Tuesday, March 16, 2010

About That New York Times Piece...

I am someone who reads blogs. I love blogs. I was once so moved by the words I read on a blog that I sent a gift to a total stranger who'd suffered an unspeakably cruel loss. I have already pre-ordered my copy of Half-Baked, by the ferociously talented Alexa Stevenson of Flotsam. And I think that Ask Moxie's infant sleep advice is smarter than all the books of Drs. Weissbluth, Karp and Ferber combined. Obviously, I, too, am a mother with a blog, albeit one I post in erratically, and one whose biggest claim to fame until now is that it was the most popular blog at my parents' split level on Long Island.

What I am first and foremost is a storyteller. For almost 20 years, I've had the privilege of dropping into other people's lives and telling their stories, in books and newspapers and magazines. My Sunday Styles piece in the New York Times was a story about an interesting world that many Times readers had no idea existed: a world where hundreds of women are so serious about blogging that they would take a day out of their lives (and even plane fare and the cost of a hotel room for some) to actually take a seminar on how be better at it. And while bloggers themselves know that some of their peers are actually making money by blogging, that many are trying to "brand" themselves, and that major corporations and PR firms are taking notice, many non-bloggers still do not. I didn't know that until not too long ago. That's interesting. That's news.

Mine was not the first story about bloggers, nor will it be the last. It did not touch upon every amazing, transformative and innovative thing going on in the blogosphere. It was a window into a particular slice of life, and gestured to what that slice suggested about the larger community: that mom bloggers had evolved into a "cultural force to be reckoned with." That women "live online" these days and that bloggers are actually the new go-to parenting experts. That blogging had "opened up a whole new world" for some, who felt "empowered" by their new connections to corporate America. I mentioned that there is concern that some bloggers may have gotten caught up in the influx of giveaways and sponsored posts and swag because there is. And that's one part of the story I was telling.

The tone of the piece was light. That's because this was a Styles piece about a cultural trend, not an inquiry into the minutiae of the sub-prime mortgage crisis for the Economist. (If readers disagree with the placement of the piece, they should let the editors of the Times know.)

And here comes my shocking confession: Bloggy Boot Camp seemed like fun. The bare feet? The sippy cups? As a journalist, those are precisely the kinds of textual details that convey a scene to a reader. I included those details because personally, I found them charming, the very thing that made the mood at Boot Camp so unique and fun and, yes, girly. Tiffany Romero was warm and hilarious and clearly very passionate and savvy about social media. I thank her and everyone at Boot Camp for allowing me to observe and talk to them. My intent was never to vilify or belittle Tiffany, SITS, Boot Camp or the world of mom blogs at large. And I'm genuinely saddened that that intent, and my professionalism, could somehow be so grievously misconstrued and called into question by some within the blogging community.

The ferocity and scope of the response within the blogosphere to this single newspaper article suggests to me that there's a bigger story out there, a story that apparently very much still needs to be told. Ultimately, I hope the exposure in the Times and the resulting dialogue will allow both bloggers and journalists to move forward towards getting to the bottom of that story.

Finally, I'm well aware that many readers reacted strongly to the headline and the graphic. I saw neither of them before the story ran and while I suspect they were meant to be humorous, I'm sorry they've turned into such a lightning rod. In the meantime, I can say with certainty that the only children who have ever been neglected due to their mother's blog are my own, who I've barely had a moment for since the story was posted. I think they've watched Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs approximately 250 times. I hope you'll understand.

Disclaimer: In this post, I am speaking as a blogger and freelance journalist, not on behalf of the New York Times.


  1. I know you say you love blogs, but the article seemed taunting and condescending.

    Honestly, it takes a lot of work to build up this much trust within a community and I don't really trust you.

  2. I was hoping to hear from you since reading the flurry of comments on the Bloggy Boot Camp piece (and reading the piece itself looking for what evil you had done -- and didn't find any). Thanks for sharing your side of the story. BTW, the most hate mail I've received as a reporter came after I wrote a story about ... diapers.

  3. I think the tone of the article was light and humorous and still very respectful of the mom blogging world. As a non-blogger, I feel like I learned quite a bit about this phenomenon and I didn't at all come away with any negative sense of mom bloggers or the boot camp conference or its organizers. It's only the defensive and pretty crazy responses the article has received that are actually portraying some in the mom blogger community in a negative light.

    Anyway, Jennifer, your article was well-written and timely and funny and respectful -- just like your blog entries always are.

  4. Most of what you've written here was obvious to me on the first read-through. I don't have a problem with the piece. I loved Alice Bradley's comment but didn't feel that your comments and hers were completely unable to reside peacefully within the same hemisphere. Two perceptions CAN be valid at the same time, you know. There are always multiple angles for looking at an issue and they are ALL worth examining at a given time. Plus, dude, it's your JOB.

    I thought the title was both harsh and FUN-NY. It's not meant to encapsulate the entire issue-- few titles can, or if they do, they're boring as hell.

    It did what titles are meant to do: It drew in readers. The article is always more important than the title. It's where the actual INFORMATION is.

  5. That comment was meant to be from ME. Not adorned. Oops. (Stupid auto Google sign-in.)

  6. "The tone of the piece was light" - I'm sorry, but it hardly seemed light at ALL. As a mommy blogger (although now with adult children) I took offense to this article and felt that it was a dig at both me and my fellow women bloggers.

  7. I'm glad you responded.

    I think that the article was snarky and a tad insulting, but the reaction from the community has been way over the top.

    I am quoted as saying that my blog served as my resume in getting my most recent job. The tone of the article could make that seem like a bad thing, but I think it's pretty amazing, actually. And fitting: The job I hold is a community manager for a parenting site. Over the past two years, I have built a community through my parenting blog. A tad related, no? What better resume could I offer? Sure, I have a degree from a top university. I have years of managerial experience and proven results-- I have the suits and heels to prove it. (Not that either fit, but that's beside the point.) But those didn't get me the job. My blog did. And I'm proud of that.

    I hope we can all just move on. Dwelling on this isn't good for anyone.

  8. Personally, I didn't have a problem with it. However, I knew the minute I read it that lots of people probably would. The thing that I think is telling about the response is that the women getting angry are talking about how it should have been treated like any other tech conference, and yet they are not reacting like they are part of any other tech industry. Mommy blogs are a personal thing, and to try and separate the two isn't really possible.

    I think the people who are railing against it aren't following the first rule of blogging: if you don't like it, don't read it.

  9. Read your article, read blogosphere/twitter reactions. Most verbal finslippy, suburbanbliss, herbadmother, I can see why they felt the way they did. They've been treated badly by the media in the past (remember Meredith Viera & happy hour playdates?). Nuthin wrong with aspiring to be dooce like & supporting your family via your written word.

  10. Thank you for addressing the headline, which was what offended me. It was degrading, disrespectful, & the brainchild behind it should feel humiliated.

    The piece itself? meh.

    I feel neither hot nor cold to any aspect of it past the title. I agree with The Scary One & let's not dwell.

    Bygones be bygones & let's take this as a chance for the blogging community to grow.

  11. Can't believe the negative backlash you are getting Jen! I did not come away with ANY negative feelings about "mom-bloggers" after reading your piece -- tho I have some pretty serious negative feelings about them now having read some of the comments above and after checking out the FB-bash. Keep writing Jen, and I'll keep reading.

  12. I wasn't feeling 'lightness' in the tone of the article at all, to be honest. But a lot of that came from the first impression I had of the article because of the title. So I went into the article with a bad feeling to begin with. Now that I see you didn't pick the title I may go have a reread and consider the things that you've written here in this post as I do. I did feel your sincerity in this post and I'm glad to have read your response. I think it's safe for the blogging community to let it go now.

  13. Wow, this post is in such a different tone..it made me like you!

    I didn't NOT like you before but I also didn't get the impression YOU liked (mommy) bloggers all that much from your Times article. ;)

  14. As someone who does not have kids, but is a freelance writer for a parenting website (as well as the site's forum moderator) this is a world with which I've become very familiar. It's a fascinating world/industry. And yes, it is an industry for a lot of moms. Your story reflected on the big picture, pulled a bit of the curtain back to give everyone a glimpse. I, for one, think you did that successfully and with a neutrality and lightness that fits with the NYT Styles section.

