4.29.2011

"Mommy blogs are women blogs"

This week, I was minding my own business on the commute to work, picking my nose, reading about the Beastie Boys, daydreaming about cheese, adjusting a wedgie--whatever things you do in the privacy of a packed A-train car filled with anonymous commuters.

As the train pulled up to the West 4th Street station, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned to face this young woman with the sweetest smile and a fedora, who I expected to be giving directions to, or thanking her for pointing out that I had dropped my MetroCard. Instead, she blurted out in the brief second before the doors closed, that while she has no kids, she reads my blog.

It kind of made my day.

At least after I nervously replayed my train ride, hoping that she didn't see me doing something totally embarrassing like knocking over an old lady to grab the last seat.

(But I didn't. I only do that on the commute home when my feet really hurt.)

What stayed with me all week, though, was the email Kelly sent me later that morning. As I told her, I  think it's too good not to share it.

If I had a quick moment, I would have told you why I was so enthusiastic (besides being a total nerd). Sometimes when I’m out with my single lady friends, who all read blogs, and I mention some mommy blog, I’m met with judgmental silence.  

You read mommy blogs?

I’m met with the same look, the look your best girlfriend gives you when you admit that you keep calling that loser ex who cheated on you.

What my friends don’t understand is that Mommy Blogs are women blogs.
If I skipped out on Mommy blogs because I don’t have kids I would be missing out on the yummy recipes of GGC or the general angst all New Yorkers have when celebrating anything on 9/11.
So, please know that lots of different kinds of people [read mom blogs] and love it. Some are mommies. Some are single, chubby black girls who live in Bed Stuy. And we could all learn from each other.
I always wonder if I would have read mom blogs, had I discovered them before I actually spawned. Whether I would find kindred spirits in the community of women writers, writing about womanly things and shared experiences--as people like Laurie White and Roo and Leah and Heather B have.

I would hope I would have. I would hope I'd have been open to the stories of women with children, and not hindered by my anxiety at being single myself, or jealous at their secret codes and inside jokes about playgroups and mucus plugs and other things I never knew had names. I hope I would have had Kelly's wisdom and willingness to see what unifies us over what separates us.

But I don't know.

One thing I do know: Kelly needs her own blog.


54 Comments:

Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

Ah... now I'm reminiscing about mucus plugs.

What a sweet moment on the subway and the subway is not really known for a lot of lovely moments.

I'd read her single girl blog. In a minute.

4/29/11, 10:05 AM  
Anonymous FreeRange Pamela said...

That's lovely. I always think of my work with Family & Parenting blogs being mostly about "life, in all its glory and challenges, through the eyes of a parent." And, of course, Moms are still Women, and Dads are still Men.

4/29/11, 10:09 AM  
Blogger OHmommy said...

That's awesome.

4/29/11, 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Redneck Mommy said...

I love this so much. I may be a mother, but first and foremost, always, I will be a woman first.

4/29/11, 10:19 AM  
Blogger Mom-Friday said...

This is beautiful! I blog, not for moms, but I blog to share what I go through as a woman, who just happens to be a mom.

4/29/11, 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

I don't have kids yet(hopefully soon) and I read mommy blogs, including Mom 101 of course. I don't tell anyone though, because I'm sure they'll think I'm odd. I like good mommy blogs for the same reason Kelly does although I don't think I ever articulated it that way. The good ones are a great source for advice and support for a wife, friend, sister, daughter and future mother like me.

4/29/11, 10:19 AM  
Blogger Muskrat said...

Like Tanis, I may be a lot of things, but I am a woman first.

4/29/11, 10:21 AM  
Anonymous The Dalai Mama said...

It is so true...in the early days I read a lot of infertile blogs, as I was struggling with that. I also read blogs by moms, and while I don't relate to it all--I have children but have never given birth--we still have so much in common.

We are all women who struggle with attempting to live up to society's ideal for us--whether we are single, married, moms, childless, etc. There are many more things we share than make us different.

I used to be completely surprised when people who didn't adopt said they read my blog or commented--but then I realized, while I am a mom and an adoptive mom at that, I am so much more.

Your blog is so much more. We are all so much more.

4/29/11, 10:25 AM  
Blogger amy turn sharp of doobleh-vay said...

yup. Woman. Writer. Mother. I have never fit into the mommybloggers only cloak and I like it. We are all women writers.

4/29/11, 10:29 AM  
Blogger Mama Kat said...

You run into all kinds of people on the train, don't you? I feel a little left out because here in the suburbs of Seattle the only people I run into on my way to work are my kids.

And they're not nearly as complimentary. And I work at home so my chances of a great exchange like that do not improve as the day proceeds.

