7.31.2006

Mommybloggings

Lest you think BlogHer was one big Sex and the City weekend, albeit without the sex--and come to think of it, not a whole lotta city--there was more to it.

Yes there were deep conversations and amazing connections and women that I feel fairly confident will remain my friends for a good long time. But while I'd like to say that there were hundreds of fists raised towards the sky in womanly solidarity at every turn, in reality there was a little more divisiveness than I would have liked. Not amongst the "mommybloggers," by the way, who were anything but cliquey or exclusionary; but between the "mommybloggers" and the other women.

Having spent the better part of my life as the twenty/thirty-something single gal, I used to write a lot about the alienation I felt from friends who had spawned, and about the toils of being a non-breeder in a breedercentric world. Singledom is a hard habit to break and as such, I still have a knee-jerk response to allign myself with the one gal in the circle not able to contribute an opinion about the Wiggles or a light little anecdote about mucus plugs. And so, I cringed just a little when a representative from conference sponsor Johnson & Johnson got up on stage and addressed the entire 750 person group about the corporation's relationship with mothers, and their new site for mothers, and helping mothers, and what great mothers we all are, mothers mothers mothers.

As a registration volunteer with the high-powered responsibility of handing out schwag bags, I also had a front seat view of the faces of non-mommybloggers when they dug through and found their PBS Kids calendar and Minti bib. Because only a few years ago, I'd have been one of them. I'd be the one thinking, Bibs? Dude, where's my NOW sticker? Where's my This is What a Feminist Looks Like tee? Where's my damn free pair of Jimmy Choos?

And yet, for all my sensitivity, nearly every time I attempted to strike up a conversation with a stranger on line for the bar or the bathroom or the bar or the other bar, I'd introduce myself and be met with, Ohhhhh...so you're a Mommyblogger. We're talking like nine out of ten times. And this doesn't include the lovely Erica who graciously handed me her last drink ticket to stop me from whining about having to pay for a Yahootini. I found myself backpedaling about the subject matter of my blog more than I found myself connecting with people who I might otherwise have found a lot in common with. And that, as they say, sucks my ass.

While the debate on mommyblogger as a term has hit the blogworld several times since I began Mom-101, I have pretty much stayed out of it. Mostly, because there are so many social factors involved, I haven't adequately been able to articulate my position. But the mild undercurrent of animosity towards the mothers this weekend (and I must be clear here, it wasn't intense; I'm just hypersensitive to divisiveness) and the demeaning use of the term--by other women bloggers no less!--forced me to put down the cocktails for three seconds and figure out exactly what's been bothering me so much about it.

Through the figuring and the thinking and the talking, especially with Catherine, the rock star question asker of the entire conference, I believe I have a theory. (Theory formulation! Critical thinking! See, BlogHer was good for more than just the pasties.)

I have never once called myself a Mommyblogger, not without a heavy dose of irony. I admit in fact to cringing when I hear myself described that way. I tend to say instead, "I have a parenting blog."

And yet, I often feel the need to offer a disclaimer. "I have a parenting blog, but..."

But...it's funny.

But...I can also discuss Bush's heinous disregard for the Kyoto treaty and the potential impact for generations to come.

But...hey, do you like Journey? Wait til you hear my new ringtone!

Saying "while I write about my child, I think really what I do is look at social issues, politics, pop culture, and my own feelings about work and the world through the eyes of a new mother" is a wee bit verbose in most contexts. Mommyblogger it is. Blech.

It's not that blogging about our children is such a horrible thing. I mean, Dooce can make washing a bottle more interesting than most women could make a menage-a-trois with George Clooney and Johnny Depp. But in my opinion, the diminutive, mommy, automatically demeans whatever it is the author has to say. That no matter how many degrees she holds, how many times she uses words like ostensibly and onomatopoeia, she's still writing something trivial.

Or worse, she's a trivial writer.

I would no more refer to Anne Lamott as a mommywriter than I would refer to Zora Neil Hurston as chicklit.

Yet it was Mary Tsao who truly opened my eyes to another point of view when she told me not just that she didn't mind the title, but how she actually likes it. It has given her writing focus, provided career opportunities, created friendships. And then Maritt Ingman, the woman I will now redirect my stalking attentions towards, made the brilliant point in the BlogHer mommyblogging panel that there is not feminism but feminisms.

And suddenly it all clicked.

There isn't mommyblogging, there is mommybloggings.

There are two groups as far as I can see. There are writers who came to blogs as another medium in which to hone their craft. The community of kindred spirits found through blogging is a wonderful and rewarding but altogether unexpected side benefit. These are the women - me included - for whom the term is inherently limiting. It tells men, older parents, the childless, this writing is not for you. And there is no writer who wants to alienate a potential reader before he or she has even read word one.

The second group of mommybloggers are women who came to blogs as a way to find a community of like-minded people and develop more meaningful relationships than those found in a chat room or an online message board. The writing itself was perhaps secondary to the friendships--or maybe it became more important as time went on. For these women, mommyblogging is entirely the opposite of limiting. It's downright freeing. It's a portal to wonderful things, opening far more doors than it closes.

I'm not proposing that we further subdivide the community of parenting blogs, nor do I have a suggestion as to how (or whether at all) to reframe the language. I just want us to start understanding one another just a little bit better.

And, boobs and booze aside, in the end, that's what BlogHer was really all about.


121 Comments:

Blogger Stephanie A. said...

I LOVE this post. Anytime I'm at a gathering I always feel marginalized because I'm not 100% mommy, not 100% non-mommy. It's so complicated for me socially. I'm glad you touched on this subject.

Great post!

7/31/06, 11:42 AM  
Blogger lynsalyns said...

I find I write less and less about being a parent, and more about being a person. I'm not always happy that I "neglect" to write about my experiences as a "mommy" - and I LOVE being a mommy. But at the same time, my writing works better when I don't try and force myself to articulate feelings that, franky, defy my ability to use words.

I am not surprised by the division. I saw it all the time in the workplace between women my age and women who came of age during the ERA era. All we can hope to do is keep fighting for unity among ALL kinds of women.

Gah. Was that long enough??

7/31/06, 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Mother said...

And the value inherent to all of them...

I think, for reasons that are probably quite obvious (hits, universal interest) that folks that write a blog that not a lot of people read feel that their work (at various levels) might not be valuable.

Sure, you value you own work - but it's nice to have other people say "hey, I love that too."

So, I think a lot of people skipped out on that thing out in San Jose because they thought perhaps their blog was not something that afforded them the "status" to go.

However, as you most beautifully put, it is about the mommyblogging(s) - the multitudes of facets that blogging as a mother brings.

7/31/06, 11:53 AM  
Anonymous MetroDad said...

Some of the funniest, brightest and most talented writers I know fall under the "mommyblogger" category. Many of them (like YOU) are FAR better writers than those who might blog regularly about "more serious" subjects. So if other people choose to be divisive and derivative of those of us blogging about parenthood, then screw 'em! Personally, I've always enjoyed reading all the different types of blogs that are out there and would never put a blogger down based on how they chose to identify themselves.

...except for those "women with 20 cats" blogs. Those bitches are crazy!

7/31/06, 11:53 AM  
Blogger KathyB said...

Great post!

7/31/06, 11:55 AM  
Blogger Piece of Work said...

I don't know, I think there's probably a lot more than two types of mommybloggers. I myself don't fall into either category you list. I didn't notice a division between mommies and non-mommies so much as a division between people who really take themselves and their blogs seriously, and people who don't. Well, actually, I noticed a ton of divisions, alignments, and cliques, so I should just shut up now.

7/31/06, 12:22 PM  
Blogger metro mama said...

Very interesting post. Maybe it's naive of me, but I'm surprised you had that reaction from the non-mommy bloggers.

The other thing I find strange is there are people I know who I've told about my blog and I don't think they read me. I think the reason is because they assume it's "just" a mommy blog.

Or, maybe I'm just dull.

7/31/06, 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Kristin said...

