The New York Times had a fascinating story today on the ‘new fad’ of parents blogging. While I realized I was following a fad when I started this blog (and felt no shame about it!) I didn’t realize quite how popular it was among parents. I mean, I read Dooce.com and have seen a few other parenting blogs in my recent blog hopping, but I didn’t realize how many there were (oh great, more blogs to occupy my time…)
Here are some bits from the article:
Today’s parents – older, more established and socialized to voicing their emotions – may be uniquely equipped to document their children’s’ lives, but what they seem most likely to complain and marvel about is their own. The baby blog in many cases is an online shrine to parental self-absorption.
Wow. That seems kind of harsh. “parental self-absorption?” Is it self absorbed to want to do something that helps you maintain your sanity and your perspective? Or is it bad for your kids to have a parent who’s not a total nutjob? Maybe you’re forcing them to lead a more boring life by trying to hold on to your sanity, in which case, yeah, I guess it is pretty selfish.
I would love to be able to articulate how wrong I think that statement is. Parenting is such an intertwining of your life with your child/ren’s that to try to discuss one and not the other would be nearly impossible. Doesn’t how your marriage is working, what’s gone on in your day, how you’re feeling- don’t all those things affect your child/ren?
And anyway, it’s my blog, I’ll damn well write about whatever I want! LOL!
“People who get married, especially people in their 30’s, and then have kids, are used to being the center of attention,” said Jennifer Weiner, whose candid, motherhood-theme Web log, Snarkspot (jenniferweiner.blogspot.com), led to her novel, “Little Earthquakes,” a tale of four new mothers. The blogs, she said, are “a primal scream that says, ‘Hey, I may have a kid, but I’m still here, too.’ ”
Daniel J. Siegel, a psychiatrist on the faculty of the Center for Culture, Brain and Development at the University of California, Los Angeles, and co-author of “Parenting From the Inside Out,” said that what is being expressed in these Web sites “is the deep, evolutionarily acquired desire to rise above invisibility, something parents experience all the time.” He explained, “You want to be seen not just by the baby whose diaper you’re changing, but by the world.”
Well, I guess I can’t really argue with that or disagree that I’m different. After all, my very first entry was about being Brianna’s Mommy and the loss of identity I’ve felt. But I don’t think it’s that I’m invisible, just that how people see me has changed. I believe they- meaning everyone from my husband, in-laws, parents, and friends- see me as Brianna’s mom first. I think they’ve kind of forgotten that I was an interesting person before I had her!
Heather B. Armstrong of Salt Lake City credits her blog, Dooce.com, with saving her sanity, if not her life. When it began in February 2001, Dooce was a collection of anecdotes about Ms. Armstrong’s single life in Los Angeles, with provocative entries like “The Proper Way to Hate a Job” and “Dear Cranky Old Bitch Who Cut in Front of Me at Canter’s Deli.” After someone sent an unsigned, untraceable e-mail message about Ms. Armstrong’s blog to her company’s board in 2002, she was promptly dismissed, and “Dooced” entered Urbandictionary.com as a term for “Losing your job for something you wrote in your online blog, journal, Web site, etc.”
And doesn’t that just suck? The good news is that no one can fire me from my job just for blogging about it. Well, I guess Josh could try and fire me, but I don’t see that happening because I know HE doesn’t want my job. And besides, I’m sure Brianna would stage her own protest. And believe me, when she protests, people listen!
“A blog like this is narcissism in its most obscene flowering,” she [Ayelet Waldman, whose blog, Bad Mother (bad-mother.blogspot.com), describes life at home with her four young children and her husband, Michael Chabon, the novelist.] said. “But it’s necessary. As a parent your days are consumed by other people’s needs. This is payback for driving back and forth to gymnastics all week long.”
Huh. “narcissism in its most obscene flowering”? I just wonder how long she spent trying to get those words exactly right (I think she should have taken a few more days to think it over). Uhhh… sounds like an oddly disgusting(I have all these horrible visuals) way of saying the worst example of self-absorption. I wonder if she even knows what she meant or if she just thought it sounded good?
But perhaps all the online venting and hand-wringing is actually helping the bloggers become better parents and better human beings. Perhaps what these diaries provide is “a way of establishing an alternate identity that makes parenting more palatable,” said Meredith W. Michaels, a philosophy professor at Smith College and the co-author of “The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women.” “You’re turning your life into a story that helps answer the question, ‘Why on earth am I doing this?’ ”
Yeah. What she said. (But that doesn’t mean I’m going to buy her book. The title’s a bit intimidating, isn’t it?)
All in all, the article was interesting, not award winning material by any means, and pretty close to being outright crap in places (some of the quotes in the article made me say “Oh Puh-leaassee!”) And who ends an article with this?
And of course the more parents blog, the less likely they are to get the attention and validation they seem to crave. “If every parent in the world has a blog, then maybe it really will be about the child rather than the parent,” Ms. Waldman said. “Because at that point the child is the only one who’s going to read it.”
Uhh…at the beginning of the article they estimated 8500 parent blogs. Every parent in the world? Oh Puh-leaassee!