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Please PR Pros, treat me like a Mom Blogger

When my son was young, my husband traveled somewhat frequently for work. He would usually be gone several nights at a time. There was no consideration of the fact that he had a baby at home or other responsibilities. And for my female friends with Wall Street jobs, it’s the same story. It’s the nature of much of the corporate world: we need you when we need you and your issues at home are yours to figure out.

Fast forward almost ten years, and I’m the one doing most of the traveling: to conferences, press junkets, and blogging events. I love it, but there are some headaches that go along with those trips; even an evening event close to home can cost me out of pocket and throw my household into chaos.

My husband can’t arrange his work schedule around mine, so when I’m going to be out of town I have to figure out how the kids are going to get to school in the morning, home in the afternoon, and who’s going to take care of them until my husband gets home each night.

I also try to arrange my flights so that on the day I leave I can take them to school, and on the day I get home I can pick them up. It can make traveling logistics difficult. If I were in the corporate world I wouldn’t expect the people hiring me to take any of this into consideration (the fact that they should take those needs into consideration is a whole other topic). However, I’m a mom blogger. There’s been a ton of debate over the past year as to whether that label is a good or bad thing, and why female bloggers with children are all being lumped together under one title no matter what we write about.

I don’t know what the answers are to those questions. But I do know that brands and PR companies often seek out mom bloggers for certain reasons: our relationships with our readers, our understanding of certain kinds of products, our ability to translate our experiences as moms into relatable posts, our availability, and our access to tiny, non-union focus groups that work for animal crackers and hugs.

Some of the qualities and qualifications that make mom bloggers valuable to companies are the very same things that can make meetings and trips difficult. This puts me into the awkward position of having to ask brands who want to work with me for things like childcare money, or specific flights, or a car service so that I can race home to relieve a babysitter or pick someone up from an after-school activity.  I’m constantly explaining why I need my car to the airport paid for (because I shouldn’t pay a penny out of pocket to write about your company) and why I can’t pop in to an event for just a little while, even though there will be free drinks and manicures (well, those “free” drinks and manicures will cost me $45 in babysitter money and nearly two hours on the subway).  Whether a mom blogger is freelancing to make a living or enjoying a hobby as a blogger, we all have costs and needs associated with helping you to promote something.

So what I ask is this: treat me like a mom blogger. You wanted someone who has an “in” with other mothers. You wanted someone with a following and a reputation and the ability to write about products you’re trying to sell to other moms. You’ve come to the right place, and I’d love to work with you. But please remember the qualities that brought you to me, and understand that I have needs much different than someone else who would not have the special qualities you’re looking for.

This is not a blanket indictment of all PR people and companies, just the ones that are trying to take advantage of me.  The vast majority of PR people I work with totally get it (that’s why I work with them, and invite them to my house and bake them cookies and entertain them with lewd emails).  I’m talking to the rest of you, the ones who treat me like I’m being an entitled diva when I send you my rates or try to negotiate a per diem.  If you don’t have it in your budget and can only work with bloggers who will work for free, fine.  But you can’t have it both ways: if you want to work with me, treat me like a mom blogger, with all of my mom blogger baggage.

Originally posted on Behind the Screen, a part of SelfishMom.com. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn and Momtourage, and podcasts with The Blogging Angels.