Archive for » August, 2009 «

What is the right way?

For the most part, if people have been critical of my parenting, they have been silent about it. And I pretty much thought I didn’t care what other people felt about my choices. We all have to do best for our children, right? And even if I don’t agree completely, I have the sense to keep my mouth shut. Because I don’t know all of the circumstances surrounding their choices. I think I’m now much more likely to give people the benefit of the doubt.

So it took me by complete surprise when I overheard a criticism of how I treat my son. And it cut me to the quick, in part because it came from someone whose opinion I value very much.

So much surprise in fact, that I’m still reeling. I don’t know how to process it. I don’t know how to get past it. It’s still bouncing around in my head, echoing over and over.

The judgment. The hurt. The questioning myself, my parenting. You are not good enough. You’re doing it wrong.

Yet, what is the right way? I don’t think I coddle my son, yet others do. I try my best to let him try new things. Find his own boundaries. I show him how to do things and then have him try it. Mostly, I watch him do it. Let him work out his own frustrations. Sometimes I show him the solution and then let him work it out. Or I just talk him through it. I’m trying to teach him some problem solving. Is it wrong to help him figure things out? Should I just let him scream and cry in frustration?

I don’t know.

And right now, I feel like I know even less than before.

Category: Uncategorized  Tags:  6 Comments

Walking in a spiderweb

Okay, so I’m really tired of seeing that wifi post up there, so it’s prompting me to drop in, ever-so-briefly.

We (the boy & I) are visiting family right now. There’s a lot of “Outside!” and “Turn on the ceiling fans!” going on around here. And grandparent snuggles. And inappropriate food smuggling (thanks, Dad). And CARS.

My boy is happy. So am I.

Category: babbling, family, spawn  Tags:  Comments off

Want free wifi at Starbucks? Here’s how you do it!

ETA: Since I wrote this post, Starbucks has added free wi-fi to all of their stores. You don’t even need the gift card to access it! But you can still register your gift card to get some extra perks, like coupons and promos.

Sometimes you just need to get away from your desk. You have a lot of work, too many interruptions, and you just need a change of scenery. As a mobile worker, I have the flexibility to work from just about anywhere. I’ve looked all over for the best wifi spots, but they are so expensive! Paying for multiple accounts that you only use occasionally cuts into your bottom line. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like paying for anything that I don’t use regularly.

Triple Coffee
(image: LotusHead on sxc.hu)

We all know that Starbucks has wifi capabilities. But you need an account with their provider. Unless you have AT&T service at home, you have to pay to access their wireless spots at the coffee shop. Whether you pay for a single day’s access or by the month, it gets expensive. Unless you know the secret to getting up to two free hours of wifi! Yes, it’s free and no, you’re not doing anything untoward to get it. The last time I asked about free wifi at a local Starbucks, the person at the register didn’t know a thing about it. But I knew I had read something a while ago and I decided to find out.

Do you have a Starbucks gift card? They’re free. You should get one. And here’s why.

Put a few bucks on the card. You only need to use it once a month. Plus, if you’re working at one of their shops, you’re probably already buying something to drink or eat anyway, right? So just load that money on the card and use it instead.

Now you can qualify for free wifi access. Go to starbucks.com. Then choose the starbucks card link (or just go there directly). Then click on the “Register Your Card” link (or, again, go straight there). Enter the card number and security code as asked.

You’ll create a starbucks.com account. And when it asks you if you want to register for free wifi, say yes! You’ll also set up an AT&T account that allows you to log in at any starbucks shop that uses AT&T wifi. After you set up the account, all you have to do is connect to the wireless where you are, open your browser, and enter your login information. Voila! Free wifi for two hours. And all you had to do was register a free rewards card! Additionally, your card balance is protected if the card is lost or stolen. And you can add funds online if you’d like.

Going somewhere like a coffee shop and working has helped me when I needed to concentrate but just couldn’t get it done at my home office. Or when traveling (hotel access is so expensive). Having a couple of hours of free wifi helps keep me more mobile without spending a lot of money on a broadband card (which I have also done).

I love how easy this is, and wish Starbucks would let more people know about it. When they first rolled out the program, they had flyers in the store. Now it’s hard to find info unless you know where to look. And now you know! So go grab yourself a cuppa, pop in those headphones, and get to work.

(I was not paid in any way for this. I found all the info on my own and just wanted to share something that’s easy to do and helps me out when I need to work somewhere other than my house. Cross-posted to my other site.)

