Mommy Blogs, Making Domesticity Hip

01.09.2013, 11:16 PM

Mommy blogs are enjoying a surge in popularity, and are part and parcel of renewed interest in domesticity, localism, and the family in some sectors of the country. Cville has a story on these blogs, and makes the point that they fill in a domestic educational void left by the decline in extended families, home economics classes, and other institutions that used to teach young adults how to run a household. They also lend status to stay-at-home mothers, as I noted in my comments to the author:

Mommy Blogs, with their gorgeous depictions of ordinary home interiors, their celebration of family-centered living, and their recipes not only for good meals but also for good parenting, have moved into this gap with a vengeance, making stay-at-home momdom hip.

12 Responses to “Mommy Blogs, Making Domesticity Hip”

  1. Diane M says:

    I think for some women, there is a hope that blogging will allow you to earn some money so that you can stay home. I’m doubtful that it works for most people, though.

  2. La Lubu says:

    I found the definition of “mommyblogging” curious—not just writers, but readers, too. But yet—even with that expansive definition—Facebook was left out of the equation! In my social circle, I’m the only person who ever blogged. But everyone else I know is pretty active on Facebook (I’m not on it for various reasons).

    I discovered Hipmama when I was pregnant; shortly after I discovered the internet, period (LOL!). I never got into what is typically described as the mommyblogs (too much cultural disconnect—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but as a new parent I was looking for connections and examples from people who were similarly-situated—I needed to know what would work in my life, from people who had near-identical lives), but I did follow the blogs of parents of preemies of 25-weekers with all the complications my daughter had. Preemies and the old Hipmama boards. When the old Hipmama boards shut down, I found Feministe—which was then solely (original author) Lauren’s gig, and she was a single mother from the midwest.

    I think the chances of making any money from blogging are slimmer than winning the lottery—the few that are making it got in early, and/or have not just advanced educations but real-life connections in the publishing world (and some thrive on controversy). But they still serve an important purpose for people entering the brave new world of parenthood. It helps to have connections with other people going through the same thing, trading ideas and chatting and whatnot.

  3. mythago says:

    I am amused at Brad’s obscurement of the fact that home economics and extended families weren’t meant to “teach young adults” to run a household; they were meant to teach young women, specifically, to assume domestic duties – whether or not they were also working for pay.

    Admittedly, I am baffled at the idea that mommyblogging has anything to do with “status”. Appending “mommy” to something is a way our culture minimizes and sneers at something (look at the dismissal of the 50 Shades of Gray books as “mommy porn”) – it’s the modern version of sneering at woman drivers or woman doctors.

  4. Diane M says:

    @mythago – After Title IX, home ec became something both boys and girls took. I think there was a generation that learned the skills. At this point, many schools don’t offer it to anyone because they are more concerned about academics and college prep.

    I would actually like to see a return of classes on how to cook for all kids.

    People argue a lot about the term “mommyblogger,” but I think there are times when it makes sense. If you’re blogging while at home taking care of kids or if you mostly blog about being a mom, I think it fits.

    I also think that there is some status and personal satisfaction that comes with blogging and having readers and followers. How much your friends care probably depends on who you hang out with – and I imagine age matters there.

  5. Mont D. Law says:

    (that they fill in a domestic educational void left by the decline in extended families,)

    Or maybe they read these blogs for the same reason I do. They like funny stories about kids. It’s like having 100′s of Erma Bombeck’s on tap.

    (After Title IX, home ec became something both boys and girls took.)

    And that’s when the schools decided it was a priority. If it was not to teach girls to run households it wasn’t worth teaching.

  6. mythago says:

    @Diane M: yes, after Title IX, home ec had to include boys and shop class had to include girls. Are you seriously arguing that means that home ec classes were introduced to schools in the first place in order to insure that “young people” learned domestic skills, rather than young women?

    @Mont, I suspect it became less of a priority when extracurricular activities not meant to Promote Excellence became less of a priority. Home ec is going away, but so are art classes.

  7. kisarita says:

    too bad home economics had nothing to do with economics

  8. Diane M says:

    @kisarita – Actually, home economics did have to do with economics. It included things like making a budget and money management that high school students could really use.

  9. ki sarita says:

    why was this thought to be useful only for girls then?

  10. Diane M says:

    @mythago – “Are you seriously arguing that means that home ec classes were introduced to schools in the first place in order to insure that “young people” learned domestic skills, rather than young women?”

    No, but you didn’t say that it was initially introduced for that purpose. I think Wilcox’s sentence as written is reasonable – home economics classes taught domestic skills to all young adults when they were cut for budget reasons.

    In any case, I would support having them brought back so long as they were for all kids. We’ve had to think about making sure our kids can cook.

  11. Diane M says:

    @ki sarita “why was this thought to be useful only for girls then?”

    I think you know the answer to that. Originally they thought that girls would be running the household. At the college level, one of the ideas was to make the subject scientific.

    As a high school subject, home ec teaches domestic skills that are useful to everyone. It was bad to have it be only for girls, but once that changed, it was a good thing to have.

  12. MB says:

    Home Ec was considered useful only to girls because our culture thought that men should make the money and be the heads of the household and women should do the housework and childcare.

    I believe that Ellen Swallow Richards, one of the first women to graduate from MIT, promoted home economics because she thought it would raise the status of the woman’s work and make household management more scientific.

    We need to teach Home Ec to both girls and boys. In those classes, we need to show girls and boys how to run a household together and solve the chore wars equitably.