There’s no denying the power of mommy bloggers. They’re socially conscious and influential, and ferocious in their beliefs that they – and only they – know the right way to parent.
When did mommies become unkind and ruthless? And why? These are two questions author Rebecca Eckler asks herself daily.
Eckler, known for her frank and funny books about modern parenting, dedicated her ninth book – launched April 21 and titled The Mommy Mob: Inside the Outrageous World of Mommy Blogging – to the subject.
Aimed at mothers, The Mommy Mob takes readers on a journey into the world of mommy bloggers – more than four million of whom live in North America – whose passion is to blog, often anonymously, about motherhood and their kids. It’s a laugh-out-loud look at self-styled enforcers of parental propriety in the wild arena of online motherly advice.
Eckler explores mommy blogging’s innocent origins and its subsequent descent into darkness – how something that started as a way to connect mothers with other mothers and build a community of support, friendship and advice has turned into a snake pit of righteousness, vitriol and self-consciousness.
She’s talking about so-called “mob moms” who hide behind the anonymity of the Internet to insult, attack and even threaten fellow mommy bloggers.
Is it acceptable to build a village and let it help you with parenting? Or, in the words of The Mommy Mob, does it make you less of a real mom?
“There is not one mother that hasn’t been judged for something in the world,” said Eckler, one of the most widely read and sought-after mommy bloggers.
Eckler expected to provoke conversation and maybe even a little controversy while blogging. What she didn’t expect was the shocking and vicious wrath of stay-at-home moms.
Equipped with more than a decade’s experience, Eckler writes inspiring personal stories of her own journey as a parent and partner.
“I was on the cusp when everyone started to blog 10 years ago, and it was a really nice world back then. I found all those parents agreeable – ‘I am with you on that – my son does this – maybe you should look into this.’ They were actually very well meaning and interested in helping,” Eckler said.
Her book is about what happened next.
Any time Eckler reveals a truth too raw for her readers to stomach, something she does often, the mommy mob bursts out of the nursery and chaos reigns.
With a following of more than 10,000, Eckler has been blogging for a site called Mommyish.com twice a week for the last three years. As a mother to a toddler and a 10-year-old, as well as stepmother to a tweenie and a teenager, Eckler shares her funniest, most controversial insights.
“It’s my 700 words of a thought that day. For me, it’s a moment in time. People don’t always look at it that way,” she said.
“I am writing something down that you are thinking, or at least one of your friends is thinking, or everyone is thinking – it’s just that no one is writing it down.”
In one post for Mommyish.com, Eckler talks about the name of her son, Holt, and how some people have made cracks about the store Holt Renfrew and how she must love shopping.
“When my grandfather came over to Canada from Poland, he couldn’t get a job, because his last name was Burnholtz, which at that time was too Jewish-sounding. I wanted to bring back the name Holt, a part of Burnholtz, in memory of my grandfather, Sam, and my grandmother, Helen.
“Frankly, I’m not sure why people make jokes like this, considering some of the names they give their kids. In the real world, unlike the blogosphere, people who don’t like the name you choose for your child, or any other aspect of parenting, may engage in some harsh behind-the-back talk to which you won’t be privy, whereas posters in the blogosphere want you to read their harsh opinions,” Eckler said.
“The point of blogging, I think, is for readers to read and relate. The mother is stuck at home with the baby, so when the baby naps, you can get a conversation started. Every site needs a blog. It needs a voice. It needs a personal touch. It is an easy way to get your thoughts out there, but Mama Bear will come out sometimes, in response to those nasty online comments.”
Yet the mommy blogosphere isn’t entirely nasty, she said.
“Not all mommy blog readers are judgmental. Sometimes, they band together and support one another… and even me!”