Babble Lists & Why We Blog

Last week, the popular mom parenting website Babble put out one of their patented Top 50 lists. But in a surprising twist, the Babble editors gave a rare tip of the cap to fathers and came out with their Top 50 Dad Blogs of 2011. And look who’s hanging on by a thread at #50.

First of all, I want to say thank you to the Babble editors. All snarkiness aside, I really am honored they decided my blog was worthy of inclusion on the list. If you click on the other guys you’ll see I’m in some pretty amazing company, something that is not lost on me. And the fact that this list appears to have been put together by real people doing actual research as opposed to the linkbait, online popularity contests is very refreshing.

But when you wade into a community and start anointing some and not others, there are bound to be hurt feelings and sour grapes.

First of all some guys were upset they didn’t make it. Well, they didn’t come right out and say they were hurt by being left off the list. It came out as “These lists are stupid” and “This is nothing but a popularity contest.” Then people wrote lengthy posts about how they’ve been at this for longer than half the people on Babble’s list and how the lack of inclusion on some list should never impact your sense of self-worth. Because the fastest way to show people you don’t care about being left off the list is obviously to write a post devoted solely to the same subject.

Sorry, but I call bullshit.

Look, if you truly started a dad blog simply because you wanted to keep a record of life with a child then fine. But frankly, I think most people who say this are completely and utterly full of shit. Most writers crave recognition, positive feedback and affirmation. We want comments from people who are moved by us, thousands upon thousands of people clicking our respective “Like” buttons and countless followers on Twitter. And in that vein, we like it when we’re recognized by established sites that increase our exposure.

Why are we all so afraid to admit this? Because people will think we’re shallow? Newsflash: parent bloggers spend many, many hours writing about ourselves on a non-stop basis. Some do it better than others and appeal to a broader audience, but in the end what we do is shallow and self-absorbed. And seeking validation is not something about which I’m ashamed. I work hard on this blog and my writing. So when that hard work is recognized, you’re damn right I’m happy. And when it’s not, I’m pissed.

Case in point, Backpacking Dad made up a list of the Top 25 Sexiest Dad Bloggers. It was a completely random list based on Shawn’s warped sense of humor. It has little to no meaning and was obviously meant to elicit a few laughs. And I was kinda pissed I wasn’t on it.

But the controversy about the dad blogger list was not relegated to the ranks of men.

CecilyK, a Babble mom blogger, wrote a post that not only concerned the release of the list, but griped about dads griping about the list. Then, she dropped this on us:

I also find it fairly ironic (and somewhat irritating) that dad bloggers
are insisting that they be awarded the same attention, accolades and respect that
mom bloggers get –- which, hilariously, is actually very little.
You’ll forgive my cynicism; I was just reminded that women will make
two million dollars LESS in their lifetimes than their male colleagues,
so I’m having a lot of trouble with dads feeling left out of much of anything.

Yeah. Equality is a totally unreasonable request. Especially considering most women are constantly calling for fathers to be MORE involved, so naturally it’s a good idea to essentially tell dads to quit their bitching when they do just that. And launching into the completely unrelated wage gap issue was equal parts confusing and annoying.

(I should note Cecily K wrote this follow-up post in which she interviewed Jason Avant which was nice to see)

Then there was this piece which wasn’t so bad in and of itself, but spawned a comment which had me seeing red. A commenter named Kim wrote:

Can’t you let us have *anything*, men?
Why is it necessary for men to have equality
in mom-blogging? It’s MOM-BLOGGING.

Wow. I mean…wow! She actually asked why men need equality when it comes to writing about being a parent. And she called that writing “Mom-blogging.” As if anyone who writes about his/her children is automatically a “mom blogger.” Which supports the very real and misguided notion that real parents are moms, and dads are an afterthought.

I wonder how Kim would feel if I said “Why is it necessary for women to have equality in the board room? After all, it’s BUSINESS and the work world belongs to men.” I’m betting that one would go over about as well as, ummm—about as well as a dad invading mommy parenting turf.

I’m just sick of it all. I’m sick of some dad writers pretending they don’t care about recognition. Yes, we all enjoy the brotherhood and support of being in a great online network. That’s certainly been a spectacular byproduct of blogging. But the sooner you’re honest with yourself and admit you’re in this for more than just the “love of the game,” the sooner we can all move on. And maybe if you write with that in mind, you’ll make more of these lists you claim you want no part of.

And moms, cut the bullshit. We all know you ladies are way more organized, successful and powerful than we are. For now. But you’re also FAR more catty, so let’s stop feigning outrage over some minor dad-on-dad crime. And honestly moms, how about treating us as allies instead of potential enemies? You can’t get mad that men don’t put in enough time as husbands and fathers and then turn around and complain that we’re invading your turf. We’re not the Jets and Sharks and there’s no reason this has to end in a knife fight.

Although if I don’t make the next big list, that’s exactly what’s gonna happen!

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10 thoughts on “Babble Lists & Why We Blog

  1. I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say I don’t actually write primarily for an audience. As a by-product I do but that’s not why I do it. I love writing being dyslexic if I don’t keep doing it my writing just gets worse and worse and in an attempt to defeat writers block I write about what I do. I think of all the posts on my blog only 2 or 3 fall into the ‘written for an audience’ category. Thats neither here nor there though.

    I want to pick a whole in one of the arguements. Only a wee whole mind you. As I understand it whist Babble is a parenting website almost everywhere you look it’s about mommy-blogging. It’s in the header. It’s in the content. I can understand when someone thinks that their place away from men gets taken over by men. We’ll forget just who runs the site for now :)

    It’s the same in the UK. All the big parenting sites are aimed at mothers. Us dad’s are just tagged on because with nowhere else to go we joined up anyway and didn’t cause enough fuss to be thrown out. The only dad-centric places I’ve seen in the past seem to have died a very quick death. :(

    In saying that though congrats on being included in the top 50 :)

  2. I’ve written a post that will probably come out on Huffington today that is very much related to this–glad I stumbled upon yours just now! Well said, and I could not agree more. I’ll send you my HuffPo article when it comes out and see what you think.

