I am a mommyblogger, or Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Preparing for the Nebraska Writer’s Guild Spring Conference, I took out my purse–an oversized, faux leather monstrosity purchased because absolutely everything fits in it–and began to pack. Out came the diapers, the diaper wipes, the extra outfit for the two year old, the extra pants for the baby. In went two pens, a notebook, directions and the piece I planned to read aloud. With a nagging sense that maybe a blog entry wasn’t appropriate for a public reading, being “only” a blog entry after all, I kissed the children and clicked out the door, conscious of each step in the unaccustomed heels.

A single word struck my thoughts: mommyblogger.

With articles like “Honey, Don’t Bother Mommy. I’m Too Busy Building My Brand” and “World of Sex, Lies and Mommy Blogs,” the curious world of the mommyblogger is again making news and again making waves. Hinting at a bit of irony in the “minivan crowd” discussing SEO and defining it as a $two-trillion market, the authors dismiss the validity of the efforts of thousands of moms–some of whom blog about being moms.

The spin isn’t new, nor the subtle criticism. While the term mommyblogger is a badge of honor to some, it ruffles the feathers of others.

It reminds me of A Room of One’s Own. The fight a century (and more) ago for women to be taken seriously as writers.

The indifference of the world which Keats and Flaubert and other men of genius have found so hard to bear was in her case not indifference but hostility. The world did not say to her as it said to them, Write if you choose; it makes no difference to me. The world said with a guffaw, Write? What’s the good of your writing?

In 1713, Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea writes of her craft,

My lines decried, and my employment thought
An useless folly, or presumptuous fault:
She was careful that her occupation should not be suspected by servants, or visitors, or any persons beyond her own family party.  She wrote upon small sheets of paper which could easily be put away, or covered with a piece of blotting paper.  There was, between the front door and the offices, a swing door which creaked when it was opened; but she objected to having this little inconvenience remedied, because it gave her notice when anyone was coming.
And in 2009, Joanne Bamberger writes in Don’t call me a ‘mommyblogger,’
Some may be curious about my pique because sometimes being a mom blogger is a brand, one that can be used to one’s benefit. But when others try to flip the title to describe us as writers and, yes, sometimes activists, it ends up as shorthand for someone who is less deserving of respect or influence. It makes our opinions much easier to ignore.

{Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?}

Who’s afraid of a woman. . .a wife. . .a mother. . .who has found her voice?

After I finished my reading, I returned to my seat and my oversized bag. With hands still trembling, I slipped my papers back in and caught sight of my baby’s shirt, neatly folded in the bottom. I stroked the soft cotton, thought of his soft skin, could almost hear his soft coo. It focused me on why I attended this conference and why I write.

I am a mommyblogger.

Even if it is accomplished in fits and starts, between all the tasks of motherhood and household management.

I am a mommyblogger.

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0 Responses

  1. Why did this make me tear up? And why does that frustrate me so much? I guess I need to accept the fact that I’m an emotional mommyblogger. (And that you are an excellent writer, but I already knew that.) I haven’t ever really like the term mommyblogger, but it has more to do with the perceptions than reality. Sort of like homeschooling, but I am more willing to defend that.

    I was just talking to my husband last night about how blogging has stretched me, so I guess “finding my voice” is fresh on my mind. I didn’t describe it to Dylan that way, but that does explain what I was thinking. Blogging terrified me in the beginning, but I learned my ideas do have validity and I need to take the time to think through them.
    .-= Renae´s last blog ..A Child’s Geography =-.

  2. Thank you, Renae. I didn’t like the term all that much to begin with, but it is because of how I always hear it used. Why should the dismissive attitude of some regulate how I identify myself and my writing here?

    It was OK when the mommyblogs were “just” online scrapbooks, the articles seem to say. But now they have opinions and PR and money. Oh so much money because you know you and I see so much of that $2 trillion!

    Interestingly, the two articles I’ve read most recently which use the term somewhat negatively are written by women. It’s like the mommy wars dragged into the digital age.
    .-= Dana´s last blog ..I am a mommyblogger, or Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf? =-.

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