The radical act

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.

Why?

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.

But.

But.

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.

But.

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.

Comments

  1. This has to be the best post about DPCON12 I have read sweets. Thank you. Thank you for confirming in my head that little bit more about why I feel so compelled to keep sharing, about why I cannot NOT share. Why I will continue to blog and get the word out there. Because my voice is important. And it gives other’s a voice who do not feel strong enough, or for other reasons cannot… speak to the world. I feel very blessed and exceptionally proud to have a voice I can use. I feel privileged to do what I do, because there are so many who cannot.

    Thank you. You are right. It is a radical act.

    And because of what I do, Avery’s whispered name, a tiny ripple in the ocean, is turning into a tsunami…

    • That is so true Kristie. I think it’s beautiful that you could share Avery’s, even if it is absolutely heart breaking and had me crying rivers of tears for you and the little boy that we lost a few years ago on Saturday night.

      I have thought of it and you often in the past few days. Thank you.

  2. Amen. Best post I’ve read in a long time. So agree.
    Blogging has given me a freedom I could never have imagined. Changed relationships. Improved my life. If you’d told me that 4 years ago I would have laughed in your face. I would be in a very different place right now if I hadn’t click on that ‘join blogger’ button.
    Radical act? Maybe not in the big scheme of the world, but radical in my life.

  3. all the wrap up posts from dpcon12 have opened my eyes to the depth that blogging has – I never gave any thought to things like this, thinking that banging out a few posts when the house is quiet at the end of the day, is a nice outlet, a satisfying way to unwind. I never gave it the depth of thought that it deserves. but you’re right beth, I have found that a seemingly unimportant post (to me) stirs something in a reader to help them in their everyday, and likewise for me when I am reading other blogs. this blogging business is powerful – and in some instances, radical x

  4. I think your blog is the best thing I got out of DPCON12. Considering I didn’t go, I’m feeling pretty chuffed with myself.

    I liked this post. I don’t think blogging in general is radical. I think it started out as something that could have become radical but it progressed in the same way most things do. Down the path of commercialisation.

    BUT it can be radical. I don’t think it’s the blogging part that makes it radical though. I think radical people are radical and if they choose to share how rad they are with readers via a blog, then that blog has the ability to be radical.

    I think it’s kinda sad that some people can have conversations on their blogs that they couldn’t have in real life. That, to me, is a big red flag that something is wrong with society.

  5. Like you didn’t have much time to prep any answers, yet today I do. For me it’s radical on a personal level, it is good to hear my own voice through blogging especially when at school my voice had no power, my questions went unanswered and was always told to be quiet. I don’t want to be quiet any more and blogging allows me to shout, talk, cry, laugh and connect x

  6. I am learning so much from the post-conference posts. And this is gold. Thank you. I think blogging is slowly helping me to find my voice. One day I hope I can shout from the rooftops. xx

  7. A new friend (through my daughter starting school) has read my blog for the first time. She has trawled my posts and read my words. Her response “that is fucking awesome, I don’t know anyone else that is a blogger and I think that is so great what you do”.
    Sometimes when I’m surrounded by a pool of bloggers I feel a little inadequate and think despite the fact that I blog, my blog, me, we’re not really radical. But now I realise, us bloggers, what we do, is bloody radical because there are shit loads of people in the world who don’t have the courage or the know how. And despite the fact that when we’re all together it feels a little like ‘everyone is blogging’ that is crap, we’re a rare bread, and I’m proud to be a part of it.
    Lovely to meet you, if only briefly.

  8. Blogging is radical because it tells us about life as it is. About women’s lives as they are, about mothering as it really is, not as we want to be, not as we expect it to be, not as we pretend it is. Let’s be real about what is, let’s acknowledge it and then decide whether it is what we want it to be.

  9. Love it! I’m just taking my first baby steps into blogging and you’ve just gave me the confidence to power on. Thankyou!

  10. It’s like that episode of 90210 where Andrea says to Steve “radically isn’t a word”. And Steve, all neon shorts and gelled hair goes “it isn’t a word… it’s an attitude”. It is what we make it, and we’re rad xx

  11. Wow, Beth. Your post made me cry. A lot. Sitting at my desk trying to make sense of DPCON12 which absolutely BLEW MY…MIND. Where to start on describing the experience – you have just done it. From Catherine, the non-blogging researcher who thought there might be one or two Mum Aussie bloggers out there interested in talking to me…and found 200 warm and wonderful souls…If anyone else wants to talk to me, tweet me at @1CathyJ I would love to talk with you…This week is crazy with kids’ school stuff and then school hols, but I will talk to you over the next few weeks and months! The PhD takes three plus years so we have time..!

