Mommy blogger wars

When I started blogging two years ago, it was before words like rates, sponsorship, stats and Analytics were as common as sleep, nappy, poo and boob. I blogged happily about sleep, nappies, poo and boobs and then just like that mommy blogger awards, stats and rates became buzz words for many of us. And so, just like a school playground, we found ourselves in another playing field with the bullies, the cliques, the ones who were left out, the ones who turned away, the ones who played nice. As if motherhood isn’t hard enough with self-judgement and others judging us, blogging is another platform that we and others were hard on ourselves.

The good, bad and ugly of bloggers and blogging

And I think I’ve played every role – the bully, the bullied, the clique, the one who was left out, the one who turned away, and the one who played nice. I’ve judged others harshly, others have judged me, and I’ve judged myself even worse.

We try to teach our kids how to play nice, but here some of us are competing, bragging, going behind people’s backs, subtweeting, subblogging and sniping. We compete for a limited number of readers, sponsors, advertisers and competition prizes, and that sometimes brings out the claws. We also want to be liked and accepted, and high fived as moms, bloggers and women. And if you think I’m speaking from an innocent self-righteous space, I’m really not – I have been guilty of all of this.

Here’s a theory – we like supporting each other in times of need, but not during the good. Or rather, it’s easier to feel compassion for when someone’s kid is sick, or you look like crap, than when life is going well or you’ve just received a promotion.

I came across a blogger called RockyCat, who posted about famous mom blogger Dooce, after the announcement she was getting a divorce. Here’s an extract:

“And instead of blogging about her day-to-day life and the random shit we all deal with, she was blogging about flying to New York! to sign a book deal! And going to Africa with supermodels! And buying a new humongous house! And she was showing photos of her fabulous new furniture! And her incredibly, unbelievably expensive wallpaper!

And I couldn't relate. It wasn't even interesting to me, because if I suddenly got famous and rich I would do things differently than she. Humongous houses and wallpaper so expensive it might as well be made out of hummingbird wings are just not what trips my trigger.

“…when she announced that she and hubs were splitting up … I was glad”

The same thing happened with Pioneer Woman. I used to read her every day, until she got famous and rich and became One Of Them. Instead of one of us ... er ... me.

And so when Dooce, who has blogged extensively about how her husband is the greatest man ever in the history of the world, and about how she loves him SO MUCH, and about how if your marriage hits a rough patch, you just need to go for counseling and everything will be ALL BETTER, God, didn't you already know that? - when she announced that she and hubs were splitting up ... I was glad.

Because she is One Of Them. And I am not. Schadenfreude, baby. Sometimes it just feels damn good. And if that makes me a bad person, well, so be it. I never claimed to be Mother Teresa."

I was at once appalled by this post that someone could take glee from someone else’s pain, yet partly relieved that someone had the bravery to write what I believe many of us feel. And you know what, this post got tens of comments from others who felt the same way, so clearly Rocky Cat’s voice is not a lone one.

Revisiting values

And this is what I think might be one of the catalysts of the mommy frictions – we don’t like seeing so much happiness, bells, whistles, sponsors and good times. Because it makes us feel like we’re doing something wrong or that we’re not good enough. The same when someone speaks of breastfeeding for one year, or attachment parenting, when we practise sleep training and “only” breastfeed for three months.

It’s tough out there, and to “survive”, one needs a thick skin and some confidence. And we really need to value ourselves as moms that much more. And I’m going to try that out, because I don’t want to feel or write like Rocky Cat.

Follow Tanya on Twitter, or check out her blog to her son, Dear Max... and keep an eye on her website Rattle and Mum

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

Have you ever fallen out with someone online? What happened?
ScottSQ 2012-11-02 09:01:44 AM
This is so true. Way back when blogging started (after chat rooms and forums) parents used to offer genuine online support. There were no monetised blogs, just one or two well-mannered competitions. I was personally deeply affected by the lengths to which bloggers went to offer support. We're a host of personalities who need that sort of kindness. Truce?
Catherine Jenkin 2012-11-02 11:27:10 AM
Good heavens. I've been reading Dooce for years (back when - before she even got fired from her job for blogging!!!)...and I'm APPALLED that someone would CELEBRATE her divorce. I'm revolted... Mind you, most of my blogging years were taken up by blogging my single parenting journey. I had numerous hells about it, and was once even told I didn't deserve my child, because I actively endorsed single parenting (ps. I don't - I just understand why it's sometimes the better option for everyone!) I've 'enjoyed' death threats too. Lovely, hey? As Scott says, blogging back in the day had a different approach - we started out as compadres - and I refuse to indulge myself into the mommy blogger wars. So when people go "oh, are you a mommy blogger? What's your audience number?" I usually show them with my fingers. Specifically, the middle one. I hate this infighting, and I loathe that it's all OH I GOT THIS and I HAVE THIS MANY COMMENTS TODAY. It's bull, and it actively stunts expression and conversation. Shoo. Rant over.