    Whenever any new industry or niche market springs up, there are always corporations, advertisers, etc. that jump on the bandwagon. The world of "Mommy Blogs" is no exception. The controversy in this whole thing stems from detractors taking issue with those who turn their life and family experiences into financial or professional gains. But we're all used to life/art/work co-mingling (we see it on screens large and small, and in print and online). It makes us laugh, cry, and feel because it's LIFE playing out in front of us.

    Also, I, for one, liked the title. It was entertaining, a little cutting, but served the purpose of drawing eyeballs to the content. I only wish there could have been a NY Post headline version if it. Now THAT would warrant controversy

  15. Absolutely, to this part:

    "The ferocity and scope of the response within the blogosphere to this single newspaper article suggests to me that there's a bigger story out there, a story that apparently very much still needs to be told."

    Hell hath no fury like a mommyblogger scorned. (Or even just slightly singed, or poked, or just . . . you know, mentioned.)

    Hang tough.

  16. Honestly, (aside from the Scary Mommy resume comment which I thought was unnecessary) I didn't find the NYT article all that offensive or inaccurate.

    I think the defensiveness comes from the bloggers who are *not* out there single-handedly attempting to build brands, climbing ladders and negotiating sponsorships and hate being lumped in with those who are... Often, these are two very different groups of bloggers, each with their own purpose and guess what? There's room for both kinds of bloggers on the internet.

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  18. I'm really glad to see you respond to all the critique that's been flying about your story. That's a gutsy thing to do.

    The headline, graphic and placement of the story were by far the biggest problem. They put your words in a context that was demeaning to the women at the conference you reported on, instead of simply light-hearted.

    I totally believe that your intentions were good. I've pissed off sources before without meaning to, and its not a good feeling.

    Still, your writing uncritically reflected common assumptions about who mothers are and what we can or should do as writers that I think you - and I, and everyone following this kerfuffle - would do well to look at more critically.

    Here's my post about it, if you want to read it: http://childwild.com/2010/03/16/a-blog-of-ones-own/

  19. Im so confused. I didn't see any insult, as a matter of fact I would be drop dead flabergasted with excitement and joy if I were ever mentioned in the New York Times.
    Especially if they were damning, condescending. and, trite.

    Oh, and Ms.. Gotlieb...take a pill! Jeeze loosen up peeps!

  20. I agree with you - there is a story here that's not been seen by mainstream media. It's that these moms, these blogging moms, are working damn hard.

    And it takes high levels of skill.
    And it takes loads of time.
    And it takes a whole lot of community.

    We just want to be taken seriously, for once. And that article came off as fluff (mostly because it was) but what we do isn't just fluff. Moms are feeding their families this way.

  21. You're a strong woman Jennifer. Let's just say that right off the bat.

    As you know (and as I wrote you before I hit publish) I had issues with your piece. I imagine a lot of it was due to a demeaning headline and an utterly nasty accompanying artwork which set me on the defensive right away.

    But reading on, I do think that the allusions in your piece--mimosas in sippy cups, sorority girls, bare feet, minivans, soap opera watching, writers with no resumes--along with the snark ("You know. For your blog.") just punched me in the gut. Especially coming off the Mom 2.0 conference which was about the most professional, buttoned-up, amazing, inspirational conference I've ever attended. In any industry.

    If the color above were things you found endearing, then I wish I had felt the endearment. I wish, as I've written elsewhere, that the story was about how the patriarchal model of tech conferences was giving way to these very unexpected aspects, and women are making it work while advertisers are jumping in--bare feet and all. That is kind of cool, right?

    Instead, I end up walking into my office, and having coworkers ask me if the next time I speak at a conference, I'm going for the sippy cup cocktails.

    That aside, I will utterly defend your professionalism as a journalist to the end. You identified yourself as a journalist, you were there as a journalist, and if people thought that guaranteed them a fluff piece then they were mistaken.

    In a way, what you do as a journalist is more upfront than what we do as bloggers; I don't ask permission or identify myself as a blogger before running home to scribble down the tale of the crazy mom at the PTA meeting.

    I wish I liked the article more. But I still like you. And I still think you're a great writer.

  22. Jennifer, as you know, I'm glad you wrote this follow-up response. I liked your NYT piece, which celebrated a community of smart and engaged young mothers. The over-the-top firestorm in which too many mothers lobbed grenades at another mother -- and a fellow blogger at that -- broke my heart. It fueled the very stereotypes and misperceptions we loathe.

    Connie Schultz
    The Plain Dealer/Creators Syndicate

  23. Dude, am I the only one who thought the mention of Scary Mom's getting a job sans a resume, on the strength of her blog, was a good thing? Her point, I thought, was that blogs are better than resumes! OMG.

  24. OK, so then, why are you mad about the mention, I mean?

  25. OK, then why are you mad about this, then?

  26. I didn't see the photo, nor do I remember the headline. I did react negatively to the article as a mommyblogger (or a writer with kids). I thought the whole "they smiled knowingly" part was a little overdrawn.

    It's hard for bloggers to get respect in the mainstream media, and honestly, you didn't do bloggers any favors in that piece. However, I get your confusion now. I've written professionally before in a tone I thought was crystal-clear only to have folks take offense. Perhaps if a blogger had written the exact same piece about a freelancer, you could see why people were offended? As both a blogger and a freelancer, I see the problem.

  27. It WAS a shame that so many of the strong reactions were also negative, especially given that what you were doing was, as you say, just presenting a slice of a larger community that is incredibly diverse--too diverse for a single article and certainly too diverse for the Style section.

    What I see happening more and more, though, is this militant and somewhat bizarre call to arms to legitimize ALL momblogs when, in fact, there always has been and always will be a slice of the community that is as frivolous and shallow and ineffective and money-grubbing and bitchy and poorly written as ALL blogs (and not just the "mommy" ones) are sometimes made out to be, both by members outside of this community and within it.

    Your article struck a nerve, and with good reason, but I think the larger issue here is that no one likes to be grouped under a heading that is constantly being depicted according to its lowest common denominator.

  28. I have difficulty marrying the tone in this piece with the article I read. I remain confused how you are surprised that people took exception to some of the statements in that piece, especially with your years of experience.

    I will be first to admit the title and the graphic were issues for me and that it could color it for me, but I also knew that you had little to do with it and still felt that there were a lot of pot-shots in your writing.

    I did not walk away with a sense that you thought Bloggy Boot Camp was a fun experience.

    I did not like the article but absolutely admire and applaud you defending it here while giving people an opportunity to speak their minds.

    That takes courage. And courage ALWAYS wins points with me.

  29. I once wrote a piece about working from home and said something about not staying in my pjs and a stay-at-home mom wanted to kill me because she thought I was saying that stay-at-homes stay in their pjs all day. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how she got that from what I wrote. I learned than that readers bring their own concerns to what they read and it's always something to keep in mind when writing -- but it's still impossible to make everyone happy all the time. When I read some complaints about your articles (about you not mentioning the good work the bloggers do in the community), I wanted to say "no ONE article can cover every aspect of women who blog; you were only offering one slice of that world." I'm glad you made that point here.

  30. Jen, your NYT article was forwarded to me by a friend as a kind of "hey, you're a blogger, check this out" kind of thing. I read it and found it interesting, and only later learned of the crazy backlash. I don't get it at all. As a mom, a blogger, a sometime "mommy-blogger," a working woman, an American, or anything else, I didn't find the article remotely offensive, condescending, snarky, or otherwise taking a "dig" at other bloggers. People need to lighten up. Keep doing what you're doing.

  31. Jennifer - I am a longtime journalist and new blogger who reads a lot of Mom blogs. I totally understood what you were saying, and have defended you in comments and in a blog here:



  32. I'm so glad to read this, and name dropping both Alexa and Moxie is a sure way into my heart, as I live them both. As Liz said, it makes me like you, and makes want to rethink my own negative reaction.

    My problem was more about the NYTimes being dismissive of women writers, and yes, women bloggers specifically. So yeah, it's hard to take an article likes yours in the spirit you intended -- and I will definitely step back and consider your words. I also am so happy to know that your intentions were not to be cruel.

    But, as we say in recovery, I can't judge by your intentions, only by your actions. And whether it was a result of your editors or you, what you intended the article to convey didn't reach
    me, even with repeated readings.

    But, again, thank you so much for letting us know that you value what we do. It means a lot.

