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The annual post about why I hate the term mommyblog

3.17.2009

in Uncategorized

Next week I’m heading to a marketing conference in Las Vegas to speak on a panel about what moms are looking for when they hit the stores. Besides free full-body massages from Clive Owen with every purchase, of course.

I’m happy for the opportunity and I think it will be great experience – plus um, Vegas? Hello? I have half a mind to bet my remaining 401(k) savings on black. I figure my odds are close to what they’ll be if I let it fester in some mutual fund these days.

So yes, I’m excited. But I must confess — every time I get an email titled Re: Mommyblog Panel I kind of get all squirmy and squidgy inside.

I have spent countless posts exploring my discomfort with the term mommyblog. I hate it hate it hate it. I hate the diminutive. I hate the cutesiness of it all. I hate the fact that before you’ve even read a single post, it makes it beyond easy to dismiss a blog as being less clever/engaging/insightful/important as anyone else’s. (See also: “Oh those mommybloggers have nothing better to do than whine about some stupid Motrin ad.”) I especially hate that I’m being introduced to a roomful of Executives In Dark Suits, some of whom I’ve probably worked with in the past, as a mommyblogger.

Bah.

And then, just like that, spurred on by a twitter chat with Angie and Izzy, it became clear why, all in 140 characters or less:

Mommyblog describes the blogger and not the content.

Tech bloggers blog about tech. Food bloggers blog about food. Fashion bloggers blog about fashion.

I don’t blog about mommies.

(Except, ocassionally, the ones who suck.)

I do blog about parenting. Which, I suppose, makes me a parenting blogger.

That, I can live with.

How about you – love it? Hate it? Want to reclaim it? Want to shave your head and tattoo it across your bald scalp? Let’s call it my once a year check-in and all opinions are welcome. Besides, Executives In Dark Suits may be reading.


Edited to add: The comments are so amazing! I love hearing how women choose to label themselves and then, how that conflicts with how marketers want to define you. Susan Getgood and Amy in Ohio bring up a wonderful point below about how “mommyblog” is so much about demographics. I think marketers are going to need some new terminology – There are so many kinds of blogging moms out there right now and yet we’re all on the same lists. Some write about politics, some about products, some about sex toys, some about freebies, some about homeschooling, some about health issues, some about design – and they all have “mom” in the title. And don’t forget the blog with dad in the title that’s written by a mom. Oh no! What’s a marketer to doooooo?

Edited again: The folks putting together the conference changed the panel name. It’s now called Marketing to Moms: A panel discussion with top bloggers. How great is that?

93 shards of brilliance… read them below or add one

The Casual Perfectionist March 17, 2009 at 4:10 am

I’ve never liked the term “Mommy.” I’ve gone by “Momma” for the last 3+ years, and some probably don’t like the sound of that, either. I love it. In my head, it’s totally different than Mommy. Hearing my daughter call me that makes my heart smile. Hearing my hubby call me that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.Maybe I’m a Mommablogger. I do blog about myself quite a bit. ;) I’ve almost always been more than my title (regardless of what it is at the time), so I tend to take them with a grain of salt anyway.Have a great time at the conference!~Momma, The Casual Perfectionist

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Kirsten March 17, 2009 at 4:24 am

I don’t hate the word itself, but I do hate all that it implies in the blogging world. At BlogHer last year, I was hesitant to introduce myself and a “mommyblogger” for fear I wouldn’t be taken seriously. I write mostly about my kids and my experiences as a mother. If that makes me a mommyblogger, so be it.

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Meg March 17, 2009 at 4:25 am

From now on, I am calling myself a Megblogger!

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Summer March 17, 2009 at 4:26 am

Um ya, not a fan. But then again, I tend to be a word snob. I don’t like hubby, lol, OMG, vlog….not even a big lover of the word blog. And when you hear Mommy all day long, sometimes even that word goes to my crap word list.So, I’d have to agree.I’m a writer. Good enough for me!

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B March 17, 2009 at 4:42 am

hate.

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Mary March 17, 2009 at 4:52 am

Reading about the Mommyblogger title – mostly on your site – I got to thinking. “Mommy” (or Momma or Mom or Mother) is not a phrase that used in serious discussion. So it seems hard to take someone known as a Mommyblogger seriously.That’s just my two cents worth-Mary (Momma and Blogger and a few other things)

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SUEB0B March 17, 2009 at 5:16 am

I almost wish I had something as simple as “mommyblog”to hang my hat on. In Alltop.com, I am a “life” blogger. What does THAT mean? I guess “middle-aged single, childless, cranky, wine-swilling blogger” is a bit much to say.

