When you think of a parenting and technology blog, you might expect lots of posts about new gadgets for kids. But I have found that the biggest impact that technology has had on my "parenting" life isn't in my relationship with my child, it's in my identity as a mother. And rather than being about gadgets, for me technology is primarily about relationships and sharing information.
The internet has begun to revolutionize motherhood by allowing us to make connections that would not have been possible otherwise. As I finished writing my book Mojo Mom in 2005, I felt certain that the next step to propel the growing motherhood movement would be an online grassroots organization. Many individual groups were doing great work, but we were missing a central hub that allowed us to gather our power. The Zeitgeist cooperated and MomsRising.org was launched on Mother's Day 2006. In one year, the movement has grown to over 120,000 members. Founded by MoveOn.org co-founder Joan Blades and writer Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, MomsRising.org creates meaningful action steps for individual Moms to take to support family-friendly public policies such as paid parental leave. For those of us who want to remain socially involved, but can't easily travel to a rally, MomsRising provides a channel that allows us to express our political will.
Moms have always combined the personal and the political, and both aspects of motherhood come out online. "Mommy bloggers" have been typically dismissed by the media establishment as merely writing an "online shrine to parental self-absorption," but I beg to differ. I have seen women grapple with complex issues, form friendships, support each other, and yes, vent about daily life online.
The online world for moms has gained a smart new neighborhood this week. TheMotherhood.com aims to be "a safe place for mothers to find good conversation and useful information." Social networking has largely passed mothers by, but The Motherhood has finally created a space that I want to inhabit. Their Blog Ticker brings together the latest posts from over 100 parenting blogs all in one place. This makes it easier to discover new blogs and catch up on my favorite reads, from Pundit Mom to The Mothers' Movement Online to Literary Mama. At The Motherhood, members can also create their own groups, public or private, to establish their own social network.
The Motherhood creates a new meeting place where the personal and the political can intermingle. I asked co-founder Emily McKhann what she and her writing partner Cooper Munroe envisioned for their new site. Emily says, "Ultimately, the Motherhood is about up-leveling mothers' experiences on the net, and about raising all boats by giving mothers a place to promote their own presence on the web. Our goal is for women to find, in that big, beautiful tent we built, the people and resources that ring true and mean something to them, help them get into action, and, in the process, make a difference on any number of levels."
The Motherhood launched earlier this week, new members are "moving in," and the groups are just getting populated. I hope to see you there.