In Defense of the Mommy Blog

Mommy bloggers need to get over themselves, wrote the woman in the comment section of the online article I recently read. They act like they’re the first generation of women who’ve ever given birth.

It’s a common criticism and one that I’ve heard countless times before. These women need to close their laptops and take care of their kids instead of posting potty training tips or recipes for gluten-free graham crackers.

They’re so self-important.

Won’t the children resent them when they’re older?

Can’t they find something better to do with their time?

To a certain extent I agree, at least in that we need to approach blogging with consideration and strive for balance– like everything in life. There are certainly mommy bloggers who are guilty of self-importance, but it’s hardly a universal truth. All of this makes me wonder what it is about mothers in particular that make us such a target for vitriol in the blogosphere.

It’s a careful dance, this business of blogging while mothering. 

You’ve heard me say it before: women need to search for themselves in the the stories of their children. They need to find value in the way motherhood shapes them, too. But to discount mommy bloggers entirely is missing a key point: telling our stories is nothing new. It’s just the medium has changed.

Vintage Portrait of a Mother holding a Baby Child on the Patio Outside Photo Credit: Beverley and Pack/Flickr

My mother-in-law and I have marathon phone conversations. A phone call that begins with me asking for a soup recipe can cover more territory than a hound on a hunt.

It’s in our blood, this sharing of experiences, this relating that we do. Connecting is the currency of women, particularly in the realm of motherhood. Before there were blogs there was conversation at the bridge table. There were strolls in the park. There were long walks to the well.

There were letters between far-away sisters and Sunday drives with best friends.

There were frantic calls to mothers when the baby wouldn’t sleep. There were postcards and telegrams and family lore of things passed down.

There were stories. Tradition. There was comfort in the knowledge that it had all been experienced before.

That is the power of the mommy blogger: the ability to comfort with words. The ability to relate to unseen readers who follow our stories and sort out their own.

And while our current generation may not be the first to have raised children, this experience connects us with every generation who ever has. The stories are the invisible threads.

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  1. Melanie says:

    Things are so different now. Now we have this awesome way of communicating that “the first generation” who gave birth didn’t. We can reach out to each other and offer comfort across the miles, no matter where we live. You’re more likely to move away from family and friends these days, and keeping these kinds of records and sharing them helps you stay connected to the people you love, as well as make new friends.
    Melanie recently posted..Bloggers on Motherhood: Jenna of Sweet Fine DayMy Profile

  2. Love this. Thanks for writing it. Stories shared via mommy blogs lead to empowerment, support, increased knowledge, movements in the name of social justice–all of which makes us better moms who raise better kids, making the world a better place for everyone, including mommy blog haters. (Some people forget that they can click away from content they do not enjoy. Maybe if they could surf the net with a remote control they would remember the concept of changing the channel. ;) )
    Kimberly S. (Sperk*) recently posted..Bullying Policy?My Profile

  3. Lydia says:

    Being from the previous generation of “mommies,” I enjoy reading some of the mommy blogs. But my comment would be, “Why are you reading these blogs if you do not like them?” There is an vast universe of alternative blogs that you could be reading. Can’t you find something better to do with your time? Write on mommy bloggers.

  4. I find much support through other “mommy bloggers” out there. Sometimes it’s good to know I’m not the only one going through a particular situation or feeling how I feel some days.
    Beautiful writing, as usual :)
    Runnermom-jen recently posted..Bare Feet and the Wind in the Willow TreeMy Profile

  5. Rachael says:

    Agreed! I can’t even begin to express how valuable mommy blogs and online mom communities were to me when I was a freaked out struggling new mom, convinced I was doing everything wrong. Calling my mother for help only goes so far. Do I really call her at 4am for every little question? What if it is something she never experienced? All babies are different. Just being able to read that someone had “been there” and made it through, made all the difference in the world. And that weighed heavily in my decision to start my own blog.
    Rachael recently posted..The DuckMy Profile

  6. We certainly aren’t the first generation to give birth, but we are among the first for which it could be planned and chosen in a way that didn’t used to be possible. That makes the expectations and investment potentially very different.

    Motherhood can be isolating, and I’m grateful to the online community I’m a part of that makes me feel not so alone even when I’m trapped in my own house with the kids.
    Korinthia Klein recently posted..Gearing UpMy Profile

  7. Ali says:

    I think something important to point out is that there are no fewer hours in the day and kids are going to NEED our care whether we are blogging or not. SO, I think each of us can identify what it was that we’ve given up to switch (if you will) to blogging. For me, I watch only one hour of TV a week now. I was spending much more “me time” with the TV than I am blogging. Blogging is a hobby, just like spending an hour a day at the gym, reading, knitting, etc.
    Ali recently posted..All Alone on Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work DayMy Profile

  8. Great article. You know, each generation of mothers has their own thing. My grandmother had her “stories,” from “Guiding Light” to “As the World Turns.” My mother had her work – full time and then some. We have our blogging. This isn’t a new practice. Just what it is exactly we practice has changed, that’s all.