You are one of the most provocative, intelligent writers in the blogosphere - mommyblogger or not.

Thanks for the summary.

7/31/06, 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

LOL...what MetroDad said.

What a great post. Personally I just tell people I have a "blog." I don't even mention mommyblogger, although I don't really have a problem with being called that. I think it's an internal blogging thing, though. I mean my family and friends just say I have a blog. There is no mommy to it, although "mom" is part of my blog name but being a mother is a huge part of what makes me tick. But you are right. I believe the term mommy may unintentionally conjure up mental images of blogger lightweights.

7/31/06, 12:38 PM  
Blogger toyfoto said...

This is a great post. I really don't have any answers either, but I do have opinions. I look back at my 20-something days, when I'd get pissed off at having to work holidays so the family folks could spend it at home with the kids, and feel guilty. Back then I had NO idea what it meant to have to have a sick kid. I just thought of equity. Although, I'm trying not to turn my perspective 180 degrees and lash out at the 20 somethings who took my place.

I've been thinking a lot about equity, recently, and wrote about it (from a gender perspective), but I have to admit that I've come to a kind of fatalistic conclusion. Life just isn't fair. And it won't ever be fair because no one has the same needs as anyone else.

I guess I just think this is something we all have to workout ourselves. We have to negotiate a life we choose, and that means some amount of compromise.

But, as always, I'm probably wrong.

7/31/06, 12:43 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Amy, I agree, there are many types of mommybloggers. But from what I can see, people are generally divided into two camps of rejecting or accepting the title and this is simply my theory as to how their opinions might be formed. Of course there are certainly bloggers right in the middle who don't care either way.

As for the perceived cliques of the weekend, I'm sorry to hear you felt that way. I saw very broad groups interracting all weekend - dooce with "no name" bloggers, Amalah having drinks with women she'd never met before and so on. I didn't sense any aloofness at all--it was like a big conversation and anyone could inject themselves in it.

Smaller circles did form towards the end of the conference when a bit of "big group fatigue" set in. I think also, as the "everybody party together WHOOOO!" stuff wears off, it becomes more enriching (and essential) to have more intimate conversations with fewer people at once. I enjoyed doing this with everyone from the Bloggers You Know to the bloggers you don't. But I can only speak for myself.

7/31/06, 12:54 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Somewhere in the blogosphere this weekend I left a comment saying this, although probably not so well. I first blogged for the purpose of honing the craft - that is truly my main purpose - but found that also it was a way of connecting. For me they are sometimes intertwined and sometimes not. Very astute observation, Mom101, and though I'm not surprised you saw it and were able to verbalize it, considering the amount of alcohol consumed, it's really all that much more amazing!!!!

7/31/06, 1:06 PM  
Blogger Piece of Work said...

I didn't mean for my comment to sound bitchy, and I don't mean that the whole conference sucked, or that everyone was clique-y. I had a great time, and loved meeting my blog friends and making new ones. But I do think there was a lot of divisiveness there, I think that a lot of people were more concerned with being seen with popular bloggers than anything else, and that surprised me. And, honestly, I think the whole thing was a little weird--in a subculture, microcosm kind of way. I didn't find the conference to be nearly as supportive and understanding as I find my own personal blog and the community I've formed there to be--and that felt strange to me. Then again, a lot of those feelings could stem from my social anxiety; maybe I'm just projecting my own insecurities.

7/31/06, 1:17 PM  
Blogger tracey said...

You took my feelings and put them to beautiful words. Being a part of this community (whatever anyone wants to cal it) is indeed a 'portal to wonderful things' and doors AND windows are flying open for me everyday. Being at BlogHer was fun, informative and very enlightening on so many levels.
I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed meeting you. Having a lovely face to go with your amazing writing makes it all the sweeter for me.

7/31/06, 1:21 PM  
Blogger nonlineargirl said...

As someone who has only written professionally in a "make this 500 page report on medicaid into a 2 page executive summary" kind of way, I didn't start blogging to hone my craft (in any case, it certainly doesn't feel like it is getting any better). From this perspective, your dichotomy reads as "there are writers and there are mommies". I know that is not intended to paint the latter in a negative light. Seeing myself in the latter group, I don't so much mind being a "mommy", but do wish I had something to stick before the /mom in people's mental profile of me. Not that being a policy wonk isn't fufilling, but it is a ton less glamorous than writer. (and working for the gov't, it is not like the pay is any better!) That's all a long way of saying, I don't feel defensive about my mommy status, but I do feel a bit dorky when I see myself in that latter group.

7/31/06, 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Lisa V said...

Great post. Like you, I started answering "personal blog" to everyone. I almost hesitated saying I had children because it sometimes would shut down the conversation with women who didn't. I write about my life. My life includes my children. It also includes education, adoption, trashy television and once in awhile rants about politics and culture.

I honestly didn't see cliques. Bloggers with much bigger and much smaller followings eqaully welcomed me into their conversations. Everyone was very gracious and inclusive. The other people have to remember is that some of these people are friends outside the conference. They only see each other sporadically. It's natural they would want to talk to each other. We saw this with many groups at blogher, it's just more obvious with people we all recognize.

I had a great time. I went alone. I made connections with people and was so happy to be with other bloggers. I will go next year, and encourage my blogging buddies to go.

7/31/06, 1:23 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

I’ve known people who would roll their eyes when anything kid related came up in a conversation. And then they had kids, and then all of the sudden they’re all about kids. I think there are bloggers who just don’t relate, because they don’t know anything about it, and therefore don’t find the Too Young for Chutes and Ladders post hilarious.

7/31/06, 1:23 PM  
Blogger Damselfly said...

Wow ... sniff ... my brain is so full and enriched now. I'm overwhelmed. What a thoughtful post.

And here I thought BlogHer was just a techy Girls Gone Wild event, judging by everyone's photos of those pasties! =:+[]

7/31/06, 1:26 PM  
Blogger jennster said...

i just wanted to say that you are hot. mommy blogger or not. can i touch your boobs?

7/31/06, 1:50 PM  
Blogger Momma to LG said...

It was great to have met you. Next year I will put my shyness aside and join the group more.

Great post! Who knew being a mommy blogger would be so controversal??

7/31/06, 1:57 PM  
Anonymous reluctant housewife said...

I love it when you get all thoughtful and deep!

Yet why do people feel the need to create exclusive labels - even between the momwriters and the chatroom mommies? I didn't go to blogher, but I've seen a lot of putting people/blogs down because they decide to focus their writing on the parenting experience. I have yet to see anyone saying that craft bloggers only think about yarn or food bloggers have foodie brain.

In the end, I'm not bothered by the people who don't have kids and don't get it. Like ToyFoto said, we were once in their shoes.

Also "mommyblogging" has brought me more satisfaction, inspiration and opportunities than marketing or travel writing. I'm proud to be a mommyblogger.

7/31/06, 1:57 PM  
Anonymous Kvetch said...

I don't usually double-dip in the comment sections but I wanted to read what others said on this topic. I love the term "personal blog" and have used it often. Liz you have touched a cord with many, as usual. Kudos.

7/31/06, 1:58 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Well, Dooce definitely has me on talent, but I will still happily take the Depp/Clooney love-fest!

Wonderful post Mom-101(or, now that I have seen your pasties on black tank top in about a frillion Flickr photos, can I call you Liz?)

Your stalker,
Kristin

The Mommyblogger who often forgets to mention her kids. ;-)

7/31/06, 2:07 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

I dunno, I would bet that most of your readers put themselves in the first category in the sense that it is about the writing first and the friendships second. I also say don't be afraid of the mommyblogger tag. It's just another label. If some people use it derisively, that's their problem for failing to see the content. Co-opt that term right back from em'. Power to the Mommies! And power to Metrodad for wading into the perceived estrogen.

7/31/06, 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

I could speak volumes on these topics and not say it any better (though i will probably fumble through it all at some point). Simply put, you are right on target here.

