Tuesday 6 May 2014

Mummy's on her soapbox again

It is a funny business, blogging! There you are, tapping away at your computer, broadcasting your thoughts, without knowing if anyone is really listening. Back in the old days (circa 2001) a colleague of mine at the BBC walked into the newsroom one morning and told us he had started a blog. Once he had explained to the uninitiated (including me) what a blog was, my first thought was: Jeez, how conceited! Who wants to listen to you pontificating? Fast forward thirteen years and here I am doing that very same thing.

Mothers with children
'Mummy is going on about her blog again' (yawn)
Credit: Tim Bevan
Some days getting on my technological soapbox feels awkward and graceless. Then there are days when I get shortlisted for a Brilliance in Blogging (BiB) Award by BritMums - as I did last week - and suddenly all those hours of shoehorning my thoughts into a blog post seem worth it.

The mainstream press is often rather rude about so-called 'mummy bloggers'. Even one of my favourite novelists, Jojo Moyes, once wrote an article for The Telegraph, asking "where do these mothers find the time?" as if there were more important things we could be doing. Others have criticised mummy bloggers for focusing on the domestic humdrum of raising kids to the detriment of feminism.

I find all of this disheartening because to my mind the rise of these bloggers has achieved something very valuable: it has given mothers a voice. Never a day goes by when we don't lament the shortage of women in government, management and boardrooms, as generations of new mothers drop out of the workforce to look after their children. Motherhood is a vocation and privilege, but sadly it also removes too many of us from public life

You only have to look at the BiBs shortlist, however, to see that mummy bloggers cover a vast array of subjects and issues. Not only do these blogs canonise the trials of motherhood, but they also provide a parent's perspective on politics, current affairs and the environment, to name but a few. Fifty years ago, mothers were tied to the kitchen sink by their apron strings. Nowadays thousands of them have taken to their keyboards to let the world know what they think. During the last election, politicians fell over themselves to court the denizens of Mumsnet.

So I am proud to have joined all the other mummies pontificating into the blogosphere. I am also terribly grateful that there are mummies (and daddies) prepared to read and comment on our posts because ultimately blogging should be a conversation. So thank you if you are still listening... I'll jump down from the soapbox now.

If you could vote for me to become a BiBs finalist, I would be over the moon! Please click here to find the voting form and tick the box for 'An Author's Notebook' in the Writer section (no. 7). Voting ends on the 16 May. Thank you!


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