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Can You Be a Good Parent and a Good Blogger?

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[qi:076] That’s my personal struggle, but you could insert many all-consuming tasks — such as starting up a company, or training for the Olympics — for blogging and still get to the heart of my question. Most people believe good blogging is about two things: personality and passion. But where does that leave me, a professional news writer who’s passionate about technology — but not to the point where I want to think about it 24 hours a day?

Technology isn’t my single-minded passion, mostly because I have this other passion in life — my two-year-old daughter — but anyone else with a life outside of their blog seems doomed to failure under that formula. I suppose I could be a mommy blogger with a heavy focus on technology, but in truth, it really is the hardcore sciences and learning about technology that I love. So my passions are pretty much destined to never meet — unless I want to implant an RFID or GPS chip in my kid. Maybe when she starts driving. On Monday, Om sent over a nice read about what makes a good blog post from 43 Folders that summarizes the personality and passion requirements quite nicely. But I was drawn more to a New York Times article on slow blogging written on Friday. While the idea of posting a few times a month seems self-indulgent for a professional reporter, there’s a lot of value in taking the time to think a post through. Passion and personality are no substitute for innovative thinking and well-researched points of view.

So as I sit down with my family for a much-needed vacation during the rest of the week and let up-to-the-minute blogging slide, I am also taking some time to think about a few topics that really interest me, such as privacy, home networking, broadband pricing and regulation, and where the chip industry might be in the next five years. Feel free to send your thoughts on those topics or tell me how you guys manage to juggle multiple passions — or if you think passion is the key to great blogging, even. Almost a year into this gig, I still haven’t figured it out.

19 Responses to “Can You Be a Good Parent and a Good Blogger?”

  1. Stacey Higginbotham

    Wow, thanks guys for all the food for thought on this. I agree with those of you who think that time management isn’t the way to manage this issue, as I tend to view that as the opposite of passionate. Passion dictates I spend Sunday morning writing about the latest NY Times article on privacy as soon as I read it, rather than ignore it until Sunday night or Monday in favor of spending time with my daughter. Time managment is what allows me to be a credible reporter and writer for the site as well as a working parent (that and a supportive spouse much like Scoble credits).

    I think the key is blogging is seen as more than “just a job,” and that’s something I can’t sign up for while being the parent to a young child. As blogs change and become more like news outlets that is changing, but for all those hardcore bloggers out there, passion is what attracts and keeps the audience. Om does a lot of that for GigaOM, and I’m glad to augment those efforts.

  2. I think it is a mistake to think that because you are a parent and a writer you need to “blog” about one or the other. In the four plus years of parenthood, I’ve done it all from message boards, to private blogs, to public blogs w/ comments to my present and final incarnation.

    I think I reflect point #2 of the 43folders link. Photography has always been my passion. Yes, I did get the English degree, but I still hate grammar. I’ve come to accept that there is no market for my niche. I’m starting my own (very) small consulting company that will allow me to do who knows what.

    Honestly? This post/article/entry of yours is entirely more interesting to me on so many levels than you going on and on and on about your two year old. No offense, but mine drives me batty enough all day long.

    I’m a thinker, an observer and not so suited to the status blogging/mommy blogging world.

    What tells me you’re not made for traditional blogging is that my “comment” is more of a narrative reply. ;-)

    Good parent and good blogger? Kind of like asking good + appetite = good + chef

  3. I am, what they call, a budding “mommy blogger,” and I have learned that the success of a blog (which mine is not yet a “success” in terms of followers) depends on the audience you are trying to reach. If your audience has the same passions you do, then likely you will find many who want to hear the blending of your passion for technology and how it relates to your life as a mom, professional writer, etc. I spoke to several friends of mine who are “mommies” and I have yet to find them searching for the most successful blog or the one that teaches them something. Most are writing and reading blogs just to keep others posted about their daily endeavors. I am branching out trying to help moms who need something more than an update on their friend’s kids. I like the blogs that not only teach something but include why they are interested in that subject. If you love technology and it reminds you of your role as a mom in the process, then, by all means, share that.

  4. I have to say being a good parent and a good blogger sometimes doesn’t fit together and the time mangement isn’t the solution.
    I have 3 kids , the youngest has 6 , I am a teacher (ICT in education) and there are moments when I pray for days with 25 hours.
    Didn’t find out how to cope with this but I would love to hear a practical solution for teaching+moming+ researching+and other things a women need to do in her life.

  5. Yes , that is really possible. This is about time management….
    If you could manage your time in such way that you give plenty of time to your kids and the rest spare time to blogging…Nothing is impossible….

  6. It can work both ways. In my case, blogging has helped me be a far more attentive parent. I can spend time at my home office instead of in a newspaper newsroom, and regularly use autoposting to make time for doctors appointments and school events. It sometimes mean I write late at night so I can do things with the boys during what would normally be office hours. But I can plan that. There are lots of days when breaking news still ties me down, but it’s much different from when I was in the newsroom, chained to the desk and on the clock building someone else’s brand.

