Have you ever said something in a post that stabbed at your conscience for days? That poked you in the middle of the night until you were tempted to throw your covers off right then and go to your computer and delete a few lines?
Maybe you included a disclaimer. Something like, “Now I don’t mean to offend anyone, because I tolerate asparagus as well as any committed vegan, but only when it’s covered in prosciutto or alfredo sauce–it’s a little loud on the taste buds so I need some meat to cover it up. Also, you can spot an asparagus eater anywhere, because stinky pee, ammirite?!!”
I’ve gradually learned that if I have to add a disclaimer like one I recently posted, “Please don’t take the above as disparaging,” it’s probably better left unwritten. Really, nothing good ever comes after a statement like that, and my use of this technique is no exception.
I’m talking about a label today (not asparagus).
It’s one that makes me cringe because while blogging seems wildly unpopular among people who don’t blog, I’ve found that there is one type of blogger that is frequently dismissed by everyone.
The label, of course, is MOMMY BLOGGER.
When I hear mommy blogger, I think of women who focus solely on writing about their kids, tell graphic birth stories, rage, complain, judge and pour gasoline on the fires of the “mommy wars,” with a dash of sponsored product review and thinly veiled attempts to monetize their blogs and get free stuff.
For the record, I’ve written posts about all of the things listed above; the only exceptions are that I don’t do sponsored reviews, and my end game will probably never be to try to monetize my blog. Not because I wouldn’t love to make money from blogging–simply because I’m not willing to put forth that much effort for such a small profit margin.
Calling someone a mommy blogger is an efficient way to disregard them and their writing while lumping them into an annoying stereotype.
It seems like there are two things new moms (SAHMs in particular) do when they have their first child.
- Inundate FB with pictures of their pregnant bellies and the babies that come forth from their vaginas or abdomens.
- Try to start a professional photography business, and/or start a blog to document every milestone, tooth, bowel movement, and sleepless night.
Other stereotypical behaviors include: a sudden and overwhelming urge to scrapbook, gradual conversion to a wardrobe of exclusively velour and yoga/sweat pants (cookie pants!), temporary leave from basic grooming habits, and the tendency to just say fuck it, and leave the house carrying a purse filled with goldfish/graham cracker crusted change and half eaten snack packs every day while wearing a minimum one article of clothing that has a mystery stain on it.
Is it a booger, breast milk, formula, poop, semen, vomit, or apple sauce? Scratch and sniff haters, because it could be anything.
STFU Parents is a website dedicated completely to making fun of these stereotypes. The title says parents, but it’s mostly the moms that are ridiculed for their FB behavior, and in many cases justifiably ridiculed.
But, you know what? I am the stereotype.
I don’t have a photography business, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have two computers and an iPhone full of pictures of my daughter’s first three years of life.
It also doesn’t mean that I’m not at least one-quarter Mommy Blogger as much as I despise the label.
From the header of my blog to my almost 50 posts tagged under parenting, a good portion of my web space revolves around my life with my daughter. Which is completely appropriate when you consider that all of my days currently begin and end with her and her needs.
Why in the hell would I ever be ashamed of that?
Today, I’m taking back the label (and apologizing).
I write about being a mom. I write about a lot of other different topics too, mostly because I find a narrow focus too constricting, but also because I don’t wrap my whole identity up in being a parent.
If you look closely at well written parenting blogs, they don’t either.
Some of the best bloggers I know, male and female, take the lens of parenting and use it to make powerful, relatable observations about life.
Isn’t that what we’re all trying to do regardless of what angle we choose to express those observations?
My comments about not wanting to be considered a mommy blogger bothered me. Chances are, if they bothered me, they irritated some of the people who read them too.
My issue with the label comes from the image it brings to mind when I hear it, my own insecurities, and a fear that people will dismiss my writing, but I can promise you this, in a blog about my life (with life in the title), a complete absence of my daughter and my role as a mother would be way more humiliating than receiving what I feel has become a pejorative label on my blog.