January 19, 2020

Parenting Before Social Media

“Did moms exist before social media? Technically, yes, there have always been moms, but motherhood as a lively public conversation — a set of references, jokes, warring factions, cliches and grievances — has existed for just a little over a decade. For millennia, the way mothers negotiated their public selves has been defined by a set of rigid moral imperatives. Talking openly about motherhood as a multidimensional, contradictory, hilarious and sometimes unpleasant experience is new.

New mothers in 2020 might not realize that the conversations around motherhood that they may take for granted — about topics like breastfeeding, or postpartum depression, or sex after childbirth — very rarely took place in public before 2005. Previously taboo topics like these have now been taken up by the mainstream: The everyday struggles and victories of motherhood have gone pop.

This transition was navigated between roughly 2005 and 2010 by the first wave of mommy bloggers, who wrote confessional, raw accounts of their experiences on amateur blogs. The iconic blogger from this early period is Heather Armstrong and her blog, Dooce. Another pioneer of confessional mommy blogging, Catherine Connors, started the blog Her Bad Mother in 2005 and went on to become the editor in chief of the now-shuttered parenting website Babble in 2011.”

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