Emily Writes bids an emotional goodbye to The Spinoff Parents, a world unto itself she dreamed up and shaped.
Two years ago, The Spinoff Parents launched to much excitement. We were set in our kaupapa and sure we could make a difference in how parenting is perceived and viewed and covered in the mainstream media.
I said then, in September 2016, that parenting sections were generally a dire cesspit of despair and misery. A place of ridiculous hyperbole about the magnificence of parenting or just DULL (SO FUCKING DULL). I bemoaned the fact that these sections only featured nuclear families that looked like they could star in butter ads when we know so many of our families don’t look like that.
I was then, as I am now, tired of half-arsed articles on big issues that face parents. I said that there are so many important discussions we need to have about issues that affect parents and children in this country. Along with a heap of other parents we said we were going to make a place that had nuance, that didn’t view parenting as black and white, a place where we didn’t shy away from controversy but also didn’t court it or sensationalise.
Two years on, I’m really proud of how we stuck with our kaupapa. We have covered everything from not having children, to trying to have children, to having children. We have covered the issues facing those who help us birth our children. We haven’t hidden from topics like vaccination or abortion – we have been political and we have been angry. But above all, we have probably been hopeful. We have run pieces by, and for, all sorts of families. And we even made a book: Is it bedtime yet?
So this is tough to write and I’ll admit I’m a bit teary. Despite all the good I think we did here, The Spinoff Parents is going on hiatus.
Flick has been an incredibly generous sponsor to the section for almost two years and we are so grateful for the support they gave us. Without them we would not have been able to bring together so many amazing people to support so many amazing parents. They have decided to sponsor The Spinoff Politics section, to help bring a different set of important conversations to the fore.
So we’re pressing pause while The Spinoff searches for a new partner to bring Parents to its people.
Some of our stories from two years on The Spinoff Parents
It’s hard to put into words how grateful I am to you our readers – I have had so many emails over the years from you saying how much this section means to you. I am beyond grateful to for the hundreds of New Zealand parents who have written for us. Without your incredible, brave, heartfelt, funny, moving writing, The Spinoff Parents wouldn’t have become the important and vital community it became.
To me, The Spinoff Parents was never just a media platform. It felt like a lifeline to many parents – it felt like a lifeline to me too.
It felt like one of the few places online for parents that provides information without judgement or ill-thought out, unsolicited advice. We know parents are desperate for support and solidarity – they don’t want sanctimony. The Spinoff Parents has for almost two years served as a place of comfort for parents and people who want to be parents and people who want to support parents.
By writing for The Spinoff Parents you supported and spoke to a village of parents who come together to help each other in the journey of parenting. Your stories to united and connected communities. By reading and sharing, you spread these words far and wide until they landed where they needed to be.
New Zealand’s parents needed an online village and I truly believe The Spinoff Parents was that place.
I really hope it can be that place again.
But until then please know I am grateful beyond measure for you – whether you read pieces or shared them or wrote for us or emailed or took part in this section in any way.
The kaupapa of Parents was in every piece of writing – line by line. The purpose of The Spinoff Parents was and is to support each other to understand that while parenting is a shared experience, we all have differing experiences – and that is OK.
The stories we shared, I believe, really united parents. And more importantly, they helped us to feel like we’re not alone in this. I hope that the stories we shared helped us to be better parents to all children, not just our own. And I hope they helped us be kinder and patient while teaching and demonstrating empathy and kindness.
When we started The Spinoff Parents there was so little complexity in traditional media and social media and so much focus on one choice without any understanding that mothers today do not all have the same choices. The Spinoff Parents was an absolute rejection of this. It is/was a public service for parents.
I don’t believe a platform like The Spinoff Parents is the answer to all of our challenges. But I do believe that making our world smaller by sharing our stories helps us not just survive the hard days, but thrive on the better days.
Hearing the real lived experience of another parent is a reminder that you’re not alone, but also that you have tools in your kete that you can share. That you have a worldview that is shaped by not always having the full story. That you can change that by listening and sharing.
Thank you for helping to make The Spinoff Parents the incredible place it is. And thank you for your courage and talent and kindness and empathy.
It has been a privilege to serve you as editor of the section – I hope we can find a sponsor so I can continue to do so. In the meantime I will be commencing a weekly column for The Spinoff about being a parent as well as other subjects.
If you’re reading and considering sponsoring us: please know you’re sponsoring more than a section of a website. You’d be part of what I see as a movement toward a better world for kids and caregivers – where we share information and experiences that unite us and connect us. I truly believe that this section serves an important purpose and I hope you’ll join us to keep it going.
Until then – I hope this quote from a reader helps you reflect on the meaningful contribution you made to the parenting landscape by reading and writing and sharing our pieces!
Parenting is such a challenging, rewarding, scary, delightful, baffling experience, and the mineable material that comes from that has the same rich range and depth. It’s been great to see The Spinoff give this long-belittled experience some airtime. But more than that, the writing is really good. I wouldn’t support a section on parenting if the writing was anodyne, but the writing on the Spinoff has been brave, controversial, personal, thoughtful and other good adjectives. I hope it continues to mine parenting’s rugged and beautiful terrain.
I hope in time we can do that!
Arohanui, signing off,