If you can’t beat them, join them

Because I’m sure you are all wondering how I’m doing, let me put your minds at ease by saying my canker sore has gone away—for now. Thank you for your kind words, as they helped me through a very rough two days. I’ll assume your cash donation is in the mail.

Then again, I might not need your money.

You see, I’m thinking of becoming a “Mommy Blogger.”

nataliedeehaha-dork-i-bet-your-dogs-name-is-ipod

Even though I don’t have children by choice, I sometimes get the feeling that people think I am a card-carrying mom and kid hater. This largely comes from other women’s reactions to my decision to keep my uterus empty, mind you, but I can tell you that I’m not. I just have no interest in reading about children and pregnancy and everything that goes along with it.

To each their own.

But I’m beginning to think that I’m missing out on something in the blog world—the opportunities afforded to those moms who blog, and moms in general.

According to eMarketer, there were 3.9 million moms who were blogging in 2010. Now I have to think there’s a big difference between moms who blog solely about their children and daily potty training attempts and those women who simply have “mom” as one of their roles, and as writers, aim to contribute more to a greater cultural dialogue.

But the term “mommy blog” is as prevalent as the nation’s current obsession with bacon and Target’s Missoni collection, and let me tell you, it looks like moms are getting some perks.

If you write about your children, you are automatically inducted into a club of sorts, as motherhood binds women together via a common experience and therefore represents “womanhood” to a lot of people. So they can talk about anything that happens in a typical day—nursing, discipline, juggling duties, etc.— and have an instant audience and steady material, not to mention advertisers looking to place all their ads.

Don’t get me wrong in that I think it’s great that there’s a support system out there (and sponsors and such.)

But lost in the shuffle is the fact that other women (and men) — without children — do their own juggling act by working to support themselves and dealing with stressful issues of their own—finances, security, dying relatives, health issues, family drama — and they don’t get a special parking space or a Sarah Jessica Parker movie incredulously saying, “I Don’t Know How She Does It!” 

That last one’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Anyway, with just about everyone spitting spawn out left and right and getting some perks with the deal, I feel a bit left out. But I have no interest in anything maternal, and even if it provided me daily fodder to write about, I don’t care enough about popularity to even interact with a child on a daily basis.

So I thought about using the “Mommy Blogger” template to create a “Gnome Blogger” format that might just sweep the country.

Uncle June could totally pimp out “Just For Men” or Keebler cookies.

I could talk about his daily adventures and whether or not I should use organic cleaners to wipe off his face, how I feel he’s exponentially smarter than every other gnome on the planet and update you on his bowel movements.

Since I already take him on airplanes and trips, maybe he would like to go to the store or the gym with me some days? Perhaps some play dates?

But again, I feel like he’s a bit too needy for daily interaction. Plus, I want to share more of my identity as a writer outside of my role as a gnome mother, so I guess that we’re back to square one.

I’m stuck aiming to contribute to a greater cultural dialogue about important things that need to be discussed—you know, things like punctuation marks, senior citizen Bingo games and banana clips.

But for the record, Uncle June is exponentially smarter than every other gnome on the planet.

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35 responses to “If you can’t beat them, join them

  1. It may be because I’m 22 and it holds no relevance to my life, or it may be that I talk about developmental psychology and study and play with babies almost every day, but there is only so much “mommy blogging” I can take. A lot of my favorite bloggers are moms and I like the ones who keep it real. It’s okay to talk about how cute your baby is, but tell me some horror stories if you want to hold my interest!

    I was thinking I was going to see a picture of you holding a bag of flour in a diaper, but the gnome is genius!

    • I agree with your assessment. The key is to keep it real, whether you’re blogging about kids or Kit Kats. As for the diapered flour? You give me entirely too much credit 😉

  2. Hey, you know you always have me here for you, by definition. (Or at least by blog title and life choice…)

  3. This post seriously made me lol. I totally wants mini-gnome to have adventures with!

  4. Uncle June > offspring.
    And I’m not talking the 90’s alternative band.

    And you can take that to the bank.