Category: babbling, techie talk  Comments off

They never left me

disillusionment

I was 20 years old when I ran away from home.

Yes, I do think you can run away even when you already moved out of your parents’ home. And that’s what I did.

I was married. Going to school. Working. My then husband was having a hard time keeping jobs. It was always something. He didn’t get along with management or someone got promoted over him and that person didn’t like him. Or he’d be late too many times. I was so tired of asking for money to help us pay our electric bill. We had a very small house payment (we lived in a mobile home) and could barely make that.

I felt trapped. I had signed on for this. I was miserable. Embarrassed over our finances. So young that I hadn’t a clue what to do. I came from the camp that believed you don’t divorce. So I tried to make things work.

The ex had lived in California before and felt sure he could get a job back at his old employer. He was so sure there were more opportunities there. He wanted to leave. I didn’t want to let go of my family. Eventually he wore me down. But I was too afraid to tell them. Afraid they’d tell me how silly it was. I already knew it was a bad move. But I so hoped that something, anything, would be better than the way it already was.

So we packed everything up and drove to Cali. I called my parents after we entered Palm Springs. I cringe to write that out. Those words hold so much pain. So much hurt. That *I* inflicted. I don’t blame the ex for that. He wanted me to tell my parents. I was so afraid. Afraid of their disapproval. Afraid of them talking me out of it, or seeing the disappointment on their faces. So I ran away. Avoided it.

It took a long time to rebuild that relationship. They never stopped loving me. Never broke ties. I was so ashamed of what I’d done to them that it took a while for me to ask for their forgiveness. In the meantime, my ex took advantage of those broken ties to fill my head with lies about them. Things they had (allegedly) said to him when I wasn’t around.

My parents aren’t like that. I knew that deep down. They have never said anything bad about anyone who has done them wrong. They would not make snide comments. Other relatives? Yes, they would. But my parents? Never.

It took three more years of heartache, of hearing lies about my family before I finally realized what was going on. That I could leave. That it was enough. That I didn’t have to take it anymore. People divorce. We make mistakes when we’re young. We don’t always choose well.

But I am so grateful that my family stuck by me. Even when I hurt them. And didn’t really deserve it.

I left them. They never left me.

Category: family, you might think i'm crazy  Tags: ,  Comments off

Get ready for some change

Soon I will be changing around my template again. I’m looking for a design I like. If I could just whip up my own, I totally would. The best I can do is a new header, but I don’t want to try that with this design. Too many other things to change. So things may get a little wonky for a bit.

And here’s hoping I don’t accidentally move a critical file into a completely new directory. Doggone drag and drop. Wish me luck!

(test)

Category: techie talk  9 Comments

You found me

I don’t usually pay attention to how people got here. I suppose I should if I want to take advantage of trends, write about what people are searching for, blah blah blah. I don’t do any of that for this site. But just for fun, I do occasionally check out what someone searched before they dropped into my humble abode.

Champagne Sunrise
(credit: morgueFile, Photo by Nino Andonis)

little boy dancing – sorry, I was talking about watching my son dance — not to “Low” or “Get Low” — but to the Bubblegum song from Nacho Libre. No video either. What a disappointment, huh.

BlogHerAds questions – well, yes, I do work for them, but I don’t have answers to your questions listed here. I’m so sorry. But you can see our editorial guidelines here or contact our help desk for the best answer to your query.

Chris Jordan: kids names, children’s names, notes from the trenches, mommyblogger – um, yeah. Hi. I’m not Chris Jordan, nor am I in the position to tell you the names of her children. I have met her, but not her family. And if I did know all of their names, I wouldn’t post them on my blog. I get this query several times a month, probably because of that “state of the momosphere” post from blogher 07. I reposted it for your enjoyment, but no, it does not mention the kids’ names.

erica lassa – I think you’re looking for Erika, and you can find her at The Makeup Bag. She’s really nice and was my blogher 07 roomie. Go over and tell her hello.

miss priss – okay, that actually IS me. sort of. I’m not the only one that uses it. But whatever you do, don’t go to the dot com version of my site. Just don’t. Unless you’re looking for pr0n. In that case, have at it! Enjoy.

