Jenny Lauck – we’re all in very different stages of mothering, from one infant to preteens.
(This session is very well attended!)
Meghan – the stigma of the term “mommyblog” – because we got interesting feedback.
Content – what we are writing about
What we want to get out of it.
Jenn: Do you consider yourself a mommy blogger?
Audience – I can tell you from personal experience after quitting my job to stay home full time. Men were very excited that I was devoting myself to that. Women gave me very different reactions from, Oh, you’re so lucky – a little bit of --
The stigma against mommy blogging – when you devote yourself 100% to your children.
Grace D: I actually heard at this conference, “she’s a mommy blogger but she’s a good writer.”
Mindy: I haven’t personally heard this, “You are using your children as shills.” But I feel I am just handing them a record of their childhood.
Miriam: My Mommy blog is powdering our noses. My struggle is professionally, blogging is not difficult. But doing it as a mommy, I get that attitude.
Jenn: I think it’s funny that people think I’m less of a writer because I’m a mommy. You embrace it. It’s not a bad thing.
Jenny: We kept encountering this “I’m not a fluffy mommy blogger.” It’s something we keep coming across.
Jory: As a childless person – what exactly is a mommy blog? What is the definition?
Audience: I don’t know what the definition is, but I know what I’ve got. I’ve got four kids and I’m home and most of my friends have gone elsewhere because they’re driven crazy by my four kids. And for me, it’s being able to go online and ifidng
Audience: Maria Shriver would like women to be unapologetic. If you do stay at home, don’t say Oh, I used to be blah blah blah but now I stay at home. It just ties back to the reactions I got when I told people I’d be staying home.
Audience: I also do not have children and I read a lot of mommy blogs. And for me, it has to do with good writing. I’m currently devouring the Master and Commander series, and that doesn’t mean I have any desire to sail. When people want to be derogatory about mommy blogs, it’s like calling things chick flicks – it’s derogatory.
Meghan: Maybe it’s the subject matter people have a problem with.
Audience: Another without children – and reads a lot of “mommy blogs.” Likes them because they are personal, they’re emotions and they’re funny stories. Good writing.
I think those of you who have mommy blogs are doing a great service to other moms.
Grace: Definition of mommy blog – what she hopes evolves is another category of blogs. Mentions dads who are writing great blogs now. The number one issue for me when my daughter was a baby is the isolation. And if this technology had been available then – I read these blogs now and it takes that away and contributes so much to that community.
Audience: If my mom had this when I was a baby, this would have been bad for me.
Grace: My 14-year-old and her friends read my blog – mostly because they like to see pictures of them. My daughter is very proud of me and she actually told her friends that I’m a writer on the Internet. They will carry that imprint that you want to tell a story.
Audience: I read Dooce, and I wonder what will happen when her kid is older and what will happen when other kids see it and tease her about it? I don't think I would have wanted my mom to have blogged about me growing up.
Audience: What if she had written a book?
Audience: The thing about blogs is that posts can be deleted.
Of course, there's the way back machine and google cache - so even if you do delete things, it can be found again.
Audience: Book Editor - not a mom - SealPress - just wanted to say, definitely that books are more permanent. Saw Annie LaMott speak and she was disclosing a lot about her son. I don't see MommyBlogs as being any difference. We are actively seeking women writers and we don't see Mommy Blog as a derogatory term. You're in the NY Times and you're being compared to Annie LaMott and a lot of great writers - you should be stoked.
Grace - That comment, she's a mommy blogger but she's a good writer. I write a lot of political stuff on my blog and I would hate to have my political stuff dismissed because I also write about my kid.
Jenn: Even though I write about my kids, that's not all I write about it.
Audience: I feel sad because I think most of the criticism is from other moms.
Mommys can be really hard on one another.
Audience: I think mommy blogs and moms is a feminist issue. Because there's still no respect for moms. They say things like "she's a mommy but she's a good writer." Or "she's a stay at home mom but she's really smart."
Jenny: So many people think that your choice to be a parent lowers your IQ.
Jenn: If you're not in the work force, you're obviously lazy.
Audience: About Literary Mama - for the Maternally Inclined. Mothers Who Think is from Salon, and it's working toward the same goal.
Jenny: But to even make the distinction - there's these type of moms and those type of moms.
Charlotte Li: Question about how to win over your husband. Do you face concerns from your spouses? How do you diffuse that concern?
Meghan: My own husband has some issues when I use foul language. But there's the issue of maintaining two images.
Audience: How many of us edit ourselves? I wrote a funny post about something and asked my husband to read it first before I post it, and I didn't post it.
