Monday, March 15, 2010

I give up


You nailed me.

I’m a mommy blogger. I can’t pass by a computer without checking my e-mail or browsing the internet looking for updates on a growing number of social clubs wherein I *talk-write-tweet* about life in no particular order and with no particular agenda.

My regular haunts include flickr, twitter, facebook and a couple of private forums, too. I also read the newspaper and magazines online whenever possible. I'd rather surf the net than watch television.

This network of random computer connections has lead to some extra income for me. So in that way I also fit the stereotype Jennifer Mendelsohn has teased out of her story on a blogging conference she wrote about for the New York Times, "Honey, don't bother mommy. I'm too busy building my brand.".

I can identify with the headline, too. I know how to tune out the dog barking and the television blaring. Worst of all, I know I tune out the kids.

My husband takes no pleasure in telling me how often the kids are unhappy that I’m not paying attention to their needs. I don’t even bother telling him how many phone calls have taken him away from the family.

It's a fight we don't need. We are imperfect, we readily admit. We are beta parents. Parent who just want their kids to go and play.

Our kids will likely have the memory of their parents always on our computers, always wanting just a few minutes to finish whatever it was we were doing. Whatever it was that wasn't them.

I hope they will also remember the crafts and the beach and the showing up at school unannounced. I hope they will remember the trips to places far and near. I hope they remember some of the "specials" we gave them. Most of all I hope they will one day find this little place and realize I was human, and that I had a mind that wasn't contained in only one place ... and that I loved them.

A lot of people are fired up about the snark and the headline of the Mendelsohn piece, not to mention the photos and graphics that ran with the article in the style section. They are digging in their heels and commenting in the hundreds taking the paper to task for sending more incendiary words into the mommy wars.

While I, too, wonder if the story would have taken the initial tone of distain had the conference been for self-employed men looking to brush up on IT, I don’t believe for a second it is worth as much consideration as it has gotten.

The story itself broke no ground. It’s the anger that it unleashed that’s what’s provocative.

Anger is something that doesn't seem in short supply anywhere these days.

As an employee of a newspaper, my very existence at this moment is focused on the internet and on getting readers anyway we can. On a personal level I disagree vehemently with the direction we are heading. It feels very much like an "If you can’t beat 'em, join 'em" kind of move.

But I'm done being angry.

The money is still the question mark for all types of media, and in the end it will determine what happens.

We can all be voices in the wilderness for only so long.

At some point we have to do something with our voices that has lasting value.

Eventually we all have to simmer down.


Carl said...

Well, there's this to think about. On ANY given day, I spend more time involved in my kids' lives than my parents ever did. Ever. I'm betting you do, too. Far from feeling guilty about doing something on their own that doesn't involve their children, I think our generation of parents, the "helicopter parents," need to let kids have some time when their needs aren't instantly met, when every poop isn't precious, when they can just be.

Mom101 said...

Not angry here - just mildly annoyed. I chose those words very carefully.

I'm not shaking my fist at the Times (which I still adore, truth be told) so much as I am sighing at the giant upward slope in front of me. And wondering how I respond to coworkers when I tell them I'm flying out of town to speak at a conference, and they now ask me whether I'll be having my mimosa in a pink sippy cup or an orange one.

You make great points here. We are living the technology age. Some good, some bad. What can you do.

toyfoto said...

I hope I didn't give the impression that YOU were angry. In fact I almost responded with a second comment on your site after another commenter suggested people "get over it." Even in your headline you said Mildly Annoyed.

You raised really good questions about media and spin and what people take away from it all. Much more important, I believe, than the points brought up in the piece you were critiquing.

Anonymous said...

I love Carl's comment.

You know, our kids probably will remember us as sometimes tuning them out while we stared at a computer screen--but like you said, they'll remember all of the other things we do with them too.

Just because Mom and Dad have interests other than child rearing doesn't mean they're sucktastic parents.