I am a disappointment to everyone – yeah, I know what you mean. I once felt that way, too. But you’re not really. And neither am I. Just do the best you can. And I’m sorry you’re feeling so down. I hope things get better.

don’t know why there’s no sun up in the sky – yes, I do love that song. But no, I didn’t post all of the lyrics. You can find those here if you’re so inclined.

momosphere – yeah, like i said, you probably wanted this post.

what independence day means – well, you know, that’s probably different for everyone. Here’s what I thought about it last year. But if you want historical information, you can start here (if you’re referring to the US, of course).

why are blue eyes so desired – for me, it’s because of my dad’s blue eyes. your mileage may vary.

Category: meta, miscellany  Tags:  6 Comments

The State of the Momosphere – revisited

I’ve been thinking a lot about BlogHer and I think I’m finally able to process something that’s bugging me. More on that soon. For now, though, I thought it would be interesting to go back to BlogHer 07 and look at a session I blogged, called The State of the Momosphere. If we thought things had changed a lot two years ago, it has changed even more in the last four. Or has it? Take a look at the discussion that we had back then – do we still have the same concerns? Has much of anything really changed? Are we still having the same arguments over and over?


Session description:


The State of the Momosphere

It’s no secret that MommyBlogging has changed a lot in the past two years. Sort of like actors who toil away for years before becoming overnight sensations, MommyBloggers are now seen as power influencers by marketers and the media. Whether managing what amounts to small publishing juggernauts, or cranking out posts mostly for family and friends in their not-so-copious spare time, MommyBloggers are getting a lot of attention…individually and as a “segment.” Has the attention and opportunity affected the way you blog? Should it? What are some of the non-negotiable boundaries you have when you consider commercial relationships? Has all the attention and increasing opportunity also affected who you read? This panel will take a look at how MommyBloggers continue to express themselves, support one another and build their platforms under a microscope. It may also give those outside the Momosphere a better understanding of what MommyBloggers want, and how they want to be engaged, if at all. Come join the discussion and answer the questions above for yourself! Jory Des Jardins leads what is sure to be a lively discussion amongst the diverse community of MommyBloggers, including Catherine Connors, Lena Lotsey and Chris Jordan.
This session is sponsored by Five Moms.

The State of the Momosphere.

Jory, moderator. Catherine, Lena, Chris – panel.

Why we’re here: previously we had a conversation about mom bloggers. Sponsors started realizing the potential of marketing to moms. Today: Is the momosphere changing? Is there stratification? There are mom bloggers and the companies that want to market to them (why Jory thinks we’re here).

What about monetizing? Threat? Good thing?

Catherine Conners, Her Bad Mother. Part of BlogHers Act Canada. We’ll talk about her views on the politicization of mom blogs.
Lena Lotsey, Cheeky Lotus & Mamapop. She blogs about everything under the sun, not just mom stuff. So, what makes a mommy blogger? We’ll talk about that.
Chris Jordan, Notes from the Trenches. She’s been blogging 3 years. She blogs about being a mom. Jory called her a blogging “purist” because it’s about being a mom. Do we change our blogs, the more attention we get? We’ll explore this, too.

Why are you here? A journal for your children? To make money?

The darker side of mommyblogging. Is there division? What about money, and being approached regarding content? And privacy, how do you handle it? Are we able to agree on this?

All of these are themes that Jory is bringing up for us to address in the session.

First question, why do you blog?

Catherine: She found blogs and parents having the same experiences that she was. She could get back into writing outside of academia, and talk about being a mom.
Lena: She blogged about her post-partum depression. She started reading Melissa at Suburban Bliss. And she found a lot of people pouring out support and advice. Her family resources didn’t tell her what she needed to know about a colicky, preemie baby. And she found it through mommy blogs. And eventually inspired to start her own.
Chris: Started blogging without knowing there were a lot of blogs. She thought she’d try writing online. It evolved from being like a journal.

Stratification:

Catherine: Non-political in the political sense. It’s a community. But even communities will have politics (negative social interaction that causes bad feelings). Not politics in the sense of people trying to get into a certain position. More like a big cocktail party where groups form and break apart. Makeup of the groups shift and change. The political scientist in her doesn’t see it as strictly political (in the traditional sense).
Lena: “Political” doesn’t have to be negative. It’s a more natural thing. But it is like high school to those who feel left out. Maybe you link or comment and share your story, but you don’t get the response you wanted.

Catherine’s response: It can feel like high school, certainly. People were actively excluding people. But she doesn’t see real active exclusion.
Lena: Newer bloggers feel that they don’t have numbers and the audience as others do. And they worry about what their traffic’s like. (She’s read comments about this.)

Jessica, kerflop.com:
Not being linked on a blogroll feels like an act of exclusion?