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Jomama March 17, 2009 at 6:55 am

So, can we invent a new word and promote it? It took a long time to sell “Ms.” but it is accepted now. Could we have a mommyblogger conference to vote on a new term? “Parenting blogger” is not catchy enough–but “mom-blogger” might work. If we all become “mother-bloggers” that would at least make us sound bad-ass.

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Mr Lady March 17, 2009 at 6:58 am

I don’t even let my kids call me mommy. I am NOT a mommy blogger. I’m barely a parenting blogger. I don’t think of you as one, either. I’m sticking with Diarist. For now, at least. :)

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rainsinger March 17, 2009 at 9:00 am

I HATEHATEHATE the term mommyblogger. It just feels… belittling in some way that is hard to name. It makes me feel like my blog should have pictures of cutesy kittens or something and that people don’t consider the content as seriously when it comes under that umbrella.but maybe that’s because I consider myself a writer first and then a mother in terms of blog content – I had that journal years before I got pregnant and my son is one of the range of subjects there.Or maybe it’s because I don’t love my darling preshus enough.

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Miri March 17, 2009 at 9:30 am

oh,i don't like “mommyblogger” , even though it is who i am, really. i am a mum, & i am proud of it, but, it just sounds so silly,so little,doesn't it? very “aww, look, a woman who can use a computer” to me. I love the sanctimommy post, even though i am one when i see people hitting their children,because that's just wrong. I used to be one when it comes to keeping children on a leash (safety harness i believe they are called?) but now that i have children i understand that you do what you have to to keep your child safe. I still would never use one, but i don't roll my eyes anymore. We are mostly tv free, but i don't mind spending a day in bed watching mary poppins.as long as my children are happy, i am happy.

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Robin March 17, 2009 at 10:18 am

I’m willing to concede to momblogger when I must, but the diminutive “mommy” really strikes me as limiting, pigeonholing me into that “mom of young children, wipes noses for a living” box, when that is actually quite far from my reality. (Well ok, I do wipe noses on occasion, but it hardly pays the bills.)My blog is so eclectic that I’ve had a lot of trouble categorizing myself, and finally decided that since I’m not looking to actively market myself or make money off of it that I just don’t have to. *sticks out tongue and places fingers in ears*On any given day, a visitor to my blog might find an art photo, a story about my children, offloading of my own angst, a travelogue, a piece of fiction, or something else entirely. It is what it is. A reflection of me, and while I love my kids more than life itself I’m a hell of a lot more than “just a mommy”.

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Fairly Odd Mother March 17, 2009 at 11:31 am

Hate it. I’ve use it for lack of a better, more catchy, term, but I hate it.

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Dorf's Daughter March 17, 2009 at 11:39 am

I think it boils down to who owns the conversation. And the answer is: Whoever creates the language (e.g.,’clean coal,’ for crying out loud!). We can take back the language, creating new words for our experiences (that’ll never happen, trust me, because too many mothers with children won’t/can’t be bothered to speak en masse), or do what the gays have done, and made words like ‘queer’ part of a powerful, pridefulmovement.Remember what Gloria Steinem said when someone told her that she didn’t look 50: “This is what 50 looks like!”You have nothing to feel ashamed about. This is what a mommie or a mother or a momma looks like. Suck it up, corporate America (which isn’t doing all too well these days either. Who wants to work for AIG?)

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Michelle March 17, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Personally I can not stand when I am referred to by “mommy” in any forum except by my children. Drives me nuts to receive some group email from another parent in my childs preschool addressing me as mommy. To quote an artice I read recently “unless I have wiped your butt or paid you a dollar to try an avocado, don’t call me mommy!”

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DCD March 17, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I think you nailed it when you mentioned talking to the dark suits. Because let’s face it, no matter how “far we’ve come,” in a situation like that there will be those who immediately tune out because of the phraseology. Which is lame. My issue is the box in which the term places me. Yes, I am a Mom. That doesn’t mean I have less to offer then the next person because I’m thinking about my kids 24-7. Quite the contrary. Do I blog about my kids? Sure do. Do I also blog about myself and my own life? You betcha. I didn’t start my blog to have it be a Mommyblog, or any other specific blog. I just wanted to write about what I was thinking. Sorry for the novella comment!

