I Want To Be a Mommyblogger

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.

11 thoughts on “I Want To Be a Mommyblogger

  1. Very well put Lynn! I couldn’t agree with you more. Though I have no desire to be a ‘Mommyblogger’ nor do I wish to make money from my blog. I wish you all the luck on your endeavor to become the next great ‘Mommyblogger’. And I’ll support you along the way.

  2. That is such a great perspective Lynn. I just got back from the cottage and I missed most of the BlogHer09 tweets and posts. But I have caught a whiff of the controversy and it made me a bit sad to hear it. The idea of NYC still sounds so nice though.

  3. I have no problem with the whole mommyblogger label. I’m a mom who mostly blogs about my kids, so it fits just fine.

    I’m not even sure I ever want to make money from my blog. It’s not that I’m against the idea, it’s just that I think that would make the blog be work and that would make it a lot less fun.

    There seem to have been controversies after the last couple of BlogHer conferences. They kind of make me less inclined to go. Maybe they’ve just gotten too big? I feel a lot more interested in going to something smaller and slightly more local like BOLO than I do in going to BlogHer. I just think I’d feel lost in the crowd there. I feel like maybe I’m not quite serious enough about blogging to go there.

  4. I happily call myself a mommyblogger even though I don’t make money on my blog. (Oh, wait I’ve made $4 from my google ads. Hey, that is a coffee from Starbucks and every bit helps!) I’m a mom, I blog and I blog about being a mom. Sounds like a mommyblogger to me. 🙂

    I think part of the issue is the writing versus product blogs. A lot of blogs are about products, which is fine because they appeal to a certain reader. Maybe the same reader that reads more “professional” blogs. Just like everything there can be a lot of diversity in blogging.

    I’ll call you a mommyblogger!

  5. I didn’t see very many BlogHer wrap up posts (I did see the article on Gawker, but I think that was about it) but I did write my own about why I wasn’t really excited by the conference. I don’t have any problems with people doing parent blogs or making money from their blogs. I just think that the conference wasn’t always as useful as it could have been on the networking front because there’s a lot of jockeying for position between smaller bloggers longing to hit the big time. In a lot of cases it becomes not about meeting like-minded and interesting individuals, but rather networking with a “what can you do for me” mindset. And the whole SWAG thing was seriously out of control.

    It’s not just BlogHer. I went to a lot of Ladyfests in the earl 2000s and what started out as an amazing and inspiring gathering of arty, music-loving women eventual broke down and became all about who was the most famous band booked to play and how much stuff could you buy at the craft sale.

    That said, I have no idea what the answer is. I hope that the SWAG stuff is less intense next year, and I really hope you get to go. I feel kind of bad that I got to go because my friend won the M.L. contest that you also entered. If I could have sent you in my place, I would have. 🙂

  6. I’ve skipped over all the BlogHer conference stuff. So I’m not really following the drama. I go to a conference or two a year, and honestly, attending for “fun” sounds like a special kind of hell. In terms of blogging I much prefer events like Blog Out Loud or a small gathering like at breakfast.

    I guess my thing is that why I blog about The Boy, I blog about many (more) other things as well. I hate to be pigeonholed as a “mommyblogger” I am a mom sure. But it’s not everything I am.

    If I could find a job with no pitching or being pitched to, that involved blogging that would be swell. But I don’t want ads on the blog, and I don’t want it to become an ad nauseum product fest.

    Now I could see the blog (if you had enough readers) as a marketing tool for something else… still feel kind of icky about it…

  7. Oh and I just thought of this. If they (BlogHer) people think only mommy bloggers go crazy for swag they are so wrong. I have been to two SW testing conferences. 60% attended by men and trust me, they will pushed me out of the way to get to a free T-shirt and a stress ball. Free just brings out the worse in some people. Inevitable.

  8. “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.”

    I hope you feel good about your decision to stay home with your kids every single day because it really is the most important job in the world. Anyone who tries to make you feel less than a very important and very productive member of society needs a good talking to. I stayed home with my daughter before she went to school too, so I know very well how people can make you feel like a second class citizen because you “don’t work” Ha! I don’t know if you’ve been following the discussion on my blog and Hallie’s about this very thing? — How somehow we’ve decided that only people who get regular pay cheques and pay taxes are important?? And how very skewed this thinking is? And why?

  9. Great post, thank you. I’ve been reading a lot of different experiences from Blogher and you know that I’d like to one day go. But now, after reading the after-stuff, I’m not so sure. I love the thought of meeting people I talk to online face to face, learning about advancements in technology,what others are doing, but the drama is not for me.

    Thanks for a calming perspective on things though.

  10. Crazy internet. See what you’re doing?

    So, I have to disclose that I’m the brooding type of writer who doesn’t actually love companionship when it comes to that personal goal of words to paper — but I AM all over the blogging community aspect. Your piece raises more questions for me than I have answers to give, but it seems to me we need to evaluate this from the Hippocratic perspective; if mommy bloggers get their thrills by attending conferences and dealing in free stuff — well, it’s not hurting me. Have at it. I’d sure like some free stuff, some days.

    But when it comes down to it, my measure of other blogs is still the writing. And I’m not fooled by pseudo bloggers out there hocking product instead of eloquent adjectives. Cod liver oil in fancy bottles never did cure whatever ails ya.

    Besides — wasn’t it YOU that showed Ottawa’s bloggers that instead of waiting to GET flowers, you can just grow your own damn ones?

    🙂 Emoticon!

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