My Google Reader page tracks nearly 100 blog to which I subscribe. Some are news or tech blogs. A few show funny captioned pictures of cute animals. One delivers videos of what it promises: “Cute Things Falling Asleep.” But far and away the highest number of blogs on my subscription list are personal blogs.
Of those many dozen personal blogs, I can think of only two that are run by men. The great majority, by elimination, are therefore run by women. And a great majority of those are run by what the blogosphere has termed “Mommy Bloggers.” The term came about, as one could imagine, as a large contingent of stay-at-home moms turned to the internet to share their stories and show off pictures of their adorable children.
In my tracking of the mommy blog phenomenon, I have noticed a few similarities between the blogs. In fact, these similarities are so steady that I follow several blogs of people who aren’t mothers, but whose blogs still fit within the mommy blog philosophy. (Before I continue, I would like to point out that I’m not going to be criticizing, but I still read dozens of these blogs every day. I’m just making observations.)
A few common traits:
- They are usually hosted at blogger.com
- They have very feminine templates, usually consisting of flowers, lace, pink, and other super-frilly, girly stuff.
- It seems as most of them are written by Mormon women, and contain all of the cultural references thereto.
- despite the fact that the writers are usually quite educated the blogs are replete will spelling errors completely lack capitalization and use extremely emphatic punctuation! (if they use any at all, lol)
- They are written in a very colloquial speech type pattern, or, even worse, use textspeak as a real language.
- They often use HUGE capitalized letters at the beginning of their paragraphs, change the colors of their text, and otherwise use unusual typesetting tricks.
Often-times, they are center aligned
- They gush about husbands, boyfriends, lack of boyfriends, their best friends at school, etc. There’s a lot of love in these blogs.
- They are usually filled with supportive comments from other mommy bloggers. These comments often echo the exact same traits listed above.
- They are all relentlessly, unrealistically, sickeningly positive.
You can see a good example of a parody of the Mommy Blogger phenomenon at Seriously So Blessed. This website is hilarious if you’ve never been.
All in all, I find the mommy blogger thing to be relatively innocuous and somewhat endearing. It is especially nice to follow the progress of my family and few friends I care about. However, there is something about a trend in mommy blogging that drives me ape @#$%. It is the #10 item on my list.
With a very few exceptions, nobody ever posts anything that is negative. It’s as if many of these mommy bloggers are trying to project their desperate attempts to appear perfect in the real world to cyber space. Nothing is ever wrong, they’re so blessed to have such a wonderful husband, such wonderful kids, such a wonderful mother and father and in laws. But that’s it. It’s so unrealistic. I don’t doubt that many of these people are truly happy people, and that they feel extremely blessed. But there has to be more to their lives than that. I hate that these women feel that they have to present a face of utter perfection about their lives–either in real life or on the internet. It’s okay to have a bad day. It’s okay to be frustrated at your kids, angry at your husband, to just feel trapped by your life. It’s OKAY. It doesn’t make you a bad person, nor does it make others thing poorly about you. It just means you’re human.
Take my sister. She’s a partial mommy blogger. She does several of the things listed above…including that big capital letter thing which just bugs me. :) She is blessed. She’s got a great husband, a beautiful daughter, a nice home, and great parents and in-laws. And she states those things often. But, she also has struggles. Her daughter has physical disabilities which have hindered her development. She feels exhausted and at the end of her rope occasionally, and she talks about it. It’s what makes her blog so real, and so compelling. It’s honest. It’s a portrait of a whole person. I’ve learned a great deal from the way she interacts with her challenges, and on more than one occasion, it has reminded me that I don’t have it as bad as I think I do sometimes. And someday down the line, her children will be able to look back on her blog and really get to know their mom. Not all the personal details of her live, but who she was as a person.
We live in a culture (Mormons Especially) where it’s seen as a bad thing to ever seem less than perfect. We plaster on smiles and tell people that we’re wonderful. And sometimes, we are. Sometimes, though, life sucks. We feel like we can’t keep going. We want to cry, or scream, or rage against the machine. We wish we had made decisions different. We feel guilty for things we’ve done. It is these things that make us human. The problem with trying to hide all these things is that we become less human by doing so. We limit our ability to express our joy, because we don’t know how to express our sorrow.
I will never be a mommy blogger, either in matriarchal responsibilities or in spirit. In fact, I often take it too far to the other wise of the coin. In one of the mommy blogs I read, the writer weekly posts her list of “Sunday Sunshine,” a list of things for which she is seriously so blessed. I will probably never do that–and certainly, not a weekly basis. So, in an effort to help balance the blogosphere, I will now present 10 things that really tick me off.
- I hate how commercials are so much louder than television programs
- I hate how our new president is completely incapable of answering a direct question with a direct answer, jabbering around the actual question without ever actually answering it. (P.S., I voted for him, so I have the right to complain.)
- I hate how men seem to have a really hard time peeing into urinals without spraying all over the floor. It’s not that hard guys. If you’ve got a prostate issue, stand closer. They give us urinals for this very reason.
- I hate office politics and in-fighting.
- I hate that I rarely feel as though my prayers are answered.
- I hate being alone.
- I hate that I have to spend all day at work, then I come home and have to clean, do homework, walk the dog twice, go to bed, and do it all over again the next day. I hate that I have to spend my weekends cleaning and shopping and not getting time to relax to recuperate from work.
- I hate the fact that I have to move to a one bedroom apartment just to pay my bills, that I can’t buy a house because I don’t have any money, I can’t save any money, and houses are so expensive. I hate that I’m 30 year old and I’m still paying rent. I hate moving, period.
- I hate that nothing I used to do in my life to bring me joy (e.g., theatre, music, etc.) brings my joy anymore. I haven’t found a good replacement yet.
- I HATE winter.
I would like to extend the invitation to any of my blog readers to post at least 10 things that tick them off or that they hate. And make them personal/honest. If you honestly can’t think of 10 things you hate, then I envy you. And now, I Love You all. Even you mommy bloggers. :)