So when people tell me they are starting a blog, I initially ask myself two questions “who really cares what you have to say?” and “hasn’t it all been said before?” Upon further introspection, my answers to those questions are “I do” and “so what?”.
I read many blogs, from people I know to people I have never heard of in my life, on a variety of topics, food blogs, mommy blogs (especially working mom blogs), humor blogs, etc. Really, anything and everything.
And reading different people write about similar experiences is never boring or redundant to me. In fact, finding multiple people with shared experiences is comforting.
Recently I went to a QRCA conference in Vegas and I decided that I must start a blog of my own (I don’t like using blog as a verb, fyi).
I am a qualitative research consultant (that explains the Q, the R and the C) or market researcher for short. For those of you who don’t know what that is, that means that companies hire me and people like me to ask their customers or potential customers about a product, service or message they are developing or refining or repositioning. Don’t worry, many people in my immediate family still have no idea what I do after 12 years, so it’s okay if you are confused. It’s really not that crucial to understanding the story.
If you look closely you can see how my propensity to read multiple blogs on the same topic and my job traveling around the country to ask multiple people the same questions fit together quite nicely, because the people are different and so are their stories and that always makes life interesting.
Anyway, while I was at this conference, I was talking to other female market researchers from all over the country and from all walks of life about being a market researcher and a mom and how to balance all of that. Of course, this is a question that all moms and especially working moms face…a question that has been covered on many blogs and will continue to be covered.
However, it occurred to me that we are somewhat unique in the realm of working moms. We are in this no-man’s land between part-time workers and full time workers.
While we are on the road A LOT, many of us work from a home office much of the time, so we are not the traditional working moms who are unavailable from 9-5 Monday to Friday and have a nanny or in law handle the school day minutiae (I finally found a reason to use that word I learned in high school!).
For much of the week (at least when we are in the state), we can be there to pack the lunches, take the kids to school and attend an occasional after school activity, making it appear to some that we are stay at home moms. Yet, we are still working full-time and then some, so we are often not available to grab coffee or have playdates, etc.
Many of the moms who I talk to infrequently assume I don’t work. I often get asked “What did you do before you had kids?” and I awkwardly reply “Market research and I still do it (and I am doing it right now as I talk to you).” Although I usually leave that last part out. How do you tell someone that while you are discussing teachers and the best stores for kids’ shoes that the other part of your brain (and maybe the best part) is structuring a PowerPoint slide to best illustrate the findings of a 4-market study you just flew in from that morning?
It often leaves me in a place where I feel I am constantly defending myself – against what? I don’t know – maybe against my fears that they will find me unfriendly or unkempt.
“I really do like you and want our kids to be friends, but I have to rush home to a conference call right now! Yes, I know I was here for soccer and I am wearing flip flops, but I am working, I swear!”
“Really I would love to get together and do X while the kids are in school, but I have a report to write or a meeting to attend” (X can range from a free day at a country club pool to lunch to a spa visit…all things I REALLY want to do, no matter who is inviting me, but I can’t)
“I normally shower in the morning but came here straight from a redeye, I am not stinky, I promise.”
“I don’t find you boring; I am just yawning because I am exhausted from working 12 hour days in a different time zone this week.”
No one asks me for these explanations but I feel I must give them anyway.
Not to mention the guilt of leaving the kids to go to work or to leave the state for 4 days at a time or telling them to be quiet when you are on a call or to just be silent for 8 minutes while you process your thoughts!
It’s fun watching them act these things out with their dolls and stuffed animals – “Baby, please be quiet, daddy is on a very important call” or “Can you watch my baby for me please? I must go to California but I don’t want to leave her alone. Can you watch her?”
And when I say fun, I mean heart-breaking. But I am hoping that my time home with them is worth it and the fact that I can play tag with them while waiting for a fax or that I can work on the patio while they play in the kiddy pool, makes up for the days I am too short with them or the days when I am just plain not there.
So that’s why I decided it was finally time to start a blog. I don’t have the attention span to say that this is going to be a market research blog or a mom blog or a humor blog* or a food blog. Let’s just say that this will be a “me blog” and will likely encompass all the things that I enjoy, at least until I see something shiny, get distracted and forget about this endeavor entirely.
* I don’t really think I am funny, but people laugh when I talk; I assume they are laughing at me, but whatever, it means they are having fun, right?