Her Bad Mother

Monday, May 28, 2007

Does My Blog Look Fat In These Pants?

My birthday present to myself this year was supposed to be a blog overhaul, for which purpose I enlisted the assistance of the amazing Izzy. But I've been stuck for days in an ever-worsening spiral of indecision about a new banner - do I go cheeky? serious? cheeky-serious (cherious?) urban-hipster-doofus? tweedy academic? black-beret-scotch-sipping beatnik?

WHAT is the aesthetic of Her Bad Mother?

I'm having a blog identity crisis, on a par with bangs or no-bangs, skinny jeans or no-skinny-jeans, tat or no tat. What look is right for me?

I've been seriously tempted by this banner (design by Iz)...

... but just haven't been able to take the step of committing to it (the image on the left, by the way, is a Da Vinci sketch, Virgin and Child, which, although wonderful, is maybe not perfectly reflective of the HBM ethos.)

I've also toyed with using one of the many spectacular WonderBaby images...

... like this...

...or this.


I know that most of you are currently out sipping Memorial Day margaritas right now, but please. Help. What sort of look should I be going for? What's gonna say, this is the blog of Her Bad Mother and it ROCKS?
The other thing that I want to do in this blog renovation is set up a list of favourite posts, a sort of greatest hits list. But do I go with my favourites, or do I go with the ones that have been most popular, judging by comments or awards or whatever? (Because, interestingly, what I like most and what you like most - judging by volume of comments, which I know isn't necessarily the most reliable indicator - are not always the same). One of my recent favourites disappeared into last weekend, as weekend posts sometimes do, but it is a piece of writing that I'm particularly proud of. Another favourite was well-received, but it's a particularly intimate post and one that I'm reluctant to wave around while shouting me-likey-likey! And another is really just a silly, off-the-cuff post, but one of the very few of my own that I really think is funny (notwithstanding the phallus posts.)

So how does one decide? Should it be my favourites, no matter their character? Or should it just be the popular posts? Or is it really just so much more grandstanding to flaunt old posts (hey! looky here! my ass looks good in these posts!)

Or is it really just so much more grandstanding and contrived insecurity to be asking for help in sorting out how to revamp one's look? OMG am so fat am such a bad mother should I not be wearing skinny jeans should I lose the bangs but isn't my forehead just too big omg have you seen my ass what do I do? (preen preen spin pose affect worry pose preen)

Maybe. Or maybe I'm just aesthetically stunted and indecisive and overly-reliant on peer support in making blog-altering decisions.

Let's go with that.



Blogger Bon said...

i think perhaps HBM needs some giant pink spectacles, a la 1985, with a little gold heart sticker in the bottom corner. oh yeh. hott.

though the daVinci is nice too. perhaps possibly more cultured. ;)

could the daVinci be altered so as to show the parental figure coddling WonderBaby against the CBGB backdrop? whilst wearing the afore-mentioned spectacles?

(O has the CBGB onesie if WB wantsta borrow it. cause we're tuff over here too.)

seriously, blog design baffles me. hence the fact that my header has a car on it, because i've never quite gotten around to changing it. send me yer rejects, will ya?

12:47 PM  
Blogger Laural Dawn said...

Okay - favourite posts ... I loved your old stuff - about swaddling and the farm animals one of those should be in your favourite posts.
The rest of the questions ... that's really hard. I love love love the 2nd picture of WB. It cracks me up, and it kind of reminds me of your writing - tender but bad ass at the same time (seriously). and that's a compliment.
Good luck!

1:01 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

I absolutely love the "Mutha Sucka" photo...cracks me up each time I see it!

1:02 PM  
Blogger SciFi Dad said...

Not a huge fan of the DaVinci banner, myself. And the second photo, while funny to look at, is too washed out to be really useful as a banner focus, in my opinion.

I'd avoid using WB as the focus of your banner, since (assuming things have not changed since your last reflection on the subject) you are attempting a for second. At that point you would return to this stage of choosing once more, so as to avoid the appearance of favouritism.

To that end, I'd suggest you choose a graphic that you feel represents you. From that image, build a basic array of complimentary colours and then apply them as you see fit.

Personally, I have found your shade of green very overpowering. I would suggest a royal or navy blue, perhaps with canary accents?

1:29 PM  
Blogger meno said...

I am art impaired, so no help on the banners and such.

But as to the favorites, i think they should be your favorites. Comments are not a good judge of writing skill.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While the daVinci is beautiful, I'm not sure it really reflects the true spirit of HBM.