What I actually came here to say is that I adored meeting you and wish ever so much that we'd had more time to just talk. You were seriously fabulous in the most graceful (and gracious) way. {{big hug}}

7/31/06, 2:56 PM  
Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

I loved looking at all of your pics and reading about the festivities! I'm so glad you all had such a great time!

7/31/06, 2:58 PM  
Blogger bubandpie said...

I relate to both the categories you've outlined (though I agree with those who see a clear hierarchy between the real writers and the mere mommies). By the time I discovered the blogosphere, I was already very excited about the idea of writing as a mom. I had been reading Anne Lamott and Catherine Newman, and I had bought Andrea Buchanan's essay anthologies, so I was eager to try my hand at writing about motherhood in a way that would be moving but not sentimental, funny but not cute, original yet universal. It's not easy to do, and I'm only gradually learning how to do it. But it's very addictive because when you succeed, you tap into such a very deep chord of recognition.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I've always been happy to identify myself as a mommy-blogger precisely because I think of myself as a writer.

7/31/06, 3:12 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Yikes, I certainly hope this didn't come across as mommies v writers (to the death!) - not my intent. However I think some people did come to it as writer/mommy versus others who came to it as mommy/writer and there is a distinction - not necessarily in the quality of the writing but in the purpose of the blog and therefore in the perception of the label.

Nonlinear Girl: You ARE a writer. You write. Case closed. I'll punch anyone who says otherwise.

And wow, I love all these different perspectives. More! More! Damn, maybe we should have had fewer cocktails and more socratic seminars this weekend.

7/31/06, 3:23 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Davis said...

What a great analysis. I think a lot of other bloggers are annoyed/confused by the mom bloggers who are blogging as a way of finding or building community, because it's so different than other types of blogging. It's almost as though some of these moms have entirely re-purposed blogging.

I was baffled by the community aspect of blogging at first, and sometimes I still am. Since I bonded with a great group of mom friends through a message board after my first son was born, I guess I have the attitude of "that was good enough for me, why isn't it good enough for the rest of you?" Even though I know that's not a great attitude.

7/31/06, 3:25 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

You and I talked about this all weekend, so you know that I agree 150% (that extra fifty is for the Socratic pastie-wearer dimension, which remains unexplored but nonetheless deserves enthusiastic agreement.)

As I said at some point, and as I think you make clear here, the two categories aren't mutually exclusive, not by a long shot. I, like you, view myself as a writer first, but at the same time have made community-building here a pet project. But I love the community for the writing, for the space that it affords me, and you, and so many others. It's a community built around parenting, but there are lots of those. I love this community because it's like a big co-operative seminar made up of people who happen to have children and who love their children and who 'use' their children as inspiration to write about all measure of things.

And the little tremors of division? Yeah. They were what they were. Gonna have to talk about that chez moi. But cliqueyness among the bloggers who are mothers? I didn't see it. I saw friendships form and intensify, and clusters form around those friendships, but there was nothing closed about any group that I saw.

7/31/06, 3:40 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Space for WRITING. WRITING seminar. Blech. No sleep. Fucking American Airlines.

7/31/06, 3:42 PM  
Anonymous chelle said...

I was not a writer per say before I blogged. I have a university degree so I have written stuff, boring, research stuff, but I a writer no. Did I start blogging to write better? Yes. Is it all about my kid. Sometimes, but I hope it is more about me being a mommy and how I deal with the adventure. My kid rocks at being a kid. Me as a Mommy...work in progress...

7/31/06, 3:47 PM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

You know, I always thought before I ever had a blog that if I ever started a blog, I would write about politics. And religion. And academic stuff, and stuff.

I would think and think about starting a blog like that, but I never did.

And then one day I was moved to despair as a parent over the mystery ailment affecting my child, and having no good parent friends in real life, and knowing that the few childless friends I'd managed to retain post-child had no comfort or advice to offer and were in fact sick to death of hearing me go on about my kid, I found myself pouring my troubles out onto a blank page on the internet. A cry in the wilderness, so to speak.

And lo, the mommybloggers were there.

I never knew how much I needed the community until I found it.

And now, my blog is almost all about my mundane concerns as an ordinary suburban housewife, and my child.

And I often find myself irrationally afraid to write about politics, or religion, or academic stuff, because I am irrationally afraid of alienating my tiny audience.

Weird, huh?

7/31/06, 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Mir said...

I agree about not seeing the cliqueyness amongst the mommybloggers, and being somewhat shocked at the reaction of some of the non-mommybloggers. But, um, apparently I'm a little naive. What with being busy breeding, and all. ;)

7/31/06, 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

What Izzy said, and what Mrs. Davis said, I'd like to second those thoughts. It was wonderful to meet you, even though I felt like I was running a mile a minute and didn't really get to sit and talk to you one-on-one. Let's try to do that next year.

As for the conference, I know we don't want to give a certain blogger any extra traffic by linking to her, but I was shocked, as was everyone else, that someone had such mean-spirited and downright cruel things to say about Mommybloggers as a group. Yes, we probably were the largest group there, but next year it could be tech bloggers or food bloggers or political bloggers. I personally spoke to many people who wrote all kinds of different blogs. It's called blogHER, not blogMommy. Everyone is welcome.

7/31/06, 3:49 PM  
Anonymous supa said...

It was awesome to meet you, however briefly -- I would definitely have loved to discuss things like this with you, but I was too busy being shy and waiting in line for wine.

I agree with their being two types of mommybloggers, but also with Piece of Work who said there are probably more divisions than that. I think that gets back to why a lot of people have a problem with the term: We're definitely not a group you can just lump under one name. We're very diverse in our reasons and techniques for writing.

7/31/06, 4:13 PM  
Anonymous Leah said...

I wish we had gotten around to talking about my personal crusade, which is to get the bitterness to stop by showing non-mommys how to appreciate all the wonderful parenting blogs out there. For those of us who plan to become parents, these blogs offer a wealth of information, not to mention feedback and community, that goes above and beyond any other resource out there. And for women (or men) who don't plan to become parents, reading about people who are can be a valuable window into understanding how their friends and family WITH children are living their lives. If everyone could just chill out and realize that there is value in groups we don't necessarily belong to, we'd all be much happier.

That said, I maybe cried a little when I got the Minti bib.

7/31/06, 4:24 PM  
Blogger J's Mommy said...

I think you have a great point. I definitely see the divide within the "mommybloggers." I tend to think of myself as one who started a blog to reach out to other moms and be part of a community where I don't feel guilty or inadequate as a mom. However, I consider myself a writer so I try to blend both aspects into my blog. Not sure if it works but thanks for making me think about it.

7/31/06, 4:34 PM  
Anonymous wordgirl said...

...and of course all of my opinions come from recaps of BlogHer that I've been reading. I'm a mother and a blogger, but I was a writer before either one and that's the way I choose to see myself. I've only heard vague murmerings about the whole mommy vs. non-mommy thing. I've not heard anyone call out any one person in a cruel way. Maybe I'm not looking the right places. Given my own intense insecurities, I could have attended BlogHer and come away with a bagful of perceptions (true or false) regarding whether or not I fit in. Too old? From the wrong state? Not blogging long enough? My kids aren't small and good fodder for stories? Jeebus, I could see two distinct scenarios emerging from attending. Either I would be holed up in my room and afraid to occupy the same airspace as well-known bloggers, or I would have partied so hard that I wound up on the wrong plane and sleeping in Grace Davis' spare bedroom.
I can identify with those who had a fabulous time and I can sympathize with those who felt left out. Like I said in my post today...I wasn't even there and yet I still have an opinion. Hope it wasn't perceived as hurtful in any way.

7/31/06, 4:45 PM  
Blogger nonlineargirl said...

recommenting to say thanks for the support. You brought up a good way of thinking about this, and it has me thinking about why I don't put "writer" in my this/that self-characterization. Thanks for giving me some good stuff to chew on.

7/31/06, 4:58 PM  
Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

I remember that conversation, and I thought then - as I still do now - that it was a brilliant realization.

