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Friday, November 4, 2011

Does my blog look big in this?

I wrote this a few days ago. I've held off posting it because I didn't want to seem like a brat and also I wasn't sure if it was too personal for my liking. Considering I've got details about labour, birth and boobs I think the "is it too much information" question is a moot point. As for being a little bit bratty, well if it comes across that way I'm sorry. I hold no ill feelings towards the judges or winners or anyone. I'm glad for the opportunity to reassess whether I really wanted to go. I do think this is something a large amount of mums would be able to identify with so I'm going to put it out there and see how it goes. Also through Twitter discussions I've had two people interested in my ticket but its not definitely sold, so if you really want it contact me.

I recently entered a competition hoping to win sponsorship towards the cost of digital parents conference 2012. I didn't realise how many people had entered because I read rafflecoptor wrong. I thought that there was a low number of entrants, which I assumed was because the entry process was very involved. Rather than random chance the entrants had to answer questions about blogging goals and why they wanted to attend the conference. I didn't really have time to apply but I made time because I really wanted to win. I had hoped that the time factor would scare most people off.

I was wrong, lots of people had entered. Lots of high calibre blogs had entered. I, blissfully unaware, thought I might be in with a chance. I was embarrassed when they announced who won.

In the mummy Blogging world mine is just a small fry. Its not anything to be ashamed of. I've been really busy and my blog not yet a year old. I've never directly approached a sponsor, done a PR kit or hosted a giveaway. I've done nuffnangs product talk coz it gives me access to cool new products I otherwise would never come across but that is all.

I used to think I didn't want to make it big. A few personal messages saying "I love this" or "this really helped me" used to be enough for me. In so many ways I want that to be enough for me. It really feels good when I get messages like that. They are what encourages me to keep going. I love that I can help my friends and even some strangers. I am incredibly proud that my blog has so much support from non-bloggers. I have anonymous followers and people who just bookmark the URL. It is good for the ego but is not something that I could put in my PR folio if I had the guts to do one.

Yet for some reason deep down I want more. Yes things are tight financially and the money/products/etc would help but its more than that. It's not really a fame and fortune thing. I think I just want to succeed to prove to myself that I can. I usually quickly discard hobbies that I'm not great at. Is there something to gain from persevering this time?

I have little confidence in myself in most things. I second guess my abilities in pretty much every area of my life far too often. I self sabotage before I even get started and I'm sick of it.  

I want to fit in, be liked and to be successful but I believe it'll never happen. It's easier to not try than to fail. If I don't know I can do something well I don't usually even try. If I start to put myself out there I freak out so much I lose sleep over it. At the first little hiccup I feel foolish for allowing myself to get excited and give up before I can get hurt any more.

So when I wasn't chosen to be sponsored for the conference it hit me hard... It hit me very hard. I felt a whole range of different things: disappointed, upset, afraid of how I would find the money, rejected, but also I was cross with myself.

I was cross with myself for ever thinking that maybe just maybe they might have picked me. How arrogant it had been to get my hopes up. How stupid I had been to not realise how many people had entered. How naive to think that any heartfelt answer I could give could possibly compete with high page views, high follower counts and popularity. I've never done a "follow me, tweet this, Facebook this" giveaway. I just like writing. 

Then I felt like an epic brat for thinking like that. I believe that the winners won based on the terms stated in the competition (ie answers to questions) but even if there was more to it than that it's none of my business. The sponsor is allowed to want the most profitable return for their investment. The blogs they chose are great blogs so it's not like they didn't deserve it. I have followed three of them for many months.

So why did it hurt so bad? I guess I just wanted someone to take a chance on me. I wanted to know that somebody wanted me at that conference so bad that they would help me get there. Partly because then I would be able to overlook the anxiety I have in relation to going.

Getting me to the conference would be a huge financial sacrifice for my little family. I am absolutely terrified of flying by myself, getting a cab by myself, staying somewhere by myself, etc. To take my family though would cost a small fortune. Even though the sponsorship offer wouldn't make a huge dent in the cost it would make me feel it was ok to spend that much on a hobby because maybe I might make it one day.  

