I might be the only one not offended by the Wall Street Journal’s recent article on mommy blogger conferences. I missed the initial brouhaha on social media when the story cracked. After reading an angry tweet, I searched for the article and had my pitch fork at the ready. I mean, if my fellow bloggers were this upset, obviously the Wall Street Journal had really insulted us. Instead, I had to put my pitchfork down to scratch my head. Huh? What are we so upset about again?
First the attached graphic to the story made me laugh. Probably because this is me on all counts.
Damn right I relish in the fact that I didn’t have to get my kids on the school bus and I know I’m not the only one. Ain’t no shame in that. Do I lounge in bed all day eating bonbons? Not a chance. I get my ass up, dress professionally, learn and network. But I definitely snicker a little when I think of my husband embracing the chaos while I lie in a little longer than usual in a bed free of dogs and children. *cue evil laughter*
I may not attack the mini-bar because as we all know, only idiots pay $10 for a Mars bar. That being said, I certainly eat what I want, when I want, when there’s no example to be set. Heck, I had M&M’s for breakfast once people. Watch out, “mommy” blogger on the loose.
I also enjoy going to the conferences because they offer me a chance to socialize with women I know from online networks. Wait, that’s what they said.
Do I dance and pose for pictures? Guilty.
Let’s pretend I’m not a blogger though but a drug rep. Would I be any less inclined to enjoy the fact that I didn’t have to get my kids on the bus? Would I not enjoy meeting other reps from across the country that I spoke with daily through e-mail? The fact is that you could apply this graphic to a lot of moms, traveling to any conference.
Moving to the article itself, it starts with this:
Katherine Stone, a 43-year-old mother and wife from Atlanta, wants to leave her husband and children.
Hooks you doesn’t it? That’s what an article is supposed to do. I didn’t feel all “judgey” towards Katherine like she just set us all back a decade or something. Being a big girl, I was pretty sure almost immediately that she probably made a crack about escaping the kids and husband and they led with that. In fact, escaping the children was the focus of the whole story. There’s no question it’s a one-sided article meant to garner page views. So, why pick on us? Well, because we’re kind of a big deal if you haven’t heard. You have to admit that had they written about dentist conventions it wouldn’t have had quite the same bite.
Let’s face it, piss off the “mommy bloggers” and you will feel the wrath…… and the page views. Very cagey that Wall Street Journal.
And maybe the blatant cry for attention wasn’t intentional, maybe it was a full on assault on women and bloggers. Maybe. I don’t think so though because there were nuggets of truth in there as well.
I’ve heard countless women relate how happy they are to catch a break from the daily grind while at these conferences. It may be said with humour but the sentiment is sincere. It doesn’t make you a bad mom, it makes you human. It’s also, obviously, not the whole story. So, why then are we offended when someone writes an article saying that moms enjoy catching a break from the daily grind? Are we so precious we can’t laugh at ourselves a little?
As for the whole “mommy blogger” moniker. I’m over it. For a time, every time someone would call me a “mommy blogger” I would get all holier-than-thou and correct them. Now, I just smile and nod. The media can continue to use it ad nauseam and I’ll continue to smile and nod and move on. Some day they’ll get it, or they won’t. Whatever. The newspapers are dying ladies, take solace that they are gasping their last breath. Soon, we “mommy bloggers” will rule the world. *cue more evil laughter*
And what of all these sponsorship dollars they speak of? Well that’s just a fact Jack. Nothing offensive in there. Then there’s this:
Event planners, networking organizations, travel agents and consumer-goods marketers are targeting these women by sponsoring conferences and conventions. They have figured out a simple way to make them happy: Give them a reason to go on a business trip.
Indeed. The mommy blogger or blogger conference has become big business. If we can’t admit that then we’re not being honest with ourselves. It seems like a new one is popping up every week these days. As women, we are by our very nature, social creatures and so if they build it, we will come. There is also no doubt that these conferences can provide massive inspiration and motivation to it’s attendees, but how many do you attend before it becomes less about the socializing and networking and more about the escape?
The “art” of blogging is not so complicated that countless workshops are needed to master the technique. Yes, we could all benefit from workshops on skills but exactly how many do you need to attend? Is the same information not available on line? How many times a year and how much money do I need to spend to feel like I’ve really connected with my peers?
The amazing thing to me about conferences is that the best nuggets I’ve walked away with were gleaned while talking to other bloggers in the hall or over drinks. Once I had a light bulb moment in the washroom. The best information isn’t always found in the conference rooms. This always makes me ask, do I really need a conference or just a weekend away with some amazing women I know?
For me, the financial strain of attending these conferences started to weigh on me in the first couple of years. It was a very simple cost-analysis. When you subtracted the cost of the conferences from what I was making blogging, I was in the negative. See kids? You will use your math some day.
I’ve personally decided that one a year is my limit, unless of course my blog turns into the gravy train, then I’ll be escaping my children, er, I mean running off to learn, several times a year.