March 9, 2009

Wishful Thinking

I'm going to break from the usual and actually write something! And I'm going to get a bit bloggy on you for a bit. But bear with me. Here comes my version of a nice rant.

I am not about to hate on some great opportunities I've been offered or, ahem, considered for in the past. But, it is very frustrating when the initial email greeting is flattering and "I love your blog I read it all the time and it was so cute what you wrote about (fill in fluffy summary of the latest post I wrote)" and yet I have to remind them that I have a 5 month old baby. And she'll need to be with me at all times. And then they aren't cool with that.

It's nice to hear that someone likes my blog! But it's even nicer to know someone is being honest. Don't pretend you know all about me and read everything I write if you really don't. I'd much rather someone say Hey, I'm new here but I can't wait to find out more. Or I just stumbled upon your blog and am interested in working with you.

It really doesn't have to be much. Just truthful. And real.

I don't want to seem ungrateful for some great offers I've had come my way, but it is disappointing when I get excited about something that we think you and your blog are perfect for! and then find out I don't qualify for some reason or the other. If only they could have figured that out before getting my hopes up or having me ask hubby to request vacation time.

So, I was so superly duper excited when I received the awesome and warm invitation to visit Hallmark's World Headquarters with a small group of fabulous bloggers for an exclusive Mom e-vent. Not only is it Hallmark, whom I already love, but there was something different about this email that gave me hope. It was personal, and the gal from Fleishman-Hillard acknowledged my first priority of being a Mom.

And offered for me to bring my older kids, too!

I especially loved this part :
I’m sure Ivy isn’t leaving your side at the moment, so we hope you’ll feel free to bring her along!

THANK YOU!

I know it can not be easy for the wonderful people (many are Moms and Dads, too, and many are not) in public relations to reach out to the busy and harried and crazed and often ranting Mommy Blogger. And they certainly aren't lacking in learning (or fear) from others' big mistakes in the past.

How confusing it must be- as I am only speaking from my own personal wants- when what I strive for or think appropriate might be totally different than the next Mom Blogger.

We are a sensitive sort, but for good reason. And, yes, we are Moms. We have kids. Flying off to events and fun escapades is great. But what about the children?

They want to hear my opinions and create a buzz within our community, yet doing so takes me away from the very responsibility they even want me for in the first place. I have to be Mom.


I want to be Mom.

My rule of thumb is that I will not do anything or go anywhere unless my husband can be home to take care of the kids. Thankfully he has ample vacation time (and is eager to use it here and there) for when I might get to jet off somewhere fun in the name of my blog.

I understand that not every event and blogger outreach can accommodate children, and- let's be honest- I like it a lot when I get a Mom's night out or even weekend away. Just please, as someone that does not own a breast pump (scary!) and desires to keep her baby close at all times, be sensitive to nursing mothers.

I've decided to only take Ivy with me to the Mom-e-vent @ Hallmark next month, but I've already heard that some of the other bloggers are bringing their older kids. I am really excited to be reunited with some of my favorite online friends and new ones I've yet to meet. And how fun to be able to see them in their Mom Blogger element: laptop and/or iPhone in hand, ideas in their head, and child by their side.

Maybe we really can do it all... anything is possible.



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50 comments:

  1. Oh that was so wonderful of them! I've worked with Fleischman Hillard before too and they've always been great. Although I have yet to be invited to any event *sigh*. I envy you!

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  2. I've heard this same lament before from other bloggers. I wish these PR people would get a clue once in a while, although Hallmark seems to be doing fairly well. They want to take complete advantage of us, but really, any mommy blogger would do. Hit counts and ad space seem to be the real objective, not actually taking the time to understand and reach out to their target audiences.

    Sigh.

    Hope you have a great time!

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  3. As a PR professional, thanks for the insight/reminder. As a mom who also takes her baby everywhere, thank you for standing up for us!

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  4. Good for you! I hope you and Ivy enjoy yourselves next month :)

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  5. that is really cool that hallmark invited your children along! have fun at the event!

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  6. I hope you have a grand time with Hallmark next month! And, thank you for addressing this annoying issue with such grace... kudos to Hallmark for doing their stuff right!

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  7. You're right; honesty goes a long way in anything and everything we do! The Hallmark event sounds fantastic - even better that you get to bring Ivy! :)

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  8. wow..congratulations! hope you'll have a great time at that Hallmark event! you are really lucky indeed..just don't mind other's comments that much..:)

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  9. I think every pr person that we know should read this post, file it away, and read it from time to time as they pitch to moms.

