I'm Grieving about BlogHer, and I'm Not Ashamed to Admit it

As a snarky person, I'm usually the first one to point out the ludicrousness of people whining about their awful First World Problems (usually in a sarcastic tone, too). "Oh no! The last 10 seconds of the American Girl movie were cut off due to NBC announcing the Zimmerman verdict? Hell yeah, Mattel should pay for the counseling your kids will need!"

"You mean, you ordered extra ranch with your chicken strips and that stupid waiter forgot it? That SUCKS. You should totally not tip him."  You get the gist of it. Whaaa.  

But I'm here today to tell the world (okay probably not the WHOLE world but a little sliver of it) that I'm wallowing in my own swampy puddle of First World grief:

I'm not going to BlogHer in Chicago this week. And I'm sad. I'm actually mustering up a few tears over this, if you can believe it. And as pathetic, and self-pitying these tears are...

they are real.  

This whole blogger thing was not on my radar when I started writing The Happy Hausfrau. As I've said before, the whole bloggy community seemed cliquey and foreign and difficult to navigate. I was quite content to sit in my own little bubble and float about the blog universe completely oblivious and unawares of things like networking and awards and recognition. 

Until I got recognized, that is. And then it lit a little fire under my previously clueless buns. Suddenly, I felt like part of something, like a member of something. AND I WANT TO BE THERE. I want to meet the ladies who write the words that make me laugh and cry and think. I want to see my name on a list of talented writers who were acknowledged as the Top of The Class. I wanted to arrange my schedule and pack my bags and pose for pictures and pop out #BlogHer13 tweets like a Duggar pops out babies. For the first time in what feels like forever, I wanted to stretch my wings and take a chance and go outside the box and whatever other trite analogy there is for someone wanting to go out and experience something new and cool.

I did the math early on, and it was woefully obvious that I couldn't afford to go. I mean, come on..reality check here: my kids get reduced price lunches at school. It's not feasible for me to drop $1,000 on a three day weekend trip for mommy. Not feasible, not practical. And totally not happening.

I gave it the old college-dropout try, folks. I crunched the measly numbers in my checking account, and truth be told, had I not dropped almost $500 on my car in June? I might have been able to squeeze by. Of course, I'd also be skateboarding everywhere, but that's beside the point. 

Some of my kick ass friends tried their hardest to help me come up with ways to raise the money. And they found out, the hard way, that no matter what I'm always going to find a way to put my kids first. "Well, if I did manage to come up with that kind of money I'd rather spend it on my kids!" was my standard response to well-meaning suggestions for fundraising. "Henry needs a new backpack! Molly needs her senior pictures taken! I still owe money for William's hockey! Yada yada yada!".

And that's the truth. At the end of the day, I have to weigh the Maybe column (maybe going to BlogHer could be the next step in my "writing career", maybe I'd make new friends and learn new tricks and be inspired and smitten and all that good stuff) against the Definitely column (kids gonna eat).  Guess which column wins?  Hint: it involves food.

My plea to Kotex got an answer and it was nice to know they listened, but in the end Glenda the Feminine Protection Fairy didn't wave her SuperPlus wand over me and drop a sponsorship in my lap. For a few fleeting moments, I actually thought it would happen. And I'd like to think that for a few fleeting moments, someone at Kimberly Clark actually considered it. That's pretty cool.

So I decided to turn this into a learning experience, and a lesson in life. After all, I'm the woman who spends her days telling preschoolers "You get what you get and you don't have a fit." I allowed myself to have a little fit, and now I'm going to get up and get over it.

I'm gonna PollyAnna the shit out it, folks.

I've made some new friends, found some fabulous blogs to read and recommend (list at the end of this sob-fest) and yes, I found a lot of self-confidence and a little bit of pride. My fellow Humor Honorees who will be in Chicago this weekend will be bringing a paper version of me (a picture of yours truly, she's been dubbed Flat Jenny and I'm hoping they get her liquored up like there's no tomorrow) and I know my Funny Girls will keep me updated. 

I was floored by the generosity I experienced: from a fellow blogger offering up a hotel room, to VIP bloggers trying their hardest to help me get sponsorship to my friend Mary offering to DRIVE TO CHICAGO with me to one of my hens actually whipping out her checkbook and asking, "How much?". I'm reminded of the sweetness in this life, my friends. Thank you.

And I know I'm in some good company. Not everyone can get to BlogHer. Some have family commitments, some have financial restraints like me. Some just aren't going. 

I have friends who have experienced real grief. I know this doesn't compare. In fact, I feel some hesitation to even label this sadness, this selfish little tantrum I'm having as actual "grief". But dammit, it feels like it.  Part of me is on the floor, pounding with my fists and kicking with my feet, screaming out "I WANT A GOLDEN GOOSE TOO, DADDY!". Well...maybe not the Golden Goose part but you know what I mean.

