How blogging shapes the lives of Cat and Asher
Despite the insistence of her 5-year-old son to have his own blog/vlog, mommy blogger Catherine “Cat” Arambulo Antonio, 37, refused. She compromised by including videos of Asher in her eponymous website.
She and her husband, Century Properties chief finance officer Carlo Antonio, went through exhaustive deliberations about giving Asher more exposure.
Like most responsible parents, Cat is careful that Asher’s exposure should be educational, not self-indulgent.
Replete with pop-up ads, the video shows Cat roughing it up with her son in the condo playground, and watching him slide at Kidzoona. She warns about the germs that kids pick up and suggests a germicidal soap to cleanse them after playing.
The message is about parent chaperone instead of nannies, and the importance of hygiene. Still, a day in Asher’s life introduces sponsored content.
Cat is one of the few truly influential mommy bloggers. She was the first to be sent to a global wellness company’s headquarters in Europe. “Influential” means that people read her despite mixed reactions, which still increase the number of her page views.
Every day, an average of 50,000 visitors check out her site, catarambulo.com, where she features cosmetics, travel, product reviews and Asher’s fashion.
Like most business people, Cat is mum about monthly revenues and the companies which sponsor her. She is mum about rates for sponsored content. Publicists reveal that bloggers fetch an average of P10,000 for a photo caption on Instagram to P200,000 for their presence and posting of an event.
But she is transparent about issuing receipts and filing taxes, and maintains professional ethics for her son. When Asher is included in her sponsored content, she allots him half of the fee while she pays taxes.
Although Cat controls the content of Asher’s videos, she gets inputs and approval from her son. Content is then scrutinized by her husband before it is shared.
Her website started out as an outlet. Her husband disapproved of her long work hours as a fashion director. Cat sought an alternative in which she could balance family and career.
After taking up interior design, Cat started a blog as a platform for her interests in home, fashion, travel and her children. The photos, blogs and her candor captured viewers’ imagination, such that companies started wooing her.
“It’s a good business platform, but it doesn’t feel like work,” Cat said. “It was never an effort for me to try out things, even when I was younger. Like, I shaved off my eyebrows because I wanted to see how they looked like with pencil. I’m very daring and open.”
Blogging also enabled her to be with her children: “I’m sharing a part of my life, and they’re the biggest part of me. I can attend their extracurricular activities, and they can also come with me to my events.”
Not all her postings include her children. In one entry, she made no secret of the enhancement on her nose, and getting botox from a famous aesthetic clinic.
“My website started off for fun,” she recalled. “It was a bonus to be earning. I have friends who do it for a living because they are separated. Still, they need to be there for their kids. In our case, it’s something we enjoy.”
Cat observes that children with social media presence have an advantage: “It’s about touching lives.”
Once, Asher told his mother he wanted to teach children how to read before they used a tablet. “He’s very generous in that sense because he wants to see other kids happy,” Cat said.
Nevertheless, she vetoed his proposal. She told him, “You shouldn’t tell parents what to do with their kids.”
On being judged for “oversharenting,” Cat replied that people tend to overreact because she and her children are getting a lot of perks. As brand ambassador for Safeguard, Asher visited the Procter & Gamble plant in Singapore. Meanwhile, his year-old sister, Alana, is brand ambassador for Pampers. P&G contacted Cat while she was still pregnant. A British childrenswear company sends them clothes, too.
The precocious Asher enjoys being part of the content. His face lights up when he is photographed during a flight. After Cat’s project with an Asian airline, a captain of a European carrier sent a message to Asher, saying that its doors would be open when her son was ready.
Cat pointed out that social media opens opportunities to children. Asher doesn’t get swellheaded about the attention, though.
“I’d pull him out if that happens. Everything depends on parental guidance,” Cat said.
Mommy bloggers have sought her advice on personal matters. “You are living their lives through social media, which is more powerful than earning. No amount of checks can provide the satisfaction of inspiring someone,” she said.
Cancer patients tell Cat they feel uplifted after viewing her Instagram stories, photos and videos with a 24-hour life span.
A child with a disability was inspired by Asher’s #Asherstyle. The parent opened an account to boost the child’s self-esteem.
“You can do bigger things as a blogger. It’s not just about brands. It’s about your relationships and connections outside of it.” –CONTRIBUTED
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