Why do I blog? I had to stop and think about this one, but I was prompted to do so by a New York Times article published last year called, “Honey Don’t Bother Mommy, I’m Too Busy Building My Brand,” about the explosion of mommy blogs and how they are becoming a commercial force to be reckoned with.
Am I just building a brand? Is this just some kind of an ego trip for me? To a certain extent, every act of self-expression is selfish, a kind of “look at me!” thrown out to the world, whether anyone is paying attention or not. On the other hand, it could be considered a generous act as well, to the extent that an artist or storyteller is sharing a part of themselves with the world, and hoping that others can relate. Certainly my love of storytelling drives my desire to blog. I love to listen to and read stories and in turn to tell them.
While some motives for blogging may be inherently selfish, there are many other aspects to consider. When I started this blog, building a brand was the farthest thing from my mind. After giving birth to my daughter, I suddenly found myself a full-time stay-at-home mom after having always worked full-time for my entire adult life. My husband was working full-time and taking classes at night, and so there wasn’t always the chance to pour my heart out to him like I normally would have. My life had changed so drastically, and I felt like reaching out to connect with and learn from other parents. Were they experiencing the same challenges and joys of parenting? I wanted to celebrate all that is great, fabulous, and momentous about parenting, and commiserate when necessary. My blog is more than a creative outlet: it’s a catharsis and a chance to reflect on my own parenting choices and philosophy while having a meaningful conversation with my fellow parents and also interested friends and supporters who may not have kids.
I write a lot about my grandmother who was a supermom in the 1950s. Back then, moms had bridge games and gossip over coffee and cigarettes. They had only to peek over that white picket fence while hanging laundry to the yard next door to find a fellow mom to laugh or kvetch with. Moms today have Facebook and Twitter. The downside is that we sometimes miss out on that face-to-face contact, but on the other hand in these fluid times we are able to stay in constant contact with friends all over the country and the world. We have formed a worldwide virtual community of parents, caregivers, and all the friends and family members who love our kids. As a result we are all more engaged and informed than ever before.
I like to think of my “Reel Mama” blog as the old-fashioned neighborhood movie theater in that virtual community, the kind with the marquee and the Art Deco murals still in tact, where colorful stories unfold week after week. Everyone is welcome to have a seat and enjoy the show, and I hope to inspire interesting conversations afterward. If “Reel Mama” is a “brand” some day, I will always strive to make it personal, warm and welcoming, and, I hope, always entertaining.