The MommyBlogger Formula and Why I’m Sick of It

I’ve been doing a little side work lately, and one of the tasks I’ve been doing is a little social media ad campaign research. This involves me looking at a lot of blogs, 90% of which are mommybloggers.

After seeing literally dozens of mommyblogs, I’ve found there’s a general formula mommyblogs seem to adapt to.

Mommyblogs are generally composed of the following:

  • Deals of the day/week/month. Coupons, sales, rebates, ECBs and RRs.
  • Reviews of free products.
  • Giveaways of said free products.
  • Occasional gushing over children and chiding of men.
  • A gazillion links to other mommybloggers who do the same thing.

I also find that a huge majority of mommybloggers I stumble across are good Christian mothers of two children and a few “furbabies.” Sometimes there’s three children. For whatever reason, there almost is never one.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I support mommybloggers. In fact, a number of my good writer friends are just that, and I have no problem with what they do. Nor are any of the things above bad in their own right; in fact, they’re all good on their own. The problem isn’t the individual content: it’s the overall formula. It’s like someone’s churning out turnkey blogs for moms.

The problem is, there are now thousands of blogs doing the same thing: happy, cheery sharing of deals, reviews and giveaways of the same products. That is, most mommy blogs are generally identical. There’s no individual anymore; no one talks about themselves, their families, or their struggles. There’s just a cheery, feminine voice of the “good housewife” who’s happy to share her housewifey things with other housewifes.

And yes, I said “housewife” and not “stay at home mom” for a reason.

Think about it. The state of mommyblogs today reflects a Stepford Wife type syndrome. You can take a look at these blogs and typecast all of their writers as good wives, stay at home moms, pamper their kids; they’re women who love to shop, love a good bargain, are thrifty as part of their duty to maintain sweet harmony in the home. It’s a throwback to the perfect wives of the 50s and 60s that we saw in the media.

And I don’t know a real woman like that.

Damn it all, moms, blog. I encourage it. I recommend it! But be different. Show your individual side. Talk about your feelings, what it’s like to be a real mom, a real wife, a real woman in this day and age. You can do the other stuff too, but don’t let it be your only schtick. Don’t conform.

Two of my favorite mommy bloggers (and friends) avoid the formula:

Tales of the Toot does giveaways and product reviews. She also always showcases her child Aiden, a special needs boy with a rare disease. She doesn’t hide her fears, her trials, or her life from the public, and she’s a stellar example of, to me, what a mommy blogger should be.

Another example is All in An Iowa Mom’s Day, a blog from another great mom and freelancer who, gasp, actually looks into the “mundane” world. She talks about parenting, housework, raising boys, and all sorts of various daily sundries. She also reviews and does giveaways.

It is possible to be yourself in the crowd. Break away from the formula. Be real.

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33 Responses to The MommyBlogger Formula and Why I’m Sick of It

  1. lsmurphy says:

    Interesting post. I find your honesty about the mommy blogs refreshing.

  2. Jenn says:

    WOW! You said it perfectly. I read some of these blogs and feel seriously inferior! Sometimes it’s surreal, did they ever have a bad day or did your baby pop out smiling?! Love this post!

  3. Pingback: Storytelling Business Social Media Marketing PR & Technology Curated Stories May 25, 2010

  4. Sara Broers says:

    Thanks for a great post, my friend!

  5. Have you ever made one angry? I do not think it is possible to make only one mommyblogger angry. It often seems that if just one gets upset, they all get upset. It reminds me of bees. Have you ever heard how bees communicate a threat? It is a hormone that spreads through the air (perhaps only because they don’t have the Internet). Coincidence? 🙂

  6. Do you know how beekeepers use smoke when they handle the bees? I try to smoke enough cigars and cigarettes to keep the bees calm. It does not work, but I try anyway. My other plan is to break out some really offensive sexist statements. If it makes them mad enough it will foil their best attack. Extreme anger will usually screw up an otherwise great plan for revenge.

    Since the sexist idea (brilliant, I know) will probably not have the same result for you, may I suggest a good bullet resistant body armor?

    Of course, I am only joking about all of this. I would never want to make a mommyblogger angry. Something you did not mention is that they purport to be females. I am pretty cautious with female creatures.

  7. OHmommy says:

    I think you need to read a lot more then “literally dozens of mommyblogs” to make that assumption that they are all identical “cheery, feminine voice of the “good housewife”

    I have read, am reading, incredibly honest blogs. If you need more for your “research” don’t hesitate to email me.

  8. Carrie says:

    You’re probably just not reading the right blogs, or haven’t found them yet.

    Just as I wouldn’t categorize all “food bloggers” into one umbrella-like stereo-type, neither should anyone categorize all mommybloggers into one. There are individuals, and there are an endless amount of the type you describe – but before you throw us all into one wagon, take a better look. You might be surprised at what you find.