Here are the things I'll do this week to take my mind off of the fact that I'm not where I really really really want to be:

  • Working a billion and a half hours, subbing at preschool. Can't wait to see those kids and get hugs and hear "It's Miss Jenny!" when I walk in the room. See, I really do have fans!
  • Helping one of my best friends get ready to move from the house she's lived in like, forever. Having gone through it myself, I know how it feels.
  • Spending time with my kids, who have not yet made me feel murderous. Last year I made it through mid-August before snapping. I'm enjoying this non-wall-crawling lull.
  • Walk my poor dog who needs Xanax after the heat wave we just had. Because mama don't walk in the heat and both of us sorely need the exercise.
  • Rejoice in the fact that I've recently reconnected with two of my cousins. We haven't seen each other in about 15 years and they surprised me by coming to the Listen To Your Mother show. We had dinner this week and I am so grateful to have them back in my life. Family ties are strong, ya'll. Thank God.
  • Console myself with the fact that I'm going to get my period this week, and if I'd been in Chicago, surrounded by orgasmic deep dish pizza, the results could have been lethal and would have been shameful. So there's that. But I do have to add, OMG KOTEX, DO YOU SEE WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY YOU MISSED? I'D ACTUALLY BE USING YOUR PRODUCT AT THE CONFERENCE! Not only would you have been there in spirit, you'd have been there, literally, in my nether-regions. Your loss, Kimberly Clark.

See? I can channel PollyAnna. It's all good. 

Maybe this year isn't the year it's supposed to happen. Maybe next year? The year after that? There's no expiration date on hope, you know. And I'm not a quitter. Just ask my ex-husband.

I'll leave you with a list of blogs that I think you need to check out. Some are my fellow Humor ladies, a couple are just really awesome ladies who tried really hard to get my broke ass to BlogHer. Basically, they all rock and I know you'll like them as much as I do.

Lisa at Back to Allen (my sister from another mister...)
Jen (People I Want to Punch in The Throat) (I really, really wanted to meet her, you guys. And just stand in the same area as her. Not in a stalkery way, though.)
Mandy Fish (I adore her and wanted to have an A-frame hug with her!)
Victoria Barnes (this chick got me lurking on craigslist for ottomans)


  1. I wish I could go too and I wasn't even honored or anything so I can imagine how much YOU want to go! Maybe we can go on a walk this week or something and have a pity party. I'm serious.

    1. Oh Nina, I thought you were going?? I'd love to have a pity party with you. Working until 5:30 M-T-W this week, let's try to figure out a time!

    2. If you had a pity party without me just don't tell me. I don't think I could handle missing out on TWO fabulous events.

      So wish we could all have been at BlogHer together.

    3. We never did have our pity party...but it's never too late. We need a lunch date again. SOONISH.

  2. I can't afford it, either, hon. It's okay to pout for a bit before you pull on the PollyAnna face. We're all just human, you know. Besides, I hear hotels have bedbugs...

    1. HA! Thank you SC. You always make me smile.

  3. You know what, if I was a better woman I'd say a little prayer for those folks over at Kimberly Clark. They had their very own goose with the golden ovaries and they totally dropped the ball. Idiots. But you already know that. I'm moping too, and really wanted to be there as well. Maybe next year, huh? In the meantime, I'll be raising a toast to all the smiles you bring when you share your stories, cheering about your VOTY and thanking my lucky stars that I get to call you friend.

    1. Next year FO SHO. Seriously. We are totally going to be there. And yes, now that I know what VOTY means, I'm going to try for that again as well. Because it's cool to see your name on lists.

      Thanks for all of your support and camaraderie. That is just as, if not more, cool as going to BlogHer would be. And yes, that sentence defied all grammar rules.

  4. Oh, I just saw this. Ugh, I get it, entirely, but am very sorry you won't be there, and hope I get to meet you at another place in time. I will cheer loudly when they say your name.

  5. You are amazing. I love your attitude!
    Love, your friend at The Adult In The House

    1. Beth! Thank you. I needed to hear that today.

  6. I am new to blogging and I really wanted to go too! But you know what? We have time to save for '14 and when I see you there I'm gonna give you a little fist bump. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to diving into your blog and your list of blogs. Thank you for sharing! :)

    1. A little fist bump? Michelle I am a hugger. It's sometimes awkward but like an avalanche, it can't be stopped.

      Thanks for reading, new friend :)

  7. New Posting, please!!!!

    1. I am feeling so BLAH. I keep starting new posts but they sound an awful lot like Debbie Downer. Plus I've been working SO MANY hours this week. That's what I don't like about work...it cuts into all of my non-income earning activities, like eating and blogging and watching t.v.

      I'll get on it. Thank you so much for this shout out.

  8. I ended up hiding in my hotel room the whole time.

    Okay, sort of kidding. But I didn't spend much time at the conference. I did have some nice quality time with my husband and some good friends. I'm just not good at dealing with thousands of women at one time. I find it overwhelming. It was my third BlogHer and I've had the same reaction every time. Too much stimulation. Overwhelming. Sort of depressing.

    I know that sounds weird, but just wanted to give you another view of the OMG BlogHer madness that can go on. I was thinking about maybe trying a smaller blog conference next year, perhaps for bloggers with more experience? BlogHer really seems to apply more to people with little to no writing/blogging experience.


    But I would have love to have had an A-frame hug with you too. I totally would have come out of my hotel room and put the M&Ms down for that!


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