Gentle Mommy Blogging: Avoiding Accidental Child Exploitation

I was on buzzfeed the other night (spending my time taking useless quizzes) when I stumbled down a rabbit hole and ended up reading several articles about mommy bloggers exploiting their children. This new internet thing we have going on has made all the lines blurry and I’m left wondering if I’m doing the right thing. Being a mom seems to be second-guessing everything you thought you knew, and I’m not about to break tradition. 

When you’re learning how to become a mommy blogger, how do you avoid accidentally exploiting your kids for likes? I’ve got some advice on kids and social media, plus some questions to ask yourself. Click to see how to protect your children from yourself. #mommyblogger #momblogs

Let’s backtrack a little bit. Hailey is the light of my life and I absolutely love her. This makes me share about her, a lot. I do monthly updates on the blog and take monthly photos of her (in addition to daily cell phone pics... there are thousands of those already!). I do all this because I love her and I want to have these memories someday. So I can look back at great photos and comment on how tiny she is. I already do this with her newborn photos and 1 month photos, so I can’t imagine how I’ll feel when she’s a teenager. 


I recently did a blog post for a brand where I created some really stinking cute magnets. I dressed Hailey up in pink and red outfits and snapped some adorable pics, which I then printed on magnets. These became the basis of my blog post. After I took the final photos, I giggled and proclaimed to friends via text that Hailey was a model. But... do I want my daughter to be a model? I don’t know. I can’t say I do in the traditional sense, but is it different when I’m the one behind the camera, making the decisions? Is she safer that way? There’s no real answer to that question. 

When you’re learning how to become a mommy blogger, how do you avoid accidentally exploiting your kids for likes? I’ve got some advice on kids and social media, plus some questions to ask yourself. Click to see how to protect your children from yourself. #mommyblogger #momblogs

I find myself now exploring the line between “loving mother” and “exploitative mommy blogger”. At what point does my desire to share her pictures and stories cross the line into embarrassing TMI? How do I avoid inadvertently exploiting my child, when all I want to do is share her with the world? The answer could be simple- don’t share her in any commercial capacity. Or don’t share her at all. But how can I hide such an important part of my life? Is it ok to have her join me in campaigns for a “mommy and me”, business edition? Is it ok only when my husband agrees? Is it acceptable only if I pay her for her work? I don’t really know. 

My job as her mom, first and foremost, is to protect her. In this crazy, fucked up world, do we as parents need to be more careful with our children on social media? We aren’t talking about sharing a story with a friendly old lady at the park, or your mom telling her neighbor the funny thing your kid did. We’re talking full-on photos and video (with commentary) being shared to that guy you went to college with and never speak to anymore. And that former coworker from 2 jobs ago that you barely know. And the chick you befriended at a bar 4 years back that posts funny memes. Are these strangers (let’s call them what they are!) people we really want to know all about our children? Or, more importantly, does it matter that they see it, or is it fine since they just scroll on past your pics because they probably don’t care anyway? 

When you’re learning how to become a mommy blogger, how do you avoid accidentally exploiting your kids for likes? I’ve got some advice on kids and social media, plus some questions to ask yourself. Click to see how to protect your children from yourself. #mommyblogger #momblogs

When I think about what I want for my child, some days I feel like it’s the opposite of what I’m doing. That whole “practice what you preach” thing is going out the window. I don’t want her to be obsessed with her looks and yet I dress us both up for photos. I don’t want her to be obsessed with screen time and yet all I do is watch tv. I want her to have face-to-face interaction in a world full of likes and LOLs, and yet I spend most of my time on my phone. I try to create a balance, but it’s hard to know where the line is between laying a good foundation and crazy, neurotic new-age mom.

