Why I Don't Keep a Mommy Blog
Both my husband's grandma and mine were short women named Charlotte who played piano and sang. They lived and died on opposite coasts, mine in New York, his in California. His was plump, old-fashioned, devout, taught toddler Sunday school, and ran a cattle ranch. Mine was skinny, stylish, progressive, atheist, a New York City editorial assistant, and a terrible housekeeper. I share my Charlotte's love for cocktails, crosswords, writing, and Woody Guthrie, and many of her political views and pet peeves. I share the other Charlotte's faith, love of children, and a sliver of her domestic ability. I love hearing how she slaughtered chickens, raised vegetables, preserved fruits, milked cows, hand-cranked ice cream, and sewed her clothes. California Charlotte's journals record dry facts about ranch life. New York Charlotte's files are full of typewritten poems clipped to rejection slips from The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker. For my Charlotte, baking anything would call her feminist credentials into question; for his Charlotte, aspiring to write for any eyes but her own would have been treason against her housewifely calling.
That public-private divide is no longer as sharp as it was in the Charlottes' lifetime. On Salon this week, in "Why I Can't Stop Reading Mormon Housewife Blogs," Emily Matchar admires the presentation of domesticity on popular "Mormon mommy blogs," such as Nat the Fat Rat, C. Jane Enjoy It, and Rockstar Diaries, for "help[ing] women like me envision a life in which marriage and motherhood could potentially be something other than a miserable, soul-destroying trap." The bloggers celebrate their homes, their husbands, and their babies. They are domestic goddesses inclined to DIY-projects and pie-baking and never without red lipstick and adorable vintage accessories—or the digital camera to capture it all in cool, hipster-influenced style. Their readers—many of them, like Matchar, "late-20-something childless overeducated atheist feminists"—find comfort in their vision of old-fashioned yet hip domestic happiness. As for the bloggers themselves, they have managed to bridge the gap separating the lives of those two Charlottes: many of their blogs are full of sponsors; many offer the chance to purchase a bit of their DIY-cool through their Etsy or Big Cartel shops, having created their own bankable brands of domesticity.
Even if some mommy blogs have gone commercial, their attraction is easy to understand. For years I've been hooked on Soulemama (and its creator's books), drawing inspiration from Amanda Blake Soule's winsome words and appealing images. But even though I, too, am a stay at home mommy who's been called a "domestic goddess," keeping a blog is not for me. Oh, my kids sport sweaters and socks hand-knitted from vintage patterns; in the summer, I wear sundresses that I've sewed myself; my kids don't have matching ones only because they are boys. I make my own bread and yogurt. I've preserved fruit and made jam. I bake cinnamon rolls from scratch, and I'm known to have made more than a few stuffed animals. While I'll usually photograph the hand-knit baby sweater or teddy bear before giving it away, and while I love few things more than writing, the thought of blogging my every domestic move fills me with dread. And not just because I can't help comparing my own doings with those of, say, Nat the Fat Rat or Angry Chicken and feeling envious and inadequate. I don't blog about my domestic life because doing so would run counter to the reasons I live as I do.
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