  33. Here's my problem with it: the idea that mom-blogging *is* just a cultural trend, that it is something that warrants a light, 'trend' piece. We'd never see a light trend piece on how men are making careers out of blogging, that geeky guys who love tech are turning their hobbies into business. Never. Nor would we ever see the antics of men at SXSW or BlogWorld being characterized as cute or charming. These things can only be characterized as such with reference to moms/women because that is how the culture views moms/women, and there's a real problem there.

    (Of course, it also didn't help my mood, as I said in my own piece on the topic, that my project to raise awareness of my terminally-ill nephew's disease was discussed in the context of perks of being a 'popular', and implied to be something that, because of corporate sponsorship, be looked upon with suspicion.)

    I appreciate your response here, and I respect you for writing it. Like Liz before me, I'll set aside my distaste for the piece as part of a distasteful bent on the part of the culture, and thank you for stepping to clarify.

  34. Glad to hear from you about the article. I had no real issues with your work. It was slightly snarky but I could see how it was meant to be light fare. What made me upset was the commentary, which obviously you have no control over. You can't control the jerky things that people come out of the woodwork to spew out in a comments section.

    I wrote my own response to it, here.

  35. Read the article and don't get the kerfluffle. Then again, I find myself wondering how these things can all coexist:

    1. Moms who blog want to be taken seriously as business people.
    2. Moms who blog (mostly) act like their blog success fell in their laps: "I was posting photos for grandma who lives in another state then I woke up one morning and ZOMG, Ponies! Disney!! SWAG!!!
    3. Damned near any criticism of bloggers is met with 'you're jealous' - and frankly, parenting bloggers are some of the most egregious when it comes to this one.

    If 1 is true, then 2 is disingenuous and 3 is just plain childish. Pick something: are you a professional with a plan or did your success happen even though you did nothing to make it happen?

    In fact, whatever else, 3 is just childish and probably the #1 thing that stops me from taking lots of bloggers seriously. Maybe people have an actual objection to something, it is possible you know.

    I am not sure what my point was, except that maybe one of the hidden stories is in those bullet points. Being a bit of dissonance that clearly isn't being addressed and all...

  36. I don't think you will ever win over a TINY segment of mommybloggers who have the idea that they are changing the world by blogging. They promote each other, the gang up on people they fell don't adore and adulate them, and they go off on anyone free thinking that disagrees with them. Meanwhile the millions of mommybloggers who don't care one whit about blogging politics are mystified as to why yet another article has set them off. I had no problem with your initial article. I thought that you mentioned things that I find irritating about that small group. I've said countless times that if you want to be seen as a professional, don't blog, twitter, or facebook how drunk you are at a conference. Until mommybloggers can appear in public as professional business women, why would they expect respect? As a woman that worked for over 20 years in mid to upper level management, there is no way I would hire someone that comports themselves so poorly.

  37. As I started reading your piece, it seemed a little snarky. But within a few paragraphs (and the "tutu tutorial" comment) it came across as full-on sexist, patronising and attempting to belittle mothers who blog.

    And I say that not as a mother, but as a journalist who blogs sometimes, a huge fan of many 'mom blogs' and a NYT reader.

    The idea for the article was not a bad one and the second page was much more informative than the first and introduced me to some new bloggers who are less uniquitous than Dooce et al (who I love, but who we all know about), but I still think the tone of the piece intended to mock.

    Or that's how it came across, anyway.

    I'm not sure it's ever appropriate for journalists to say "I didn't mean it how you've taken it" - if a lot of people have the same response to something isn't it time to consider that your words did not have the intended effect? And that it might not be the reader's fault?

  38. Writers walk a fine line and you can't please everyone. If you are, then you're playing it too safe, probably! This too shall pass.


  39. Thanks for your courage in responding back to all the hoopla. Much respect.

    The title and the graphic bothered me personally, even though I have to admit that in some small corners of the "mommy blogosphere" they were fairly representative of what is going on.

    What bothered me more is this collection of words and phrases sprinkled throughout the piece: minivan crowd, girly bonding, sass, sorority, kaffeklatsch. It made me feel as if "mommyblogging" was being reduced to a singular, stereotypical identity when we're anything but. Perhaps some of the strong reaction was from bloggers who, like myself, don't drive a minivan and were never in a sorority. There's certainly nothing wrong with those things, but it may paint a picture that is misleading.

  40. I didn't find the article insulting or scandalous. I'm surprised at all these funny, talented women having no sense of humor about their community.

  41. As a participant at the Bloggy Boot Camp, I was very excited when I heard a journalist with the NYT was coming to document the conference. I had, as I hope you did, an amazing experience there and I give huge kudos to Tiffany and the speakers for making it happen. When I first saw the article, I was elated. I did not love the headline and the graphic was awful but I generally felt it was a positive piece. I did feel there were some snarky bits, (why mention that Tiffany said "you guys" a lot?), but certainly not demeaning to women or mommy bloggers. I am increasingly disgusted by the responses, although not surprised given past experience. Those who were mentioned personally in the article, and felt slighted or worse, they are entitled to their rebuttal. But for the furor that has ensued, I can only say that it feels like they were a mob looking for a target. And it makes me sad.

  42. Jen, I think Liz really summed it up--there was a lot in that piece that was gratuitous and snarky. It stung.

    But I also think you're seeing a lot of pent-up anger many of us are feeling about the media coverage we receive, especially from the New York Times. The feeling that we're *still* not getting respect is just overwhelming. We've had five years of being covered by the NYT, and each time it's the same kind of piece, and each time the comments are vitriolic and hateful. This was sort of the last straw for a lot of people.

    You seem like a nice person, and I don't doubt your talent as a writer. I do wish you had made some different decisions. I've wished that for myself, at times. As I said in the comments in Liz's post, there was good information there--it was just buried.

    I know all too well the lack of control writers have over headlines. And that one was a doozy. It really cast a pall over your entire story.

    I do wish people who are supporting you here wouldn't dismiss the very strong and very real feelings of many, many women. Not just "certain" bloggers. These are women who have senses of humor and intelligence and heart to spare, but have had enough of one dismissive, jokey story after another. There's a long, frustrating history here, and we have reason to be upset. I'm just sorry you had to get the brunt of it, when the real target is the Times and similar media outlets.

  43. Yes, the whole thing has been overblown. It's something for "them" (a particular sector of so-called mommy-bloggers) to team together about in the desperate attempt to solidify their fleeting status as "A-listers." They're hanging on by a thread, and you gave them a little more slack to hold on to. That is all. Unfortunately, they've made themselves look petty in the process. They've dropped the ball in the process and made US ALL look bad.

    You did nothing wrong. It's NO BIG DEAL that it's in the style section or that NYT wouldn't write about men like that, blah blah. That's all just old school feminism. Whatever.

    Congrats on exposing the sector. That's a big deal for a lot of us just-as-talented and just as INTELLIGENT writers/bloggers out there. Big thank you.

  44. I agree with everyone that posting this response is a brave thing to do, and I thank you for providing a forum in which to engage you.

    And not that you were asking specifically, Jennifer, but I think the larger story -- for us if not the NYT -- is that female bloggers have been patronized for years.


    Why is it considered funny, or cute, or charming, or "light" or "trendy" or "stylish" that women and, notably, mothers, are deftly navigating the blogosphere, building relationships with corporations, and using their savvy to earn income?

    Why is it surprising? Why is it even newsworthy?

    I'm not arguing that it IS newsworthy, it's just disappointing: "Men Who Run Popular Websites Earn Money From Them!" is a dog-bites-man story. But replace "Men" with "Moms" and "Websites" with "Blogs" and suddenly it's...what? Stylish? Fun? Whimsical?

    Why are "mom bloggers" considered something completely outside of the tech industry?

    I think many of us would feel differently about your article if it were exposing the "light," Styles side of mom blogging WHILE the business section of the Times was giving equal space and consideration to a non-light business side of mom blogging. But they don't, and haven't. Not ever.

    And until they do, your piece is one of the only pieces we have to show for ourselves. Minivans, sippy cups, General Hospital and all.

