"Not everyone can grow up to be a rocket scientist."
That's what my husband says to me when I'm down on myself about not being "the best" at something. It sounds terribly unsympathetic but he (usually) follows it up with what a great teacher, mom, or wife I am.
That quote was exactly what was running through my head as Cyndi and I returned home from the Type-A Mom blogging conference. I was attempting (damn you, crummy 3G coverage) to follow along on Twitter as the other conference attendees participated in the "Town Hall" meeting. It seemed the topic had turned to a discussion of haves and have nots in the mom blogging world.
It isn't a new thing. It's a struggle that exists everywhere, but especially prevalent in the world of mom-blogging today.
Seriously. Who does that?
Attending a blogging conference is an inspiring and humbling experience.
You can walk away with new ideas, curiosities about branching out with advertising, photography, or niche work, or even dreams of actually earning money for this hobby.
But it is also humbling.
Humbling because at conferences there have to be speakers, and those speakers tend to be bloggers who "have made it," whatever that means to you. You have to put forth someone to serve as an expert. There are also big name bloggers who come for the same reasons as we lesser knowns. They just want to hang-out with friends, connect with companies, and maybe walk away with a new idea or two.
But as with other mom-blog conferences, feelings of elitism, snubbing, and social order rear their ugly heads. (It seemed to happen at Type-A Mom when the discussion shifted to compensation.)
It would happen in any field. Like when people tend to shuffle their feet and babble in avoidance when the topic of income comes up. Someone will ALWAYS be making more, and as a result someone will ALWAYS feel slighted.
It can be hard when beginning anything new not to have a few pipe dreams. The first time I picked up a tennis racket, I won't deny having fantasies, "Maybe THIS will be my undiscovered, long dormant talent. Maybe I'm the next Monica Seles," -- you know, because she's left handed and grunts when she hits the ball. Alas, I was not a tennis player, nothing close to it. I knew this beforehand with 99.9% of my self, but the little tiny .1% hoped, and that hope can still be crushing.
It's the same with blogging.
When that first comment from a non-family member popped up, I got swept away. Delusions of grandeur, income, and Dyson vacuums went zipping through my brain.
After three years of this, I'm slowly accepting the reality that I won't be the next Bloggess, Dooce, or Wil. I will still be Abby. I'll probably never be able to buy a coffee with blog income (much less pay the mortgage), but I'm slowly realizing that isn't what matters to me.
What does matter is the people I've met, the people who've become friends, the people I've affected, and most especially the family that I am able to stay in touch with. That's why I started this blog and that's why I continue to blog.
If I do end up published in the New York Times or manage to finagle a new refrigerator -- I'll consider that a bonus.
Dreams are a great thing to have, but sometimes it's also a good idea to step back into the real world and assess the gifts you've already been given.
"You have to be okay knowing that you affected just one life."
- Revolutionary Blogging, Type-A Mom Conference 2010