All the stuff you never knew you needed to know about life in rural France.....and all the stuff the books and magazines won't tell you.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Here be dragons....

Here Be Dragons!Image by spratmackrel via Flickr
A blogger whose posts I follow with pleasure has suffered a mishap recently, having fallen foul of the Mummy Bloggers..or some of them..or one of them...hard to know what's what with the Mummy Bloggers.

I had heard of them, in passing, but not being a dedicated follower of fashion they had passed me by in my rural backwater.

Until the blogger I follow had trouble with them, or her, or whatever part of the gallimaufry had inadvertently been roused....

So I took a look.

Goodness, what an abyss opened under my feet!

Pictures of children at birthday parties with a ratio of more than two parents to one child which would indicate all divorced, separated or sex changed partners wanted pictures of the event...

Sad pictures of children eating a birthday tea surrounded by a sea of adults with cameras...

It reminded me of the father who had booked our main house for his holiday with his family.

He spent most of the time with his video recorder filming his sweet little girl playing with the ducks and their ducklings, collecting eggs with Mr.Fly, helping to round up the chickens in the evening...with never a thought that it would have been much more fun for his little girl if he had joined in rather than recording the French rural idyll for the delectation of friends and family on his return
Reviews of cereals you would not feed to a self respecting dog, given the contents....

Posts about how to communicate with PR people....whose clients apparently seek the cachet of being approved by the Mummy Bloggers.
Given the view of their offspring offered by their posts - to be fair this is not a representative sample, just me jumping from blog to blog - I would not base my launch of beasty flavoured soya animal shapes on the sample offered, but I suppose that's not the idea.
The idea is to get the Mummy Bloggers to talk about the product.
Which they do. 

Snarly, bitchy exchanges totally opaque to the outsider...almost French in their intensity...and the regular appearance of that worst bitchiness of all...
Of course, she needs help....
That phrase, to me, sums up what I found so off putting in the blogs I looked at...the sugary, false expression of concern while the knife goes in the back.

These blogs seem so self regarding, when their purpose, their leitmotif, purports to be sharing what it is to be a  parent, which demands so much self abnegation and which can give such joy.

Where is the joy in these blogs?
Missing. Gone AWOL.
There have to be other blogs, where people just talk about their lives and their kids, the ups and the downs, but following the trail I did, I didn't find any.

Given the bait of goodies,or invites, we might all be tempted to do product reviews and push our stats up...but when I learn that the summit of ambition is to have an award ceremony during a weekend at heart misgives me.

Is it really worth all the back biting to have a weekend at Butlins?

(I apologise for the italics...I pressed something which refuses to be unpressed, so please do not read added importance to the text thus italicised.)

Having surfed the surface of the genre, I think I can divide the participants into two groups.....

One...the Sir Jaspers, sure of their ground as middle class mummys...mummies?...and keen to enforce the line of those above and below the salt where it comes to the distribution of pushchairs, cereal samples and invitations to product launches.

The other...the 'she was poor but she was honest' group, who would very much like, like Israel Hands, to get their mitts on the  pickles and the wines monopolised by group one...and somewhat vocal when they don't succeed.

Going  back to the comments on the blog of the unfortunate offender, I was struck by the number of contributions by Mummy Bloggers who, while clearly having an I.D. for Mummy Blogging, preferred anonymity when making comments on the blog concerned.

What does this indicate about the world of Mummy Blogging?

That it can be nasty, brutish and short....unless you are a Sir Jasper.

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  1. As the blogger who fell foul of a group I'd barely heard of until this year I still find the whole thing bewildering. It is, as you say, an abyss and one I suspect whose chasm is impossible to bridge. I shall stay well out of it in future and take more care where I cast my comments! As for product endorsement... all I seem to endorse are brunettes and I doubt very much I shall be getting a free sample of one of those. Thank you - very sincerely - for your support both here and on my blog. Your cool, level headedness has helped keep mine on an even keel.

