As if to make my point, within days of posting a survey asking whether it might be time for a new general interest-like website not laced with constant references to parenting, The New York Times Magazine offered up a story about, yes, the Queen of the Mommy Bloggers. (Hasn’t the 15 minutes of fame for Mommy Bloggers come and gone, yet?)
Meanwhile, over in celebrity land, People magazine covers since the beginning of the year have either included a picture of parents, parents and a baby or used the word “baby” on its magazine cover as a matter of course. Lisa mentioned in our recent lunch that even her cycling magazine included profiles of cycling enthusiasts, all of whom had stats that included their parenting status. The bombardment of mommydom and parenting assumptions reminded me of this post I wrote back in 2007 (!!) called The Positioning Exercise.
As I suspected, I’m not alone in my thinking that there’s a need here for something new.
Your survey answers made it clear that we’re eager to hear each others stories, and we want to read about lives that looks more like ours, a place that offers belonging.
We are a global audience: 56 responses came from the U;S.; 4 from Canada; 3 from Australia; and one each from Sweden, New Zealand, the UK, Finland, Switzerland, France, Ireland, (and Slovenia — per Lucy’s comment below).
In a media world that divides between Parenting and Child-free, would you be interested in content for those who don’t identify strongly in either camp? 69% are tired of being overlooked; 28% are interested in learning more; 3 percent of us like being ignored. (Hey, that’s cool, too!)
What about an online site aimed those in the large middle appeals to you?
- I’m sick of being taken mom-hostage in everything.
- Kids are only a part of life, and our society has become very kid-centric. Would be nice to focus on adult things without getting blind-sided by kid stuff.
- Freedom from angst about parental state or lack of it.
- The prospect of NOT being bombarded by mommy-media or gleeful child-free statements.
- Being given a voice of our own; a place that I would feel like I belong; not feeling excluded.
- A place where people understand and I won’t have to feel vaguely apologetic for not being “normal.”
- Acknowledgment that more than parenting defines an adult.
- A website that’s potentially void of emotional triggers.
- People who have moved forward in their lives, not defined by their childlessness but affected nonetheless.
- Even today, there is a huge VOID of information for those in the middle.
- Intelligent conversation that doesn’t always go back to babies/parenting/pregnancy.
- It’s bound to find people who normally slip through the cracks.
- Stories that unite, not reading about women defined by being mothers.
- Articles I can relate to; I sometimes skip article aimed at parents even if they have information I could use.
- A safe place for people without children without the politics that come with the childfree-by-choice crowd.
- We’re not necessarily anti children, we just don’t have any.
- Not being constantly reminded of being a “have not.”
- Mostly, I would just like somewhere to go when I get overwhelmed by the mommyverse.”
We even had a mother fill out the survey who said,
I identify strongly with both sides and yet, even as a parent, I want to be more interesting than parenting-based discussions are…
Now, there’s someone with RANGE!
We’re not homogeneous. 52% defined themselves Childless Not by Choice; 28% “Other”; 16% Family of Two; 1% Childfree by Choice; 1% Single.
Finally, our editorial interests range from: Planning for the Future (19%); Personal Essays (16%); Travel (15%); Health (15%); Entertainment (11%); Personality/Profiles (9%); Style (9%); Other 6%.
- Humanitarian aid opportunities (other ways I can feel like I’m contributing to society)
- Food/Cooking, Exercise, Literature
- Sex and Intimacy; Maintaining/Changing Friendships with Parents; Redefining Yourself
- Hobbies, community involvement projects, ngos
- Personal development
- All are things that are covered ad nauseum in the media, but almost always from a fertile/parenting point of view. It would be cool to read about this stuff with the target audience being people like me.
More Food for Thought. There are sites/forums that focus on coping/grieving after infertility, but not many that embrace the total population of people who just simply are not parents — as much from circumstance as medical conditions that let to infertility.
- I think that people who find themselves CNBC go in search of an alternative future from the one they imagined, and hope to catch glimpses of themselves in a happy, fulfilling future. As the grieving and healing process is not linear, the content should be geared towards those in all stages of acceptance – to provide role models for those still buried in grief, and to appeal to those who have reached a level of acceptance and peace with their status.
- It’s good to see people who are further on with their journey and to see how they coped when they were at our stage. We can also help people who are not quite where we are now, and maybe help them. It’s also good to have a laugh and not get caught up in the misery.
- As I look at the prospect of a life without children, I am very interested in finding role models who have lived full and happy lives, who have become involved in projects and activities that contribute to communities, locally, nationally, internationally. I’d like not only to become more involved in the world outside of myself, and to nurture that world, and I’d also like to take care of myself spiritually and physically. I’d like to find peace within myself and feel content about my life.
- For all of us, it’s pretty much uncharted territory and to move along the path not completely alone would be such a good thing. Travel – that’s just something that interests me personally. Health – how will us being childless affect our health later in life (more at risk for certain things) and also the long term effects of the drugs and treatments most of us went through that failed.
- Redefining Yourself – so, if we decide to get off the making baby roller coaster, who are we? where, how to we go on from here? how do we redefine family, future, priorities?
- I chose everything because everything about life interests me and I’d be thrilled to see content from and about people who are exploring all kinds of things – simply because they can.
- Planning for future would include health and retirement and we are having to look at new and perhaps unconventional ways to make money and save for retirement. Personal essays and profiles would help us connect and connection/community, I feel, is THE most important thing. We must stay connected and feel understood. Style is fun!
- Stories are our lifeblood. We crave stories to understand and find each other. We are always looking for connections to the deal with the past, present and future.
Of course, the big question is where to from here? Surely someone among this talented community can take these ideas and run with them…
Meanwhile, I’m honored to announce that Silent Sorority was selected as the March Book of the Month by the Ladies in Waiting Book Club. I’ll be a guest blogger there through March. It promises to be a lively and thoughtful series of online discussions. I hope you’ll join us!