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Goddess in Progress March 17, 2009 at 12:48 pm

It doesn’t bother me too terribly much, though I think I am much more likely to say “momblogger” than “mommy.” I agree, the extra “-my” somehow diminishes it, cutie-fies it in an annoying way. Must come up with something better…

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Wicked Step Mom March 17, 2009 at 12:52 pm

I hate the term stepmommyblogger. Because it makes the blogger sound even less important than Mommyblogger.

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Brooke March 17, 2009 at 1:01 pm

I would much rather be called a parenting blogger than a mommy blogger! Let’s start the campaign now!

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Nancy March 17, 2009 at 1:21 pm

I hate it. My kids don’t call me Mommy, why should anyone else?I blog about life, anyway — not just about my kids. I’m just a blogger, thank you very much.

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AnnetteK March 17, 2009 at 1:23 pm

I’m not a fan of it though I’m sure I’m pigeonholed as one. I much prefer the term life blogger. I may write about my kid on occasion but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to me. Being a mom doesn’t define me, or my blog.

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Blog Antagonist March 17, 2009 at 1:35 pm

With blogging, as with life, people are only comfortable with something if they can cram it into a little box and label it. I like to think I defy labels. Then again, I like to think I’m still a size 6. I think I escaped the term “Mommyblogger” only because my children were already past the age of calling me “Mommy” when I started blogging.

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PunditMom March 17, 2009 at 1:39 pm

You know I totally agree with you on this. Does Kos have kids? If he does, would they call him a “daddy blogger?” No.Also, just let me know where I sign up for that massage with Clive Owen. Mmmm.

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pandorican March 17, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Hate it. I might BE a Mom, but that is not ALL I am. Nor is it all I write about.

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SoMo March 17, 2009 at 1:49 pm

If we can pick any title, I would like to be called Chief Executive Life Blogger. I blog about my life without the huge bonuses.

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Amy in Ohio March 17, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Meh, I’m okay with the label. My content my actually improve if I started writing about you wonderful ladies. As long as they lump me with awesome women like you, I don’t care what they call us.

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Kimberly/Mom in the City March 17, 2009 at 1:59 pm

I prefer mom blogger but mommy blogger doesn’t bother me for the most part. (Like I always say…I’ve been called worse!)The only time that the term mommy blogger annoys me is when someone is writing something negative about mom bloggers and puts the word in quotes – “mommy” bloggers. That’s condescending to me.

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Susan Getgood March 17, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Well unfortunately I think the horse has left the barn and it is going to be damn difficult to get it back in. However, parenting blog or family blog is probably more accurate to describe the blog and not lose the idea that children are part of the story. And include the dads writing these stories as well.As opposed to a personal or lifestyle blog, which doesn't imply kids. However, even if we managed to effect that linguistic shift, I still expect that moms who blog abut their families will still be referred to as mom (or mommy) bloggers. Without categories in which to lump us all, DEMOGRAPHICS, marketing & ad industries would be lost. And completely off topic the word verification wants me to write “dinchead” I sense something prophetic in that.

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Amy in Ohio March 17, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Oh, I forgot the one thing I wanted to say…oy.The only problem I have with the the label is that it seems to me to imply that we are of one mind. The internets see us as one big brain. That part I don’t like. Not all bloggers labeled as MommyBloggers hold the same opinion on things like politics or nutrition or that darn Motrin scandal.I don’t think Tech Bloggers or Food Bloggers would ever be assumed in such a way.

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willtherebecake March 17, 2009 at 2:04 pm

I like “momblogger” better than “mommyblogger.” Of course, I am neither, but when I refer to you moms who blog, I tend to use the former.

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Kim Moldofsky March 17, 2009 at 2:07 pm

I tend to refer to myself as a mom blogger, but like many, write about more than my family.I am going to start referring to myself as part of the Mom-Borg Collective to ironically “own” that term.

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Jennifer James March 17, 2009 at 2:09 pm

I don’t have a problem with mom blogger, but mommyblogger I can’t live with. Mommy sounds so frilly, which clearly I am not.

