Professional Mom Blogging: 50% Privilege, 49% Work, 1% Luck

I interrupt my usual parent resource posts to bring you this personal reflection on the new media industry of professional mom blogging.

Yesterday I attended a series of events event hosted by the Silicon Valley Moms Group for the DC Metro Moms. It was a great experience. My fellow mom bloggers in the Washington DC area and I provided a little focus group insight, were treated to a swanky brunch and participated in a roundtable discussion on the industry of mom blogging. We also met with assorted companies who informed us about new goods and services available to parents, sometimes with free products to review and give away to our readers. (Coming soon!)

In addition to these activities, I spent the entire day with the incredible friends I have made in this vibrant community of writers.  And throughout the day, I kept reflecting that

  • I have had a lot of lucky breaks in the online world.
  • For many of us, our websites are our work or an extension of our work.
  • The ability to work by starting a blog is a complete privilege.

Privilege

Let’s just get the privilege part out of the way. I decided to leave my traditional office job after the birth of my first kid about seven years ago and work as a stay at home mom. My husband fully supported and encouraged this decision.  I spent four years solely taking care of the kids and checking out lots of great kid-friendly destinations in the area. I actually attended puppet shows and nature centers and family fun fairs and didn’t blog about them.

Usually because I was too busy breastfeeding and breaking up a tantrum.

Then I decided on a whim to detail some of that information in blog format on the web. And post daily. And spend a ton of time promoting it.  There would be no direct income from the website, save some minimal advertising revenue (but after expenses and deductions, no net pay). Oh, and I still got to have fun with the kids except I met more people and got to do more and expand my own horizons as they left babyhood and started school.

How freaking spoiled am I?

Most parents that decide to spend as much time on a venture will be directly making money from said venture.  But because my husband works to support us, I was able to create a free resource while I stayed home with the kids.  Just because I wanted to.  Maybe spoiled is the wrong word.  I’ll trade it for blessed.

Now that I’m several years into this blog and readers been so supportive and loyal, it has led to great career opportunities.  And my husband’s encouragement and support has made it possible. I didn’t have to take out a loan from the bank to start this up, but my husband and kids have lent me DAYS UPON DAYS of their time and patience in the name of Mom’s personal desires.

Thus, I see my personal involvement in professional mom blogging as a privilege.  I am not knocking it.  I love it. I’m just counting my blessings.

Work

But to have a blog that is a professional realization of your goals, I believe you have to work really hard at your website. This hard work is true whether your goals are

  • the creation of an effective community resource
  • an investment towards professional freelance writing
  • sponsorship by major companies
  • getting a book published
  • the promotion of a business through blogging and social media
  • just wanting to write a funny and entertaining blog

Whatever bloggers asprire to, they are posting all the time and striving to make their posts engaging. They are responding to their readers. They are promoting their websites, reading other blogs, networking in the community and using social media.

Sometimes they advertise, attend in-person events, host events out of pocket, purchase new technologies and supplies, hire graphic designers and other professional services.

But one thing’s for sure – they are always writing.

So it’s not all pretty-pretty-princess events and freebies and swag suites (and disclosures), there is a lot of hard work involved.

But it’s sure not digging ditches. (See ‘privilege’ section above.)

Luck

Then there’s Lady Luck.  You never know when a media executive will find one of your entries funny enough to offer you a job.  Or when a social media expert or company executive will be searching for exactly the brand of crazy you’re promoting on your webpage. Or when that earnest public relations pitch in your email box will lead to a relationship that blossoms into a fabulous opportunity for your career goals. Etc.

There are SO MANY thousands of blogs out there. The fact that anyone is reading anyone else’s website at all, and not simply typing away at her own, is a complete mystery. Every great connection is a stroke of luck to be valued.

In Conclusion – Love for the Blog

I believe that if you begin a blog and pour your time, maybe your money, definitely your family’s patience and your heart into your tiny corner of the Internet, one post at a time ….

Sure, you may get invited to some cool events …

You may receive some swag …

You may obtain some (very very relative) “exposure” …

But you can DEFINITELY

document this time in your life

enjoy a creative outlet

gain great friendships

participate in wonderful communities

advocate

educate

inform

support

celebrate diversity

crack people up & dress ‘em up right

provide hope (and write books!)

eliminate guilt

commentate

start a pop culture phenom

fund raise for a cause (and friend)

photograph your friend’s birth

re-consider that blog  & contemplate a new venture

have fun

make a difference

COMMUNICATE

Blogging.  I recommend it.