While there are posts filled with gravitas, introspection and deep thoughts for which this banner would be perfectly, I'm not sure Madonna and child can adequately represent the deeper posts... like the Phallic lovey. Or maybe it can? Who knows what the Madonna was keeping in her bedside table...

I'm sure whatever you choose will be wonderful, however I do agree with a commenter above that you may want to reconsider using a picture of WB, unless you don't mind picking a new picture if/when WB 2.0 comes along.

2:30 PM  
Blogger flutter said...

DaVinci is loveliness, but I don't think it captures YOU. You also have to go Motha Sucka. Freakin' cracks my ass up.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I like the DaVinci banner myself!

3:09 PM  
Blogger Bea said...

I'm going to go against the flow here, because I LOVE the DaVinci header. (Beware the tide of comment-flow! - I almost decided NOT to say how much I liked it when I saw seven people ahead of me who don't think it's right for you.) I like the way the virgin and child image is in tension with the "bad mother" title - so much better than trying to pursue the bad with, say, a motorcycle header.

And I think the serious banner makes the funny posts funnier - because I don't come here thinking I'm going to get a quick laugh - I come here expecting pathos and profundity, and when I find humour instead, it's all the funnier because of it.

As for your favourite posts, DEFINITELY go with YOUR favourites - part of the purpose of those sidebar lists is to give people a quick way to get a sense of who you are, and going by popular vote doesn't achieve that as well as choosing the posts yourself. If I ever decide to put up a list like that, I think I'll tend to highlight the posts that got the least attention.

That said, I'll put in a plug for that funny post about toys - as I said at the time, I thought it was hilarious - one of your best.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...


I like the aesthetic of the izzy banner but the virgin mary? not so much. Maybe if she was holding a drink in one hand and a cigar in the other? Although then it begs the question...her bad mother? So maybe not.

The cool thing about a blog is you can change it whenever you want. Dooce does. LOD does. So if you choose to go with wonderbaby for now then there ya go.

Then again, this is coming from someone who hasn't gotten past the off-center clip art that went up on my blog over a year ago. In other words: don't listen to me. Go with the guy who suggested canary.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Run ANC said...

I like the look of the title and tag line, but I'm not keen on the Davinci pic. It just doesn't jump out at me.

I'm with SciFi Dad, though, in that if you use a pic of WB and then have a second, you may want to change your banner all over again.

And definitely - choose YOUR favourite posts.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Julie Marsh said...

Don't ask me - I put drinkies all over my banner. Which still can't be seen in Firefox.

3:29 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

The image is beauty, but I am not sure. Could you personalize it further?

What flashed to my mind was a Medusa image with each head of the snake being one of Wonderbaby.

my brain goes to strange places, I cannot apologize for its fertility. I have lots more where that came from.

Anyhow, I look forward to the new image!

4:03 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

Oh, and you totally know that I mean the Medusa image in only the most complimentary of ways? Right?

A fave hits list? How about cross referencing both your faves and our faves?

4:14 PM  
Blogger Marty, a.k.a. canape said...

I've been battling with this too. What I would really like to have is a design that allows me to replace the header as often as I like while the rest of the blog remains the same. Now if I only knew how to code . . .

I really like Izzy's banner personally.

And mothergoosemouse? I'm glad you said something about the drinkies, because I thought you had just gone way minimalist on us.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Da Vinci banner looks way too severe.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I'm such an amateur that I'll keep my very ignorant opinion on the new blog design where it belongs. hehe!

But on the fav post list...post your favs, not everyone else's fav.

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no one cares.

4:43 PM  
Blogger Jenifer said...

Thanks anonymous my comments will shine now!

I agree that you should pick your favourites regardless of whether they were the popular favourites with the crowd.

As for the banner I am torn. I am leaning towards the sentiments that Bub & Pie outlined. I like the tension that photo (or an image like it) creates. The bad with the good and the tender and funny together.

The thought of changing my blog appearance just about paralyzes me into indecision so I am sure mine will stay the same for quite some time.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Girlplustwo said...

Her Bad Indecision? Colored in beatnik brainiac freakdom?

I think that might be it.

Whatever you do will take a while to love. Or better said you'll love it, then not, then fully love it again. There are no bad choices here.

Her Non Bad Choices? Ok, wandering away now.

5:47 PM  
Blogger S said...

i don't know.

however, i do know that this:

(preen preen spin pose affect worry pose preen)

is damn funny.

that i know.

