The St. Paul Pioneer Press has its own "mommy blog," surrounded by its new MinnMoms.com site. This whole "mommy blogging" phenomenon is fascinating to me, particularly because women have talked like this with each other for years, using whatever technology was available to us.
I wrote gobs of letters to my best girlfriends in high school. We talked incessantly on the phone (the kind with cords, horror of horrors) in college and when our kids were young; one of my 30-something neighbors saved me from toddler insanity with daily naptime phone calls and the knowledge that she, too, was still in her pajamas and had not brushed her teeth yet. Now the only way we can get hold of each other is via e-mail (one of my friends travels for work all the time, another's kids are of the age that seals her butt to the driver's seat around the clock, one works night shifts in her nursing job) and blogs. Whatever way works, I say. We crave connection. It's a girl thing, my husband would observe. He's not being sexist here. Women are the glue that hold the world together. If no one nurtured relationships and communication on this earth, we'd have blown ourselves up long ago. But I digress.
Even the national media are taking notice of "mommy bloggers." Dooce.com's Heather Armstrong showed up on the Today Show recently.
What puzzles me about the "mommy blog" label, though, is the kind of packaging that other media appear to be imposing on women who blog and the audiences who read their work. Traditional media try to create their own versions of these blogs and fail miserably. You'll note that MinnMoms, for example, has topical areas, most having to do with children. OK, that's because it's a site for mothers. But it's odd that I find nothing on the elections or economics or other national issues that must concern mothers. I was hoping to find out if Minnesota mothers are gunning for Hillary because she's one of them, if they find Obama more appealing or if McCain's trophy wife speaks (sorry, Republican friends). I'm wondering how the moms in Hugo are managing to find their kids' school clothes. I'm pondering how the women affected by China's terrible earthquake are managing to get out of bed in the morning, their only children gone.
Because in the real "mommy blogs" (if we should call them that at all), these subjects do, indeed, come up. Women of all ages and stages do more than cook, shop and care for kids. We think, pray, philosophize. We've been doing it, I think, since the beginning of time.