I can still remember the first line of the first post on the very first ‘mommy blog’ that I ever read. I haven’t seen that post in years – its author has moved on to new blog territory – but I can see the text of that line as clearly as if it were right on the screen in front of me right now:
Dudes. This gig is hard.
‘This,’ of course, referred to new motherhood. I was in the thick of it when I found that post, desperate for resources, desperate for community, desperate for support. I didn’t know that there was such a thing as a ‘mommy blog’ (they were then called ‘baby blogs,’ as it goes, and they weren’t the exclusive domain of moms, but that’s another conversation for another time), let alone that I needed them. But needed them I did. I needed to know that I was not alone. I needed to know that there were other stories about motherhood beyond those that I saw in parenting magazines on the newsstand or in the What To Expect books. I needed to know that the true story of motherhood was one that could only be told by mothers on the ground, and that that story was not only accessible to me, but that I was part of that story. That I had my own story, and that my own story could be a point of access for other moms, with their own stories. And so on, and so forth.
That one post, that one story, by a mom in Texas that I’d never met and would never meet, changed my life. It changed my relationship to my own experience of motherhood, and even changed, in some ways, my relationship to my experience of womanhood, but it also changed this: how I view the very cultures of motherhood and womanhood and all the -hoods and -isms that attend those. It was the first moment of my realization that moms were changing, through their storytelling, how we understand women and the family and community and the distinction between public and private.
That’s a longer story, of course. The story that matters here is this: regardless of how mom bloggers (and dad bloggers) may or may not be changing the culture, they are – undeniably – changing individual lives. Their words make a difference. They did to me, they do to you.
It’s because the posts that we write about pregnancy and childbirth and post-partum depression and breastfeeding and potty-training make such a difference – in ways that books like What To Expect When You’re Expecting just never can – that, last year, we began a collaboration with Hyperion Books toward drawing greater attention to those stories and bringing those stories to a wider parent audience. There are some millions more mom blogs now than there were when I became a mom for the first time, but there are still plenty of moms who may never find that life-changing post about post-partum depression, or that game-turning post about potty training. We wanted to get those posts on the shelves (virtual and actual) of bookstores. We wanted to get those posts onto new pages (electronic and tree-based) and into new hands and in front of new eyes.
And we are. But we can’t go all the way with this without you, without the community. You know what those posts are, where they are, and who wrote them. They’re your favorite posts, the posts that your friends have written, that strangers have written, that you have written. They’re the posts that changed your lives – or perhaps just changed that one, terrible, no-good day. They’re our posts, our words, our stories.
And it’s time – again, and again and again – for us to share them.
Share them here. We want to publish them. And we want to keep elevating them and celebrating them and getting them out there. Because they matter.