Discussion over whether we should give our husbands veto power over our blog. Some do (even when their blogs are anonymous), others don't. It becomes a negotiation.
Mindy: For those of you who read my blog, how many were surprised when I got divorced? It's really hard. You have to decide.
Audience: two of the posts where I got the most comments were from my husband. He doesn't mind and he doesn't have veto power.
Audience: The fear that some freako will fixate on your child because you are giving him some notoriety. I don't agree, but that's where the fear comes from.
Audience: knows of someone who wrote that she was going on vacation, and when she came back she found her house was ransacked. Could it be because of her blog? You can talk about a lot of things, but don't be too specific.
Audience: I know someone who took all her pictures of her children off, because someone linked to them and said "these are my children." When you put the pictures up, they're not all yours any longer. I want my kids to choose. When I put my pictures up, I've taken that right away from them.
Jenny: The thing to remember is that the blog is the woman's story. It may include funny stuff about my kids - but it's still my story. And I get emails from other parents who read it and say "OMG, I can't believe my kid is not the only one who paints with poop." I imagine my kids will look back when they're older and be mortified by these stories - but right now... they're proud of the fact that I write stupid stories about them on the Internet. When that changes, that's when I have the responsibility as a mother to stop.
Jenn: At what point do the stories that you're sharing become something you don't share? I ask my 11 year old if I can post it. My four-year-old - that's something else.
Audience: Did Erma Bombeck's family complain that she was writing about them?
Answer: She made money from it. That was different.
Audience: We are writing about our kids, but I feel it's MY experience of him, not him.
Jenn: Good point.
Audience: The concern about husbands and kids and their vetoing power is an issue every blogger talking about his or her own life faces. You have to be respectful of the people in your life when you choose to express yourself this way. Own your own need of "I need to do this" and why it's so important to you to do this. But you do have to be responsible about respecting their boundaries.
Audience: There's nothing wrong with the word "mommy." Just the fact that it's been given that bad connotation, like feminists.
Audience: We live in a capitalist society where people's values are based upon what they are producing. So if you're unpaid, women's work, in the home - it's considered demeaning.
Audience: Shockingly neutral topic - time management. How do you do this? There's a certain priority given not just to taking care of the family, but chronicling the family.
Meghan: I do a lot of blogging at work, too. It's easier to do at work than it is at home.
Grace: Jackie is one of the most prolific writers of any genre - how do you manage to do that every day? What's your process? And you're writing a novel, too.
Jackie: I really love writing, and I do it all the time. When I'm in the shower, I'm thinking about what I'm going to write next. And when I'm thinking I may not know what I'm writing until I write it. And having a blog means that I will have an audience immediately and I'm addicted to that. So I'll be out in the garden, and I'll think "well..." and then I go run into the house, take my gloves off, post it and then go back out to the garden. And my kids are just so used to it now.
Audience: I now promise my kid that I will set a kitchen timer and when it dings then I'll stop.
Jenny: When I started out I had no inkling that I would ever have readers. And if you read it, you're reading my first draft. And if there's typos, sometimes I'll go back and fix it - but not usually.
Audience: Working Mommy issue. For me, I have a different perspective when someone tells me they're a stay at home mom. Because when I was working, I was so unhappy. And now I'm happy but I have this enormously sappy blog.
Jenny: Is there a prejudice against working mothers in the workplace?
Charlotte: Re anonymous blogs. I have a professional persona, so if I wanted to start a personal blog, I would have to do it anonymously.
Jenny: I started out with just the position of the kids and I was Jenny. But now I use my last name. But unfortunately, there's a wonderful writer named Jennifer Lauck, and people email me thinking I'm her and I'm not.
Audience: If you want to be truly free, you need to be anonymous.
Jenn: There was a blogger who was proud of being anonymous. And it became a challenge to me - you want to be anonymous? You're not going to tell me I can't find out who you are. Within two weeks I found her.
Mindy: With anonymous blogs, if you get burned, you get burned badly. And it's usually by your family.
Jenn: If you want to be anonymous, do it sensibly. Don't make a big deal that you're anonymous. Still watch what you say.
Jenny: How do anonymous bloggers cover their tracks?
Audience: I like when people mention Annie LaMott and Erma Bombeck who are not worried about their anonymity. Because they've been validated by an outside source. If I had a book that said the same thing, my family would not be unhappy. And there's something wrong with that.
The issue of what if someone wanted to use your blog against you (like to take your children away). Audience: It's really hard to take a child away from his mother.
Audience: Take care when you register your domain.
OUt of time.