by Tiffany Markman, mom to a delicious one-year-old, a book reviewer and a freelance copywriter, editor and writing trainer who tries to balance her workaholic tendencies with addictions to smooching her toddler, salacious non-fiction, caffeine, her iPhone and more. Follow Tiffany’s tongue-in-cheekery on twitter.
A colleague (also a mommy blogger) and I were discussing the comments that appear below news articles; specifically, the fact that people a) get nasty, b) start fights, c) ‘flame’ each other and d) use comments areas as forums for venom.
A recent example is the contemptible commentary beneath Facebook posts by DJ Paul Rotherham, after his wife was badly injured in a hijacking in Marlboro recently. Another is the range of masochistic insults faced by a friend of mine, a News24 columnist, when she confessed to taking her baby to the Home Affairs office and being delighted when they let her (and her screaming child) jump the queue.
Columnists and journos very seldom read the comments below their pieces, because it’s hard not to be hurt by the insults that thoughtless (or malicious) people often hurl. This is why online nasties are known as ‘trolls’ – and writers are sensitive to them.
But mommy bloggers do read the comments. All of them. Because that’s why we blog in the first place: to vent, to rant, to confess, but also to get support and buy-in. And, if we’re very brave, to assuage some of our guilt about how we parent.
I started my mommy blog, Dear Thumper, because – as a first-time preggie – I was absolutely filled with anxieties: about my growing baby, her health, her room, the fact that I worked too hard and too much, the fact that I drank coffee, whether or not natural birth would be possible, how maternity leave would pan out. The mist in my brain was thick and foggy, and the only way to clear it was to type it up. I also wanted a record for close family and friends of how ‘Thumper’ was developing and how I was feeling, as well as a week-to-week record for her to read one day, if she’s interested.
None of the mommy bloggers I know do it to present agendas. Or to convince others to do things differently. We do it to share. To put ourselves out there and exhale. Very few of us write for our audience (in a Dear Reader sort of way); we mostly write for our children, for our families, for our own personal sanity or for kicks.
Then, I had a revelation: Forget the trolls for a moment. Many mommies don’t blog – because they don’t have the time, don’t have the confidence, aren’t sufficiently tech-savvy, are a bit shy or are justifiably afraid of being lambasted. So their comments on news and other articles serve as their confessional too. A way to side with issues they agree with and have their say about those they don’t. A way to get others’ tips.
(This was beautifully illustrated in the comments on my first JoziKids post, which represented a wide spectrum of views on the Stay-At-Home vs Working Mommies debate but also provided insights into how people who strongly disagree can share radically opposing views in a sensible way. But that’s not always the case.)
So, mommies, I’m opening this one up to the floor: Do you blog? If so, why? (And what’s the url?) If not, why not? Do you comment? What moves you to do so?
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