Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Silly Mommy Blogs

The following post was written by Kirsten of The Norwindians - my sister and my inspiration for starting my own blog. That inspiration is the best gift she's ever given me.

Recently I wrote an article for my local mother's club newsletter. At the end of the article it said this:

"Kirsten lives with her husband and three children in Hillytown, Ca. In her spare time she writes about motherhood among other things at www.thenorwindians.blogspot.com."

I am starting to regret that little blurb. I feel sort of exposed. It was one thing for a few family members and some close friends to know about my blog. But now I sort of feel like I've exposed myself to my whole community. There is nothing on there that I am ashamed of, or regret writing. But it still feels a little strange.

Several people told me after the article was published that they liked reading it. It was nice to get actual face to face feedback on something I wrote. Something I was proud of and came from my heart. A few people had questions about the blog. A handful said they thought it was "neat" or "really great."

It could very possibly all be in my head, but lately I've been feeling a little bit judged at preschool pick up. At Raj's end of the year preschool picnic I overheard a conversation between three moms. I couldn't hear it all, but the snippets I did hear went something like this:

"If you have a blog, you have to know who your audience is."

"You know, they get paid. Every time you click on their page, the advertisers pay them."

"I'm not a writer, but some people just feel the need to be heard."

I have no idea if they were talking about me. They are moms that I am friendly with, but not more than a hello at drop off or a casual comment here and there. It bothered me for at first, but I was over it by the time I got home that day. Then recently another mom that I am actually fairly good friends with made the comment that she "had neither the time nor the inclination for mommy blogs." I'm not sure why I took offense. She is well aware of my blog, and she may read it occasionally.

After mulling it all over for the day, I feel the need to just get this off my chest. I remember the first time I heard the word "blog." Jay is always aware of the latest and greatest trends in technology. I remember when he told me about a small start-up company about 10 years ago that sounded to me like a glorified flea market and was sure to fail. I thought it sounded ridiculous. That company was called Ebay. Anyway, he started a sample blog, just to see what all the buzz was about and wanted to know what I thought. Of course, I thought it might be a good way to keep in touch with out of town family, but other than that, it looked sort of stupid. I didn't get it.

Four years later, I was showing him my new blog. I don't really remember the first blog I started reading, or how I came across it. But I've always enjoyed reading personal essays and getting a small look into someone else's life experiences. I find comfort in reading things that I can relate to. I have learned a ton and been exposed to whole other world's reading blog posts by people I have nothing in common with. I totally get it now.

I started my blog in part because of my relationship with my own mother. I've always wondered what her life was like when my sister and I were little. What did she think about? How did she feel about being a mom? What were we like? Did she ever get frustrated? Was it all sunshine and roses? Since I will never, ever be a scrap booker in the traditional sense... I wanted to create a virtual scrap book. A scrap book of words. The good, the bad and everything in between of my motherhood experience. I want to remember that Raj calls guacamole whack-a-moley. I want to remember days like this and things like this. I also want to document my thoughts about things like this and this.

And let's face it -- I am a straight up mommy blogger. I'm not a great writer, writing on a blog to hone my craft. I am just a mom sharing my stories on a blog. I post lots of stories about my kids and endless photos. It is what it is. Maybe I am a little geeky, but find reading about other people's lives interesting. I don't think anything bad can come from sharing our motherhood/life experiences and getting feedback from each other. And isn't that really the essence of blogging? It is for me anyway.

And the money/ads question. Much to my husband's disappointment, I make enough money off ads on my blog to be able to take my kids out for frozen yogurt once a month. I am not in this for the money and honestly, product reviews are not my cup of tea.

Maybe it will all backfire on me someday and my kids will not like my virtual scrap book at all. I am hoping that they will someday appreciate this little record of our lives. I am hoping that sharing my "journal" with them when they are older will make us closer.

