I admit in the last week while feeling excited and honored, I'm also, well, kind of amazed - especially when I see us stacked up among such heavy hitters:
1) Babycenter (Johnson & Johnson): Eight million members, or as Babycenter puts it, "Our website ALONE reaches as many people in a month as there are births in the U.S. in a year." I'm not sure I understand the math but it's IMPRESSIVE.
2) Sesame Street (Sesame Workshop): What else to say but sunny days! LOVE. The website just won an Emmy. And their annual report details how they are saving millions of children in just about every, single country in the world.
3) Parenting.com (Bonnier Corp.): 14 million pageviews a month, YOWZA! And, according to their media kit, there's nothing they can't do for moms,"Parenting.com continues to embody The Parenting Group's commitment to moms, by doing it all."
4) Drinkwise Australia (the Australian alcohol industry): Well, we'll just leave it at that.
5) And then there's us - TheMotherhood.com: Several million-less pageviews a month than the above and, according to this here blog post by me, it's brought to you by "Two moms with six kids between them -- and a dream!"
It's a puzzle.
But, then again, it's not.
In internet terms, Emily and I go back a million years (before Twitter) when "mommy blogger" was not a noun and BlogHer had yet to hold a conference.
But there we all were, moms online, building a strong-as-steel network out of kindness, support and amazing storytelling.
Emily and I started our first blog in 2004 but neither of us fully understood the true meaning nor power of the mom blog community until August 2005 when the levees broke in New Orleans.
On that day we wrote a blog post on this very blog that literally changed, for us, everything.
We became, overnight, an in-kind donation clearinghouse for moms helping moms. The web was used for good and it was mom bloggers leading the way. Emily and I cried often that year because of how you helped each other.
Looking back now it is clear that moment in time also represented when we, as a culture, started to trust the institutions less and trust each other more. We were not immersed in social media yet, but the seeds were planted and soon being online was never going to be the same.
Funny how life works.
In early 2006, all Emily and I could think about was creating a way online for moms to be there for each other. Hello, TheMotherhood.com!
Building social networks wasn't really understood by anyone and we obviously (if you saw our first, horrible versions of TheMotherhood.com you no doubt agreed) didn't understand either.
However, we had two principles for our "neighborhood" and they kept us focused:
1) We raise all boats
2) We leave everything a little better than we found it
We're several versions into the site, and yet we never stop learning what it takes to build on and improve our community. All the while we've also built a business that "keep the lights on" but also allows us to live out what we mean by "raise all boats". In the last couple weeks alone we've been able to engage several dozen mom bloggers in projects with brands.
Amazing to think how much has evolved on that front in just a few years.
Remember the big feature article several years ago in the business section of the New York Times where a home builder had an epiphany and asked a bunch of moms what they would change in his homes' floor plans? He made their changes - like moving the mudroom from the middle of the house to next to the garage - and sales skyrocketed. Everyone went, "Ooooh, ahhhhh. So smart, ask the women." That article was the first big media piece in recent times that acknowledged the economic impact of moms.
And soon the media, brands, organizations, entertainment people, big wigs all wanted to hear from moms.
It wasn't generic "moms" who were sought, however, it was moms online.
"Influencer," in all its marketing-speak, also happens to be the mantle online moms bear. But with it moms online have demanded a new level of authenticity, honesty and integrity from brands. Sometimes we get that from a company, sometimes we don't but when a brand breaks our trust, the economic ramifications are swift. At the same time, when companies and moms connect in real ways - work together, build relationships, listen to and hear each other - it's value -added for everyone.
Maybe moms online take if for granted, or forget it from time to time, but if we pause a minute to absorb who we are, the impact we've had and continue to have and what we represent -- we, in the fullness of our ongoing contribution to the world, are revolutionary.
Moms online at this moment in history might not be so different from pioneering women who've come before us. Wouldn't it be wonderful to think we're direct, philosophical descendants of those who barreled across prairies or discovered new territory or invented communities out of nothing or circled their wagons to protect each other?
It's not a leap, and our kids will say so one day, that we've built a new world. We've together spent countless hours and years on it, gently, intently, diligently building - with deep love, and lots of hard work and tears, too. The work isn't over and there is so much more to do and discover.
Where we are, what we've invented and all we have accomplished and will accomplish might not involve annual shareholder meetings, thousands of employees or millions of subscribers, but it has changed - and continues to change - the way the world views moms. More importantly we've created a whole, entirely new way to see, connect with and care for each other.
For that reason, Emily and I dedicate our Webby nomination to the originals, the real power houses - the mom blogger community - and in the unlikely event we win it gals, OMG it's yours.