Two years ago, I got the bucket-list idea to begin a blog by the time I reached the ripe old age of 40. On December 25, 2013 – my 40th birthday – I held my breath and hit “publish” for the first time on Happily Ever Laughter. But “publish” didn’t come without preparation.
Coming from a marketing background, I understand the importance of a strong logo. I didn’t have enough graphic experience to come up with my own, so on the recommendation of a friend, I went with a website where you share your ideas/vision and designers compete to create the “winning logo.” The victorious designer earns the jackpot that, in my specific case, was $250 (paid by me). It was a lot of money to spend for something I wasn’t sure was going to be any more than a hobby, but I wanted a customized logo that represented me.
The key words I gave to inspire my logo design included: fun…mom…relaxed…blog…feel-good…the “every woman.” There were several awesome submissions from which to choose, but ultimately I found the [I thought at the time] perfect logo. Ripped jeans. Baseball cap. Computer. Glass of wine. Let me hear you say…Whoomp, there it is!
I was sure it was a great representation of my lifestyle. My mom “uniform” regularly includes ripped jeans and baseball caps. And in the evenings, I am usually on my computer – often with a glass of wine in hand. Also, many of the humor bloggers I follow feature some adult beverage reference in their logo or tagline. I thought mine should too. I wanted to be a part of that party – those ladies are fun!
And then, it was time to write. And I wrote.
I wrote about the blessings of family. I wrote about my daughter Maggie and her triumphs and struggles with autism. I wrote about friendships, mommy-son dates with my young boys, being part of a blended family with five children, and even being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I wrote about my meant-to-be second marriage that has brought me full circle on this amazing journey I am living.
Though I can swear like a sailor in real life, I don’t often curse on my blog in an effort not to offend my great grandmother (or anyone else I am related to) and I rarely write about drinking escapades that may ensue. Though anyone who knows me will tell you, I do like my cocktails. And, to be honest, I think I am pretty damn funny after having a few. But still, I don’t often post funny drinking stories or alcohol-inspired one-liners on my blog or social media channels.
Don’t get me wrong, I think most of the “mommy needs a cocktail” humor out there is funny. I click “like” and love reading hysterical tales of friends doing karaoke because they suddenly thought after a few glass of wine that they could sing like Taylor Swift. In real life, I bet the ladies in those stories and I would “cheers” to motherhood and have a kick-ass girls night full of drinks and laughs.
But my personal blog – my little teeny tiny bit of the blogosphere – wasn’t meant to be about that. Again, if for nothing else, I didn’t want my great grandmother seeing anything that would offend her (that is, if she ever learned how to turn on a computer) and more so, I didn’t want my children (who do know their way around a computer) thinking that alcohol and inebriation are something to joke about (even though, as adults, we often do find humor in a drunken evening).
In my mind, I hoped that Happily Ever Laughter would bring some kind of good or social change to the world. I didn’t know how, but I figured I would know it when I saw the opportunity. (Wow, that sounds so cliché.)
While I was at BlogU (a super awesome blogging conference) in June, one of the presenters we heard from was a woman with Responsibility.org. She showed us a video encouraging bloggers to #RefreshYourFunny and #TalkEarly. I encourage you to check out the video they presented. It’s short and informative and pertains to all parents – not just bloggers: Click HERE for the #RefreshYourFunny video.
The goal was simple: to empower parents to be confident about their decisions regarding alcohol, model healthy, balanced behaviors, and create a foundation for starting conversations with their kids from an early age.
As we all know, children are influenced by friends, teachers, celebrities, movies, music and, in my son’s case, Minecraft. But parents are the leading influence on their children’s decisions, including the use of alcohol.
Remember when I wrote about wanting Happily Ever Laughter to bring good or social change to the world? Well, my children ARE my world. Though I do not allow them to read my blog or go on Facebook, they see my logo on my business cards, coffee mug, pens, notebook, mousepad … everywhere they turn in our home. They see a character in my likeness with a computer on her lap with a glass of wine in her hand. It really doesn’t matter that they don’t read what I write or post online – they see my logo conveying the idea that mom always has a drink in her hand and that must be funny because mommy always tries to be funny (which, admittedly, I often fail at miserably). Do I drink all the time? Of course not, but my logo may imply otherwise to my children.
I want my children to associate Happily Ever Laughter with a woman following her dream of writing and being a published author, all-the-while raising her children, working a full-time job and being a loving wife. I do not want my children to associate Happily Even Laughter – to associate me – simply by a logo that does not send the message I want to communicate.
That said, I am using this post as a catalyst to #RefreshYourFunny and redesign my logo; redefine my brand; re-message my purpose. And this is not to say that I won’t occasionally write about a fun wine-infused night on my blog, but I have made the decision not to have the Happily Ever Laughter logo be highlighted with a glass of wine. Maybe I will simply have it switched to a Target bag or Starbucks cup…maybe it will have a whole new look. I will leave that to the graphic designer.
Yes, I am throwing hundreds of dollars out the window and will need to rebrand everything associated with Happily Ever Laughter, but I will also have a conversation with my children and help them understand why I am doing it.
“I didn’t know how, but I figured I would know it when I saw the opportunity.”
THIS. IS. MY. OPPORTUNITY.
By the way, if anyone has any logo design ideas feel free to pass them along. I can’t award $250 for the winning logo this time, but I will buy you a drink. #KiddingNotKidding
Though these feelings are completely my own, this piece will be submitted for a writing contest sponsored by Responsibility.org. I am not being compensated for the post in any way. All the opinions are my own. Oh, and I am damn proud of them!