January 26, 2012

Wherein I Bash Parenting Blogs On A Parenting Blog

DaddyTips Rant

I’m not familiar with the parenting blog EarlyMama, but it sounds like the author, Michelle Horton, gets her chops busted a lot for having kids when she was in her early 20’s.

I have some thoughts to share. Generally we call these rants. It’s not really a rant, per se, but calling it a rant makes things easier.

First and foremost: ss a man, I will say this to women everywhere — men have no problem with women under 30. Trust me. I don’t want to be crude so hopefully you know what I mean. Not a big topic. But it’s true.

As for motherhood at that age, the notion that it’s unusual is a relatively new thing. It wasn’t that long ago when life expectancies were shorter, people were poorer (some of them anyway), and birth control was less available. Having a child when you were in your 20’s happened a lot. It happens less now. Sometimes this matters, sometimes it doesn’t. What EarlyMama’s Horton is saying is that people give her a hard time about being a younger-than-they-are parent.

I could make arguments for having children at a young age, and one for having them later on in life. Personally I think if you have them when you are much older it’s irresponsible, but even that depends on your individual situation. Life is complicated. Unfortunately this isn’t a concept that translates well to the blogosphere.

Parenting blogs have made it easier to find like-minded folks, others in your situation. They also add to the segregation of groups, and are in some ways inherently negative. By declaring that your family choices are being questioned by others, and that you are fighting back against perceived enemies of that choice, and because this is the Internet where anyone can feel comfortable being a total asshole, you will attract assholes in droves.

You may make yourself feel better, or even make money. You may make other people feel better as well. You will also alienate people who might not have been thinking much about what you do because they have their own lives to live.

Maybe you never thought that having a baby at 23 was a bad thing. Then you come across a website that is devoted to counteracting the negativity young parents are experiencing. You decide that this is bullshit, you’ve never heard anything so stupid. Next time you see a 20-something woman pushing a stroller, it’s in your head because of what you read. You equate this 20-something woman, whom you don’t know, with the 20-something whose work you read online, whom you also don’t know. You lump them together into a category that for you did not previously exist. Now that it does, you feel a need to form an opinion, and you form a negative one.

Oh well.

Everybody judges everybody else. Telling someone not to judge is itself a judgment. PHDinParenting agrees with me on this, by the way.

Judging is judging

I’m not bashing EarlyMom or any other site. Hell, I’m involved in all of this. I have a certain reluctance to it, however, that I’ve never fully acknowledged online, largely because I was afraid it would hurt my brand. Such as it is. But if I’m being honest, and why the hell not since it’s my site, I will admit that I can see a lot of negatives that come out of the constant chatter in the blogosphere. When it comes to parenting blogs, that potential for negativity hits closer to home. Because I’m a parent, parent blogger, and both part of the solution and part of the problem.

 


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