    Lori Day

  3. Bob: I’m not trying to be a jerk, but if you were just writing for yourself and to be a better writer, why make your writing public at all? You could write every day for yourself and to improve yourself. But you don’t. You choose to write for an audience. And that’s not a bad thing, I do too.

    And I disagree about Babble. Their header says “For a new generation of PARENTS.” Not moms, but parents. Now granted, 95% of their content is for moms. I don’t begrudge them that, because they’re playing to their demographic, made up mostly of moms. But to their credit, they seem to be making a concerted effort to include dads, for which I’m thankful.

    Lori: Definitely send the link. Can’t wait to read it.
    Daddy Files recently posted..Babble Lists & Why We BlogMy Profile

  4. Aaron,

    I love most of Babble, I read it on a daily basis but a lot of the mean comments aren’t just directed to Dads and Dad bloggers. They are directed at working Moms, stay at home Mom’s, Mom’s who use disposable diapers, Mom’s who use cloth diapers, Mom’s who breastfeed, Mom’s who bottle feed, Mom’s who co-sleep…essentially anyone who makes a decision about their kid that others don’t agree with.

    I agree with you, the attitude about Dads and Dad bloggers are awful. It’s insulting to the Dads who ARE involved in their kids, and the Mom’s who co-parent with the Dad’s (I have heard that Mom’s that “co-parent” aren’t real Moms because they don’t do it all. INSULTING the Dad’s and the Mom’s) I think the issue is supporting each other as parents AND supporting each other’s decisions, whether you agree with them or not.

  5. Because the fastest way to show people you don’t care about being left off the list is obviously to write a post devoted solely to the same subject.

    It is also good linkbait and an easy way to drive traffic. I am guilty of doing that from time to time. I’ll be the first to say that some people might think that I was hurt by not being included but that is not the case for me.

    I have been blogging for 7.5 years so I started before people called themselves mom or dad bloggers. We were just bloggers then and that was cool. I wrote about the same stuff as I write now but I like to think that it is more polished.

    What I said before about Babble and I’ll say it again- I don’t think that a lot of time is spent searching for blogs. We see the same names over and over again. Many of them are the people that attend the blogging conferences. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t fine writers or that they wouldn’t be included on the lists anyway.

    It is just a comment about lazy journalism. If that comes across as me being whiny or upset because I wasn’t included I am cool with that. It is not how I feel, but people are entitled to their opinions.

    As for women, well they have no bigger enemy than other women.
    Jack@TheJackB recently posted..And The Light Was ExtinguishedMy Profile

  6. Don’t worry about being a jerk :)
    Part of the reason I don’t make all my posts private is that one of the things I’ve been taught to improve my writing is to be open to criticism and suggestion from others on my work. I guess you could say thats writing for an audience as folk need to see it to do that. Different ways of looking at it I suppose.

    As for babble. I was sure there was a banner on the header talking about mom this and mom that last week but I could be completely wrong. The site content though is very much mom directed as you say. Top 100 Mom bloggers. Maternity Fashion. Moms have their own category on there. It’s one thing to try and be inclusive but, and I think I mentioned this on another blog today, there are those that use babble that don’t want dads there and whilst I don’t agree with them I can see where they might be coming from when they complain. I just wish there was an overtly open parenting site that didn’t aim for one side or the other.

  7. Well said. And, it seems, still not quite sorted out.

    For example, Huffington Post (nice post, btw Lori) still hangs the “Parenting” tag under “Women” – no sign of any testosterone in the neighborhood.

    But since the 1960’s, men have more than doubled the time devoted to domestic activities – child care, cooking, shopping, cleaning – and it’s reduced the average time women spend on same by more than 2 hours in the same period. Has to count for something, eh?

    Dad bloggers are keeping the chronicle of more than naps and nappies.
    DadintheK recently posted..Where Marshmallows GrowMy Profile

  8. The biggest thing I don’t get here is that men who write blogs about parenting are NOT trying to be mommy-bloggers. That is impossible. THEY ARE NOT MOMMIES. Why would anyone see men who write dad blogs as trying to take something away from women who write mom blogs? It is completely ridiculous. I blog too, and I write about my kids, but I do not consider myself a mommy blogger. Partly because I write about a lot of other things, and partly because that term just rubs me the wrong way. I feel like it’s got all these connotations now of snobbiness and greediness and money and whatever.

    I personally think that any Dad who loves his kids and interacts with them enough to write a WHOLE BLOG about it is pretty freaking awesome.
    Rachael recently posted..Friday Fragments: TGIF!My Profile

  9. well said as always, aaron. i’m so over the parenting blogging community in general, it’s a joke. dads and moms online forget one thing: the VAST MAJORITY of MOMS and DADS DON’T BLOG. so they don’t give a shit about the rise of moms on the internet, or the “bra-burning” dad bloggers who want the world to acknowledge that they, too, are $ at changing a diaper. they’re just parenting. and most of them would say that yes, indeed, today’s dads are playing a larger role than the dads of the prior generation. and then they’d get on with it.

    so to all the daddybloggers and mommybloggers who are bent at Babble, or bent at each other? pull your head out of your cyber ass and parent your kid. then blog about it. then quit taking yourself so fucking seriously. then get on with it and quit regressing into adolescence about a readership that is relatively paltry and almost certainly best measured in the 100s.
    wow. sorry for the rant.
    john cave osborne recently posted..Married with a Moustache: When Movember Meets MatrimonyMy Profile

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