The Toronto Star ran an article today on “mommy blogs” and how mothers are connecting via the web. Author Andrea Gordon interviewed Literary Mama’s Andi Buchanan and me (among others) for the article and Literary Mama received a nice mention in the sidebar article.
A major component of the article is about how blogging has allowed mothers to write openly about a wide range of issues they might not have a chance to (or the nerve to) otherwise discuss, including the “darker” issues like post partum depression or the decision not to breastfeed or maternal ambivalance.
Gordon also discusses how blogs not only allow mothers-writers to articulate their point of view to a wider community but how the comments function allows them to have a two-way dialogue with their readers. Although the article focuses mainly on the positive role of blogs in fostering community and allevieting maternal guilt, she also mentions how the relative anonomity of the blog can bring out the worst in some people.
Writer (and former blogger) Ayelet Waldman believes that it is the attempt to capture readers that drives the sometimes critical nature of the blogosphere: “There is a tone that you have to adopt in order to make your voice heard amidst the general cacophony. …You have to make it pop. And an easy way for it to pop is to make it snarky.”
I have to disagree. In my experience, there are very few consistently “snarky” mother bloggers. I have found that the voices of good bloggers (just as the voices of any good writers) are sincere. Some days they are snarky, other days they are tender. It seems cynical (and untrue) to make assumptions that bloggers are adopting a certain tone simply to build their readership.
Gordon concludes her piece with an excerpt from Miriam Peskowitz’s response to Linda Hirshman (also featured on her blog), which in my opinion much more elegantly summarizes the nature of the mother blog world:
On our blogs, we write about the work that fills our days. It may read like boring trivia, but it’s the stuff of everyday life, and it matters. We have joys and regrets, happiness and anger. These lives don’t come with fancy names or titles, but they’re honest and they’re real. We’ve created an interesting and connected world. We’ve ended the awful isolation that can affect so many moms and dads. We’re here, we’re real, and we come from all walks of life.