As the announcer’s voice boomed off Nominees for Mom Blog of the Year I had about a dozen things running through my mind.
Oh shoot! I forgot to send them a photo. What picture will they use? Will they just have a blank screen? Or a horrible picture from middle school dug up by some relative who hates me?
Oh good! That picture is ok.
Wait, if I win, what in the world am I going to say? Oh, don’t worry about that, look who else it nominated!
It was the last award of the night. Months before I debated going to Mom 2.0 this year because I’d be 7 ½ months pregnant. But I had the honor of passing on the award for Best Photography. Then I found out I’d been nominated in the Best Sponsored Content and Mom Blog of the Year categories and my mom was all “honey, yea, you’re going, and you need a new dress.”
I had taken the stage earlier in the event to give the 2018 award for Best Photography to LaShawn Wiltz from Everyday Eyecandy. We actually roomed together and did a presentation on photography two years ago, then roomed together this year. So it was a special moment. I am so proud of her.
While getting ready together earlier that evening I asked her if she’d thought about what she’d say if she won. She said she’d been thinking of a few things but didn’t want to plan anything concrete. That’s exactly what I thought I’d do. But what I’ve come to realize from this experience is I’m not a spur of the moment speech-giver. You think I would have realized this last year as I stumbled through thank yous on stage.
Brandi Riley from Courage to Earn won an award for Entrepreneur of the year and literally ran up on the stage and proceeded to bring us all to tears as she said “I deserve this!!” “I work HARD for y’all!” No one could doubt that.
She was open to being vulnerable and saying exactly what she was feeling.
My feelings and emotions take time to process and are a little guarded at first. I blame this in years in TV news and holding back my opinions. I was scared to hear my name, and worried how I’d feel if I didn’t.
Last year’s winner, Ilana Wiles from Mommy Shorts opened the envelope for Mom Blog if the Year and read…
“Cherish 365, Jennifer Borget!”
She said my name! Wow, she said my name. Stand up. Don’t trip. Walk. Walk.
A lady in a gorgeous dress handed me my Iris Award and I walked to the microphone with no idea what was going to come out of my mouth.
I shared how I’ve been blogging for 10 years, since before I had children and just last year I rebranded from Baby Making Machine to Cherish 365 because we were done having babies.
I remember people laughing as my very pregnant self stood in all that irony.
Then I said thank you about 12 times. For the honor and their support.
I didn’t name specific people and going back, I could have mentioned my husband, who unbeknownst to me was back home nursing our extremely sick kid back to health. He’s supported me and my crazy dream of having a blog while I overshared the sometimes too-private information about our lives. If I could do it again and write a speech I would have thanked him first.
I would try to add a more coherent statement about why the honor is so special to me.
First of all, yes, Black Moms DO blog. We shop, we buy stuff, we influence. And we deserve to be recognized and compensated as much as our colleagues. I hope this serves as some kind of nudge to brands to remember us when forming campaigns. Not just me, no look way past me, there are tons of us. And feel free to ask if you need help finding more.
I’ve never really belonged to any one particular group or felt comfortable squeezing myself into any one box. But I a black mom and a blogger, and I’m proud to be both.
Throughout the night people told me I was “shining” or “glowing” I think one person even called me “angelic,” and my friend Cara swears someone called me a “Fairy God Blogger.” I am going to let the baby take some of the credit but I like to think that a lot of that was just a bit of the light I’m trying to shine on this world.
My whole life it’s felt like I’ve had an asterisk next to my name. A black girl in Atlanta, definitely black, but still not “black enough” for some. Assumed to have gotten into my college of choice because of my minority status and not my honor roll status. Mormon, but too liberal. Too woke for the Police Wives Club but not woke enough to Black Lives Matter.
So it’s no surprise I felt comfortable starting a mom blog before I was even a mom. Then, even as a mom blogger with kids I failed to fit into a niche delivering regularly scheduled healthy recipes, humor, or Pinterest-worthy crafts to try. But what I have done is open up about our lives, shared how we navigate the confusing world we live in that asks so many of us to pick a side or else.
I’ve learned it’s ok to not really belong anywhere as long as you know who you are and stay true to that. Even better when you can be respectful even when you don’t agree. And I’ve learned fitting in isn’t the same as belonging.
“Belonging starts with self acceptance. Believing that you are enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic.” – Brene Brown
As I stood on my cankles overflowing from my poor wedges, looking out into the crowd I was overwhelmed with gratitude. To be given an award like this from my fellow peers is a huge honor. Thank you for seeing me, and for recognizing my hard work. Thank you for not forcing me into one box, and for allowing me to me feel like I belong.