Just when I am ready to quit blogging, give up social media and embrace my poor ass momness full time, something interesting shows up because of it. No, no more amazing Disney Cruises, but something much more symptomatic of the power of moms on social media. I got asked to be part of a round table with 16 other mom blog/social media types with non other than Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia. What was almost cooler was that the email came from Pamela Martin!
I love the blogging community in Vancouver. I know from experience that we have a lot to say on any key issues and we ain’t just pretty faces. We know our stuff. An hour is not enough for our lot. These ladies came prepared with notes. Some had polled their readers, others, the Twitterverse, others like myself had been scribbling notes on my iPhone.
Not being a huge Liberal supporter, I was wondering what the atmosphere would be like…how much of a ‘please vote for me’ atmosphere this meeting would have. I was totally wrong. Christy and Pamela were cordial and quiet. They listened, offered feedback, asked questions, and were pretty honest in my opinion.
Mom bloggers get slammed a lot. We are called sellouts if we review products, we are called trite. We are accused of exploiting our children for the sake of ‘fame’ and ‘fortune.’ Marketers and news struggle to stuff us into a simplistic pigeonhole……it can’t work.
What we had at that table represented the variety of women who happen to be mom’s who happen to love the internet in all their glorious diversity.
So with all that diversity, from income to employment statuses…the biggest issue was affordable childcare. I only made it because thanks the to magic of networking the people at Women in Biz Network put me in touch with Kids & Company, who kindly offered THEIR services to me for free. I don’t have the budget for on demand top quality child care. I tend to rely on my mom, who at 67 is still having to work to supplement her income. I can’t always afford to pay her anything for watching the kids, so work comes before helping me.
Many of the women (like myself) have been inspired by blogging and social media to start our own businesses. We are all trying to stay home and create income and employment that will support our families without looking back to traditional work. We pointed out to the Premier that while job creation is important, it can’t be ‘old fashioned’ jobs, but work that encourages and enables parents to spend more time with their families and not rely heavily on outside support.
I found it interesting that Clark emphasized the more ‘ethnic’ model of families with multi generations living under one roof. This is pretty much the only way you can afford housing in the lower mainland. This is a breakaway from the suburban post war model of the North American family unit, where we all splinter away from our extended family. Many people can’t turn to our families to support us, this is true when it comes to childcare and eldercare. This needs to be considered. I very much feel that more and more burdens are being put upon the individual and families where before it was the government that we turned to for support and service. This would be nice if incomes matched the needs, but they don’t. The governments are feeling the pinch of inflation as badly as the individual.
A government cannot please everyone, and that is not their job. However, their job is to listen and to compromise and to build plans based on what they hear. From someone like me who sadly LOVES emailing my MLA’s and council members, being ASKED for my opinion was a real pleasure. Premier Clark cannot get to everyone, but I think this round table idea is a great format for feeling out what people are really concerned about. This format avoided the usual rhetoric and agendas and stuck to what a great focus group had to say about the state of mom and parenthood today.