It may be time to look beyond the local coffee shop, book club, park bench or play group to gather with other moms who will offer advice, commiserate over the daily grind and basically dish the playground dirt. Simply fire up your computer and with a few swift clicks, you’ll uncover the mighty world of the mommy bloggers: a mass of thousands ready and willing to welcome you in.
So why are so many moms jumping on the blog wagon?
"First off, women like to journal, it’s in their nature to share their experiences with one another," says Jill Asher, founder of Chicago Moms Blog, a collective blog site with nearly 30 mom contributors—including several of chicagoparent.com’s bloggers—that launched last May. "It’s also a great form of therapy for women. Whatever you are going through, you can always find someone in a similar situation. Blogging gives women a chance to connect with moms that they may never be able to meet in person."
Asher started her first site, Silicon Valley Moms Blog, about a year ago with a batch of girlfriends for fun. Now she runs four mom-blogging collectives, including sites in the D.C. Metro area and New York City.
A popular mom blogger, Stephanie Precourt of Adventures in Babywearing, says blogging has changed the way she views motherhood. "Blogging gave me the opportunity to understand how other mothers, very different than myself, walk through this motherhood experience," Precourt says.
Becoming a mom blogger has influenced Precourt’s daily parenting decisions. "Blogging keeps me really mindful of how I am with my kids. I always want to make sure I’m staying true to the person I’m portraying on my blog. Blogging somehow holds me accountable."
However, she admits updating her blog every day can be a struggle with three little boys at home. "I keep the computer in the playroom and write on those occasions when they are playing together. My kids come first, so the best time to write for me is when it’s quiet, and that’s usually when they’re asleep."
According to a recent survey done by BlogAds.com, the number of mom bloggers has been steadily on the rise since 1997, with more and more moms hopping online every year to start their own web logs. And it doesn’t look like there is an end in sight.
This past summer, Chicago got a taste of the power of the blog when it played host to the 2007 BlogHer Conference, a place for bloggers to connect with each other face to face and learn more about growing their personal blogs.
More than 800 women attended, many of whom call themselves mom bloggers but also a few marketing executives and advertising types who are quickly embracing the blogs as a cheap and effective way to advertise to mothers everywhere.
Debra Cooper, a contributor at MomJunction.com, sees the mommy blogging boom as evidence that modern mothers are looking for new ways to connect and feel validated in their individual mothering experiences.
"If you’re a mom, the days of chatting over the fence or meeting for coffee are disappearing. We’re all super busy and blogging gives us the opportunity to connect with each other on our own time," Cooper says.
Plus, she notices moms can be more honest about how they feel online. "We end up telling intimate stories or sharing embarrassing things we would not feel comfortable telling our personal friends. The conversations you have with moms online are like the conversations you have after work, following a few margaritas."
Blog lingo you
Blog: Short for web log, a blog is basically an online journal
Blogosphere: This term is used to describe the Internet blogging world
Momosphere: This refers to the massive group of mom
Links: People use links in blogs to directly connect people to other sites
Blogroll: A list of the bloggers’ favorite blog sites; usually listed down the side of the blog
Hits: This term refers to the number of visitors a blog receives in a day or month
Meredith Sinclair is a Chicago freelance writer and mom of two boys. She is a featured blogger at ChicagoParent.com. Check out her blog, A Mom’s Life, for a touching, entertaining look into her life.