Heather Armstrong's Honest & Hilarious Voice Makes Her Every Mom's BFF

Heather Armstrong paved the way for Moms to make a career of bloggingIf you're a fan of no-holds-barred honesty when it comes to the universal struggle that is motherhood and marriage, you're probably familiar with the whimsical and spot-on musings of Heather Armstrong, who shared nearly every facet of her life on her personal blog Dooce.com for more than a decade. Her ability to make us laugh, cry, and wonder if she can read our thoughts is the reason we're celebrating her this Women's History Month.

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Whether she's writing about her dogs, her daughters, or the dissolution of her marriage on her site -- which got its name from her repeatedly typing the word "dude" (or "dooode") incorrectly -- she will hook you from the very first word. What began as a creative outlet quickly turned into a wildly successful career for this brash and beautiful mom of two.

Who She Is

Considered the most popular "mommy blogger" in the world, Heather Armstrong gained notoriety in 2001 when she was fired from her job as a web designer and graphic artist after writing thinly veiled accounts of her colleagues and posting them, complete with her trademark humor, on her personal site.

This experience later turned her blog's name into a verb, as in "getting Dooced," and won Armstrong the dubious honor of serving as a Jeopardy! answer: "Rhyming with 'juiced,' it's to lose one's job because of one's blog,' coined by Heather Armstrong."

While she lost her position, she retained her sense of humor and her tour-de-force storytelling ability and went on to be named in Forbes's list of the most powerful women in media. 

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The mom of two has shared everything from finding her way back from postpartum depression and leaving the Mormon faith she was raised in, to helping her daughters with homework and the calamity that ensues when your washing machine breaks just days after you've given birth.

True to her signature sarcasm, her Twitter bio reads, "I exploit my children for millions and millions of dollars on my mommyblog."


How She's Shaping History

In 2011, the New York Times referred to Armstrong as the "Queen of the Mommy Bloggers," a title that seems a bit like a backhanded compliment given the complexity of the topics she's navigated. 

For example, her 2010 book It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita tackled difficult terrain including anxiety and postpartum depression, giving hope and a voice to many moms suffering with the same issues. 

A pioneer in the confessional blogging space, at her pinnacle, Armstrong is said to have racked up approximately 6 million page views per month, while earning an estimated $50,000 from the site in the same time frame.

Her ability to spin her thoughts and day-to-day life into highly relatable gold inspired legions of other women to turn to blogging and follow in the footsteps of the woman they regard as the best friend and confidant they've never actually met.

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Words to Live By:

When delivering at keynote speech at SXSW in 2006, Armstrong's words of advice resonated with all writers who struggle to put thoughts into words at challenging times:

Keep writing. Keep doing it and doing it. Even in the moments when it's so hurtful to think about writing.

In 2013, she weighed in on Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's work-from-home ban

Having run my own business now for about eight years, I can definitively say that working from home gives me so much more flexibility, especially as a parent. Not having the option to work from home is a death knell for parents.


Why She Inspires Me:

Armstrong's uncanny knack for turning even the most mundane into laugh-out-loud, sharable content is an inspiration for any writer. Her unflinchingly real look at life and motherhood is always a breath of fresh air for women put off by the perfection of Pinterest boards.

The unconditional love, captured in milestones and mishaps, that she feels for her girls is rendered beautifully in her collection Dear Daughter: The Best of the Dear Leta Letters.

I love that she was able to turn lemons into lemonade by returning to the blog that cost her her job. She paved the way for moms to connect with one another through cyberspace and support themselves and their families at the same time.

Just as Armstrong began on her own terms, she has decided to walk away when she no longer felt her content was authentic or enjoyable to her. When she announced last year that after 14 years of blogging she'd be putting fingers to keyboard a bit less frequently, fans were devastated. But, personally, I think she's earned a well-deserved break, and I can't wait to see what she does next.

 

Image via Heather B. Armstrong

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