In the last 24 hours I have been busy. Really busy. Not doing my daily quota of “mommy blogging” where I write a minimum of five posts a day, not promoting my work or my “brand,” and I certainly haven’t been curled on the floor of a hotel room raiding the mini-bar. Instead I got sucked into the battle between The Wall Street Journal and “Mommy Bloggers.” Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, especially a blogging woman. And they (present company included) had a good reason to be upset.
In Katherine Rosman’s piece entitled, The Mommy Business Trip: Conferences Appeal to Women With a Guilt-Free, Child-Free Reason to Leave Home, she managed to belittle business trips for blogging into something akin to a bacchanalian bachelorette party. In the process she pissed off a lot of very smart, very savvy, very well respected women, and business women at that. As a full-time “mommy blogger” (and seriously when can we stop with the “mommy?”) I took offense. Men have been mixing business and pleasure for eons at conferences and conventions but no one dedicates an article about how they leave their families behind to party it up.
I could go on and on, and yes, on, but I won’t. Instead I’ve collected eight quotes from blogging professionals who just happen to be women and mothers who eloquently and passionately shared their feelings on the subject:
The ridiculously awesome Liz Gumbinner of Mom 101 wrote in her piece Attention Mommy Blog Conferences I Want My Money Back:
“It wasn’t that once again, journalists omit facts that get in the way of the condescending story about moms they want to write; cherry pick quotes from well-respected publishers out of context; entirely omit interviews with successful publishers who plainly described the professional benefits of conferences and the secondary benefit of socializing; or even that there remains this weird cultural bias against businesses with “mom” in the name that makes it easy to sling silly insults.
Nope. Not even close. What I did learn is that as it pertains to such events as professional development and networking conferences like Mom 2.0, we’re being robbed.”
I had the same response after reading it that Uppercase Woman and Babble contributor Cecily Kellogg had when she wrote in her piece Mom Bloggers Roll Eyes at the Wall Street Journal:
“But still, this article is a hot f**king mess of bullsh*t. Forgive me, Babble, for swearing.
Did it never occur to the writer and editors of this piece (and, yes, I see the sticky click-starved fingers of the editors all over this piece) that, possibly, women go to business conferences to do business? Just like men do?
No. Because we are poor, poor mommies trapped in our houses while our much smarter and more accomplished husbands do all the biz travel! We are so maligned and lonely with our housecleaning and bon bons, we need some savvy event planners to take us away!
*head repeatedly hitting desk*;”
The very successful and amazing Ana Flores wrote in her piece for Babble, “Wall Street Journal Has No Idea Who Mom Bloggers Really Are or What We Do” that:
“These conferences are exactly the reason why I am now able to have my own business that gives paid and even life-changing opportunities to hundreds of other bloggers. These trips not only fill my brain and my business account, but also my soul. But not because I can’t stand to be a mom, but because I am a woman who is motivated by being exposed to opportunities of growth, no matter where they may be.”
Megan Francis (of The Happiest Mom and The Kitchen Hour fame) wrote in her piece for Babble entitled, “Mom bloggers: Are we fooling ourselves about conferences?”
“I won’t get into the sexism of implying, even if by omission, that only women dare to have fun at business conferences, though, come on. I was mostly offended because of the implication that my colleagues and I would spend thousands of dollars and leave our families at home for weeks every year based on a lie. That we would pretend to be going off to work somewhere, using “business” as an excuse when what we really want or need is a vacation.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself on business travel. Not at all! There’s nothing wrong with reveling in the solo hotel bed, a full night’s sleep or being wined and dined by sponsors. It’s one of the perks of being a grown-up businessperson (and by the way, any luxury is offset by the utter exhaustion I feel when I return home from business travel).
I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with heading to a conference just to have a good time, by the way. But do it for the right reasons. Do it because you love hanging out with bloggers more than anyone else in the world (and I do!), or because Mom 2.0 throws a heck of a party (and, oh, they do.
Morgan Shanahan wrote a piece for Babble called, “Mommies Love To Party! (Oh, And Also Shame On You Wall Street Journal. Shame On You SO HARD.)”
“…this isn’t another one of those inflammatory Mommy Wars pieces that pits Moms who work out of the house against Moms who stay home. This is a piece that takes an entire profession full of hard working and entrepreneurial women — many of whom are either the bread winners in their family and/or significantly contributing to their household’s bottom line — squats over it, takes a massive dump on it, and then flushes it down the toilet as fast as possible to get rid of the stench.”
Danielle Wood beautifully, and bluntly spelled it out in her piece, “A Business Trip is a Business Trip“:
“…when I go on a business trip to a conference… to me it is a business trip. Simply that. It is not a “Mommy Business Trip” or a “Mommy Vacation” it is work. Just like when men hit a plane and jet set across the country, or world for whatever their career brings them. But we have yet to hear someone call it a “Daddy Business Trip” or even take the fact that they are a father into consideration when it comes to their careers.
So why are we continuing to treat women like this in the year 2013?
If this was Marissa Mayer, or Sheryl Sandberg traveling for work, their trip wouldn’t be dubbed a “Mommy Business Trip” it would simply be called a business trip. No need to be defined by the status of how many children their uterus has produced. So why are any other women being treated differently?
Lisa Belkin of the Huffington Post posted a challenge saying:
“Haven’t men been going to sales meetings and conferences for generations? Staying at lovely hotels and dining in fine restaurants — and sometimes acting really silly? Do you think there is a single article about men and work travel that oozes the same patronizing tone as this one? Find me one. I challenge you.”
Lindsay Ferrier of The Stir wrote in her piece “WSJ Article Sparks Mom Blogger Outrage”:
“As for the incredibly condescending graphic, I’d like to state for the record that I have NEVER slept in at a conference (if anything, I typically have to spend the next few days after a conference catching up from a lack of sleep) and I’ve certainly never laid on the floor of a hotel room, gorging myself on the minibar. As Isabel Kallman pointed out in the comments of Katherine Stone’s post, “Moms know that hotel carpets are gross.”"
But I feel so bad for the very inspiring, well respected and fierce Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress and Babble who was misrepresented in the article, so much so that she had to issue a public apology not just to her own friends and family but to everyone. She wrote:
And “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.”
Do you think that the Wall Street Journal anticipated this outrage when they published this piece?