Repeat after me: NO MORE "mompreneur"!

I know, I know, there is a theme going on with my last couple of posts.  I won't apologize for this, because using these unnecessary and condescending portmanteaus is something I feel very strongly about.  

A few weeks ago, I attended a conference for my industry, something many professionals do to stay up to date with the latest trends in their fields of expertise and to share their wisdom and successes with peers from far and wide. When I was a sales rep for pharmaceutical companies, I attended quarterly business meetings and large medical conferences. When I was in retail sales, I attended trade and buying shows/exhibitions. Now that I am an online writer and blogger, I attend Social Media and Blogging conferences.

My favorite for the past three years is called Mom 2.0 Summit , and yes, it is a conference primarily targeted to the parent blogging and social media community. Like it or not, this is an industry, with an estimated 4.4 million mothers blogging at least once a month (2014 data).

It is hard to ignore the power and reach this kind of online presence has in our world.

And yet, there is a part of me that still feels as if, even though many women have carved out a space as well as an industry for themselves online – and are doing incredible things within that space and beyond – we are still not viewed as capital P – professionals in our own rights. Part of that reason lies directly on us and, in my opinion, on the words and “industry jargon” we use to describe and label ourselves. You know the ones; MOMpreneurMOMMY-blogger,MOM-bossGIRL-bossLADY-blogger...

CONTINUE READING HERE. 

Bonbon Break

**comma not hypen**

Mommy-blogger.

This is what I am often called. 

I am a mom. I have a blog. 

Ergo, if the shoe fits and all, right?

But what if the shoe fits, but it's a shoe that is really not your style? Do you still wear it? Go around telling everyone about your well-fitting, but ugly as all get out SHOES? 

PEOPLE! I DON'T *DO* UGLY SHOES!!

EXhibit one. **NOT UGLY** shoes. 

EXhibit one. **NOT UGLY** shoes. 

I mean, even the homeless guy I walked past today noticed and complimented me on my shoes. HE GETS ME!

So one might ask, if you are not a mommy blogger, then why oh why are you heading out shortly to a conference called the Mom 2.0 Summit, with the theme of "Redefining Motherhood"? 

Honestly...?

I am just going for the swag. 

OK, just kidding.

I am really going to get away from being a mom for five whole days and focus solely on myself and doing/being/creating ALL FOR ME!

I mean, I love my family to bits and pieces, but I kiss them goodbye the morning of my flight and then I am gone. In all senses of that word. 

I drive to the airport and I have only one person's bags to worry about. One passport to keep track of, once nice big coffee to buy and fully enjoy while I read my book or scroll through my Twitter feed, with no one clamouring to play Minion Rush on my phone, as I leisurely wait for my boarding announcement. I have snacks I don't have to share with anyone. No one I need to talk to. I board the plane, plug in my headphones and watch or listen to anything I want. 

I don't have to actively MOM or WIFE anyone or anything the minute that plane takes off, and there is something absolutely freeing and almost taboo about actually admitting that I love that feeling. 

Of leaving.

* * * * * 

Motherhood is a forever double edged sword. Your body, your brain, your heart, your mind, none of you is ever simply all yours anymore. There is a saying about having kids is like having your heart walking out in the open, and it is not wrong. What they forget to put in all those sappy Hallmark cards though is those parts of you walking around being actual complete human beings themselves, can also suck the life out of you and leave you feeling drained, exhausted, raw, taken for granted, and at times, rather unloved. 

Until bedtime that is, and then all they want is for you to cuddle them as they tell you that you are "the "Bestest Mom Ever" and can you please rub my back and do "moon is round" on my face." And they fall asleep in your arms and are finally not talking back to you and glaring at you like The Dark Side has taken over when you simply pointed out that they should not ride their bikes in the middle of a busy road, and all is forgiven and the weight of their beautiful little head on your arm is enormous and starting to ache a bit, as is, coincidentally, your love for them.

And that is it really, isn't it? Motherhood is a huge weight. One we carry around far longer than those few months in/on our bodies as we grow these tiny humans. It's a weight we can't ever shed, no matter how much we run, workout or go to hot yoga classes. It's those "last 10 pounds" that won't ever go away, and the longer you hold them the heavier they start to feel. It is a feeling that is virtual and real, and wonderful and awful, and so, very heavy and then so completely light as air. It's a never-ending rollercoaster of highs and lows. Sometimes you throw your hands up in the air and revel in the pure exhilaration if it all, and other times it takes all you have to hold back the bile that is creeping up the back of your throat and you close your eyes and pray for a break. Just a tiny little break to put your head between your legs and catch your breath. 

And that my friends, is why in one week I will be boarding a plane and heading to the shores of California. To catch my breath. To enjoy a week with dear friends I see once a year, and to regroup and focus on myself - my goals and my dreams and my life -  in a way that I am not able to do when I am home and have to be the manager of all the things for everyone and carry around SO. MUCH. WEIGHT. 

* * * * * 

Like I mentioned earlier, this years theme at the Mom 2.0 Summit is "Redefining Motherhood". It's about parenting in the digital age, and how motherhood has changed and continues to change. When I read the announcement about the theme a few months ago, my first thought wasn't about how we are redefining motherhood, but more so on how motherhood redefines women and how we are constantly adjusting our lives, our thoughts, our goals, and our dreams accordingly. 