6:24 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Please. I'm no help. Have you seen my blog? I just moved to WordPress, almost entirely because I can make my own headers and change it around whenever.
But I'll have you know, it took me a LONG time to choose the one photo I have.
I love the graphic arts but I lack the skill, know-how, and gumption to follow through. I can't talk the talk at all--I just follow my gut and like what I like.
So that, HBM, is my advice for you. Variety is the spice of life and you trust your gut in so many of life's twists and turns...I say like what you like.
(I like the "best of" idea! You have so many bests. Can I just borrow a few?)

6:57 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

i have the most boring blog on the face of the planet, so don't take my advice on any aesthetic choices.

as for the favorites, i made my list of "best" posts based on my own favorites, not those of my readers. in part, when i made the list, i felt like i didn't have enough readers who would care enough to actually *have* favorites. but as time has gone on, i've realized i care much more about what posts make me proud of my writing, rather than what posts please my readers most. after all, i've always claimed to be blogging first and foremost for myself, rather than for an audience of others.

7:20 PM  
Blogger theotherbear said...

I really love the DaVinci banner. It is clean and not too busy and bright. Too busy and bright is too hard on the eyes.
As for faves, list your faves not everyone else's.

7:30 PM  
Blogger OhTheJoys said...

Oh, how I am the wrong one to ask... me who still uses the minima template from blogger - no header at all.

Re: favorite posts... I think you should pick. I think sometimes short posts get a lot of comments because they are quick to digest - it doesn't reflect quality all the time.

7:32 PM  
Blogger EE said...

Check out this banner http://www.iamambernichole.blogspot.com/
It's different, and it's cool. Maybe you could do something like that with your picts.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Anonymous: indeed. Indeed.

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I really like your blog just as it is.

8:47 PM  
Blogger tracey clark said...

I am no help at all. Little Miss Photographer over here still hasn't been able to decide on her OWN photo banner. Now, that's just plain ridiculous.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Sharon L. Holland said...

Your blog, your favorites.

The Davinci header is lovely, but very formal. Maybe not such a good fit with your best stream-of-consciousness.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

I like the clean look of Izzy's banner, but not so much the Davinci image. I personally love the playful green background your blog currently has and think something fun and bright would fit you better.

As for favorite posts, why not do both? I just had the same struggle and decided to put up a list of most visited posts as well as my own list of MY fave posts.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the CBGB picture...but that's me...And it should be your favorites...it is your blog...

But then again, what do I know?

Go with your gut woman...you rock no matter what.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Definitely pick your favorites!

And I truly love the mutha sucka pic to put in your bannner.

9:45 PM  
Blogger MARY G said...

Two lists would be good, but the most important one is the ones you think are the most 'you'.
HBM, you're colour. Got to be bright. If you want a Mother and Child, which is a super notion, go for one of the semi abstract ones, Picasso even, and pick a colour out of it for the background colour.
Advice from Mrs. Keeps-changing-things and worth what you paid for it.
I don't care if you are decked out in dreck, I will still read you. Love your stuff.

10:08 PM  
Blogger mod*mom said...

i like your happy baby mutha sucka :)
the 1st banner is spooky like haunted

11:24 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

I love the CBGB photo---just seems to fit the 'bad mother' image so well. I love Wonderbaby's face in that too.

And, 'no one cares'??? Harumph! I'll be thinking about this until I fall asleep! So, either I have a lame life, or I DO care!

11:37 PM  
Blogger Major Bedhead said...

I love the Mother Sucker shot, always have.

As for the posts you want to highlight - dood, they're your posts. Highlight what you like. Anyone who comes here and likes what you have to say will probably scroll thru your posts anyway. It's your blog, do what you want. That's my opinion on the subject, for whatever that's worth.

12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm always blown away by the bloggers who can stick with just one design. I make a bunch or get someone to make a few for me and the keep them back. As my mood changes, so does the blog.

12:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy Comments Batman! I'll keep mine short. I like Picture #2 of Wonderbaby. If you can include that one into the banner, it would be really cool. Good luck!

Change is fun. I just did it this week. :-)

12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As your blog designer, it's part of my job to defer to your wishes, but since everyone is giving their two cents, may I be honest?

I can?


I don't really like the DaVinci image. I know it must mean something to you seeing as you chose it but I don't feel like it suits your blog persona at all.

Your writing spans the spectrum from deeply personal and introspective to way academic and also funny and observant, all with a dash of badassiness sprinkled on top and the DaVinci just doesn't capture who you are, in my very humble opinion.

So...I think either something with WB or something very cheeky and perhaps a bit ironic. And of course, per your wishes, simple and streamlined.

As for posts, I think you should pick the ones that are YOUR favorites.

That is all :)

2:07 AM  
Blogger mo-wo said...

I am glad to hear of the makeover... this argyle thing is not the it for you girl.

