Friday, July 29, 2011

Free-for-all Friday: What's so great about blogging anyway?

A former coworker recently shared a blogpost with me that I knew I had to share with you. If you blog, I think you'll shout a resounding, "Amen!" when you read this. If you're not yet a blogger, it may help you understand all the blogging hooplah and maybe even make you want to start a blog of your own.

Background: Mom in Mendon is a mother and grandmother with grown children including daughters that are probably the age of many of us. She does an excellent job articulating the reason why we thought starting a community such as
Roof with a View would be significant for moms. I say, "way to blog, Mom in Mendon!" Us moms following in your footsteps always appreciate the wisdom and insight of our foremothers. You are needed in the blogosphere and on the web! 

Blogs are genius. Without question they've done more for Today's Woman than psychologists, counselors, and women's magazines who sought to come to the aid of all those mid-century Donna Reid Moms--mothers like mine. Like me.

In the 1950's and 60's, my mother prepared her four daughters for The Role of house-wifery and motherhood: "The most mundane, yet most meaningful work." She taught us to cook, sew, iron and economize. But she noted, "Happy mothers seem to have something extra going: a hobby, a creative outlet--something besides the Bendix washer on the service porch and a clothes line in the back yard. Something to ease the pressure of keeping up appearances, so all-important in that era. She told me about her friend. Bernice showed her a little pencil sketch she had done. "It wasn't very good, really," Mother explained, but Bernice said, 'I just need to have something else--an outlet.' " Along with all she tried to teach, Mother gave us permission to have an outlet.

There was nothing I wanted more than motherhood. Happily it arrived. But it was a LOT. Consequently, I kept my mother's counsel. With five young children in Riverside, California, I painted watercolors, I learned cake decorating, I tried writing. And mother was right. It helped. But even then, it wasn't enough. "What lack I yet?" I wondered.

Dad wasn't unaware. He praised the BLT's. "This was a lot of work. You had to toast the bread, slice the tomatoes, etc." He willingly sent me off to painting class while he held down the fort. In addition, of course, there were friends and neighbors, girls to call on the phone. 

But despite my best efforts, it was a wistful me who wrote:

Where are all the fans?! Why couldn't someone be there to applaud, or at least nod in I deftly, maternally fit a diaper? Or why not a chorus of ooh's and ah's as I place the pot of Spring Garden on the table, with murmured comments around about my ability to balance budget, nutrition and time in one clever meal?
 I would be modest....[in the face of praise]. An audience is all I require for the maintenance of....patience, wisdom and creativity. In a musical voice I can say to the child bouncing off the couch, "Furniture is not for jumping." The child is bored? "Why, here, Sweetheart. Mother has made this cardboard box into a robot." Exclamations of awe and surprise from the fans. But [the Mom, staying at home in] obscurity has no fans.... If the clean clothes are mounded high on the folding table and the floor goes a few weeks unscrubbed, who will know? If my voice demands harshly, "Get this robe picked up!" no one can condemn.

In fairness to my younger self, I wrote on and explained my conviction that good mothers shouldn't depend on shallow praise for recognition. I ended with a reiteration of my reliance on faith and my certain belief that Eternal Fans watched from beyond the Veil. I still hold fast to those convictions, but it was, nevertheless, a lonely time.

Not so for my grown daughters today. The new Millenium arrived, bringing with it the Web Log. Wow. Precisely meeting their need, blogs provide women with the Audience, with the Fans, with the Recognition. Mothers, wives, single women have been lifted out of obscurity. They don't need a big readership. Mainly, they are no longer alone. That's not to mention the cyber friendships, the fresh ideas, the learning, and the just plain fun they get in online interaction. The internet has filled the void.

I know it's not the answer to everything. We women will continue with our moments of wistfulness. But what a blessing! My daughters are better off. And I'm glad for it.

You can read Mom in Mendon's original post here.

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