So I’m going to be in the Wall Street Journal talking about how I’m a work-at-home mom and why I attend events like blog conferences. Cool.
I can get with that because I love all the “mommyblogger” events I attend each year, like the Mom 2.0 Summit and the BlogHer conference. I love them because they have made an enormous positive impact on my work, because I am able to network and develop new ideas, and because I get to spend time with my tribe.
I never had a tribe until I started working in social media. I can’t begin to express how much it has enriched my life to know the fellow bloggers and entrepreneurs I now know just because I started a blog about postpartum depression nine years ago. I work in a quiet house all day between dropping the kids off and picking them up from the bus stop, but I’m never alone. A quick hop onto Twitter or Facebook and I’m conversing with some of the smartest, most clever, most funny people I know. I’m continually amazed at how much each has accomplished on her own.
When I was being interviewed for the Wall Street Journal story, I was in Washington DC as a Front Line Scholar at TEDMED. I spoke with the reporter about how I’ll be attending the Mom 2.0 Summit, BlogHer ’13 and this year’s Disney Social Media Moms Conference. I didn’t even mention the travel I’m doing for speeches and brand work. I’ve been traveling quite a bit, and what I tried to get across is that I love it because it’s a chance for me to further my work and have fun. I get to be with people who don’t live anywhere near me but are some of my dearest friends, people who I only get to see three or maybe four times a year if I’m lucky. I cherish that time.
This morning the story comes out. Instead of being about the importance of connection, it feels more to me that it’s about how we ladies “rarely get to escape the daily grind” and how we finally get control of the remote when we are lucky enough to be in a hotel room. Oh no.
And now I’m going to apologize. To everyone.
“Katherine Stone, a 43-year-old mother and wife from Atlanta, wants to leave her husband and children.”
No I don’t. I apologize to you, my darling husband and children, because that lede and the following paragraphs infer that I toil away mightily at home, only to be lucky to escape from you every so often. As you know, I have no interest in ditching you. If I gave that impression to the reporter, I’m horrified. I’m lucky to be married to a guy who, even though he travels for work quite a bit of the time, is fully involved in parenting and cooking and cleaning the house too. A guy who takes time off from his job that he can hardly afford to take because of his leadership responsibilities there so that I can go where I need to go. A guy who works his ass off so that I could leave my high-paying job in the corporate world and commit full time to advocacy work. I love you and am grateful for you. I’m lucky to have two of the world’s most fabulous children.
And just so everyone knows, I’m generally the one in control of the remote in our house.
“Kids? What Kids? Her children’s school bus came 20 minutes ago. For once, that’s someone else’s problem.”
While the main portion of my apology is directed to my own husband, I also apologize to all the husbands and partners who this article infers are uninvolved but will now get their comeuppance when they have to take the kids to the bus stop for once.
“Parents who travel frequently take for granted the simple joy of not needing to set a good nutritional example.”
I apologize to all the women who feel minimized and condescended to by the piece, in particular the graphics that accompany it. I know we all don’t lay around in our hotel rooms on the ground gorging ourselves on crap. In fact I’ve racked my brain to think if I’ve ever laid on the floor of a hotel room for any reason, and I can’t come up with a single instance.
FYI, I eat snacks at home too.
“Ms. Stone and other Mom 2.0 attendees will sit in on seminars like ‘How to Keep Blogging After It’s All Been Blogged’ and ‘Help! My 9 Year Old Wants To Be On Instagram!”
And also “Building Community Through Cross-Channel Presence” and “Empowering your Small Business for Growth” and “Creative Collaborations: Building a Dream Team and Balancing Your Strengths” and “The Power of Saying No: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Paid What You’re Worth.” But let’s not mention those because it might make us bloggers look like serious women.
I don’t attend the Mom 2.0 Summit because the organizers are making an effort to make the expo look like a French market, as the article highlighted. In fact, I didn’t know that was even happening. I attend because of the super high caliber of people who attend. I go because it’s a great event. I go because I know I will always come away with a handful of action items that will make the work I do better. AND I go to have a blast.
I appreciate national press coverage, and I appreciate the publicity that BlogHer and Mom 2.0 Summit are getting for the fact that they have created national events that women want to go to. Perhaps it will encourage more brands to become involved in supporting these events, which would be a great thing. They should. They’d be smart to pay for access to a group of highly influential people. I’m just not sure decision-makers will come away from this piece with much respect for what we do. Please, dear PR and marketing people, don’t think that showing up, handing out a few tchotchkes and asking us to write about your products for free will do your brand equity or our brand equity any good.
I have wanted to crawl under a rock all day, but I’m trying to resist the urge. Meantime, please know that I cherish all of you and I cherish this social media industry within which we work. It has allowed me to help hundreds of thousands of women with postpartum depression, a job that is a true avocation. It has given me more than I will ever give it.
I know, because I have seen it with my own eyes, how amazing all of you are. How you deserve respect and admiration. I’m just sorry that didn’t come across.
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