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.