    Sounds like hallmark has gotten it right, can't wait to hear more about your adventure.

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  10. Congratulations on being invited to the event! That's very exciting. :)
    It seems kind of silly that PR people -- who are in charge of how their businesses look to the public -- would not do their homework and realize that by not offering to allow a nursing baby to accompany a mother would make their company look really bad to the audience they are trying to reach!

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  11. I've heard from other bloggers how personal and understanding the Fleischman Hillard invite was - how awesome of them to recognize that we're first of all mothers! I hope you have a wonderful time - sounds like it'll be a blast! :)

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  12. Kudos to the planners of that event. I don't go any further than a quick run to the store without my baby so an overnight somewhere is completely out of the question!

    Of course I haven't been asked to go to any events so it's a non-issue for me really, but I can appreciate the attempts at honest and understanding communication with those who are invited to such things!

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  13. Steph, I know where your kids get their sweetness from. YOU! Even your rants are sweet and nice!

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  14. Very well said. That WAS a nice rant. ;)
    And congrats on your invite! It sounds so exciting! :)

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  15. I'm excited for you to get these opportunities. I love Hallmark and can't wait to hear all about your trip. It is also great that Jeff supports you. If you ever get a chance to go to Hawaii tell them you need to bring along your nanny. I am there!

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  16. I got an email pitching me something and they started it by saying how nice it was to meet me at Blissdom this year. I wasn't there! As you can imagine, the email went right into the trash box. How insulting.

    I love what Hallmark said about Ivy! There are a few lovely companies still left out there.

    I look forward to meeting you in April.

    Nell

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  17. Good for you! I get the same thing but from irl people. They invite be, but say "no kids" I tell them "If I can't bring my kids, then I can't come" My kids are a huge part of my life, as I am a huge part of theirs.

    I have a 9 month old, who does not leave my side unless it is absolutely necessary, even then I try to wiggle her in.

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  18. Lucky girl! Hope you have a great time. Glad they actually RESEARCHED your blog before contacting you.

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  19. I agree. Sometimes companies (and mom bloggers) forget why most of us started this whole thing anyway - to be able to manage our schedules AROUND our kids. Good for you that you're able to keep your priorities in order!

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  20. Those other marketers are just sloppy. There's no excuse for it.

    Kudos to Hallmark for doing their research. And HAVE FUN!

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  21. It is great that Jeff supports you in giving you so much time away. I think it is sweet that he would take vacation time for your job, which I know you consider it that way, but still, I think you are lucky.
    I think it is wonderful that you have been able to do so much for yourself through blogging, but can also remember that you are an AT HOME mom first and foremost.
    Jen

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  22. Oh I am so excited for you!! I would LOVE to go to this event. It's in Kansas City isn't it? That is where Jer's family is.
    Have so much fun!!!

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  23. How exciting, and really how great they offered for the older kids to come too! Hurray for Halmark and their great PR person! I'm excited to hear all about the event!

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  24. I love getting pitches about Mother/Daughter things....I have three boys!
    I agree, if they don't know about you, just say that!
    Have fun at Hallmark!

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  25. It's absurd that someone approaching a mom blogger wouldn't understand that the word mom comes first in that phrase, in every sense.
    How great that Hallmark does, though. Have you ever been to the headquarters? I went years ago on a school trip and loved it, even as a surly middle school student!

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  26. I already liked Hallmark, but now I like their company even more! If companies are going to host Mommy Blogger events, then they certainly need to first consider that the invitees are moms. I'm so impressed that Hallmark did just that.

    So, tell us more details! When is the event? Where is Hallmark's World Headquarters anyway? Who else is attending? I can't wait to hear more about the trip.

    Have fun!

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  27. I love to point out those who do it right and do it well. Great post. :)

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  28. I always get a bit jealous hearing about these blogger events but I was especially sad to not make the list for the Hallmark one since I am actually within driving distance, for once!

    I am sure you and Ivy will have blast. KC should be in full bloom next month.

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  29. I've read about this at other blogs and I'm sorry. It's such a bummer to think that PR at some companies can't take the time to read for even twenty or thirty minutes to get a feel for someone.

    I'm glad that Hallmark did things right. I hope you enjoy your trip with Ivy! She's precious!

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  30. This is right on. I would feel the same way if I were being approached (not that I am). I simply cannot leave Baby Sister at home. I do own a breast pump, but even still I cannot leave her. As for Big Brother I could leave him for just a day or two but nothing more than that. Hubby doesn't have a lot of time off.