When you’re learning how to become a mommy blogger, how do you avoid accidentally exploiting your kids for likes? I’ve got some advice on kids and social media, plus some questions to ask yourself. Click to see how to protect your children from yourself. #mommyblogger #momblogs

Those articles didn’t open my eyes to these things, because I was already thinking it. They just forced me to confront my thoughts finally. In reading these scary articles, it caused me to see a tiny sliver of myself in these people. I couldn’t judge them too harshly because I understood what they were saying. What they were actually saying... not what the articles were trying to vilify them for. 

Using your child for your social media business is a double edged sword. On the one hand, you’re using your child to gain an income. But on the other hand, in doing so, you’re able to provide them with things they might not be able to have otherwise. I’m not talking about free swag, money for vacations, or even a nice home. I’m talking about quality time with them instead of hiring a nanny or putting them in daycare, showing them how you work hard to run your business, and being available at a moment’s notice for them because your flexible schedule allows it. These are things that most traditional jobs do not provide us. 

If it wasn’t for my efforts on my blog, being at home with Hailey would be absolutely out of the question. We cannot afford it, period. She most likely would be in daycare (at least part time) since both my mom and mother-in-law work. She wouldn’t be waking up to my face every after nap, breastfeeding for every meal, and hearing me sing terribly to her just for a smile. Someday I’ll tell her about how I spent all day playing with her with tears in my eyes full of joy, and then after she went to bed spent an hour feeling happy that I had a break, then would immediately miss her and look at her photos. I’ll tell her all about how I had tears in my eyes at night once again, as I worked from 10pm to 2 or 3 am. All the while looking at her photo and telling her I’m doing this for her. Telling her I KNOW I can do this. 

When you’re learning how to become a mommy blogger, how do you avoid accidentally exploiting your kids for likes? I’ve got some advice on kids and social media, plus some questions to ask yourself. Click to see how to protect your children from yourself. #mommyblogger #momblogs

So you tell me- where does the line get drawn? How do I know I’m doing right by my child? The area is gray and I don’t want to open myself up to hatred and extreme criticism, but I genuinely want to know what people think about this. How do you share your children on social media? Perhaps through kind discussions, we can find the safe middle ground for all our children that doesn’t scar them for life. 

DIY Bunny Ears Headband

Easter is just about a week away, and I’m getting ready for Hailey’s first Easter! We are a unique family here, because my husband is Catholic and I’m Greek Orthodox. That means Hailey gets 2 Easters! My Easter is rarely on the same day as the regular Easter, and this year it’s a week behind. Didja know there was more than one Easter? Most people are pretty surprised to find out, but us Greeks follow a different counting system. I just get lucky because I get to celebrate twice! This girl loves an excuse to dress up for a theme so I made these really easy bunny ears to wear! They’re super easy to make and I bet you have all the supplies on hand. The best part is that you can use any colors and fabric you want, and they’re so cheap that you can make them for the whole family- kids, cousins, uncles and all!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Make these really easy (no sew!) DIY bunny ears headbands just in time for Easter! You probably have all the supplies on hand already! Check out the full DIY now to make a pair for yourself and your family! #eastercrafts #bunnyearsheadband #easterpartyideas
Make these really easy (no sew!) DIY bunny ears headbands just in time for Easter! You probably have all the supplies on hand already! Check out the full DIY now to make a pair for yourself and your family! #eastercrafts #bunnyearsheadband #easterpartyideas

You will need:

Fabric (similar here)
Pipe cleaners (here)
Marker (similar here)
Headband (here)
Glue gun
Scissors

How to Make DIY Bunny Ears:

Make these really easy (no sew!) DIY bunny ears headbands just in time for Easter! You probably have all the supplies on hand already! Check out the full DIY now to make a pair for yourself and your family! #eastercrafts #bunnyearsheadband #easterpartyideas

1. Layer both pipe cleaners and fold them in half.

2. Make the shape slightly rounded, then wrap the bottom to close it off, leaving some excess to attach it to your headband.

