|At the Central Coast Writers Conference...how could I??|
*Featured on BlogHer.com in April 2013
I consider myself a fairly cynical person. More often than not when confronted with demeaning, insulting and ignorant opinions I just roll my eyes and move on. This article, however, managed to raise my eyebrows and my blood pressure.
It is called The Mommy Business Trip and was published in Wall Street Journal. Based on what the author has to say (a female author, for that matter), conferences that women attend only serve one purpose - to give them an excuse to leave their family behind without feeling guilty about it. It appears the author talks about stay-at-home Moms who blog and do yoga. I am not exactly sure how she decided to settle on this one category. Do women who work outside of their homes not attend conferences? If they do, then she clearly believes they attend "real" ones. The kind that breadwinner men attend. Serious, without any social activities, without alcohol or food. I have participated in several HR conferences myself when I worked as an HR professional and they were not one bit different from the one this author described. I accompanied my doctor husband to several conferences and guess what - they were not one bit different either.
If you like what you do, whether it's a corporate job, your own business or a hobby, you will most likely enjoy meeting people with the same interests. You will probably like to network, swap ideas and learn a thing or two. This will not happen if you never leave your office (and it doesn't matter if that office's rent is paid by your employer or yourself). That's what the conferences and conventions are for. And the social aspect that comes with it is a bonus most (both men and women) enjoy.
So yes, at this point I am slightly confused. If this is not as much about women traveling on business trips, is it about guilting stay-at-home Moms? Is she suggesting that since a woman decided to have a child, her only duty in the world from that point on is to cook, clean and welcome her kids and her husband with a tray of fresh baked cookies and a bright smile on her face every day? She says: "Mothers who work from home —bloggers, interior decorators, crafters and the like—rarely get to travel alone to escape the daily grind. Event planners, networking organizations, travel agents and consumer-goods marketers are targeting these women by sponsoring conferences and conventions. They have figured out a simple way to make them happy: Give them a reason to go on a business trip."
Ah-ha! You see, I didn't know I needed a permission to leave the house. I also forgot that since giving birth and leaving my full-time job I was supposed to sulk at home in a daily grind. Instead I started blogging. Geez, I even tried yoga a few times, thank goodness that didn't stick, or I'd be one of those horrible women she is describing. You know, those that fit the description of "It's a fun and educational thing to do for people who are married with children and need a legitimate reason to leave home." Do I need a special kind of a passport to leave home, too, I wonder? Is it my husband who stamps it? Maybe we should be tracked by text messages - I hear it works wonderful in Saudi Arabia.
But it turns out many out there agree. Here are some highlights of the comments:
You set up your home to find peace of mind and be with people who unconditionally love you. If these women look forward to leaving home just to get away then they are just pretending to be part of a family that is already broken or on its way to get broken.
"... where they will attend the three-day Mom 2.0 Summit, for $250 to $450, excluding hotel and airfare costs ... Ticket packages range from $199 to $1,100, and don't include hotel or travel costs. Seems like all that money could go into the children's college fund, and "Mommy" could be a little less "it's all "about me".
I think I should apologize to my husband and my son in advance. There is a good chance that sometime in my future I will attend one of these evil gatherings that waste our son's college fund, prove my family is already broken anyways and allow me to roll on the hotel floor eating mini-bar snacks. I know, I am a complete failure. Sorry, guys!