Saturday, August 01, 2009

What Kind of Blogger Am I?

This summer, I've been a relatively infrequent blogger. According to Google, which organizes my life for me, I'm averaging 4.7 posts a week, but from my perspective, they all feel slapped together. When was the last time I ruminated?

In June and July, rumination took a back seat to a blur of kids' activities, crazed 4-h frenzy, swimming, softball, horseback riding, visits from friends and/or going to visit friends ... and then there was the dishwashing -- because my kids insist on eating repeatedly. Something like six times a day, and that's not counting the popcorn popper.

And when I do have time to ponder lately (I'm switching from "ruminate" to "ponder" because ruminate can have that obsessive "chew the cud" connotation and you know how I feel about cows) I'm usually lying in bed without a computer at my fingertips (because I'm not that addicted) so by the time I get out of the bed and make it to a computer or a notepad, I've forgotten the seven brilliant ideas I had.

But the lack of lengthy, thoughtful posts has me thinking about exactly what kind of lengthy, thoughtful posts I compose when I do have the time to compose them. And it makes me think of all the various kinds of bloggers and the labels they wear, and I start to wonder, "What's my label?"

Am I a homeschooling blogger? A mommy blogger? A book blogger? A Catholic blogger? A political blogger? (A big no on that one, as I define my politics as: I'm Catholic.) Is this an author's blog, or just a blog by someone who happens to write? Is it a poetry blog? Is it the blog of someone who has too much time on her hands and posts things like this little bit of obsessive self-examination?

I guess all I'm really pondering is how much I dislike the labels in the blogging world. But it isn't just the blogging world, is it? It's the world at large. It's everywhere. I generally go blissfully through my life unaware of how others label me, or how they themselves are labeled. But sometimes, certain labels hit me. I was thinking of this the other night when our family watched "The Next Food Network Star."

One of the finalists is a stay-at-home mom of four young children. I love Melissa. She is one sharp mommy and I spotted that from the start. She has loads of cooking talent, and she's smart, adaptable, intuitive and creative. Last week, she recapped her life for them, and talked about having done a number of different things, including being successful and talented in business, but it wasn't enough for her, it didn't feed her soul. Her family and her cooking do feed her soul. One of the judges told her he was seeing her in a whole new way, and I realized it was one of the first times he had looked beyond her "mommy" label. She has been variously dumped into "mommy mayhem" and "harried housewife" categories, and I got really annoyed with the judges every time they said such things. If you happen to be a mom, and you talk quickly, suddenly you're a harried housewife and your life is full of mommy mayhem. Arrgh.

I identified with Melissa, not because I have a shred of cooking talent, but because I've done a lot of different things in my life, too, and it took awhile to figure out what fed my soul. Years ago, when I quit a job in the business world to go back to school, I told my boss that I was thinking of becoming a counselor or psychologist (obviously I didn't go that route, but I don't want to digress, so let's keep moving.) He rolled his eyes at me and said, "What a waste! If you'd said law school, I could see it, but counseling? Sheesh."

He had an idea that a woman with a brain should have a certain kind of life, a certain kind of career, and "the helping careers" just didn't pay enough for people with brains. Of course, I ended up taking a job (stay-at-home mom) that pays even less than counseling, and I'm sure that if I ran into that old boss today, he'd be even more horrified than he was the day he sat across my desk and told me I was making a huge mistake.

My point, if I have one, is this: although I understand the usefulness of labels to help us sort, sift and save time, labels can also be limiting and misleading. That's all. I have no idea what kind of blogger I am, what kind of mom I am, what kind of brain I have, what label I fit, or if it even matters. I suppose I just, since I had the time today, wanted to ruminate a little bit on blogging, labels, Melissa, and the assumptions people make about stay-at-home mommies.


It felt good to ruminate.


Charlotte (Matilda) said...

I think your St. Lucy bread and your monkey bread count for more than just a "shred" of cooking talent, Miss Karen!

Melanie B said...

You are I are once again pondering along similar lines. I've been thinking about the label "mommy blogger" after Amy Welborn wrote about one of my blog posts and then went on to ruminate about mommy bloggers in general. I guess I am a "mommy blogger" in that I am a mom, I blog, I even frequently blog about my children and about being a mom. But I think "mommy blogger" doesn't exactly define me and in fact has some connotations that I sometimes find off-putting.

I think you are I are much alike, we blog to express the various different aspects of our personalities, as moms and as writers and as women of faith. We defy easy categorization. Which is one reason why I love your blog. I never know exactly what I'm going to find.

Roxane B. Salonen said...


This is so interesting because I have had a "blogging identity crisis" too and recently set out to help define my blogging flavor. I narrowed it down to three major areas of my life: parenting, writing and faith. I'm trying to write on each of those topics on certain days of the week, but I'm afraid I'm enough like you (from what it sounds) that I don't necessarily like having to keep to my schedule. I like to blog as ideas hit me, regardless of subject. But, I am trying to do this for my readers, so they know more what to expect and when. That said, sounds like some people, like Melanie, like not knowing what to expect. Which makes me question myself. (Can you tell I'm ruminating in your comments box?) I think all this to say that...I continue to enjoy your posts, regardless of what they are, but miss seeing you in my comments box, and hope you'll be by someday soon -- when the kids quit demanding so many snacks, perhaps. :) Blessings...

Warren said...

My favorite posts from you are usually the precious and often hilarious things your kids say. I get so many great laughs from that. These moments are precious and I'm glad whenever you share one.


The Bookworm said...

I always describe myself as an eclectic blogger, which gives me permission to blog about anything I want ;). I guess I'm an eclectic mum too.

Karen E. said...

Thanks, Char-tilda. :) I can follow a recipe, anyway. Thanks, Melanie, for loving the unpredictability. I started thinking about this recently when a friend mentioned some things from BlogHer and mommybloggers, labels, etc.

Roxane, I miss commenting all over the place. Thanks for missing me. I need to make my kids wash their own snack dishes. :)

Warren, they keep me laughing, too. And, Bookworm, I've always loved "eclectic" ... the word, the way it sounds, the concept. I'm sticking with it, too. :)

Roxane B. Salonen said...


Well, I've loved reading these comments. It makes me feel that even if I don't stick to my schedule, I might retain a few readers. :)

Have a great week!

Cheryl said...

Great post. I miss ruminating too. (Although, I admit, I had to look that word up.) It's been a busy summer. The Image Chef cracked me up.

Theresa said...

The only appropriate label for you, Karen is "awesome."

Kimberlee said...

Good post! I too, dislike all the labels whether it's blogging, mothering, dress, homeschool style, homemaking abilities or whatever. It's as though people like to stick others into boxes with a neat label and then they feel better, like they have the person all figured out. It's much more fulfilling (though challenging) to actively ponder and ruminate and cogitate and delve and strive to understand each other as the complex human beings that we are. :-)