Kelly sounds lovely. :)

4/29/11, 10:48 AM  
Blogger toyfoto said...

This is the best thing I've read in a very long while. I want to thank you and I want to hug Kelly.

4/29/11, 10:52 AM  
Blogger RegencyKnitter said...

For the record, I am a regular reader, and I have no kids. Good writing is good writing.

4/29/11, 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Z said...

I'm a pre-mom (currently pregnant with first child) but have been reading mom blogs since long before this little one was in the picture; I totally agree with Kelly - mom blogs are women blogs, and while I am not there (yet) they have so much to offer with perspective and, yes, yummy recipes, I'd be missing out if I skipped them!

4/29/11, 10:56 AM  
Blogger Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

LOVE this post.

I was a blogger long before I was a mother, so for me, I never suffered much angst about this topic. I write about the things that bubble to the surface in my life. Sometimes, it is the kids. Sometimes, it might be books I am reading. Other times it might my little tarantula hobby.

I love reading blogs, period. Whether the person has children or pets or only plants does not matter to me.

4/29/11, 11:00 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

Why not? We can all learn from and enjoy others, no matter what our differences may be. Hell, I am almost 39 and am waaaay too into early 20 somethings fashionista blogs. Do I fit the mold for their market? I doubt it, but then again, I pride myself in not fitting into any "mold".

4/29/11, 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Twinisms said...

I love this. I never thought of it this way, women blogs. I am married and have 4 children & I read some single gal blogs:)

4/29/11, 11:15 AM  
Blogger Neil said...

I need to chime in as a male blogger without kids who reads moms, non-moms, Jews, non-Jews, dads, African-American transexuals, and who ever else touches my heart, or becomes my friend.

It wouldn't even occur to me to only see kindred spirits in those who are exactly like me.

This issue is the biggest disappointment I have had with the blogging world. As a child of the 1970's, it was ingrained into my head that categories that separated people were going to dissolve like in John Lennon's Imagine, and everyone was going to share in the humanity of each other, a community of people. And from what you see to be saying in this post, most come online to create communities of those like themselves with very little interest in finding the similarity of life issues in everyone. Maybe it has to do with the demographics of monetization.

But in all honesty, one blogger may have a child, one blogger may have one leg, one blogger may be in a wheelchair or have diabetes or be a millionaire or be a Republican -- but they all eat, cry, and die. It would be a sad world if we only read books, saw movies, and became friends with those in the same category.

I see the humanity in mom and dad writers talking about their children. I don't see that as a big issue. If anything, it is the parents who tend to be exclusionary.

4/29/11, 11:20 AM  
Anonymous julie said...

A large portion of my readership is not only childless, but male.

I call myself a mommy blogger because I'm a mom and I write about my kids. But at the heart of it, I'm a storyteller, and my readers are anyone who enjoys a well-told story.

Labels are for jars.

4/29/11, 11:30 AM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

I said something to @lauriewrites yesterday in her comments that I believe works here too. We find our people. Online. In real life. We find the people who we connect with in some way. At the end of the day, it doesn't (or shouldn't) matter who's a mom or dad or that single gay man.

For me? I had kids so young that I don't really remember a life without. I was the mom in a room of single people for years and years. I never minded actually.

I do wish I'd had a blog back then. I could have used the support.

I'd read her blog.

4/29/11, 11:37 AM  
OpenID beyondnormallimits said...

I read mommy blogs before I had kids (I even met a few in real life) and I felt the same kinship Kelly spoke of, yet I don't think they felt it about me. It was pretty disappointing to feel excluded again... single AND childless... we couldn't possibly have anything in common was what the looks seemed to say to me or the lack of response from comments I would make. I didn't think I would be received well on my own blog unless I had kids, although I am still building it up and learning the ropes. It is clear the reception on twitter has been much more immediate when I use the word "mom".

4/29/11, 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Margaux said...

Good writing is good writing and great content is just that. As many others have already said, I'm not a mom yet but I love reading your blog because I can still relate to so much of what you say - and it's honest, entertaining, and interesting. Blogs remove the context and stereotypes and really boil it down to the conversation.
Thanks for sharing and big props to Kelly!

4/29/11, 11:58 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Great observations Neil.

Yes, people come online to create communities of those like themselves. But that doesn't mean they have no interest in finding "the similarity of life issues in anyone." I guess it depends how specifically we describe "people like ourselves" right?

If you are a new mom looking for support from other new moms, a writer looking for writers, a woman looking for other women, a New Yorker looking for other New Yorkers, a progressive looking for more voices of progressives, you can find that in the blogosphere. Sometimes those people are one and the same.