As I've said before, I shy away from labels or categorization of any kind due to the inherent divisiveness, as well as the inaccuracy of cramming complex (and changing) views into broad descriptors. While I don't hate the term, I find it just as incomplete a descriptor as many others that might be applied to me.

7/31/06, 5:06 PM  
Blogger TweedleDea said...

Oh I am so jelous that you were there! I couldn't get tickets. Anyhow I like your point of view on blogging. I like to think that mine is an outlet to be creative and to say what I want to when I want to. I don't think there is a theme to my blog at all, except the constant, uhm me!

7/31/06, 5:25 PM  
Anonymous jess said...

That was an excellent post! Wow. I thin the idea of writer/mommy or mommy/writer is bang on. I think part of it is the question that some people struggle with: "is blogging really writing?"

I would say a hands down yes! I think for some it's not so easy when blogging is wrapped up in links, comments, subscribers and ads.

Also, as an aside, i felt like i gave you the wrong impression all weekend. I'm not a snob, just paralyzed by anxiety in social situations.

7/31/06, 5:47 PM  
Blogger bea said...

Hey Mom-101, you know my feelings on the insensitive nature of some moms towards those without kids (whether we want them or not), but I side with you on this one. It shouldn't be a divisive factor, this 'mommy-blogger' title - I admire and appreciate the varying points of view bloggers like you and Dooce offer. In fact, it's your wisdome (laugh if you like) I look to! So, kids or not, your points of view are valued - not because you're a mommy blogger, but because you take the time and effort to share your ideas through blogging.

7/31/06, 6:16 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Sounds like you all got alot out of the conference. And you are beautiful. Saw your pics!

7/31/06, 6:29 PM  
Blogger Mary-LUE said...

I didn't do the BlogHer thing, but I can see how things could happen the way you describe, Liz. (May I call you Liz?) I know that any label, no matter its technical accuracy can be used to dismiss. I once had a professor who, on hearing I am a Christian, immediately said to me, "Oh. You must love C.S. Lewis." He then proceeded to discount my intellect for the rest of the semester. ??? Frustrating and not fair. I think that was one of my first "grown up" experiences with being completely dismissed because of a label. Back in May, I wrote this about my blogging identity:

"I don't want to be a mommy blogger. Don't get me wrong. I love the mommy bloggers. I have quite a few bookmarked and bloglined. It is all part of a bigger "Mary" issue. I just don't like to be labeled. Feminist. Stay at home mom. Mommy blogger. Instead of rebel without a cause, I guess you can just call me rebel without a label. Unless, of course, it is a label I take on for myself: Christian, ENFP, bookworm. If I feel that I am being labeled, it makes me want to scream out, "But that's not all I am!" This falls squarely into the realm of my problem, so I hope I haven't offended anyone, because I am a feminist, a stay at home mom, a mommy blogger. Whew. I said it and the sky didn't fall in."

Ultimately, I think I have had to learn to appreciate those wonderful people who don't automatically put people into neat categories so they don't have to be bothered getting to know them. And really, I think those people are pretty rare.

7/31/06, 6:49 PM  
Blogger Ruth Dynamite said...

Wow - I'm late to the party once again. I join you all, mid sip, and nod along with a vigorous "Yes. Yes. Yes."

Mom 101, you are a perceptive, intelligent, and engaging writer - as are so many of the mommy bloggers I've come across since I began my blogging escapades a few months ago. "Personal blog" or otherwise, I read your blog and dozens of other "mommy blogs" because they're smart, funny, and unapologetically raw.

Not all women feel secure enough to let it all hang out, to expose real-life frailties and confess the utter joys and sorrows of being a mother/wife/sister/colleague/whatever. But those who do invariably connect with others, and those connections are real.

Perhaps those looks of disdain you felt and/or experienced at BlogHer mask twinges of jealousy by the non-mommy bloggers? Just a thought. Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

7/31/06, 7:26 PM  
Anonymous andrea from the fishbowl said...

Great post. You've summed up a lot of things about mommyblogging that I've been thinking about too. (And I didn't even attend BlogHer! Would I have wanted to? That's a different story...)

I can honestly say that when I started blogging eight years ago (this was even before it was called blogging!)I would have been lumped into the mommybloggers group. I can no longer say this is true. I write about ME. And I am a lot more than a mom.

7/31/06, 7:34 PM  
Anonymous Alice said...

Brilliant.

7/31/06, 8:05 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I very much enjoyed this post, and think the various cliques (perceived or real) within blogging could be a master's thesis in sociology (ah grad school fantasies, mental refuge of the disgruntled lawyer).

I very much think that the whole mommyblogger/blogger thing really comes from our need to label and categorize people to understand them. If we can shove them into a box full of our perceptions then it's easier to deal with them.

For me? I'm not a parent (we're just not ready for a family yet) and I read blogs because I enjoy the writing. If anyting I've noticed that kid-less bloggers aren't as well regarded as part of the blogging world, but I'm also super sensitive about divisiveness (or it could also be that my blog sucks). :P

Finally, from the recaps I've read I gather that putting down one's cocktail for even a few seconds at BlogHer is totally an accomplishment in and of itself.

7/31/06, 8:39 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I dare you to make cool shirts . I dare you - double dog dare you.

7/31/06, 9:25 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

I'm always amazed at the amount of baby-centric posts I create because I never would have thought, going into this blog thing, that I would focus so much on my baby and less on me. And I have to admit that even though I write a lot about my family (I writes what I knows) that in the beginning I bristled at the term "Mommyblogger" but it was more because I hate labels. Hate me because I suck, but don't hate because I'm a mom who writes about her kid. I'd actually prefer that you don't hate me at all(and that's the collective 'you' btw, not you specifically) and you LOVE me. But I'm needy like that.

Sorry to hear there was a division. I guess that was bound to happen.

7/31/06, 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Jill Urbane, The Mentor Mom said...

Can't we all just get along?

(Great post...very insightful!)

7/31/06, 9:51 PM  
Blogger Carmen said...

This was a superbly written post, and I agree with you 100%. I just wanted you to know that I was very happy to meet you, although I'm certain that you don't remember me. I enjoyed hearing your wisdom.

7/31/06, 10:12 PM  
Anonymous wood from sweetjuniper said...

great post, great comments. I don't think I can add anything that hasn't been said, but you've given us all more to think over.

great meeting you at blogher. is it sleazy of me to mention your boobs again? especially when everyone is having such a serious discussion? oops, I think I did it already. great boobs, lady. great boobs.

7/31/06, 10:35 PM  
Blogger NursePam said...

Wow! I don't even know what to say. I am the quintessential NonMom. And I don't get it.

Maybe being over 50 makes one more comfortable with who one is and therefore less likely to feel the need to make irrelevant distinctions.

However you or others may identify your blog, it's wonderful.

7/31/06, 10:43 PM  
Blogger Overwhelmed! said...

I'm so glad you went to BlogHer and are sharing your insights with those of us who didn't go. I appreciate it.

I'm so new to blogging (just reached my 100th post) that I'm not even sure how I define myself. Originally, I began blogging to record our adoption journey. Now I blog as a creative outlet and as a community building effort. I love it! Sure, I blog about my son, but I blog about so much more too.

7/31/06, 11:17 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

That was quite enlightening, thank you. Since I don't follow the subculture of blogging as obediently as maybe I should (since I am participating in it) I had no idea that there was this sort of division amongst bloggers. You are very right when you say that we should all "understand one another just a little bit better". It is too bad that the conference was geared (from the sounds of it) mostly towards the "mommies" and excluded the other women, after all it was BlogHer, not BlogMama, right? But, still I loved your perspective.

Carrie

7/31/06, 11:59 PM  
Anonymous Auntie Fred said...

Wait just a minute. Let's reevaluate this...washing bottles more interesting than George, Johnny and whomever????? Lets get real. She can't be that good a writer...can she?

8/1/06, 12:05 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Carrie, to clarify - the conference wasn't at all mama centric. If you go to the site and look at the schedule, of dozens of panels and discussion groups, only one was about mommyblogging.