  45. I am nowhere near being an A-lister & I still felt burned by the story. Instead of light, it felt dismissive & belittling. And really, we get enough of that already. But it sounds like you weren't writing the story for us, the parenting bloggers. Instead it was for people who didn't know about the blogging culture. I'm afraid it didn't do anyone any favors, nor help it seem any less of a joke than other articles have portrayed it (the mom blogging community). I think you missed a big opportunity to shed some light on the phenomenon, rather than dismiss it.

  46. Jen, I am so glad to see you have responded.

    Ok...so here is why I am confused: I sat next to you at lunch at Boot Camp. You and I talked for a very long time about my family, my blog and the fundraisers I do on my blog.
    We had such a great conversation, at lunch and afterward, and I was thinking, She is actually going to write an amazing piece for the NY Times, a newspaper I don't respect but was surprised might actually put out something decent about mom bloggers.
    Then, your piece came out and I was shocked. The title was...awful. The photos made moms that blog seem like neglectful parents.

    I read the full piece and , while I found the second page less condescending than the first, the over-all tone was not nice.
    It floored me.

    I liked you at Boot Camp. I thought you seemed to really "get" the whole blog "thing". You seemed so genuinely kind about everything we discussed that I was honestly hurt by your article.
    You had such a huge chance to finally get the story right and somehow, as a mom blogger, I thought you were going to do it.

    The tone you have taken here on your blog is what was missing from your article in the paper. I get it, the NY Times is a bias newspaper at best and it's your bread and butter, but I can't help feeling like you not only sold out mommy bloggers but sold yourself as well.

    I respect that you have taken the time to defend yourself on your blog. I just wish you had put as much heart and soul into that piece as you clearly did on here.

  47. I was not offended by your article, mostly because I dont read the New York Times and I tend to embrace the name mommy blogger. I am one of the few that still does.

    But it seems to me that your title left little to the imagination about what your thoughts were. I think back peddling now will get you no where... but maybe just saying... "I threw some of you under the bus. You know who you are and you deserved it." and lets be done with it?


    No go be with your kiddies. There is NOTHING more important.


  48. Sometimes I go out for mimosas with friends. That is fun, but not likely to make the New York Times.

    When I sit down to write a post for my blog or a report for one of my management consulting clients, I'm not doing it for fun. I'm doing it to make a difference, to earn a living, or both. If there is a bit of fun along the way, that's great, but it isn't what I would want to see featured in an article about my work.

    For a lot of women, their blog is their profession, their platform, their therapy or their lifeline. It isn't endearing.

  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. You say you are surprised at the ferocity of the response and that you think there's a bigger story to be told, and I think you're right. I also think that this story has been told/is being told. Suburban Turmoil and Mom-101, for example, are two places where the story of moms, marketers, and print media's constant attempts to cast moms as swag-hungry child neglecters has been told often over the past year. As a reader, I came to your story with that context already in place. Not only was I bothered by your characterization of mom bloggers, but I also thought you didn't do your contextual research.

  51. Gosh, I hate smug people who have no sense of grammar, don't proofread, capitalize words in the middle of sentences like they were in fifth grade, spell "backpedaling" as "back peddling," and end posts with "blessings."

  52. I would prefer that you say..I did it to get a reaction..I did it because it was funny..I did it because it's how I feel. To say..I didn't really do it..I meant it this way..it was misconstrued- nah....

    I respect I did it because it was funny..

  53. Had the tone conveyed in this post translated to your NYT piece, I imagine the reaction would have been a lot different. I didn't get "charming" or "fun" as your reaction in the article. Unfortunately, this disparity makes me feel even more that the NYT article was crafted not truly felt. However, I do respect you for responding to the piece. I'm glad you weighed in in the aftermath.

    Perhaps speaking through the lens of an editorial control freak at my own magazine-style blog, I find it odd that writers are so detached from the headlines and artwork that accompany their words. These two factors make the first impression; from a visual perception standpoint, there is no way they cannot. If I were you (or any other writer at the NYT), I would advocate for more input and control here. Meanwhile, I have lost some faith in the NYT for going after sensationalist-type tactics to lure readers to their pages.


  54. First off, I thought the headline was funny.

    Second, I didn't find the article either snarky or condescending.

    I think the problem is that a lot of the moms who went balistic just want everyone to think the way they think. They wrap it all in nicey niceness, but the bottom line is "if you don't share my exact interpretation, you're douchey."

    This is a tempest in sippy cup or The Crucible 2.0.

  55. Thank you for finally writing a piece that has some skepticism of the "internet superstar mommy bloggers." How your life is so important that I want to read about your child's potty training and eating habits? How the heck are people equating themselves with legitimate journalists?

    The backlash being faced over this is ridiculous. Mommy blogging is writing your diary for the whole world to see. Well pardon me if I don't care about the mundane happenings in your parenting life, or your need for Xanax because your kids are driving you nuts. Not everyone CARES.

    And regarding Her Bad Mother's constant mention of her "project" for her nephew: DO TELL how driving to Disneyland, on someone else's dollar, WITHOUT your nephew does him a damn bit of good? Or was it just a free trip to Disney for you and your kids? Yeah. That's why it got glossed over, FYI. You want to do something good for someone with an illness? Go see them. Raise money for research for a cure. Don't go to Disney.

  56. Can I just also add that Liz/Mom 101 saying "I still like you" is about as condescending as it gets.

    Not to mention Jessica Gottlieb shovelling it on.

    Some of these ladies need to get over themselves.

  57. Agree with abdpbt that landing a job on the basis of your blogging is a good thing not a veiled insult.

  58. great piece. it was actually....journalism.

  59. I'm a mom who doesn't blog but follows a handful religiously. Maybe it's the jaded New Yorker in me, but by golly people, LIGHTEN UP. Sensationalist? Hardly. Entertaining, well yea. Informative, definitely, especially to those (like my husband) who still live in the social media dark ages.

    Bravo Jennifer for responding.

  60. As I commented on a couple of other posts about your story, I did not read it with the same eye as so many other moms who blog. Any time the New York Times wants to call a group of which I am a member "a force to be reckoned with," I'm good with that.

    Your tone, to me, was reflective of one found in so many blogs and therefore seemed appropriate. I can't say that about the headline or the art, but I also realized those were not your work.

    The piling on of the past few days has been disheartening. I love blogging, I love being a part of this community, but I don't think we have done ourselves any favors in the way we responded to your piece.

  61. Well, as someone else said, this is a tinder box that was waiting to explode over and over and over. As far as blogging tinderboxes go.

    Mostly, I'm just tired...well, bored at this point...of moms in general being seen as cute when they try to use multi-syllabic words and such. Blogging is just a small part of it. Etc. Etc. Even if we are adorable and silly and even trite at times, it takes a fine touch on a finer wire to get the balance of "laughing with you" and "no joking matter" just right. Bygones.

    I've also written my official smarter-sounding response(s) on a bunch of blogs today and yesterday, so bygones again.

    Just tell your headline writer to leave out the "Too" next time. Subtle difference, but an important one. I think.

    Then use this graphic:


    It's Honore Daumier's "The mother is in the throes of composition. The child is in the bath water!"

    I've had much success with it.


  62. Jennifer - You are brave for writing this post. I can only imagine the knot you have had in your stomach since the article posted with a headline and artwork you did not choose or approve. I can only imagine how you have felt as you have likely 'googled' your name in the past few days.

    I have to confess, when I first read the article, I didn't see the byline (or the picture) and I wasn't offended. Admittedly, I didn't like the title - at all - but I do recognize the "Don't bother Mommy, I'm too busy...." hits a personal nerve for me. Like many 'mommy bloggers' or women who balance family, family + work on any level, I do stress about neglecting my kids. That said, I am comfortable with how much love I give, play I dedicate and time I spend working.

    Then I saw the reaction of many women in the blogoshpere (many of whom I respect greatly) and saw your name connected.

    While I would never diminish the feelings many have had, what I know of you as a person, an intelligent woman and a journalist lead me to believe that your post was not, in fact written with a poison pen as has been suggested. Nor did I think it was written from a 'gotcha' perspective - you having charmed bloggers into believing you were an ally instead of someone out to expose them.

    I believed then and it seems you have confirmed in this post - the spirit in which you wrote the post (yes, with tongue in cheek) and the way it was received are disparate.

    I have never been to a Bloggy Bootcamp. I have met Tiffany one time in person - in our three minute exchange at Blissdom - she grasped my hand, made perfect eye-contact and smiled that beautiful smile - she was purely effervescent and genuine.

