A huge reason for my tardiness to the blogging party has been trying to figure out my niche. During my extensive and ongoing research into the blogosphere (rarely does the OCD in me allow me to do anything without extensive and ongoing research), I found that there are more than 112 million blogs out there, with approximately 50,000 created per day. Per day! Of course, some of those are spam blogs, and with the Internet being worldwide of course, many are not English-language blogs. Still, with numbers like those, it was easy to wonder if my contribution to the blogosphere would matter, or even be visible. What could I write about that people would want to read and respond to that isn’t already being written about at this very moment by thousands of other people? Would anyone be interested and/or entertained by what I have to say? Would I have readers who want to come back regularly to see what I’ve posted? (Besides my mom, I mean.) What could I write about with some level of authority and passion to keep those readers coming back?
In the end, all of my answers always pointed to what I am and what I know right now, and that is being a mom. At first, I kept trying to resist falling into the “mommyblog” niche, even though all of my research kept underscoring the fact that these blogs increasingly are a force to be reckoned with. It’s not that I don’t love and respect the genre—I so do!—it was just that I questioned whether there was room for me, too. And as I’ve said before, I don’t like the term “mommyblog.” I’ve never been one of those moms who proclaim their motherhood status with a personalized license plate, an email address or a “mommy”-BeDazzled T-shirt. It’s not that I don’t LOVE being a mom; I do with my entire soul, it’s just that it’s not my whole identity. (Well, right now, it’s about 98 percent of my identity, but it’s not 100!) So I’ve compromised and called it a “mom blog,” and will most definitely focus on my family and my role in it, but I’ll also write about, well, whatever.
One of my inspirations to take the blogging plunge has been my friend Sonya, who recently started her own blog, The Hemmings Half-Dozen. Sonya and I have been friends since college, where we both majored in journalism, were suitemates and we co-edited the Features section of the college newspaper. From that time on, our professional lives have always been somewhat parallel. After graduation, we wound up working at the same magazine and later went on to co-author a book. Whatever we did, we always seemed to have a “co-” in front of our titles. (Of course, our relationship is more personal than professional—after all, both of us were maids of honor in each other’s weddings, and we have more than enough in common with the seven children we have between us.) We had discussed blogging a couple years ago, but she’s the one who actually took the plunge first and then encouraged me to do the same once she knew how serious I was about it. “But you have so many niches to write about,” I’d say. She homeschools her kids, does everything from calligraphy to quilting (I have always called her Holly Hobbie), plus her family has various food allergies to contend with, which has sparked her passion for real-food cooking and urban farming. See? Niches galore. My kids don’t have food allergies (thank goodness), I don’t like crafts (my sewing kit is one I got in a hotel room with the little shampoos and hand lotions), and although I do cook healthfully all the time, my kids do eat their share of fruit snacks (organic, though) and Eggo waffles (whole grain only, with high-fructose-corn-syrup-free syrup, though). “I’m just a basic mom,” I’d say to her. “I have no niches!”
But then I realized, so what? This “basic mom” still has a lot to say that I hope resonates with other moms, or whoever comes across my blog. And after a glance at some recent blogging statistics from Technorati, I fit right in. Consider:
• Two-thirds are male (well, clearly I’m in the minority there)
• 60% are 18-44 (check)
• The majority are more affluent and educated than the general population (check, at least I’d like to think so)
◦ 75% have college degrees (check)
◦ 40% have graduate degrees (check, meaning I’m in the majority here)
• More than half are married (check)
• More than half are parents (check)
• Half are employed full time, however ¾ of professional bloggers are employed full time (check; considering that motherhood is a full-time job, whether you stay at home or not)
So I’m going to embrace my status as a basic mom, and join all those awesome moms out there who are showing the world there’s more to motherhood than just being a mom. I think we’ve already moved way past the cliche of moms who eat bon-bons and watch soap operas all day (first of all, I don’t even know what a bon-bon is, and second, I haven’t known anyone who watches soap operas since high school, except for my sister Cheryl), and I want to keep on helping to dispel all those cliches.
So, yes, I am now officially a mom blogger and there’s nothing basic about that.