When Sherry Osborne gave birth to her two daughters she detailed the whole process, from contractions to epidurals, on her blog Andromeda. Osborne is a Montreal-based “Mommy Blogger.” She’s part of a trend that has seen mothers from around the world writing, taking photographs and in some cases designing websites from scratch to voice their experiences as parents.
While it used to be that stay-at-home moms were relegated to weekly play-dates to commiserate, the Internet has changed mothering forever. The online database MomsBlog tracks mommy blogs around the world. They list 57 separate mommy blogs based in Canada alone.
Osborne describes her day as the typical parenting experience – playing with her kids, walking the dog, cleaning, doing the laundry. But she also adds blogging to that daily to-do-list. She sees her site as an important part of her artistic and creative personality.
“I write because, for me, not writing is not an option. I enjoy the creative outlet of writing out a blog post so that boosts my creativity on its own.
“On top of that, I don’t know how to leave home without my camera so I almost always include photos in my posts as well, which has been a great creative exploration for me. “
Osborne started blogging in 1999, “technically before the word blog existed,” she notes. She had to hand-code each post at the time. Her site garners an average of 300-500 hits per day, and she notes that she thinks Mommy Blogging is bringing together a community of mothers that doesn’t exist now as it did in the past.
“With the world being different now, with more mothers working, there’s often less of a community than there was in the past.
“Having connections with other mothers helps you feel less alone. I work from home, but I used to stay at home and found that blogging was a great way to stay sane.”
Meredith Michaels is a philosophy professor at Smith College in Maine. She agrees that Mommy Blogging encourages writing and reflection. She notes that there are different genres of Mommy Blogging – from the new mother writing about pregnancy to the mother raising a child with severe disabilities.
Michaels says that the standard Mommy Blog serves as a way to “communicate and counter the feelings of isolation that mothers often feel.”
Much of this communication is anything but sugarcoated. While frank discussion surrounding post-partum depression and sex after childbirth was once hush-hush, blogs are bringing these issues out into the open.
But Michaels says this shouldn’t be considered a new form of feminism for modern mothers.
“It plays into a culture of obsessive, or intensive, motherhood,” she notes. “It reinforces the connection between mother and children, and often implies that it is your calling, and beyond that you’re not worth very much. But that’s a trap.”
She notes that the Mommy Blogs that are successful at bringing feminism to light are those that focus on more than just picking up Cheerios.
“Some sites do give a sense that you’re not alone… they bring together a community of those looking for social change.”
But Michaels does concede that Mommy Blogs are an outlet for parents. She says they bring “… an antidote to cleaning or watching TV, and a place where people can learn new skills and imagine themselves into a more creative space.”
Check out writer/editor Lyndsie Bourgon’s own blog.
Photo: Sherry Osborne at her desk