It was simply the sponsors who were mothercentric. After all, that's where the $ is.

8/1/06, 12:06 AM  
Blogger Stephanie T. said...

I hate, hate, hate labels. They are so limiting. Hell, to me, you and many other of my fave bloggers, are smart, witty, talented writers who just happen to be mothers. If you weren't a "mommy" I'd still read your blog and enjoy it just as much.

8/1/06, 12:23 AM  
Anonymous Jill Asher said...

Hello!
I wish that I had a chance to meet you this weekend.
I want you to know that here in Silicon Valley (the heart of high tech and blogging), mommy bloggers are cool - REALLY! We at Silicon Valley Moms Blog are PROUD to be mommy bloggers! We dig the name, title and all that goes with it!

Hopefully, we can meet in the future!

Jill Asher
Co-Founder, Silicon Valley Moms Blog
http://www.svmoms.com

8/1/06, 12:30 AM  
Blogger Queso said...

Brilliant post. I'm so with you on this one.

8/1/06, 12:48 AM  
Blogger Lisa Stone said...

Yes, you're right, we had a single panel on mommyblogging(s).

Thanks for your thoughtful essay - I so enjoyed meeting you.

8/1/06, 1:08 AM  
Blogger MommyWithAttitude said...

Great post. I'm totally in the "came to write and unexpectedly found so much more" category. I don't really "mind" being called a "mommyblogger," but there are about a million other things I like to (or WOULD like to) write about too. Maybe not a million, but a good several at least.

When I started blogging I thought my big "in your face" attitude about motherhood was just SO edgy and SO original that I just MUST get it out there because hey, I was going to start the next craze... and then I got here and... here you all were. LOL So blogging for me has definitely evolved into something greater than I never intended.

8/1/06, 1:12 AM  
Blogger MommyWithAttitude said...

Correction: greater than I EVER intended. Sorry.

8/1/06, 1:13 AM  
Blogger margalit said...

I don't consider myself a mommybloggger although I have no problem with the term or the fact that I am a mommy and I am a blogger. I just feel the term is somewhat limiting, especially since most of us write so much more than just about our children and mommying.

Wordnerd and I agree that are are probably more divisions than the two you came up with.

I'm 54... I would have felt positively ancient along with all the young blond mommies at Blogher, and if someone pinched my boobs I'd head for the hills. I'm not a prude, I just don't like to be touched!

I'm Jewish, and the Jewish blogging contingent didn't go to blogher.

I eat Kosher food, so I couldn't eat anything there.

My kids are teenagers and my baby days are long since over.

A Minti bib? What would I do with that?

I think infertility bloggers might have been uncomfortable with the mommytalk and might not have attended.

I think older moms might have felt uncomfortable amongst so many younguns.

I think male bloggers felt like they weren't welcome just from the title.

I think moms of older kids feel odd because we're so far out of the diapers/sleep/breast vs bottle issues.

I think a lot of the religious bloggers, regardless of religion, din't go because they would have felt uncomfortable with the partying and language.

There are so many divisions just between the various mom factions, and then when you add in the child-free, the infertile, the unmarried and unattached, and the 'we're not ready yet' non-mommies, you've got a lot of deviseness. It's too bad that so many women felt that at Blogher. Your post wasn't the first I've read that said just that.

But with all that, I have no clue as to why so many people have their panties in a twist about one freaking post by an unknown blogger about how she hates MommyBlogging. So what? She put it on her blog, she's entitled to her opinion. If you don't agree, either comment or ignore her. But really, isn't it silly to either intimate that it was an unmitigated disaster by mentioning it on your blog, or by getting so upset about it?

Lots of people write things all the time I don't agree with. I read some blogs and think "those poor kids are going to end up in endless therapy when they're older" but I don't blog about it. I just move on to the next blog in my feed.

She didn't mention any names. She was just venting. If it's OK for you to vent, then why isn't it OK for her?

That is the part of mommyblogging I don't particularly like. The "circle your wagons" and 'throw out the hate' if someone doesn't agree with your opinion. Personally, I think it would behoove every single one of us to be a bit more inclusive and a bit less quick to spew annoyance at people that don't agree with your opinion. Isn't that what blogging is all about? Opinions, and discussions? Who wants to be in a mutual admiration society where every word you say is gazed upon with rapture? That's BORING.

8/1/06, 2:19 AM  
Blogger Mary Tsao said...

Having been a professional writer, I don't doubt that I am a writer. That's the easy part.

The mommy thing? That's much harder for me, and I am much less sure of myself in that role.

Identifying as a mommyblogger makes me feel I might actually be succeeding in both areas. Sometimes. Maybe. Hopefully...

8/1/06, 2:46 AM  
Anonymous krista said...

Imagine telling people you write a knitting blog- I think people run for the hills 1.5 seconds faster when you say that one!

Insightful post as usual.

8/1/06, 7:19 AM  
Blogger Waya said...

You know I have never thought of myself as a mommyblogger. I tell my friends I have a blog where I rant and rave about things that come to mind, if they care to read it.

It's an outlet for me to go and get connected with the many women who are also bloggers but a Mom as well.

I read blogs that I find relevant to my own experience and FUNNY. I need to have some humor in my life b/c this child rearing thing is HARD! And to have other Mommy bloggers say so, really helps make this staying at home thing less insane.

8/1/06, 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Chookooloonks said...

Fabulous processing of the BlogHer vibe, and really insightful thoughts. Thanks so much for sharing your words.

K.

8/1/06, 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Hope (Mom of Tess) said...

This is really interesting. I've struggled with a name for my "momblog" (guess I'm yet a third group that considers herself MOM and not MOMMY). I've struggled with the fact that I want to write about how I can't figure out my Treo or how I hate my job, and that makes me think it's not really a momblog, mommyblog(1) or mommyblog(2). But in the end this struggle just keeps me from writing so I'm going to agree with Mary Tsao and say that I'm a momblogger because it helps me focus and in the end that's what I need to write. It's a general theme, and if I talk about technology or politics that's ok too. I really wish I could have gone to Blogher to see all of this.

8/1/06, 10:03 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

I don't know that anyone really enjoys being labeled, except if it's something cutting edge, fresh,... avant garde.... which, of course, the term "mommyblogger" ain't.

For me, it's the quality of the writing, the friendship, or some other connection that keeps me going back to a particular blog.

Sounds like you all had an incredibly fabulous time!!!

8/1/06, 10:06 AM  
Blogger Christy said...

I'm a little late on this bandwagon, but.... thanks for giving me something to think about. I started my blog so I could write. Then I stayed with it as I developed friendships and enjoyed the praise. I think our blogs evolve and change as our lives do. I wonder what "they" will call us when our kidlets are off to University? Do I still retain the "mommy blogger" title with an empty nest?

8/1/06, 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Gurukarm said...

This was a really interesting post and while I haven't read through all the comments (maybe half), I wanted to chime in a bit.

I started a blog because for me, it's a way of putting things down "out of the way" and not keeping them roiling around in my head all the time (I used to write a paper journal for the same reason). But it's also because I'd like to be heard. I'd like to connect with others - and I feel I've done that, at least to the extent that I've found a huge number of wonderful writers who also happen to be young mothers/mothers of young children. And I comment on a lot of blogs.

Which brings me to my last thought - I'm also a mom, writing a bit about the kiddos, but my kids are, respectively, an incredible man of 36, an almost-adult of 18, and a nearly-teen 12 1/2 yo. So for me, it's a lot of fun to read and revisit those baby/toddler/preschool years so many of you are in now. And perhaps offer thoughts about what's coming in their futures! :-)

And I HATE the word "mommy" - my kids have always called me mom, or mama - mommy is the whiniest sound, to me... (say it with me: "moommmmyyy - he hit me! mooommmmyyyy, she's touching me! mooommmmyyyy, I don't LIKE broccoli" - so I kept it out of my house :-) )

Thanks for your thoughtful post!

8/1/06, 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Chase said...

Great post, lady!

