Why Do Parents Blog?

Considering being a "Mommy Blogger" or just want to learn more? This article discusses how PSP's (former) blog editor first started blogging!

 

 

The "mummy bloggers" you've just seen are from Britmum. I'm including them not just because I happen to be facilitating the breakout session for Parenting Bloggers at the Brooklyn Blogfest on Thursday, (though that's what got me going) but because, if you stop to think about it, it's a very odd thing to do.

I first learned of Mommy Bloggers long ago and far away, when my son and I were negotiating those first weird days of parenting-in-public at the tot lot.

It was our second or third visit. Our first visit did not go so well. My son kept trying to eat dodgy looking acorns he’d pried from between the gaps in the padded play surface and the knees of his pants mutated from multicolored jersey to black and vaguely greasy. Squirrels and rats rustled in the underbrush behind the seats looking for cheerios and pirate booty

 

I tried to make small talk with a woman whose baby was named “VANdah”. Eleven month-old VANdah was on a strict schedule and a strict diet (due to her lactose intolerance and lentil allergy). VANdah napped from 11:30 to 12:30 and from 3:30 until 4:30 every day. When did my son nap? I mumbled something about “when he’s tired.” Alas, this scheduling glitch meant a friendship between our tiny children could not work. I said a silent prayer of thanks to the Parenting Gods and fled. We did not return for weeks.

 

Things went better the second and third times we went. I made peace with the acorns, the puddles and the soot. I met all sorts of moms and dads, each with their own little quirks. There was the dad who pursued tots making off with his son’s ball saying “Excuse me! Excuse me! This ball belongs to Ben!” and the mom who dressed her daughter “for comfort”, which essentially meant she looked like an elf baby most of the time. All these parents were perfectly nice. They shared their snacks. (I always forgot snacks) and shooed off the vermin from one another’s strollers. It was cordial enough but there was still an undercurrent of tension, like the first day at a new school when no one knows where and with whom to sit.

 

It was on one of those Autumn days that I met my first mommy blogger. She was the nicest, most normal mom I’d met. Her son was a little older than mine and very sweet. She seemed more grounded somehow. She told me about how she was professional writer and gave me the name of a good website for writers. She also mentioned she had a blog. I looked it up and felt weird, like I was learning more about her personal life than I wanted to know. I was also impressed. And then she moved to New Jersey. That mommy was none other than Alice Bradley of FinSlippy.

 

In the intervening years, parenting blogging began to become its own little subculture, a web of daisy chaining communities of parents. There were philosophical differences; there were communities of interest and cults of personality. There was Blogher.

Flash forward to today. Alice has a lovely new book out “Let’s Panic About the Babies”(buy it!) and mommy/parenting blogging is as much business as anything else. We can’t all be Finslippy or Docce but we can sell a tiny bit of our soul to Proctor and Gamble because we were going to write about Swiffer anyway and besides it means we can work (very, very hard) from home. And working from home near the kids beats working in close proximity to The Man, at least sometimes - a sort of Mommy-blogger Track.

Now seems a reasonable time to ask why Parenting blogs? Why do we read them? Why do we write them? And what of Facebook and Twitter? Are blogs dead? Are they just preludes to books or reality TV series? Where do the parameters of private life lie? Something to think about.

 

Nancy McDermott