Saturday, November 01, 2008


A couple of days ago, I came across a post on a science blog, and wanted to comment on it. I typed in my comment, and without even thinking about it, I typed in "Cloud" as my name, and put the URL to this blog.

Later, I realized that anyone who followed the link from that comment and found this blog would probably be disappointed to find a bunch of posts about baby and toddler sleep issues rather than more science blogging.

I'm not sure if this is a problem or not. I could pick different aliases for different types of blogs. I regularly read science blogs and techie blogs as well as mommyblogs. This would keep everything separate, and would avoid disappointed link followers. However, that solution seems wrong to me. It seems to say that a mommyblogger can't also be a scientist, or a techie, or a foodie, or whatever else.

I've struggled a bit to find my identity now that I'm a mother as well as all the other things I am. It felt like having the baby stripped away, or maybe just obscured, some fundamental things, and that I had to reconstruct my idea of who I am. I'm not the same woman I was before Pumpkin was born. I am less focused on my career (although still dedicated to it), less fit (although I wish this weren't true), and less well traveled (another thing I wish weren't true). But I am also more tolerant of different approaches to life (we all love our kids, right?), more likely to see the joy in little things ("BUH-bbles!"), and I waste far less time watching TV (I don't think I've seen a single Law and Order episode since Pumpkin was born).

I haven't really gotten comfortable in my new identity yet, but I'm not willing to separate the scientist, techie, traveller, etc. from the mommy part of me. So I think I'll keep posting comments on science and techie blogs as Cloud. Sure, this means that some people I know in real life will read this blog and know it is me- I have already heard from a couple of people who have found this blog via one of my comments somewhere and recognized me. That is fine. I don't use my real name because I don't want this blog coming up if a prospective employer searches for me. But I don't make a serious effort to be anonymous, either. There is nothing in this blog that would get me fired, or even seriously embarrass me if a colleague read it. I will claim my sleepless nights, obsessive concern about Pumpkin's eating habits, and sappy joy in her accomplishments along with my love of travel and geeky tendencies. It is all part of me, and it should all be kept together.


  1. Anonymous7:52 AM

    hear, hear!

  2. I love it! You are all those things rolled into one. Good for you being proud of it!

  3. Anonymous9:39 AM

    I do comment with my real name when I am on science/techie blogs.

  4. Hey! It's 'role conflict' or 'role confusion'! It plagues me too. I do maintain several online identities, but I'm uncomfortable about it. I am trying to keep my private life private from my students, for example, but why can't I be a reader of current events, a humanities professor, a mom, and a joker?

    Discourse communities. It's all about register and discourse communities for me. Like Seinfeld: sometimes you don't want those worlds to collide, although it still can feel like lying.

  5. Well I, for one, am glad that you left a comment on a science blog! I followed you here from one such comment, and am glad to have found you. I also comment frequently on science blogs, but also blog mostly about toddler/preschool issues on my own personal blog.

    Your comments on identity struck home with me... but we can be mommies, scientists, travellers--I don't think we have to limit ourselves either in the blogosphere or in real life. Though we may give more emphasis to different roles at different times...


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