It’s Time to Stop Apologizing.

At the Mom 2.0 Summit last week, in one of the sessions I attended we were asked to write our elevator pitch — basically introducing our blog to someone in 30 seconds or less (the time you might have with a stranger in an elevator) and the challenge was to explain what makes ours different than other blogs.

This stumped me, frankly. I do have an elevator pitch, a few lines that I use to describe my blog to people that don’t have a clue what I do. It goes something like this, “Oh, it’s just your typical lifestyle blog… you know, food, fashion, recipes, um… sometimes fitness….”

But there’s nothing in there that tells people why blog is different from the rest. And even worse, I have this awful habit of apologizing.

“Oh it’s just your typical lifestyle blog . . . “

I found myself doing that over and over again throughout the conference.

This session and the exercise on writing my elevator pitch helped me realize two things:

1) I need to stop apologizing for my blog. Just because I’m not finding the cure for cancer or waxing eloquent about the latest theological debate in the evangelical church doesn’t mean that what I do has no value.

2) I need to determine what DOES set my blog apart from the sea of other lifestyle blogs on the Internet and then learn to articulate that so that the next time someone asks me what my blog is about, I have an intelligent answer.

Over and over throughout the conference, I kept hearing the same two mantras and they really sunk in.

  1. Do what you’re passionate about.
  2. Figure out what makes you different.

I know this. I am always telling people to write about what they’re passionate about. But it helps to hear it again and again, especially when I’m in the process of re-evaluating my commitments. But the part about determining what sets you apart from the rest — while it doesn’t seem like it should be an epiphany, I think I really started giving this some thought for the first time.

The first thing I decided to do is eliminate the word “just” from my vocabulary. I don’t write “just a lifestyle blog” and I am not “just a mom” — and neither are you, by the way. Own who you are and what you do and say it proudly.

The next thing I did was think about my blog and what makes my fashion, my food, my fitness different than everyone else’s. Why do you come here instead of another blog that writes about similar topics?? In fact, maybe I should stop this post right here and see what you say. Cuz I’m curious.

But of course I have to tell you my big epiphany!

To say I write about “food and fashion and fitness” is way too general. So do umpteen other bloggers. What is it about my food posts, recipes and meal plans that keep people coming back for more? What is it about my fitness and fashion posts that are engaging? I thought about it for a few minutes, and this is what I came up with.

My food is not just food. It is not comfort food or homestyle food (that insinuates cream of chemical soup and desserts with sweetened condensed milk.) But my food is certainly not raw or vegan — nor is it all grown in my backyard and fermented and soaked. So what is it? I hope it is wholesome and nutritious, and of course it’s usually gluten-free. So why don’t I say that?

Fitness implies I’m a health nut or an athlete. But I’m neither. I’m a late bloomer in the exercise department, but I’m committed to running and working out to stay healthy and active and fit into my old age. Why don’t I say that?

My style is not high style, it is not runway style, it is not even metropolitan mom style. It’s more like . . . suburban mom style. I mean, sometimes I feel like a dope posting week after week of skinny jeans and tops with ballet flats and the same few pieces of jewelry. But let’s face it. We suburban housewives don’t exactly need to dress to the nines every day. And we only have so much room for clothes in our closets. So my goal is to share how I keep my look current and appropriate for my age, as well as practical for my suburban life. So why don’t I say that?

The next day I sat down next to a stranger at lunch, and naturally she asked me about my blog, so I started to try out my new elevator pitch. It went something like this:

“I write a lifestyle blog about cooking with nutritious whole foods, my newfound passion for fitness and running, and wearable fashion for the typical suburban housewife.”

And you know what? That sparked a really interesting conversation that, in turn, sparked the Fashion Friday post I am planning for tomorrow!

I actually set out to write my Fashion Friday feature when I started this post, but I realized along the way that it’s far to long for an intro to a fashion post (duh.) And also, I don’t want the message to get lost.

Because we women, we do this. We apologize. Whether it’s for what we do or how we look or not getting to the bus stop on time or for the overflowing laundry baskets or for not getting around to making a home-cooked meal. We need to stop it.

I’m willing to bet that the dads who stay at home with their kids don’t say, “Oh, I’m just a stay-at-home dad.”

So let’s make a pact to stop apologizing. And maybe it’s time to look at what you’re apologizing for and figure out how to make it something you’re proud of.

Who’s with me?