Thursday, October 17, 2013

That Was Rude, Martha.

There has been a lot of crap floating around getting people's dander up on the internet this week.
Let's start with The Martha Stewart thing. She doesn't respect bloggers. She thinks that we are untrained, and shouldn't be talking about things we don't know. We publish "untested recipes". We are not experts.

Well, I suppose, in a lot of cases, she's right.  When I post a recipe, I've only tested it in my kitchen, thought it was tasty and that my friends might like to try it. When I post about a craft, I'm showing you how I did it, and that is all. When I tell you about my kids, I'm mostly venting. I am certainly not trained to tell you about anything. I also never claimed to be. (And just so you know, Martha, the editor at Vogue was not trained as an editor.)

I'm actually not offended so much by Martha slagging bloggers as I am surprised. One would think that you'd recognise that there are an awful lot of us, and your business sense would stop you from potentially alienating a huge market base. Or at least that you'd exercise better manners. That was rude, Martha.

Our lack of expertise doesn't make our voices invalid. Just as your lack of training didn't stop you from becoming the head of a multimillion dollar multimedia empire.

Then there's the Matt Walsh Stay at Home Mom Thing. I am a stay at home mum. It is sometimes a thankless job and, I do think, a very important one. Mums who work, in the traditional sense of an outside paycheque, are also doing an important job. When you have a family, you make all kinds of sacrifices in all sorts of ways. We all love our kids. Can we leave it at that? I am wonderful, you are wonderful, she is wonderful too. It's not a competition. Let's move on.

And of course, the "Hot Mom" Thing.  Maria Kang is a fitness enthusiast. She says that she posted this photo to be inspirational, and I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and believe her.

There are detractors who think this is fat shaming, and there are the "you go girl!" supporters. This woman works out 5-6 days a week, and she's proud of the body that her hard work has attained her. That's great. Good for her! Just like if I work really hard on a quilt and post a picture of it. No, really. Why is it different? (Except for the fact that no one is going to feel goaded by a quilt, of course.)

If she wanted her inspirational message to be clearer, maybe she should have said "I did it, and you can too!" or something along those lines. It would have worked out better for her. "What's Your Excuse?" is a bit inflammatory. Physical beauty is an area where most women are sensitive. When you post something on the internet that seems to imply that the only reason any of us are walking around overweight or frumpy is because we're not trying hard enough, that's going to get a reaction. I think that it probably just didn't even occur to her.

So here's the thing. Just because someone is defending stay at home mums, doesn't mean they're saying anything bad about working mums. Just because someone is proud of their body doesn't mean that you should feel bad about yours. Martha being rude though, there's just no excuse for that. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

More Than Words

Is anyone else having a hard time putting their Blissdom Canada experience into words? I've been trying since I got home to write this post, and nothing was coming out. So bear with me, this may be messy.

Last year, my experience was not fabulous. Part of it was definitely on me, as I found it really hard to put myself out there. I was uncomfortable, I felt rushed, and I almost came home halfway through the day.

This year was not like last year at all.

First of all, I took my own advice from last year's conference. I wore comfortable clothes, and brought a number of options. I stalked got to know some people in the months before the conference. I took pictures! And though I missed talking to some sponsors, and didn't make it to Power Hour, I'm not beating myself up for it*.

As I said, I stayed at the hotel, and I think that was the best decision I could have possibly made. I had a couple of awesome roommates in Katie and Elan. I was able to go to the parties with the backup plan of hanging out in my room reading if it was too much. Just having that option made me so much more comfortable; I only ended up hiding out by myself for about 15 minutes the whole weekend.  (Also, the room was LOVELY and I had somewhere to keep all my extra pants.)

There were  people that I was looking forward to seeing again (Christa was the very first person who talked to me last year, and kept me from running back out the door, and Tara, I met at the welcome breakfast.), as well as people I was looking forward to meeting in real life for the first time (Looking at you, Shannon!). If you're thinking of attending something like this, take to Twitter! Join a facebook group of attendees, and find yourself some people! It's much easier (for me anyway) to walk into a room knowing there's someone in there who already wants to talk to you.

Socially, I think I did much better. More comfortable in a more laid back environment, with a place to hide if need be, I found it much easier to say yes.

When Kyla dragged me into a lineup, I said yes. When Julie offered me some wine, I said yes. When Lesley urged me to try on a dress from Rent Frock Repeat, I said yes (although that might've had a little to do with the wine). When Sunshine sat down beside me and started a conversation, I put my phone down and got to know her. I enjoyed the wine, and the dress, and - lord knows - the conversation. I'm happy to say that I met some pretty interesting new people, who I'm already looking forward to seeing again next year (if not sooner!).

The conference itself was also better. Spreading it out over two days the way they did made everything more relaxed. We didn't have to storm through a crowded room between too close tables to try and make it to the sessions we wanted. There was time (and space) between them. The sponsors (who were awesome) were also more spread out, allowing people to actually enter their space and talk to them, rather than trying to be heard over the teeming crowd behind them.

Basically, I had fun.

Blurry and fun... pretty much sums it up.

I'm really glad that I took notes though, because I'm realising that I don't remember much other than that. Now I just need to go sort through them, and put some of the great ideas I picked up into use.

*A Special thanks to anyone who's putting up links to their talks and sessions!