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Mommy Blogs Made Me a Real Girl

November 4, 2017

“Reaching women on multiple platforms with quality content is vital, Reese Witherspoon said, adding, “And I’m not talking about mommy blogs and 14 ways to cook a turkey.”

Dear Reese Witherspoon,

I just want to type “Take a hike,” and hit publish, but I have a bit more to say.

I’m not a mommy, or a mom, or a stepmom, or any other kind of mom. I’m childless. Childfree. Barren. A spinster. I chose not to have kids and didn’t really spend much time around children or even around people with children.

When I started blogging in 2005, and when the novelty of simply publishing wore off about two weeks later, I started looking for blogs to read.

“Read Dooce,” the internet advised. “She’s hilarious.”

I read Dooce. She was hilarious, but I also felt like I had the wind knocked out of me. She wasn’t just hilarious. She was real. In a world where it seemed like everyone was bullshitting me about motherhood, either talking about the experience with sugar-coated, pastel-tinged, Hallmark-branded breathlessness, or, alternatively, making motherhood seem like a rocky path to post-feminist hell, Heather was doing something radical. She was telling the truth.

I called my sister, Laura. “Read this,” I said. She called back a few minutes later.

“This is good,” she said, quietly. My sister and I are both given to flights of hyperbole. For her to simply say something was good meant it was better than good. Like me, she was a bit stunned.

I started reading everyone Heather mentioned. Jen B. Fluid Pudding. Alice Bradley. Melissa Summers. Those blogs led to other blogs and other blogs.

Each gave me a little glimpse I hadn’t seen before. These were people talking about their lives in the purest form I had ever seen, free from editing, free from advertising. This was what people usually talked about in small groups of intimate friends – but it was out there for anyone to see.

Of course there was a backlash. I lost count of the disparaging editorials and NY Times Style Section pieces on the passing fad of mommyblogging and the silly mommies who bothered to put their dumb little thoughts down in pixels as they exploited their progeny for page views.

Meanwhile, we formed a community, first a small one, then a big one, then a zillion sub-communities who meshed and intersected and cheered each other and fought each other and tore each other down and hashed things out in public in a way that was sometimes terrible and sometimes thrilling.

Other stuff happened along the way. Mommybloggers (and other women bloggers) started businesses like Cool Mom Picks and BlogHer and CLEVER (whose services you could probably use, Reese, if you’re trying to build your brand). They wrote best-selling books. They founded businesses to teach each other the craft. One even created a multi-media lifestyle brand that dwarfs your own, Reese.

In other words, mommybloggers started out producing quality content and kept producing quality content and have never quit. So shut up about mommy blogs and cooking turkey. You know who wants quality content about cooking a turkey? Well, easily more people than saw your movies “Rendition,” “Vanity Fair,” and “How Do You Know?” combined. Yeah, I said it.

As for me? Childless lonely old spinster me? I got an education and a bunch of dear friends. I got over the notion that women were different from me just because they had kids. I got my heart and my mind opened. And despite my odd quirky weirdness, I got loved. Bloggers took me in and loved me and told me it was ok to be who I was. They listened to my stories and responded. They called me and texted me and gave me someone to visit every time I travel, pretty much no matter where I go.

Finally, like the Velveteen Rabbit, they made me real. And to me, that is some damned good quality content.

“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Chloe Jeffreys permalink
    November 5, 2017 12:58

    Love this.

  2. November 8, 2017 11:49

    Yes, yes and yes. This community of online women that I read and support makes me feel like there is good in this world.

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