    Yes, you did use the word 'girly' and you included other moments you noticed to describe the feeling of the event, but, as I read, I could picture Tiffany running the event with ease. I did picture BBC as inviting, as comfortable and I still believe Tiffany is doing something so perfectly 'right'.

    There are many intelligent women who were offended by your article - and many of those same women are coming to your blog today to read this post. I am buoyed by the notion that not only does this tribe of women come together to protect and defend when they feel threatened - they are open-minded and willing, at the very least, to read what you have to say.

    Because I am so close to this topic - so many women in this community are friends and mentors, I asked my husband to read the article. I didn't share any of the responses I had seen.

    When I asked what he took away from the article....I asked him to finish this sentence, "Mommy Bloggers are...." I was fully prepared for something negative.

    Instead he said, "Very powerful".

    I know he is a man. And I know he is married to me, a 'mommy blogger". But I still liked it.

    And I'm hopeful that people on the outside of our community - people who may not be familiar with us as a force, just might have thought the same thing.

  63. You hurt a lot of people. And instead of apologizing, you "explained" how it wasn't your fault. Sorry, but I'm calling bullshit on this one.

    Even Dan Rather apologized when he got it wrong.

  64. I found the article funny and informative - I think a conference with mimosas from sippy cups sounds fabulous. I am a non-blogger, and really a non-blog-reader. After your article, I feel like I know much more about mommy bloggers - and after reading their responses, I feel like many of them take themselves WAAAAAY too seriously. The level of saneness in a blogger's reaction to the article will definitely carry great weight in my future choices of who to read (paganmommy is most certainly not on that list!)

    In all seriousness, I found the virulent reactions to be disturbing as another example of mothers attacking each other. Rather than supporting each other in all our differences, the reaction to your article was more of an "eat their own" response. "You didn't take us as seriously as we take ourselves, so you are the enemy." How about, " You shared a small slice of our lives with the greater world, a slice that is fun and a little frivolous (sippy cup mimosas) and somewhat lucrative. Hope you can go further and share more!" It's another take on the at-home vs. working moms, the bottle vs. breast, the homeschool vs. private vs.public arguments. Why do moms attack when someone doesn't see the world exactly as they do? Have a sense of humor and enough self-confidence to not be threatened by a differing point of view - and laugh about it!

    Great job, Jennifer - you're a media (at least the blog media) sensation!

  65. If the bare feet, and sippy cups comment were ways you used to "convey" to your readers the "fun" and "endearing" feelings you had about the conference than, as a writer, you did a very poor job at conveying your feelings.

  66. I've started several different responses as I've read the responses to your article, Jen, and each time what I started to type seemed inadequate to express what I wanted to say. Then I read ExtraordinaryMommy's response and there it is... As someone who is not very familiar with the world of "mommy bloggers" the article led me to same conclusion as ExtraordinaryMommy's husband: Mommy Bloggers are very powerful.
    Kudos to you for conveying that.

  67. As a SAHM mom of teens and a sometimes freelance writer, I've toyed with the idea of starting my own blog, but really haven't done anything about it aside from creating a title page at 2am -- what I like to call "Mother's Hours"-- a few months ago. This weekend's piece really motivated me to begin anew. I couldn't wait to be enveloped in this community of intelligent, funny and supportive moms.

    Not anymore. The vitrol, jealousy, resentment and judgement I have seen in response to your piece has turned me away. I am more sad than anything. I urge all the negative commentators to look deep inside youself and explore this anger. Do you feel the loss of respect so acutely from your prior roles that it is causing you to take yourselves a bit too seriously? Do you wish the NYT byline and resulting blog mention was yours? It sure seems that way, based upon the number of NYT online commentators who eagaerly advertised their blog within the same sentences that dripped with resentment. Ever since junior high we women have been our own worst enemies. Within the very comments you profess to stand up for all of us, you mock some of us.

    Mostly, I keep thinking about a recent mom blog I discovered, thanks to Jennifer. An early post has her complaining about her whining toddler and dirty dishes, not knowing in short order she will be dying of cancer. Her last post relates that, simply, she was just happy to be loved in her life. And what a grand adventure this dying gig just might be.

    I don't think she was worried about being taken seriously by the blogosphere. Please, people. These are just words on a computer screen. Go kiss your kids and read them one of your bedtime blogs.

  68. I think the point many people are missing is that we, as mothers, are just a little tired of being patted on the head & told how "cute" we or our interests are. Honestly, I'm not as annoyed with the original article as I am with the attacks on moms for having an opinion about the tone of the article and the moms' subsequent responses.

  69. The only thing I didn't like about the piece was the reference to mommybloggers. Is that your doing? No. I say this because I was told by a "mommyblogger" that since my kids are grown, I can't be considered a "mommyblogger." Ouch...doesn't the fact that I worked full time, and raised 2 very responsible sons, qualify me as a mom? So I am a little ticked off at the term mommyblogger right now, but don't feel your piece was meant to cast a bad light on what I call "women bloggers"...sorry, mommyblogger ticks me off right now. These women have found a way to raise their kids, have relationships while doing so, and some even earning money doing it. In the old days, yes, they chatted with friends over the fence...these days..the fences are so far apart, and the majority of them don't have any adults to talk to during the day since their neighbors may work. As with anything people don't understand, they criticize. Blogging has been my daily entertainment for years now, although I don't have an active one right now, but am working on launching one for moms whose kids have grown, because yes, we are moms too, and we count too. I think you brought some well deserved publicity to women bloggers, so kudos to you and to them. Those that don't understand, well, they didn't understand the internet either, a few years ago...they'll get over it.

  70. This is not about your thoughts on mommy bloggers or conferences, but it's about the way you wrote the article. Fluff piece or not, you had a very transparent slant to the piece. You were condescending and belittling in your descriptions. That's not fluff or light reporting. That's bias and that's wrong.

  71. Your article in the Times was not story-telling at it's best, you seem to put cohesive sentences together here in trying to bail out of the mess you've found yourself in with a community of bloggers, moms, and women of which you claim to be one.

    That printed piece (article would categorize it as journalism) consisted of snippets of interviews with nothing sewn together to magically enthrall and engage your audience. Not sure where your Pulitzer is... but this "bloggy" rebuttal of yours, if printed, would be next to the NYT article you wrote on Sunday and be lining the bottom of my bird cage.

    I'm not a blogger, but I am a mother, and I have a career, and when I read this article, I had a hard time trying to comprehend the story you were trying to tell - which is why the headline made it that much more offensive. It was a hack job aimed at "mom bloggers" whom you should have respected for their community, creativity, and having and sharing a voice.

    Isn't that why you're a writer?

  72. "Your article in the Times was not story-telling at it's best, you seem to put cohesive sentences together here in trying to bail out of the mess you've found yourself in with a community of bloggers, moms, and women of which you claim to be one."

    There's a beautiful irony in lambasting someone for putting "cohesive sentences together" in a sentence that is the very definition of a run-on. Instead of questioning why Jennifer is a writer, which she clearly is, perhaps you should head straight for the library today and take out a book on grammar.

  73. Jen,

    I'm glad you wrote this post. I'm not a journalist, but I have written posts on my own blog about the SAHM/WOHM debate that have been horribly ripped apart by moms and made me sit back, stunned, wondering if they even read what I wrote?

    I write with sarcasm and snark, and sometimes my writing falls flat and people take my words at face value--especially if it's a sensitive issue and readers are coming in with chips on their shoulders.

    I did not come away from your NY Times article thinking, "Wow, she really enjoyed the conference!" Not at all. Instead, I thought you spent your time laughing in your sleeve at their stupidity and couldn't believe those silly mommy bloggers were stumbling upon success.


  74. How disheartening. So I know we're not all going to sit in a circle and sing "Kumbaya" every time an article about mommies is published, but it's just this kind of vitriol, lobbed back and forth, that turns me off to online "mommy" communities. Maybe I'm not a joiner by nature, but ladies, you are not exactly doing a stellar job representing your community here.

    What was Jennifer going to do? Write what would essentially be a press release for Bloggy Boot Camp for the New York Times? No. She wrote a balanced, funny article in a tone that was entirely appropriate for the Times' audience. 'Nuff said.