I am at a point in my own life where I realize that motherhood can not be the main or only thing that defines me. I will always be mommy to two incredible human beings and for that I am eternally grateful, but I am so much more. I am a whole human being, with complexities that go beyond meal planning, soccer game scheduling, household duties, the school PTA, the never-ending piles of laundry, and all other duties I fulfil as a mother and at home parent. 

And this is why I cringe at the term 'mommy-blogger' or any other mom-ified words that get thrown around. It is not that I feel that the word Mommy is a derogatory one; on the contrary, it is one that I cherish, has deep meaning to me through my children, far beyond anything I could have imagined, and one that will always be the tug on my heart I can never ignore. And though I share the moniker with millions of other women on this planet, it is one so incredibly personal and intimate as well. 

All of this to say that I would really like everyone to stop making "mommy" (and by extension, motherhood itself) seem cutesy and inferior and disposable by hyphenating it to all the activities/jobs/endeavers/accomplishments that women who are mothers do or are involved in, thereby rendering all important roles in a person's life feeling trite and plebian. Something that I guarantee you, they are NOT!

I am a human being, a woman, a feminist, a writer, a partner, a mother, a blogger...

and so much more. 

***comma not hyphen*** 

Thank you,

N~

less is more: on fighting fear and perfection.

The white of the page stares back at me like an accusation. 

"Why aren't you filling me? Where are all the WORDS??!!

They are here, I tell it, I know they are in here. I hear them, I see them, I write them in cursive, loopy scroll all over the hills and valleys in my mind. They are here. Waiting. For what, I am not sure. 

For the perfect post? The perfect story? The perfect something.

perfect

PERFECT

PER..... FECT.....

The word loses it's meaning and any sense the more you write it or say it. 

So why am I so stuck on it? Why do so many people get stuck on it? Why do we always feel like we have to wait for some ideal, exact, precise moment in time/space/life to DO something? 

Perfect doesn't exist. It is a construct of our minds. A place/time/planetary alignment that is completely made up. And as such, this made up thing that we think will just BE at some point, becomes like an anchor, holding us in place, not moving, waiting, always waiting.... 

Want to know what I think?

I think that perfection is the flashy accessory that fear wears to disguise itself. Fear likes to be in control and the way it does that is by waving it's colourful, oversized, PERFECTION infinity scarf at us and telling us things like:

"The timing is not perfect for this right now, you shouldn't do it."

"These are not the perfect words to express your thoughts, you should wait until you have better ones."

"You aren't going to do that perfectly, so maybe it's just not for you."

Fear convinces us that if we can't do something perfectly, then it is not worth doing. That there is no use in even trying. Fear does not want us to go anywhere, have new friends, try new things. Fear is like that one controlling ex-partner you had who tried to keep you all to themselves and convince you that you are better off with just them. Fear is wrong. If there is no trying, then there can be no failing. And if there is no failing, there can be no learning, no doing better, no growing.

Right now, fear is keeping all the words locked up in my head. It is working hard to convince me that they might not even be there anymore, and maybe they never where, and I was only writing from a place of rage and righteous indignation because of my displaced anxiety and depression.

I want to tell you that fear is not winning. I want to tell you that the words are here and I am writing them and I am doing what I feel I was meant to do in this world. 

The thing is...

Some days fear wins. I over-accessorize on the quest to PERFECTION and can't string more than a few words together on a Facebook post, let along a blank page. I busy myself with other life tasks. I tell myself that I have more important things to do than write. I don't put writing on my to-do list. I read other people's writing and think that I am never going to be as good as they are so why bother. I let fear hold me down and believe the story it tells me of my lack of worth as a "real" writer.

Last night I attended a lecture given by the one and only Margaret Atwood. I found out about the lecture on Sunday and bought a couple of the last tickets available. As I sat way up in the nosebleeds and listened to her talk in her distinctive, dry, delightfully vocally-fried voice for an hour and a half about life as a writer in the 60s and 70s, I wondered how much, if ever, fear played a part in her life, in her writing. 

At one point she talked about how back in the day, she and her writer friends (you know, like Michael Ondaatje, Mordecai Richler and Marion Engel) never considered writing as a career. It was more of a vocation, a calling. Something that HAD to be done, and that was done, and then published, sometimes by hand-lettering and binding of first books in the back rooms of friends apartments and teeny publishing houses. 

That statement above all else she said, has been stuck in my head since last night and for all of today. As I sit here and fight perfectionism and fear, and struggle to get these words on this page, I am making a conscious decision. I am a writer. I need to write. It is the best way I know to communicate my thoughts and ideas, and I truly believe in my heart of hearts, it is through my writing that I will positively affect change in this world.

THIS IS MY CALLING. And that is what you do with a calling right? You make the world a better place. Even if it is just a little bit. 

My heart feels full and my mind is alive when my fingers are dancing on the keyboard. My soul is energized when I know that my words have spoken to another human being and moved them in some way (big or small). And sometimes, I also happen to crack myself up and need to write that shit down somewhere to remember it. 

So, no, maybe today is not the day the New York Times is going to come calling and say, hey, YOU, come be a regular columnist and write for us and we will pay you loads and loads of dollars. And maybe this is not the year that I will finish the book I started writing in January. 

But today, I wrote words on the page. Today, I took to heart Coco Chanel's advice,  to "always remove one thing before you leave the house. Less is more." Today I removed that oversized infinity scarf /quest for perfection and wrote the words that are here.

These imperfect, choppy, words about words. 

And this is a good thing.

N~

#fangirl stoopid grin while Margaret Atwood signs my books!

#fangirl stoopid grin while Margaret Atwood signs my books!