Saturday, January 21, 2012

Motivations for Mommy Blogs

While talking to one of my colleagues about her thesis on Mommy Blogging, my interest was piqued when she began explaining why popular Mommy Blogs have emerged and what roles they play for these women. I have several close friends that keep blogs of their growing families and their adventures together. When I asked them why they blog, their responses were just as I expected. They blog because they are far from their extended families and blogging is an outlet by which they can include their close friends and families on their latest activities, achievements and stories. It is also a place where they can read about others' experiences and ask questions.

As a single woman, I do not fully understand how young women cope with marriage, children or domestic issues because I have not experienced it for myself. Despite this, I have noticed that as my friends marry and progress in their marriages, they often move far away and we lose contact. I have often thought about my own isolation, but what I have not considered is THEIR isolation in new places with new experiences and limited support networks. Blogging is a way that these young women can maintain contact with friends and family and also keep a picture and video-filled record of their experiences and reflections on their lives. It also helps them transition into their new roles from students and young adults into wives and mothers.

In talking with my colleague, she mentioned these everyday moms that are proud of their families and domestic lifestyles, but she also mentioned another population of women who blog with different motivations. My colleague said that high profile mommy bloggers usually use strong language and are often an outlet through which women with prestigious degrees and careers try to prove that they are fulfilling their traditional gender roles as mothers. In a way, they use their blogs as proof that they are good moms. Through their blogs, they try to validate themselves by conveying that they are intelligent adults. They also feel like they have to prove that they are independent women AND great moms. Too often we assume that women "give up" careers to be "just a mom," when in reality, they are undertaking a very difficult task of socializing and teaching a new generation. This is by no means an easy task!

In a society in which being a stay at home mom is losing popularity and status, women who choose to pursue careers are still striking an interesting balance as they try to validate their position within the workforce yet feel a need to prove their success within the home as well. There is a really interesting balance of gender roles that are being expressed through popular mommy blogs. Someday, I would love to dig deeper into this topic and also into the power of gender roles to learn more about the motivations behind mommy blogging across demographics. If you have thoughts on the topic, please share them! I would love to read your insights.

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