Elka in Paris

Blogging is narcissistic. Sigh. This week, I have been wondering about the point of it all.

A night in Paris

Twenty years from now, Elka, Eve and I are sitting in a Parisian apartment, sipping Moët. We are gazing over the lights of the city. The Seine glimmers.

“Mum,” says Elka, “What were you thinking exactly, writing about Eve and I for all those years? What did you hope to achieve?”

I sit back, leaning into the cushion. “Mmmm. I think initially that it helped me to remember. I needed to capture all those precious moments. Your quirks. Your little ideas and songs. You were both so beautiful…photographs weren’t enough. Then people started to read it, and respond. I received so much positive reinforcement that I kept on going. My writing got better as you two became more beautiful and more interesting. You grandma in Austria hung out for my posts. My blog became her thread to you. Through my words, she felt less estranged, even though thousands of kilometres separated you. So I just kept writing.

“But at some point, I began to read other blogs. I realised there was an industry around blogging. Being a mum blogger wasn’t unique. In fact there were millions of us, all writing for similar reasons. Through blogging and reading other blogs, we came to understand more about each other. More about ourselves. So much of what we experienced was universal. A mother in another continent was going through exactly what we were at the same time. The occasional loneliness of motherhood disappeared, and the world shrunk.

“And so I continued to blog. The blog continued to be about you, but something changed. You became instruments through which I could tell stories and express a world view to a wider audience, who were no longer just people I knew personally. Your language and thoughts became my language.

“I realised I wanted my blog to be more than just about you girls – as perfect and gorgeous as you were, as you are, but about love and parenting in general. I wanted the world to be a better place for children everywhere, and felt that with your language and your stories, I could help inspire positive and gentle parenting.”

Elka nods empathetically. I have more or less answered her question.

Mummy blogging

A month ago, to be or not to be a mummy blogger was widely talked about in the mummy blogging world, stimulated by the Media Watch episode that focussed on mummy bloggers.  A few protestedI am not a mummy blogger, but a blogger who happens to have children, they cried into the cyber night air.

What came out of the episode was that mummy bloggers are powerful, persuasive, and a force to be reckoned with. They talked about how some ‘mummy bloggers’ have a larger and more loyal audience than big columnists.

My experience of the mummy and occasionally daddy blogging community is that it is incredibly supportive, and incredibly positive. In all the 1,349 comments on my blog, I have never had a negative one. On the contrary, people are so heart-warmingly, brain-boggling, mind-numbingly sweet that I often go to bed feeling all mushy inside.

In my years of working at an art gallery and studying contemporary art, I rarely heard a positive comment towards an art work. In writing circles, members are keen to come back with feedback, often in the form of haughty criticism.  Film reviews are quick to slag off a relatively enjoyable film. The arts has generally been bridled by the sneering critics, determined not to let mediocre in, and to protect the sanctity of their genre.

Perhaps blogging is not an art, in the traditional sense. But with every post, I create, construct and ponder. Each post delivers the equivalent creative satisfaction that any short story or painting has ever done. My blog reflects my life and my life in turn reflects my blog. This is as close to art as I have been.

Although I never set out to be a mum blogger, as such, but incidentally became one because I write a blog and have children, I embrace the positivity and generosity of the mum (and dad) blogging community.

I have been thinking about where all this positivity gets us.

The power of positivity

As I always do with things I am involved with, I have been doubting myself and my abilities. I know my performance anxiety is merely habit, but it has stimulated me to ask myself why I do what I do, and spend so much time behind a computer after little ones are in bed.

The key is positivity.

As is also habit, when I feel down, I think about how I can help someone else, or make someone else’s life better, so I can feel better about myself. So, in a week of questioning my blogging purpose I have habitually stumbled on the thought that inspiring positivity is the point of it all.

The blogging community is such a positive and supportive place to be. Also, I can write positive and truthful stories about my experiences. I can share sentiments that are intended to make people feel better. I can share sentiments that are intended to make lives better for our children. This is the heart of what I do, and why I bother.

I am thinking particularly about Eden Riley, who spent the last two weeks in India with World Vision, sharing the realities of poverty and suffering with her many devoted readers; inspiring donations and compassion from a relatively privileged Western readership.

Being a mummy blogger is a nice place to be, and I might be shooting high, but I think blogging generally has the power to infect people with good and make the world a better place.

Do you ever question yourself? What answers have you found?

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{Linking with Jess at Essentially Jess for IBOT}