Sometime in April Kottke told us that Heather Armstrong was retiring Dooce so that she could focus on other things.
Dooce is dead, long live Dooce.
Though I never achieved the same fame or fortune as Heather we certainly had a similar career path. We both had the incredible luxury of writing about our lives and getting paid to do so. Our only expertise was our very own lives.
It sounds like an easy gig and it is, well it was. Then it became not easy and then downright burdensome and then it was time to quit but I just kept slogging away at it and that was a terrible mistake but the death/retirement/drain circling that happened right here is just that. It was a gradual decline in both enthusiasm for and the quality of the content that was delivered. It was me accepting sponsorships that were terrible matches content-wise but fiscally generous.
I’m not saying that was anyone else’s experience. Just my own.
Recently Heather went to Australia to speak at a ProBlogger conference and by all accounts took a steaming shit on the stage.
“I don’t know a single one of us who’s happy doing it anymore,” she said. “The joy that it brought us is completely gone.”
I understand. I too wasn’t happy blogging anymore. I didn’t have anything to write about with my family because once the kids are in middle school you no longer have universal stories to tell. It’s all very personal and you don’t need to share it with the other moms. Kids are entitled to go through puberty, dating, high school and to launch their lives with some privacy.
Her blogging friends (I have no idea who her personal friends are) continue posting joyless sponsored content. We know that, we see it too. There are more mom bloggers than Dooce & Friends. Many more.
The problem is that in the wake of a public meltdown the internet is confusing one woman with “Mom Blogging”. Is Dooce dead? Put a fork in it. Is Heather Armstrong dead? Not by a long shot. I don’t know where she’ll pop up (probably not on the speaking circuit) but she has a unique voice, an interesting history and an innovative nature. She’ll do stuff.
Mom Blogging will never die off. Women transition from singlehood to motherhood in relative isolation.
We don’t take off of work, few quit their jobs, we have two cars and park in our garages. We start our families when we want to start our families and other mothers may be 20 years older or younger than us. We are missing the homogenous experience our grandmothers had (endured really) and there’s no one there to tell us the old wives tales. Some of us go to google looking for advice, some of us go to the web to offer it. Most of us are just looking for someone to connect with, some common ground.
I don’t have much in common with Deborah Cruz. I don’t live in the midwest, I don’t have two daughters and I certainly don’t have to go to ballet recitals. My daughter occasionally misses her plaid skirt and polo top but having Deborah as part of my web based tribe of mothers and others gives me additional perspectives on school uniforms and parenting girls. It makes me a better mother, a better friend and a better host to my children’s friends.
Another midwestern mom blogger is a woman I met at a conference 7 or 8 years ago and who blogs about financial security and sometimes insecurity. Jenny Decki talks candidly about budgeting, saving, paying down debts and solidly and enthusiastically supporting her husband. You cannot read this site or Deborah’s and tell me mom blogging is dead, dying or even on life support. Blogging is the support.
Sponsored content changed blogging. Depending upon the hour of the day I could tell you that it made it better or worse. The only undeniable fact about sponsored content is that it changed blogs. We have to be more discriminating readers I suppose.
Personal blogging requires more than a sprinkling of hubris. If you’re too humble who will find you? There’s a lifespan to the personal blog. I don’t know the exact lifespan but I know that I’m currently writing on a site where the horse has been beaten to a pulp, left out to rot and then reexamined every time there’s a declaration about mom blogging.
There are great bloggers out there writing compelling content and sharing stories that we’ve either lived, will live or are curious about. And then there’s Jenny and cat ass.
Mom Blogging is dead, long live Mom Blogging.