A Blogging Identity Crisis
I am, I suppose, a “Mommy Blogger.” When I started my blog, Moments of Exhilaration, last fall, my first post was entitled, simply enough, “Mommy Blogging!” After sporadically writing a book blog for a few months, I had realized that book reviews were a bit too limiting and I decided to jump right in to the mommy blogging frenzy.
In the beginning, I focused on fitting in to the genre of Mommy Blogging. I wrote about tips for traveling with a baby, first birthday parties, things I learned to do one-handed after having a baby, and playgroups. But even then I knew I wasn’t a crafts and recipes and “Life is awesome!” kind of blogger. I wrote about the fact that Baby Einstein videos are bad for babies, about the way that I worry about Adeline seeing NFL cheerleaders and learning negative gender stereotypes, and my longing for a place to call home. This was all within the first month.
As I wrote and wrote and struggled to find my voice, I found myself posting fewer “Mommy” posts and more “Mother” posts. I wrote less about the funny moments that come along with having a baby, and more about the frustrating, exhausting, boring, heart-breaking, depressing, isolating, and amazing moments that come along with having a baby. I worried that if I shared my true experience of motherhood I wouldn’t have very many readers. But instead, I gained more readers, and more comments, the more honest I was.
And then a funny thing happened. As Adeline got older and more independent, I started to find myself again. Because I’m not just a mother. I’m a writer, a reader, a photographer; I search for meaning, I seek a healthy way of life, I want to live fully and to my highest potential.
With that transition (or, rather, return to my own identity) I began to incorporate posts about writing, mindfulness, and identity. I began to post more and more of my photography, whether related to motherhood or not. And I even brought over my old book blog and started doing it all on my main blog.
So here I am. A blogger, yes. But a “Mommy Blogger”? I’m not so sure. But if I’m not a Mommy Blogger, then what am I? I peruse WordPress and I see Travel Bloggers, Book Bloggers, Recipe Bloggers, Photography Bloggers, Heath and Fitness Bloggers, Sports Bloggers, Gardening Bloggers, Art Bloggers, Music Bloggers, and, yes, Mommy Bloggers. But I don’t fit into any of those categories. Why do I feel the need to have a label, anyway? Can’t I just be a Blogger?
When I started blogging I read a lot of blogging advice columns and the back stories of successful blogs and the successful blogs themselves. I followed the advice and I modeled my blog on successful blogs that I liked. And everything I read and saw told me that I needed to find a niche and stick to it. This is, apparently, the only way to be truly successful.
I’m here to say: I’m done following the advice. All we can do in this life is be ourselves. I am not one niche. I am multifaceted and complex and I have many interests and passions. And so do you. So I’m starting a new category of bloggers: Identity Bloggers. I share my identity with my readers — the clear parts and the parts that I struggle with. I hope that my writing will entertain and enlighten and bring a sense of beauty to the world. But most of all, I hope it will help people learn more about themselves. About Identity.