Mom Bloggers Would Have Made Me a Better Mother

Lisa writes: “Is that normal?”  was the first, second and probably third question I asked my pediatrician every time I walked into his office.  Normal.  Young moms are looking for normal but, in truth, we don’t know what it looks like.  Enter the internet and Mom bloggers.  My kids were born in the 1990s and my access to online information was limited in their early years.  Had I been able to consult this tribe of supporters, I would have learned that “normal” looks like a lot of different things and that my kids were fine.

I would have loved to have been part of a global group of young mom bloggers sharing information, trying to make sense of the changes in their lives and bringing humor to the process.  I could have used all three, perhaps humor the most.

Mom bloggers would have made me a better mother and here is why:
Mommy Bloggers

Mom bloggers would have told me that the exhaustion I felt with three kids, age four and under, was not only normal, but inevitable.  A quick consult with moms further along the parenting curve would have allowed me to see the light when stuck midway through a couple of dark tunnels.

When I lost the plot with my children, I might have believed that I was not a bad mother or a bad person and that there was even some value to my kids in learning what happens when you push someone too far.

Experienced mom bloggers would have pulled back the curtain and shown me that other mothers were not perfect, they just looked that way from the outside.  Ditto, their kids.

We are all unavoidably products of our upbringing and reading widely (not just from the few bestsellers around at the time) about different parenting experiences would have loosened my enslavement to my own past.

I would have learned that I was not the only mother who sometimes found days with very young children to be dull and repetitive.  And I might have realized that it was not forever. Over the course of my sons’ childhoods I have worked outside our home full-time, at home full-time and at home part-time.  If I had known that life was going to have so many different stages I would not have panicked when I found myself in the wrong one.

I would have learned much earlier that the mess is worth the memories and you can get a new carpet but you can never rewind the tape.

Mom bloggers would have been able to help cover up some of my failings as a parent.  With access to a myriad of mom and kid sites, my children might not have discovered that I am useless at baking or any other creative pursuit.  I could have covered my tracks with brilliant ideas that I stole from clever mommy blogger.

I could have used advice on chicken pox, sibling fights, tween curfews and the best way to tour a college campus. But the good news is that I am pretty sure that someday I will be looking for advice on being the mother of the groom and, hopefully, on becoming a grandmother (starting with Grandma’s Briefs).

Even as my kids and I bid farewell to their childhood, I have found that the community of loving, caring moms and dads, reflecting deeply on how to be better parents, will travel right alongside me on this journey.

Why are Mommy Bloggers so Young, Clever and Inexperienced?

Mommy bloggers, mashable, Why are mommy bloggers so young, clever and inexperienced? And, we wonder, is taking parenting advice from a young mommy blogger a bit like getting directions to a far off, and difficult to reach locale, by someone who traveled part of the way there, once.

ABCnews.com recently published an article about disciplining kids and how to avoid spoiling them.  The author, a mother with a very young child, interviewed a number of parents whose children were all under 10. Each gave her considered advice on how her style of punishment had worked.  If you are still parenting on the easy side of adolescence, how do you know your method of discipline has worked?  Isn’t the test of parenting what happens as our children escape our grip?

Mashable has weighed in on the subject of mommy blogging.  According to their research, the average mommy blogger is thirty-seven, relatively wealthy and has children who have not yet hit middle school.  Their claim:  Fourteen percent of all moms contribute to or read blogs and 89% of those have children between the ages of 2-11.  The average household income of a mommy blogger is $84,000 or $14,000 above average and while they are likely to be any place on the political spectrum, they are, according to Mashable, more socially conscious and more likely to volunteer their time than non-blogging moms.

Why don’t older moms, those with teens and young adults, blog more?  Why aren’t these been-there-done that moms sharing their wisdom with those just starting out on the journey?

Well, we have no idea why, but as we are moms with kids in high school and college, we are going to speculate:

Blogging involves getting up close and personal in social networking

It requires that you be fluent in Pinterest and Twitter and Facebook.  It requires a familiarity with WordPress or Blogger or Tumblr and if you really want to do it right, SEO, CSS and HTML.  To younger women this is meat and potatoes, the stuff their social lives have been made of since they were in high school.  They got onto Facebook on their thirteenth birthdays and they never got off. For those of us a touch older, joining Facebook was a real decision.

Big kids are not as cute

They just aren’t. Cuteness peaks at three and pretty much goes downhill from there.  So if your youngest is, say, fourteen or eighteen, there is not much cuteness left in your house and this will quickly be revealed in any photos included on your blog.  Older kids are striking in their youthful beauty but this just doesn’t compare to an adorable toddler.  If you don’t think I am right, check out your Christmas card photos this year.

Little kids, little problems

Little kids, little problems, big kids…and the cuteness isn’t just physical.  Little kids say and do cute things. They come into our rooms at night and make adorable excuses to get into our beds.  When big kids come into our bedrooms at night it is because they have to tell us such bad news that it cannot wait until morning.  In the morning sharing this big bout of bad news with our blog readers is the last thing we feel like.

Alarm bells

Blogging can involve over sharing, deliberate or otherwise, and to a generation raised on worrying about their “permanent record” it sets alarm bells ringing. To those over forty-five or fifty, splaying your personal life across the internet can look hopelessly self-indulgent and potentially damaging to your or your spouse’s career.  To those under life’s halfway mark, it is entirely unremarkable.

No bed of roses

Or, just maybe, it hasn’t all turned out a bed of roses.  It is much easier to blog about parenthood when it is all sitting out in front of you, a pristine panorama of possibilities where the mistakes have not been made and the missteps are so small that they are still undetectable. With older kids our mistakes and misjudgments have been revealed and sometimes it is a glare we just don’t want to stare into.

Tread quietly

If it has turned out great, and the kid is in college or graduating, or living with a great guy, or on the verge of marriage or holding down a great job…wise moms, with the full knowledge that it might not have been this way think, there by the grace …and tread quietly.

Older moms

Moms over forty-five may have never read a blog, or if they have, they may think that bad language and ridiculing family members are de rigueur.  Our demographic gets restaurant suggestions from real live people and the newspaper is still delivered and sitting soggy in our driveway—are we really ready to give parenting advice online?

Parenting never ends

You might have thought that young moms blog more because they think a lot more about parenting than those who have been at it for a while, but that would be wrong.  Parenting, we have discovered, never ends.

The wisdom of parenting resides in the hearts and minds of mothers (and fathers) who have made the journey and we hope they will share this bounty with those just starting out.

Time is on the side of the older mommy blogger if for no other reason than those young trend setting, trailblazing young mommy bloggers, the ones who established this fascinating industry through dint of hard work, brains and inventiveness…with the march of time…they are coming our way.