Chris
: Maybe you’re not reading someone – how do take someone off, maybe because you’re just not visiting their site, without hurting feelings.

Audience: Small blog, but high school in the sense that the bigger bloggers talk to someone and you feel like a freshman getting talked to by a senior.
Catherine: Even just someone who’s writing you admire, you can sometimes gush. There’s a difference between it feeling like high school and it actually being like high school in the sense of how she experienced it.

Jen Lawrence: Noticed a huge difference between in the beginning receiving “real” comments, people going through the same thing. As stuff got picked up (like “Tom Cruise is an idiot”) the politics changed. People just came by to comment and get their url in the comments. Felt like less of a community then. More of a strategic blogging at that point.

Sarcastic Journalist: Blogging since 03. Awards going around that weren’t nice. Hers: blogger who thinks she’s funny but who’s not. (She doesn’t think she’s funny.) She emailed the person who gave the award. Why? SJ hadn’t responded to the person’s comments. But SJ has two small children; you just can’t respond to everything. Is that going to get you an “award” like that? Will people go after her children? So it seems that things have become meaner. How can she go to everyone’s blog? You can’t. Maybe not meaner, but bigger.

Catherine: It’s impossible for a growing group to remain the same. Things shift. These are new waters to navigate. How do you become a good blog citizen? Yet if a blogger you like doesn’t visit you, it’s not personal. “There are some mean-ass blogtards out there.”
Lena: We’re writing about life, our kids. We’re pouring our hearts out. It’s emotional. It’s not a product. It’s hard not to take things personal. It’s personal – it’s about us.
Chris: There’s more blogs, more niche communities. Room for everyone, she thinks.

Audience: Building a brand. Do you think issues are just in the momosphere? I.e., insincere comments. Or is it blogging in general?
Chris: When you write personally, it is personal. So many emails saved, mean to respond to them. But can’t and eventually have to delete them.
Catherine: Sometimes you enter a new stage, but you lose old friends. So you go into blogging to meet more friends. We want to enlarge our community.

Veronica, goddess musings: Started blogging in 2000 (post-election depression). After had daughter, felt she lost some of her feminist audience. Did anyone else see a shift?

Jennifer, imperfect mom: lost some audience.
Danielle, foodmomiac: All of her readers are moms. She thought her audience would be foodies (she’s a food blogger).
Jory: does anyone struggle with being a mom blogger over other types.

Amie, mammaloves: Mommyblogger label seems dismissive sometimes when with other bloggers (non-mommybloggers). Struggles between being a mommyblogger and a blogger who has kids.

Catherine: Her empowerment has come from being a mommy.
Kim, hormone colored days: Yes, gaining respect from marketers as a mommy blog, but not sure what to make of it.

Kris, crib ceiling: Experienced losing influence in real life as a mom, not online. Found empowerment online by blogging.
Amanda, goody blog/ parents magazine: They have the problem with the magazine as well. They do crafts, food, etc. People don’t take their food editor seriously. It’s not just a blogging thing. It’s a cultural thing.

Catherine: Ignoring the mommyblogger label disempowers us as mothers.

Sarah, sarah & the goon squad: She tells everyone that she’s a mommyblogger. But what would happen if she told everyone she blogs about football?

Jess, drowning in kids: She’s noticed she lost traffic as her kids grew up from babies/ toddlers.
Yvonne, joy unexpected: Never identified as mommyblogger until she got pregnant with her third child. But then she was suddenly a mommyblogger.

Joy, gingajoy: She didn’t identify at first. Women with younger children suddenly identify as mommybloggers (seems that way).

Rita: Doesn’t get responses all the time. When she wanted to reach out as a community thing, putting her question in the subject line, she got messages back. She was asking for help/ advice. And then she got responses. But the other bloggers aren’t really trying to ignore you.

Why won’t you take money?

Beth: Choose not to monetize to not draw the trolls. She doesn’t want someone to say she’s making money off of her child. She has enough problems without that.
Catherine: Why is it acceptable for foodies, etc. but not moms? (monetizing)
Amy: High status job, uses as hobby.

Catherine: It’s great as a hobby. Those that can’t afford the leisure time, then they would do it to get paid. For some, it’s a hobby. For others, they can’t afford to do it as a hobby.

Stephanie: high status career. Can do it as a hobby. But she decided to monetize anyway. She doesn’t see anything wrong with it, with her hobby making her money.
Mary Tsao, momwrites: stopped taking ads. Took her blogging out of hobby status into checking stats. So she stripped out the ads.