  9. Issa says:

    I guess I wonder who all you read. I have 150 bloggers in my reader, all of whom are parents, all of whom write about real life. They write about their children, their lives, how hard it is to parent. Some write about their fears, depression, divorces, parents, siblings, careers. I don’t read any who talk about deals/coupons/reviews. Not that they don’t exist. I know they do. I just choose not to read them.

    Just know, there are tons of us out there, who don’t fit your ‘mommy blogs are generally identical’ theory.

  10. muffintopmommy says:

    Interesting post with probably a lot of truth to it, but I don’t think my blog is anything like you describe. Though I’d never call my blog a mommy blog just because I’m a mom. I love to write and write mostly about things that strike me as funny—in my travels as a person who happens to be a mom. Check it out and see for yourself @ http://muffintopmommy.com.

  11. melissa says:

    seriously? first of all, you haven’t read the mommy blogs that i’ve read apparently. nor have you been to mine. anyways… i tend to not go to the giveaway/coupon/review blogs. i’m in it for the writing and i enjoy finding like minded moms who blog for the outlet and the creative process.

    mom bloggers get angry and ban together because we are a COMMUNITY. we stand up for each other. we support one another. no matter what kind of blog…the good, bad or mundane. THAT is the beauty of mommy blogging.

  12. muffintopmommy says:

    And p.s. I should also add I know of a TON of blogs moms write that are fresh, funny, informative and real, many of which I list on my blogroll.

  13. Hey, my blog isn’t like that! I work out of the home. Don’t have any furry pets. And I blog about our garden and music I listen to and random natural parenting things like vegetarianism, breastfeeding, and recycling. I don’t do giveaways or coupons or reviews. I just write when I feel like it; because I enjoy writing.

    Oh right, don’t have many followers either. Hmm. Guess I have to do something about that (maybe like follow the formula that works? ha!). 😉

    Really though, maybe you’ve got to look outside the box a bit? There are plenty of blogs out there that are interesting, humourous, and individualized.

  14. hokgardner says:

    I’m kind of perplexed by this post, because it doesn’t describe ANY of the blogs I read, many of which are written by “mommybloggers.” I wouldn’t be reading the blogs that I do if they were limited to the topics you list. The writers I read are sharp, funny, heartbreaking, honest women writing about their lives.

    I think you need to do more research.

  15. I get what you’re saying…really I do. However, you’re still painting with very broad brush strokes. Not all of us care about reviews, being brand ambassadors, or take time to point out that our husbands/partners are douchebags.

    I could care less about promoting coupons, the latest techie trends, or complaining about my marriage – but then, I have a pretty great marriage. I read others who are socially minded, don’t give away the latest steam mop for page hits, don’t whore themselves out to any corporation that comes along and smiles at them, and who have things, important things, compelling things, to say.

    It’s a bit ironic that you post about this because I am one of those writers who is brutally honest about what’s going on in her life and how she feels about it (sure, I have a fair amount of fluffy cats posts – I do LOVE my cats!), and I get more crap than necessary about it.

    Just the same, all “mommybloggers” (aren’t we all a bit tired of that title?), are not “generally composed” of the ingredients you listed. Not all of us are looking to be the next Dooce or Pioneer Woman. We seek to blaze our own trails and create our own niche and there are a lot more of us than you think!

    Perhaps you need to cast your net a bit wider and catch some of the fish who don’t swim in the same circles you seem to think we do!

  16. “Be different! Do things my way!” Why, helloooo, Irony!

  17. Carabee says:

    While I agree that there are blogs like the ones you describe out there, plenty of them, there are also a great number of blogs written by women who give open and insightful views into their lives. Bloggers who have never done a review or giveaway, despite being courted for such things on a daily basis. I would recommend looking a little further before making sweeping generalizations.

  18. pgoodness says:

    Interesting, I find exactly the opposite. Very few of my “mommyblogger” friends do reviews, giveaways or the like as a staple on their blog; a number of them have single children, and not a single one of them isn’t “real”. The “mommybloggers” I follow talk about their lives, their children, the world, and yes, certainly products come up in that, but in no different way than mentioning a product while talking to friends on the phone or at dinner. I find nothing Stepford Wife-ish about the women (and men, hehe) I follow at all. In addition, of course, when you anger someone, you anger their friends – that is called standing up for someone, so I think the bee analogy might be taking it a bit far.

    Anyway, perhaps you’re just reading the wrong “mommybloggers”?

