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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.”

 

99 Comments
  1. November 23, 2017 05:36

    How can she say 12 tips on cooking a turkey isn’t vital?!?! All kidding aside, my point is, don’t judge a book by its cover, and because something may not be vital to you, doesn’t mean it’s not vital to someone else. I couldn’t agree more with how important it is to be real, not to mention healthy!

    • November 23, 2017 17:01

      Right? Millions of turkeys are being eaten this very day! Thank you for your comment!

  2. Nova permalink
    November 23, 2017 06:12

    I loved this. Brutal. Honest. 🙂

  3. November 23, 2017 10:56

    Thanks for this. Really good read.

    • November 23, 2017 17:02

      You are most welcome. Thank you for reading!

  4. November 23, 2017 13:32

    Im a mom of three and just starting to blog and not so confident yet about this new journey but thanks to you..it feels great to read this

    • November 23, 2017 17:12

      You can do it! Mom blogging is a great thing to do – you gather memories, make friends, improve your writing and share your thoughts. Good luck!

  5. November 23, 2017 19:44

    I can’t agree more with every word you wrote in your post. You have hit the nail on its head.

    • November 25, 2017 18:11

      Thank you. I think Reese missed the boat on this one. It’s weird, because she has a blog!

  6. November 23, 2017 21:24

    Loved it…I have read something so good after so long… excluding the dead novelists and dramatists…
    The thing about being real is just so inspiring..this happens only to those who wait…

    • November 25, 2017 18:11

      I think becoming real happens most often to those who love and who are loved. I wish that for everyone.

  7. November 23, 2017 22:26

    This really made me smile. I’ve been blogging for two weeks and I’ve already connected with some amazing women and men through appreciation of the truth we blog about! I also realised very quickly that my blog wasn’t just relatable to Co parenting single moms like myself, my posts are relatable to anyone. Thank you for writing this!!

    • November 25, 2017 18:13

      Awesome. Blogging is such a nice way to find your people. It is especially great for mothers because you’re going through so much and you want to ask “Is it just me, or???”

      • November 26, 2017 00:46

        Some of my experiences are definitely “just me” things 😂 but there’s loads that many people relate to. I am so glad I started blogging, it’s a lovely community 🙂

        • November 26, 2017 08:59

          I think it takes a very special person to have the talent and bravery to clearly articulate such personal experiences in a public forum.

  8. November 23, 2017 22:36

    Mommy blogs are really getting famous day by day :O

    • November 25, 2017 18:13

      They have been around for a long time. I’m glad more people are reading them, though.

  9. November 23, 2017 23:45

    It is an honor to be your friend.

    • November 25, 2017 18:13

      Likewise! You help make me real.

  10. November 24, 2017 03:59

    Thank you for this it was inspiring to read really enjoyed it thank you.

  11. November 24, 2017 04:35

    Amazing article , can i share it on my personal blog ?

    • November 25, 2017 21:05

      You can link to it for sure. Thank you for asking.

  12. November 24, 2017 05:16

    Thanks for writing this!

  13. November 24, 2017 07:34

    I also don’t have kids, but I do follow some mommy blogs, and I love them. This work is a sad place if we can not empathize and enjoy people who come from other walks of life and deal with other things which probably do not include chauffeurs, and people doing our hair every single day sometimes twice a day… ❤

    • November 25, 2017 21:06

      Exactly. I do my own hair with some water and a comb 🙂

  14. November 24, 2017 10:48

    This is very nice…I’m impressed.

  15. Nesha permalink
    November 24, 2017 16:34

    As a mommy blogger I ABSOLUTELY love this!

    • November 25, 2017 06:29

      Thanks, Nesha. We’re all in this together.

  16. November 25, 2017 04:09

    Great blog. Thank you for writing a great piece

    http://MoneyMyLife.com/?refcode=26186

    • November 25, 2017 06:29

      Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate it!

    • November 26, 2017 08:59

      You are welcome.

  17. November 25, 2017 06:44

    it’s really a nice blogs its give me alot of thought what to write for my next blogs… God bless you….

  18. November 25, 2017 12:45

    I didn’t expect this to be so refreshing and insightful. I’m new to the blogosphere and I’m not a mom. However, that’s the wonderful thing about blogs in general, regardless of their subtext or target audience, you’re exposed to things you’ve never thought about, and learn something new everyday from an individual’s experience or expertise. That is a blessing in itself. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and I will be sure to check the blogs that you’ve mentioned ^_^

    • November 25, 2017 21:07

      Thank you. I am glad you liked it. Some of the people I mentioned, like Melissa Summers, don’t blog anymore. But there are lots of good blogs out there!

  19. November 25, 2017 17:15

    Great article! I got involved with blogging not terribly long ago. One could say I’m socially awkward, I don’t have lifelong friends like all the “real girls.” I began my blogging to improve my own writing and to connect with others. It’s been a slow process.

    • November 25, 2017 18:10

      Blogging isn’t what it used to be, thanks to Facebook. It used to be a much smaller community. Now almost no one comes to my blog unless I post links elsewhere. I’m learning to promote all my posts by putting posting on facebook and adding the link to the first comment – because Facebook is apparently prejudiced against links. I hope you find your tribe!

  20. November 26, 2017 07:48

    A well-written piece. Reese Witherspoon should have put it more carefully, but I suspect she was trying to say that women are interested in more than cliched mothering and cooking advice, with which I assume most of us agree. I doubt she intended insult to thoughtful blogs that happen to be written by mothers.

    • November 26, 2017 08:58

      I certainly hope so, but blogs written by mothers have been so insulted and made light of over the years that I might be oversensitive.

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