On our Meet the Mom podcast, Neha Sood, Brand Head of Merlinbrands speaks with Ananta Goyal, a popular mother blogger with her page named ‘bumpandbabyy’. Ananta has been blogging for the past five years now. She has more than 67k followers on Instagram. She started her blog when she got pregnant with her second child and she had a one-year-old at that time and so the name "bumpandbabyy" came about. During her first pregnancy, she had read up so much information and wanted to share it with other mums. For her, it was a good platform wherein she can connect with other mothers, share her learnings with them and also kind of understand their journey. That's how her blog came about.
Both Neha and Ananta talks about building a strong sense of community among mothers where all get-together, share information and help each other out. And also in these difficult times, being isolated at home, it’s a good way to connect with everybody and not feel alone. On asking what her journey has been like and what actually led her to blog and become an influencer, she says she started off as a hobby, started it five years ago and it wasn’t even a career per se back then. However, it was something that was prevalent abroad and there were a lot of mommy bloggers and was moving towards the trend. She also saw her blogging career growing quickly and said grinning,” There is this running joke that every other mother is a mommy blogger now.” She also added that it's become like a whole industry and as a career for an individual, it has taken off. She says,” So it's been a gradual process and it's one that has, I think, got good scope to grow even further. There is space, you know, for how many ever people would like to join it, it's booming as an industry.”
Neha agrees with her and talks about many new people coming up with creative ideas and mother bloggers using this platform to talk about parenting, conventional and unconventional techniques. Talking about space in the career Ananta says, “Blogging has got to the forefront, especially for mothers, is that every mother is different, everyone one has their own style. It's not okay to shame someone for following a particular path in parenting, motherhood is more about supporting mothers and not really judging or compartmentalizing them.”
She also added that India as a community has come from a place where moms were highly judged for even simple things like breastfeeding and they were given a hard time for a lot of decisions and blogging has just really encouraged mothers to feel good about themselves and get the freedom to have the choice of what they're doing. About mothers, she said,” They are the primary caregivers, so they should have the opportunity to take it up, how they feel right and I don't think anyone really thrives with much judgment. So I think this is good with everyone being able to voice their opinion.”
Neha and Ananta continue discussing blogging content, cooking content and her blogging variations. On her varied content, she said her blog has also taken that journey of concentrating on early motherhood and pregnancy to now, as her boys are growing older and so now the cooking content. The cooking content also happened because of the lockdown as she was not being able to create the content that she would otherwise, whether it be brand associations or events hosting. She also added,” So one of the very natural progressions was as for me to create recipes, and talk about how you can get kids to eat healthy and creating like a wholesome environment at home that encourages everyone to eat well, and that kind of took off nicely for me. One of the primary reasons I think is every mom, like whether she likes to cook or not, does want to feed her family, healthy nutritious food. so that's where the whole idea came from for creating meals.”
Neha continued by talking about modern-day parenting and homeschooling and about parental control being an eyewash. According to Ananta with regards to parenting discipline plays a key role and said,” The minute you have a good discipline at home, it creates ease of environment because you know what you are trying to establish your children, you are tuned into what you're trying to establish and so do other family members and staff at home realize that this is the method, this is how we are going to do things. It's not okay to do this in the morning and that the evening there's a set pattern to things.”
Neha also feels discipline is required even more because of the lockdown and is worried about her 12-year old kid losing that sense of discipline of a simple thing like waking up early and getting things done. To this Ananta says that having few non-negotiables help for instance waking up on time can be a non-negotiable or studying for an hour etc and the kids would know what things are to be done. Neha and Ananta continued talking about lockdown making them have a good time with the family, accept the situation and look at the positive bright side of the lockdown.
Moving forward, they discuss the importance of social media platforms and it’s relation to business. On this Ananta said,” I also think that any business or brand cannot ignore social media anymore, it is sort of the base now for a lot of platforms for brands to sell especially in India, so many home-grown brands that are exclusively selling on Instagram.” She also talks about long-term relationships between brands and bloggers.
Neha agrees with her and expresses her thoughts on long-term relationships as to how Rabitat has always work that way and it’s about authenticity. Ananta too added some kind words saying, “You guys have done is that you know, you all associate with the few bloggers who you feel can relate to your product and also have the right audiences and understand the value of what you are offering and do long-term collaborations. I mean, I have personally used a lot of your products under the umbrella and not just used it once, but obviously, if it's a kid's product or you are using it regularly, over two, three years at least. And they've really stood the test for quality and for the design also for kids to have something playful. At the end of it, if you're marketing something for a child, if it's not going to be playful and interesting, it's really not going to take off. So I think that's where, you know, kudos to you guys for trying to figure out all these different elements and offering them to the audience.”
Neha also added about products being non-toxic and mothers not wanting to associate with something that is not genuine and may be harmful and she expresses that’s the kind of people the company wants to associate with.
Neha then asks Ananta for suggestions for other moms who would like to enter the blogging field. To this Ananta replied,” Whether you're a business, you're a brand or you are an individual who wants to enter as a blogger, it is a crowded space, but I think where you can stand out is sort of first creating your plan instead of diving in headfirst so that when you have your USP, what kind of content you are creating that will help you stand out from the noise.” She also shares more tips on blogging and how she is managing it with her nuclear family, about being a mother not restricting to rearing kids but to continue having a career. She feels it’s not about the income or salary but sometimes it's about personal satisfaction that you are able to do something. She remarks,” I think what we always never seem to assess is we always see the value of a paycheck, but we never see what we have learned. And I think when you understand the true value that will help you to not feel so bogged down.”
Neha agrees with her and says that failure also teaches you so much more than success. Success can fog your vision for a while, but failure truly, truly puts you in your place and really makes you try harder and strive harder and never take these things for granted.
The podcast ends by thanking each other and oh did we just miss saying that Ananta bribed her kids with chocolates to give her some quiet time for this podcast.