Yesterday my husband asked me to pick up his dry cleaning and I nearly divorced him.*
His simple request, politely made, literally sent me into a meltdown over that evening’s sausage and mash dinner. Not because I resent helping him out or because he has some old-fashioned notion that women do the housework, but because my paranoia had translated his simple request into an accusation that I have nothing better to do with my time.
“Do you think I have nothing to do all day? That my time is less precious than yours? That my days need to be filled with tasks in order to make myself useful?”
These and other irrational questions raged thorough my head all afternoon.
As it transpired my supportive husband thought nothing of the sort. **The truth was he had tried to collect his own laundry that morning before work but the dry cleaners couldn’t locate it. He desperately needed a clean shirt for the following day so asked his wife (for what can be no more than the 5th time in our marriage) if she would kindly drop in and collect it instead.
When this all came out, over when turned out to be very good Cumberland Sausages, I left the table red-faced and scurried to the bedroom to chisel away at the giant chip on my shoulder.
My not-so-good-mate Chip has been with me ever since I quit my full-time job and begun freelancing. It’s caused me doubts over what to refer to myself as – travel blogger, writer, freelancer? which one sounds like a legitimate job/business? – and has caused a lot of pain when acquaintances have innocently joked that my life is one big holiday.
I write quite a bit about the business of blogging and the slog behind a travel blog, partly because I get emails about the topic and hope people find it useful, but also partly, I’ll admit, because I feel like I have something to prove.
I think that there is a common misconception that if you do something you love you don’t have to work hard at it. I feel that this especially applies to travel and blogging, which is such a bloody great gig. A big part of our job is to inspire or entertain and writing about fantastic experiences can certainly give out a message that the travel blogger’s life is breezy.
There’s also the assumption (let’s be honest) that we as bloggers don’t make much money. I’ve seen snipes made in some corners of the internet at female bloggers (of all niches) who have been referred to as kept women. Whilst first and foremost it is no-one else’s business how a couple support each other, secondly, in some cases, this is absolute garbage. I know a good deal of women whose husbands have given up their full-time jobs to work on their wives blog/ online business. I know #girlboss digital entrepreneurs who are raking in more than their male counterparts (take that glass ceiling!) and men who are happy to be the primary care-giver so that these women can continue to kick their career goals into the back of the net.
There are also bloggers, like myself, who don’t make as much as their other half but who contribute to the relationship in ways that cannot be measured monetarily. As a couple Justin and I have dined under the stars in Uluru, cruised the South Pacific and been front row for shows at the Sydney Opera House all because of what I do for a (sometimes meagre) living. When we’re not globe-trotting I break up the monotony of working from home with doing the laundry, the house-work and trips to the dry cleaners (on days when I’m not freaking out about my self-worth) and take pride at being able to do these tasks for both of us in a way that works for me.
I do see that the perception of bloggers is starting to tilt. The idea that blogging can be a viable career is becoming more common and as publishers like myself try to be more transparent about what we do I have noticed attitudes both within and outside the industry start to shift. More and more I have conversations with people about what I do and hear the words ‘gosh, there’s a lot that goes into this blogging thing.’
In time I think we’ll need a new word for blogging. It doesn’t quite cover the multiple businesses that have been born as offshoots of a personal ‘weblog’ and can give the wrong impression to the uninitiated who have no idea how many different forms of blogging you’ll find on the internet in 2016. Perhaps that’s a topic for another time though.
I guess I’m sharing my chip in this post today partly because it’s therapeutic (thanks for listening) but also because I would like to know if any of you have a similar experience? Is this just a travel blogging thing? A female thing? A you’re-completely-paranoid-jayne-no-one-cares-about-what-you-do-or-how-much-you-earn-get-on-with-your-life-and-stop-caring-about-what-other’s-think-thing?
I’d love to hear your (paranoid or not) thoughts!
*denotes exaggeration for the sake of the story
**for the record, my supportive hubby has never thought or uttered anything of the sort. He’s been with me since I went freelance, encouraged me during times I thought I couldn’t do it and has always been my number 1 champion – even when I’m close to losing the plot. He’s a good egg