Last year after BlogHer ’08, I read post after post about what an amazing, enriching experience it was. I immediately made it my goal to make BlogHer ’09.
Unfortunately, as the date grew closer, I realized it just wasn’t going to happen. Financially speaking we just could not swing it, and it was just too big of a time commitment for our family right now. So I had to sigh and let it go and think about other local projects instead.
Now that BlogHer ’09 is over, I’m again reading dozens of posts written by bloggers who were there. But this year’s set of entries are set to a very different tune. People are still saying that, for the most part, they had a nice time. But there are many, many comments that disparage the “mommybloggers.” Apparently, some bloggers — identified as mommybloggers — were aggressive in the way the hounded the BlogHer company sponsors for freebies and swag, and it was embarrassing to more established bloggers who felt that the professional nature of the conference was compromised by their behaviour.
In fact, I’ve read post after post by bloggers who have children who claim that they wish to be completely divorced from the term “mommyblogger,” that they will never refer to themselves as that again. The term has been tainted by the product-grabbing, greedy “moms” in the crowd, and now no one wants to be called a “mommy.” It’s degrading and insulting, apparently.
I’d like to just say this: I’d love to be a mommyblogger.
By that I mean this: I’d love to be a professional blogger who gets paid to write, while being a mom at the same time. I’d love to be able to integrate my home life with some kind of work. I’d like to contribute to the household income while doing something I love.
I don’t do any product reviews on this site (mostly because I’m too lazy and it isn’t fun for me, rather than any moral uptightness). I don’t have any sponsors or ads and I don’t make any money at all for the words I write. I’ve made a few half-hearted attempts to submit my words to magazines or paid blog sites but I’ve always been rejected outright.
And that’s okay, for now, because I’m busy and I’m not that serious about it.
But one day…it would be so great to be able to stay home with my kids, and yet feel good about that decision because I also have something else. Something that is for me. Something that makes me feel like I’m doing my part to provide for our family. Something that makes other people look at me and see a productive member of society, not “just” a mom.
And like a LOT of mommies who blog, I think blogging professionally would be a dream come true. A way to fuse everything I want in life together in one awesome package.
I suspect the people at BlogHer who really, really wanted free stuff were chasing after this dream, maybe a little too roughly, maybe a little too unprofessionally, but chasing their dream nonetheless. Maybe the experienced bloggers who complained — almost exclusively big bloggers who were sponsored to go to BlogHer, who were invited to sit on panels, who were greeted by their “fans,” who make money from their blogs from ads — could have taught them something instead of judging. Maybe the newbies in the crowd learned something from the BlogHer speakers and panels and will come back next year more mature and ready to network — isn’t that the point?
Despite the negative press, I think I would still like to go to BlogHer ’10 — if I can afford it. I think I could learn a lot about how to improve my writing, how to make it more marketable, how to eventually turn my blog into a profession. I expect the overall message to be to work very, very hard; to write very, very well; and to network until my eyes bleed.
I don’t expect everything to be handed to me on a silver platter. I don’t expect someone to just stumble across my blog, say, “WE LOVE YOU,” then give me six-figures a year to keep on writing exactly what I’m writing. (Although BOY, would that be nice.)
I expect — no, I HOPE — that if I make it to any BlogHer conference in the future, I’ll remember to approach the event with a spirit of learning and sharing, and not with a goal of grabbing free stuff. I will remember to treat everyone with respect and kindness.
And then someday, if I’m very, very lucky…maybe someone will refer to me as a mommyblogger. And it’ll be a compliment.