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Moms online, award winners and this month’s pick
BY ERIC SCHESKE
for lots of reasons, and I’m not sure money is the primary one. Some women
don’t like to stay home, others want the challenge of the workplace and a few
work out of identity with the feminist ideology.
But that’s not what many of the
elite women are doing. According to The
New York Times, approximately half of
our country’s wealthiest, most privileged, best-educated females stay home with
their children rather than work.
It’s not just the wealthy and
privileged, either. A lot of devout and intelligent Catholic women stay home
and make sacrifices for their children, willingly surrendering their careers
and cheerfully taking a pinch in the wallet.
For many, this also means taking a
willing muzzle to their mental stimulation. Staying home with children and
having little adult interaction can be hard on the mind. Reading Green Eggs and Ham 15 times a day is an
occupational mental health hazard, no matter what anyone says.
Is there a way for a stay-at-home
mother to keep the synapses firing? My wife thinks it’s nearly impossible. A
mother of seven young children, she says that, for intellectual stimulation to
“work,” it has to be both rigorous and eminently interruptible.
That’s a tough combination.
Many stay-at-home mothers are turning to it. Writing, after all, exercises the
mind — and blog writing can be done in short spurts.
at Open Book (amywelborn.typepad.com/openbook)
is probably the best stay-at-home Catholic blogger.
For that matter, she’s probably the best blogger,
period. Her blog doesn’t concentrate on motherhood
issues, although domestic snippets about her children (can any mother avoid
them?) are frequent and enjoyable.
For a less well-known blog, you may want to try a new one, Catholic Mom (writingup.com/blog/catholic_mom).
The blogger, Dr. Denise Hunnell,
is a stay-at-home mother who, in her words, “gave up her stethoscope for a
keyboard” and writes for many publications, including Our Sunday Visitor, The
Washington Post and The Washington
Catholic Mom offers an assortment
of commentary on the Catholic faith from the perspective of a wife, mother and
physician. A mother of four older children, Hunnell
talks about issues that interest serious Catholics with teenagers, from proper
dress at Mass to molding a home that reflects the faith. Her posts are pithy
and smart. I find the number of advertisements on her blog
somewhat distracting, but if she’s earning money, I congratulate her: She’s one
of the few.
If you’re looking for a Catholic
mother’s blog that is heavily autobiographical, you
may want to try Catholic Mom Moments (lisacatholicmom.blogspot.com), maintained by Lisa Hendey (who also runs the popular catholicmom.com website). I
can’t say that Hendey writes the type of stuff I
personally enjoy, but her writing is honest and easy, and I suspect many
mothers could relate to her posts.
You might also enjoy The Lady in
the Pew (pewlady.blogspot.com),
another heavily autobiographical blog, but one that
contains a higher percentage of general-interest posts as well.
At the other end of the
stay-at-home spectrum, there’s Charmaine Yoest at Reasoned Audacity (www.yoest.com). A senior fellow
at the Family Research Council, Yoest is one of my
favorite bloggers. She has written for major
publications, debated formidable feminists and appeared on such television
shows as “Crossfire,” “ABC World News Tonight” and “The Today Show.” She’s also
the mother of five children. If readers want to see an intellectual mother in
action, Yoest’s blog is not
to be missed.
Since my last column, the 2006
Catholic Blog Award winners were announced. Hosted by
Cyber Catholics (cybercatholics.com),
the awards site draws nominations from the public. Then a group of bloggers selects the finalists. The public votes for the
winners in 20 categories, ranging from “Most Devotional” to “Most Humorous” to
Because members of the public can
vote more than once, the results are questionable, but it doesn’t really
matter: The page of finalists (catholicblogawards.com) offers a snapshot of some of the
finest Catholic blogs. And that, ultimately, is the
According to its organizer, Josh LeBlanc, “the purpose of the awards is evangelization, to
expose viewers to Catholic blogs that maybe they
otherwise wouldn’t have noticed.”
Many of the winning bloggers have been featured in this column already, but
there are quite a few new ones that are worth mentioning, like “Julie D” at
Happy Catholic (happycatholic.blogspot.com),
who edged out Welborn for “Best Blog
by a Woman,” the biggest upset in the CBA’s
There’s also the Best New Blog winner, The Cafeteria Is Closed (closedcafeteria.blogspot.com), a
blog by Gerald Augustinus
started in April 2005 that — as the title implies — takes hard-hitting shots at
cafeteria Catholics and their intellectual mentors (like Father Hans Küng) and current protectors (out of respect, I won’t
mention the bishops’ names).
This month’s Reader Recommendation
is Danielle Bean (daniellebean.com).
Blogger Curt Jester (splendoroftruth.com/curtjester)
refers to Bean as “the Catholic Erma Bombeck.” High
praise, but fair. Bean is witty, and she writes well — very well. Whereas many bloggers don’t polish their prose, she does. Her posts are
more like mini-essays with literary merit. That’s rare in the blogosphere.
Bean says she views her blog as a ministry to other mothers, plus it’s a source of
script for her articles (along with the Register, she has also published with Faith & Family, Our Sunday Visitor and Envoy).
If you’re interested in the faith, motherhood and family life in general, you
might want to make her entertaining blog a regular
Until next month, enjoy the
newly-emerging warmth. May your Wi-Fi connection
allow you to enjoy the blogosphere and spring weather
at the same time.
Eric Scheske blogs at
and maintains the Register’s
Blog Watch at ncregister.com.