Benefits of Taking Your Family to a Blog Conference

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I just got back from a fabulous time at The 2:1 Conference in Herndon, Virginia. It was my fourth blog conference, but the first time I’ve ever taken my family – well, part of them anyway. Because it was so close to Washington, D.C., a place neither of us had ever been, Brian decided to go with me. I wasn’t sure how much fun he’d have keeping up with all three kids while I was in conference events, but I thought he’d be bored alone, so we took Brianna, too – a senior trip.

White House

I really wasn’t sure how it was going to go, having them there. I didn’t want to feel torn between spending time with my family and spending time with bloggers that I never get to see in person. It turns out, however, that it was a great experience for all of us and there are many benefits of taking your family to a blog conference.

No worries about sharing a room with a stranger.

At my previous three blog conference, I was blessed with fabulous roommates (Shannon, Angie, and Lacy). Still, there is something so relaxing about sharing a room with people you know you aren’t going to annoy with your habits because they’re used to them. Hitting my snooze button a dozen times? Brian’s used to that. (I didn’t do it, though. I was so excited to get going every morning, getting up was not a problem.)

No arguing over who gets the shower first.

Again, I’ve been fortunate enough that this has never been a problem. Apparently, I take an excessively long time to get ready in the mornings, so all my previous roommates have been happy to sleep in while I took my own sweet time. Still, I always felt like I needed to hurry up and clear out of the bathroom so they could have time to get ready.

My family did not care in the slightest how long I took to get ready because they were so not getting up that early.

Lincoln Memorial

No worrying over hot water or mirror/counter/electrical outlet space in the mornings.

See the last sentence in point #2 above. It’s a good thing, too, because the only mirrors in the entire hotel room we were in were in the bathroom. That could have been awkward – inconvenient at the very least.

Introducing your family to your online friends.

The first thing Cheryl said when she saw Brian was, “See? We really do exist.”

It’s fun introducing your family to the people you talk to online. I know Brian didn’t really think that I had imaginary friends, but it’s nice for him to get to meet them and know their personalities a bit like I do, so he can understand how and why the distinction between “online friend” and “friend” ceases to matter.

Having your husband around to take care of manly things.

Sure I can carry my own luggage, take care of technical stuff, or pump my own gas, but it’s nice not to have to sometimes. It’s also nice to have someone else call to ask about a mini-fridge when I thought our room had one, but we didn’t. (The staff at Dulles Hilton was so incredibly helpful and accommodating that we had one in the room in no time. You’ve just got to go read how helpful they were when Jamie’s phone took a little trip of its own.)

Kris and Brian at White House

Enjoying family time.

Our family doesn’t travel a lot and when I’ve gone to blog conferences before, I’ve traveled alone. The travel time can get lonely. This go around, I got to replace those lonely times with family times.

Creating memories.

I am 42 years old and I had never seen Washington, D.C.  I went to the same area last year, but I flew, so all I saw was the airport and the roadways between the airport and the hotel through the shuttle bus window. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to get to walk around our nation’s capital with (most of) my family. I will never forget the experience of seeing the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the White House for the first time or enjoying a burger at a nifty little D.C. restaurant (Harry and Harriet’s).

I love that Brianna was old enough to really get how incredible this experience was – despite the fact that it included a lot of walking and it was kind of hot in the blue jeans that seemed a good choice when we left the hotel – and that she was as excited as Brian and I were. I think her favorite part might have been riding the metro underground, though. It was pretty cool.

Special benefits for introverts.

I had no less than three specific conversations about how it seems that the vast majority of bloggers are introverts. I so enjoy conferences and getting to meet my online friends in person. However, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t kind of nice, at the end of a long,  busy day, to be able to say, “Well, I’d love to {fill in the blank}, but I’d better go spend some time with my family.”

And, then, to get back to my room, listen to them tell about their day’s adventures, and say, “Well, I’d love to sit up and chat some more, but I’d better get some sleep.” {grin}

Vietnam Memorial

Letting your family see what you do.

I think, for the most part, that my family gets the whole blogging thing, but it’s still nice for them to see so many other bloggers and brand representatives gathered together to learn and network…and have a live Twitter party!

Being able to introduce your friends to your beautiful family.

After attending three conference previously, I do actually know a lot of my online friends, but none of them had ever met my family. I enjoyed getting to show off my family in person, rather than in photos. I’m quite proud of them, you know.

Washinton Metro

Have you ever taken your family to a blogging conference? What did you enjoy about it? I’m sure you’ll come up with a dozen things to add to my list, since I’m still pretty much in a conference-induced, sleep-deprived, travel-weary brain fog. Did I mention that I’m really glad to be home?

This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday.


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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. I think it’s funny how you mention that it seems that a majority of bloggers are introverts because I happen to be one myself. I think the same could be said for the majority of writers too, not just bloggers. I guess it just comes with the territory.

  2. Does a homeschool convention fit? I think so. I recently attended the Midwest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati. My husband went with me, but we left the kids and dogs at Grandma’s. It was wonderful having him with me! First of all, I had my own personal chauffeur and I loved having him for company on our drive. We spent about 6 hours total on the road … lots of uninterrupted conversation! Then, I had someone to whisper with during workshops, and someone to show cool curriculum choices to in the vendor hall, and someone who could say “No, it’s this way!” when I was about to go in the opposite direction. Finally, when evening rolled around and I was too tired to attend the keynote speaker session, my buddy was more than happy to say “Let’s skip it!” and take me back to the hotel! I never want to go without him again!

    1. My husband is attending a homeschool curriculum fair with me for the first time this year. I’m really looking forward to having him there.

  3. I have never been to a conference, although I can see the positives of taking your family! I would love to attend at least one someday!

  4. I’m an introvert too although most people wouldn’t think that. I think it’s true of many bloggers. I loved every minute of BEECH but when I got home, I was about ready to lock myself in my room alone and not come out for days! (that wouldn’t have gone over well so I had to push through!)

    It’s great that you were able to experience going to those sights with some of your family there with you. I’m sure it made it all the more special.

  5. I’ve gone to blogging conferences with AND without my family, and there are pros and cons to both, just like you mentioned.

    My first blog conference, I went with my two best friends and my daughter. (Bloggy Boot Camp in Baltimore) My best bloggy pal and I hit the conference while Rachel and Laura toured Baltimore. The challenge there? Pumping milk and keeping it frozen, then getting it home.

    The next BBC I attended, I went solo. I actually missed the company on the flight up and back.

    After that trip, all my blogging conferences have included at least some portion of my family. My daughter went to 2:1 last year and toured DC with her daddy. I took Maeve to Brands and Bloggers Summit in Chicago while Rachel swam in Lake Michigan with Brett. Maeve also got to hang out with the big girls during the retreat we took in Nashville. (hooray!)

    You miss saving costs by rooming with other bloggers, but the benefits of spending time with your family is so much sweeter!

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