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JJ March 17, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Thank You! I have been mulling this topic around in my head for a while… it was really brought to the fore front recently at Mom 2.0 Summit. I am a mom… and a wife and a sister and a friend and a tech geek and a marketer and an artist and a social media kool-aid drinker and a… you get the idea. Why would I only be a mommy blogger?

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Mom101 March 17, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Kim, awesome!And for those not on the twitter 24/7 or following sxsw this week, see: < HREF="http://twitter.com/KimMoldofsky/status/1337935479" REL="nofollow">Mom Borg Collective here<>

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Cynthia Samuels March 17, 2009 at 2:24 pm

As usual, you’re right. We do need some term though, because the power of the community is so huge that it does need some kind of identifier. Even across topic lines there is a reason women choose to id themselves as moms (it is a right honorable title after all.) Susan is right about unringing the bell, too.At least it’s a good problem to have; the power of the community is now assumed. Right?

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Julie Pippert March 17, 2009 at 2:27 pm

I am a beatblogger and there is an article that says so!So I am a beatblogger who writes about the following (including but not limited to):parentingbeing a womancurrent eventspoliticshealth & environmentI think most of us are beatbloggers, some more focused than others on parenting and/or life as a person who happens to also be parent.What marketers really need to do is consider us beatbloggers and know our beat. Which, despite our parenthood status, may or may not include parenting.As for calling your panel mommyblogging? Unless your topic is specifically titled Mommyblogging, then it is highly unprofessional.You need to be Liz, PR professional, speaking about bloggers who focus on parenting topics.The same way they'd do for a magazine.I don't hate mommyblog until it is used oppressively, unprofessionally, or patronizingly to limit or narrow our scope.In other words, not in theory but usually. ;)

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Mom101 March 17, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Cynthia that’s a beautifully optimistic way of looking at it. I always learn something from you.

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Marinka March 17, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Why not just refer to them/us as Motherbloggers?I’m a mom and I blog. Sometimes I blog about my children, mostly I blog about myself. It’s not insulting to me if someone calls me a “mommyblogger”, as long as they don’t expect me to wipe their ass or anything.

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Christa March 17, 2009 at 2:34 pm

I’m thrilled to hear this. My peeve is women referring to themselves and other women as “Mommies.” But then, I’m also a bit weirded out by women whose internet handles are “DeansMommy,” or some such. I have a 7 month old and part of my hesitation on having a kid at all was my discomfort with the “Mommy Role.” I’m not a mommy. I’m a bad ass chick who still likes to put back a couple of drinks, swears like a sailor, and lives for naptime. But I also love my kid to death, so the “Mommy Guilt” that hovers out there for women that don’t fit that mold makes me nutzo.When my kid talks, I also hope she calls me “Momma.” You can be a Hot Momma. Not so much a Hot Mommy. Also, somehow, Momma speaks to me of strength and toughness. Mommy, not so much….

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Redneck Mommy March 17, 2009 at 2:45 pm

I loathe the term Mommyblogger but only because it has such negative connotations surrounding it. It implies that I write about everything to do with being a mommy to children and therefore have little else of value to offer the world. (Because parenting children has no value. Rolls eyes.)I much prefer to describe myself as a HUMOURIST. If it was good enough for Erma Bombeck, it’s good enough for me.When I’m feeling really feisty and feel the need to define my blogging style, I just simply announce I’m the “Dead Kids and Dildo’s” blogger.That generally shuts everyone up.Heh.

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Nenette AM March 17, 2009 at 2:46 pm

I tend to go with “lifestyle blogger” but I recently learned that it implies alternative lifestyles.GAH!Whatever. I’ll still use it. I blog about being a mum only about 40% of the time, so I think the above title fits. Mommyblogger (ugh) just doesn’t.

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Banteringblonde March 17, 2009 at 2:50 pm

I don’t love it … I think the misconception by my friends is that I’m keeping this online diary. Those that have read it always come back and say they didn’t realize it might actually be something they would enjoy reading. I think we are stuck with mommyblogger but what happens when we get older and our kids are gone…. what do they call parents of teens or grandparents that blog?

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AlyGatr March 17, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Hmmmm. Certainly something to ponder. I don’t have a problem being called a “mommy” anything. We go through life picking up so many labels, deserved or not. “Mommy” is one I’ve worked hard to achieve. My SweetPea refers to me as “My Mommy” because I call her “My SweetPea” so day to day I hear “good morning My Mommy” or “what are you doing My Mommy”. I think people will always come to the table with preconceived notions about you, regardless of the label you’ve been tagged with. I’ve always seen it as a challenge to prove to them that I’m more than just my label.

