The sound of an orchestra tuning before a concert is happening on the Internet. A network of sounds – low and deep, high-pitched, staccato and playful, slow and grieving – all moving around a central note in order to attune to one another and play their instruments of dissonance and resolutions. Mothers everywhere are playing music. They’re tuning their instruments online, a roar of differing tones. Occasionally we hear a flute or a piccolo dart up above the rest of the instruments with a beautiful scale, getting Huffington Post–sized attention.
It’s an unprecedented piece of music: what cervical fluid looks like, birth culture, diaper consumption, nutrition, informed choices about medical care, tween and teen brains, maternal exhaustion, the double standard for women to nurture their offspring 24-7 and have a home that comes from House Beautiful, the isolation of motherhood, marriage, divorce, mental health, minivans, adult bullying among women, the hilarity and humiliation of a toddler meltdown at Target.
Women are talking about what life looks like from their perspectives – nuclear families, blended, transracial, two mommies, one single mom, working in or out of the home, moms of special needs, moms of crazy, moms of boys, moms of girls, moms of multiples, moms of children who died, moms with money, moms with no money… moms.
For all the criticism of mothers using their phones and not paying attention to their children, let’s give this some credit. Moms are talking to each other in a culture where we each live in a box with a lawn (or an apartment with a corridor). For that mom you see at the pool, the social networking she may be doing could be her lifeline. Granted, no one is denying that water is much bigger and more powerful than a child swimming in it (I’m not excusing negligent supervision in dangerous circumstances). The conversation happening between mothers happens all day every day while we watch our kids because that’s when it has to happen. Sometimes, that’s when we feel the most disconnected from the world.
The human heart responds to stories. There’s a part of our brain that registers the imagery and sensory experience of a story better than any other form of expression. I love Catherine Naja’s post about this mommy blogging phenomenon on her blog Choking on Applesauce, especially these words:
And when one of us is brave enough to tell her story, it opens the door for another woman to do the same. With every voice invited to this conversation, it gets a little more real — more honest, more raw, more revolutionary, more alive.
But behind it all, there’s a group of women that are still somewhat silent. They are the conductors of the orchestra. To the editors, moderators, and owners of every mommy blog platform out there…
Thank you for facilitating the conversation, for choosing to accept posts that you don’t agree with because you want that mother to have a voice. Thank you for your late nights coordinating editorial calendars after you put your kids to bed. Thank you for footing the cost of start up for your platform and then handing over the writing privileges to other moms to share. Thank you for putting up with pregnant rants or refusal to accept editing because of hormones. Thank you for posting our birth stories. Thank you for honoring our dead children.
Thanks for coordinating events and community groups to bring moms together face to face. Thank you for managing a writing team that is consistently late for deadlines because they are moms. Thanks for overseeing SEO optimization and for making sure we use proper English. Thanks for making sure that mommy bloggers are ethically and legally compliant. Thanks for moderating and making sure the mommy bullies are nice.
The orchestra conductors are making sure the trumpet player doesn’t drown out the flutist. These women are making sure the kettle drums don’t end up broken over someone’s head because the cellist got mad at the first chair violin. All the while, these blog editors are swimming in poop up to their elbows, pulling through the drive thru in their minivans, commuting to work, meeting with teachers, coaches, marriage counselors, sucking down coffee and wine, and managing postpartum weight loss and self-esteem themselves.
Bravo to the Jill Smoklers of the blogosphere. Bravo, and thanks for holding the baton.