Jory: Have you had to change because of the money?

Jenn Satterwhite, mommy needs coffee: You can’t take long hiatuses. Doesn’t want to change her writing, but it has changed some of what she does.
Catherine: It happens for some people, but not for her. Reveling about being in writing and not academic writing. She found her voice as a blogger. Not concerned about exact numbers, but tries to write well to have an audience.

Christina, a mommy story: Monetizing has provided (in some ways) validity in her non-blogging life. It was just a hobby. Now, she can say that she has to write. It’s made it a legitimate hobby.
Liz, this full house: When she started, you signed up for reviews. But she kept at it. If you want to make money at something you love to do, writing, and it’s something nice, It’s your choice to earn money.
Audience, a girl and a boy.com: Not about kids. But she hasn’t heard before about women losing respect when they started blogging as moms. But it helps others understand even just reading about moms.

Heather B., no pasa nada: She likes how honest mommybloggers are. She finds it refreshing and she will know what she’s getting into. She’s not a mommyblogger, but she loves them. And they do a service for those who don’t have kids.
Lena: We’re writers and we have children. We like to read about each others lives: husbands, mother-in-laws, politics, etc. She says she’s a writer, not a blogger. That will always be hers, even when her daughter grows up.

Audience: Strange that monetization is a big issue. Is it a female thing? Do we have to do something selfless to get respect from the community?
Catherine: History of women’s work is that it’s private work. Long-standing cultural bias. The issue is that we don’t get exploited as bloggers. That you are empowered to get what you want from it. It’s great to be recognized, but we need to make sure that we’re not getting exploited.
Jory: Are there ads that don’t work for bloggers?
Chris: Important that we realize as women and mothers that our work deserves value.

Jory: What are the things that bother you about marketers? What works, what doesn’t?
Danielle: Example from someone’s blog re: nasal aspirator. The marketer actually read the blog and emailed the mom about a particular product. (I’ll have to check this: I think it was Kristen from Cool Mom Picks.)
Jessica, oh the joy: Has responded by telling them that she’s a consultant and here’s her rate per hour.

David Wescott, it’s not a lecture: Apologizes on behalf of corporate america. Big fan of Jenn (mommy needs coffee). Two things for marketers: you must read their blogs, and respect their time (it’s valuable). If they aren’t willing to work on your terms, they’re not worth your time.
Jeremy: Make sure that someone emailing you cares about what you’re writing about (re: marketers). It should be a relationship at both ends.

Kelly, mocha momma: When are you going to tap into mommy blogs of color? Tired of being excluded. What about diversity?
[ed note: for more discussion on this issue, go and see Kelly’s site to continue the conversation]

Judy, house in progress: Mirrors real life in the diversity and value issues. Transparency – disclose that you’re being paid. It’s a credibility issue. How do you feel about that?

Stefania: Tired of the BS from marketers. She gets pitched at citymama, but not kimchi mama. Asians have diversity concerns too.
[ed note: for more discussion on this issue, see Stefania’s site]

Jory: next issue, privacy.

Elisa Sherman, babyfruit.com
: Not anonymous. Our current relationships (spouses, small children) – how is not being private affecting your family? Her husband cringes. Her private life is also her husband’s and her daughter’s life.

Audience (from silicon valley moms): Raising children with special needs. Doesn’t want to be ashamed, but one day her son will ask what this is all about. She struggles with it. Did she reveal too much? She will probably struggle with this as long as she writes.

Shash, diary of a crazed mommy: Also a special needs child. Blogging about her son with asperger’s. Her son knows he’s blogged about. For him, it’s another way to get the voice out that he doesn’t articulate well.

Catherine: We are busting out what used to be private, behind closed doors. What’s radical is we’re sharing what people wouldn’t have said out loud. And we’re empowered by busting down those doors. And that’s the most radical thing about mommyblogging.
Chris: Has older children. Once they reach a certain age, it becomes their story and not yours. You’re not anonymous and don’t think you are. Someone found her, even though she thought she didn’t use the details.

Lena: Sometimes a false sense of security when you think you are anonymous. It’s important to have an anonymous IP. But she blogs under her maiden name. It’s her story.
Sarcastic Journalist: Someone from PETA had a problem with her. Got threats, and things posted about her so Google would pick it up. It was scary. You’re not private.
Jory: Just be aware out there.

End of session (we went over time by a bit).

Category: other writing  Comments off