3. Trace the pipe cleaner shape onto your fabric for each ear using a disappearing ink marker. You can also double it if you want the back of your ears to be finished. I kept it simple and did only the front, mostly because I’m lazy… er, I mean efficient :p

4. Place your fabric face-up. Put glue at the top “U” of the pipe cleaner and place it down onto the fabric. This will ensure it ends up at the right spot without being too messy.

5. Turn over your ear. Put glue around the rest of the pipe cleaner and press it down.

6. Put your ear onto the headband and wrap the excess around to secure it.

Make these really easy (no sew!) DIY bunny ears headbands just in time for Easter! You probably have all the supplies on hand already! Check out the full DIY now to make a pair for yourself and your family! #eastercrafts #bunnyearsheadband #easterpartyideas
Make these really easy (no sew!) DIY bunny ears headbands just in time for Easter! You probably have all the supplies on hand already! Check out the full DIY now to make a pair for yourself and your family! #eastercrafts #bunnyearsheadband #easterpartyideas
Make these really easy (no sew!) DIY bunny ears headbands just in time for Easter! You probably have all the supplies on hand already! Check out the full DIY now to make a pair for yourself and your family! #eastercrafts #bunnyearsheadband #easterpartyideas
Make these really easy (no sew!) DIY bunny ears headbands just in time for Easter! You probably have all the supplies on hand already! Check out the full DIY now to make a pair for yourself and your family! #eastercrafts #bunnyearsheadband #easterpartyideas

And that’s all folks! Bonus points if you also wear pom pom earrings to match a cute fluffy bunny tail like I do. I warned ya, I’m a little bit extra when it comes to a theme! I’ll probably be wearing this bunny ears headband every day for the next 2 weeks.

Tummy Time fun (for less than $25!)

Hailey’s been rolling over (a lot) and she seems to be on her tummy a lot more lately! It’s really adorable to watch her do it, but also a little scary when I turn around for a second and all of a sudden she’s flipped on her tummy on the floor, her changing pad, in the crib… I’ve definitely got to keep my eyes on her! Since tummy time is really important for her development, I decided to make tummy time as fun as possible. I wanted a fun toy for her that allowed her to play and explore instead of just staring around and eventually crying. And, since I’m not working right now I needed something that didn’t break the bank.

*This post contains affiliate links

Make tummy time more fun for baby with this water toy! It’s a great baby shower gift idea and perfect for playing with baby. Click to learn more about this baby list must-have item! #tummytime #tummytimeproducts #bestbabyproducts

I went onto Amazon and found this tummy time water mat and knew I had to give it a try. The mat comes folded up, and you fill it yourself with air and water. This means it’s really compact when it’s not in use, and for only $22 you can’t go wrong! There are a few more affordable options (see below) but I picked this one because it seemed like a good size and had good reviews. I didn’t want it leaking water everywhere! 

Make tummy time more fun for baby with this water toy! It’s a great baby shower gift idea and perfect for playing with baby. Click to learn more about this baby list must-have item! #tummytime #tummytimeproducts #bestbabyproducts

A lot of the reviews complain about a smell, but in the words of my husband “it pretty much smells like a beach ball would”. You could definitely air it out if you wanted to, but I didn’t feel it was overpowering or anything. Plus, the baby didn’t seem affected. That being said, the smell was much stronger when we closed it in our baby’s room, so I’d recommend storing it somewhere else.

Make tummy time more fun for baby with this water toy! It’s a great baby shower gift idea and perfect for playing with baby. Click to learn more about this baby list must-have item! #tummytime #tummytimeproducts #bestbabyproducts

As for storage, I keep it filled since I’ve been using it everyday. I’m nervous to leave it on the floor unattended (if it leaks that’s a LOT of water!) so I’ve been storing it in the bathtub when not in use- works perfectly for keeping it clean and safe from my 3 cats and new puppy.