I kinda like the steely banner but is there not a Durer option instead of the DaVinci.

And, on part two. Yeah, you're on your own.

2:08 AM  
Blogger Jeremiah McNichols said...

When you're done figuring this out (or maybe before!) you've been tagged for a meme post, if you're willing, by Z Recommends!

7:47 AM  
Blogger Susanne said...

I always find that when I'm unable to decide what I really need is something else instead. (I know, very helpful.)

As for the favorite posts I think they should be yours or you could have two categories (just so you'd have a little more stuff in your sidebar).

As meno said, comments are no indicator of good writing.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG - LOVE the CBGB photo.

10:18 AM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

I say go with your favorites, especially as I suspect they will be 'our' favorites...

I like both pics... I'd wobble on the decision, too. ;-)

10:38 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Agh. Yeah, the Da Vinci just doesn't quite do it, which is why I haven't been able to commit to it.

The photos are both great, and I have no issues going with a pic of the child that I have now, cuz if another comes along, I'll have bigger issues than just banner pics. We'll work with those maybe for now.

The other thing is - maybe no image at all? Maybe just a variation on what I have, with more subdued colors?

10:48 AM  
Blogger Run ANC said...

Back again. They don't say "a picture is worth a thousand words" for nothing. Go with the image that speaks to you.

Why not take a recent picture of WB with a t-shirt that says "Bad is the New Good"? You could get one made.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Oooh, NME... inneressing idea...

11:03 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

well, i've got bangs and skinny jeans, so we know i can commit to design decisions: i like nomo's idea. but bubandpie has a point too, as does the rigorously clinical scifi dad.

wait. i'm not really helping, am i? i'm no good with change. when you change it, i will freak out, and it's not even my blog. sigh.

i'll always have the skinny jeans ...

11:40 AM  
Blogger Beck said...

The fact that my office has been unpainted for FIVE years suggests that perhaps I am not the go-to gal for decorating decisions. Sad but true.

11:48 AM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

Go with your faves if you want to do a best of. Ultimately, isn't what you think best the thing that matters? And do comments=quality, anyhow. I'm not thinking so.

And I think you like cheeky, myself. But that's just my impression!

11:53 AM  
Blogger Magpie said...

I vote the babe at CBGB - it feels like you to me.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, when there is another baby, will you become "Their Bad Mother"? That will totally confuse me, since these days, I'm easily confused.

The banner decision is a tough one. I just went through it. Go with your gut. Whatever you choose, we'll love, so you should love it first.

On the favorite posts, I say give a sampling of what your blog is about--introspective, intellectual, cheeky, hilarious, mother-worrier and mother-warrior; that's how I see you. It's more important that you represent how you see yourself. I think that type of list helps newcomers to your blog get a taste of what they might find here in the future.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about the design header, but for favorite posts you should use both your favorites and the most popular. It's nice to get a little bit of both!

1:23 PM  
Blogger Namito said...

Iz's design rocks, though for your image I think I'd choose Chagall over DaVinci. Or Rauschenberg.

I like the CBGB Wonderbaby...she screams "Bad Mother".

I of course mean that in the best of all possible ways... ;)

1:30 PM  
Blogger Phoenix said...

I think you should flaunt your favorites. I mean it is your blog right?

I like both of the Wonderbaby shots. Maybe something with both? I'm not a big help. Sorry.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I would go with Kermit. There has been FAR TOO FEW pictures of Kermit or muppets dancing around here. Think about it, muppet=tv=bad=BAD MOTHER.

It's your blog- I think favorite posts should be your favorites. I agree with B&P, beware of the shiny bright lights of the commenters... be true to your voice and your vision..

2:07 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Sadly, Binky, I'm pretty sure that Kermie is subject to all sorts of copyright. Otherwise I would TOTALLY be all over that. Him, and the phallus.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

My 2 cents:

Mutha Sucka hands down. That SMILE!

and, always pick what YOU like ... can't please everyone, so you should just please yourself.


2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say go with your favorites and add a few of the popular ones if you like. By the way, I do love the idea of having a list of your favorites! I think it even tells more about the author, especially for new readers.

I like all your choices for the new look. I know how hard it is to commit, so good luck! But any of them will look great.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Kristina said...

a google image search for "bad mother" turned up such gems as a pacifier adorning a cosmopolitan, a child flipping off the camera (Oooh! a new trick to teach Wonderbaby!), spaghetti on the wall, and the "bad mother fucker" wallet from pulp fiction.

If none of these images spark your imagination, then I think the tattoo idea might be a good one. And of course the pics of Wonderbaby are adorable.

4:53 PM  
Blogger m said...

