felt like my entire brain was in mummy and baby mode and there was so much to talk about and share!
Who are your favourite mummy bloggers? What are your thoughts on sharing kids photos online?