Popular Mormon mommy blogs revisited

Published: Monday, June 27 2011 11:54 a.m. MDT

Last month Gabrielle Blair posed a question on her popular blog, Design Mom. "Have you noticed that tons of design blogs are written by Mormons/former Mormons?" Blair wrote. "What's the deal with that? It's sort of a hush-hush topic I hear whispered about at blogging conferences."

Blair, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is only the latest to speculate about the growing phenomenon of popular Mormon-mommy bloggers. Indeed, earlier this year a popular Deseret News article covered the sensation after Emily Matchar of Salon.com wrote an article titled, "Why I can't stop reading Mormon housewife blogs."

"They mention relatives in Utah," Matchar noted. "They drink a suspicious amount of hot chocolate. Finally, you see it: a subtly placed widget with a picture of a temple, or a hyperlink on the word 'faith' or 'belief.' You click the link and up pops the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint. … They're members of a large, close-knit network of Mormon lifestyle bloggers — young stay-at-home-moms who blog about home and hearth, Latter-day Saint-style."

The trendiest Mormon-mommy blogs — Rockstar Diaries, Underaged and Engaged, Nie Nie Dialogues, Nat the Fat Rat, and Say Yes to Hoboken — are not overtly Mormon. Rather, they mention the faith in subtle ways. For example, Jordan of blog ohhappyday.com/?s=mormon answered the frequently asked question, "Are you Mormon?" with a simple "Yup."

Yet, others like C. Jane Kendrick from C Jane Enjoy It, have dedicated entire posts and forums to explaining the faith. "One of the most frequently asked questions in my in-box is about Mormonism ... I just opened up a forum about Mormonism," Kendrick wrote. "Ask, answer, or post thoughts about Mormonism that you might have. I promise to do my best to respond."

Discussing their faith online does not appear to adversely affect their readership; all theses blogs have advertisers, thousands of readers, and their posts elicit plenty of comments. Shawni Eyre Pothier, who runs the blog 71 Toes, has even published a popular book, "A Mother's Book of Secrets: Keys to Making Motherhood Memorable, Meaningful, and Magnificent." Also, Kendrick writes a popular column for the Deseret News.

So why are there so many popular Mormon bloggers?

There are a lot of talented, educated Mormon women who grew up assuming motherhood would be the end all be all of their existence, wrote Blair. Then they found, once they became mothers, that they had capacity for projects and ideas in addition to and beyond motherhood. And design blogs are an easy outlet for all the creative energy. Though Blair admited that this theory is her sisters (who happens to run the blog Oh Happy Day) she added, Im sure theres something to this theory.

Also, the secret to these blogs may be that "the basic messages expressed in these blogs — family is wonderful, life is meant to be enjoyed, celebrate the small things — are still lovely," wrote Matcahar, a self-proclaimed atheist. "And if they help women like me envision a life in which marriage and motherhood could potentially be something other than a miserable, soul-destroying trap, I say, 'Right on.' "

Matcahar might be surprised to learn that not all these popular blogs are run by "Mormon Mommies." The wildly popular video-blogging sensation, Shay Carl Butler is a Mormon father who supports his family by posting video-blogs (or vlogs) about his family on youtube.com on the channel "Shaytards."

EMAIL: hboyd@desnews.com

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