Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Blogging Mamas

I crowded people out of coffee shops for years before I realized I was a Stroller Mom. I felt like the same freaky person on the inside and just happened to be pushing a 6-foot long double stroller; what a lot of other people saw was yet another uncool member of the kid-centered, space-hogging demographic. As my middle brother once said, “No one likes stroller moms.” (What he said wasn’t even mean if you heard it in context.) I didn’t realize that after I reproduced, no matter what I was doing, I was a Mom doing it.

An article about blogs titled, “Honey, Don’t Bother Mommy. I’m Too Busy Building My Brand” was in the New York Times last week. The reporter, Jennifer Mendelsohn, who is herself a blogging mom, wrote about attending a women’s blogging conference and the trend of “mommy bloggers.” I thought the article was fair, although she really riled up those Secret in the Sauce girls, the enthusiastic conference hosts.

SITS is a blog community for women, mostly mom women. I’ve been checking them out. From my limited understanding, being an active member involves reading lots of blogs, showering those blogs with upbeat comments, and promoting your blog while giving good compliment to SITS. As a SITS member, it’s all about getting and giving support. There are even SITS graphics for your blog to proclaim your allegiance to the SITSters. It’s not only awesome, it’s well-organized.

I'm not going to do it. There is something about it that is a little too forced. Don’t get me wrong . . . there are obviously many talented writers who participate in SITS. I just don't think it's a good match for me. I also wasn’t sure about the SITS brand. I don’t know what my brand would be, or even if I’d ever promote one, but I’m not likely to choose the you-go-girl! vibe.

I should have cut this part because I’m about to be an ass. You know what really bugs me about SITS? Bubbly enthusiasm and talking about how nice everything is all the time. SITS has a touch of that artificial sweetness that runs rampant in women’s groups. With respect . . . I don’t want to hear about how you and your hubby are living a real-life fairy tale or how adorable and sweet your children are (I do, of course, reserve the right to tell you how adorable and sweet my children are. . . no one’s perfect). I don’t want to constantly hear about your faith and/or what a good Christian you are. What I am interested in is . . . what do you really think when you’re not focused on serving others? Where are your edges? What are your shortcomings and what makes you laugh? When’s the last time you acted like an ass?

In my opinion, the Times writer didn’t really criticize SITS or mom bloggers. I think her tone was light and even self-deprecating. She described one of the hosts as “a summer-camp director from Los Angeles [who] steered the proceedings with the good-natured sass of a sorority social chairwoman and the enthusiasm of a, well, summer-camp director. (She went barefoot for much of the day and said “You guys!” a lot.).” That is my vision of SITS in a nutshell.

The SITS girls rallied in blogland and here are their responses to the Times article:

Honey, I Just Want to Connect Women

It’s Heather-speak, for “I’m a little miffed.”

Don’t Bother Mommy, She’s Rabid Right Now.

Honey, Don’t Bother Mommy, I am writing a Mildly Annoyed Letter to the NY Times.

Newspaper Bias Against Mom Bloggers

Honey, Don’t Bother with the NY Times. They Are Too Busy Slamming Your Mommy.

Blogging and Motherhood- Success is Not Limited to One or the Other.

And Then There Was the Time I Sounded Like an Ass in the New York Times.

There’s also a facebook page that takes up the cause. Never underestimate the power of socially-networked mothers. It's really best not to get them started.

I actually love the idea of moms with blogs. If there’s ever a time a person is in need of a voice and community, it’s while living with small children. Motherhood is all about service, compromise, invasion. You know what happens when a mom takes a shower? It’s like opening a Family Help Desk in the bathroom. So, I think it’s great that moms spend time on something that is all their own. You go girl! (Hmm . . . maybe I can deal with that vibe).

pic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/goddessofchocolate/4038233451/


  1. I totally agree with you and don’t think you were an ass at all. After I had my son I really struggled with the expectations vs. the reality. I had never planned on motherhood, but I’d hoped that when they put the baby in my arms everything will feel “right.” I wouldn’t say I expected a choir or angels or a bunch of pixies to spring up around us, but I definitely had high expectations. And when it didn’t work out that way, I worried that there was something wrong with me. I think part of the problem is the “everything is grand” attitude we hear a lot about parenthood.

    So yeah, I like moms who are more honest about their particular experiences. I think this is why I love Dooce so much (plus her writing is amazing). I just can’t relate to women who feel perfectly content with being a parent.

  2. Who is Dooce? I'm going to see if you have a link on your blog . . .

  3. I used to have a link but it looks like I forgot it when I redid my links (oops!).

    You can find it here though:

  4. Oh and not too pimp Dooce too hard, but she has a book called “It Sucked and Then I Cried” that’s really funny. I think I remember you saying you liked David Sedaris and Heather is like the Sedaris of motherhood. My local library had it but since Dooce lives in Salt Lake I’m not sure if that means most libraries carry it.

  5. I was just looking at her website. HILARIOUS. Man, it's been so long since I actually read a book just for fun . . . I might have to check it out. Thanks!!!!