  5. YES! You’ve said what I’ve wanted to say for so long. You’ve given a voice to my frustration with the popularity of “mommy blogging.” I stand by you as a supporter of your words and a card-carrying member of the Kid-Free blogging club. A friend of mine and I have long considered starting a Mommy Blog Free Blog Hop…that may be something we need to work on this weekend. You’ve inspired me to do something un-lazy. Congratulations.

    Oh, and your gnome is so beautiful. He has your eyes…and beard.

    • A friend of mine and I have ALSO considered starting a Mommy Blog Free Topic Blog Hop! If you guys get something going, I know two smart women who would join! (Or at least me and one smart woman.)

  6. Frigging fabu, my dear.

    I know I birthed offspring and I do have a web log, but I still can’t help but cringe a bit a “mommy blogger”. Even my own kids rarely call me Mommy, so having adults refer to me as it feels a bit odd.

    So far my own personal perks of sharing motherhood anecdotes on my blog have been finding people who understand what it is like to scrape feces off the ceiling and sympathy for hemorrhoidectomies.

    Good times.

    • First of all, I love your blog anyway, as you are one of the “real” people I was talking about. Plus, you’re a writer who is a mom, and a freaking hilarious one at that. Second, I’ve dealt with old people and pets my whole life, so I can sympathize with scraping feces off of various surfaces and mysterious anal ailments (Not mine. Let’s get that straight.)

  7. I would love to see the reaction of the baby sitter you hire when they discover Uncle June is their charge.

    I also want to come up with a shocker of a response that just renders anyone speechless when they ask when I’m having babies, or why I am not. *sigh* my life just is not complete.

    can I make you a “my gnome is smarter than your gnome” bumper sticker?

  8. while mommy bloggers make serious cash and enjoy celebrity status at Blogher, daddy bloggers eat out of KFC trash cans and have spoiled fruit thrown at then at 7-elevens.

    It’s why I try to yell “look, something shiny!” when i post personal stories. That way, people think I’m some fiction writer and I really dont have 3 daughters.

    Gnome blogger would rule. Just run with that and act like you’re making six figures off the internets.

  9. Why would anyone want to be a mother perplexes me. I admit I’m selfish and I don’t want to take care of a needy little brat who costs tons of money, sleep and tears. But I guess I kind of “get” that it must be nice to have a child of your own.

    But why does anyone want to blog about babies and children and families? I would think blogging would be some kind of a getaway, not more ways to obsess about kids and pacifiers. I just don’t get mommy bloggers at all. If there was a gnome blogging community though, I’ll be interested.

    Btw, to be honest I dread the day my friends become mommies, because then I know we’ll be living separate worlds and our friendship will never be the same.

    • Jeez, you’re awfully negative Sophia Lee. Do you really think that a woman who has a kid can’t be interesting? Maybe you should check some out before you judge. Most of the ones I read have a little more going on than just talking about pacifiers. I think this negativity directed toward mothers with voices is one of those remnants of patriarchy that is just so, well, boring.

  10. I feel so bad for these kids. I can only imagine the type of teasing they get from their classmates doing a simple Google search. Kids can be brutal and Uncle June doesn’t deserve that 😦

  11. I love being a mom, seriously. But I would get so much more writing done if I could just order pizza every day. Also, it would be great if I never had to worry about anyone else’s laundry or schlep anyone to his activities half across town. But these are the sacrifices I made to spread 1/2 of my DNA. (PS: I didn’t know what I was getting into.)

    Hold onto your gnome, baby.

  12. Also, why isn’t my name blue? I’m getting a complex.

  13. I am in a moral quandary over my uterus and it’s roll in the world. I’m 35.7 so it’s looking like I will be a non-mommy-blogger. Ah, well, aside from the whole bonding aspect and the doing of what nature intended us to do, it doesn’t really appeal to me either.

  14. Bravo, Abby! And yes, I used an exclamation point even though I know they make you cringe. I don’t hate mommys but I DON’T want to go to a blog hop where the majority of posts are about Joey eating cat poop or Clarissa’s allergy to balsamic vinegar. If that’s what’s in your brain then share it at the playdates. Or with groups specifically designated for parenting. As it is they’re taking over what are supposed to be writing forums and my response is to bow out which sucks.
    Seems like we are not alone and this may be our opportunity to (nicely) start our own gig.