I am not really sure why I am not comfortable posting this on my own blog. I have been feeling very tentative there lately since the article in the newsletter came out. I think I was a much better blogger a year ago when no one was reading me. I realize I am preaching to the choir here when it comes to why we blog. But I needed to get it out anyway. In a lot of ways I am more comfortable with myself on my blog. I find it much easier to express myself in writing than in person. I can say things on my blog that I would be terrified to tell even my sister in person. If that makes me strange, or geeky, or whatever, so be it.

I understand that lots of people don't "get" blogging, especially personal blogging. It's the same thing as me not really "getting" Facebook (even though they are so similar, go figure). I know it may seem strange to some. They can't imagine spending a weekend in Chicago talking about blogging and meeting virtual strangers in real life.

But you are not strangers to me at all. I gain a lot from reading your blogs. If you gain something from reading mine, great! Who is my audience? The only audience that really matters to me are these people.


Kirsten said...

Wow. What a great post. Your sister is effing BRILLIANT.

Aliceson said...

I LOVED this post. So many times I feel exposed because of my blog too, not in a bad way, but in a way that leaves me open to others people's criticism. I think it's so easy for people who don't blog to hold a higher standard for the people who do just because we put it out there for all to see.

Kat said...

Great post! I am a mommy blogger too. I love to hear about other mommy's lives and the adventures that they have with their kids. I often think as a write is this too personal to write and then it's always that exact thing that I was unsure of writing that gets a thoughtful comment from someone.

For Myself said...

Wow do I ever understand what you're talking about here. I wish we could all learn to be as brave in the face of real people as we are on our blogs. If you figure it out, could you please email me?

Your stories of motherhood warm my heart.

Christy said...

I LOVE this post. I totally get it. I'm a member of a moms group. I gave my link to ONE of the moms in the group and when we were having lunch recently I said, oh well you're the only one in the group who knows about my blog...and she quickly admitted not true - she'd given it to others. SHIT! There was only one post where I mentioned my panic attack about the perfect moms - sahm moms with nannies, etc - so I quickly went home and hid that post and now have to censor myself even more...makes me kind of want to start a new blog secretly and then just leave comments on all my friends blogs so they know where to find me.

So yes, Kirsten, I relate. Oh so well. Glad you posted this!

Kim said...

This is such a heartfelt post and I loved reading it. I know that anxiety you are facing. The more I hear people around me say - oh I read your blog all the time - the more I feel self-conscious. Am I sharing too much? What are they thinking? Blah,blah,blah.

I'm doing it for the same reason you are. I have no record of my childhood. Not even photos before I was seven. I want Deaglan and any future children to know how I felt, how much I treasured him/them. I also really enjoy writing and feel that by writing on most days I am maybe developing my writing skills.

There will always be critics. I used to feel sheepish or ashamed? maybe to say it but I get so much needed support from blogging. I feel like it makes me a more conscious mom. I constantly write about what an amazing child we have - what's wrong with that???

Lucy said...

Wow! She sooooo nailed it!!!!

Issas Crazy World said...

First, hey Kari, some weirdo commented first here. :)

Kirsten, I am completely with you. Which is why, I use a fake well everything. It is hard to write what you want/need to write when you know your audience. I mean, I know who mine is, but most of you, I have yet to meet. I think a lot of people don't get it. They have no concept of how amazing this community is. Really, it is their loss.

On the money thing. Hahahahahahahaha, am laughing my ass off. There is no money in blogging unless you are dooce. The end.

Don't let them get to you. Just remember, ignorance is bliss and they are swimming in theirs. Hugs.

Christina said...

I totally get this! I started a foodblog recently and have passed it out to some close friends who I know won't judge me (and my poor grammar and spelling), but am afraid to pass it out to a broader audience... I keep telling myself I'll wait until it's redesigned, but somehow I know that I probably won't share it with anyone outside of the group that already knows about it...

And I love reading your blog, Kari! It lifts me up every time I read it. Thank you for sharing your stories..

anymommy said...

