Mommy’s blogging became increasingly popular in 2010 and was a platform for mothers to share experiences with parents. By 2014 there were an estimated 4.4 million mom bloggers, and even more today, using Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as platforms.
Mama bloggers originally focused on telling firsthand what worked and what didn’t. Heather Armstrong, a popular mom blogger and one of the first women to write about parenting online, describes in an interview with the Trauma and Mental Health Report (TMHR) how mom blogging was once a supportive movement by women who advocated the freedom of writing campaigned:
“Mom’s blogging used to be really about community, and that’s why I wrote about parenting. I thought I would quit writing when I was pregnant again, but because I had such severe postpartum depression, I found that the writing and feedback people gave me saved my life. “
Later, mom blogging became a profitable job for some moms, and increasing monetization decreased the quality and credibility of blogs. Clemmie Harper, a blogger with around 700,000 followers, sparked controversy after creating a fake account used to insult her friends and husband. Josi Denise, best known for giving up her blog publicly, spoke about how passionate she was about blogging moms at first, but it soon began to control every aspect of her life. Calling mom’s blogging “false nonsense”, she explains that people are “focused on creating a false narrative about what life is”.
Kara Van Cleaf, sociologist and author of the magazine article, “Blogged by a Woman Born to Mother: The Journey from the Personal as Political to the Personal as Commodity,” has examined the political and personal implications of blogging moms. In an interview with TMHR, she explained that turning blogging into a commodity can negatively impact the mental health of mom bloggers because “the work on and through digital media is competitive and endless”.
In addition, commentators post abusive comments that attack other parents, their parenting styles, and the choices they make for their children. This was true of Armstrong, who said:
“All bad things that can be said about a person have already been said about me. Also, everyone on my mom blog said that I was exploiting my children and people would tell me that my children would hate me for what I did. “
This can ultimately lead to negative effects on the mental health of readers and writers. Van Cleaf explained:
“I think online bullying can have negative effects on mental health, and not just on mom blogs. If you are just a woman online, you can attack. I think mom blogs are unique in that, at least in US culture, people don’t want to hear from mothers, and we generally have a narrow window on what mothers can do / say culturally. Mom blogs have expanded that window for many. “
Despite its drawbacks, mom’s blogging has advantages. Research has found a positive association between blogging and maternal wellbeing factors, including marriage satisfaction, couple conflicts, parenting stress, and depression. Van Cleaf stated:
“I have come across numerous blogs where bloggers would claim that blogging through social connections has a net positive effect on their sanity. Bloggers claim that after writing, posting, and communicating with their readers, they feel less isolated and more confident. “
Ultimately, Van Cleaf believes:
“I think you can do good. I think the community they create is important for mothers / carers. I think it is useful for mothers to see that they are not alone. that their experiences are shared by others. ”
-Jessica Ferrier, contributing author
Feature: Dakota Corbin at Unsplash, Creative Commons
First: Mattia Ascenzo at Unsplash, Creative Commons
Second: Corinne Kutz at Unsplash, Creative Commons