April 21, 2008
childfree to be you and me
I’m not going to BlogHer this summer. I decided this based on a variety of factors, not the least of which was the fact that I’m not speaking this year and therefore would have to pay for the conference, which would minimize the disposable income I generally reserve for Laffy Taffy and Bonne Bell Lip Smackers. I’m also of the mindset that I deserve a completely fun vacation right now, away from all things even remotely related to business and networking and permagrin. I’m thinking my September trip to Greece will do the trick. It won’t be free smiling, for sure, but there will be no pressure to attend sessions rather than lay poolside with a margarita.

I of course checked out the BlogHer agenda, and was pleased to see there’s a session on being childfree in the blogosphere. Oh, all the places this could go! I’m hoping that the speakers celebrate the presence of childfree bloggers rather than lamenting the amount of attention we seem to lack in comparison to the mommy blogger. I would hate to see it turn into a bitch session in which we show our collective dissatisfaction with not getting enough play. We already know this is how things are, but why is this the case? Is it because we don’t have the well-defined network that the parent bloggers do? Is it because the readership is there in one case and not in another? I can say with certainty that it isn’t for lack of good content; much of the best writing out there is produced by bloggers I’m quite sure have never held a baby. I’d like to see participants discuss what is out there in this "other" community of thriving bloggers, but also why it is that being a non-mommy blogger seems to be today’s radical act.

It also seems important for them to discuss why this distinction is even necessary. Most days I’m of the view that it isn’t, but that this is simply the way things have shaken out in the big, bad online world. People need a way to categorize those they read and those who read them; it helps to answer “Are you one of us?” and saves precious time that otherwise would be spent sifting through an online TJ Maxx of sites. Categorization lets people know where they are likely to find something of interest, a connection. And it colors many things, from post content to who talks to you at a blogging cocktail party to whether certain types of ads run on your site. But does it help any of us? I’m on the non-parent blogroll on some sites – does it make a difference? Truth be told, I don’t care if you are a parent or a beekeeper or both. If you write interesting posts, I’ll read you. If you have something to say that someone else hasn’t said before, or you manage to say it in a different way, I’ll read you. It matters not if you live on a farm in Oklahoma or around the corner from me. Do what you do well and the other distinctions don’t even matter. Do they?


Blogger t2ed said...

Don't mess with the all-powerful Beekeeper Lobby. Especially when they're going to be in DC for their convention again this year.

And I've held a baby. Just like a loaf of bread.

Going to Greece is the exact polar opposite of going to BlogHer. "Going to Greece" isn't code for something is it?

Blogger kris said...

You so want to have a baby with me. Just admit it.

Blogger Mia said...

I'm not a mommy blogger either.. so I totally understand where you're coming from, but I laughed as I read your post. For God's sake.. I get snarky comments from people just because the word "Knitter" is in the title of my blog. Apparently it's a sin to develop other interests (or drink too many margaritas to be able to knit).

And I always wanted to go to Greece, can I ride along? lmao :)

Blogger Chantel said...

I have children but, I'm not a mommyblogger. Mostly because my children are teenagers and also because I dislike "other peoples children" intensely. I'm a criminal but I also don't fit in with many groups on the internet. I'm that girl who had all guy friends for lack of hair brading ability so the same can be said for the internet. Fortunately there are a lot of us who are don't fit in boxes where you can check-mark "i belong here". I like it that way.

Blogger janet said...

Non-mommybloggers who live around the corner unite! No really, while I think you would have a lot to add to that panel, I am going to have a nice vacation instead of a blog vacation, too.

Blogger Elise said...

No, it doesn't matter. Well, it does, but it shouldn't.

Blogger Gwen said...

Huh. I think, although I can't be sure because I don't pay much attention to these sorts of things, that one year the mommy-bloggers were all wishin' they got more respect themselves, to which I would say it's difficult to achieve that when you have such an awful group name. Does that make me a bitch? Yes, a mother AND a bitch. Aren't I radical now?

