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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mediate Gender: Performing New Momism in the Blogosphere (Part 4)


True New Momism: Marriage Confessions

            Katie Brown has been blogging for nearly four years. Her blog covers the span of two children, one major move, and a whole lot of fights between husband and wife. Over the years her site has gained the theme of "Laugh. Fight. Stay Married". She admits,

I’m not a marriage expert. I’m not the best example of motherhood. But I live and learn and then spill my guts about it here in my own little corner of Cyber Land. I may not have all the answers, I may not make all the right decisions, but I’ll share every step of my journey with you so we can learn and grow together (Brown, "Home", 2011).

            Her blog provides the requirement for new momism, "that no woman is truly complete or fulfilled without kids" (Douglas and Michaels, 2004:4). However, it counters the idea that new momism "promulgates standards or perfection that are beyond [mother's] reach" (p. 5).  In a recent post she talked how her relationship with her husband, Chris, has changed since having their second baby. She fully admits that it becomes much harder for relationships to develop and grow with children. There simply isn't the time to cultivate their relationship with their kids. To add to the potential problems, "in the middle of the night when we wake up for feedings and we’re tired and we’re cranky, it’s hard not to take sharp, pointed criticisms personally" (Brown, "Euphoria", 2011). This was pointed out again in a recent experience she blogged about where she discusses an argument she had with her husband in the middle of the night while he was taking care of their daughter Gracie (Brown, "In My Dreams", 2011). However, even with these changes she admits that the good greatly outweighs the bad. More poignantly she states, " If you’re really, really lucky, your life will never be the same" (Katie, "Euphoria", 2011).
            The Browns present readers with a far from an ideal marriage on their blog. They openly discuss fights and arguments online. They've battled with depression and feeling they're loosing their identity through their children. They've had their house broken into, lost their jobs, struggled to find daycares, moved across the country (giving up prominent positions in Connecticut) just to be closer to family. Their son, Michael (referred to as Bean on the site), has developed a more needy attitude since Gracie was born. However, it is clear to see that Katie is fulfilled through her children. She is living the ideal new mom life. She is a professional. She is a mother. She does not shirk any responsibilities in either sphere of her life. However, she makes no attempts to hide her dirty living room while taking pictures. She makes no attempts to pretend her marriage is perfect. She makes no attempts to idealize her problems. She is honest in her representation of herself.

CONCLUSION

            Motherhood is a complex structure in society. It contains many facets and diverse representations. New momism problematizes many of these facets of motherhood by attempting to pigeonhole motherhood into a June Cleaver model of parenting. While many mommy bloggers chose to directly support or contest new momism there are some mothers that are able to present a different view of it. They provide examples of how motherhood and family relations are both fulfilling and imperfect. They present motherhood as a "radical act" that is powerful because of the imperfections and shortcomings of mothers. These women perform their gender roles imperfectly because gender itself is an imperfect role. Women are pulled from two opposing camps, one which they are told that family and child rearing are the most important role they can perform and the other which states that they need to be strong, independent women. Blogging provides opportunities for women to fulfill both of these roles, which are thrust upon them.


Now that you've read my thoughts what is your experience with Mommy Blogging? Do you think it has any value? Why?

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