Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why I Am A Mommyblogger

Let me take a break from complaining about the sleep issues in my house. Instead, let's talk about "mommyblogging."

When I was at the DC BlogHer conference, I introduced myself to one young lady (did I just write "young lady"? I am getting old. But I wanted to write girl, but that wasn't fair) as I did to everyone else, "I'm a mommyblogger." She asked me why I call myself a mommyblogger, after all just because I'm a woman (and I assume she means a woman and a mom) does not mean that all I am is a mom because I could blog about anything. She proceeded to name a bunch of different things that I have little interest in as topics to blog about. I gave her a shorter version of what I'm about to explain to you all now.

Before I became a parent, I did not understand why in the world people would blog. I don't like reality TV or talk shows, which is basically what blogging reminded me of. I didn't understand why people would want to talk about their lives on the internet. I just didn't get it.

Then, I had my child. My lovely, wonderful, fussy, high-needs child. My first foray into anything blog-like was when I was struggling with the fact that the only way my child would sleep at night was swaddled in a swing. A good friend sent me a post from Ask Moxie (this post) which made me feel so much better, and I began to devour her site. Here was a woman who was talking about how hard it was to be a parent, and the comments of other women who understood and comisserated. There were good things too--bright uplifting things that kept me going through those tough first few months. This site became a daily place I went daily to read and feel better.

Then, I went back to work. I went to a new project and got along well with my new coworkers, but they were almost all men. Young, unmarried or just-getting-married men. In my large office, there were other parents, but I didn't know them. The other new mothers were still out on maternity leave. In fact, I was the only person using the Mother's Room at the time, which was nice for privacy, but lonely for understanding. The young men I worked with would listen to how tired I was, ask good questions to understand how hard, and were really great about welcoming me and letting me talk about the Pumpkin. But they just didn't understand and couldn't share their similar experiences (being an uncle is simply not the same).

So one day, as I'm in the Mother's Room pumping, I'm IMing a friend who also had a baby and went back to work. She asks if I've read any mommyblogs. I told her that I'd been reading Ask Moxie, which she hadn't discovered till I told her. She told me about Mom-101, Motherhood Uncensored, Girl's Gone Child, Her Bad Mother and probably a couple others. After a while of IMing about the mommyblogs, my friend fessed up that she actually has a blog, which I quickly added to my favorites.

Wow. These people understood what I was going through. They were talking about it, writing about it, sharing the good and the bad. The comments were other women who were going through the same things. The light came on in my head, and I felt like I finally had a place, a community. I finally understood why people blog, and why people read and comment.

I quickly became an addict. I read those blogs and used their blogrolls and comments to find other blogs. I started understanding that even on Ask Moxie, I could click a commenter's link and read their blog too. Then, I started leaving comments (after coming up with a name for myself). This was better than parenting magazines. This was better, to me, than even parenting message boards, which I had been going to. This was like the best of both non-fiction articles of magazines and the interactiveness of message boards.

I debated for a while about whether or not to start my own blog. I talked about it with Londo, because I wouldn't talk about our lives without his backing. Finally, last Thanksgiving, I decided to do it. I started a blog myself. This way, when I commented on others' sites, they could come back to me and see who I was, what I was going through. It would be more two-sided, more like a conversation. Like a community.

I generally only read mommyblogs, although there are some others I read. Since having kids, that's what I want to talk about with other people. I can't do that at work or with non-parents, as they quickly get bored. But I don't get bored with stories about people's kids or parenthood and all that we go through. I eat those stories up and look for more (I still haven't updated my blogroll, but I read A LOT of blogs).

Why am I "just" a mommyblogger? Because that is what interests me. Why are do some people blog only about politics or sports or their type of job or books? That is their area of interest. Why do some people just blog about their lives and all that encompasses? It's what they want to blog about.

I prefer to keep my blog focused on my area of interest. More than that, I have discovered an online community of women and men who are going through what I am going through. Parenthood. It's not easy, and those who don't have kids won't understand. But those who do, and who reach out and are supportive and kind to each other? Those are my people. My fellow bloggers and commenters.

