Mommy Blogger's Irreverent Observations

February 9, 2009, 3:42 PM

May 12, 2008— -- From her home in Salt Lake City, Heather Armstrong writes what many young mothers are feeling but are too afraid to say, such as "This town needs an enema."

Or "Motherhood is awful and God hates kittens."

"People often write me and ask how I keep my wood floors so clean," Armstrong said. "My answer is that I use a technique called 'Suffering From a Mental Illness.'"

This irreverent former Mormon is one of the most popular and controversial moms popping off in the blogosphere.

Her Web site,, is a daily diary of her life with her husband, Jon, who she refers to as a "hot geek," her 4-year-old daughter, Leta, and their dogs, Coco and Chuck.

But this isn't Utah's version of "Sex in the City." Armstrong says she prefers to chronicle "the mundane and boring details of the life we all live."

Categories include boobs, Brigham Young University, motherhood, pregnancy and depression. Readers ought not expect boring recipes and carpooling tips from this 32-year-old stay-at-home mom.

"I approach my Web site as if I am sitting down with my girlfriends on a Friday night about what happened during the week," Armstrong said.

Although she's unconventional, Armstrong's candid and often profane riffs on potty training ("My daughter lied about going to the bathroom by herself, and we had to talk about how she had to learn how to lie better") and postpartum depression have attracted more than 1 million online readers a month.

"I have no problem saying what some people are afraid to say," Armstrong said. "Like motherhood is really, really difficult. Sometimes it's really unpleasant and sometimes you turn around and you're like, 'What did I do to my life?' A lot of the women that read my Web site want to be able to say that and need and are feeling that and want someone to talk to just to work through it."

For Armstrong, the Web site that she started in 2001 isn't just a hobby. Her Web site pulls in an estimated $40,000 per month in revenue from advertisers like Wal-Mart, Hewlett-Packard and, most recently, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The advertising revenue didn't cause her to censor her content. "The only thing that has led me to self-censor is the knowledge that my father is reading my Web site," she said.

Armstrong wasn't always so thoughtful. She painfully recalls one incident early in her blogging career that hurt her family, in particular her father.

"When my family discovered my Web site it was the day after I had written a martini-fueled diatribe against religion, and it was devastating to them. My father didn't speak to me for three months," Armstrong said.

After that she developed some rules for what she would and would not write about her family. Despite having lost an advertiser or two, Armstrong hasn't lost her edge.

"After I started running ads someone sent me a hate mail and said your Web site now sucks sweaty goat balls. And I knew right then that had to be my next tag line," she said. "Two advertisers pulled out. An ad company called to say, 'You might want to warn us.' But, you know, I think they understand now that's why people come to my Web site."

Armstrong said her audience is mostly young mothers looking for a friend. But there are other fans.

"I get a lot of e-mail from college aged boys who say, 'I'm disgusted with myself, but I love your Web site.'"

Her bold blogs have been so successful that Jon quit his job to work alongside his wife, managing the Web site's money and providing content every now and then.

He used to be nervous and uncomfortable about his wife discussing her private life online.

One of her most controversial blogs was a post called "Have You Reconvened the Procedure?"

"It was a post about my husband and I resuming having sex after giving birth," Armstrong said.

But now Jon thinks her blog, and his new role, is the perfect job. Plus, he said, "I get to sleep with the boss."

As one of the most successful and uninhibited women on the Web, Armstrong has been hit with her share of criticism.

"I got an e-mail this morning that said, 'You can just go ahead and do your blogging and your husband can mooch off of you and play golf with doctors,'" she said.

And that's one of the kinder samples.

"I've been called everything from a bad mother [to] a medicated fool," Armstrong said. "I've been accused of exploiting my family for money, when I don't think people realize that the info I share is only 5 percent of what goes on in my life. The other 95 percent is sacred."

When it comes to her daughter, Armstrong is especially cautious.

"When I sit down to write a post I think, 'How is she going to look at this when she's 20, 21 etc.' Or earlier than that, 'How is this going to affect her?' But mostly, I'm thinking what an amazing gift I'm giving her in that when she's in her late teens she gets to sit down and read all those wonderful stories about growing up with two dogs and a geeky father."

In this line of work, Armstrong has had to develop a thick skin. After all, her career as a blogger started after she was fired from her job as a Web designer for making fun of her boss online.

"She would return from her Botox appointments unable to move her lips, and it just begged to be written about," Heather said. "Some people still know me as the girl that got fired for her Web site. But they know me."

After making a name for herself, and getting fired, Armstrong took down her site for six months to re-evaluate who she was and who she wanted to be.

"I had a discussion with myself about boundaries," Armstrong explained.

Within six months, she eloped and started her life as a young mother living in Utah. That's when the fun, and her future career, began.

Armstrong's easy ability to see the humor in everyday life is tempered by her very serious battle with depression.

"I'll be dealing with it the rest of my life," Armstrong said. "It's an ongoing battle, and I have to be ever-vigilant about it.

She blogged about her brief stay in a mental hospital for postpartum depression, appealing to readers who helped her get through the difficult and painful experience.

"Blogging about it saved my life," Armstrong said. "I really think that the support I got from all those amazing readers was part of the reason I decided to check into the hospital, and that hospital stay saved my life."

"I have gotten so much feedback from people. Because of you I finally admitted I can't get through this myself and I sought help. That's why I do this, and I can die happy."

These days her posts are more upbeat, on topics ranging from her most recent exploits on a girls trip to Palm Springs to a funny voice mail left by her mother after she read one of the blogs: "Heather, this is your mother, the one who doesn't believe in global warming. You are a s**thead. Call me back."

And rumor has it the queen of the mommy bloggers may be making taking her blog from the computer screen to the big screen.

"I'm talking with some people in Hollywood about ideas and things to do and about how my story or my voice might make good content elsewhere," Armstrong said. "As long as they cast John Larroquette as my husband."

Heather Armstrong's book, "Things I Learned About My Dad: Humorous and Heartfelt Essays," is now in bookstores. Visit for more information.

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