  75. M. Cooper. I totally agree. Above posters, I also totally agree: if you are going to take your baby with you, accept swag, and be barefoot, then you are not professional businesswomen. Sorry.

  76. Jen,

    Don't worry. The tone was indeed light and there are mothers out there who got it.

  77. I have been a blogger for five years. I remember after having my style/fashion advice blog for a year or two, reading an article in Vogue or some other fashion magazine about all these, “So-called fashion experts” and what idiots we were. I have had a photo blog documenting my wardrobe since 2005; many times I have read articles in magazines, newspapers, and Web sites laughing at us style bloggers. I have been linked in some of these articles that blast fashion blogs. I receive free products, have opportunities to test products before they go on the market, and most important – I make money off of my blogs, money to support my family. I continue to blog not because I think I am especially stylish or beautiful, but because I am a normal American woman and am told time and time again how I have given fellow middle class, not-size-6 women inspiration and the ability to love themselves.

    When I read articles mocking or misunderstanding my style blogs, did I gang up with my fellow style bloggers and decide to boycott these publications? Hunt down the authors and give them a piece of my mind? Nope, I thought it was pretty exciting that Mainstream America was taking notice of our blogging subculture. And wouldn’t you know it; those of us bloggers who were mentioned had a drastic rise in page hits and subscribers. My new audience didn’t leave once the next issue of the magazine came out – they stuck around. They may have arrived because of the snarky article, but they stayed because of the content.

    I don’t understand why Mommy Bloggers are so up in arms over Jen’s article. It was funny, light hearted, and as a Mommy Blogger myself, I didn’t find it mean-spirited or damaging. I think some bloggers need to relax, and realize that if they are using their blog as a business they need to act as mature business people. Creating a drama-fueled angry mob is not the way to improve public image for a business.

  78. Allie wrote: Creating a drama-fueled angry mob is not the way to improve public image for a business."

    I couldn't agree more. That's all I'll say, as I'm related to a certain Jennifer. But exactly.

  79. Anonymous. Define professional in THIS era. A business suit? No baby on arm? Please. How dinosaur. I worked in hospitality for years and would watch the suits come in for their business meetings, drink a ton of expensive whatever (often a combination), and talk about which strip bar they were going to after. To impress. Successful bushiness men. Top management. Rolling in it. Of many different industries. Happened ALL THE TIME. I also worked at a couple of very affluent hotels where conferences were held for huge corporations. Don't even get me started on the debauch that would occur during those. Do I care? Not much - but surely don't call ME unprofessional. I wish I could be lighter, more 'kumbaya', in my response - but such rhetoric calls for an assertive wake-up call to those who really can't see the writing on the wall.

    O Yes, let's just pass the article off as humourous, light fare. Lets continue to bat our eyelashes and not let ourselves be taken as seriously - when we are so obviously doing something right. Honestly, there was condescension in it - and no, I did not walk away thinking - wow - Ms. M really takes mommy bloggers seriously or with respect. I was slightly confused as she would say one thing thinking she did have respect, and then poke fun.

    Gaaaahhhhh...mothers have proven that we create our OWN definition of professional purely by our success'. If we choose to do it from home, feeding our child barefoot during a conference call or nursing during a board meeting, ROCK ON! Our families and beautiful children are the better for it. The model of out-sourcing for care and putting on a suit is a personal choice that a mother should not be judged for and told she is doing something wrong; just as a mother who works from home (in whatever form that may be), is not scared if her baby makes a peep during that conference call. Yo don't have to take my word for it. Do the research and you'll note corporations big and small are jumping on the band-wagon, and asking for more.

    Peace out Momma's Everywhere - to the feisty sassy ones who can give a good tongue lashing when need be, to ones who are not scared of a community that is fierce and loving and supportive all at the same time. WELCOME to the complicated world of mixing business, motherhood and womanhood. Sometimes it's a little cut-throat, but the intelligent ones...the fiery ones with good perspective and unabashed gumption will come out on top - judged by all and not really giving a hoot, but surely we'll speak up when we want to.

  80. Wow, wish these bloggers would use all this energy for change instead of drama... THAT would be a good use of showing off their power.

  81. I'll tell you what happened to you. You dared to post an article about women in blogging linking to the megaliths and reporting on a relative newcomer, but without linking to a few of the heavy hitters in the next-rung mean girl pack. The big story that you are missing: in the last few years a few bloggers have gone supernova, but just about the time the next tier of big shots was poised for fame, along came a new PR-savvy group-- including Tiffany and the SITS girls--and the game changed. That middle tier? Smart, mad and mean, lost in the middle, vocal about it-- and the pack protects its own. From Liz's post, which as you'll notice DID link to that middle tier to set the record straight from their point of view, and then it tumbled into a pile-on feeding frenzy. If you had only linked to some of the middle tier, they would have been FINE with the digs to the sippy cup SEO set. FINE. The politics? Intense. Not too meaningful, but intense.

  82. Oh anonymous...how little do you know. Of me, or anyone else. Just like I don't know about you - aside from not having the cajone's to come out from being anonymous. This is drama to you? Ha ha.

    Your right, my energy is FAR better spent elsewhere, beacause, some peeps - JUST DON'T GET IT and never will, although they think they do.

    I'm going outside now to walk in this beautiful sun with my beautiful lil' man and enjoy some baby and me yoga! And then I have a board meeting, with my baby. At my house. Where we make positive, PRO-active change happen for community, our health, and our loved ones everyday.

  83. I think the tone of the article did come off a little condescending and flippant BUT if bloggers want to be taken seriously as professionals maybe they shouldn't conduct seminars barefoot! As a business professional (outside of blogging) that would be unacceptable at any conference/business meeting I've been to no matter the quality of the material being presented. Although what Selena commented above is correct regarding what is considered professional these days I think we kinda have to play the game a little before you can change it. I might blog barefoot and in pajamas (and maybe drinking a mimosa) but when it comes time to act like a business person I act like a professional business person regardless of being surrounded by misogynist middle-management types or "mommy bloggers" drinking out of sippy cups.

  84. I thought the piece was interesting, the tone was fun, and nothing in it seemed to me insulting. On the other hand, the echo chamber on this from the miffed bloggers was (and still is) INCREDIBLY oversensitive and defensive and does not reflect well on them.

    When reading, it didn't even occur to me that the part about getting a job with your blog as a resume was insulting; I thought it was interesting. Why would you even see that as her being snarky or negative? She presents things straightforwardly and how you see them depends more on you than on her. As an occasional reader of mommy blogs, I took away from the article the charmingness Jen speaks of here, the positivity many bloggers get from their endeavors, and, yes, a little of the ridiculousness. (Dude, if you have your 1-year-old's birthday party sponsored, you deserve a little ribbing.)

    I am a journalist so know well that people think you are making fun of them when 99 percent of the regular people reading the piece don't see it that way.

  85. agirlandaboy said: ‘What I see happening more and more, though, is this militant and somewhat bizarre call to arms to legitimize ALL momblogs when, in fact, there always has been and always will be a slice of the community that is as frivolous and shallow and ineffective and money-grubbing and bitchy and poorly written as ALL blogs (and not just the "mommy" ones) are sometimes made out to be, both by members outside of this community and within it.’

    Could not agree more! High school all over again! The popular Mommy Bloggers and their mighty following vs The Mommy Blogger who dares to have an independent opinion.

    Country-Fried Mama said:
    ‘I love blogging, I love being a part of this community, but I don't think we have done ourselves any favors in the way we responded to your piece.’

    Exactly. I am sure at least one editor at the New York Times is now saying, ‘told you we should have stayed away from that emotional blogging female folk!’ or something like that.
    Adults? Anyone?

    I am not a Mommy Blogger but I am a Woman Blogger. And I feel ashamed for being part of a community that reacted in such a street gang manner. The FB activities amount to nothing but pure and simple online juvenile like ambush. The sad thing is, women are doing this. Adult women. Mothers.

    All that in response to an article in the New York Times. Anyone missed that part? Exposure in the New York Times! Publicity, dahlings, publicity. Get over yourself and just enjoy it!

    Well written article and I love the title!

  86. I feel for you Jennifer. In many ways this article was an impossible one to write. Suicide Mission. No matter what you said, someone was going to get mad, take offense. In that regard you are brave.