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  31. Oh brilliant post - in a nutshell. I couldn't sum up the words myself you said it all so perfectly!

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  32. Hallmark is a VERY family friendly company. I used to work for them eons ago!

    What a nice thing for them to say to you and what a wonderful opportunity. Can't wait to here about how it goes.

    p.s. nice post! : )

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  33. I agree 100%!! it's irritating that a PR person would pretend they read any blog. Like we aren't going to find out the minute we start talking to them. lol!

    But I am glad there are some out there who do care. That makes it easier to support them.

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  34. Good for you! Not only do you stick to your guns, so to speak, but the perfect opportunity did come along. You're so lucky! I hope you and Ivy have a great time at Hallmark.

    And I love your new profile photo! You and Ivy couldn't be any prettier.

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  35. Well said, Steph! I don't pump either, but it just feels like too often there's the subtle expectation. So nice to be in situations where it's understood that your baby needs YOU. Hope you have a great time at the event next month!

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  36. Your post should be read at PR conventions everywhere. Hallmark sounds like the real thing. I hope you and Ivy have a wonderful time and you tell us all about it.

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  37. sounds like fun! glad they were sensitive to your needs :-)

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  38. What a great example of a company that "gets it"!

    I am so with you on this one, though I'm sure you get a lot more pitches than I do. I had one recently that I was SO excited about and sounded fabulous, but it was sent while I was down and out with the stomach flu, so it took me 3 days to respond to it...never heard back! Now there is someone who really thinks I'd be perfect to work with!

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  39. as another nonpumping, breastfeeding, bring my baby everywhere mom i just want to give you a shout of hooray! thanks for writing about this!

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  40. I support your choices, but I'd just like to say breast pumps aren't scary, they are great tools for moms who nurse and work.

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  41. That is so rude that people would say they read your blog & they don't! Hope you have a great time at the Hallmark thingy! :)

    I just have a question- do you just not like to use breast pumps or do you think there's something wrong with using them? Personally, I recommend that any expectant mom who's going to b/f get a good Medela pump - my son wouldn't/couldn't nurse for 6 weeks, but drank breastmilk in a bottle, then latched on at 6 weeks & nursed until he was one! If I hadn't had been able to pump, he would've been on formula or starved!

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  42. Sounds like a great opportunity, and yay to Hallmart for "getting it" about young babies. I also couldn't pump for an extended getaway--mostly because I don't use a pump regularly out of sheer laziness and non-necessity, and by the time my babies are 3-4 months old my body seems to not respond to the pump anymore. Nothing against pumps--I do own one "just in case", but very rarely have I broken it out over the last 11 years (about 8 of those spent nursing!)

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  43. Steph, I feel really bad that you tweeted about tension & whether pumpers look down on non-pumpers & I feel like it was my fault! I'm sorry if you were hurt by my comment- it was just meant to be an honest question, and not rude, and I'm sorry if it came across that way!

    I just wouldn't want an expectant mom to choose formula over pumping if she was in the situation that I was, because sometimes pumping can be the answer, so that the baby can nurse when he's ready to. So that's all I was trying to get across.

    I love your blog, and I wasn't trying to hurt you or be rude at all- I feel horrible!

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  44. Regarding the pumping- I have nothing against pumpers or pumping I just have never pumped.

    For some reason it IS scary to me, probably because I've never done it! And it's also scary to me that I don't have a pump! What if I had an emergency? So I think that was my thought process there!

    Steph

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  45. Kudos to Hallmark!!! :-) Have a GREAT time!

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  46. We CAN do it all! I look forward to meeting you and Ivy and in Kansas City.

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  47. I know what you mean about getting offers that don't pertain to your blog at all. I have received offers to sample toys which are way out of Zesty's age range, and well below Splenda's age range. Which is weird, because I have their ages plainly posted on my blog sidebar. lol!

    And I understand about the pumping emergencies. It can be scary, and if you only do it when you're on the road, it can be too stressful to let down. If what you are doing works, why fix it?

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  48. Fabulous post, and well said! As a mom whose daughters (really all three of them) never leave her side, I completely agree! If our children aren't invited, we simply don't go. I am a mommy first and foremost.

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  49. I'm a SAHM in the KC area and LOVE Hallmark! I'm proud that they've been so right-on in the way they invitied you Professional Mommy Bloggers to their headquarters.

    I'm also a blogger (who spends more time reading others than writing my own) who reads your blog regularly. I appreciate your heart more than you can know.

    I'd love to hear what you think of KC -- in fact, let me know if you need a local tour-guide while in town!

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