(by Herb Scribner deseretnews.com 9-23-16)
Mormon mommy blogs have hit the mainstream.
Mormon mothers may be putting together the best blogs out there, according to The Toronto Star. And much of the success of these blogs seems tied to Mormonism’s history of sharing positive family values with readers.
“We don’t drink, we don’t smoke, we don’t swear. Those sort of things make us stand out naturally,” Utah mom Meredith Ethington, who runs the Perfecting Pending blog, told The Toronto Star. "But we also struggle with the same things that other people struggle with. . . I would like people to see that I’m normal and real and not perfect by any means.”
Other Mormon mommy bloggers told the Star that the success of these blogs may be because these blogs are another form of missionary work.
“Mormonism is a missionary religion. Members of the church are encouraged to share their faith with others,” Patrick Mason, a historian, told the Toronto Star. “Blogs have become a really popular way for them to do that, often times in a really low-key way.”
It makes sense that Mormons would embrace the written word in this way, too, since the church has a history with journaling, according to The Star.
Even especially liberal and nonreligious readers embrace these blogs. Emily Matchar of Salon, who claims to be an atheist, said these blogs help her see the positive and uplifting aspects of life.
“To read Mormon lifestyle blogs is to peer into a strange and fascinating world where the most fraught issues of modern living — marriage and child rearing — appear completely unproblematic,” Matchar wrote.
Of course, some of these mommy bloggers don’t use their stories to only promote a positive lifestyle. Many actually use them to spread information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, helping people gain a better understanding of the faith.
Shawni Pothier, author of the 71 toes blog, told the Deseret News in 2013 that she often gets questions about her faith, so she answers them on the blog.
“I get a lot of questions from people about my religion, so it was perfect to be able to explain and give them the real deal, the Book of Mormon, to figure it out for themselves,” Pothier said.
But it's not always easy to run a Mormon mommy blog, at least as a full-time job, according to The Atlantic.
These bloggers will often create their blog and receive attention at first, especially from other family members. But eventually, as The Atlantic reported, the attention fades and the struggle to find advertisements to fund the blog rise, putting these mothers at risk of having to shut down their blog.
Susan Bidel, a senior analyst at Forrester research, told The Atlantic that bloggers should manage their expectations.
“If you can generate enough content to attract a good enough audience by working all by yourself, and you'll be happy with an income of $50,000 a year, you'll be fine,” Bidel told The Atlantic.
Still, regardless of what topics they share, it seems that the positive light Mormons shine on their lives through their blogs may be the most attractive quality for readers, as The Toronto Star reported.
“I love my family and I love my kids and I love to share the humorous and silly side of that, while still being really positive about being a mom and being a wife,” Jenny Evans, a mom fo six and blogger for Unremarkable Files, told the Star. “Mormon belief is just to look for the positive in things.”