Tuesday, August 9, 2011

are mommy bloggers mean?

I am going to say some things in this post that are the opposite of sweet, cuddly, and adorable. For that reason, I want to start off with something nice: PANDA BEARS!! I waited in line for no less than 45 minutes to lay eyes on the incredible giant panda exhibit at the San Diego Zoo, and it was absolutely worth it. So, first things first: hungry pandas!

Whew, okay, that's done. Now on to the words and feelings that have been floating around in my brain since Session 1 of BlogHer: Mommy Bloggers. You know, people like me. And so many more women in the blogosphere. BlogHer was overrun with Mommy Bloggers--we practically owned the place. At every turn were women handing out business cards adorned with babies and pacifiers and their opinions on breastfeeding, baby-wearing, and co-sleeping. It felt, in many ways, pretty magical to be surrounded by so many women who spend their time writing about the things that matter in my life.

But I felt something else while I was there, too, something that made me uncomfortable with my place within that community. That something was the reputation of Mommy Bloggers. Over the course of the weekend, the following statements and opinions were said to and around me, sometimes in the form of questions, and other times as points of fact:

* Mommy Bloggers are not friendly.
* Mommy Bloggers are cliquey.
* Mommy Bloggers are not supportive.
* Mommy Bloggers think they're better than everyone else.
*Mommy Bloggers are judgemental.

And, Mommy Bloggers are mean.

There were times when these assumptions stung, times when I knew that my readers and the authors of the blogs I follow do not fit these stereotypes. But mostly I found myself stepping back from my immediate hurt feelings to think through why these stereotypes are out there.

If I'm being honest, I kind of get it. The absolute vast majority of my interactions with other attendees at BlogHer were overwhelmingly positive; I made great contacts, shared tons of laughs, and felt connected to something bigger than myself. But there were a few rare moments when I felt inadequate and small and like the girl at the wrong lunch table in middle school. And those moments always seemed to happen at times when I was interacting with some of the various Mommy Bloggers in attendance (not, by any means, ALL of the Mommy Bloggers I met!). Moments when the open invitation to sit down, give me your business card, tell me about your blog, was very clearly not on the table. You know, just my absolute worst social fears realized.

These few interactions did not overshadow the incredible (fabulous! life-changing!) time I had in San Diego, but they did make me less inclined to feel stung by the negativity I heard from other attendees about Mommy Bloggers. I kind of got it. The very few Mommy Bloggers who did not welcome networking opportunities with others of the 3600 conference attendees fit the description I heard in several of the panels I attended, but I know I am not one of them. I know the readers of my blog are not them. I know that (most) of the blogs I follow have not earned that reputation. And I suppose that should be enough.

But I want your thoughts. Do you think Mommy Bloggers are mean (or any of the other descriptors listed above)? How did/would you react if a blogger you follow gave you the brush-off? Why do you think these stereotypes exist, and why in the Mommy Blog genre?

I'm positively dying for your thoughts and feedback. I have found that my lowest moments (moments when I have been unkind or thoughtless or purposefully hurtful) are the moments when I am at my most insecure. Being mean, to me, is a defense mechanism, a way of heading off pain from others by putting up a tough barrier that makes me the bad guy. What do you think?

And, because you've listened to this rant for so long, here are some more PANDA BEARS!! to end on a positive & adorable note:


  1. 1) I have never said "mommy-bloggers" so many times in one sitting.
    2) I am glad you aren't mean, judgmental, non-supportive. In fact, you are the person I turn to when I need to escape people who fit that bill.
    3) I love you, Moo and Natalie, so much....and this Panda. I am thrilled you had an amazing time, I could honestly feel the FUN you were having across the country!! xo

  2. I am so unaware of the "drama" that exists in blog land. I haven't come across any mean mommy bloggers online but I'm sure they exist.

    I went to a wedding & portrait photographer convention and the wedding photographers outnumbered the portrait photographers and you could tell which ones thought they were the shiz. It's a broad spectrum of people-those who have so many followers, blog readers, admirers that their egos get kind of big and then there are those who are just so completely jealous and become super hateful. I think it's the people in the middle who just sit back and enjoy one another's company. But you can tell the ones who are dying to move up in the industry (be it photography, entertainment, blogging (of course)) they are the ones who might snuff another blogger who isn't popular enough in order to get face time with a more well known blogger.