Minus the one womnan that stood up in the last keynote and said, "...because some of us don't HAVE kids...", I didn't see the separation or tension at all.

Of course, that could just be me, never noticing anything like that. Me with no desire for kids. Me who went to and LOVED the Mommyblogger panel (though the air conditioning sucked!). Me who sat at every meal with at least one 'mommyblogger'.

I personally don't care what 'kind' of blog anyone has - as long as it's good writing, I'm all about it. I read mostly mommybloggers, actually, because there are so many talented ones whom I admire. With that, I read a few "I don't want no danged rugrats" blogs, too...but only because of their ability as writers. There are just as many mommybloggers and NonParents that I DON'T read because they don't interest me.

It was so great to meet and chat with you this weekend! We'll have to do it again next year. Chicago, baby!

8/1/06, 10:52 AM  
Blogger Chantal said...

Good job. I've been following links, reading about some small amounts of controversy that took place and thinking.

I've never put that much thought into the classification of my blog. If it's in my head and thought provoking, I'll write about it. It just so happens that right now, most things in my head are about being a parent.

I've often said "This is my life ... right now." It's not my life forever. I know that my life will change as my kids get older. I have plans as to who I want to be and I look forward to it.

I like what Chase said. Mommyblogger or not, if you make me think/laugh/cry, I'll read it.

8/1/06, 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

I didn't see the mommy vs. nonmommy tension in the groups of bloggers assembled, though I did see that sort of focus with the sponsors, etc. I honestly think that the sponsors were just trying to reach out in any way they could -- I mean, would the female condom people really be gearing themselves toward moms? Probably not. So us moms ended up with extra condoms and the non-moms had the unwanted bibs. ;-)

I definitely realize there were bloggers there with different ambitions -- some there to promote their own site, others to hear the tech talk, others to just meet and greet bloggers they've come to know through the online arena. Ultimately I like to think we all share a love of writing, of the medium, even though we use it as a means to different ends. So that's how I chose to think of myself -- as a blogger, a writer, who happens to be a mom but is also a wife, a worker, an individual. So no, I don't use the term Mommyblogger (and really I don't use many labels at all).

This sort of dovetails with a conversation I had with several others after the session on identity (which unfortunately happened at the same time as the Mommybloggers session with Alice et al.) One of the subjects was whether or not we as bloggers "represent" a particular nationality, race, religion. The bloggers in the session widely varied on their feelings. My opinion is that I represent only myself. So I guess this is how I will try too look at everyone else this way, too -- to let the individuality shine through, regardless of labels.

8/1/06, 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

gah. bad grammar. too little sleep, too much time on plane.

8/1/06, 11:43 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

I find I get more flak from non-bloggers when they find out I have a blog rather than other bloggers I've met. I find myself explaining my reasoning more for having a blog than the nature of my blog. Being a blogger period sets me apart from most people, though I have yet to meet someone strictly through blogging who is not also a mommy blogger. I do read non-mommy blogs though, and on a couple of occasions when a pregnancy is announced, invariably the comments show some people unwilling to adapt with the blog author as (s)he embarks on the parenthood adventure. Laments of "Is this going to become a mommy blog?" are common. It's a shame to be pigeonholed that way.

8/1/06, 12:25 PM  
Blogger gingajoy said...

i am back in the blogworld again, and catching up on my blogher recounts.
i spent 8 hours in a car talking with my friend about women's writing and autobiography and the sticky politics of mommyblogging--and i have to say this post is just brilliant (if mildly depressing).

we want to (re)claim the notion of mommyblogging as a radical act, but we just can't shirk the fact that if you stick the term "mommy" in front of anything, it becomes "lesser" "flimsier" "not as intelligent..." or even martha-stewart cultish...

like you, i claim the title (although my blog title does not use "mom" in the title, and I wonder if that makes a difference) but my writing is about much much more for me--but mothering is a trope we all gather around and build our network upon.

fascinating stuff. thanks for sharing.

oh and the tittie pictures are awesome too. MORE MORE MORE!

8/1/06, 12:27 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Margalit: I wrote a long response but deleted it. I'm happy to discuss further with you by email if you'd like.

I'll just say that there is a difference between "venting" and a cruel, hurtful character assasination in a public forum. Her post was neither constructive, thoughful, nor purposeful, it was contrary to the spirit of the weekend, and I'm sorry, phrases like "I'd like to rip your ovaries out" transcend venting.

If you compare what I do on this blog with what she does on hers, then I'm pretty insulted.

8/1/06, 1:41 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

I am sorry to have implied that I thought the entire conference was geared towards mommybloggers, that was just the impression I got while reading all of the great accounts. Thanks for the clarification though, and such a thought-provoking discussion to follow, very interesting! :)

Carrie

8/1/06, 2:23 PM  
Blogger something blue said...

I have a hard time accepting the term Mommyblogger but I know that it is the category I fall into. Seems that BlogHer will only list my site in the Life blogroll section. I must admit that haven't been quick to cry out "but wait I'm a Mommyblogger!"

It is really sad that women of other categories look down upon another woman's writing only due to the fact that we have recently reproduced. Yes it may wipe away a few brain cells but we still have many thoughts to offer. The humor goes way beyond poopy diapers.

8/1/06, 2:25 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Liz - thanks for the wonderful post and observations. I suppose I identify with both mommyblogger groups. I love to write and I also enjoy connecting with others. In fact, I love to connect with others *through* writing. (I'm not so big on talking!)

I generally don't mind the term mommyblogger. I see it the same as any label, such as "political blogger," and I don't see why any group would look down on any other.

I think blogging all comes down to writing skill. If a blogger can't write with skill, I won't want to read them on a regular basis.

8/1/06, 3:15 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Late to the party, thanks to leaving a day later than everyone else. Which also means I'm late to the interesting discussions like this one.

I'm all for calling myself a mommyblogger. It's just a word, or words, depending on how you write it. I'm a mom, I'm a blogger, and I do write about my child. The label seems to fit.

I guess I don't let others who choose to use the term in a negative way bother me. If anything, I learned this weekend that mommyblogging IS important and IS something that can lead to change. Hell, even Arianna Huffington agreed that mommybloggers are important - who am I to argue with her?

I'm also working on a post about this, but your post has given me even more to think about.

8/1/06, 3:38 PM  
Blogger Food Mum said...

I guess the blogging world is just reflecting the big world out there. People just love to pigeon-hole everyone, so they know (they think) where they are with them - up a notch, down a notch (better knock them down two pegs then) ad infinitum. Wouldn't it be heavenly if we all could accept each other without the need for comparison...but then if this was heaven we'd be dead and not be blogging...end of comment.

8/1/06, 3:38 PM  
Blogger Mocha said...

My friend, Becky, who came with me doesn't understand much of it, but then she likened it to her doing theatre: you don't get paid for it (leastways I don't!) but it's a fun, creative outlet.

You'll have to come see what I have written today about the whole pigeon-holing thing. I'm with you, girl. I KNOW what you mean!

Also? I have REGRET, REGRET, REGRET that we didn't have time to connect more. I tried when you were busy (sorry about that!) and then didn't come back over after you were done posting. But, still. I regret it. We connected when you caught me at the registration table. And let me say again - you just canNOT be older than I am. No way. Nuh-uh. You're so amazingly beautiful with that radiant smile... *sigh... we'd SO be friends if I lived in NY.

Because I just know you wouldn't want to live *here*! ;-)

8/1/06, 4:08 PM  
Blogger motherblogger said...

I've been thinking a lot about why the term mommyblogger would be so controversial. And frankly, it surprised me at the conference and surprises me now. Soccer moms, once a group that got a lot of flack are now a fairly powerful group when it comes to political and social issues. I think we should be able to own the term and transcend it.
As for your division of two kinds of mommybloggers, my problem is that I think that anyone working on a blog is going to think or at least hope that they are honing their craft and would consider themselves to be in the first group. But from the cliquey nature of blogher, I don't think those friendships are an unexpected side benefit. They seem pretty important. As they should be: writing and motherhood are can both be lonely places. So when I think about what category I'd be in, I'd choose a third one that embraces both the writing and the friendships that could come from it.