Kirsten's comment cracked me up and I lost my own brilliant thoughts. Meh. I love her blog, I feel connected to people, this post says it all better than I can.

septembermom said...

Such honesty and inspiration here in this post! She is sharing so many of our thoughts about blogging. It's fun to be a mommy blogger. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us.

Lish said...

What the F? I've been blogging FOR FREE this whole time??

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

OY, dude. That is why only my best friends IRL know about my blog. My husband started telling people and I asked him to STOP because it made me feel weird that our employees read it.

How am I supposed to talk about my vagina knowing those guys are going to read it?

Devoted Mom To B... said...

OK, a few thoughts...

Kir, you ARE a great writer! I love your honesty and your humor.

Also, it is so good for you to have an outlet...three kids, Jay's busy job...you need it!

Lastly, I feel like I know you even better than I did when we were living together because of your blog. It's been so good to get to know you on a whole new level...much more authentic.

Don't question your talents or what other people think. I'm sure that there are a LOT of people who wonder how the heck I have time to manage three blogs, yet can't return a phone call to save my life. Oh well.

Keep up the great work. Your kids are gonna love it someday and all of us love you now!


butwhymommy said...

I so relate to this. I question myself all the time, can I write this, should I write this. My husband gave my link to people at his (and my old) work so now they read it. I can't talk about my old job any of my feelings related to that because of the possible backlash.

Kirstin I love your blog (and Kari's) so just keep writing what you want to write. I think your kids will appreciate it later on.

Saved by Grace said...

I am so glad you started blogging and inspired Kari to do the same. It has made me feel so much more in touch with your families and has made me think (which is hard for my mommy-fogged brain) about lots of things I may not have otherwise. Also, even though I don't have my own blog, I often find myself thinking about things as if I WAS actually going to write it down. Maybe someday........

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I thought this was excellent! Now go post it on your own site Kirsten so those bitches from daycare can hear your side of things.

Honestly though, this is a good reminder to me to try not to be so judgemental and think about what I'm saying - you never know who might be listening...

Marinka said...

Great and so true! Some people don't get blogging. Many of my "real life" friends don't. That's ok. We get it. And we get to blog about THEM.

Zip n Tizzy said...

I understand this.
I told everyone I know about my blog when I first started it so that I would only write things that I could accept anyone reading. Sometimes that's a good thing and sometime's it's not, but I'm always surprised by who reads it. Always when i think everyone I know must have stopped, someone I know in real life will comment on a post and remind me that's not true.
I get the question a lot... Are you still "Blah-giing?"
Or "who has time for blogs anyway?"
Or "How's the blog?"
I think at our age you either get it or you don't. Everyone I know under the age of 25 gets it so we must be hip right?!

Tamara @ Watching the Grass Grow said...

I completely relate to the exposure, and to the experience of having one friend tell another about the blog. If I think about the people I KNOW who are reading it too much, it freaks me out. Apparently I have no problem sharing intimate details of our life with strangers, but it's the people close to me I want kept in the dark. Weird.

youarekiddingme said...

I'm new to your blog and this was the first post I read - loved it! I'm a mommy blogger, too, and write my blog for 2 reasons - I love to write and I want to capture all of the wonderful, crazy moments of motherhood (and the other fun stuff that happens that might not be mommy related but shows we mommies have lives, too!) I hope that through my blog, people will relate, laugh, and feel like they aren't the only ones going through THAT. I know that's how I feel when I read other mommy blogs. These blogs help moms feel like their children are not aliens from another planet. In fact, ALL children are aliens from another planet dropped off here to fascinate, bewilder, amaze, infuriate, and hold the hearts of their parents. I'll be back!

2 Brits, 2 Yanks, 2 Dogs said...

Kirsten - funny 1st comment. I just took my blog off facebook I decided I didn't want some of my "friends" reading my blog.

I saw on Oprah that Dooce makes $40,000 from ads on her blog.


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