Personally, I think the bloggers who grew up in Indonesia as children of missionaries need some more play, too, and I'm sure I'm not biased about that at all.

begin honest sap/ I am very sad you're not going to BlogHer. I need some time to process that disappointment.

Blogger Melina said...

I just found out that I'm pregnant. I have vowed never to be a mommyblogger. I'm terrified I'm going to be ostricized! I promise not to join their ranks!

Blogger Lora said...

despite being a mommyblogger, i try not to read too many of them.

in fact, you were the first non-mommy blog on my reader. I like you because you were the person I used to be, before I accidently got drunk and knocked up.

this sounds horribly depressing, but it is supposed to be a compliment!

Blogger Melina said...

PS. I agree with Chantal, I can't stand other people's children and I can count on my hand how many babies I've held in my lifetime.

Blogger Paige Jennifer said...

Shut. Up. Are you serious? Damn you!!!! I booked my hotel room, um, never mind - I'm too embarrassed to admit how long ago.

But just this morning I was researching hot spots to visit and I started to realize that passing on BlogHer would mean I could afford to wine taste through Chile...

Blogger Alison said...

I'm a mother, but I'm not a mommy-blogger. And I'm like Chantel too, in that I don't much like other people's kids. Mostly.

And just to reiterate what another commenter said (I got here too late!), Elise is spot on.

Blogger Reid said...

One of the acknowledged facts in pro blogging circles is that blogs on concentrated topics always do much better than general life blogs. This is true whether it's blogs on being a parent or a tech or music blogs. It comes from searches: someone searches on a topic, finds a site or blog on that topic, starts reading that site. The less your blog can be summed up in a search term, the harder it is to find a large community.

In other words, you were right on with the first question: "Is it because we don’t have the well-defined network that the parent bloggers do?" Exactly, though you can replace "parent" with "sports" or "tech" or "music" or "professional blogs" or (no kidding) "bird flu" and the answer is yes.

Sorry for the rambling. It's a favorite topic...

Blogger Sizzle said...

Of course the year I go to BlogHer you aren't there.



Blogger ETK said...

I'm totally not going to BlogHer then either. Fine, ruin it for me. :)


Can I come to Greece instead? So much easier to stalk you if I'm on your itinerary.

BTW - totally agree with everything you said - can't we all just be bloggers instead of mommy or nonmommy bloggers? How about just coolbloggers. That's my group. The cool ones.

Blogger kristy said...

hola, chica -

i have recently taken up this cause myself. about the non-category blogger.

except i'm trying to tackle it from a different angle. instead of wondering "why" people categorize blogs (and that categorization DOES improve traffic and searchability incredibly), i'm trying to figure out "how."

what recognition do we want, and how do we get it?

in the meantime, i will try not to pout about not seeing your beautiful face here in SF in july. BlogHer will miss you!

Blogger Mamma said...

No freaking way!

Shouldn't you have told me this via email rather than let me read it on your blog??

You and Paige are bailing? Who am I going to sit in the back of the room with and make snarky comments??

So sad.

As for mommybloggers...I thought you promised not to hold that against me.

Blogger Wicked H said...

Helpful Hints from Wicked H

First yell "HOPAAAA" then smash the plates.

You're welcome.

I am really sad that you won't be there.

Blogger kris said...

I'm sad I won't be there too - I just can't do everything this year.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, I am so jealous you are going to Greece. I want to go so bad.

And second, I agree with you, if I like your blog I am going to read it. It doesn't matter if you have a kid, or not, or two heads or not, I'm all about being entertained by any means necessary!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree and have always been confused by the need for distinction. i don't read blogs because of who is in the blogger's family....if you are interesting, you're interesting, with or without offspring. people who drone on about their kids ad nauseum are just as boring as people who drone on about their recent pottery barn purchase ad nauseum.

i'm with you on blogher. fun idea, but money that could be spent on necessities. like wine and rainbow sherbert.