8/1/06, 4:52 PM  
Blogger k said...

I'm trying to be brave in posting this, so please understand I have NO ill will as I write this. But I've been thinking about this for a couple days, too, and wanted to share my experience...

I attended BlogHer because I am a blogger and I attended the MommyBlogging session because I think it is a critical feminist issue.

I am not a parent. (And I'm single.)

And while I found the "mommyblogging" session to be interesting and I did not find the conference to be Mommy-centric in its design, I DID feel a bit on the outs the whole time I was there.

You all were most definitely the Event Celebrities -- even if unintentionally -- and it seemed that you had the loudest voice. You have a strong network and a tremendous following and...(ohmygod I can't BELIEVE I'm writing this) but you felt like an unpenetrable A-list.

I could be very wrong, but I don't suspect that any of the "Oh, you're a mommyblogger" comments meant to diminish what you do or who you are. I think it comes from a much less thoughtful place. Namely, from those of us who felt overshadowed.

I went to BlogHer expecting to be proud of my blog and fearless in meeting other bloggers, whatever their subject matter (kids, yarn, life, sex). Instead, I arrived and felt very outside the main element. There was a very real, very evident mommyblogging clique, and I found myself more in observation mode than active participant.

Now, of course I realize my claim probably sounds petty and lame (because maybe it is). But I just wanted to suggest that perhaps -- and maybe just by people in attendence at BlogHer v. the world at large? -- the "oh you're one of them" comments is more sour grapes (us = feeling like ugly girls at the dance / you = Sorority Sisters) than a poo-pooing of what you do or who you are.

8/1/06, 6:03 PM  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

Yes, yes yes! This is exactly how I feel. I did not start blogging as a mommyblogger. I was simply ME. Writing. But I've been embraced by the mommyblogging community and I'm not about to bite the hand that feeds me.
At the same time, I hate to think that ONLY moms read my blog, because I like to think that I'm more than a mom... Y'know?

(Giddy now because I'm at my in-laws and I can comment here without my computer shutting down- but I'm getting a MacBook this weekend and all my problems will be over! Just call me LurkerNoMore!)

8/1/06, 6:35 PM  
Anonymous michele said...

I was unable to attend Blogher. So I certainly can't comment on the divide there. I have been journaling online since about 1994 (well before blogging, and well before my kids' existence). I've only turned to the blogging format in about the last year. But I've never been able to categorize myself. Because you see I was documenting my life well before there were kids. Well before there was a marriage. It's just my life. So, my question becomes, what is a mommyblogger? Am I one by virtue of having children? Is there a definition out there? (That's not rhetorical, I actually want to know).

8/1/06, 7:56 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

There are writers who came to blogs as another medium in which to hone their craft. The community of kindred spirits found through blogging is a wonderful and rewarding but altogether unexpected side benefit.

Though I wouldn't call myself a "writer", I do feel that I fall into this category. And yet as I continue blogging, I'm surprised to find that connecting with a community of women is becoming just as important to me as practicing my writing.

On another note, I'm sorry that I didn't get a chance to talk with you more at BlogHer. You were very approachable and seemed ultra friendly. Also, as I blabbered to you when we met briefly, I very much enjoy reading your blog. Not just the baby stuff, but the political stuff and the social issues stuff and the pop culture stuff as well. After all, being a "mommyblogger", if we choose to embrace that term, doesn't mean that all we talk about is being a mommy. We ARE multi-dimensional.

8/1/06, 8:03 PM  
Anonymous neva said...

i just want you to know that i could have been the 10th or 11th commenter here... but then, i got distracted and forgot to come back. and now LOOK! number 94?? what the hell?? sigh.

anyway, there were too many comments ahead of me (93, to be exact) and i couldn't read 'em all, but i'm guessing anything and/or everything i might have said already has been said. (tho' i might have said it in a truly eloquent fashion... we'll never know now, will we?)

actually, i really loved reading about your experiences at the conference... and i'm glad you found it all so rewarding. somehow, i kept imagining it was gonna be like cheerleading camp, but i guess not.

did i mention i'm glad you're back? xoxo

8/1/06, 8:35 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

That was a fantastic read. Thank you!

8/1/06, 8:38 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

I wish I could have been at blogher to participate in some of the sessions so that I have a better understanding of all the different viewpoints and to meet some of the other bloggers. But I'm glad you gave this recap. It makes me better understand, and I'm excited for BlogHer '07!!

8/1/06, 10:08 PM  
Blogger Mayberry said...

OK I can't read all 96 comments that came before me (who am I kidding, I'm sure I'll scroll my way up there soon) but I have just one question: Yeah, where ARE my damn free pair of Jimmy Choos?

No, for real. Thank you for a post that expertly examined so many of the raised by the conference. I love being in the company of smart women. I agree, that Catherine is one kick-ass question-asker.

8/1/06, 10:56 PM  
Blogger Lady M said...

Whew! Made it through the comments section. That says a lot when even the discussion in the comments to your post is that interesting!

I also used the term "personal blog," like many others mentioned, although I wrote quite frequently about my son. Somehow, "personal" makes me feel freer to cover any topic I feel like.

Did you notice that other genres of bloggers also expressed shyness that they weren't to be taken seriously? One of the folks who stood up to speak at the Saturday morning opening session said, "I'm *just* a food blogger." When you're meeting with so many new people at once, it's easy to feel a little overwhelmed, and perhaps that's where the perception of cliques came in.

It was lovely to meet you in person, Mom-101! Looking forward to reading your insightful posts.

8/2/06, 12:49 AM  
Blogger margalit said...

Liz, I'd be more than happy to discuss my comments further in email. margalitc at yahoo dot com. I think you might have taken my words personally when I was meaning the colloquial 'you'. I had in no way meant to compare you and your writing to those of the unpleasant mommyblog hater. It had nothing to do with you personally, what I was trying, and unfortunately didn't do well enough, is to point out that there are always going to be bitches in any group of women, and they have the right to write what they want on their blogs. Just as we have the right to ignore them. By bringing it up, it just perks the interest of other who weren't involved.

I wasn't at blogher and neither was the person that gave me the link to that particular post. Which makes my point...I didn't experience it first hand, but I read about it early on Sunday from an attendee's pointed comments, and from there the post was passed along all over the net. Had you attendees IGNORED it, and just shrugged it off as a malcontent baring her anger on her blog, it would never have blown up the way it did.

I've been a professional writer for about 25 years now. I started writing about parenting in the late 1980's and since that time I've seen this stuff happen time and time again. Perhaps that's why I have a different viewpoint of mommy blogging in the first place. It isn't new at all to me. I've been in this same space for 15 years now, and there is very little I haven't seen in the arena of parenting via the internet.

That people continue to disagree about salient parenting points is, in my book, a good thing. It enables us all to see different viewpoints, and to sometimes learn from them. It enables us to more clearly define our own parenting desires and allows us to reject what we don't like and embrace what we do. It allows us to monitor our behavior and to compare our children in a non-judgemental way. I think these are all good things, but then again, I know I'm in the minority.

I've never had trouble standing up for my opinions, nor have I had trouble identifying things that I don't agree with. But I've lost the ability to be so judgemental along the way, and I also see that embracing of accepting differences as a very good thing, despite the fact that it makes me appear opinionated at times. That's just who I am.

Anyhow, would like to talk more about this if you're willing.

8/2/06, 1:27 AM  
Blogger Krisco said...

This was brilliant. Thanks for the thoughtfulness.

8/2/06, 3:37 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

I know I already told you this, but as a woman who is not in the same place as you, I can still appreciate what you write about as well as the way you write it. You're a blogger and a wonderful writer, who also happens to be a mommy.

8/2/06, 8:12 AM  
Blogger Summer said...