We always are going to gravitate to people we can relate to. I don't think that has anything to do with money or blog politics.

4/29/11, 12:07 PM  
Blogger Micro Dr. O said...

Love LOVE LOVE this post! (And yes, Kelly totally needs to start a blog!) I'll add, though, that mommy blogs are not just woman blogs, but people blogs. Raising little people blogs. Food and entertainment blogs. Relationship blogs. Working blogs. They're made of all the things that so many people can relate to, whether or not they have given birth, or been pooped on, or felt the amazing love of a spit-up kiss on the mouth. That's why I was reading them before I became a mommy. That's why non-moms continued to read mine even after it became a mommy blog.

4/29/11, 12:17 PM  
Anonymous roo said...

Thanks for the link-love, pretty lady!

I've always liked to read what smart, funny, thoughtful women have to say. A lot of those ladies are mothers. And that's all there is to it.

4/29/11, 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Ginger said...

I've been reading mom blogs for about 9 years. I've had a kid for under 2. I read long before I had kids because good writing, good storytelling, good people...well, they draw me in. Kids or now.

Because I also read blogs by ex-pats (I'm not one), military families (nope, not that either), academics (heavens no), men (uh, yeah, all female here), cooks, designers, scientists...well, you get the point. I read because it's interesting, not because we are all the same.

It's actually one of the things I love about blogging. Yes, I've found people who are my tribe who help me through similar situations (parenting in particular), but I also am able to connect with people who ARE different from me. Women who have different experiences. Men who lead different lives. That's what makes it interesting!

4/29/11, 12:52 PM  
Blogger Chara said...

I started reading your blog before I ever got pregnant. I wanted to have kids, but I wasn't in a position to do so. So i daydreamed and lived vicariously, and realized that I had a lot to learn about being a mother and giving birth. I have two now, and I still have a lot to learn.

4/29/11, 12:53 PM  
Anonymous agirlandaboy said...

I wouldn't be half the mother I am today if it weren't for the Bloggers Who Also Happen to Be Moms. But even more than that, I wouldn't be the woman I am today without you guys either.

(I'm always surprised when people look askance at the notion that someone might want to read a site written by someone so different from herself, leading such a different life. To me, one of the greatest beauties of the online community is being able to explore what makes us different--and from behind the safety of our screens--and then being able to learn and appreciate and find common ground where we might have otherwise supposed no common ground existed. Viva les blogs!)

4/29/11, 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

''Mommy blogs are women blogs.'' YES. This.

Kelly's put into words what I've known without realising it for all the years I've been reading. I'm single, late twenties, childless - none of my friends have children yet either. It doesn't matter a tiny bit. Good writing is good writing and my favourite mommy blogs have some really damn good writing.

I also now know a lot more about what I might expect during any future pregnancies and childbirths than I ever could have guessed ten years ago. You can quiz your own mother, if she's still around, but having all these wonderful blogs out there on the internet is having multiple mothers to tell you their story. Amazing.

Thank you.

4/29/11, 1:41 PM  
Blogger Elaine A. said...

I'm so glad she talked to you and that she reads your blog. And yes! I want to read hers too... :)

4/29/11, 2:49 PM  
Anonymous The Expat Mom said...

You REALLY don't have to be a mom to appreciate Mommy Blogs...just like you don't have to have kids to be friends with people who do.

My blog is mostly written to keep in touch with my friends all over the world, and many of them don't have kids, yet they are able to appreciate my stories because it's the same stuff that I'd be telling them if we lived in the same place and went out for drinks!

Plus, not everything that we write about has to do with kids/parenting...

If I'd known about Mommy Blogs way back before I had kids, I would have totally read them.

4/29/11, 7:08 PM  
Anonymous citybebe said...

I'm so glad you posted this because it is all so true! As a matter of fact, I literally had to stop and think if it was me that approached you on the train because I also ride the A train and I did wear a fedora this week... But it wasn't me and I digress... :D

As a woman with no kids (yet!), I started reading your blog last summer and I like to admit I'm a hardcore reader as I read your first post through the archives (took me about a week or so-- it's like a book). I immediately related to you because I am married to a comedy writer and I am just finishing up my 2nd go-round in college studying advertising & marketing... To me, it was almost like catching a glimpse of my future self with a family and I can't get enough. Seriously my favorite blog - not just mommy blog - and I look forward to every new post!

4/29/11, 8:42 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Wow, thank you citybe-- and the rest of you lurkers coming out of the woodwork. While you know so much about me (or so you think, ha) I know nothing about you. It's wonderful hearing all your stories and how you came to be here. Thank you.

4/29/11, 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Scott said...