And to do it daily, I feel very blessed.

Comments

  1. I feel the same way! What a great post!

  2. cara mamma says

    I could not agree more–I have a long way to go, and know that I need to put in a lot more effort if I ever want my writing to be read by more people.  I felt very lucky yesterday to be in the company of such an amazing group! 

  3. JillAnneBerry@msn.com says

    I, too, am married to the species of husband who tolerates what I do. Even if I cannot put my finger on what exactly it is that I do. Blogger? Writer — allbeit untrained? Moderator? Reporter? Social Media Marketer?

  4. you left out the talent.  The creme rises to the top babe, and your the creme.

  5. Thien-Kim says

    You are an amazing blogger. Everything we said about you yesterday is true!

  6. Jessica McFadden says

    “I learned it from watching YOU!”

    bad paraphrasing of a very imporant 1980s PSA…

    but I did learn from the best and you’re the best

  7. Jessica McFadden says

    Thank you!  I really was overwhelmed by the love!!

    And I loved hanging with Jaxson for a little bit yesterday.  He is the world’s sweetest baby. Thank you for letting me hold him!! I miss him already.

  8. Jessica McFadden says

    You’re working so hard and are a GREAT writer.  I am so proud to read, and know, you!!

  9. Jessica McFadden says

    You wear many hats and do so many things well!  Multitalented people like you are hard to pigeon hole, and that’s a good thing!!

  10. Jessica McFadden says

    Thank you!  I really loved sitting by you yesterday.  You are such a hilarious and positive person AND writer. 

  11. Jessica McFadden says

    And YOU are an amazing blogger.  Thanks for sharing & working so hard to create and enlighten every day.

  12. LeticiaTechSavvyMama says

    Oh what an awesome post by not only an incredible freelance writer but my inspiration to get started in this ever so crazy world we call blogging. I am so lucky to have you as a friend and even more fortunate that a company executive found my brand of crazy that I promote on my webpage that I started Because. Of. You

    You, my dear, are amazing because of what you have done for our community through A Parent in Silver Spring but because of your ability to always support each and every one of us in our blog related endeavors while being the best freakin’ mom around.  

    Love you!!   🙂  

  13. This is a fantastic post, and every word of it is true. I can’t even imagine how much work this site is. My resource blog is so much smaller than yours and it takes an incredible amount of work. I think one of the things about you and your blog is that you are such a genuinely real, caring, and giving person. Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about you.

  14. Jessica McFadden says

    aw man, blushing.

    but AutMont.com is the BEST resource around. period.

    i can just regurgitate a press release or calendar listing. you have to evaluate an event based on kids/families with special needs. 

    THANK YOU for working so hard on that!!

  15. Jessica McFadden says

    You are MY IDOL.  You’ve always been my inspiration and you’re incredible.  I don’t know how you do it all!  Amazing!

  16. Devra Renner says

    Amen. Amen. Ayyyyyymen. AmenAmen.

    I think you summed up the day, and more importantly the purpose, perfectly. And if any of you are happy Wolf Trap was at our event, and loved the CD’s from Cathy & Marcy, and the forthcoming tickets to the Strathmore, Jessica was the one who made that connection happen. Nothing makes my heart sing more than when one of us helps another of us. And just as Jessica said,  quite a few of us-we’ve got it good compared to lots of folks-so all the more reason to be aware of our unique position and pay it forward wherever and whenever possible.

    Jessica walks that walk. And she leads by example, and I wil follow her lead anywhere. Seriously.

  17. Devra Renner says

    Will both of you please break into the song by Chicago? Please???!!!!

  18. Jessica McFadden says

    Devra http://www.parentopia.net/ is not only a leader of the mom blogging community, she’s an author, a social worker and with every breath of her adorable little body, she’s helping other parents and her community.

    She also coordinated the fabulous DC event, along with her just as incredible blogging partner in awesome, Sarah http://sarahandthegoonsquad.com/

    THANK YOU both for keeping this community together and a super day.

  19. Wonderful post, Jess. I can, in my own way, relate — and I think your treatment of privilege is important for a lot of us who work in this online world, not just as it relates to our family situations but that we get to do it at all. 

    You are a professional through and through, and it shows. xo. 

  20. Jess,
    You’ve blown us away with your success. And you alwAys make me laugh out loud. What a gift.

  21. amy @teachmama says

    Jessica.
    I love this post so so so so so much. You’ve got it, spot on.

