Motherhood in the digital age

| Beth Blair | September 7, 2016 | 1 Comment
Parishioners of St. Agnes in St. Paul, Jacqui Skemp and her husband, Ian, pose for a family photo with their two sons. In addition to her blog, she writes for the Catholic online ministry Blessed Is She. Courtesy Jacqui Skemp

Parishioners of St. Agnes in St. Paul, Jacqui Skemp and her husband, Ian, pose for a family photo with their two sons. In addition to her blog, she writes for the Catholic online ministry Blessed Is She. Courtesy Jacqui Skemp

Amid diapers and dinner, Catholic moms turn to blogging for camaraderie and creative outlet

For some stay-at-home mothers, there can be a loneliness factor — days spent caring for young children with no interactions with other adults.

“Motherhood can be very isolating in today’s world,” said Anna Coyne, 30, a mother of two who with her husband, Alex, and their children attends St. Mark in St. Paul. “I am the only stay-at-home mom on my block, and I get lonely. But I can go online and read about all the other woman out there in the trenches of motherhood, just like me.”

Coyne taps into a world of mothers in a similar stage of life by reading their stories and sharing experiences on their blogs. In particular, she goes to blogs written by Catholic moms to find faith, connection and support. Coyne also authors her own blog called The Hearts Overflow.

“I started blogging almost three years ago, after our son was born,” Coyne said. “When I became a mother all of a sudden I had no time to pursue any of my creative passions, and I found myself getting frustrated with how little I was able to get done each day. Blogging was a creative hobby that I could easily do while I held a sleeping or nursing baby.”

Another local blogger, Susanna Spencer, met her husband, Mark, in college at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio where she earned a bachelor’s degree in theology and philosophy and a master’s degree in theology. They have four children and are members of St. Agnes in St. Paul.

Anna Coyne

Anna Coyne

“I home school the older ones, keep the home, and do writing in my spare time,” said Spencer, 30. She explained that her blog, Living with Lady Philosophy is based on the personified “Lady Philosophy” in “The Consolation of Philosophy” by sixth-century philosopher Boethius, who describes how Lady Philosophy appeared to him and consoled him.

“Writing has always been an outlet for me. Before I chose to study theology and philosophy, I wanted to be a writer,” Spencer said. “However, it took until I got used to being a mother that I really discovered that writing was an essential part of my happiness.”

Blogger Jacqui Skemp of Mexican Domestic Goddess and her husband, Ian, are parishioners of St. Agnes in St. Paul and are expecting their third child. On her blog, Skemp has revealed the challenges they have faced in their marriage.

“I felt called to share about my heartbreaking experience with not being able to breastfeed my first child,” said Skemp, 32. “That was three years ago, and I still have women reach out to me asking for advice, or simply wanting to share their own similar heartbreak.”

Coyne, too, has shared her personal sorrows.

“My husband and I have struggled with miscarriage and infertility, and that is something I share about on my blog,” she said.

“Sometimes you get the sense that you need to put something out there, not knowing if it will actually do any good in the world, and it’s so beautiful when it does,” Skemp said. “I have been blessed by other women who have been vulnerable and shared their own struggles as mothers, and it’s just nice to know that I’m not alone. I think that’s why most of us blog. It’s community. Just like sharing your heart with a friend over a cup of coffee at their dining room table, blogging has given us another opportunity to reach out to other women and say, ‘Yes, I understand you. You are not alone in this.’”

In addition to blogging, all three women also write devotionals on daily Scripture readings for Blessed Is She (www.blessedisshe.net), a Catholic ministry that delivers the daily Mass readings and a devotion to the email inboxes of women around the world. Skemp said the digital ministry fosters communities of prayer and sisterhood.

“I have benefited enormously from getting to know other Catholic bloggers online and in real life,” Coyne said. “It is a beautiful network of women I can go to for blogging advice and feedback, as well as encouragement and support in my personal and spiritual life.”

Spencer said blogging has given her the freedom to express herself while enabling her to live her vocation as wife and mother more fully.

“Whenever I hear the parable of the talents (Mt 25:14-30), I am convinced that my writing is something that was given to me to use and cultivate for the Church,” Spencer said. “When we use the gifts we are given and use them well, we are who God created us to be. As a stay-at-home mom, I have not felt that my gifts were being wasted on raising my children in the faith. But through sharing my knowledge of theology and my experience as a mother through my writing, I feel that I am using my gifts more fully. Being able to study theology when I did, where I did, was such a great privilege that I am really happy that I can share it through writing.”

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Category: Faith and Culture, Featured

  • Nell

    These ladies are doing all of us such a service by sharing and writing about their experiences! So glad to be able to read their blogs and ministry!