A few years ago, before blogging was big and long before I was mommy, I started up a little webpage on a free blogging site and began tapping away some of my deep thoughts, shallow thoughts, reflections on my deepening conversion as a Christian, and musings on current events.
It was an emergent communication form for sure, and I think I was thrilled to see 10 or 15 readers start following along, interacting through comments and emails and forming a kind of virtual community of like-minded (and not so like-minded) individuals. It was like a digital town well of sorts, where people who might never bump into each other otherwise were suddenly interacting and sharing ideas.
Fast forward nearly a decade and the blogosphere is now most certainly a thing. It’s a place that buzzes with activity and influence 24 hours a day, and the reach is global. Cultures intermingle, religion and politics touch (and often clash) and conversations that might otherwise never happen, for better or for worse, are begun.
Blogs humanize the internet in a way that no other medium can touch. And there’s an opportunity there.
I could never have dreamed that my professional identity would one day be summed up by the slightly diminutive expression “mommy blogger,” but here we are. And here I am, joining forces with Catholic News Agency to bring fresh content and unique voices into the virtual public square.
The Catholic Church is frequently misunderstood and often misrepresented for her teachings on the dignity of human life, the complementarity of the sexes, and the sanctity of marriage.
And when it comes to the Church’s esteem for and comprehensive understanding of the dignity of women, the culture can’t. even. All it can do is think in terms of status and external accomplishments. The “boy’s club” of an all-male priesthood doesn’t sit well with a society that tends to measure human worth in terms of visibility and titles.
Meanwhile we’ve managed to denigrate motherhood to a mere aspirational afterthought — a temporary role to play at — once the career is locked down and the MBA is wrapped up. Not that a women can’t do it all, but that she really must focus on the important things, like career, status, and financial security, before launching into the world of self immolation and suffering that is pregnancy + diapers.
At least that’s what you’d understand from watching our movies, reading our magazines, and observing how our media portrays the role of “mother.” (Don’t even get me started on wife.)
There’s so much more, though. And it’s nothing that can be explained, it’s something that has to be demonstrated, to be lived. My contribution to the society I inhabit is twofold: I must give both my children and my lived example as mother, as provider, as a fiercely competent and critically necessary culture builder to the world at large.
And the internet is helping me do that. It’s both a means of connection and desperately needed camaraderie and an outlet for sharing the truth, goodness, and beauty of the Christian life with a world in desperate need of Good News.
On the days I’m drowning in diapers and dirty laundry and somebody is sick and I can’t leave the house, I can still trade emails with Haley about her latest reflections on liturgical living and the connection between the culture and great literature, or lack thereof.
I can check in with Bonnie to see what new ideas she’s come up for fostering actual community and relationships in her own neighborhood, and read about her son’s miraculous role in the ongoing cause for Ven. Fulton Sheen’s canonization.
While I’m waiting in the preschool pickup lot I can check in on Jen Fulwiler’s radio schedule for the upcoming week and see what kind of fascinating guests she might be featuring, or read excerpts from her spiritual memoir on my iPhone.
I can pop in on my favourite Canadian and see the plans Christy has for her family’s curriculum for the week, and read her latest musings on the difficulties of raising a larger Catholic family in a small parish with few to no other children in attendance.
I can read up on my favorite pro life OB/GYN resident’s wife, Grace, stylishly holding down her little fort and wielding some serious social media clout while managing 5 pregnancies in as many years, and with a smile on her face.
In other words, I can connect with other women who are like me — even though we’re separated by thousands of miles and multiple time zones and would probably never have met “in real life.”
They may not live on my block – or even in my country – but we are sisters, bonded by a common Faith and a shared mission. And while our lives might look completely different, our end game is the same: Heaven.
Don’t discount the mommy blog. It’s a powerful tool for evangelization, and it’s (usually) a refreshing oasis on an Internet crowded with lots of less than inspiring stuff.
And it’s real.
There are Catholic families out there waging war in a culture that says their lives are meaningless; women making heroic efforts to provide for the temporal and spiritual needs of their families despite the persistent message that doing so is a waste of our potential, beneath our dignity, not worth the gift of our lives.
We think otherwise. The Church teaches otherwise, and always has.
I hope you’ll stop by and hear more about it. I’ll be here with my trusty laptop and my cup of coffee, advancing into this new mission field marked by likes and hashtags.
Because the Gospel needs spreading, and the digital continent awaits.