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25 Aug

Mommy Blogging For Fun And Profit And Hate Mail

A few years ago, I was interviewed by the Globe & Mail about ‘mommy blogging’ and the ethical issues – you know, the usual: child exploitation, child neglect, Jon & Kate Plus 8 Syndrome – that it raises. I was mildly defensive about it, but mostly amused, because, seriously, wasn’t it obvious that most mom bloggers blogged out of love? Wasn’t it obvious that the average mom blogger paid closer attention to her children that she might otherwise – after all, how else would she have all those stories, if she wasn’t fascinated by her kids, and by her own experience of motherhood?

These points of obviousness, however, are not obvious to everyone. Obviously. As the commenters to the original story pointed out, it seemed obvious to them that I was neglectful and exploitative. Was I not blogging instead of spending time with them (well, her; Jasper was at that point still a fetus)? Was I not profiting from telling stories about her? Wasn’t obvious that I was, as a blogging mom, a bad mom? I still get these questions. I don’t think that a week goes by that I don’t get these questions, or questions like them. Hell, just this week I got a lovely email demanding why I thought anyone cared about my struggle to figure out the how and why of telling personal stories, because, after all, I should have stopped telling those stupid, exploitative stories years ago. So the questions are fresh in my mind: can a blogging mom be a good mom? What is mommy blogging good for, anyway? These are stupid questions, of course. I know that.

They are, however, questions for which I once wrote an answer:

16 Mar

She Is Vast, And She Contains Multitudes, And She Also Sometimes Throws Her Bra

When I got to the South By Southwest Interactive festival this past weekend, someone told me to not tell anyone that I was a mommyblogger. “Say personal blogger, or lifestyle blogger,” this person said. “Just not, you know, mommy.”

It was too late. I’d already ridden in from the airport on a short bus full of hipster boys, who had asked me what I was there for, and whether I was in film or tech (the fact that I did not sport an ironic mullet tipped them off, I suppose, to the fact that I was not there for music), and I had felt compelled to explain that I was kind of in tech, if by ‘in tech’ he meant ‘writes about frankenvulvae and Ativan-dependence online.’

“I’m what’s sometimes referred to as a mom-blogger,” I said. “Oh,” he replied. “You’re a mom? Do you know anyone who buys animated shorts? Like, say if they were kid-friendly?”