I was lucky enough to be asked to be on a panel at the Digital Parents Conference last Friday alongside Eden and Nathalie and moderated by Catherine Archer who is currently working on her PHD in Mummy Blogging (apologies Catherine if that isn’t quite right I think it was something like that). The choice to have me on there was very last minute so I didn’t have the time I would have liked to give a COHESIVE thought to the questions and provide better answers to her questions rather than “Um, well, I’m not really sure, I don’t think so, actually I don’t really know.” Thank GOODNESS I had Eden next to me who was able to answer the questions in a thoughtful, meaningful way.
The main question of the session was Is Mummy Blogging a Radical Act? At first when I read through the questions on my phone at 12.30am in the morning after a few, ahem, wines, I think I said “fuuuuuck off” in the sarcastic way I tend to. It’s not radical I thought – any bastard can do it right? Kim (my roomie) made the point that it’s thought of something more important than what it is – connecting. It’s no different to the chatting to the neighbour whilst hanging out clothes on the line that has happened forever. It’s just in a new medium. The tools (social media) and the pace are what’s different now.
Just before we got up on stage I spoke to Eden and she breathlessly and excitedly told me that she got the clearance to fly to Niger, Africa for World Vision. If that’s not radical, then what was? And you know what? She was right. Of course. As the day progressed and the few days that followed it I have pondered it over and over again and I am convinced that it just might be the radical act Catherine was talking about.
If Kristie can write on her blog and share pictures of her pure heartbreak and grief of losing her darling boy when he was born and if THAT opens up the lines of communication for other women to share and TALK about their own pain, then yes, I think it is radical. Is she sharing, and I’m sure some people think over sharing stories and pictures of a dead baby? No! She is talking about her child. Her pain. Her loss. Her unending grief. And it’s no different to the millions of other women that have been through the same. Except now they might think that they are not so strange. Not so alone. Not so different. And we know from what she told us on Friday that she has received emails from SO many women thanking her. Grandmothers who lost children 40 years ago! All because of her sharing, her blogging. That is radical.
If a spunky, fiery Mum from the Blue Mountains who should be doing her weekly shopping at Katoomba Woolworths this Monday morning but instead is on her way to Casablanca MOFO Morocco all because of her blog – her words that she has written and shared and connected with others isn’t radical, than what is?
If the power of what Mummy Bloggers do isn’t evident when an Ipad is needed for someone and in a matter of hours funds are raised and the goods delivered? Or when someone loses more members of her family than anyone ever should and people rally around to raise $50 MOFO thousand dollars isn’t powerful than what is?
Is what I do radical? Or what the gazillion other Mummy Bloggers who live seemingly normal ordinary lives radical? I still don’t think so even though Eden tells me it is. I know that the emails I get day in day out saying that people like what I have to say, that they enjoy reading a little of BabyMac and getting a slice of the country life while they eat their vegemite toast and drink their coffee at their desk, well that’s all very nice isn’t it? The ones that talk about breakthroughs in relationships with their husbands or their fathers because of what I have written, well that’s great. But is it radical? I still don’t think so.
It just might be a little bit radical in so much so that not everyone does what we Mummy bloggers do. The sharing. The over sharing. The talking about subjects that might be taboo to others. Sure, get any group of women together in a park or School yard or sports game on a Saturday morning talking and you will get the same connecting, sharing (or over sharing). But to chose to do so, alone at home, behind a computer without knowing that anyone is actually listening? Well, it might be radical right? The putting it out there, telling our own stories when others might think that should be kept quiet and in your heart, well that IS radical right? I know many people of my parents generation (including my own parents) who think that you “just don’t talk about that stuff”. It’s private. It’s about your marriage which is sacred and frankly, no one’s business but your own.
The sharing of this stuff, the hanging the dirty laundry out for all to see, the telling of our own joys and pains well, I think that if that makes someone else out there a little less uncomfortable or alone than that is just plain wonderful. Radical? Maybe. Maybe not. And in some cases most definitely yes. But it is most certainly wonderful. And it has changed my life. And made the journey of raising small people while remaining married enjoyable. And doable. And I wouldn’t change a motherfucking thing about it along the way.