Right now I could be flying business class to China, courtesy of the Coca-cola Company. I could be about to spend five days, all expenses paid at the World Expo in Shanghai. I could be getting to know these fabulous other Aussie bloggers – Mummy Time, Sunny Mum, Real Mums and Get In The Hot Spot.
I could be, but I’m not.
I’m not because I’m 30-gazillion weeks pregnant and no one is real keen on you flying to China when you are 30-gazillion weeks pregnant.
When I got the initial email I spent hours wandering around the house saying to anyone who would listen (including the two year old who just didn’t get it and then tweeting with a dear friend who did get – thankyou!)…
“They want to send me to China. Me? Surely this isn’t for real”.
It took me 24 hours to get my head around it. Just long enough to figure out that the timing sucked for me and to speak to the official ‘Coke Dude’ who did in fact confirm it was ‘for real’, and agree that my ever expanding middle was going to rule me out of the big trip.
Despite being a bit disapointed that I couldn’t go, I was still totally dazzled by the whole affair. I read quite a few ‘Mommy Blogs’ from the US. I’ve heard about the fabulous trips various companies take their chosen bloggers on, the freebies, the give aways, the marketing deals. I’d even begun to see similar things trickle through the ‘Mum Blogger’ world here in Australia but I just didn’t see my blog being in that league. I still don’t.
Truth be told I am still dazzled by it all.
They were really going to send me to China!
And I don’t even like Coke – well unless it is frozen and I am pregnant.
I’d never let my kids drink it… actually I can count the number of times they’ve had any kind of soft drink on one hand!
Surely they’ve made a mistake.
But they were really going to send me to China!!??!!
I’ve had a few weeks now with those thoughts rattling around inside my head, along with a million others. Today the other four headed off on their big trip and I find myself sitting here partly green as all get out, and partly relieved.
Yes, I said relieved.
I am relieved that I didn’t have to make the decision to go or not go.
I am not a socially brave person. It would have taken a lot of courage for me to climb aboard a plane and spend five days overseas, on my own, with people I had never met before. I’d like to think I would have found that courage, but maybe not.
It would have also been really REALLY hard for me to leave my kids. That sounds like a pathetic ‘poor deprived mother who’s whole life revolves around her kids’ thing… and partly it is, but I am not ashamed of that.
Who would have looked after my kids? A trip with short notice would have caused havoc with my family. I know leave could have been taken and holiday plans cancelled, but it would have meant my family giving up things that were important to them…. for me.
And then there is the other big question that is still looming over my head…. Do I want to be affiliated with a big company like Coca Cola?
There are other companies I would have easily and immediately said no. Some companies I couldn’t personally support because of their ethical and/or environmental practices. I don’t pretend to be hugely socially aware about these things, nor do I take the moral high ground and protest or even discuss issues like this very often, but I do feel I have a responsibility to myself (and to my family since this blog is mostly about them) to be careful about who I support and what companies and products I put my name to.
The bright lights of a flashy trip over seas and even more so, of being recognised as a blogger, that feeling of importance…. I was easily dazzled by these things. I was wowed and won over in one short email offering me the trip of a life time before I even had an inkling of what I may have to give in return. Being forced to say no has given me some much needed time and space to dim those dazzling lights a little and think things through.
I’ve been able to communicate with the ‘Coke Dude’ and discuss their Live Positively campaign and what I might have to offer (not to mention why they thought I’d have anything to offer in the first place). I’ve had time to talk with people who know more about these things than I do and who’s opinions I value. I’ve asked questions and sought opinions and discussed ethical issues, environmental issues, marketing, publicity and big corporations and more.
I don’t have any clear answers as I don’t think there is one ‘right or wrong’ or ‘yes or no’….
So I may not be sitting on a plane right now, and I may be a little (ok a lot) green with envy over that…. but hopefully I’ll still have a part to play with Coke in the future, and hopefully it will be a positive one!