What Makes a Mommy Blogger Famous?

09.6.11

Post BlogHer I’ve been following up with new folks I met and some who I was happy to reconnect with. I’m having tons of conversations with gobs of people about mom blogging and the micro community known as the Mom Blogosphere.

Conversations are awkward and they always begin with the tenative use of the term Mom Blogger or Mommy Blogger. Then whoever it is I’m talking with shyly asks me if that’s the appropriate term to use. “Yes it is,” I tell them, “That’s the term you use when you’re talking about the Mom Bloggers. When you’re talking to the Mom Bloggers be sure to call them bloggers, publishers or Moms Who Blog. Do not call them Mom Bloggers to their face.” I then go on to explain to them that yes, I am a Mom Blogger, and no, I don’t give a flying fuck what you call me. Please just make sure you call me.

Typically at this point there’s a sigh of relief and start asking what makes a Mom Blogger famous. Lots of stuff I guess… I try to not answer this one because it’s totally unanswerable. Mom Bloggers are NOT famous. I mean Heather Armstrong and Rhee Drummond are famous in a total D List sort of way. But let’s be frank, more people recognize Kathy Griffin and her new face than the most “famous” Mommy Bloggers.

Now I’ve put these folks at ease. Probably twenty minutes into this sort of conversation is where I admit that blogging is silly, that bloggers take themselves too seriously but By Gawd big business would be crazy to ignore the social stream the real questions begin.

“Sometimes people say that Mom Bloggers get famous because of tragedy.” This is typically whispered, because you know, I won’t repeat whispered words, right?

Right now about 55 people are flipping the fuck out thinking that I’m telling their secrets. Stop. Don’t panic, 54 other people whispered the same sentence to me. No one knows it was you. More importantly 372 other people thought about having the conversation, they just weren’t as tacky as you and I.

Yes, sometimes Mom Bloggers get famous because of tragedy. Certainly Dooce is known for getting fired because of her blog and for her struggles with Post Partum Depression. Casey Mullins is known for her battles with depression and later with infertility. Anissa Mayhew has blogged her way through parenting a child with cancer and two strokes of her own.

When you search for Moosh In Indy you see what she has overcome, depression, IVF, Infertility

What folks outside Mom Blogging don’t really understand is that it isn’t victimhood that makes these women famous. It’s their resilience. Dooce (Heather Armstrong) got fired for her blog and then turned it into a career that sustains both herself and her husband. Casey talks about her battles with depression candidly and other women feel a little less alone, a little less frightened. Anissa is sharing her recovery with the world. If I were in a similar situation Anissa is who I would look to for support and understanding.

It’s not just Mom Bloggers who discuss their ailments, tragedies and bumps in the road. Drew Olanoff had the entire twitterverse blaming his cancer. IHadCancer.com is a community that exists to support folks with and recovering from cancer. DiabetesMine.com is a fabulous resource for folks with diabetes.

Mom Bloggers love a heroine. We want to cheer each other on through our victories and celebrate. Maybe because Mom Bloggers are busy talking about our kids and our homes, the rest of the world feels free to mock us a little. I understand that from the outside it’s easy for folks to whisper, “She’s only famous because her baby died.” That’s just not it. She’s famous because she lived to see another day.

Writing Our Own Obituaries

05.4.11

This morning I went hiking with another blogger and we both lamented the amount of time blogging takes from life. I have no great need to write. I could walk away from writing at any time, or so I tell myself.

She has a need to connect and to create. I have a need for solitude, blogging is good for solitude. I want to be with my friends and my family. I don’t necessarily want new friends, I’m cautious that way.

Then this morning Drew shared this link with me. It begins with:

Here it is. I’m dead, and this is my last post to my blog. In advance, I asked that once my body finally shut down from the punishments of my cancer, then my family and friends publish this prepared message I wrote—the first part of the process of turning this from an active website to an archive.

If you knew me at all in real life, you probably heard the news already from another source, but however you found out, consider this a confirmation: I was born on June 30, 1969 in Vancouver, Canada, and I died in Burnaby on May 3, 2011, age 41, of complications from stage 4 metastatic colorectal cancer. We all knew this was coming.

It is a beautiful tribute to family and to fatherhood. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the blog, but anxious about it too because there is a clear ending.

When my Grandmother died my mother wrote her obituary and she felt conflicted, because sometimes my Grandmother wasn’t happy or kind. My Grandmother broke the day her brother died in World War Two and although she was pieced together, rage simmered through the cracks. The Rabbi, the very kind Rabbi, told my mother that we write our own obituaries. The people left behind are simply sharing it with the world.

I don’t know that this will make me better, kinder or gentler. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be more introspective or generous. I do know that I’m living the life I’ve painstakingly created, and it’s good. I can make it better because ultimately we all write our own obituaries.