Blogger Freewheel said...

It's really hard not to say something that has been said before, yet somehow you pull off this feat on a regular basis. For that reason alone, you'll always have lots of readers no matter how your blog gets categorized.

That said, a "beekeeper in D.C." blog is a super idea.

Whats this whole BlogHer business? I dont even know what that means....damn. I feel so out of touch with the BLOG WORLD, I dont know anything about it....though I keep writing. And no, I don't think the other distictions matter either.

Blogger DJSassafrass said...

At least half of my friends are moms and they all agree that they read my blog---to not be a mom. To be back in touch with a part of their life that they feel I am still living...and some agree to hating other children too. Single girls have it all..the rest of the world just may not realize it yet.

Blogger WildbillthePirate said...

First of all, none of your comments sounds like you are either filled with Christ's Love or Pinot Gregio so how can I take you seriously?

Second, I am definitely not a mommy blogger and I've delivered over a dozen kids!

Laatly, Why Greece? I see you more as a South of France-Spanish type vacationer- lots of vineyards, great views, shopping & driving etc...

Blogger Alyssa said...

I don't have a baby, although I admit to holding one for the first time about a week ago. I realize that something in me has been irrevocably changed because of that.
That said, I read lots of different "kinds" of blogs, and my top ten include YOURS of course, as well as some very definite "mommy bloggers." It may matter among the experts who measure things, but as for me, a lowly reader, it certainly does not. Some people just have a way of talking about their life, their interests and yes, even their kids (or their cats) that I find fascinating. And so I read.

Blogger mireille said...

"much of the best writing out there is produced by bloggers I’m quite sure have never held a baby"

Why would that have anything to do with writing? Or any other skill? A skill is a skill, regardless of having children, pets, plants or warts.

Blogger Maya said...

Ha! I've written (ok, I may have whined a bit) SO MUCH about this at my old blog. I admit to at times (mentally) categorizing people as "Haves" and "Have-Nots' because of some of the magical powers that are apparently bestowed on parents. Like the sudden ability to tell me how meaningless my life is, what a good mom I'd be, that I don't know what I'm talking about when I say I plan on not having kids, etc. Reading here is always a good 'cure' for what ails me. (I read here often, but rarely comment. Also I used to comment under my real name.)

My new blog, to which you're all invited, is much more topic-focused and deals with some of the bigger, darker issues: Religion/God/Loss of faith/battling depression/mass quantities of martinis. You know, all that fun stuff.

The password for the protected posts is secret. Come on by!

Blogger Laurie said...

I'm on that panel (holy hell, I'm nervous already), and I promise not to bitch about not getting as much play as the moms. I'll take any opportunity to celebrate myself and other cool people at this point, and the time would be better spent that way I'm sure.

I'm sort of in-between everything. I'm not married, not a mom, not anything on purpose, which is less depressing than it sounds, I swear. I am not mindfully child-free - it just hasn't happened for me yet, and therefore I blog without children. I know others on the panel are more "childfree by choice" and it should be interesting to see how we all express ourselves.

Too bad 10:45 a.m. is a little too early for wine. ;)

I have no idea how to get recognition and I've never sought it (I'm a little afraid of it, I think...Chicken shit that I am.) While I am a little intimidated by the concept that I am not part of a community because I don't have children, I've just gone about forging my own little one with people - online and off - who I like, who are smart, and who are more often than not great writers and/or photographers. Sometimes those people have kids, sometimes they don't. I truly love reading blogs like yours and Paige Jennifer's, it's nice to relate to people in the most basic of ways even though we seem pretty different.

I hope this goes well and I'm glad the topic will be acknowledged this year. So sorry you won't be there, Kris, but man I'd go for Greece too. : )

Blogger gorillabuns said...

Let's get this clear - I live in Oklahoma, not on a farm in Oklahoma.

I won't be going to BlogHer this year either.

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