Editor’s Note: It is embarrassing how long it’s taken me to publish some happenings from Blogalicious. But there’s been so much in the news lately! -Elisa
WASHINGTON, D.C.– Despite the bottle of sparkling wine my friend Aparna and I polished the night before, I slept great. I got at least eight hours of sleep and did not wake up until 8 a.m., a minute before the alarm on my cell phone was due to ring. Heaven!
Aparna’s husband, Jon, was very sweet and took me to the Gaylord Convention Center, where Blogalicious was taking place. I manned the Moms Clean Air Force booth for two hours. It was great to see so many women signing up for a good cause, which makes my life as an advocate so much easier.
There wasn’t a huge exhibit hall, but big-name brands did show up like McDonald’s, Gain detergent, Aunt Jemima, the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen For the Cure. I stopped by a game booth to look for some swag for my kids, and ended up getting sucked into a game – and taking one home to review.
I played the adult version of Say Anything (pictured on right). The best way to describe it is an open-ended Apples to Apples. We had a cardboard washboard and markers to write answers to a question asked by a judge. They were questions like, “If I were of the opposite sex what do you think I’d do?” Or, “Who do I think is the most overrated band?” Of course, it helps to know the judge really well!
The adult with the most points at the end for either writing down the judge’s preferred answer, or selecting the judge’s favorite answer by leveraging chips — another difference from Apples to Apples — wins. It was fun.
I picked up the kids version for Ari. Thank you, North Star Games, for the gift! They can be followed on Facebook here.
Later in the day, I attended a work-life balance session called “How Stella Got Her Balance Back.“ It was led by Jessica Smith from the consulting firm Plum District and Jeannette Kaplun, the editor at the Spanish-language TodoBebé blog, who is pictured, from left to right, blogger and consultant Ana Flores, myself, and Jeannette:
While I have worked in this space for some time, I still learned so much. At the beginning of the conversation, Jeannette asked how many of us were married, had children and had husbands who traveled. I was one of the women in the audience who raised her hand all three times.
Then she asked a poignant question: how many of our husbands upon returning from a trip went right to household chores or childcare? “If my husband has a red-eye, he goes to bed,” Jeannette said. “The kids jump on the bed, but he goes to sleep and doesn’t feel guilty about it.”
I found myself nodding at her point. Despite returning very late at night the night before – technically the morning – I still got up to pack school lunches and get my kids ready for school. I also took two very inconvenient flights because I wanted to spend as little time away from my family as possible. In all fairness, my husband does try to do the same, although his instincts upon returning home is not to do household chores or play with the kids. Why do we women do this to ourselves?
As a work-at-home mom, I also related to many of the challenges Jeannette expressed: having to establish regular work hours at home and educate people around me that I am working. I have had to turn down playdates during the day as well as cut personal phone calls short. And it is nearly impossible to get work done once the kids are home from school. Even when my husband is home, their instinct is to ask mami for help.
Which leads me to a question: WAHMs, what do your schedules look like? Right now, I think I have a good rhythm in that I largely work while my kids are in school, although sometimes work spills into the evenings and at least one morning or afternoon on the weekend. I’ve had to let Markos and the kids know that these are also work hours for me. Thankfully, they understand.
Later on at a party, I asked Jeannette why she did not mention our low-wage sisters who have even less flexibility than us. I want to assure you that Jeannette knows about this all too well, but for the purpose of this conference, she focused on bloggers who also had jobs, families or other commitments – and in her and my case, worked from home. I’d love to hear about your experiences in this area. Chat away!