Actually, I don't think of blogs categorically at all. Your blog I read because it's well-written, and fascinating.

4/29/11, 11:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, me too! I had been reading your blog about two years before I had my baby! When I found your blog, I enjoyed it so much that I went back and read every single old post. Your posts were (and still are) interesting, funny and well written. Thanks for sharing! Heather

4/29/11, 11:23 PM  
Anonymous Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com said...

I read mom blogs for five years before becoming a parent. It's funny to think about, but I think parents online have influenced my parenting style just as much as parenting books and watching other people parent have. And today, as a mom, I still read dating and singles blogs. Infertility blogs. Political blogs. Photo blogs. Blogs that have nothing to do with the phase of life I'm in. Blogs written from perspectives I will never have a chance to fully experience. More than anything, though, reading parent blogs (before and during my own parenthood) tuned me in to thoughts that had nothing to do with parenting that I would have otherwise missed.

And that would have been a crying shame. I say HEAR HEAR to Kelly. Mom blogs are women blogs. Parent blogs are people blogs.

4/30/11, 1:31 AM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

First of all, I think it's so funny that the post at the top of my blog right now is called "Some of My Best Friends Are Mom Bloggers." Synchronicity rules.

I find myself apologizing a lot because I roll in what may look like weird environments for a single woman with no kids. You know, "I don't know why I'm here" at Mom 2.0 or "Yeah, I'm just a...whatever" in whatever other environment. But the truth is that in real life, most of my friends have kids and are partnered, and it's the same online. My situation isn't my ideal one for myself as I imagined it, it's just how it happens to be right now, and I wish it was different but it's not. I landed in the life blogging communities because BlogHer (which does not, contrary to popular belief, serve only moms) was how I got into this and that more or less ended up with me being in touch with a lot of women in my age group, most of whom happen to be parents.

But since I started my blog until now, I've gravitated, always, to people who can write my face off. Some of those people are moms (some of whom write primarily about their children, but most really don't), some aren't, some are dads, some are just people, and some are Neil.

I go for the writing. You draw me in with your smarts about businessy things and then you go and kick me in the head with a great story about your kids, but what I remember most and always about you is your 9/11 work and your posts about your grandma, because those were just beautiful. I read Amy Turn Sharp, Alice Bradley, Kyran Pittman and Mr. Lady because I relate to them on a human level and their words sing regardless of subject. I read Erin Shea for YEARS before she had her baby and now I'm watching her work out being a new mom and I'm right there with her (on Twitter, that is.) I read Heather Barmore and SueBob before they were my friends. The words are the thing(and for me, often, the photos) and that is that. I think I can relate to parent blogging because I am very serious about my family and my relationships with the people I care about, of all ages.

Finally, and this may sound gushy, but so be it: you (and Kristen and Julie too, interestingly enough -- go Team CMP) were one of the first and have always been one of the most consistent to reach out to me as a person with ideas and opinions beyond the categories, whether in your comments, on Twitter, or on (and most awesomely, off ;)) the BlogHer list. It meant a lot to me, and it's why you are one of the people I respect the most online. That is what builds relationships and breaks down potential barriers, and why a girl like Kelly is drawn to you, too. You sit at the ideal blogger dinner table in my mind, and someday when I'm in the city again I'm going to make this so. :)

4/30/11, 1:48 AM  
Anonymous Mom Blog said...

I'm so glad to see this post! I write a mom blog, but it isn't meant for only moms. I had someone say that she wasn't a mom, but she could still check it out. I call my blog a "mom blog," and not "mommy," but some still shy away from it. The mom blog offers tips, recipes, money saving advice, info all women need to know. But....have you ever heard anyone say they read a "woman blog?" "Mom blog" is definitely just a term. I'm going to share your article with my readers at www.BlogWithMom.com and it will automatically hit my facebook page. It is time to educate more people on this! Way to go!

Bobbie Anne
http://blogwithmom.scentsy.us

4/30/11, 10:23 AM  
Anonymous TyKes Mom said...

I must be honest; I would have never read mommy blogs until I became one myself. I never watched birthing shows or goo-gooed over baby bonnets or even enjoyed myself at baby showers. Other people's children bothered me immensely.

Though, now that I have two little post-mucus-plug-causers myself, I wish I had entered the mommy world before becoming one, if only for brief snippets of time, to recognize that all those women with their bothersome children were amazing, talented and strong individuals whose children were just being children. I wish I had only known that then.

4/30/11, 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Minka said...