The Davinci banner as is I find too severe. I love the image, but I think it needs to be juxatposed with a more playful font and colours.

What's so kick ass about your blog is the mix of the academic-inspired writing, pop culture, and the forays into potty-mouth glee. It's such an interesting combination, you need a banner/new look that reflects the complexity of your blog.

And your favourites should be your favourites.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Okay, I am not going to read the comments until after I post this, so as not to be swayed, but I really liked the first deisgn you showed by Izzy. A lot! Verrrry classy, edgy, low-rise but not trashy pants. I would hang with that design on the playground.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, I am laughing so hard right now. From recently becoming a "fan" I find it hilarious that you are so indecisive about this. I just assumed you knew you were the shiznit when it came to blogging and all bloggy decisions! I really like the first banner and I think YOUR favorite posts is (are?) appropriate...

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another vote for the CBGB photo. Fits your title best.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

My 2 cents, for what it's worth. I don't know that a serious image like the Da Vinci sketch really fits you. I like the more irreverant pics like the Mutha Sucka one in your avatar. It just kind of fits with Her Bad Mother.

As for favorite posts, I think you should pick your favorites because the posts that *you* choose as favorites also tell us something about you. And for the record, your horse post was one of my favorites too!

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey catherine i would have too much trouble picking my fave HBM post.and i love that second pic of wonderbaby it reminds me of a famous painting,ie,The Scream...so anyways good luck deciding what new direction to take.and ,i,for one will remain your faithful reader.LAVENDULA

12:28 AM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

The picture of Wonderbaby with CBGB in the background slays me! Go with that one. Yeah.

I want Izzy to do my design but she's booked (whine, whine, whine). Can't wait to see yours.

8:36 AM  
Blogger MrsEvilGenius said...

First off, I love, love, LOVE that pic of WB that you use in your profile! I just posted a pic on my blog of my Fiver in my version of the mother sucker onesie (from my store), but he doesn't EVEN come close to being as cute!

As for the posts why don't you mix 'em up? Some faves, some populars.

Doesn't matter to me. If it's yours, I'll read it.:)

11:35 AM  
Blogger PunditMom said...

So THAT'S why IzzyMom is so busy! ;) I personally like the photo with the Motha Sucka T-shirt and i'd vote for posting the favorites YOU love!

12:12 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


said with love, of course.

my take on the Da VInci one. The image itself--perhaps not quite right *alone.* BUT the image JUXTAPOSED with Her Bad Mother, Bad is the New Good, now *that* creates an alternative meaning--something in-betweeny. The Da vinci shows your philosophical, "I like to wax lyrical" side. But the tag line undercuts at the same time. That's you (to me).

Also--in terms of the favorite posts. DO BOTH. And don't call them favorites. Call them, uhm, Mother's Guided Tour (or summat).


(wipes hands and is off to yell at someone else now)


4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm gonna be lost here at the #72 spot but what the heck...

I see a vintage 50's housewife, maybe a drink in hand.. totally not (really) you. A solider blue background and red and white writing... maybe... depending on the colour of the picture... I DEFINITELY don't see you in anything serious. More fun and cheeky...

And as for the favourites... yes.. I am in the midst of compiling mine (even though I completely pale in comparison) ... maybe a post - you have yours in the post and readers can add theirs in comments? Simple enough..

Are you still with a Blogger platform?

6:00 PM  
Blogger Damselfly said...

Definitely go cherious.

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the favourites: should definitely be your faves. I mean, this will be comment 74 for this post, but is it one of those posts that you're proud to have written? (not to say that it's bad or anything NOT to be proud of.... but you know what I mean... I hope...)

And for the banners: I think Izzy did a great job on it, but in my opinion, it's a little dark and gothic looking, not exactly how I see this blog. As for choosing a pic of Wonderbaby, out of those two, I personally like the first. The second looks a little... well I won't say creepy lol, but you know that famous painting of a colourful face that looks like it's melting, and the expression is the same as the one in the second picture? Well, there's a resemblance, don't you think? lol (not to be taken offensively!)

I think you should choose a style that pops out at you. Don't choose one where you think "well this might look good." or "that might work". Me for instance, I'm keeping it pretty simple until I come across the one style that jumps out and makes me exclaim out loud "That's perfect!" Otherwise, I'm afraid I'd choose one that I liked, and then 2 months later get sick of it and be looking all over again...

But, just my suggestions, take em or leave em, I don't mind ;)

1:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh yes, forgot to add... fun and cheeky is definitely you. And I'm a big fan of the vintage/pin up style, martini glasses and all

1:53 AM  

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