What to do when your favorite parenting blog goes political

Here's the typical case of the mom blogger who writes a political post:

Mom blogger is horrified by current event. She grapples with how to talk to her kids about it. She's afraid of raising kids in a world that feels increasingly unsafe.

Mom blogger writes about horrifying current event. She's unsure what she can do and looks to her community of readers for suggestions. She encourages people to love each other. 

Then comes an angry mob of internet strangers. We're only here for wine memes, sensory bin fillers, and tips for removing water beads from our carpets. Now you're trying to capitalize on this tragedy? UNFOLLOW! Stick to D-I-Y Halloween costumes and leave the politics out of it! 

Your favorite mom blogger is more likely than not an enthusiastic but unpaid commenter on the world around her. Because that world is normally full of parent hacks, messy floors, requests for coffee and/or wine, you might get frustrated when the content shifts to more serious subjects. But please, don't unfollow when the writer "turns political" and skips a week of posting lunch hacks or homework tips. Here's why. 

Behind every gorgeous flat lay is a real-live human being. And human beings are political..  PC:  rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Behind every gorgeous flat lay is a real-live human being. And human beings are political.. 

PC:  rawpixel.com on Unsplash

 

Mom blogs have always been political

The well-worn trappings of mom blogs may not seem political, but it's possible to view them as responses to U.S. policy. 

Would we need as many "But first, coffee" mugs if we campaigned for longer paid family medical leave?

Would moms be filling those mugs with wine as often if we had better state-sponsored early child care? 

Would we need to share so many terrifying stories of moms who took their own lives if we had improved screening for postpartum depression and anxiety? 

We do a disservice to mom blogs (and the entire parenting genre) when we dismiss them as apolitical. 

What to do instead of unfollowing

1. Assume good will. One of the charges leveled at bloggers writing about current events is that they are trying to profit off tragedy. But here's the thing: writers write. Parenting bloggers, especially, write about their day-to-day lives. It's absolutely reasonable to expect them to occasionally write about the news, because the news counts as "everyday life." 

2. Engage. Bloggers live for comments. And good bloggers engage with thoughtful critique. So by all means, write back and disagree. What's your interpretation of the event? Aim for a "yes, and" or "yes, but" response. What common ground do you and the blogger share, either as moms or just as fellow humans? What did the writer miss? What would you add? 

3. Share. We are used to sharing the things we like to read. Faced with the horror of Las Vegas, for example, I'm inclined to share this. But think back to your most valuable learning experiences. They often involved doing something you didn't want to do, or didn't even like doing. Maybe you had to read something you didn't want to read. Maybe you had to write something you didn't want to write.

When you find that your favorite blogger disagrees with you politically, instead of yelling and unfollowing, share and question. Why is this blogger's position bothering you so much? How does it challenge your own beliefs about what it means to be a parent and citizen? 

4. Get political. "Politics" conjures images of people trying to win your vote, or talk radio hosts, or basically anyone who is lying. But "politics," much more broadly, is the act of governing. It's taking into account multiple, often conflicting viewpoints and coming to solutions that work for most people most of the time. 

Sound familiar?

Did you recently help resolve a conflict over rights to a stuffed animal? Do you plan household budgets and make compromises over dinner menus? Have you coordinated school, sports, bath, and bedtime schedules? Do you develop, practice, and revise rules to fit your household, imposing sanctions on those who don't follow the rules? 

The most important reason to keep following mom blogs when they go political is that moms. are. political.

We may never go pro (though the fact that only 21 of sitting U.S. senators are women should encourage more of us to start campaigning). But moms are among the very people most suited to governing.