Make tummy time more fun for baby with this water toy! It’s a great baby shower gift idea and perfect for playing with baby. Click to learn more about this baby list must-have item! #tummytime #tummytimeproducts #bestbabyproducts

Hailey’s still getting the hang of it, but she seems to love when I press down and the water sloshes around so the little foam sea animals “swim” across the water. She’s been very observant lately, so she loves studying all the different colors and images on the mat. It’s also comfy for lounging apparently, because she always takes a rest on it. And another added bonus is that tummy time often leads to lots of saliva and spitting up, and with this mat it just gets wiped right off! One less thing to launder is a win in my book. I use these baby-safe wipes to clean it off before and after use :)

Make tummy time more fun for baby with this water toy! It’s a great baby shower gift idea and perfect for playing with baby. Click to learn more about this baby list must-have item! #tummytime #tummytimeproducts #bestbabyproducts
Make tummy time more fun for baby with this water toy! It’s a great baby shower gift idea and perfect for playing with baby. Click to learn more about this baby list must-have item! #tummytime #tummytimeproducts #bestbabyproducts

As mentioned above, I got this mat because of the good reviews and larger size. They also have a pastel version for under $12, a round one for less than $10 and a mini one for less than $6, which is perfect for small apartments or those that don’t have a lot of space! I was soooo close to buying the pretty pastel one but I opted for the larger size and better reviews with the one I ended up getting.

No matter which mat you get, baby is sure to love playing around and watching the little items move inside the water. Grab one today to start your tummy time fun!

DIY Easter Bunny Napkin Rings

It’s becoming spring outside and I am SOOO excited for it! Sure, the weather does fluctuate between freezing cold (where you need a jacket and scarf) to sunny and warm (where just a sweater will do) but living in NY, you take all the nice days you can get! Since Easter is coming up quick, I created these really fun DIY napkin rings for the Giggles Galore blog that are easy to make and super colorful!

Looking to dress up your Spring tablescape or your Easter table settings? Add these DIY Easter Bunny Napkin Rings to your Easter decor for a pop of color! They’re an easy Easter craft that you can whip up in a jiffy! Click for more info. #diynapkinrings #eastercrafts #eastertablesettings

They only use a few supplies, and as a crafter you probably already have them on hand! Who know that just felt, paper and a wooden bead could be so adorable? This is one of my favorite posts I’ve done, and I can’t wait to use these for Easter!

Looking to dress up your Spring tablescape or your Easter table settings? Add these DIY Easter Bunny Napkin Rings to your Easter decor for a pop of color! They’re an easy Easter craft that you can whip up in a jiffy! Click for more info. #diynapkinrings #eastercrafts #eastertablesettings
Looking to dress up your Spring tablescape or your Easter table settings? Add these DIY Easter Bunny Napkin Rings to your Easter decor for a pop of color! They’re an easy Easter craft that you can whip up in a jiffy! Click for more info. #diynapkinrings #eastercrafts #eastertablesettings

Be sure to head on over to the Giggles Galore blog to see the full post!

DIY Spring Pipe Cleaner Rings

There’s something about holidays that makes me especially crafty. I absolutely LOVE a good holiday craft, and I personally don’t think they all need to be saved for Christmas. Since Easter is coming up, I scoured the attic for supplies and decided to make these adorable rings out of pipe cleaners! They’re simple to make and pretty silly, so I think the kids would LOVE them.

Looking for a unique Easter craft or Easter egg filler? You’ve gotta make these rings! They’re super cute and affordable, and they only take a few minutes to make. Click to see how easy it is! #easter #easteregghunt #eastercrafts

I added some fun embellishments, like pom poms, felt flowers and glitter paper to create some spring characters. I kind of want to wear these all the way until Easter, since they’re so cute! Plus they really play up my lavender manicure.

Looking for a unique Easter craft or Easter egg filler? You’ve gotta make these rings! They’re super cute and affordable, and they only take a few minutes to make. Click to see how easy it is! #easter #easteregghunt #eastercrafts

They’d make a perfect prize for your Easter egg hunt as an alternative to candy too! Head on over to Giggles Galore to see the full post. It’s so easy to make your own!