I can’t even. There is a girl my daughter’s age dressed head to toe in leather. I have been invited to an event, dashed madly across town to attend after work, arrived sweaty and dishevelled, slapped on some makeup in the car in an attempt to look event ready and arrived to find a toddler attired head to toe in leather. This toddler looks better put together than I do on a good day.
That I am invited to events, openings and the occasional red (or pink) carpet do is still a surprise to me. I didn’t set out to do so. A few years ago I wrote a couple of family health related articles, popped them up online on my website which quickly morphed into a family travel blog, and I suddenly found myself labelled an “influencer”. I’m often asked what it is like being invited to openings and events so I thought I’d share what it’s like from my perspective.
On one hand, it is rather fabulous. My children and I are invited to attend wonderful family friendly events and openings for attractions that I may otherwise have trouble justifying fitting into our budget, or that they would miss out on just because I am an exhausted working mum. I love that my kids are exposed to the highlights of Melbourne’s family to do list. I also love sharing with others the best that Melbourne has to offer for families and the invitations allow me to share so from a personal perspective, not just an image and grab from a media release. From the outset I have believed that sharing our personal experiences is key to what I do. I treat my blog as I would a chat at a mothers group – “you have to check out this attraction because my own six year old loved it…”
I am selective about what we attend because I have to be. While there are many professional influencers, I’m a professional doctor working three days a week in the not for profit sector, running a mum’s taxi and drowning in laundry. Just getting to events after a work day is a challenge, which I scramble to do if it is an event that I know the kids will love, that I know my readers really want to hear about, or one that I am looking forward to myself. Here’s a little how it goes for us:
The night before I pack clothes for kids in car that look vaguely cool. I wear clothes to work that I will look presentable in if I end up in photos in anyone else’s social feed or heaven forbid the mainstream media. I rush to pick kids up from after school care and day care. I then quickly realise that the kids father has sent my daughter to school is tattered ballet flats that look like slippers a dog chewed on. I rush in peak hour across town to event while kids complain they are hungry. Kids are dressed in the car. My child with sensory issues invariably complains about the clothes I brought for him so we compromise by putting a jumper over his school uniform. We turn up at event feeling harried. Surrounded by glamorous professional influencers, reality tv stars and football WAGs who look amazing, clearly spend loads of time on their appearance and have immaculately attired children I then wonder how on earth I am going to lose the ten extra kilos I’ve carried since having my third child. As I pose for photos on red/pink carpet I wish I was better dressed but am grateful that I’ve at least invested in good skin care and a long stay lipstick. Once past the cameras I relax and have lots of fun with the kids taking care to exclude dreadful child footwear and school uniforms from the photos I take. On the way home my three year old cries saying “Can we do that again tomorrow?” .
I enjoy seeing the familiar faces at events, particularly the other working mums that don’t do this for an occupation and that I know have probably raced against traffic to be there too. I don’t brand myself the way a professional influencer has to and I value the shared experience with these women who don’t necessarily brand themselves either. I don’t feel compelled to write good reviews if we have been invited somewhere – however I try to only accept invites that I know will be a good fit for us.
Attending events and openings doesn’t pay our bills and if anything provides an other worldly experience to our family’s routine. The down side – I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I sometimes have FOMO when scrolling through my Instagram and I see an event that would be a great fit for us that I haven’t been invited to.
As for the little girl in leather – she must have been a powerful influencer because the next week I bought a pair of leather pants.© Copyright 2017 Danielle, All rights Reserved. Written For: Bubs on the Move