Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Not Another Post About That NY Times Article...


I know, I know! Everyone is writing their response to that "Honey, Don't Bother Mommy. She's Building Her Brand" article. A few days ago, I read the article in the spirit of every snarky blog post that I've read on most every mommy blog that I follow.

Damn straight, don't bother me, kid.... Give me back the mouse! Aaaaiiiiii!!! Don't touch that keyboard again!!! These are all things I've said and not in the name of 'building my brand' but just to lay claim to the space in the house and my head that is mine and mine alone! I will also admit that I love the socializing and laid-back atmosphere that seems to radiate from every blogger convention that I read about. I was at BlogHer last summer in Chicago and, though it was professional and offered great opportunities to 'hone my craft' and was all very commodotized (is that a word?), um, yeah.... my first priority was to meet my on-line friends in real life, hit as many parties as my heels would carry me to, and enjoy some much needed time away from home & responsibilities.

So, when I read that article I thought, Oh, man. Another conference I wish I could've gone to! It sounds like it was so much fun! Wow, they really covered a lot of great topics! That sounds super. Wow, they were really business-centric at this one. Gee, I should really be thinking about that stuff a lot more. And that was about it.

But then all these huffy tweets started rolling out on twitter... And then the posts of outrage started going up. How dare that reporter belittle us? And I thought, Hmmm, hold on. What's that now? Did I miss something? and then I thought, Well, the title of the article was a little too much, maybe. And THEN I read Cecily K's post about it this morning and finally GOT what everyone was so upset about it. And I agree with a lot of what she says about mothers' portrayal in the media and mommy bloggers and all that feminist-y we're-just-as-important-as-men stuff, ...just not necessarily with how it applies to this particular article. And I finally was able to put a finger on why the article didn't upset me.

Here is how I responded to her:

This was the first post responding to the NYT article that actually made me start to see why everyone is so pissed off. When I read the article a few days ago, I didn't think much about it.... If someone is going to run a conference barefoot and embracing the title "Mommy Blogger," I feel like they are setting the event up to be viewed as a "mommy" event which will include lots of coffee, chatting, networking, and wine.

I think that a new term needs to be coined for the smart, ambitious, business-minded women bloggers that happen to write about their families and lives. Leave "mommy"-blogging to the casual bloggers that are solely interested in joining our amazing on-line community, writing part-time as a creative outlet and enjoying the friendships that can be formed there over parenting issues.

Whether we like it or hate it, the term "mommy" instantly denotes a segment of bloggers that are more interested in socializing than in building businesses and empires.

Family bloggers, parent bloggers (which would be a lot more inclusive to all the dad bloggers out there), even just mom bloggers.

I know it is just semantics, but it means a lot.

Being a mother is part of life. If I am looking at this with a positive spin, maybe women are defined by their motherhood status so often because it is the most important thing to any species. If I were being more cynical, maybe I'd say that defining women by their motherhood status is something used to potentially take away their power in the work-place. *shrug* I don't know.

What I do know is that using the diminutive form of "mother" does not strike me as the short-track to power and success.

I believe that I am powerful as a part of the demographic (upper-middle class household money-spender, decision-maker), but I am not a power-wielding influential blogger by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe someday, I say wistfully, but for right now: I am just trying to be a good parent while staying true to mysel.

I am a mommy blogger. I'm not crazy about the moniker, never have been, but Super-Star-In-My-Own-Mind-Blogger has never caught on, so it is what it is. Meh. I've made a couple hundred bucks from the blog, but it's not going to end up paying for my kids' tuition or even a couple nights in NYC. And I'm okay with that. Kind of. Sorta. Maybe... Alright, fine, maybe I don't know the answer to that question just yet. I would love for something to happen with this blog. But I don't dedicate the time to it to make it as successful as maybe it could be.

So doesn't that make me, an admitted mommy blogger, a lot different from the women who know what they want and are working to make it happen for themselves through their blogs?

What name do you think should be used for our ever-growing ranks of parent-bloggers that are also business people hoping to earn money with their blogs? Do you agree that the word "mommy" is hard to take seriously? Do you think it is important to have some way to make a distinction between these groups or is it something that we allow the audience to decipher for themselves?

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Thoughts appreciated. Advice welcome. Douche-baggery scoffed at then deleted.