with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
Did you hear that sound, the other day? Did you? The sound of me sighing heavily? I’m pretty sure you would’ve been able to hear it if you’re anywhere on the same continent as I am.
The short story: Carrie Kirby—a lovely lady and momblogger, herself—wrote an article for the San Francisco Chronicle about moms who blog and how some of us have managed to parlay a hobby into a business, etc. When she contacted me about it, she stressed that although she’d seen my clip on the Today Show, she recognized that there had clearly been some creative editing, and that she really wanted to get more information out there, in a less sensational and more realistic way. So I agreed to talk to her.
And then (of course!) her article was edited into a clone of the Today Show segment.
Just to be crystal clear, here: I am not upset with Carrie (she and I have talked about this already). She wrote a great article. But, see, the article she wrote wasn’t sensational enough, I guess, and so editing came along and turned it into something easier for people to get riled up about.
And oh are people riled—the last time I checked, there were 58 comments on the article, most decrying mommyblogging as pointless, irrelevant, self-indulgent, privacy-destroying, and more. Because, you know, those moms who write about their families online? They’re evil.
The other thing I quite enjoyed, in a twisted way, was that early in the comments a few folks decided to dissect how much money I make. (To recap: I made a comment on the Today Show about earning “10% more last year as a writer than I did in my previous life as a software engineer,” and I could explain how that comment was taken completely out of context in the final editing, but it doesn’t really matter. When Carrie and I talked, I pointed out that I found that comment wildly misleading, the way they’d used it, because they made it sound like I make that money from just my personal blog. Carrie was able to at least put in her story that my income comes from both two personal blogs and a variety of contract writing, but still… without context, it is a loaded statement.)
Now, many of you may remember that after the Today Show I was inundated with folks who wanted to know my “secret” because the segment really made it sound like I’m positively rolling in cash, over here, and that was a small nightmare unto itself for all of the obvious reasons.
In the SFGate article, commenters were quick to conclude that I cannot possibly be making much money (one person went so far as to pull my comments from something I wrote after the TV segment aired, and then account for inflation—I don’t know, it was a very dedicated analysis!) from writing.
Which is how I ended up complaining to my husband the other night that I am now well and truly Goldilocks, because when people assumed I was rich it irritated me to no end, but then when people speculated that really, I’m hardly making anything, I was completely offended. Yeah. That’s logical, I know.
The bottom line is that it’s nobody’s business how much money I make. Period. But somehow when that gets tied up with this rampant judgment about what writers like me do, I feel like my entire career is under the microscope, with everyone thinking that anything they want to discuss is fair game. I just find this… odd. I’m not a celebrity. I’m not doing anything dangerous. Why do people care so much about me (and Heather and Stefania and any other woman who has a successful writing career which includes writing about her family)?
One difference between me and all of the other bloggers mentioned in that piece is that I never post pictures of my children on my blog—something commenters were going on and on about, in terms of privacy and safety—and while that is a difference, I would no more declare my choice “right” and everyone else’s “wrong” than I would walk into someone else’s house and start rearranging their furniture. It’s the right choice for me just as theirs is the right choice for them, and people screaming about safety are painting with a far-too-wide brush, both in terms of who’s doing what and in terms of what risk is truly involved.
The bottom line is that it will never cease to amaze me, 1) what other people find criticism-worthy and 2) how charged writing about your kids online remains even now. People, this isn’t new. I’m not a pioneer. And yet, apparently we blogging moms (still!) have “PLEASE COME JUDGE ME” posted on our foreheads.
It’s not that I can’t take it, but sheesh. Consider getting a pet or a hobby, folks.
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