Armstrong was born on July 19, 1975, and grew up in Memphis, earlier than majoring in English at Brigham Younger College in Provo, Utah. She graduated in 1997 and moved to Los Angeles for work earlier than marrying an internet designer named Jon Armstrong and returning to Salt Lake Metropolis.
She based the weblog Dooce in 2001. It rapidly amassed a devoted following of younger moms who discovered Heather Armstrong’s candid and deeply private posts concerning the realities of motherhood charming.
“She was a transformative determine not simply within the parenting and household house, however in what we now take without any consideration by way of the digital ecosystem,” mentioned Catherine Connors, the senior vice chairman of creator experiences on the advertising agency Raptive and a former blogger. “She was one of many first well-known bloggers in any class, and had a fully radical influence when she started writing actually about motherhood and her psychological well being points.”
Armstrong detailed her struggles with postpartum melancholy, her conflicted feelings about parenting, her battles with alcoholism, her marriage and eventual divorce. She broke taboos about faith, detailing her selection to depart the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her loss of life was introduced on her Instagram web page Wednesday.
Opinion: Heather Armstrong, a.okay.a. Dooce, was actual and uncooked. And we cherished her.
Armstrong is credited by many with upending a girls’s media world that till the early 2000s largely portrayed an idealized model of motherhood, a time when house life was thought of non-public, and points associated to household and kids have been deemed too private to debate publicly.
Mommy bloggers, most notably Armstrong, modified that, mentioned Connors. Within the pre-blogging period, she mentioned: “You bought actually sanitized parenting magazines and child books and issues that didn’t let you know the reality concerning the expertise of motherhood. … The entire area of media round parenting was male-dominated, and when it centered on girls it was sanitized. … [Armstrong] used her platform to fully destigmatize points like postpartum melancholy, divorce and all this stuff we completely take without any consideration now.”
The time period “mommy blogger” that was bestowed on Armstrong and plenty of different girls bloggers on the time was fraught, with many ladies feeling prefer it was misogynistic and pejorative. However Armstrong shattered these perceptions. Running a blog gave girls an area the place they may communicate for themselves and construct audiences outdoors company media.
When Armstrong determined to run adverts on her weblog in 2004, she turned one of many first to monetize a private model on the web, paving the best way for generations of influencers to comply with.
“It was empowering,” she advised Vox in 2019, “as a result of I spotted I didn’t want some male government in New York to inform me that my story’s essential sufficient to publish as a result of I can simply do it myself.”
In 2009, Armstrong wrote a e book referred to as, “It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Child, a Breakdown, and a A lot Wanted Margarita.” That yr, she appeared as a visitor on “The Oprah Winfrey Present” and was named essentially the most influential lady in media by Forbes. In 2012, she launched her second e book titled “Expensive Daughter.”
At one level, Armstrong’s weblog was reportedly attracting greater than 8 million viewers a month, and her earnings from it totaled $30,000 to $50,000 a month.
“Each influencer, each household channel, each monetized web site attempting to keep up an existence as a type of impartial media can hint its historical past again to Dooce,” the blogger often called SB Sarah wrote Wednesday. “She was extra well-known than the largest channels on TikTok, extra well-known than the YouTubers with essentially the most subscribers, extra related on the time than any Instagrammer — with none of these types of social media to construct her viewers and her group.”
Armstrong and her mommy running a blog friends constructed the inspiration for what’s now often called the creator economic system.
“She formed the web as we all know it right now — and launched one million storytellers along with her willingness to put in writing boldly and unapologetically concerning the struggles of being human,” the blogger Rebecca Woolf, one other pioneering motherhood blogger, wrote of Armstrong’s passing Wednesday.
Kathryn Jezer-Morton, a author who chronicles motherhood and the net world, mentioned that Armstrong’s influence on the fashionable web is “arduous to overstate.” “She was saying issues nobody had mentioned out loud earlier than,” Jezer-Morton mentioned. “She was actually trustworthy about who she was, and we hadn’t seen that earlier than from a suburban mother — it was unprecedented.”
It is surprising to listen to Heather Armstrong died yesterday. It is arduous to place into phrases simply how influential she was to the blogosphere. I hope she is at peace, and that her kids and family members are discovering solace the place they’ll.
— roxane homosexual (@rgay) May 10, 2023
The prominence of Armstrong’s weblog additionally kicked off what would grow to be a nationwide dialogue on the function of kids in parenting content material on-line.
“There was one time when she wrote about after I was sick and it type of embarrassed me and I talked to her about it and he or she was like, ‘I’m so sorry, I didn’t imply to embarrass you,’” her then-14-year-old daughter, Leta Elise Armstrong, advised Slate in 2018. Her daughter mentioned she was given veto energy over sure issues showing on Dooce.com.
Heather Armstrong wrote extensively about her struggles with melancholy and alcohol habit in her 2019 e book, “The Valedictorian of Being Useless.” The e book particulars her expertise present process a scientific trial for a remedy for melancholy that subjected her to 10 periods through which docs used propofol anesthesia to scale back her mind exercise to zero earlier than elevating it once more.
Following the remedy and the publication of her e book, she started running a blog extra repeatedly on Dooce.com. Her closing put up, dated April 6, 2023, talks about her struggles with sobriety and melancholy. “Early sobriety resembles residing life as a clam with out its shell,” she wrote.
She is survived by her two kids, Leta Elise, now 19, and Marlo Iris Armstrong, 14.