  22. YOU’re the model of perfection m’dear.Thank you for giving us your great writing. You always blow me away.

    I always think “there’s a person out there who could be doing this waaaaaaay better than me, but she’s working her @#$ off making money to support her family. or she’s homeschooling her kids. or she’s working in a health clinic. and i’m the tool who decides to stay home and take time away from my own kids to do this.”

  23. Thank you Toni.

    (People, Toni is my step mom and great friend – she’s a litle biased.  And has supported me in every way since I was 12 years old.)

    Wow, I meant this to be an unloading of guilt & gratitude over the privilege and bizarre but awesome new pseudo-profession of being a mom blogger.  And it has turned into a compliment fest.  AWKWARD. 

  24. Jessica McFadden says

    Thanks for your support.

    AND THANK YOU for every day offering a FREE TEACHING RESOURCES FOR PARENTS!  Lesson plans!  Teaching moments!  Ideas for fun! New ways to bond UNPLUGGED with our kids!

    Everyone is reading TeachMama.com right and heading there for new ideas for family learning, right? 

    Without her, I swear we would just play Candyland all day at the APISS house. You’ve saved my sanity AND taught my kids so much (or showed me how to teach them).

    THANK YOU.

  25. What a great post, Jess!!! Excellent summation. We are blessed and privilieged indeed! Keep up the great work!

  26. What an Excellent Post Jessica from A Parent In Silver Spring ( @jessicaAPISS) shared with her readers about the value and benefit to blogging beyond the SWAG. Wonderful insight and a MUST READ!

  27. You do have a gift! I appreciate your using it. I’m so happy to have found your blog and this great resource.

  28. Fantastic post! I completely agree! Blogging like this really is a lot of work, but it is rewarding in so many ways.

  29. margy@hidethecheese says

    Very inspiring to those of us starting out and trying to figure out just what we’re doing this for, anyway.  Thanks!

  30. well thank you, I’m flattered, but I don’t even compare.

  31. Jessica McFadden says

    And you all have to read JJ’s site, http://www.bellyitchblog, it’s amazing…and so is she!  This attorney mom of three knows EVERYTHING about pregnancy and babies and her site is very inspiring.

  32. Jessica McFadden says

    Thank you!  I’m just really, really lucky that other parents in the community want to read this, because I love doing it so much!

  33. Jessica McFadden says

    Thank you for sharing healthy, foodie-but-accessible recipes with super photography on Hide the Cheese – http://www.hidethecheese.com/ – this is my favorite recipe blog site!!!!

  34. Jessica McFadden says

    Thank you for writing one of the best blogs EVER Lolli, wow, your feedback means so much!

    BetterinBulk.net = fabulous

    I don’t know how you do it with five kids, I’m in complete awe.  I can’t wait to hear you speak at the next conference!!

  35. No–YOU are fabulous, Jessica! Hopefully there will BE a next conference. 😉

  36. Goon Squad Sarah says

    Exactly.

  37. TravelMommy says

    Wow, what a wonderful way to put it.  I have never been able to nail down what my goals with blogging are, but blogging as a whole is a privilege, you are absolutely correct!

  38. Thanks so much!  It was great to see you across the room at the event – next time I’m going to hunt you down for a chat IRL! xoxo Jess

  39. Catherine Sobieszczyk says

    I’ve taught full time for the past 12 years and had my second child last September.  I think constantly about blogging with a purpose and dream about getting to spend more time with my girls, but I also love my career… so we’ll see….This summer may be the perfect time to start  : )  Your site is one of the few I check once a week.  I feel so grateful to have found it.  You have managed to appeal to a wide range of people and make us locally aware and happy – please keep it up and thank you. 

  40. Thanks for the kind words!  I really appreciate your reading and support.

  41. Stephanie says

    Yes! Blogging is all of the things you described…and more! It’s a place to connect, to grow, to learn, to teach, to be inspired, to encourage, etc. 

    I especially love that you focused in on the fact that mom bloggers work hard. It may *look* easy to write posts, build relationships, and market a brand – but it actually requires long hours, less sleep, and plenty of focus.

Trackbacks

  1. […] at the lovely Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City. Adored seeing my DCMM girlz Leticia (The Chief), Jessica (btw – you need to read this), Devra & Sarah ( thanks for an AWESOME party!), Joanne, Amie, Kristen, Jean, Nicole, Sue, […]

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