Here's to mommy blogs

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In the world of interpersonal blog relations (heh), there have now been years of discussions and arguments about "mommy blogs." Mommy blogs, if you've been under a rock, are blogs written by moms. Some of them are all about children, others broach into other subjects as well. Mommy blogs have increased in popularity for several years, on both a small and a large scale (some people have thousands of readers, others blog mostly for the benefit of keeping in touch with friends and family), and have been a presence a BlogHer for the last several summers. This year at BlogHer, my pal Suebob spoke about "childless blogging," in part a response to the mommy bloggers and in particular their appeal to advertisers. Bottom line: mommy bloggers, the attention they have received, etc. has been a hot topic for several years now.

So, since it has already been beaten into the ground, I thought I'd join in with my $0.02.

I don't have children. I don't plan to have children. I don't particularly plan not to have them either, but it's not something on my near future radar screen, for sure. This puts me in the minority in my current age cohort--both in "real life" and online, the majority of my friends have kids. I'd be lying if I said this never annoys me. I like kids, and I like being around them, but reaching the point in your life when your friends start having kids and having their lives change drastically while yours does not can indeed cramp your style and change your social scene. However, I've come to recognize that just as it is my responsibility to accept a friend's partner into my life because she loves that person, it is my responsibility to accept children into my life because my friends have chosen to have them. Once a friend has kids, those kids are part of that package. Yes, it changes things, but maybe it was time for things to change anyway. We're not as young as we used to be. And so life drifts towards more afternoon barbeques and midday brunches, we begin to work around naptimes, and I start keeping toys and games at my house to entertain the littles while their parents hang out. So be it.

Online, though, I am not in any way obligated to interact with parents if I don't choose to do so. Once in awhile, someone I know online, or someone whose blog I like, starts out with no kids and then has a kid (the most recent example I can think of is Allie's pregnancy at My Wardrobe Today; though my friends The Princess and Bomboniera have also had kids in the past year). Mostly, though, the "mommy bloggers" I read have been mommies the entire time I've been reading them. And you know what? They are among the best bloggers out there.

I read a lot of blogs. Craft blogs, thrifting blogs, persona blogs of all stripes. But there are a few mommy blogs that are the consistently highest quality of any of those I read, both when they are talking about their kids and when they aren't. And I think these women deserve any credit they get for their writing. Their kids may give them a built-in source of fodder for their posts, but it is what they do with that material that matters, and what they do makes me laugh, makes me cry, and inspires me to be a better blogger.

Flea of One Good Thing was the first really high quality blogger I ever read. She's written a ton of funny stories about her childhood, her crazy young adulthood, and her adventures as the proprieter of a sex shop. However, her best posts have always been about her children. When her son Alex put his soiled underwear in the coffee pot, her telling of the story solidified for me just how good blogging can be.

There are always naysayers who claim that Dooce doesn't deserve her position as a "celebrity blogger." I've always felt she does, if only for her honest writings about dealing with her depression and her amazing photographs (I love the recent ones of quilts). However, it's her open monthly letters to her daughter Leta that have most consistently amazed me. It's not just the love that comes through in those letters, but the honesty of that love, the admittance of just how hard it can be to be someone's mom, and how little that difficulty matters when it comes to how you feel about your child, that impresses me. I don't know if I would choose to do it quite so publicly as Dooce does, but I do know that if I ever have a child, I will definitely adopt her monthly letter-writing method of record keeping. I can't imagine how those letters wouldn't be priceless to Leta someday.

I've been following Squid's blog, The Adventures of Leelo and His Potty-Mouthed Mom, for years. I've cried while reading her entries more times than I can count. Her post "Music and Violence" earlier this week, though, left me weepy for half an hour. Squid's honesty about Leelo, and willingness to share both his triumphs and his hurdles, takes my breath away. It speaks to her strength as both a writer and a mom that when I read her posts I feel like I know her children.

There are too many other great mommy blogs to name. I love the sardonic humor dished out by Tanis at Attack of the Redneck Mommy, Eden at Fussy, and Mir at Woulda Coulda Shoulda. I am stunned by the thought and style put into posts by Ree at Confessions of a Pioneer Woman at LilySea at Peter's Cross Station. I don't read these blogs because kids are my #1 favorite subject--they aren't--I read them because they're the best blogs I've found.

All of this is to say that I think those of us who are non-mommy bloggers should get off mommy bloggers' backs. The community they have created for themselves is something that can and should be replicated, it's not something our jealousy should make us bitter about. And the work they are doing, both in raising their great kids and in writing about with humor, patience, love, and honesty, is worth commending.

6 Comments

I think there's a significant difference between people who talk about their kids once in a while, and people whose main focus is being a mommy/daddy and the majority of their blog posts are about that. I used to love Neil Pollack. But now he mainly talks about his kids. He's a daddy blogger. I don't care about children issues. I tuned out.

If you are my personal friend and have kids, I inherently care about your kids, so I enjoy it. But if I do not know you, and I read your themed blog for some other reason (i.e. WantNot--for bargains), I HATE when people talk about their kids. I couldn't think of anything less inherently interesting. I guess there's a fine line between "just about your kids" and "actually interesting thing about your kids" and parents don't know where that line is most of the time. Actually interesting things about your kids, like anything actually interesting, are awesome.

Very few of my friends have children. I see childlessness as the norm. Those who do generally still hang out in the same way they always have. While I agree kids are part of the friend package (just as SOs are) people whose life only includes or revolves around their SO or child aren't going to work out for me.

Most blogs, of any topic, are crappy. I can handle some crappiness if they are about something I am interested in. But mommy blogs, like teenage LJ diaries, IMO, have a higher percentage of crappiness. Because both share extreme navelgazing about a topic I find completely uninteresting. Navelgazing about study hall holds no interest to me; Navelgazing about your progeny, similarly uninteresting. This is not to say that kidless people don't navelgaze, just that there's an infinitely higher chance I might care.

I would argue that the reason that most of the mommyblogs you read are so on point are because you wouldn't be interested in one of the crappy ones enough to sustain reading about kids.

Note to self: Don't tell Jenny stories about my kids. Got it. ;)

I read fellow parent bloggers. I read a bunch of childless bloggers. I read a lot of food bloggers. I read all sorts of things; as you say, Grace, it's in the writing, and one doesn't need to be able to identify 100% with a writer who just plain knows how to tell an interesting story.

Nono, Mir, don't tell me UNINTERESTING stories about your kids. Just b

Thanks for saying that Grace, I completely agree with you. Interesting writing shouldn't preclude any particular topic and for people to write off all 'mommy bloggers' as insipid, droning bores is really narrow-minded. Thanks for keeping an open mind.

I hate to say that my first reaction is that you're so fair and balanced. When did I get jaded? But you are. And so eloquent. Regardless, thanks for pointing out that the pond *is* big enough for everyone.

At BlogHer I liked that Maggie Mason said to stop answering that you're "just a (fill in the blank)" blogger. No one is *just*. And everyone's niche, or lack thereof, is worthy.

Wow, thanks! You are too kind.

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