And The Reader Survey Says: Hello! We’re Here…

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.”
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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.
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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!

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20 thoughts on “And The Reader Survey Says: Hello! We’re Here…

  1. MLO

    I am very interested in contributing. It is odd. This morning I woke up to deciding to move forward again in life. I have been in hermit land for some time. It is definitely time to get out of that mindset and start building a new future.

  2. Lucy

    I overlooked the survey, so I would just like to add my voice from Slovenia:
    yup, I am very interested!

  3. Pamela

    Most excellent! Nice to hear from you MLO…you’ll be a terrific addition to the team.

  4. I would love to contribute, in whatever way I can.

  5. I would love to contribute, in however small a way.

  6. Jenn

    First off, Congrats on being chosen for the book of the month. I am so glad this wonderful book is getting even more exposure. That’s awesome.

    It’s funny that you wrote this post when you did….I just struggled this past weekend wading through a boatload of pregnancy/baby/parenting advertising.

    This started with me searching for a glider/ottoman set for a new room we built in our home. I just thought this type of seating would be perfect for the room but failed to think about how “generally” pregnant & new moms are the ones it would be geared toward. It was not fun searching to say the least.

    It was also a definite reminder of the importance of building a site like the you are suggesting.

    I am still very much willing to help in any way I can. Just let me know.

    And thanks again for all your hard work!

  7. Pamela

    @Mali @Illanare
    @Jenn (along with @MLO): Delighted to have you on board. Will pull together a proposed framework for how we can organize a working group.There’s site building, design and of course an editorial calendar to create. I’m checking out domain names — will share some ideas when I’ve procured a few. The clever ones I don’t want to share here and then find taken. As for the various website building platforms.  I’ve worked with:

    • GoDaddy’s QuickBlog and WebsiteTonight products, which allow domain registration through to content building.
    • Explored a bit with WordPress for work-related websites/blogs
    • Just for the first time looked at Blogger.

    I’d like a platform that gives us tabs/pages and more of a magazine layout, with good search engine tools and analytics. Have you had any additional experience/feedback with these or different platforms?

    Welcome your thoughts…

  8. MLO

    I would say that WordPress is going to give the most versatility with the least amount of coding while keeping things simple on the user end. You could look at Drupal or Joomla but I would caution that you would need to bring in a developer that you can trust not to tie you into their proprietary code.

    I have seen this often. It is why I despise some in the Drupal community. They are all about the “ooh cool” factor over service to the client. I’m currently working on making a business site using WordPress and hoping to tie it into the features of Alfresco. (If you haven’t seen Alfresco for document management, you should take a look.)

    Can you tell I do this sort of thing for a living? LOL.

    If you want to set up a call to go over technologies – because I have been researching them of late – just contact me off list to set up a time! We might even want to have a conference call.

  9. IrisD

    Hi, I’d also like to contribute.

  10. Elena

    Hi, i guess i was the one voice from Switzerland to fill in the poll on Lisa’s blog… makes feel kind of unique :-)
    while reading your summary of the poll i thought about something that might be an interesting perspective for the new site: Why not take “work/life”-balance as a starting point. Clearly the people interested in the site will be people who have to construct their lives anew, find some meaning for them, develop a “personal project”… while perhaps not all of them will be interested in actual “projects” like being a volunteer in an ngo. But all of us have to find a new definition to our “career” (what importance has my work to me? for my identity? which life standard do i seek/how much do i need to earn to get that? and so on) – while at the same time trying to find a “fulfilling” life apart or in addition to work.
    To people with children, in my view it’s often the family life which provides this famous “Work/life”-balance. Maybe for housewives, the issue is the other way around, they sometimes struggle to find a balance between their tasks as mums – and being a person with goals and projects apart from that. But in both cases the starting point is very different from childless people. so, that’s just my suggestion, maybe this perspective would provide a good starting point (without having to decide in detail how much travel/cooking/style etc. issues there should be).
    Thank you so much Pamela and Lisa for your great work. I’m really looking forward to the outcome of this project.

  11. I’m not much in the creativity department, but I am way into proof-reading, if you need that at all!

  12. Kelly

    Not sure what I can contribute towards building a website. I’m probably good to contribute a story or two though.
    Loved your book btw. Thank you.

  13. RMG

    Let me know how I can help!

  14. Diane

    Count me in, Pamela. What is it that you would like help with: writing, editing, idea generation, finding content elsewhere…? I could help with about any of those. The only bit I’m useless on is graphics; I have no visual aptitude at all!

  15. Pamela

    @Elena: Terrific food for thought!

    @Diane @RMG @Kelly @Julie @Iris: Thank you for raising your hands. Promise more to come…

  16. Zee

    Hey PJ! I’ve been out of blogworld for quite a while now, just working on sorting myself out. (If you remember, 2009 kicked the %$#@ out of me!) I still haven’t given up on starting a new personal blog, but would love to be part of this new project. It sounds awesome. Let me know what you need and if I can make it happen, I will.

  17. Pamela

    Zee! So great to hear from you…glad you’re on board!

  18. Lily - The Infertile Mind

    I love this idea and you’ll see my lengthy e-mail about where I’d like to help, if those areas interest you at all. Other than that, I’m cheering for you all the way and will glad to spread the news far and wide when it becomes available.

    Hugs,
    Lily

  19. Anonymous

    What a great idea and the perfect person to make it happen. This would be something I would really like to be a part of. Either research, submitting content/stories or in helping w/ideas and opinions. I could really use a place to go these days to get away from the mommydom…

  20. […] early days we’ve had 61, 940 readers from 171 counties and 252,870 page views. Answers from a reader survey in 2011 offer added […]

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