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Guest post: My Journey to the nuthouse and back

Categories: Balancing Act, Entrepreneurship, Guest Blog

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Today’s guest post is written by Ally Loprete, an active Work It, Mom! member and founder of Ourmilkmoney.com, a directory of self-employed parents who offer products and services in your community. When I read about Ally’s experience I knew I wanted to provide a way for her to share it with you. I think every busy working mom I know can learn something from what Ally learned, whether you run your own business or not, work full-time or part time, in an office or at home. I invite you to share your reactions in the comments.

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Yes, I was there. I was horribly embarrassed at first, but I’ve now come to appreciate the experience as one of my most favorite journeys.

What brought me to the nuthouse was a breakdown resulting from extreme exhaustion. I’d simply forgotten to take care of myself. I had not slept since 2007. I had lost a pregnancy, I wasn’t eating, my son and my husband were being neglected, and there was no end in sight.
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Guest Blog: Five marketing baby steps for your business or “almost” business

Categories: Entrepreneurship, Guest Blog

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annajake.jpgToday’s guest blog is by Anna Barcelos, a full-time marketer, mom and owner of ALB MarCom that helps small businesses with limited budgets leverage marketing efforts to get the exposure of larger organizations. Anna blogs at lifeinmarketing.blogspot.com.

Having been in the business to business (B2B) world all my career and now starting to slowly enter the consumer market in my current responsibilities, I’m finding that marketing of any size or in any market has similarities. I believe everyone (Yes, you!) has something they are good at and should always take it as far as they can. Whether or not you want to get paid (at least initially) for being good at something there are some small steps you can take to help you get there, and they may not happen in this order, but make them happen!

1. Start a blog right now!
It’s free and a perfect forum for you to talk about what you love to do and get the word out. Despite working full time as I currently do, one of my goals was to make time to start a blog, and I did it! Of course, I would love to have daily posts, but know that’s not realistic so I try for once or twice a month. I get to talk about things that may help people with their businesses, other marketers, or people who are on the edge of the pool but are not quite ready to dive in and start something new, whether business or personal. One thing I’ve learned is dive in that pool now! A blog is a nice jump to get you started.
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Guest Post: Summertime — One Child’s Passion or Fun for the Whole Family?

Categories: Guest Blog, Parenting & Family, Your life

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Today’s guest post is by Ashley O’Neill, who is an editor for The Savvy Source for Parents, an early childhood education website, and blogs there as “Coffee Queen.”
Yesterday, I took my daughter to the museum. She fancies herself quite the artist and asked if we could go. Being an art buff myself, I was thrilled to oblige. I’m always happy when she wants to do something that doesn’t involve buying new toys, and she actually is a pretty good artist. Who knows whether she’ll become the next Georgia O’Keeffe or Cindy Sherman, but it’s nice to see her find “her thing” in this world. Some kids love to dance, some love to play sports — she loves to draw. It’s her passion. Not only does she love to do it, but she’s proud of her abilities. Finding something that she’s good at has done wonders for her confidence and it makes her feel special.

As the summer approaches, like many parents, we’re faced with the question of how to spend our time — a question made even more significant by my working at home and needing to keep up with my work during those months when school is out. Should we spend our money on a really great vacation? Should we spend our money on a membership to a pool? Those are both things that all of us would enjoy (and enjoy a lot!), but they don’t help me with my work. Maybe we should spend our budget on summer camps for the kids? My daughter thinks those a lot of fun — and they will give me time at home alone to work — but my son is painfully shy and has terrible separation anxiety. I don’t see him enjoying going to bunch of new places. Maybe we should focus our summer on nurturing our daughter’s love for art? She would be thrilled to spend the summer in art classes and camps. But that begs the question: At what point do we, as parents, know when to focus on something like my daughter’s love for drawing?


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Is it Fear of Failure Or Fear of Success That Is Holding You Back?

Categories: Entrepreneurship, Guest Blog

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Today’s guest blog post is by Wendy, the rockin’ founder of emomsathome.com. Following up on my post yesterday about overcoming fears of failure as an entrepreneur, this is Wendy’s perspective on the topic. It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of hers–read this, it will give you a fresh perspective whether or not you’re an entrepreneur.

Is it Fear of Failure or Fear of Success That Is Holding You Back?

My second home based business was a great freelance graphic design business. I ran it for 4 years from home, never took on any debt, and made money every year (until the end… but that’s another story). There were several times in which I tried to figure out how to grow the company without taking on more clients - and the obvious solution was to subcontract some of my work out to other freelancers.

This worked for a while, but I found that I was a little lot outside of my comfort zone to delegate work - especially work that had “my name on it”. I wanted to run the show - wanted to maintain control. At the time, I knew I was dealing with an internal struggle - and deducted that I was just afraid of failing :: that if I didn’t control all of the pieces of the puzzle, something would go terribly wrong.

So I eventually stopped trying.

It wasn’t until few years later that I realized that perhaps it wasn’t fear of failure at all. In fact, I was damn good at failing :: I failed to follow up on a ton of leads, failed to grow my business to the level I wanted, failed to manage my time efficiently, and in the end the burnout got to me and I ended up closing my doors (which may or may not be considered a failure - for me, it truly was the right time to move on).