  12. I love this. I love knowing that sitting at home sharing my life and dreams and dramas is doing something radical… I love that making a chronicle of my life so that my children have some reference to what life was like for me is radical… These blogs are our story quilts people! Love it.

    Kate is a hero… love her story.

  13. I love you.

    That is all.

  14. Oh hear hear lady! What an awesome post. I have never thought of blogging as radical either, though the points you put forward here, most certainly have me thinking a little differently. I struggled with the decision to write about my miscarriage on my blog, but at the end of the day ran with it, because it was therapy for ‘me’ and I needed that kind of therapy, at that time. So far, it has been the post with the most page views and most comments I’ve ever received. I’ve received emails of support and other lovely ladies sharing their stories with me… some thanking me for sharing the pain, as it has helped them to feel a little less alone about their own sorrow. I’ve been blown away by the impact and power of little old me and my story. You’re right, THAT is pretty radical. Love your work lady xo

  15. Fucken yeah fistpump fistpump. This is a brilliant post.

    WE ARE AS RAD AS WE CHOOSE TO BE, MOFOS.

    xxxxx

  16. Amen Sister!! This is such a great {well written} post Beth. There’s so much more to blogging than what most people think. As you said, it’s a way to connect & share. I’ve met some amazing people through the world of blogs. It’s nice to know we’re all in the same boat during this crazy ride of life, no matter what we do or where we live. I was amazed when I blogged about my pregnancy loss in 2010, the amount of emails I got from women. Women who were so relieved they had ‘found’ another woman who had experienced such a loss & was willing to talk about it. I like to think that I helped these women in some way. Radical that?!
    x

  17. Traci 'Sparkle' Devlin says:

    You’re rad(ical) =)

  18. I just LOVE this post sweetheart. You spoke straight to my soul! As you probably read I wrote, and then deleted a post the other day based on what people thought being too “out there” and it really took away part of the reason I do what I do blogging. To me it’s therapy if you will and if I can make someone else feel surrounded by writing my blog when all they feel is alone, well I do think that is a little radical. Xx thank you

  19. I firmly believe that Mummy Blogging IS radical. For the reasons you’ve listed and more. You know what’s even more radical? The way you so eloquently teased the question apart. So many people write Mummy Blogging off as a ‘cute’ hobby, but it’s so much more than that – and now I have somewhere to point them when I can’t find the right words to explain why. I wouldn’t change a motherfucking thing about it along the way either.

  20. Great post Beth! I wasn’t at DPCON12 so didn’t attend the session, but given your ability to string words together here I am convinced you aced it!

    I truly wish blogging was around when I was trying to raise a young family and keep my marriage together. If I’d had access to the honest, sometimes soul-searching, radical thoughts of other mums when I was scrabbling to make some sense of it all, I would not have felt so alone. Perhaps I may have done a better job, and I definitely would have laughed a whole lot more!

  21. I LOVE this! If someone had of asked me last week if mummy blogging was radical I’d have squirmed with embarrassment. But now, as you string together so many awesome examples it has opened my eyes and revealed its radical self to me. The way we can connect, create, inspire, nurture and share in this platform is way cool x

  22. We picked ourselves up and moved to the country because life is too short to ask ‘what if’. I love to write about the things I am thinking about and doing. I know that my life is quite different to many other mums these days. Writing about life and what is in my head is just a way for me to connect with others. I don’t think I am being radical, but my mum does.

  23. I don’t know if it is radical, but I do know that it is ‘something’ to help us find our voices in a loud and obnoxious world. x

  24. Love this post, and I loved that session. You guys had me doing fist pumps left right and centre. I love blogging now more than ever. xx

  25. LOVED meeting you! This is a very coherent post. I am not quite coherent enough to appreciate how articulate it is. But I sense it’s eloquence anyway. And I’m in come down mode. I think I poured everything into what I wanted to say in my speech and now I kind of having nothing left to say. I’m sure it will pass. I’m ace at inane babbling.

  26. A little late to this party {I JUST spotted it on Dani’s Hello Owl fb page} but holy cow I freakin’ LOVE this post. Like, love love this post. The power of blogging. Mummy or otherwise. WOW.

  27. Thanks so much for this post. I found it really interesting. I definitively will share your post on my blog : http://bettyd-momaworkinprogress.blogspot.fr

    Keep on going !

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