As Heather Armstrong noted on the Today Show this morning, the parenting blogosphere is a powerful source of shared wisdom and experience for thousands of readers and writers every day.
With that in mind, we welcome you to the first edition of Parenthesis -- a new weekly series on HuffPost Parents where we'll collect the sharpest, funniest, most moving, and all-around best items we can find on "mom blogs" and "dad blogs" everywhere.
One powerful lesson from the “Titanic” anniversary
If you read newspapers, watch television, or use the Internet –- and provided, of course, you’d heard of the Titanic in the first place –- chances are you knew it was the 100th anniversary of the great ship’s sinking this weekend. Maybe you heard about the memorial cruises. Maybe you saw Julian Fellowes’s miniseries. Maybe you even went to see the Leo-and-Kate classic in IMAX. Momastery blogger and HuffPost contributor Glennon Melton didn’t, but not because she didn’t like it the first time around. “I’ve only seen it once because I don’t think I could take it again, but I truly loved it,” she writes, explaining:
The movie Titanic was brutiful because it was about Who People Become When Their Ship is Sinking. Literally, in this case, but I think it worked beautifully symbolically, too. … Continuing to do the work that one is called to do in the face of fear is so brutiful. To keep showing up, to keep making music when your ship is sinking. To add something – to offer something right up to the end. That’s the ultimate act of hope. We cannot control the fate of the ship, but we can control our response.
Mom blogging takes us back to our primal roots
Heather Armstrong, aka Dooce, appeared on the Today Show on Monday morning to talk about her new book, "Dear Daughter" (one of three new memoirs by mom bloggers on the bestseller list!). She opened up about the difficulties of her very public separation from her husband, and highlighted the tremendous support she's received from readers and other bloggers over the years, noting fondly: "These are the women who would sit around the campfire with me and help me take care of my children."
When the most expensive babysitter is Mom
The day-to-day difficulties of working parenthood were powerfully illustrated in a short post on Fatherhood Is, where a dad blogger notes that "due to America's egregious maternity leave standards," his wife is now the family’s most expensive babysitter:
Ashley had to use all of her vacation days, all of her sick days, and then borrow from the sick bank to stay with our babies during their first three months. So now, for a substitute teacher to cover her classes for a day, Ashley will have $200 docked from her paycheck.
"Mommy wars gone thermonuclear"
It’s not surprising that Hilary Rosen’s controversial comments about stay-at-home-mom Ann Romney garnered considerable attention in the blogosphere. And while a number of writers jumped straight into the ideological scrum, others begged for the "Mommy Wars" to end, once and for all.
Every blogger -– like every offline mother -- approached the debate from a different corner. Catherine at Her Bad Mother, just back from a trip to Uganda, reflected on the debate in light of her recent experiences abroad (and the guilt she felt about having left her family in the States). “All mothers in Uganda -- all the mothers that I encountered, anyway –- are working mothers," she writes, going on:
We are all working mothers. What unites us is our motherhood, which – despite the fact that it does involve so much work, work of hands and hearts and souls – is so much more than work.
In a post for Mom-101, Liz Gumbinner jumped to the defense of all working women:
For some of us [work] is about mental health. About personal fulfillment and the pursuit of happiness, which, I believe, we're still constitutionally entitled to even after we have spawned. ...
Here on HuffPost, Pamela Kripke insisted on firmer definitions of "job" and "work":
Motherhood is not a job. ... Hilary Rosen did not make a mistake, or word anything incorrectly, when she said that Ann Romney hadn't worked a day in her life, implying that she hadn't performed a service for a fee. She hasn't. She has been a mother, but she hasn't worked at a job.
The argument that so many of Rosen's critics are missing is this -- she was trying to make a point about whether a wealthy woman who has never had to worry about choosing between buying groceries or paying the electric bill is the best person to be the Romney campaign's surrogate on how women and families are struggling economically today.
Bamberger also points to a hilarious post on A Whole Lot of Nothing (“Of course [Hilary Rosen] didn’t misspeak as 90% of rational listeners realize. Of course she was putting down every stay-at-home mom who ever chose to life the life of leisure. Of course there’s no war on women in the news culture where women are pitted against one another, forced to defend their beliefs in a public forum"), which ends by quoting Barbara Bush’s marvelously off-the-cuff response to the whole mess: “Life is good. Women who stay home are wonderful, women who go to work are wonderful. Whatever.”
Jenny Lawson wins the Mommy Wars
Finally, in a charmingly irreverent CNN segment last week, Jenny Lawson (a.k.a. “The Bloggess”) begged for an end to use of the word “mommy” altogether. She went on to flummox interviewer Randi Kaye by demanding “zombie apocalypse plans” from each of the presidential candidates, on the grounds that “it would get kids interested in politics again.”
Have you read a standout blog post this week? Please nominate great writing by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweeting to @HuffPostParents.