I used to be a childless person who hated people with children. I felt quite superior about it too. I looked at them with disdain when they brought their brood into my space (which was actually public space, but I was so self-involved, I didn’t see it that way) and made snarky comments to my friends behind their backs. I was also a parenting expert. Having no children, I knew exactly how people should raise their young, including feeding and disciplining them. Especially disciplining them.
And “Mommy Blogs”? There would not have been enough vomit in the world to express my disgust at this concept. Women writing about the joys and trials of motherhood? Who the fuck cares?
The sentiments of this blog exactly: http://answeringtheapocalypse.blogspot.com/2009/05/i-hate-mommy-blogs.html. Before I became a mother, I would have wanted to take this writer out for a beer and a smoke and gossip in the cruellest possible terms about the women she describes. She writes about how she hates “Mommy Blogs” that are all about these perfect women and their perfect children and perfect husbands. I breathed a sigh of relief and thought, “Phew! That’s not ME. I would not only NEVER refer to Odie as ‘DH,’ I would never refer to him as perfect.” If anything, I think I portray him as a loveable goof. And sometimes as a complete tool.
Before relief spread throughout my whole body, I read this comment on the blog:
“Don’t know what I hate more…the life-is-perfect Mom blogs or the falsely modest seemingly self-deprecating Mom blog who pretends to Mother half-heartedly in between hi-balls(but underneath it all thinks she’s a “hip Mom” or a “hot Mom”) and tries to be funny in order to create traffic and ultimately sell ad space to a glimpse inside her hilarious and “real” life. Incidentally, she thinks the world of herself. Both are nauseating.”
For a minute, I thought, that’s kind of me. Except I do NOT think the world of myself. I think I’m okay. I’ve seen these alcohol commercials where the tag line is “Would you have a drink with you?” and the answer is yes. But only if I’m buying.
And while I do gently joke about my rampant closet alcoholism, I do not think I am hip or hot. I bought my daughter an “ABC Star Wars” book because it is important to me that she develop a love for the franchise early in her life.
So I read the by-line of the author of the blog and she is an aspiring professional writer, like the rest of us, and this called up for me something my dear friend Trixiebell (not her real name… or IS it?) wrote after her experience at a writers conference: “I imagined sitting in a room with other writers, having time to write and reflect, then sharing our writing in a circle of support and empathy. How wrong was I? All I took away from the experience was that writers, whether they’re successful or struggling, are bitter, mean-spirited, petty, insecure vipers. The conference was a series of workshops run by “writers” of sometimes dubious credentials … Participants listened to the panel leaders talk about THEIR writing for a bit, then brave souls who brought their writing could read it in front of everyone. Then, the “leaders” and the other participants would proceed to shred the person’s writing, dignity, and reason for living into tiny little bits of confetti that they would then gleefully scatter over the writer’s twitching corpse” (whizzochocs.livejournal.com, “Summer Writing and Other Stuff,” 10 June, 2010).
What Trixiebell gets particularly accurate is the glee some writers take in shredding others. Some? Okay, most. Hell, my comments about how I hate Kelle Hampton are evidence enough of that. Although, I think Heather Armstrong is usually funny. I don’t care about her dogs though, and have no interest in daily pictures of them, nor yearly calendars of pictures of them.
Back to my original point. I don’t want to think of myself as a “mommy blogger.” It limits me in a way I’m not comfortable with. I am a mother, and no matter what kind of comedy there is to be had in hating people’s children, being a mother IS amazing. And there is a ton of stuff no one tells you except those who write for Mommy Blogs. For example, if you do not read MY blog, you might not know until it is too late that after you give birth, your vagina will hurt so badly that you will need very strong narcotic painkillers and an ice pack on your junk for days and days. Thank you to my sister Beezy for warning me and bringing me the benzocaine spray. They gave me a can in the hospital, but I ran out on day two. Ran. Out. Also, your first trip to the bathroom post-birth will haunt you for years. I can’t bring it up to Odie without causing him to shudder and then say, “Okay, let’s change the subject,” in a shaky voice.
Okay, let’s change the subject.
I DO want to be funny. I DO want to increase traffic to my site. And if that ended up selling ad space and led to a book deal, then I would kiss my “The Secret” vision board right on the lips.
*It amazes me how often people confuse “then” and “than.” They are not homophones, homonyms, or homographs. They don’t mean the same thing. Is it because people are lousy typists or because they are wretched proofreaders? Yes.
I am the writer of the offending blog post. And I liked this post, and I agree with a good deal of it.
I didn’t mean to give off the impression that I hate mothers or their children. If you look at my blogroll, several of my friends are mothers who write a great deal about their children. It’s not that I hate the people; no, what I dislike is the climate that leads mothers to believe that they have to project an image of perfection to the world. And sometimes when I click “Next” and land on the typical ‘mommy blog’, I see people perpetuating that idea.
I don’t want children myself, but I can see how it would be a wonderful thing to be a mother. That being said, I see some of the joy in motherhood being stripped out of my friends in this quest for perfection. They spend so much time trying to look happy that they forget to be happy.
I think that people should write what they know. If what they know is being a mother, that’s great, and there are millions of people who can read it and identify with their experiences. But I also believe that the Internet is the perfect forum for people to be real. I think it’s the perfect forum for people to explain how their vagina ached after giving birth, and I’d love to see more of that from everyone. In my view, just being a mother and occasionally writing about your children doesn’t make you a ‘mommy blogger’. You are clearly a woman with your own identity.
And I’d love to take you out for a drink and a smoke, even if you’re a mommy and I’m not. I think we’d have a lot of fun sharing our experiences of teaching composition classes. We certainly share a common view about education.
Irena, thank you so much for writing and being a good sport about it. Your blog really inspired me to write, and that is a gift one writer gives another. I enjoyed the blog posts of yours that I have read. You have a distinctive voice and a keen sense of humor. I laughed out loud at the “where can I find a cheap abortion” joke. And I never write “lol.” EVER.
Think about it. Every writer, artist, musician, chef, or philosopher have had their critics. We all want to smash what we can’t have or do (ties to our caveman days, maybe?), but some of us can rise above that instinct to a more noble plane and sincerely praise the work of others. A person can drive themselves nuts worrying about what others think. I try to be proud of what I do, and hope that other like-minded (i.e. BRILLIANT [haha!]) people will feel the same about it.
I just finished four units from University of LaVerne Professional Development. I love those classes; thank you for the suggestion. Did I do that correctly? With the “;” ? Anyway, for the online class I sent back corrections to the questions along with my responses because the professor had then instead of than on several occasions- in addition to numerous other commonly confused/misused that littered the assignments. It made me sad, but I also thought how funny it would be had YOU taken the course. He would have been in for it! 🙂 xo! Grammar Guru….love it!
Hah! I’ve met Heather Armstrong. In person. And I’m still not cool.
I don’t write a mommy blog. I used to write a grandma blog. Until the grandchild moved in with me and made me crazy. Now I write every once in a blue moon. And I’m not trying to get a book deal. Or make money from advertising.
Just sharing with the universe and my friends and family a small portion of what rambles around in my head.