  9. Thanks for a great piece. I came to blogging a little late in my mommy career, I started when my youngest went to kindergarten last year.

    Yes, my blog takes some time, but no more time than talking on the phone, or gardening, or doing a million other things that I did in my day to day mom time. Just like my mother had the PTA when I was younger and work as I got older.

    I think all the backlash and the general dismissive tone against mommy bloggers is that whenever women find a voice or some power there will always be someone who wants to silent it. That the backlash is sometimes from other women also does not surprise me. We as women can be our own worst enemies.

    I’m hoping one day we will all stop putting each other down and start working together on the things that will really help all women achieve what they want too. Which I sometimes wonder isn’t the point of all this backbiting and the fuel that feeds the fire, if we are busy fighting with each other we have less time to join forces and enact real change. Thanks again for a great piece! I always enjoy your site!
    Kathy Radigan recently posted..My Dishwasher My MuseMy Profile

  10. I think one frustration older moms may have is feeling that they can’t participate in the new medium–that their in-person stories are being ignored by younger moms staring at screens and their online stories (if they’re there) get lost in an ocean of posts by women savvier at sharing them than they are.

    While every generation has had their own mode of recreation, this generation is particularly prone to telling the world when they take it too far. I’ve read some advice from the more successful bloggers that I think isn’t in a mother’s best interests (like get up at 3 a.m. to blog so you’re “there” for your kids during the day. Seriously?). Anyway, great post and conversation starter.
    Melanie Wilson recently posted..Comment on 31 Ways to Write a Bad Blog by adminMy Profile

    • ML@My3LittleBirds says:

      Thanks Melanie. It’s interesting for me to think about the digital generation gap as well. You’ve given me some thoughts to ponder…

  11. Jester Queen says:

    You know, I resisted blogging for a long time because I am a writer, and I didn’t want to get saddled with “Mommy Blogger”. And I still consider myself more a “Mom who blogs” (and who happens to sometimes blog about her kid. But I’ve got a lot more respect for the term ‘Mommy Blgoging’ then I did a few years ago. I used to think that the Mommy Bloggers were the Land-O-Paid-Ads (and yesh, I do realize the Ironeeee in that I’m debating the validity of adding ads to my own blog now) and ingenuine product promotions.
    Jester Queen recently posted..Down the yearsMy Profile

  12. Leslie says:

    I just love this. And it’s so true, and you’ve hit on the fact that the internet may be modern but what draws so many of us to it is not: the search for connection. Ten years ago, before mommy blogs were big, I got that connection on Usenet. When my mother was raising kids, she was on the phone all day long with her best friend or her sister. My grandmother had her afternoon bridge dates. Women need connection with other women and with smaller families, the dispersion of people all over the globe, people being so busy, and so many mothers working all day, it is hard hard hard to get that! Blogging helps–both for those reaching out and those looking for advice/connection through reading.
    Leslie recently posted..A Breath of Smoke and AshesMy Profile

  13. Lisa says:

    I love your take on this, Mary Lauren! Beautifully written (as usual) and so much wisdom!
    Lisa recently posted..Weekly Joy FeedMy Profile

  14. angela says:

    Like so much in life, I think people focus on the extremes and don’t appreciate the beauty of the middle ground. In times past, I think there was much more of a “village” feel to raising children, families were closer in proximity, people stayed near home and raised their kids alongside childhood friends raising their own kids. As we spread out and become more global, we’re looking to connect with like minded women, not just through the medium of mothering but also through shared interests like parenting philosophies, hobbies like fitness or photography or food, etc. It’s our new village, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
    angela recently posted..AwakeMy Profile

  15. Marnie Byod says:

    Very well said. You really defend as a mommy blogger, though we have different careers and areas in life being a mother is the nicest role the woman have. I believe that you are a good fighter Mom. You are such an inspiration for me and thanks a lot for sharing!
    Marnie Byod recently posted..Mitchelton Real Estate AgentsMy Profile

  16. Regina says:

    Its really nice to read a blog as a mother. Mothers really love to write about they experience everyday being a mother.
    Regina recently posted..Miami Wedding PhotographyMy Profile

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