No, I Don't Have Children

Generally speaking at any blogging conference, meet up or social media function two things are likely to happen to me. My friends and I have stopped just short of taking bets on how soon it will take for one of those things to happen. One is that I will get told that I look like I'm 12 or, if we're at a bar, carded. Neither of these things happened at Blissdom Canada, which is sort of surprising but not as surprising as if it had been at an American location. (Personally I think the new hair cut had a lot to do with that.)

But the other thing? Oh it totally happened. I'm a woman of a certain age. I'm a blogger. I'm at a blogging conference. I must be a mommy blogger right? I'm using the term "mommy blogger" very loosely here. I'm talking about any one who is a mom who blogs rather than those who blog about motherhood. So yeah, I was mommy-pitched. It took all of 10-15 minutes after going down to breakfast before it happened. Many (perhaps most) women my age have children so I kind of understand the assumption. It is what it is.

We had been talking for several minutes and I knew the person was working up to a pitch. I've seen it plenty of times. I was ready for it with my "that sounds interesting but I don't have children" response. Which I used. Then as often is the case they moved on to the "well, maybe your readers will be interested in it" part. That's fine, too. Well, I'm not sure about fine but I'm used to it.

[I have to say that if my readers are coming here looking for mommy stuff they are delusional. I'm not a mother, I don't pitch mommy/kid things to my readers. End of story.]

All that was the typical Sassymonkey-gets-a-mommy-pitch interaction. Then it veered. The individual stopped in the middle of a sentence, looked at my blog name and asked what on earth I could possibly blog about if I don't have children. And that? That was not so cool.

I replied that I blog about everything else because I do. I blog about food, books, life, vacations, things that annoy me, things that are made of awesome, my utter lack of grace and anything else I can think of. I blog about everything people who blog about their lives blog about. My blog just doesn't have children in a starring role. Sometimes our friend's children made a rare appearance but this is pretty much a kid-free zone.

That question irritated me on many levels, though I laughed about it after it happened. I strongly dislike being shoved into the "other" category. I already spend most of my days feeling like a square peg, I don't need any help on that front. Not knowing my life, it was devalued because of the expectation that I should have children. Or at least I should if I was attending that conference. What could I want to learn about work/life balance or using my blog for social change or how to write better if I don't have children?

When that question popped out of their mouth my mind went to all the women I know who don't blog about children. What would have been that person's response if I had been an infertility blogger? Or if I had cancer? If I lost a spouse? What if I was a sex blogger? A pop-culture blogger? A travel blogger?

Because I've read some truly fine blogs by women in all those categories who don't write about being a mother, whether they are or not.

Please don't get the impression that I don't like mommy bloggers or mothers or blogs about motherhood because that is far from the truth. I love those blogs and the women who write them.

But also please understand that my life and blog have value. I understand that you might not see it but it has value to me. If you don't think it could possibly have value never having seen my blog or not knowing me? Keep it to yourself. I'm ok with the assumption that I must have children. I'm used to it. But really, that's where your assumptions should stop. When I say I'm not a mother you should move onto something else, unless all you want to do is make your pitch. If that's the case that's fine. Just walk away when you are done. If you actually want to make a connection and believe that a shared experience in motherhood is the only way you are selling us both short.