  15. I’m unsure if I am considered a “mommy blogger” but I assure you that I detest it when adults call themselves “mommies.” In fact, my kids call my “mama” for whatever reason, and I prefer it. Anyhoo – I totally support your decision to be child-free. A lot of my child-free friends say to me “You’re not doing a very good job of selling parenthood!” and my response is, “Hey – I never tried to sell parenthood to anybody.” I think there are many advantages to choosing a child-free life. I prefer to think of myself as a woman who did end up being a mom and who nonetheless presents parenthood with unvarnished truth. Of course, all I get to really talk about on my blog is sleep. Anyway, you go, girl. Celebrate who you choose to be.

    • Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you have to talk everyone else into doing it. You get that. Plus, you talk about sleep, which is pretty much my favorite thing ever. You go, girl!

  16. I like being a dad blogger. Been doing it for a thousand years now because chicks dig it. All I have to do is walk into Target with my cool dad blogger badge and they practically pay me to shop there. Good times.

  17. I’m with you. Although instead of a gnome, I think I’ll blog about my dog.

    You’ve said some things I have thought but didn’t feel I could say without possibly having 80% of my gender pissed at me. Would also be interested in MB-Free Topic Blog Hop. We could write about non-baby feces, being selfish and irresponsible, and how hard it is to fill our vast amounts of “free time.”

    • I’m seriously considering starting something for working women who are writers and have something intelligent and funny to say. Stay tuned, as I have to do a bit of collaborative research first with some other lovely ladies, but it sounds like a good idea!

      • Cool. I’m still flailing around at this blogging thing, but let me know if you need any help. I’ve been looking around for a better vehicle to connect with like minds and haven’t really come across much.

  18. To each their own – that’s right, Abby. While everyone else is having their uterus filled around me, friends and family (and complete strangers) have reluctantly given up asking me why I don’t have somebody’s uterus filled (you may remember from your biology lessons that we men don’t have uteruses). It’s like you don’t follow the herd so there’s a problem with you.

  19. Amen sister! We (a group of 5 women with no kids) started blogging recently and it is almost ridiculous how much attention is paid to mommy bloggers, but not to the forum of intelligent, working women who also have something interesting (and sometimes even funny) to say. It is what it is, but second your intentions and i’ll keep on reading!
    SHEality

  20. Sounds like a good idea to me! i could benefit from reading more about gnomes….

    And thanks for visiting my “mom blog,” though I hope I cover a lot more than just mom-stuff.

    • As I’ve said before, I think there’s a difference between women writers who are mothers and moms who simply blog. There’s nothing superior about one or the other, but for my tastes and where I am in my life right now, I prefer creative, insightful original things to read. I know I don’t always deliver that myself, but I try, and am inspired by those who do. This post actually came about simply because many of the writing sites I used to frequent have become slightly overrun with “mommy” bloggers, and it’s frustrating at times, which I suppose is a sign to move on.

  21. I agree Abby and I am a mom. In fact I do my best NOT to write about my kids at every turn, I mean seriousy how much can one person take. It’s nice to know I can be a mommy blogger, but I’m also a woman, with a past and a future and a love of writing, shoes, cupcakes and TV. Why can’t I writ about those things just as much?

    I am sooooo stumbling this post, I love it and you’re gnome. 😉

    • You summarized it perfectly, but even if you did write about your kids more often, it wouldn’t count against you. You’re Kir. You’re a fabulous writer. The end. (Well, plus there’s the shared love of shoes and musicals…)

  22. I completely understand. The mommy blogger thing has been overdone. Be warned, though. Mommy bloggers are a demographic of the blogging community that are not to be trifled with. They are ruthless and can be some of the meanest people out there on the interwebs. I wrote a post a couple of years ago that got picked up by Open Salon about Dooce. It wasn’t nasty it was just about my bewilderment over her need to over share. I got the scariest comments. I eventually pulled the post and then thought about going into the witness protection program.

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