Last week a viral post stirred up emotions about “mommy bloggers.” I want to give the writer the benefit of the doubt (since this is something I have a tendency to do, wanting to find good in everyone) and say that her intent was not to blast this wonderful group of people, but instead to point out some issues the industry as a whole has. Unfortunately, she went about it all wrong.
Personally, I didn’t take offense. I read it as a rant from a reformed mommy blogger. Ignoring the title and leaving the mommy part out, she said that bloggers are wasting their time, that no one is interested in their lives and that they are selling out by engaging in some of the more popular money-making strategies.
The backlash has been intense. I don’t consider myself a mommy blogger since I write about a number of things, but parenting is a favorite topic of mine and there is value in it. After pondering a couple days, I decided to share why I think Mommy Bloggers truly rock.
Being a parent is tough. No one tells you how difficult it is and you learn most of it “on the job.” There are countless parenting books and articles, but when you have a baby, you don’t have time to read them. (Besides, they frequently contradict each other.) Few of us are lucky enough to live close to our own parents and support networks are often scarce (have you noticed how many articles there are on finding mom friends?) Mommy bloggers give advice in small snippets. When you are up at 3 in the morning, they are there, online to let you know that this is normal and you will survive it.
Parenting is easier when you have a sense of humor. Mommy bloggers point out what is funny about parenting. Every parent has said something that makes absolutely no sense, unless you have been there. Imagine opening your briefcase to find a stuffed duck, and surprised, you exclaim “Oh, Mother Ducker!” (This is the name of the said duck.) Parents may find this funny, co-workers without kids, not so much.
Kids create messes. “This is why we can’t have nice things” has become a motto of sorts for parents everywhere. Permanent marker murals on the walls, mustard art on the fridge, Kool Aid stains in the carpet are all evidence that a child was here. Mommy bloggers tell stories of these discoveries and worse (and maybe even give tips on how to clean up after them). Reading these stories, you know are not alone, or maybe you are very lucky.
As a parent, you will question yourself. You will question your decisions. You will question your sanity. (And if your child is performing sleep-deprivation experiments on you, all of the above.) Mommy bloggers admit their mistakes, their fears, their worries. Sometimes things look different when it is not about you. You can look at things objectively and see that these issues are not as big as you thought. (And that “perfect” mom in the PTA is likely having the same issues.)
You change after becoming a parent. No one can prepare you for this. You will not be the same person you were. Your relationships with others change as well. Mommy bloggers get it. At some point you will read something and say “Wow, me too!” You will feel like someone understands. You have a co-conspirator, a new friend. You feel validated. Years ago, we talked to the people in our village over the fence. Today we reach our village through a lit screen, which takes us around the world.
This global village that connects us all unfortunately makes some people feel like they can ignore social niceties. In today’s world, when people don’t agree, some feel that it is okay to be rude and engage in hurtful, name-calling behavior. I am far removed from the young new mom who was trying to navigate this parenting gig without the guidebook, but I remember how isolating and difficult it sometimes was. I remember how vulnerable I was. People love to give advice about parenting (even when they have zero experience in parenting). The truth is, there is no one right way to do anything as a parent. Different strategies work for different people (and sometimes what works with the first child may not work for the second). Mommy bloggers are among the bravest people I know. They put themselves out there. They are honest, often brutally so. Their motivations may vary, but having someone say “Me too!” is a reminder of why they are so valuable. Like parenting, mommy blogging is tough; we need to encourage, not belittle and insult.
- The Benefits of the Writing Family
- The Benefits of Keeping ‘Em Guessing