I guess I just wanted validation. I used to be a highly driven performance-oriented person, motivated by success. I could be because I was actually successful. I was top of my class often at school, I was Dux of year 10, and although I was pipped at the post in year 12 (I was more interested in my boyfriend, who is now my husband) I still did well.  I achieved good grades at uni and I found a job within months of graduation. I married young, had children young... and now what?

These days my occupation is a mother. I struggle to not drown in the unending sea of housework and more often than I'd like to admit I need somebody to step in and save me.

I would be ok with that if I was a 'fun', 'happy', 'inspiring' and 'playful' mother, but I'm not. I do the best I can and it is just not good enough. Sometimes I am mad or distracted or tired or just generally uninteresting. My newborn and toddler are demanding and tedious at times and although they try to tell me they love me in their own little  ways some days I feel completely and utterly incompetent.

The truth is that being a mum is something that nobody can master. It's often a thankless job. There's no report card and that is probably a good thing. My husband is as supportive as he can be but he has his own life, his own work and responsibilities. He is never going to say thanks for every little thing I do. He only notices how much I normally do when I really do 'do nothing' for a day.     

So I guess my blog is like my job. I want to do well, to success, to progress, to get some external validation from it. The problem with that is that this takes the fun out of it. It causes more stress instead of relaxing me. It takes time away from my family. I am never fully satisfied with it either because I simply cannot give it my all.

I have so many things I want to do for my blog that I just don't have time to do. I have ideas for a new design. I have ideas for new pages. I want to tidy up my tags. I want to update my profile. I want to do a PR kit. I can't find the time to fight the "what's the point, I suck, I shouldn't waste my time" that runs through my mind let alone actually do any of it. So I can't expect much of a return if I don't put the effort in can I.

Does it really matter though? If my blog looks dodgy compared to mummy blogging standards and its considered small should I care? As long as my blog is being read I really shouldn't care about the rest. I don't want to give up opportunities before they come so I want to try but I don't want to set myself up for heartache either. It's a fine line.

I should not need external validation. I should find confidence through my value to God and my family and nothing else. I don't want to need to strive anymore. I tell myself I don't care. To draw a line I told myself I'll listen to my faithful readers but not get caught up with the 'blogosphere' as a whole but I get so frustrated with comments that say "don't give up" as if they are patronising me. I haven't failed, silly billies. I don't care if noone joins my linky, its their loss not mine.

I get sick of the politics and cliques and in-jokes. I don't aim to please the mummy blogging community. I write to write but moreso I write to be read. I would rather 40 followers who actually read what I write than 20 followers who read what I write and 100 who wanted to win what I was giving away. I'm not writing this out of bitterness, I am 100% serious. 

How can I feel so many conflicting things at the same time? It's like there is multiple Karlees fighting it to the death in my brain. I'm confused.


Do I want to go to digital parents conference or did I just think I had to because the 'cool kids' were doing it and I didn't want to miss out. I found it incredibly difficult to miss out on Blogopolis this year. So many bloggers were there and I felt like I was missing something great. I was cross with Corey for not even giving me the option to go. We spend money on the kids without batting an eyelid. He buys takeaway, chocolate, softdrink, books... I rarely ask for money for myself. I felt like I was 'entitled' to do something nice for me occasionally. In his defence I sprung it on him with no notice and we didn't have the money lying around.

So we agreed that this time I would go. I bought my ticket the very hour they were released. We said we would work out logistics later but with all the stress of a new baby having the logistics of how to get to Melbourne in the back of our minds is just too much. I didn't realise how much it would all cost and how much planning it would take. I don't want to leave my kiddies behind (they're sick at the moment so I probably have a bit of mummy guilt) and I'm scared to go alone but taking Corey and the kids seems foolish when I'll be in a conference all day. Corey would move heaven and earth to get me there if I REALLY wanted to go but I don't know if its worth it. Just quietly, I'm also petrified about walking into a room full of strangers. The reason I wanted to go the most was to tackle that fear head on but is that reason enough to go?

