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Best in mama blogging

I read Babble's 'Top 50 Mommy Bloggers' with mixed feelings. First, I was pleased that a local blogger or two and many mamas (and one dad) I consider longtime friends -- people who really deserve approbation for years of hard work and amazing content -- were getting recognition. There was ParentHacks, who won the category 'Most Useful'; I really think of Asha as an original urbanMama (in spirit if not in fact), she's been inspiring us for as long as I can remember. Dutch and Wood from Sweet Juniper are so warm, inspirational and creative -- and both eloquent and moving writers -- that I can't imagine any 'best of blog' list without them. (And yes, Dutch's popscycle is on my fave family bikes list.) Citymama used to be a Portlander (she'll always carry our city in her heart, yes Stefania?); Alphamom is generous and sweet and oh yes, stylish!; Mom 101 is so smart and connected; thanks to the fact that my job as a professional blogger started in parenting blogs, I've had the pleasure of meeting, chatting with or working with many of the other top 50 (but no, I can't say that I know Dooce, famous mommy blogger numero uno).

But hey: it's the in-iest of in crowds and the whirlpool of popularity, I feel, misses a lot of the true gems, the sorts of parenting writers who work their craft for no other reason than because they must, who forge beautiful writing in a "build it and they'll come" mindset to which I, too, have come to subscribe. No matter how many come, the castles of words and images keep slowly forming, each at their own pace. In my opinion, Sweet Juniper is the only true, sparkling treasure on Babble's roster; the other mamas I consider gorgeous, pearls of great price were receiving, at best, a few dozen "likes" from the open-for-nominations list Babble began after its editorially-selected rankings were published. Perhaps the soul-startling bloggers aren't great places for Mattel and H&R Block to advertise, but they're quiet and sweet and real.

If I were making a "best of all possible mama blogs in the best of all possible internets" list, it would include these:

  • Sweet | Salty. I discovered Kate only in the past year and we were well-met. Her journey to a mama's joy despite the loss of one of her sons as a newborn has me gasping.
  • Notes to Self. Kyran weaves stories with such mastery that my face is hot with emotion just peeking into one of her blog posts.
  • Secret Agent Josephine. Unfailingly charming and creative, Brenda always makes me smile.
  • Slouching Past 40. Sarah's poetry makes me weep and her parenting writing is so full of stunning sight and insight -- it's to what I aspire.
  • Oleoptene. Well-met in Portland, Mara's eloquent, cerebral musings are worth the time it takes to unpeel their layers.
  • Irene Nam. A Parisienne who writes in English just for us, each post a small gift, a poem. Her photographs sing to me in whispers.
Some of these are nominated on Babble's list; others aren't (you can vote for urbanMamas and me, too, if you're so inclined). It's proof that popularity is not always key to greatness, nor does greatness lead to popularity; it's proof that sometimes the quietest music reaches deepest into your heart.


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Wow, I'm really surprised you've never heard of Dooce, only because she's been everywhere recently. Quite a funny site, if you aren't easily offended or get up in arms over things that are usually meant in jest. She's got a sense of humor that one. Check it out sometime.

oh! Melissa. I know OF Dooce. I just don't call her among my friends; we've never conversed, virtually or otherwise. I find her funny -- not my style, but worth an occasional read for her wit and impact.

Also on the list was Erin Kotecki Vest's Queen of Spain, which is *outstanding* -- Erin is the political maven of Blogher. Even though she's not a Portlander, I can't get enough of her.

And I do have to protest greatly that Stefania is described at "shrill." Oh dear lord -- she is the least shrill person in the local/organic/homemade blogosphere that I've encountered...heart heart heart her!

I just get sad at all the mamas (and papas) whose stories we never hear. So many mama communities are underrepresented in the blogger community.

I don't really follow mama bloggers that much unless I actually know them IRL. They don't resonate with me for the most part.

Most of the mamas I want to hear, are like me, and can't seem manage to eke out much more than the thrice daily facebook status update. It's like when we(ME) complain about not hearing enough from less well off moms around here. Posting and commenting (especially during the work day) is a luxury item for some of us. Not me, but jes' sayin'

I started reading the Nie Nie Dialogues just after her accident and have followed her journey--she is truly inspiring. While some of her posts are so intense they bring me to tears, I love her ability to really live in the moment and recognize beauty in everyday things. She's witty and inspires me to appreciate the littlest things in life.

Thanks for the list...I've been thinking lately that I need some new blog reading!

Haven't looked thru the list, but it wouldn't be complete w/out Lesbian Dad.

aww, thanks for including me, cafemama. and i agree with rockstarmama about lesbian dad.

I'm personally very fond of Bitch, Phd. She's got a lot of co-bloggers on there with her now, but I love what she has to say about her son, feminism, academia - anything, really.

Wow. Thank you. I am honored to be on your list.

Slouchy is one of my favorites.

The whole best of thing gets me a bit down - it somehow taps into my inner 16 year old, wanting to be loved and taking it to heart when I am not recognized by others.

Admittedly I didn't get through all 50 of this list but browsed the top ones in their categories and just can't get over the lack of diversity (specifically racial diversity but it also seems, perhaps, income). Is this really representative of the "mommy blogs"? Maybe I'm not getting it...'mommy blog' is a blog written by a mother just about being a mother? but not necessarily a mother writing about other issues of parenting/hobbies/interest? If so, I guess I don't frequent that many 'mommy blogs' except the people I actually know, but I do read several parenting blogs or topical blogs written by parents which seem to be more diverse.

Kristi, if you're looking for diversity and other issues along with the parenting, look no further than:


i've recently become a fan of breed 'em and weep http://www.breedemandweep.com

I forgot to add the URL w/ my plug: http://www.lesbiandad.net.

Thank you so much for what you said here, Sarah. While I always appreciate when PH gets recognition, I hear what you're saying about "best of" lists. Even so, I like them less as a definitive ending point, and more as a place to start. I've found so many great blogs by starting with a list like this and then reading the blogrolls and comments. Linky, linky, linky...and round and round it goes.

I wanted to say thanks, too, Sarah. But as happy as your mentioning my blog made me, I also am really grateful that your blog is so consistently inspiring. The inside/outside popularity swirl thing, navigating crowded fields of all sorts of writers doing all sorts of different things, does mess with my mind, and the only antidote I know of, really, is the intimacy of reader/writer/words on a page or screen -- it amazes me how the world of writing on the internet has both aspects, and I have to keep choosing to see it as the chance for meaningful connection rather than looking for it as a place to bolster my self-esteem (ahem). Can I add one of my favorite blogs to read? Leah Hager Cohen has all sorts of thoughtful loveliness at http://loveasafoundobject.blogspot.com .

Well-met, ahh, yes. Just like that. I'm so grateful to know you, and am constantly inspired by you. Thank you. Waving and bowing and winking and every other possible distance signal. xo

Somehow, I'm just seeing this. Thank you so much for even mentioning my name in this wonderful company!

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