As a followup to Father’s Day, I thought I’d propose something: an end to Mommy Blogging. Why is this a followup to Father’s Day? I read an article yesterday about Daddy Wars being imminent, which of course made me think (a) awesome (100% of the workforce feeling there are unfair demands on their time is a heck of a lot more compelling a reason to change “time macho” policies than 50%), and (b) God, can’t we stop with the Mommy Wars before branching out into both genders?
At the center of Mommy Wars are, of course, the Mommy Bloggers: people who have decided to take it upon themselves to chronicle every piddly thing their kids do (or they do with/for their kids) and publish it. The idea is a nice enough one. The results, however, have arguably been divisive and injurious to blogging in general, women’s psyches, and kids’ futures. Let’s take each argument on a case-by-case basis:
1. Mommy Blogging is Bad Blogging:
This is a fact, full-stop. Why? Because Mommy Blogs are insanely boring to read. Who gives a shit about your kids’ every move, and about your every move as a parent? Nobody. Which is why you’re blogging, because even the kids’ grandparents are avoiding your calls at this point.
There is something fantastically freeing about being able to write about anything you want in any style you want. That is why we love blogging. But not every thought that enters into your head (or your kids’ head) is worthy of being memorialized on the internet. If you want to tell someone about every little thing your kid does, get a dog and talk your fool head off all day.
Quick note: Why, you may ask, are Mommy Blogs so powerful and well-read if they’re so terrifically boring? Moms feel guilty about not doing enough, so we tend to seek out proof that we are in fact as terrible/lazy a human being as we’d suspected.
2. Mommy Blogging is Bad For Kids:
This is another easy-to-prove one. Your kids are probably awesome little people. But even the awesomest little people don’t need everything they do validated/commemorated in order to know they’re awesome. On the contrary, beginning early with a constant need for validation with your kids is one of the best ways to ensure they never grow up. If that’s your goal, great. But if you want to raise confident, independent young people, psychologists agree that constant validation of every action may not be the way to go (at any age).
Plus, if your kid really requires that every meal he eats be something organically farmed at home, then lovingly prepared and presented inside a modified bento box, then you may be in danger of raising a total asshole.
3. Mommy Blogging is Bad For Women:
“But Mommy Bloggers seem so sweet! And they’re so aspirational!” Feh. Granted, some people who engage in basically any activity are nice, and then there are some assholes. But there are two problems here: (1) anonymity exacerbates the assholery (Don’t believe me? Check out Urban Baby’s message boards, on which you will find, as Tina Fey so expertly put it, “some of the worst human behavior I’ve ever seen in my life.” Really. Those boards, which masquerade as something aspirational and helpful, are just excuses for racist and classist assholes to get together and be racist and classist. And (2) the “Mommy” moniker makes it seem as though these people are all united under a single umbrella. The truth is that there are dicks who are moms, and there are awesome people who are moms. Forcing a community out of the name your kids call you is ridiculous.
As for the “nice, aspirational” sites, the problem is that they’re too white-washed. All the problems are so relatable and sweet, and all the solutions are so easy and perfect. Mommy Blogs have done for motherhood what Photoshop has done for body image in this country: it’s taken a problem and made it exponentially worse, simply by whitewashing it too much. I think of it like Botox for the internet: incapable of showing displeasure, lest it seem less appealing.
In the face of this 24-hour-a-day saccharine facade, women of my generation have been assaulted by these constant reminders that we’re not doing enough. The result has been depression rates that are not only double those of men, but also higher than women have ever experienced before. I’m not saying that this depression rate is due to Mommy Bloggers, but they are certainly part of the problem, and the easiest one to fix (i.e. don’t read them, and tell other people to stop reading them). There is no earthly reason why, after spending all day feeling like you haven’t spent enough time on your husband/job/kids/house, you should “relax” by reading about how somebody else woke up, dressed her kids in clothes she made herself from hand-dyed fabric, spent all day wowing her employees with her amazing capacity to be both a high-powered boss and a great friend, then welcomed hubby and kids home with a fire-grilled organic pizza made from home-ground wheat and tomatoes from the organic garden, spent all night painting with the kids, then sent them to bed, ran 10 miles, and blew her husband for hours. Oh, and that reminds me of an important point, all-too-seldom pointed out:
4. They’re Lying
That day above is hyperbolic, to be sure, but it is also exactly the kind of thing that people like Gwyneth Paltrow are trying to market. It’s important to look critically at these lifestyle websites, because it is 100% true that they are great publicity, but total and utter bullshit. There are simply not enough hours in the day to have completed the aforementioned hyperbolic day, and no one should therefore feel bad if they don’t. Even Dame Goop is full of shit. According to her own schedule: “I wake up at 7 a.m., I get [the kids] fed, and I get them dressed in their uniforms, any bits of homework are finished,” Paltrow explained. “I take them to school. She [Apple, now 9] gets dropped off at 8:25 a.m., and he [Moses, now 7] gets dropped off at 8:45 a.m., so we have a croissant together in his school dining room and we do reading together. Then I go home and I work for one hour on all the e-mails that come in overnight from L.A. Then I exercise from about 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Then I work on Goop [the digital media and e-commerce company she founded] pretty much the rest of the day until I pick up my kids and then they have various activities.”
In other words, she works (blogs) for about 3 hours every day, if she doesn’t shower. Also not included in the schedule: cleaning the house, grocery shopping, and spending time with her husband. Now I don’t mean to tear only Gwyneth Paltrow apart, but she’s really the best target, since she’s (a) not going to read this, and (b) not going to care if she does (how many people who have Beyonce on speed dial give a shit if someone thinks they’re insufferable?). But she’s the perfect illustration of my point: she’s aggressively marketing herself as perfect, and is chiding those of us who are less than that to do as she does. But she doesn’t take into account the fact that even she doesn’t do as she does.
Long story short (too late):
Mommy Blogs need to stop being a thing. Which is why I am founding the Women in Opposition to Mommy Blogging group (obnoxiously acronymed WOMB). After all, a WOMB should be a safe place, and a comfortable one, one in which no one will judge you for feeding your kids formula or skipping piano lessons because you’re exhausted after a long day.
So let’s put an end to a competition in which none of the competitors could possibly fight (or win) honestly, set some realistic goals for ourselves and our families, and stop defining ourselves by what has or has not been through our vaginas.*
*end of rant**