    The response HAS been over the top. Sort of like something from Jr High School, with the overwrought angst and hand wringing. This is also a big part of my "7 Minutes in Heaven" analogy. We're all going through media puberty together. At times this sucks.

    I can see why some took offense at the title (which I assumed you did not write) and the illustration (which I assumed you did not choose)and words like splayed and sippy cup which don't project the professionalism that many are fighting for.It's not the way that my cousin who writes for the Post would want one of her middle east jaunts described, for certain. Unless it was an example of her deep cover skills - blending with the natives.

    But still, I see you are stuck straddling a fence and it cannot be a comfortable position. I was a little surprised by everyone's reaction. And then I wasn't. It's just not worth it. I cannot sustain the angst. I must be hitting adolescence. Or realizing that for better or worse, Mom bloggers are here to stay - a diverse and powerful tribe. 23 million? Wow. Just curious, where did you come up with that stat?

    BTW My kids love Ice Age too. I think I could recite the script from memory at this point.

  87. This response, and the commentary that it has sparked, shows that there are more than two sides to a story, there are many facets of the whole concept of "mommyblogging" that people react to, and rather vehemently.

    My sense of the article, shared by more than a few, was that the tone was demeaning of women bloggers in general, mommy bloggers in specific. It suggested that this was a conference where naive little barefoot moms could come get a Web 101 lesson on how they can make money on the web being cute, when it could have focused instead on the collective brainpower and experience of the attendees and presenters. The writer could have done more to represent the actual networking and and sharing of knowledge and the marketing power of women who blog. Mothers may drive minivans, but we also drive decisions, trends and world markets.

    What the article and its tone shows us is that no matter how seriously we may take ourselves, there is always going to be a large portion of the population that either has a vested interest in perpetuating antiquated stereotypes, or honestly doesn't recognize our actual worth. I don't see the response that this article generated as a horde of middle-tier bloggers reacting to being left out, as more than one commenter opined above. I see it as the same response that caused suffragists to take to the streets and demand that women be recognized as actual citizens and not the property of their fathers and husbands.

    We are changing the tone and definition of "professional." For so many decades men have been rewarded for doing whatever it takes to reach the goal, and women have been deemed "bitchy," "difficult" and "emotional" when they attempt to exert the same power. This isn't a trend. Its the continuation of a decades - perhaps even centuries-long argument.

  88. I'm actually posting this in reply to Blair's own blog about this article. She fits the article title to a tee, even posting about wanting her child to get hit by a car or that she could throw him down the stairs. Her own real life friends decided to take the opportunity to use the anonymity provided by the internet to tell her off. After I posted some comments pretty much tearing away her lies about her child/husband neglect, she turned on moderation and deleted my comments. So here you are:

    I think you guys are missing something here…it sounds like what the ‘friend’ is really saying is that she doesn’t really like ‘Blair’ anymore.

    ‘Blair’ comes off as a whiny bitch who has no attachment to her child. She sits here and acts like blogging is a job…so why do you still need another job? Care to show us a statement of income for your blogging efforts? I’m pretty sure you’re just another liar like 99% of the other bloggers. Sorry, the money train for blogging already came and went. You do this for your own lack of self confidence. You aren’t making any real money. You’d be better off working at taco bell for a second job if it was really about the money.

    It’s funny, you sit there and claim you spend max an hour a day on the internet. Yet as soon as there’s a comment on here, there you are posting. And not just a single reply, you have replies all the way down the page.

    You’re so full of shit. We can all see the bad comments get under your skin. Your blog is your life and it’s sad because you have a child and husband that you ignore, or worse yet wish harm upon.

    For once how about we hear the real side of the story. How about you tell us about how your great job you claim to have is some bullshit like selling avon to your mom. How about you tell us how you are really depressed because the best thing you have in your life is a blog full of commenters that hate you.

    You’re a joke, and the internet is laughing.

    P.S. So are your ‘friends’.

    Another thought here…

    Anyone want to pitch in with me to create a book from her blog? I think it would make an excellent gift to her child when he’s old enough to read.

    And back to the blogging/emailing/commenting for an hour. Your bump profile was just brought to my attention. Let’s have a look shall we?


    Take a look at her account. Member since 2008, but almost 25k posts? Sorry, but anyone who even knows what a forum is knows that it takes a shitload of time to make that many. Definitely more than an hour a day. She
    ’s averaging 33 posts a day. At 2 minutes per post, that’s already over the hour she lies about constantly.

    How many other forums are you on? That’s only the bump, that’s not including your blog. It’s quite obvious to anyone that’s not here to just placate you, that you are spending many HOURS every day. Hours that you could be spending with your baby, with your husband, or even on your ‘real’ job. But no, you’d rather sit here trying to organize a pity party for yourself.

    One of the best things about the internet is the anonymity. There’s a certain ‘realness’ about the internet that you won’t get in ‘real life’. People are less scared to tell you what they really think. If you don’t want the unguarded opinions of people on the internet, then perhaps you shouldn’t be blogging. You’re still free to tell your stories in real life if all you want is fake smiles and pats on the back. Or perhaps that anonymity that the commenters enjoy, you also enjoy because your child would be taken away if you vocalized wanting to hurt it to a ‘real’ person.

  89. Jen,

    I think your article was light, funny, snarky and smart. Am I a Mommyblogger? No, I'm not. Do I read Mommyblogs? Occasionally, when I can find the time in my busy work/toddler filled life. I would guess that most of your audience is like me- casually detached from Mommyblogging- or entirely unaware of the Mommyblog.

    I think you gave your audience a fair and humorous look at a world that was a previous unknown!

    Just remember, you rock. No matter what the critics say, you're still a great person and a great writer.

  90. As the husband of a mommy blogger and the chief communications officer for a major coporation (I work with media daily and am myself a recovering journalist), I see a few sides to this debate. I think the anger from the community, while perhaps not warranted, is understandable. I have watched my wife dedicate herself to her blog like I've never seen her dedicate to anything else in 15 years. Through her blog, she has discovered that she is a talented writer with the ability to influence others and create conversation. Her posts have tackled some major social issues, like anti-semitism, eating disorders, and the pressures of family. The conversations she has iniitiated with such posts have been eye-opening. As a journalist, I was never able to connect with readers the way my wife does. And, of course, all of this has required sacrifice, namely less time with our kids and less time with me (And I am one needy MOFO). So it's understandable that the story stung. Like I said--not necesarily warranted, but understandable.
    What I hope you, as a journalist, learn from this experience is that the 4th estate has to give more thought than I think reporters currently do to the implications of their work. Many journalists are "in it to win it," but the stories you write really should be about the people you cover, not the author or his/her aspirations. Sources are ultimately the ones whose lives will be impacted by what's written. You seem to understand this, so it's not a criticism of you, but of journalists in general, with whom I have a great deal of working experience.

  91. I get that these women are offended but really - if you're making money doing what you love, who cares if the NYT pats you on the head or gives you a medal of valor? Laugh all the way to the bank.

  92. I don't have time to read all the comments, nor have I had time to read what feels like tens or hundreds of posts in response to your article.

    But I wanted to say this: I have read your blog since your first entry. I've followed you on twitter. You already had my trust and I knew where you were coming from and wasn't offended. The only thing that crossed my mind when I read the article was what felt like an assumption in that community and by much of the media that only stay at home moms blog - because obviously, many of us who work out of the home have blogs as well. :) But not offended!

    This to shall pass... :)

  93. Mary (BarnMaven)said:
    "I see it as the same response that caused suffragists to take to the streets and demand that women be recognized as actual citizens and not the property of their fathers and husbands."

    BarnMaven, you made my point - comparing mommy blogging to suffragists is taking yourself MUCH too seriously. Blogging about daily life in 2010 is not remotely like being "the property of fathers and husbands." Find REAL issues in the world to be concerned about - not the amount of or lack of respect a mommy blogger receives.

  94. "...especially at a time when many mothers raise their children far from family and friends, or work outside the home at 9-to-5 jobs."

    This is the only thing I take issue with. All of the mommybloggers I've read or currently read do NOT work outside the home. I may be missing thousands(?) of others who do, but I doubt it. I think mommyblogging was initially a way for stay-at-home-moms to connect and not feel like they were alone. But I read very few anymore because I do feel deluged with giveaways, reports on blogging conferences that only other bloggers are interested in, personal crusades, and/or advertising.