  2. Steve, if you succeed in getting a free sample of a brunette, Mr. Fly would be very pleased if you could send him one too...

    No one likes to offend and you must have been so taken aback by what happened as a consequence of your comment...

    I was glad that the lady who was offended came openly onto your blog to explain her point of view, though.

    The whole mummy blogging scene seems so alien to the idea of blogging that I thought was general....just sharing one's thoughts or discoveries.

  3. I agree. As I said to the lady in question, blogs are free and there's room for everyone...! I just don't get the vicious competitiveness that seems to exist in mummy blogger land. They can keep it and their awards. I'm quite happy ponitificating on my blog and writing about utter rubbish!

  4. Steve, yes, just like me..RIRO blogging...rubbish in rubbish out!

    Still, it pleases our tiny minds which is all that matters...

    Mr. Fly is getting insistent about those brunettes...

  5. I'll what I can do... may have to whore myself out though...! ;-)

  6. Steve, just as long as you blog about it...

  7. Blimey!! I think I've missed something here. Mummy Bloggers? What's that all about? But by what you're saying they don't sound like the kind of blogs I'd like to visit :-(

  8. I think control-i might toggle between italics and not, in case you get that problem again.

    Thanks for the warning about Mummy Bloggers. I don't have time for it.

  9. Hilarious. Daft bint clearly spends far too much time in the playground. Insufferably dull blog as well.

  10. Very interesting.

    I myself ran afoul of a Mommy Blogger -- while not being one myself! -- early in my blogging career. It was very hurtful, my intentions deliberately misconstrued, as several (many anonymously) joined in.

    Your friend has my sympathies.


  11. I'm not sorry to say I seemed to have missed this...

    You can tell your Mr. that this is from a gorgeous brunette...

    I've just come from the salon, and my hairdresser, herself a smashing brunette, always makes me look like a million.

    Happy weekend to to and Mr. Fly!

  12. e...gorgeous brunettes get priority in deference to Mr. Fly.
    I've told him to get his Franz Joseph whiskers trimmed if he wants to make an impression...
    and you have a super weekend too!

    Ayak, I'd heard of them, and from what I can remember David Cameron got into contact with them as part of his pre election campaign and came off mauled, so there must be something good about them, but the sites I was led to by the spat with Steve were depressing.
    The lady concerned seems to have a better site then most, mark you, which may not be saying a lot, but it does all seem a bit tawdry.

    misplacedperson, while a storm in a teacup, it generated a white hot cup of tea!

    Pearl, it seems to be what is happening in this case.
    Not knowing the history I have no idea who set about whom first, but they all, including the one on whose blog Steve came across the reference, seem about as iffy as each other.
    I've never had this in blogland - apart from the illwisher who is responsible for me going to moderated comments - but I have had it from the expat's like living in a miasma of unfounded unpleasantness, it is very hurtful...and you can never get to the bottom of it and have it out with the people concerned.
    Sorry you were hurt...but you've come through like a star and I bet they haven't.

    Mark, thank you for the tip. I'll try it if it happens again.
    No, stick to your music your garden and your blog...keep away from the dragons.

  13. "I think control" one of the comments began and I thought - that's it, that's why the nastiness gets so out of hand, being a mother is sometimes a tough, lonely business and if you found somewhere you could pass yourself off as an expert, an authority - and get to maintain your anonymity too...remember the Mean Girls back at school, taking the opportunity to be all-powerful in one tiny corner of the world?

    Then I realized your commenter was just advising how to remove the italics...

  14. Once again you have educated me and I found myself trawling google to learn more about 'mummy bloggers'. I could do with an all expenses paid holiday so that I could write about something more interesting than my life and various menagerie, but I think I will steer clear of that crowd and their spite!

  15. Roz, I had only heard of them in passing...until Steve fell foul of them...then I was wondering what on earth a mild chap like Steve could have done to upset someone and started taking a look.
    Crumbs, what oceans of ...well, suffice it to say it is not my kettle of fish.