I originally came to blogging as a "lurker". I really enjoyed reading about other's lives and experiences. It was and is a source of entertainment and inspiration. For me, it wasn't about "mommyblogging" or whatever that entails. Sharing one's life experiences is just that. Everyone's experience is different and just as in life, these differences should be celebrated and accepted, not put down and those who are sharing being made to feel that they are being judged for not being one of those other bloggers. I truly have never understood division of people. We all have something to teach and many many things to learn.
It's actually kind of amusing to realize that even among relationships lived out almost entirely through the internet this kind of division, angst and judgement occurs.

8/2/06, 9:10 AM  
Blogger movin'mom said...

It's all about acceptance. I have been teaching my daughter about the importance of girlfriends. No matter what you do or how you treat someone, there are going to be those people who will latch on to the negativity in life. It is what fuels their being. You just have to realize that nothing you have said or done could or would change the way these type of people think.

For the most part, I eliminate those people from my life.
For those I cannot, I keep it in small doses.

I enjoyed reading all of your BlogHer updates.
and obviously with 102 comments with only one negative, you got yourself a pretty big fan club, you already know I'm one.

8/2/06, 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Whinger said...

I am sooooo late to this commenting party, but had to put in an extra helping of love for this post.
I am not a mom. I will most likely never be a mom. But I love the "Mommy Bloggers," much as that term makes me want to turn inside-out, because of their fabulous writing and what they've done for feminism.
Go on with your motherly selves.

8/2/06, 1:24 PM  
Blogger Tori said...

You rock...
Great analysis my friend. I would have been like you too, super-sensitive to everyone and their differences at Blogher and trying to analyse it all.
I too cringe at the name 'mommy blogger' because I know that a lot of what I write is risque and not always mom-friendly. SOmetimes I find myself censoring my stuff and I think this is wrong. I feel that I fall in the kind of middle ground/gray area of Blogsville which is why I so love your term Mommybloggers. Yes I am a blogger and yes... it so happens that I am a mom. I feel that my posts are more a commentary on non-kid related stuff or insane things that happen to us as a family.... It's a tough one but I like what you wrote...
But then I always love what you write....
xxx
ps I'll be there next year with Kristin

8/2/06, 2:17 PM  
Blogger kevin said...

I thought of you and this post recently when my 17-year-old niece said to me, "So Kevin, you're going to be the stay-at-home mom when your wife goes back to work?" I won't lecture on the use of this mom term for a father since I think you've done a wonderful job in a previous post, but the point is, my niece didn't mean for it to ruffle my feathers even if it did.

Sometimes we get hung up over the semantics and the message gets garbled somewhere between the two interlocutors.

How would you feel about the term MILFbloggers instead?

8/2/06, 2:47 PM  
Blogger Kara said...

if you're still reading comments (100 comments later, damn girl!), i just wanted to say that I found you through the post blogher love- fest and link-a-thon and i adore your site.

i didn't think i wanted to go to blogher this year.... but i'll be going next year! i, too, feel queasy about the whole "mommy-blogger" thing. i'm a mom, i blog and often my posts have little to do with my daughter. but at the ned of the day, i guess that's what i am. and i'm okay with it.

8/2/06, 2:51 PM  
Blogger Plunky said...

Whoa. 107 comments?? Lordy.

First I wanted to say it was great to meet you! I'm so excited to become one of your newest readers! Yay!

Second, about BlogHer and the "Mom's that Blog" issue. I just read your readers comments and I am a non-mom(so far) but I really honestly did NOT feel that I was being excluded at BlogHer at all. Did I feel like there were a lot more moms there than non-moms? Of course, uh, because there were. Which was totally cool with me and I hope most of the others like me. You always have one or two wackjobs that have to bitch and complain about things I think. I wore yours and Izzy's buttons around all weekend. I went to the Mommyblogging is a Radical Act session. People that complain don't realize that everything is cyclical. Plus, you know what? Moms seem to be targets lately and I think it's AWESOME that you guys had a weekend where you realized how important and appriciated you really are.

There's my 2 cents. Now, where is my Yahootini?

8/2/06, 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Stupendous post. Thanks for the food for thought. Wouldn't want to drink on an empty stomach, after all...

8/2/06, 10:30 PM  
Blogger MommyWithAttitude said...

The MILFBloggers? I love it, Kevin you so crack me up. But then again, you probably don't want to be called the MILF when your wife goes back to work...

8/2/06, 11:27 PM  
Blogger scarbie doll said...

That's tough girl, because don't you feel, like me, that you're a little from column A and a little from column B?

8/3/06, 12:20 AM  
Blogger Karl said...

Fantastic post. You gave me a better understanding of what some of the "mommyblogger" rumblings were about last weekend. I had visions of some east coast vs. west coast mommyblogger drive-bys. ;) It was a pleasure meeting you, by the way. I realized in the few minutes we talked that I'd squandered yet more of my time at BlogHer by not spending more of it with you.

8/3/06, 3:51 AM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

(What's this exactly about Jewish bloggers not being at BlogHer?

Did you convert to Hinduism when I wasn't looking, Liz?)

8/3/06, 12:16 PM  
Blogger Carrcakes said...

I don't think our gender will ever outgrow our tendencies towards divisiveness. Unless of course we all lose our inhibitions after drinking multiple Yahootinis. What's exactly in a yahootini?

8/3/06, 4:22 PM  
Anonymous dorothy said...

Got here from Lisa's link - I can't believe I hadn't seen this yet. Well said.

8/7/06, 1:44 PM  
Blogger The Daring One said...

You seriously rock, my friend. It was so great to meet you at BlogHer. You've put into words an approximation of what a lot of us were thinking.

8/8/06, 2:50 AM  
Anonymous toy said...

as one who is not a mommy
and hasnt been for a while
i can tell you
that early on in this phase
i didnt want kids
cause i 'dont like em'

i realised later
that it wasnt the kids i didnt like
it was the parents

and now that i teach kids
thats even more reinforced

so its not really mommybloggers i dont like
its maybe just mommys (and daddys) in general

i mean in recent years
why has there been so much hype about
'child-free' zones

because new and pregnant parents
all of a sudden think the world revolves around them
like they are the ONLY ones on this entire planet
that can breed
and therefore
the traffic needs to stop
the seas need to part
the world needs to look
and their every excuse/complaint/glare is justified

now having said that
i love my friends with kids
*I* want to have kids
but i have also lost friends to their kids
only to have them resurface
in their times of need
one thing i really dont like?
fair-feathered friends
regardless of nature or excuse

for some reason
there is no formal etiquette
when parents are around non-parents
parents want us to listen
and we do
many times we almost have no choice
but we are EXPECTED to be compassionate

i cant speak for any other non-parent
but i know that
i WANT to be compassionate
i also want parents to be compassionate

dammit - cant we just all get along?!!

and as a last footnote
i threw away the sweetener
(amongst other stuff)
but hell i kept the minti bib
my bird LOVES it
and NO ONE gets my kids calendar
but my fridge

8/10/06, 10:34 AM  
Anonymous sweatpantsmom said...

This is a great post - I knew I could come here and find an intellectual observation on the happenings at BlogHer. Although, I'm sure some pictures exist of you with a drink and a cigarette, dancing on the bell captain's desk. Cough em up!

I've been hearing a lot about the anti-mommyblogger sentiment at BlogHer - yeeesh.

I've already decided that my outfit for next year's conference will be a housecoat, baby sling and big mommy-jeans. Who's with me?

8/15/06, 5:09 PM  
Anonymous Annerose said...

These comments have been invaluable to me as is this whole site. I thank you for your comment.

6/20/07, 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Martin said...

Good Job!

6/11/08, 3:50 AM  
Blogger Elaine A. said...

I am quickly becoming a fan of your blog and found a link to this post in your side bar.

I find it interesting that you posted about this before I even started my blog.

I think it's evident by my blog name and many of my posts that my blog is more about me in general than just my "Mommy" status. However, I would never be offended by being called a Mommy blogger and yes, those are certainly the gals I have the most in common with at this time in my life.

So glad I've found your place here...

9/13/08, 12:55 AM  

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