On the one hand, I LOVE this post and LOVE all that transpired between you and this woman. On the other hand, I'd like to go a step further and ask: must we really limit ourselves to "Women" blogging, or can't we just be "bloggers?" Men don't describe themselves as "men" bloggers, (though of late there has been an upsurge of daddy bloggers, but I believe that's largely a response to the "mommy" bloggers.) And I feel we do such a disservice when we label ourselves and segregate ourselves this way.

Her Bad Mother did an excellent post not long ago: http://herbadmother.com/2011/04/moms-on-the-front-line/

to which I responded quite passionately, as I myself am a new blogger and struggling with the labeling/identity issue (no I don't blog about recipes and scrapbooking and home-making tips..., mainly because I suck at those things, but I am a mother, and I don't think I suck at that... most of the time)... and Her Bad Mother used my response as her follow-up post: http://herbadmother.com/2011/04/all-the-things-you-said-you-said/

I think these are hugely important conversations to be having. And yeah, female bonding is priceless and essential to sanity. But I'd love it if, even for just a short time, I was considered just a "person" who also happens to share insights, online, about the joys, perils, and absurdities of being human.

4/30/11, 5:24 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

Kelly CLEARLY needs her own blog.

As for me, I did read mom blogs before I had kids. And I enjoyed them. Partly, though, because I planned to have kids. If I were totally opposed to the idea, I'm not sure if I would have, in the same way.

I guess we'll never know.

4/30/11, 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

I'm childfree, and I'd say the majority of the blogs I read are written by parents. I don't think of them as "mommy" or "daddy" bloggers at all, simply people writing about their lives. I have friends who are childfree and friends who have or want children, and what is in my real life is no different than what I am interested in when I'm reading blogs. I just love people and their own stories in their own words. Good writing is good writing: having children or not having children doesn't affect that in the least.

4/30/11, 9:14 PM  
Blogger Scary Mommy said...

I love this.

4/30/11, 9:15 PM  
Blogger Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

I've tried owning the term "mommy blogger" but then things like this come up and I realize the negative connotations people still attach to women with children who blog.

We are not all "mommy bloggers" even if we are moms who blog. We are not all moms, all women in social media aren't bloggers, not all bloggers are writers, and not all of us are women (even if they wish they were). I read/follow/obey/comment/laugh with/love people with whom I connect, mommy/blogger/writer/non-writer or not.

Brava to Kelly - NOW START A BLOG or at least Twitter.

4/30/11, 10:03 PM  
Blogger Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Awwww... How awesome. I wanna be blog-spotted! But no one recognizes me without my milk mustache on my avatar...

5/1/11, 8:28 PM  
Blogger all.things.fadra said...

I *wish* I knew about mommy blogs before I had my son 4 years ago. I might have felt way more prepared. Or at least known there was a community out there. I'ma latecomer to the blogging scene but I say better late than never,

5/1/11, 8:30 PM  
Blogger Ericka said...

i've been reading you for years, and i don't have kids. ;-)

5/1/11, 9:17 PM  
Blogger Carissa(GoodNCrazy) said...

Nice a 'mom-spotting' moment. And on the A-train no less.

I know I was reading blogs, any blogs for a year before I braved the world myself.

But yeah I had spawned by then. Not sure I'd have read mom blogs before the kids... good thought.

5/1/11, 11:58 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Minka,

I have no issues being called a parenting blogger because honestly, parenting is the lens through which I often write here. I don't find it limiting as much as I find it defining.

I suppose when you're a style blogger, tech blogger, education blogger, political blogger you don't want to be labeled by gender because it's irrelevant. But for me, I don't want to be "just a blogger."

I'm proud of what I write about. I don't mind owning the label.

5/2/11, 7:25 AM  
Anonymous Annie @ PhD in Parenting said...

How lovely. I'm so glad she said hello to you and that you posted her e-mail.

5/2/11, 2:45 PM  
Blogger Never That Easy said...

I'm not a mommy, and I read about a zillion mommy blogs. I'm not a man, and I read blogs written by men. I don't fit the demographic of many of the writers that I read, but if they're good writers, I'll read them regardless. I'm so glad someone had the chance to stop and tell you that they appreciated you & your blog ~ it must be so nice to hear.

5/2/11, 9:35 PM  
Anonymous mominrome said...

I really like your blog!!

this post is great!

thanks

5/3/11, 3:19 PM  
Blogger Magpie said...

Kelly is seriously cool, for stopping you like that, and for following up. I love this story.

5/5/11, 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Cam - Bibs and Baubles said...

i love this story. Kelly rocks for reading... and of course, so do you for sharing this story!

5/9/11, 6:17 PM  
Blogger ChirpyKat said...

I have to admit that I only found your blog when I did a google search on "working moms".

5/18/11, 6:05 PM  

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