In late April, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece called “The Mommy Business Trip: Conferences Appeal to Women With a Guilt-Free, Child-Free Reason to Leave Home,” in which the reporter mocked with undisguised glee the idea that grown-up ladies with children occasionally go on business trips to industry conferences and stay in hotels and everything. Run fer yer lives! Womenfolk are travelin’ by their lonesome with no male chaperone! They’re drinkin’ cocktails ‘n’ gettin’ all dolled up fer nighttime festivities!
But mostly, the article mocked so-called mommy bloggers because, I guess, we have children. And sometimes we go to blogging conferences. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Ha. My laugh-o-meter is off the charts.
There are so many choice offensive comments in the article but I think they are all summed up best by the accompanying infographic:
Man, I want to go to a blogging conference like that one – blowing my IRA on $7 Snickers and Cokes in my western-style shirt, sleepin’ in until almost nine fucking o’clock in the morning in my turquoise and red ribbed tank top, raisin’ the roof like it’s 1989, and laughing my fucking ass off at re-runs of “Friends” in my super-comfy, super-stylish jean leggings.
Fuck you, Wall Street Journal.
Call me a mommy blogger, a parenting blogger, a humor writer, or just a blogger – I don’t fucking care. I’m proud to be in the company of the many amazing women living their lives out loud and online, changing the world one post at a time.
These women inspire me every day with their stories and, without blogging conferences, I would never have met them and learned from them how to hone my writing, marketing, web development, and social media skills. I’m honored to be their friend and colleague.
Women like Greta Funk of G-Funkified, a young widow, now remarried, and raising her four children on the prairies of Kansas. If you want to read a post that will punch you in the gut, read “Shedding the Weight” about the death of her first husband. Greta supports women who blog with her series “Great Expectations”, which features stories about transitional moments in the writers’ lives. In her spare time? Greta started walking, then running, and is on her way to 500 miles this year.
Greta introduced me to women like Erica Mullenix, a marketing professional and kickass writer who is the managing editor of the yeah write weekly blogging challenge, which showcases bloggers who dedicate themselves to perfecting the craft of writing. I’m honored to be a Contributing Editor for yeah write and I bow down at Erica’s feet, especially after reading posts from her like this one on her personal blog free fringes, about her daughter: “acceptance gone wrong: retardation and its profound loneliness and isolation.”
Yeah Write has introduced me not only to some of the best friends I’ve made in blogging, but also to some of the best writers. Women like Michelle Longo at The Journey, whose post “Happy Drunk,” about her alcoholic father, is one of the best I’ve read in a year of blogging challenges. Women like Christie O. Tate of Outlaw Mama, who blows me away with near-daily posts of a sustained quality she manages by sheer talent and dedication, all while raising two kids and working part-time as an attorney. Christie can write serious shit or humor with equal skill.
I can’t remember how I “met” women like Erin Margolin at The Road to my Writer Roots. I know I wanted to introduce myself to her at the Blissdom blogging conference, but I was insecure because she was a “big blogger.” I may have tweeted that at her and we became friends. Erin not only writes fiction and posts on her personal blog; she co-founded The Gay Dad Project to support kids whose parents come out, inspired by her own story of her dad coming out when she was in her teens.
I’ve been fortunate to have the support of so-called “Big Bloggers,” who have been so generous to me, someone who blogs at the molecular level. See, I’ve got a whopping 133 followers here at The Reedster Speaks. Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess? She gets millions of page views each month. She’s a bestselling author of the funniest book I read last year, and she’s been open about her struggles with mental illness, starting The Traveling Red Dress project to celebrate women who need to take a moment to wear a beautiful garment and shine their light back on themselves for once. I dedicated my post about being bipolar on Twitter “To Jenny, who gave me the courage to blog about being bipolar with humor” and she stopped by my blog, read, and commented. That’s class.
Liz Gumbinner, whose blog Mom 101 was chosen “Best All-Around Mom Blog” by Parents Magazine in 2011, was the keynote speaker at the Type-A Parent Conference in 2010, my first blogging conference. Liz is a big reason why I decided to toss my thoughts out onto the internet. She’s a straight-talking New Yorker who is unafraid of the words “liberal” and “feminist,” as well as a prominent advertising and marketing professional and mother of two girls. Sometimes she shares my posts and I squee. I adore her.
Katherine Stone had the misfortune to be featured in the Wall Street Journal hit piece, which made it look like she goes to blogging conferences so she can leave behind a world of reading US magazine and watching Kardashian marathons between drop-off and pick-up. In reality, via her nationally renowned blog Postpartum Progress, Katherine works tirelessly to support women with postpartum depression and has appeared numerous times on national television to speak on the topic. I count myself lucky to have attended a small session on blogging for causes that she led at the Type A Parent Conference.
I’ve been blown away by women like the late Susan Niebur of Toddler Planet, a mommy who also happened to be an astrophysicist and philanthropist and whose work to support women with metastatic breast cancer earned her the 2011 Bloganthropy Award – awarded at, you guessed it, a frivolous mommy business trip known as the Type A Parent Conference. Read her final post here, written as hospice arrived for palliative care, “How did we get here?”
So go ahead. Mock us. Make fun of our conferences. Call us mommy bloggers if you think that demeans our power. Whatever. I don’t fucking care.
We are women writing online.
We are the keepers of the stories of our time.
We are the voices of our families.
We are the voices of our communities.
We are – post by post – changing the world by the power of our words.