Blogging vs Mommy Blogging

I started writing this in response to my friend’s (well, physician we have never met but we have corresponded so I’m calling her a friend) recent post titled: On mommy blogs, buy more about maternal ambivalence, erectile and my worst tendencies. Kerry is due with her first baby in two weeks and, with good reason, has a lot to process these days. I thought her honestly in this post was fantastic and I have been thinking about it all day.

I’m trying hard to move away from the Mommy Blogger label even though being a mommy and a blogger it is a little hard to avoid and I suspect no matter what I do from now on the label will always be with me. I’ve been blogging for years for one reason or another and I will say that having this blog has been helpful since Moira was born because it gave me somewhere to talk about this wonderful, overwhelming, life-altering, is that poo under my fingernails?* experience I am having. When I got pregnant I didn’t have any friends with kids or any friends who were pregnant so I had to search for connections. I found some through the Mothering Dot Commune forum but I also found things can get messy and very black or white over there. Maybe the benefit of my journalism training is that I was able to do the research and reserve (at least publicly) judgment until later on knowing that once the baby arrives all bets were off. I have discovered a) this is the hardest job in the world (at least that I have had so far) and b) mothers can be an extremely judgmental and bitchy lot. The further into this gig I get the more I just try and avoid everything and live by the “this is what works for me” mentality. It isn’t that I don’t have opinions – but what works for me isn’t going to work for everyone.

I too hate the “embrace your inner bad-mom” mentality that is so popular right now and wonder if any of these women really think they are “bad” at being mothers or if it just unacceptable to think – or admit out loud – that you’re good at it. No matter how tough things get around here or how often I use this blog as a sounding board for my insecurities (or joke about the amount of dirt I let her eat) at the end of most days I think I’m a pretty fucking awesome mum. I actually sit around when I am with Moira thinking, “this is fucking awesome” because I swear in my head all the time. Our girl is healthy, she’s happy, she is – above all else - so loved. I keep telling the Mister that we have to work hard in the early days to raise a child we can live with and so far I think we are doing a damn good job. Some things we felt were important as parents-to-be we have been adamant about (no TV, no crap food, not smothering her with attention or talking to her in a baby voice, avoiding sarcasm). Most things we are re-evaluating all the time – and I think that is the key to staying sane.

The other trend in parenting – at least in the blogosphere – these days seems to be giving your child your all: spending every moment with your baby, then child, home schooling and then blogging about how many sweaters you can still knit or quilts you can sew up while being there 100 per cent for your brood of six. Sometimes I find it a little nauseating but I like it better than all the bloody hipsters who are too cool to admit that they actually love their children for what they are other than some one to buy mini cyncial t-shirts for. It’s like there is a war going on between the Bad Moms and the Super Moms and the rest of us are sitting back wondering where we fit in even though we don’t have to fit in anywhere. I’m not a bad mom or a super mom – I’m just a good mom who will, most likely, continue to read and laugh at some of the Bad Mom blogs and read and be in awe (and a little jealous) of the Super Mom blogs.

But I’m getting away from the point if I ever had one. The point is I don’t really want to be a Mommy Blogger but since a huge part of my day is spent being a Mum it is hard to avoid. I have read so many blogs that apologized for making the switch from talking about whatever it was they talked about before having children to always talking about their children and it makes me laugh because of course that is what they are going to talk about on a personal blog. The real question is why should anyone feel the need to apologize? I don’t apologize for switching focus on this blog because my whole life switched focus. I do know, however, that it isn’t the only thing I want to focus on in my writing life these days and that is what I need to work on. For some people writing about their children is enough or is something they are passionate about and who can fault them for that?

*There totally WAS a tiny bit of poo under my fingernail earlier today while I was in a phone meeting and I think I have washed my hands eleventy billion times since then but I can still feel it there like some phantom poo limb tormenting me.

  9 Replies to “Blogging vs Mommy Blogging”

  1. May 16, 2009 at 7:49 am

    From afar, you do seem to be a pretty fucking awesome mom and I admire you a great deal. And though you do write about your daughter (in addition to many other things), if you were a “mommy blogger” in the truest sense, I don’t think I’d get quite as excited as I do every time I see a new post up here.

  2. May 16, 2009 at 11:01 am

    I don’t know if you’re referring to Ayelet Waldman or not, but the “Bad Mother” thing is simply a way to embrace the idea in order to let it go. Like you said, other women–other MOTHERS–can be very judgmental, and this is a way to take the gasp-inducing idea of not being a sweater-knitting, home-schooling “perfect” mother and make it your own. Also, it’s funny. And if you can’t laugh at yourself, what do you have?

    If you haven’t already, I highly recommend looking Ayelet up on YouTube. The readings she’s done, and the interview I saw, express what she’s doing quite well. She is a great writer, a mother of four, and married to Michael “humminahummina” Chabon. And she’s cute, too!

    And I agree; the apologizing thing is so sad. Since I’ve lived in three different countries now, I notice how it goes geographically. Canadians cannot stop apologizing for the life of them. Brits tend to start a lot of their sentences with,”Sorry”. But the French? The French do not fall all over themselves apologizing. And though some interpret this as rudeness (and, as everywhere, some indeed are rude), I think this is a very strong quality. I think many Canadians would apologize for taking up space if they could! But maybe this is my loud-mouth American side coming through (my parents are American, though I was born and raised in Canada).

    Wow, I have a lot to say on this! Maybe I need to start my own blog again. And of course it will be a Mommy blog. It will be an Actress/Singer/Writer/Exhibitionist/Comedienne/Expat/Paris/Mommy blog. Because that’s who I am. So what else could it be?

  3. May 17, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Melinda: I haven’t heard of Ayelet Waldman, I was talking about the whole “I suck” mentality that seems to be prevelent in our society these days – I’m not excluded from it either. Since you recommended it I will look up Ayelet Walkman but while we are on the topic PLEASE DO start up a new blog. Notes on Facebook just aren’t the same and you, who love an audience, deserve a bigger one.

  4. May 19, 2009 at 7:30 am

    I like to think of my tiny space on the internet as a lifestyle blog, rather than one thing or another, and I blog what I’m doing. I personally enjoy reading about your adventures and thoughts, big or small! Moira is so cute in that photo, learned to walk yesterday, now marching off by herself.

  5. Jen
    May 19, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Wow, I feel like I could have written this post myself. I struggle with this too. Anne’s comment is dead-on – I like the idea of calling the Arbolog a “lifestyle” blog. My lifestyle just happens to include a lot of Kale.

  6. May 19, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    ok I have a confession to make, I was worried for a second your blog was going to become one of those “oh look at my cute kid” kind of thing… but thinking back I should never have worried: you are such a good writter no matter what you talk about it is always enjoyable, and even more so when you talk about someone as enjoyable as Moira.

  7. May 31, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    well put!

    i never even knew there was such a term “mommy blog” until recently when someone referred to mine as one in a comment. I’ll admit i cringed a little at the thought, but then i realized that is my favorite thing i do!

    I also love decor, fashion, music, sports, humor, love, amongst many other things…but those are everywhere in the blogging world too. The best i can do is give a voice to the moms who know they rock, but know they aren’t all butterflies and rainbows about daily life.

    i love a good honest post. you are so refreshing to read 🙂 and a rockin’ “mommy/lots of other interesting things blogger”

  8. February 1, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    very good post. im going to add your blog to my list. feel free to add me if you like.

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