It escalated, as all twitter arguments do, into the realm of the personal. It began with a tweet from a journalist stating that every kid should be compulsorily sedated before every flight, a suggestion that immediately had my hackles rise. It ended, rather abruptly, when the gentleman in question, summarily dismissed my objections by telling me to “go write a mommy blog.” Of course, that ended in a block or an unfollow, I don’t remember what exactly and I’m delighted to report my book released a year or so later, based on the ‘mommy blog’  that he so scathingly dismissed, became one of the best books on parenting released that year.

At that moment, I realised, I had been reduced to just my procreative function as a writer. It didn’t matter that I’d been in journalism way before this gentleman had even cut his first writing tooth, that I’d worked with some of the best media houses in the country, I’d lead teams, I’d set up a disaster relief volunteer network which worked with victims of the 26/11 attack, I’d been an India culture lead for an international consumer trend spotting firm, I’d edited a fashion trade magazine, I’d freelanced as a content writer, founded my own content supply firm and worked with some of the leading websites during the first dot-com boom, edited a wedding portal, and yes, I’d blogged about being a parent. I had even written a book or two at that point. But all that remained inconsequential in the face of me being a mommy blogger.

A mother who chooses to write professionally on a freelance basis and also writes a blog, is NOT only a mommy blogger.

Why did this incident come to mind just now, so many years after it had happened? Blame it on an article I read online about how the mommy blogger stereotype hurts female freelance writers. It rankles, this pigeonholing of one as a mommy blogger.

A mother who chooses to write professionally on a freelance basis and also writes a blog, is NOT only a mommy blogger. She brings so much more to the table, blogging about being a parent is just one part of what she does, it does seem unfairly reductive to box her into being a ‘mommy blogger.’

To be slapped on the forehead with a sticker that says Mommy blogger is dismissive of all one’s professional expertise that one brings to the table, and frankly, quite infuriating.

 In my case, there were decades of professional journalistic, advertising and content writing and editing experience one brought to the table that got negated when one was slotted as a mommy blogger. And what was worse, one had closed the blog over four years ago. But it’s done and dusted now, the mommy blogging. There’s been books. Eight of them to be precise in the past seven years since the first came out. There’s been work, bread and butter writing, research, content generation. To be slapped on the forehead with a sticker that says Mommy blogger is dismissive of all one’s professional expertise that one brings to the table, and frankly, quite infuriating.

I must confess though that blogging as a parent was fun. It served as a great way to chronicle the growing up years of the offspring. He gained no small measure of internet fame as ‘the brat,’ and had kindly strangers bringing him toys and goodies, love from folks he’d never met, never known, which I am grateful for. The mommy blogging never went commercial for me, except for a stint as a biscuit manufacturer’s Mommy Blogging partner, where I wrote on their blog, not mine, for quite a few years, albeit under my own name.

It wasn’t professional, being a mommy blogger. If anything, it was intensely personal, raw, unedited, poop, vomit, episiotomies, mastitis and all, out there for the world to shudder at.

It wasn’t professional, being a mommy blogger. If anything, it was intensely personal, raw, unedited, poop, vomit, episiotomies, mastitis and all, out there for the world to shudder at. Also, the mommy blogger universe has quite changed since I was part of it. The mommy blogverse now for the most part, is airbrushed and shiny, full of unboxing videos and product reviews, interspersed with some original content. It is far removed from my angst ridden-ramblings on whether I was doing this parenting gig right, and just FYI, I’m still asking myself that question.

The term ‘mommy blogging’ when used so dismissively, doesn’t really even to encompass what we, the first generation of mommy bloggers did. We brought stories of motherhood out there, upfront, uncensored, without the layering of the popular narrative of it being sweetness and light and all fulfilling.

Being reduced to your procreative, biological function and socio-cultural role as a professional is rather disconcerting.  The term ‘mommy blogging’ when used so dismissively, doesn’t really even to encompass what we, the first generation of mommy bloggers did. We brought stories of motherhood out there, upfront, uncensored, without the layering of the popular narrative of it being sweetness and light and all fulfilling. We spoke about the depression, the exhaustion, the days of wondering when one would ever be able to reclaim our lives again. We also spoke about the sheer joy that our children brought to us. We shifted the narrative. We formed a sisterhood. We empowered women to speak out about the good, the bad, the ugly of motherhood. And that was no mean achievement.

Picture Credit: flexiboss.com

Kiran Manral is Ideas Editor at SheThePeople.TV

Also Read: The Worst Byproduct of Baby Making and Raising Process

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