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?