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kateypie35 March 17, 2009 at 3:01 pm

I didn’t read all of the other comments, so not sure if I am in the minority, and therefore about to make myself look like a huge sap…but…I love being a Mommyblogger. I have longed to be a Mom for a very long time – I had to struggle through two ectopics, surgery, meds, and IVF to be blessed with a child…and dammit I am gonna milk it for all its worth. Call me Mommy, its music to my ears. Lump me in that demographic…hells yea! Its thrilling to be called that, for me. And, right now I am fairly consumed with child rearing – and I am in that sickening phase where my kid farts and I think its adorable…so, it is all I write about. Maybe in a year I will change my mind? But for now…swoon!And, I call my own mom “Mommy” to this day…mostly when I am whining…heh. Am I strange?

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Marketing Mommy March 17, 2009 at 3:11 pm

I can’t pretend to care about the term since I put Mommy in Marketing Mommy. I think mommyblogging as a term stuck because the bulk of mombloggers (at least at first) were “mommies” (i.e. the mothers of young children). And as the mothers of young children, we fretted about mommy stuff: breastfeeding, co-sleeping, potty training, etc. It can be mind-numbing stuff if you’re not in the thick of it, even it it is well-written, touching or funny as shit.There are mombloggers with preteens and teens out there, but they’re in the minority, perhaps because they accord their growing kids more privacy.See you in Las Vegas!

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Backpacking Dad March 17, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Although I refer to myself as a mommy-blogger (not because that describes who I am, or what my content is, since I’m neither a mom nor do I write about moms, except for sometimes because moms are hilarious and alien :}, but because of who most of my readers seem to be) I actual prefer to refer to myself as aPARENTAL PUNDIT.I share opinions and stories in order to share, shape, and cement ideas about how to raise children, and how to raise parents. Parental punditry: without it, in some form or another, we’d all still be beating our children with belts and paddles.

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Chicky Chicky Baby March 17, 2009 at 3:35 pm

I’m perfectly comfortable with the term “parent blogger”. I blog about parenting. No brainer there.But Motherbumper and I were thinking of coining a new term “Batshit Crazy Blogger”. I think it has a nice ring to it.

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sarah1122 March 17, 2009 at 3:35 pm

I’m new to all of this and writing mainly to preserve what little is left of my IQ after having my first babe 5 months ago, but…The “problem” (ahem) with us women is that we’re willing to see our commonality as mothers over our differences (writing about food, politics, health, etc)..which lumps us all together into the “mommyblogger” realm simply because we’re able to form a community based one this one shared experience of motherhood and not on a specific blog topic. Frustrating indeed. And not so easy to fix.- Sarah: The Purple Canoe

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Mom101 March 17, 2009 at 3:44 pm

@Katiepie35 that’s a beautiful side of the story. I’m glad that the label has helped you own this new, hard-fought place in your life and find community. It’s a pov I’ve heard before and totally understand. @Sarah1122 I’m not sure if we actually see our commonality above all else. I mean, we may preach it sometimes, but if you look at the momblogger communities that form and these little momblogger ecosystems (reciprocal blog roll mentions, etc) I think we do separate ourselves by topic. I admit I don’t have a whole lot of evangelical republican homeschooling moms on my blogroll. Although I do have a republican or two. And even < HREF="http://fairlyoddmother.blogspot.com" REL="nofollow">a homeschooler.<>@Backpackingdad you’re a genius, my friend – love Parental Pundit! Now that’s why you’re a professional critical thinker.

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Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com March 17, 2009 at 4:01 pm

I’ve thought about the term over the years, mostly because it seems like so many mothers who blog don’t particularly care for being called a mommyblogger.Personally, I call them parent blogs or family blogs or mom blogs or dad blogs. I don’t think I made a DECISION to do that, it just sort of happened, and I think it was more because I was a non-mother non-blogger referring to blogging parents and I felt a little silly using the term “mommyblogger” out loud in public. I just assume that I’ll do the same when I have this baby. If I felt silly saying “mommyblogger” before, I’m sure that’s not about to change.So you’re a parent blog to me. I hope that’s okay.

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