    I work outside the home at a 9-5 job, and I have two kids and a husband who works shift work. Believe me, if even half of these mommybloggers worked outside the home at 9-5 jobs, they wouldn't be blogging. There's just no time for that.

  95. While I did find quite a bit of snark, especially in the beginning of the article, and initially felt a little offended, in the end I kind of liked the article. It did seem to insinuate that "mommy bloggers" were treating this like a real business... and how silly that was... and that attending a conference on how to hide vegetables in your kids' food would be a better use of their time. So, while some comments seem to be just a BIT over the top, I can understand where some were hurt by this.

    In the end, though, what I really came away with from this article is that "Mommy Blogging" is still trying to find itself. It is something that started out as a personal, non-commercial, hobby... and, it is now something that, at least for some, is becoming more and more commercial.

    With anything that starts out like this (and, this is not the first industry to start out like this, even in the realm of the internet... especially in the realm of the internet :-p), there's gonna be this in-between time where, you're going to have people on both sides of the fence... and a whole lot of people straddling it :-p

    There's going to be some that say, "Don't sell-out! It's about the writing and the sharing... giveaways and swag and advertisements just cheapen it all." And, there's going to be some that are going to purely have $$ in their eyes and not care about really contributing anything useful or meaningful.

    And then there will be a lot of people in the middle (like me :-D), who do want to contribute and create something special... but at the same time, don't mind making a few bucks and even using this to further/supplement/create a career!

    I think on a whole, the article was good for "Mommy Blogging." It certainly has brought some attention to it! :-D And, while some of it did come off feeling condescending, at the same time, I think we're making a mistake if we take ourselves too seriously. Mimosas in sippy cups... that's impossibly cute... and I love it! :-D What's wrong with it? It doesn't mean that what we do, doesn't have value... but, we're also not curing cancer here, people :-D

    In my case, I did start my blog/site to try and help inform the general public about real issues in the twin community (in particular I promote TTTS awareness)... but, a lot of what I do is just plain old fun :-D I'm always trying to come up with cute and creative things to make my site more fun, for myself and my readers. And, there is value in that.

    And hey, if I sell a few copies of my book (which yes, I promote quite heavily on my blog), all the better :-D

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents, for what it's worth :-p My advice is just to focus on having fun with this... not only is it much more enjoyable that way, you also have a much better chance at being successful!!

  96. Hi Jennifer. the title and the picture, not by you, were condescending and annoying. And your article, by you, suffered as a result. I've had the same thing happen to me in the past (editor's title choice causing blogsophere dustup). I think the attitudes toward women-- especially mothers-- who write is problematic, and worth study. I also think people who say you are "not to be trusted" because of your informative article are just being silly. I hope this will blow over soon so we can all get back to work.

  97. Jennifer, first let me say that I learned of the NYT article from SITS I was curious about what had Tiffany so upset. I will admit that the title made me think the article was going to bash moms who blog, but I was very surprised that that was not at all what the article was about. I saw it in the light you intended. As a matter of fact, I thought the article made Boot Camp sound like fun! As you can imagine there was quite a ruckus at SITS with most commenters up in arms. I was one of the few who voiced the dissenting opinion. I also blogged about it on my own blog and you would be happy to know that I received comments from bloggers who agreed with me and many who were angry with SITS for creating a problem where none existed. Many of them, myself included, have decided to disassociated ourselves with SITS because of this. Truthfully, I think the thing that really angered Tiffany was that SITS and she herself were not linked in the article. And many of the other "SITS girls" were simply upset because Tiffany was upset. This type of "group think" is something I simply can't abide. So, please know that there are those of us out there that support you. If you'd like to read my blog post you can find it here:http://pamperspective.blogspot.com/2010/03/much-ado-about-nothing-or-am-i-missing.html

  98. I echo the comments of Liz and Loralee and Celcily and Her Bad Mother and Alice and Boston Mamas...

    And I add -- the title and graphic were my filter for your words... any positive tone that was present was missed because of this filter. And like the gals I listed above, I strongly agree it just lacked a genuine tone of support. Not that you need to support, but in your post here, you say that was the tone you were going for... for lack of better phrasing.

    Jennifer, I appreciate having a place to come and further discuss what happened, and causes me to question passionate and snark-ish tones in my own post about all this. I rarely get involved in hot discussions like this.

    Yet at the same time, one of the commenters here said something about how we bloggers are breaking one of our own rules, "If they don't like it, don't read it."

    That's wrong. If we don't like it, let's discuss it. If we don't like it, don't be hateful... Hopefully discussion centers around the topic and healthy debate... not hatred or bashing. Unfortunately, the online method makes it easy to say things one might not say IRL.

  99. I am so happy to have found this! I read only two posts this week lambasting you for your article but am fully aware that there were many more elsewhere - that's the way these things go in the mommy-blogging world, it seems.

    I followed the links and read your times piece and was left utterly perplexed as to what the whole fuss was about.

    I can see how the title and the early paragraphs may have been interpreted to be condescending - but I too am aware that editors have free rein after a piece has been submitted.

    I freelance for a NYT regional and the same thing has happened to me - where a title gave a much more gritty spin to a story, one that I didn't portray in the body of my article.

    I have not actively blogged in a year, due in part to the seismic shift in what being a mommy-blogger seems to now require - although kudos to those who made the choice to embrace all that it entails. However, I do participate in Twitter occasionally, and I still read my favorite blogs - and I honestly feel that your article pretty accurately reflects what I've observed in the mommy blogosphere over the last 12 to 18 months.

    The saddest part about all of this for me as a mom, and as a writer, is that the collective reaction in not wanting to be painted as cliched 'minivan crowds' or whatever other stereotypical female/mommy type image, they fed in to one of the biggest ones of all - that women are prone to flying off the handle, knee jerking without considering the whole picture, and this serves no positive purpose towards improving their credibility at all!

  100. How is posting intelligent, respectful, analytical posts about the insulting, demeaning nature of the article possibly "flying off the handle?" If Chris Brogan or Guy Kawasaki wrote posts about their anger over a demeaning Times article about bloggers in general or a tech conference, not a soul would call them overly sensitive or emotional. There mere idea is laughable.

    I think many looked at the "big picture" as well. In fact, my post made the picture pretty big by showing the NYT pattern of snarky and biased articles over an extended period about mom bloggers.

    And to anonymous, who said "Wow, wish these bloggers would use all this energy for change instead of drama... THAT would be a good use of showing off their power."

    This just shows how little you know. That is exactly what mom bloggers do. I highly recommend you read mom101's post about this article, in which she provides an exhaustive (but not even remotely complete) list of the change and good caused by the mom blogging community.

    I, too, have to agree with Joanne, Cecily, and many who commented here. It is quite difficult to marry this "I love bloggers!" post and its sentiment with the Times article. In several spots (besides the headline and graphic, which I know from my 15 years as a newspaper reporter are not controlled by you), you used what you call color to portray a silly community of silly women who, get this, are carving out their own industry. Isn't that quaint?

    I did plenty of articles where I looked for color. When you do that, as a good journalist, you look for descriptors and details that ILLUMINATE the true underlying story. Instead, you picked out details that portrayed it according to a view that demeaned the smart, talented women there.

    And yes, I agree completely that the reaction is a sign there is a much bigger story here.

    It's such a shame you missed it completely.

  101. Wow, mom bloggers, sensitive much? There was nothing wrong with the article, and the headline was funny. I am a journalist, and I work with these types all the time who think they are professional writers because they blather on about their kids on some blog. You are NOT a professional, you are a LUCKY amateur, and you need to develop a sense of humor about yourself.

  102. So, Kelby, let me get this straight: Your rant comes from the perch of a seasoned journalist, and you take Jennifer to task for picking out "details that portrayed it according to a view that demeaned the smart, talented women there," but, unless I'm mistaken, you were nowhere near Baltimore that day. So how the fuck would you know what those salient details were?

    How do you know what the "true underlying story" was, unless, as a fellow mommy blogger, you just assumed that they must be all positive and heroic and very, very serious.

    Why don't you leave the journalism to the folks who are still practicing it and save the assumptions of what "must" have been the case to the blogging world.

  103. We've hit 100 comments and just got our first "fuck." I'm taking that as a sign it's time to close up shop.

    Thank you very much to everyone who took the time to weigh in.