Finally, although we talk about poop, developmental milestones and problems sleeping, we also talk about politics and work and marriage (or partnership) and life. We are more than just mommybloggers. We are women and men. We are also parents and there is nothing wrong with blogging about that. In fact, there is so much that is right about it and this parentblogging community.

I'm proud to be a mommyblogger.

7 comments:

I'm Not Skippy said...

I'm the same, I'm a daddyblogger. I always thought a blog would be kind of fun to do, but before my wife became pregnant and I was about to become a dad I didn't have anything I thought was worth sharing with the world.

That's a little sad.

Only a little though. When I started my blog I was doing it to vent my feelings away from my wife. We only needed one person worrying out loud. I thought I'd keep it a secret for a long time. Then we hit some issue during the pregnancy and I thought the blog could distract her a little bit.

Now I try and keep it completely as a daddy blog so when he's older I can share it with my son. It's his baby book from me.

Don Mills Diva said...

Hurray!

I completely agree with all of this. It seems to me the women (girl) who chastised you for referring to yourself as a mommy-blogger was being offensvie in her assumption that the term is negative.

I call myself a mommy-blogger because that's what I am. I am a mommy and I am a blogger and who mainly blogs about parenting. I'm proud of that and I question why anyone assumes I'm selling myself short when I state the facts.

Cloud said...

Hmm- this may be a duplicate. Blogger just gave me a weird error when I tried to post a comment.

What I wanted to say was....

I don't think of mommyblogger as a negative at all. I started my blog as a place to write up stories from a recent big trip. It fell into disuse until Pumpkin was born. I revived it for a lot of the same reasons you mention for starting a blog. I also wanted a place to post about working momhood. It still makes me happy to see people land on my blog from searches about transporting breastmilk while on a business trip. Before I went on my first post-baby business trip, I spent ages online looking for encouraging stories from women who had gone on business trips and left a nursing baby at home.

I occasionally post on other things, but I think >90% of my posts are about Pumpkin or parenting. And I'm fine with that.

HeatherY said...

Great post! It's nice to know you aren't alone in the world and that there are others going through the same things. I love the mommyblog scene! I'm so happy that I discovered such a great place to network with other moms. I love the ups and downs of being a mom and enjoy reading about other moms too. It's my stress relief.

Once that 'girl' has kids, she'll be a mommyblogger too.

Trannyhead said...

I definitely got into it when my husband left for Iraq and I was looking for an outlet. But now I'm hooked and I feel like I KNOW all the blog authors I read.

Colleen said...

here here!

I got started the same as you. Got hooked on a big blogger (Amalah) and it just snowballed from there. I would get so frustrated with the message boards because it wasn't quite the same. Plus, I didn't have a lot of patience for those first few sleep-deprived months for some of the ridiculous & scary questions posted, i.e. "I'm 5 mos pg and I'm bleeding profusely. Should I call my doctor?" and I'm screaming at the computer "YES YES you knucklehead!!!!" LOL--like I said, I was a bit sleep-deprived. ;)
I have to say I was surprised by all the folks who seem rather repelled by the "mommyblogger" title. I don't know why it's looked at so negatively. But I love the community regardless. :)

Sarah said...

Just wanted to say hello, since I'm finding this blog *years* after you started it...yet I'm finding so much that resonates. Your daughter sounds so much like my now 3-year-old son, and I wish I'd found this back when he was a fussy young baby, or even a whiny always-needing-to-move older baby. I'm so glad you documented your feelings, because it's actually easy to forget how crazy/frustrating/ecstatic it all is.

In fact, I must have forgotten completely, because I just went and had another one. Ha. I'm one of those extremely sleep-deprived people who stumbled on your blog by searching for "restless baby," although my second is only like that at night. We're cosleeping (not by choice, but because I need to hold her down to keep her from wiggling and waking herself up), and again -- I found so much that's familiar and wise in your posts. Thank you!