When little Harun Jaykar (name changed) won a race at school in Boston, US, the feat was applauded not just by his adoring parents, but a circle of his mom’s friends in Seattle, Melbourne and Kolkata. Mom Neha put up the winning photos and a detailed post on her private blog, read by family and friends at first and now by folks she has never met. “It is a great feeling,” says Neha, “to get reactions from so many people on what could only be important to a mom.”
MadMomma (themadmomma.blogspot.com), a popular parent blogger, put up pictures of her adorable three-month-old daughter and took a readers’ vote on whether or not to cut her hair. The responses were instant, often unanimous (NO!), with the occasional advice thrown in.
Tired of mopping up after your in-toilet-training daughter? Elated after a sudden picnic in the local park with your little one? If you have not discovered them already, welcome to the world of mommy blogs, the perfect space to hold hands through teething troubles, chronicle your child’s wonder years and show off. It also lends moms a listening ear and, at times, a shoulder to cry on.From documenting the first haircut (as Kodi’s Mom does in http://thekronicles wordpress.com/2007/06/27/ what-happened-over-the-weekend/) to asking fathers to take care of their health on Father’s Day (as Poppin’s Mom did on http://babiesanon.blogspot.com /2007/06/daddies-and-cholesterol.html), blogging moms are touching topics that range from the everyday to the extraordinary. Those uninterested in the travails of parenting might find reading about another woman’s son’s potty training downright irritating, but to the motley group of Indian mothers who are blogging from different parts of the world, these things matter. “It helps that there are so many like-minded mothers out there who can relate to you, however silly your anecdote is,” says Subha of Boo’s Babytalk (boosbabytalk.blogspot.com).
A large number of blogging mothers take time out of very busy schedules to indulge in their favourite hobby, whether at home or work. Poppin’s and Kodi’s moms are software engineers; MadMomma is a freelance journalist; while Subha is a stay-at-home mom based in Switzerland.
Most mommy bloggers choose to blog anonymously, but are not shy about putting up their cherubs’ pictures for the world to see because they say that images bring an instant connection. “I’m much happier sharing pictures,” says MadMomma, who has often debated about sharing her kids’ photographs on her blog. Poppin’s Mom, a mommy blogger from Bangalore, says frankly: “Pictures are still a grey area, but I could not help showing off. I happen to think she (her daughter) is the cutest thing to grace this earth!”
Most mothers started their blogs to chronicle their child’s growing years and preserve a part of their childhood for the children to read later. For Kodi’s Mom, the blog is like a scrapbook; her way of “freezing memories of his childhood”. “I sure do hope she reads it some day and says ‘I have a cool mom,’” says Poppin’s Mom, who loved the interaction when she chanced upon blogging mothers. “(They were) sharing their agonies, worries and basically looking out for each other. Since I work outside the home, I do not have the time to develop relationships with moms in my neighbourhood and thought this would be a wonderful way for me to write and receive responses on mommy-thoughts and trials.”
Some are simply addicted. Subha started blogging when her daughter was four months old and such was the pull that she has started a separate blog documenting them all at indianmommies.blogspot.com. Hers isn’t the only list that brings together Indian mothers who blog. There is Desi Momz Club, which comes up with different themes, and Saffron Tree, a virtual book club. The Indian blogworld is taking note. India Blogs (http://www.labnol.org/india-blogs/indian-bloggers.html), a directory of best Indian blogs in different categories, has a listing for such blogs.
There may not be a Heather Armstrong of dooce.com in India yet, writing publicly about everything from leaking breasts to post -partum depression, but when it comes to being frank, Indian mothers are getting there.
“Issues of privacy are changing,” feels MadMomma, who is open about everything, from her C-section scars to her relationship with the in-laws. She does admit, however, that blogs being a semi-public forum, she is careful not to offend sensibilities.
For Tharini, a creative mom blogging at winkiesways.blogspot.com, the activity is therapeutic. “I can now see humour in situations which earlier had me pulling at my hair.” And if there is one thing that helps the most, it is the peer support. “You realize that for every confession you make out there, there are at least five voices which say ‘me too!’ And that’s a good feeling of being normal,” says Tharini, a CPA- turned-stay-at-home mom.
Most mothers are also quite regular with updates. “The novelty factor helps,” says Poppin’s Mom, who started blogging recently and posts quite regularly. Tharini and Subha try and update the blog once every week. Some, such as the highly prolific MadMomma, post every day and even get worried emails from readers if they fall silent for a bit. With children around, assignments to finish and chores to do, most moms end up blogging when their child is napping or during mini-breaks at work. For many, it means staying up an extra hour at night or letting go of something else during the day, but nobody minds, because this is a hobby that is now a significant part of their lives. “Blogging is that time of the day which I reserve for me. It is my space and I use that time to focus inwards,” says Tharini.
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