    I wonder who'd sponsor us?

    In my case probably any country's tourist board who didn't want people to visit France!

  16. I immediately thought of the expat crowd when I read about this business. Some of the expat internet forums can get as beastly. I really don't know why except that some people don't seem to have a sense of humour, take offence too easily and then strike back with excessive force.
    I don't seem to have anything in common with the Mummy Bloggers and if the way one of their number attacked Steve is an example of their esprit de corps, I'll stay well away.
    I manage to stay away from vicious expat communities, I'll do it online too :)

  17. Fly, I'm glad you wrote this post. I dipped my toe briefly into the Mummy Bloggers world and whipped it straight back out. What a bunch of snakes! The blog in question I too found insufferably dull, can't be doing with all this blogging for a singing potty nonsense. I prefer the RIRO blogs. We should set up our own group!

  18. Amy, Blogger has just disgorged your comment from its entrails....
    I see what you're thinking in the context of the post...and it turns out to be a handy hint!
    I didn't have Mean Girls at school....there were playground assistants in junior school and a rota of teachers on playground duty later on, who struck terror into every heart, so no chance for the Mean girls. One whiff and they would have been standing outside the Head's door.

    Sarah, how right you are about the forum frequenters! And how right about the expats, too. seems to be something about gathering in groups which turns people into vultures.

    P(V)LiF,'re on.
    RIRO blogs it is....who' going to sponsor us?
    Firms making dustbins and recycling containers?
    And the idea of a singing potty...can you imagine being unable to pass water for life after being scarred by a rendition of jungle bells every time you squatted down when young!

  19. I did mean jingle bells, but the aura of the Mummy Bloggers must have got to me with the typo.

  20. I can't abide those mummy blogger sites - vicious lot of harridans.

  21. French Fancy, well, it certainly opened my eyes!

  22. Cliques exist everywhere. To take the nasty taste out of your mouth, you could do worse than try "Lost in Translation", a great "mummy blogger" with really interesting insights:

  23. Pueblo girl, well, that's what I thought it was going to be, normal everyday stuff that thank you for redressing the balance!

    Cheshire wife...the things we miss...

  24. What in the hell is wrong with those people? What a sad commentary on our times. How I would hate to be one of those children, thinking back fondly to the benign neglect I went through. Great blog item.

  25. Wise as always. I have less to say about the comments than the content of the mummy (and daddy) blogs - much of which, with few exceptions, is dull and zzzz...

  26. mrwriteon, benign neglect was great!
    When we had holiday cottages to rent in France we came across all sorts...but most of them spent their time hovering over their offspring, taking photographs, but not actually having fun with them.
    Our parents used to send us off for the day with sandwiches and a curfew.
    I know which I'd prefer should I once again be a child.

    Mark, the content was...shall we say..less than scintillating.
    But it doesn't have to be like that.
    You are the proof when you write about your children.

  27. Gosh, I missed this one thanks to France Telecom's collapse in our petit coin.

    Ashamed to admit that I am fascinated by horrible people, and where do they lurk most? Behind the anonymous battlements of the Internet, from where they can attack more or less with impunity. I couldn't find the blog that suffered the assault, so am none the wiser as to what happened and why, which is a little frustrating.

    The remark regarding French fora is spot on; amazing how infuriated a person/persons can become over whether or not another person watches English TV, or hankers after Marmite. Or how a cry for help can unleash a torrent of spiteful criticism. Personally, I suspect much of it is fuelled by too much rouge in conjunction with too little to do.

    However, am now off to Google "mummy bloggers" and delve into what sounds like a venomous and sinister underworld. If I don't come back, please will somebody make sure the animals are fed and watered.

  28. nodamnblog, it was Steve who was nobbled. A milder man you could not wish.
    With you on the fora....they've nobbled Mrs. Marmite too just recently.
    Just take your garlic and crucifix and you should be O.K.