Mamamia is not a Mummy blog. Never was. Sometimes, those who don’t get the ABBA reference assume Mamamia refers to Mia writing about being a mother and I have to set them straight.
Not because I am insulted, but because Mummy Bloggers write about their lives with a level of detail that I admire but don’t emulate. Some of my favourite blogs are Mummy Blogs and it’s impossible to ignore the fact that they have changed motherhood in the best way possible.
Before blogs, the only place mothers could share information and experiences were mothers groups or with their friends. They could read books or parenting mags too but that was one way traffic. A monolouge not a conversation.
But there are so many nuances to motherhood. So much complexity, so much humour, so many anxieties, so much insecurity and so much support if you only know where to look. Mummy blogs give a voice to women who do an otherwise fairly silent and widely ignored (if not downright disrespected) job: parenting.
There was a terrific story about this in Sunday Life last weekend where Joanne Brookfield wrote….
Kerri Sackville is a mummy blogger. She’s one of countless thousands worldwide writing about her daily life as a mother on her blog, Life and Other Crises. Mummy blogs, she says, can be roughly divided into two sorts. There are the aspirational blogs. These are gorgeous-looking, containing beautiful photos of happy toddlers and cupcakes. Then, “there’s people like me. You would not want to aspire to be me or like me. We’re the one’s living life from one crisis to the next.”
If there has previously been a culture of silence surrounding the reality of parenting, then these blogs bring a startling cacophony of confessions. The stress, the boredom, the guilt … all of it is chronicled in great detail and, often, great humour. As Sackville says baldly, “Motherhood is really hard.”
“It is for lots of women,” agrees Barbara Pocock, director of the Centre for Work + Life at the University of South Australia. “We haven’t renovated the notion of what a proper mother is. She’s meant to be calm, available, good-humoured and look like those women in the ads – where we just look fabulous and we’re loving parents, endlessly,” she says.
Mummy blogging, then, and particularly its very personal tone, is an expression of the “epidemic of guilt and overwork out there”. Pocock says there’s a work/life collision. “Mothers are right in the middle of that collision and one of the places where they debrief is a blog. So it’s no surprise to see really serious talk happening there.”
Sackville and fellow bloggers Karen Andrews, from Miscellaneous Mum, and Lana, from The Sharpest Pencil, all talk about the feeling of community these blogs can create. “You could just sit around the house and go mental,” says Melbourne-based Andrews about the isolation of being at home with young children, “so it’s a way of connecting with other like-minded women.”
Blogs are a source of advice, reassurance and entertainment in an increasingly fragmented world, for bloggers and readers alike. They can also serve a therapeutic function. American mother-of-two Heather Armstrong is the unrivalled queen of the “mommy” bloggers. So popular is her blog that she has appeared on shows such as Oprah and Dr Phil, and last year Forbes magazine named her as one of the 30 most influential women in media.
She credits her readers with saving her life. Daughter Leta entered the world in 2004, and Armstrong suffered post-partum depression. “I immediately started writing about the experience and so many women wrote to me to say, ‘What you’re feeling is normal, I felt it too, and you’re eventually going to be okay’, and I really credit my audience, and the way they reached out to me, with saving my life,” she says on the phone from her home in Salt Lake City, Utah. “It’s been a huge therapeutic process for me.”
But for others, like Sackville, these blogs can be a lifeline. “Just because we get pregnant and give birth doesn’t mean we immediately become skilled in child rearing,” she says. “Some of us are hopeless at it, and some of us are better at some things than others, so it’s just so great to read these other blogs and think, ‘Yes, I’m not the only one.’ “
And for your viewing pleasure, here is the above-mentioned Kerri Sackville in the debut of her Meatball song…..
If you read or write Mummy blogs, why? What do they do for you?