  7. I think passion definitely is the key. I really want to maintain both a professional and a personal blog – there is so much I want to share, say, discuss with others, etc. But I guess my passion level isn’t high enough for me, after my regular work hours and the bit of social networking I squeeze in, to take another hour or so away from my husband and two teenagers, to devote myself to blogging. Sometimes it makes me feel a bit deficient in my professional arena — after all, doesn’t everybody who’s anybody have both a hefty social networking and blogging reputation? I’m still struggling with the social networking time! Then I think of passions and priorities and I see my kids, not my computer.

    Does that mean that those of you with a passion for digital life are bad parents? I don’t think so. But I do think that, if you want some semblence of balance, you need to work a little extra hard to carve some time away from the computer screen, just as I need to work a little harder to carve out some digital time.

  8. Stacey,

    I am no where’s near the writer you are, however, I was asked a similar question in a blog article by the IT Skeptic. Here is the question and answer if you are interested…

    Skep: Your blog intermingles life and work. Some say this is the future as the distinction disappears. Others say it is unhealthy. What are your views?

    John: This is a great question. They say blogging is like having Tourette Syndrome. You can say anything you want and who cares what it sounds like. When I started my blog, I really had no agenda. I figured I would ramble about IT management and if no one listened that would be fine. I am also a wannabe entrepreneur and I am always looking at new technologies to blog about. In the Tourette model I just can’t keep my mouth shut when I see something interesting, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with IT management. I also have two boys, 5 and 9, and I am very interested in education technologies as well. Somewhere along the way I started interjecting personal and family stories as blog articles. After I started getting a little bit of a following on my blog, I thought I should really take my blog more seriously. I thought of dropping the personal and silly stories and sticking with more of a marketing focus on IT management. Then one day I ran into a very successful PR person at an airport lounge and she told me that she loved my blog and that she reads it religiously. I told her that I thought I should stop doing what I call “Silly Stories” on my blog because it might not seem professional. She then asked me, “Is the blog your job or your hobby?”. I told her I really didn’t know the answer to that question. She then told me “The reason I like your blog is because it’s you!” and that’s what, in her opinion, makes it great. Then I realized why I created the blog in the first place. For now I guess my blog is just a hobby and I therefore I will just keep having a lot of fun doing it.

    For me blogging would not be fun and I wouldn’t waste my time if I couldn’t jot down what ever was in my head at the time it hits me.


  9. I was captivated by your reference to slow blogging; a movement us born! I have a deep need for responsible, well thought out blogging. I have no need whatsoever for more Mommy blogs. Look at Hendrik Hertzberg’s blog for the New Yorker online – it’s an example of perfect and passionate slow blogging with plenty of his sublime personality.

  10. Some of the best parents I know are also bloggers. With 4 kids, I certainly try, and IMO forcing myself to learn to balance and organize has made me a better person, and I think a better person. Look at Phil Burns – – he has 10 kids, and his daughter has Leukemia, yet he’s one of the better bloggers I know. He’s taken a break recently with his daughter’s leukemia, but frankly, I think it’s the ability to multi-task that also allows us to know when to take a break as well to focus on what matters most.

  11. What is blogging these days? I dont think that it is still a *requirement* to engage your audience by responding to comments in real time as they come in 24×7 from time zones across the globe. You’re no longer expected to be a lone wolf beating the establishment. If you blog needs to post at 4am PST then there is a team perhaps in other parts of the world that can let you sleep.

    These days you can be a blogger from 9 to 5 (or 8 to 8 anyway) just like a normal job. That doesn’t make it any easier to be good at your job and a good parent at the same time. But there is plenty of evidence that this is possible, not easy, but possible anyway.

  12. I am far from a good parent. If it weren’t for my kids’ moms I wouldn’t be able to do 1/10th the blogging I can. Blogging is best when it is passionate and authoritative. It isn’t for everyone but I work my passions together. When my 14-year-old son was able to argue with the FCC Commissioner about censorship and child protection issues in a polite and credible way I knew he will be all right in whatever he chooses to do in life.

  13. I have stopped thinking in terms of “either or”. First, there is no need to be “good” at blogging and parenting. You can be an average or not so good. Second, every thing has it’s moment in our life, we live every moment. So, I do not bother about being good at. For me, living and enjoying a moment is more important!

  14. You can be a good parent and a good blogger, absolutely. Blogging, whether it is a hobby or a profession takes time, and so does parenting. It’s just a matter of time management, and making time for all that needs to get done. I’ve tried to continue blogging at a good pace, even with 5-month old twins, but sometimes it means writing after they are asleep, or bouncing kids while typing. Robert Scoble is another example, with Milan and his older son, Patrick.