  19. I am a mommy blogger, and yes it is true that a majority on my writing pertains to those topics you mentioned above. But you have to understand, we write about what we are passionate about and what makes us tick, at least MOST of us do. You will find the occasional mommy blogger who is in it for the free stuff or in it to boost a Mom run business, but for the majority, it is about the support and the camaraderie that mother’s once had around the playground. And some of us still have that, but in the middle of the night, when you have a feverish baby who won’t stop throwing up and are in need of a “virtual” shoulder to cry on or an “internet” hug, its there for you. Whether it is through the form of a fellow mother on twitter, or a blog post you stumble upon when searching for something like “postpartum depression” or “infant urinary tract infections” (both of which I have googled, found other mother’s who have gone through it before, and how they handled it), it’a all there.

    I can give you a laundry list of mommy bloggers who have wrote about their trials and tribulations, and not just the shiny happy stuff you speak of.

    Beth @ http://www.ishouldbefoldinglaundry.com wrote about losing her twin boys when she was 19 weeks pregnant.
    Casey @ http://www.mooshinindy.com wrote about her battle with depression and how she attempted suicide when she was 7 months pregnant.
    Kristine @ http://www.corasstory.org wrote about losing her 4 day old baby to a congenital heart defect.

    and me, I wrote about MY own battles with pregnancy depression and post partum depression and how i didn’t want my baby on my own blog. There were many lonely nights and days when I felt there was no one who understood and that was when by some miracle of God I stumbled upon Casey’s blog.

    You see, we love to share our happy times. The kids first words, first steps, but are also inclined to share the first time they fall down the stairs or the first time they get they get into a fight. It’s a way for us to share what can sometimes be a very lonely, yet rewarding job of motherhood. It gives us strength and love, that we may not otherwise have gotten a chance to feel.

    So I would say for all of those times you think we are being all “Stepford-y”, look just a little bit harder, and you’ll find our struggles, right there for you and every other judgmental person out there who likes to ridicule us, but you’ll also find the sunshine. We’ve got both. Just take a look.

    and one more thing….who DOESN’T love a good bargain?!?!

  20. Rhonda says:

    This cracks me up….because I am thinking, well yeah…. of course. What took you so long to figure that one out? I had to go private because I apparently pissed off one too many mommy bloggers over in Utah (led by one mean) and her and her posse came after me….kind of like that whole bee analogy. Which by the way…is brilliant. I will eventually go back to blogging publicly, about raising teen girls and my son, and still take the approach that parenting is best done when you tout the “anti-Stepford” approach.

    Thanks for this post. It totally validated me. Haha.

  21. Rima says:

    Hmmm . . . I respectfully beg to differ. There is a whole different world of “mommyblogging” out there. Like this: http://www.rimarama.com/

  22. Ha ha ha. You are kidding right?

    You want original? I do none of things on your list.

  23. Oh I forgot to add, that this post of yours falls into one of the mommy blog categories that is now more cliche than all those topics you posts…

    The category of ‘whining about other mommy bloggers and why you are better than all of them’

    Maybe your post was a joke?

  24. bigbinder says:

    Maybe you should look at more than ‘dozens’. I agree that there are a lot like that – but there are also a lot of smart, honest, mommy bloggers – snarky, even. What you are talking about is out there; but there is a lot more out there than your two friends who break away from the pack.

  25. Anna says:

    I stopped going to other blogs for this reason. Not to mention the fact that I am a stay at home mom and just too busy to care about all the coupons or giveaways or crap like that. I used to love writing about what was really going on in my head and reading the same from others but then I started to need sleep. Now I am boring (well I am not- I am too busy for that- but my blogging is) and just update the basics for family.

  26. avasmommy says:

    I think it’s wrong to make sweeping generalizations of an entire class of bloggers based upon a few you might have stumbled across. None of the blogs I read, who are all written by mothers, are anything like what you describe.

    I read posts about heartache. About loss. About loneliness. I have read words that took my breath away. I have cried tears until I had none left to cry.

    I’m proud to be a Mommy Blogger, if that’s what you choose to call me. I hope one day you make it past the blogs that only do giveaways and post about homeschooling. You’re missing out on some amazing writing.

  27. You need to read more than a dozen mommy blogs.. there are TONS.. HUNDREDS.. THOUSANDS of blogs out there. And, some are bad and some are amazing. There are so many amazing, honest, real mamas out there writing… I hope you can find these great blogs soon! 🙂

  28. Pingback: MommyBloggers: Follow Up | Written Wings

  29. Jaime says:

    Hello ladies.

    There’s too many comments to follow up to individually, so I made a follow up post instead: https://writtenwings.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/mommybloggers-follow-up/

  30. Holy shit, Jaime, you were right. Even their comments all look the same! The funniest part is how many got sucked right into the assumption that you were trying to cram them, individually, into a stereotype. Shall I bark out some really heinous sexism now? LOL The hive is humming now. Did you take my tip on that vest?

    • Really Mark?

      Maybe that’s because she painted us all with the same sweeping generalizations and she bit off more than she could chew, in doing so!

      Once you decide to stereotype an entire group of women who write – women you have obviously never read, then yes, we’re going to say something in retort.

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