I know nobody else can tell me if I want to go or not but I wish I knew! If something feels all too hard than either it is or it is going to be the best thing you just have to fight through the anxiety. How do I tell which one this is? How do I tell if I've realised I don't really want to go or if this is just a knee-jerk reaction to stress.

Are you going to DPCON12? Are your motives pure or are you following the pack? Is any one game enough to admit they are not going because they just don't want to, or are the non-attendees all saying "too expensive" or "can't leave the children" etc.

It might help me make up my mind if I had someone willing to buy my ticket. If I feel disappointed to read someone is wanting to buy my ticket then I'll know I really wanted to go. If I feel relief, well then I'll know I didn't really want to go.

So, I do have a ticket. Would anyone like it? I am prepared to sell it for what I paid which is  early bird rates plus paypal fee (all up $154).

Can you help an overstetched, overtired and overemotional mumma?         

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13 Comments:

At November 4, 2011 at 11:55 AM , Blogger MummyK said...

Karlee, you have to pause and step back a bit to save your sanity. I know what you are going through. Email me to brainstorm. I'd love to help you figure things out. I have so much more to say but I'd rather say it in private. Yeah? Anytime, contact me.

 
At November 4, 2011 at 12:17 PM , Blogger Debbie @ Aspiring Mum said...

I have to say 'Ditto' to MummyK's comment. Karlee, the blogging world is crazy. Even crazier when you have a newborn to juggle with a toddler. I've got a lot I can say, but I might just actually email you - just to have a chinwag.

 
At November 4, 2011 at 3:19 PM , Blogger Jess@Diary of a SAHM said...

Karlee I'm sorry you feel like this. We all have a 'what is the point' moment from time to time, and I think that's just normal.

When it comes to the winners of Little Hero Hosting, it wasn't a numbes thing I'm sure. I've spoken to Michelle and she said just how hard it was to choose; it wasn't a decision they made lightly.

Finally when it comes to DP, don't let fear hold you back. There will be lots of other 'little' bloggers there (including me), and no one will be thinking that of you. You're only as small as you make yourself. Xxx

 
At November 4, 2011 at 6:16 PM , Blogger Lauren said...

Oh Karlee,

You pretty much summed up my own feelings towards blogging.

It is a scary world but one I am really trying to keep having a go at.

I will be going to DP12, after much debating and feeling sick when I booked my ticket but I'm glad. I am a bundle of nervousness though, as many of the attendees are.

I do hope you come as it would be lovely to meet you, your posts have at least personally, had an impact on ME.

If not, there is always DP13 :)

Good luck with making your decision, just know that your words mean more to people then you realise.

x

 
At November 4, 2011 at 8:38 PM , Blogger Gemma @ My Big Nutshell said...

Hi karlee,

Happy to chat off line if you'd like.

I'm going next year because it is fun and I am interested in the content and learning more, but mostly because it will be fun. I work hard at home for my family and kids and I owe it to myself to just pack up and go. I'm not worried about why other people are going or not going, I'm going because I want to be there, it is as plain and simple as that.

xx

 
At November 4, 2011 at 10:18 PM , Blogger robyn said...

I'm not going and I'm pretty okay about it. It would be nice, I would love to meet people and it is a bit hard feeling left out. But like you I will have 2 under 2 and it's just not something we could afford. There will always be other years, and I plan on blogging for the long haul. Plus we are in QLD so travel is a big deal. Maybe if I lived closer I would consider it.

But I just couldn't stand the idea of being away from my family and for that reason. It feels too selfish, especially in terms of where we are as a family- it just doesn't feel important enough in the grand scheme of things. But in saying that, we are all different and blog for different reasons.

I've never really blogged to make money or get followers. I admit I love the buzz when someone gets what I'm saying and when I get followers- but I started blogging for me and my family, and I love the creative outlet and therapy, and I would like to think that I will continue writing even if nobody ever read it.

But in saying that I do understand exactly where you are coming from, and I feel many of the things you expressed here. I hope you can come to a decision soon and you will be able to have peace with it.

