Cyber world's mummy diaries

Pen Drive

Cyber world's mummy diaries

Mama Mia: Parul Sharma’s book based on her blog is in the stores now

It was 2:30 am on a cold January morning in 2007, when a mother in Ireland lay awake, typing with her right hand, and cradling her eight-week-old baby with the left. That was the birth of Mommy Bloggers — mothers who blog about their children. Now called Mummyjaan in blogosphere, the blogger that night confessed in her first post, “The reality of parenting is 85 per cent perspiration and insanity to enjoy, cherish and be grateful for the other glorious and fun 15 per cent good times.”

Global nursery
Mummyjaan, and the hordes of mothers and mothers-to-be, who have joined her in the virtual world, have formed a cult-like group that connects women as far away as Australia and Alaska.

They exchange notes on potty training and Montessori activities, and celebrate milestones like their babies’ first steps and teeth. They even rant and whine about the inevitable tensions of parenting, or moral and cultural dilemmas. It is perhaps the birth of a global nursery, patronised by parents who’ve mostly never met each other.

Subha, a 31-year-old stay-at-home mother (SAHM) of two, blogs out of her home in Switzerland. She calls herself ‘Boo’ on her blog (boosbabytalk.blogspot.com) and started it when her older daughter turned five months.

“I wanted to chronicle my journey into motherhood and create memories of those precious baby moments that might fade with time,” recalls the software engineer, who quit her job to “globe trot” with her husband.

Sometimes, though, like in the case of Reena, a management analyst-turned-SAHM in Oregon, USA, a blog starts off as a writing pad — probably that’s why hers is titled, Soliloquies of an Opinionated Mind.

“I had nothing specific in mind and I write about anything under the sun. My daughter is a part of me so it is only natural that she features a lot on my blog,” says Reena (‘Solilo’ to her readers).

However, she maintains that the blog is “not a personal diary of my daughter’s development though it captures some light, some emotional and some totally random moments of her life.”

Real world pals
Most mothers prefer to use blog names for those they write about, for fear of strangers getting to know too much. Over time though, as connections are made with other mommy bloggers and friendships fostered, it is taken to new levels, like blogger meetups and playdates. Or, as in the case of Subha and her blogger friends, an online baby shower.

“Last year, around 70 bloggers, mostly parent bloggers, threw a huge surprise online baby shower for 10 of us bloggers who were pregnant. It was touching to say the least,” recalls Subha, who has yet to meet a lot of those strangers-turned-wonderful friends. “I’m wary of meeting strangers so I’ve had only a couple of meetups. That too, after knowing them virtually for three years, followed by mails, phone calls, photos and then a meetup at one of the bloggers’ home. It was like meeting college friends after years,” she says.

Many, like Aditi Shukla Fozdar (or ‘Nino’s Mum’ to readers), say blogging is as much for herself as for her four-year-old son. “I’ve met some incredibly amazing women and parents through my blog, and it saves me a lot of therapy money,” says the Ahmedabad-based journalist, who writes at theninoeffect.blogspot.com.

Others share similar experiences. “I have found some fabulous people online. With some, you connect with through their writing and just click with them like you would in real life,” says Reena, who has made a lifelong friend in a blogger who writes passionately about India under the pseudonym Indyeah.

Benefits of blogging
However, not everyone graduates to such levels. Mummyjaan hasn’t met any of her blogger friends yet, but it was after writing one particular post that she realised blogging can be helpful and therapeutic.

“My daughter is undersized for her age and I was struggling with the issue after an interaction with people in actual life. I wrote about it online, and many mothers and readers shared their experiences,” she says.

Indeed, a moving post can cause lurking readers to ‘delurk’ (to comment or email, in blogging parlance) and write to a blogger to empathise or show support. “Only a handful of my friends and family knew about my blog and read it. The rest are all strangers who have now become friends. In the beginning, I thought no one would want to read about my kids. But by God, people are sure nosey,” laughs Subha.

Largely, it is parenting dilemmas that seem to drive the online traffic. “Parenting challenges are universal: A lot of moms land up at another’s blog and comment: ‘Hey! I’m in the same boat’.  It helps to know how others deal with similar issues, especially when you are abroad and away from family,” says Mummyjaan.

Agrees Aditi, “I started reading up on a lot of ‘mommy blogs’ when I became a mum — there was a whole world out there that felt the same frustrations, to whom sleep was just as important, who struggled with the working-parent guilt just as I did. Often, it is easier to accept advice from a stranger even though they’re saying the same things your mum or mum-in-law might have said.”

As mommy bloggers grow with their real and online babies, some like Parul Sharma even get book deals out of a pastime. Her first book, Bringing Up Vasu — That First Year, based on her blog, is in the stores now.

Moving beyond babies
Sharma says that blogging affords parents the opportunity to share ideas and concerns. “But how much one takes away really depends on one’s own personality and the degree of comfort one has with virtual friendship,” says Parul, whose maternal blogging gradually metamorphosed into blogs about herself and her interests. For other mommies, though, their children continue to dominate their virtual and physical spaces.

“In a decade or two, the only special incidents I will remember are the ones I have written in this blog. So each post has a special reason and a special memory associated with it. I have made sure I’ll chuckle when I read them all, years from now. Like a dear reader said, I am making memories. For me and as well as for them,” says Subha, adding, “so I plan to write until I have nothing left to write.”

Women’s Feature Service

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