    I wrote all that out but don't really know why the stigma is attached to mommy bloggers. I'm curious to read what others write. I look forward to hearing more about BlogHer. And YAY!!! Pandas!!!

  3. i tend to live in my own bubble, but i do get why certain mommy bloggers have this stereotype. there have been more than a handful of times when i have reached out to another mom blogger and received no reply at all, only to see them tweeting back and forth for hours with other 'famous' bloggers. it's ridiculous. sometimes i want to tell them to just grow up. it's ok to be a close friend with someone, but it is NOT ok to intentionally ostracize someone else. this isn't high school.

  4. That is the fear I have of attending any of the conferences...fear of disillusion... Since I don't sell anything I honesty treat my blog as a meditation and a healing tool as well as creative and so on... I can see how it could become cut-throat specially with the possibility of gaining sponsors and such. Great post. I hope I never become part of the mean club.

  5. Being a mom in the digital age is a neat thing. You have access to advice from hundreds upon hundreds of sources. And some (many, in my case) of those sources are mommy bloggers. Those mommy bloggers have a lot to live up to. Not only are they trying to figure out how to raise their kids like the rest of us, but they're doing it in a public forum. Anyone can criticize how a mommy blogger raises her kid. And anyone can say, "This is THE ONE way to do things." Emotions flare, people start talking about how they did/didn't do that with their kid -- and it's all because of the blog. I don't think mommy bloggers are mean, but I do think it's a tough gig. It can make people feel very insecure about their role as a mom. I admire the people, like you, who put their thoughts and lessons learned out there for the world. And you do it wonderfully. Is it any wonder I follow your blog!

  6. You hit the nail on the head- some people are not secure enough to reach out to others. I find this especially so at blogging conferences, some people prefer interacting through a computer screen. Regardless about what they blog about.

    Focus on the good people you met and don't waste effort on those who aren't interested in engaging. At least, that's what I tell myself.

  7. For the most part,my interactions in the blog world have been overwhelmingly positive. However, I can totally see how Mommy bloggers might have this reputation. I have had two incidents where I reached out to two big, popular mom bloggers and they intentionally snubbed me, in a pretty rude way. I just have to give these women the benefit of the doubt and believe that they are very busy with their children and maintaining very busy blogs, which we all know is very time consuming. I think that the reason the may be cliquey is because they've all been around with each other for several years, where as bloggers like myself just started in this big bloggy world. They already have close relationships formed and just may not have the time for anything more.
    I'm really glad to have connected with bloggers like you, because you are totally awesome. More details about Blogher please!!!!

  8. Obviously I am not a blogger myself and I only started reading blogs when you started yours. I initially started reading you and Fanesia but then branched out when you mentioned other blogs and TBB. I found some other blogs through there that I kinda liked. I can imagine that some of the women that you may be talking about are the blogs I stopped reading due to their views. They were very opinionated and thought their way was the only way. I have since started reading craft and sewing blogs. I think they have it easier because they aren't expressing life opinions they just give you tutorials and info on sewing. I think there would be more stress involved if your life is out there for everyone to read. I am glad you had a mostly positive experience in San Diego. I was thinking I was going to see pictures with some of your blog "idols" like Mandy. I saw she mentioned you in her blogher post today. That's pretty cool. I can't believe you waited to see the pandas for 45 min. I guess it was a good thing Natalie wasn't with you. I know my toddlers wouldn't have tolerated it.

  9. So... I actually found your blog through Harper's Happenings and have been back-reading to get the gist of your blog (which feels an awful lot like stalking, doesn't it? That whole getting-to-know-a-new-blogger thing?) and I felt I needed to comment on this one.

    In addition to everything said above about the mom-thing being personal, I think Mommy Bloggers get a bad reputation from sites like thebump.com. Here you have all kinds of women, most sleep-deprived and hormonal, asking personal questions and being judged by very judge-y people. It's the forums that on these sites that contribute to the bad image Mommy Bloggers have.

    P.S. I'm glad you enjoyed San Diego! The pandas rock, yes?

  10. @Mama Durso so glad you stopped by! you're right, meeting a new blogger is such a crazy little process... reading back through and piecing bits of that person's life together.

    and, yes, the pandas? they rock.

  11. I haven't experienced "mean" but I have been given the cold shoulder. And a big reason why I don't feel comfortable going to things like BlogHer is because of how cliquey I find Mommy bloggers to be.

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