 
At November 4, 2011 at 11:49 PM , Blogger robyn said...

I just wanted to add something else here too- (sorry to be a comment-hog!) but I wanted to make it clear that I am not judging others or calling those who do attend DP selfish. We are all in very different situations. And for me there are many factors in my decision- timing, family support, children's ages, distance etc, that mean I would be making a selfish move in my own life if I tried to go. :)

 
At November 6, 2011 at 10:16 PM , Blogger Veronica @ Mixed Gems said...

At this stage, I'm not going to DPCON12. I am tempted and probably would be there in a flash if it were in Sydney. If I went, it would be for me, so I could learn more about blogging and make connections in person. I hope you've taken up the offers to communicate in private with some of those above. I hope it helps to clear your mind. Life is busy as a mum, especially with two little ones. You can only squeeze in what you can. Do what works for you. I've struggled to find the balance in the time and emotional energy I put into all facets of social networking and I've felt the conflicting feelings, the questions and been concerned about the apparent politics. I've realised I have to squeeze in what I can and do what works for me. I have my off days but am not as stressed or conflicted as I was. I hope you get some peace about this real soon. Take care.

 
At November 7, 2011 at 1:21 PM , Blogger Rhianna said...

I doubt I am going, for a flash moment I thought about it and I even thought about entering the contest but I didn't, mainly because I didn't make the time to put in a proper entry but also because if I did win I wondered whether I would have been able to find the money to cover all the other expenses.

I related so much what you said in here. I too am another small fry, I did think I was the smallest of the small fry but then I read Jess's comment about only being as small as you think you are.

Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses to you lovely lady, trust your heart it never leads you astray xx

 
At November 29, 2011 at 11:11 AM , Anonymous Simone said...

Hi Karlee, I am so sorry to hear about your disappointment for not winning. I myself am in a similar position to you and although I would have enjoyed going to the DP Conference it is not possible both financially and practically. Sometimes I too see other blog getting opportunities that I did not get and I know that they must just be bigger and better (or just different) than mine. However as a Christian I believe that God makes ways when he sees need for them so if I do not get an opportunity I had hoped for He must have a reason even though I don't understand.

For me meeting Michelle at Little Hero Hosting has been a God sent (no I did not win a ticket and am not going). Her hard work has had a huge effect on my blog and my self esteem. I can say with my hand on my heart that Michelle (and the other judges!) would have selected the winners based on their answers and not the size of the blogs.

I get that you are disappointed and I hope another door opens for you but don't feel this post is fair on Michelle and her business at all. If you do go to DPCON please take the time to meet Michelle and you will see how incredibly supportive she is of small bloggers and businesses ran by mums, I think you will realise that writing this post was not fair.

I hope all falls in place for you soon and you will rewarded for your hard work. Good luck!! (love the name of your blog)

 
At November 29, 2011 at 9:40 PM , Blogger The Mother Experiment said...

I have emailed Simone backwards and forwards and understand where she's coming from. I must say though it was never my intention to reflect negatively upon anyone. I apologise that my post was able to be interpreted that way and if it caused any harm. I'll try better in the future.

 
At December 19, 2011 at 3:36 PM , Blogger Naomi said...

This is your blog and you can share how you feel and there is no need to apologise. Although if you are going to put it out there you have to be prepared for negative comments. Just the way it is. I don't think you meant to hurt anyone by your post. Blogging is difficult and emotional most days and it is also competitive. I am going to the conference for fun and that is it. I am only going to catch up with some blog friends and to meet some new ones. Do not let this post stop you from blogging. Keep going, keep writing and keep sharing. n x

 
At December 20, 2011 at 3:34 AM , Blogger The Mother Experiment said...

Thanks Naomi. Truth be told I sold my ticket to finance the mothers' retreat I saw on your blog but I never ended up buying a ticket for that. I used the money to go to a restaurant with hubby for our anniversary and at the time it was just what we needed. Money well spent in my opinion. :) It would have been nice to meet you and some of the other ladies, but, God willing, there is always next time :)
Merry Christmas

 

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