It was a dear friend who helped me to see that failing was indeed comfortable for me. What I was actually afraid of was becoming a success. Megan over at eBay Selling for eParents wrote a heartfelt post about this yesterday. And instead of buttoning up her article, she left it open ended and asked for some input from others.

So here’s what I have found. Becoming successful has a whole slew of perceived baggage that comes with it: I feared that if I became hugely successful…

  • Friendships and relationships would change because I would become more successful than the people I loved
  • That success would go to my head and I would become a raving bi*ch (hahaha)
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Guest Blog: Making Creative Dreams Come True

Categories: Guest Blog, Your life

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Today’s guest blog post is by Toni. If you’d like to guest blog on the Work It, Mom! Blog, please email your post to nataly@workitmom.com. It should be somewhere around 300-400 words and on a topic relevant and interesting to working moms.
I often daydream about things I am passionate about such as photography and creative writing. I would love to be able to take a photography class and get involved in a writing group. I’ve even considered joining National Novel Writing Month, but again I am putting it off until next year. Why is it so difficult to make creative dreams come true simply because I am a working mom? Is it due to the fact that the little time I do get outside of work is too valuable because it’s the only time I spend with my family?

I know there are women out there that make it happen. They take on the entire world and somehow fit it all into the mere twenty-four hours that God gives us each day, but I really don’t see how they do it without sacrificing quality time with their loved ones. I see my kids for about an hour, if I’m lucky, before I go to work and then another hour to ninety minutes when I get home from work before they head off to bed. Who am I to take that time away from them just to fulfill my own selfish desires? Not only would I feel guilty because I was taking their mother away from them even more often than I already do, but I would truly miss them even if I was absent only an extra hour each week.

I suppose that is why my creative dreams continue to sit on the back of the dusty “to do” shelf.
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Guest blog: Should working moms with infants have to travel for business?

Categories: Balancing Act, Career Talk, Guest Blog

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Today’s guest blog post is from Lee. If you’d like to have your guest blog post featured on Work It, Mom!, send it in an email to nataly@workitmom.com. Please make sure it’s relevant to working moms and is around 300 words or so.

Take Me Away… or Not

We all know that traveling with young children can be… challenging. Less of a vacation and more of a full-time job, on top of your other job (which you probably lug around via your laptop), right?

But what about business travel? I recently had to schedule my second business trip since becoming a mom. Thankfully, my first trip didn’t take place until well into my son’s second year. I wasn’t pleased, but I handled it. I was comfortable with our daycare and our normal routine. My son was 2, separation anxiety had waned. I would have been a mess if I’d had to travel earlier on; for instance, if I were still nursing my baby.

Alas, my coworker now finds herself in exactly that situation. She, too, has had to schedule a business trip, and she is nursing her five-month-old. In my empathy for her, I want to cry, “She just barely returned to work 2 months ago! And there are perfectly capable single people here, who could do this trip.” Instead, she’ll juggle her babysitters, burden her husband, pump and pump some more, and manage her emotions somehow. I feel bad for her.

Now I know, rationally, that we have chosen to work outside the home due to finances or career enjoyment. Our jobs come with “some travel required,” so we just have to be brave and do our jobs. Also, I realize that my friend and I don’t have to do this particular job — we could seek employment where travel isn’t required. But I wish there was a clause at the end of every maternity policy specifying “no travel for the first year,” because I think it’s just too hard, emotionally and logistically.

On the other hand… some working women I know really cherish the mental break. “A hotel room all to myself?” they ask. “Sign me up!” What about you? How do you react to a travel assignment? Or is travel a very normal part of your job? Do you order room service and a pay-per-view movie? Or fly out on the red-eye in order to get home sooner?

I, personally, take my bubble bath with me, but find this one of the hardest things to reconcile in my work-life balance.

Lee Thrash is a copy editor and web producer in Atlanta, juggling life with a 3-year-old and preparing to add another baby to the mix in 2008.

Do you write or blog about your children?

Categories: Guest Blog, Parenting & Family, Your life

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This week’s guest blog is by Gwendolen Gross, an author, most recently of The Other Mother, a novel about two moms, one of whom works and one who doesn’t. (We recently interviewed Gwendolen on Work It, Mom! - click here to read the interview.) If you’d like to have your guest blog post featured on Work It, Mom!, send it in an email to nataly@workitmom.com. Please make sure it’s relevant to working moms and is under 300 words or so.

About Our Children

I am an author, but I don’t write about my children very much. I talk about them, of course, in that way you talk with women friends—picking up the narrative over breaks, the way you might pick up a book after putting it down to work and make dinner and carve pumpkins and fill out a thousand book fair-girl scout-family night-health-insurance-forms—a few days, or even weeks, later. I need the give and take of mom friendships; I need to compare my experiences to theirs (not in a ranking sort of way, but to touch the earth of common situation). But when it comes to writing, I feel like it’s a sort of betrayal to tell anything about my children’s stories. I feel protective, even, corresponding about them on mom-sites. I feel as though their lives are their own, and though I may borrow my experiences with them in the form of fiction, it feels wrong to make any characters who are clearly them. Maybe this will change, but I doubt it. Then there’s the contradiction—I love to read blogs about parenting issues common to mine. I love to hear about the successes and difficulties of the photographed but blog-named children. I love to feel connected to the parents via our common experiences—and sometimes I write to those parents, but I never post about my children, except about the most surface issues. It just feels wrong.

Am I being selfish?
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The work/family juggle–school days edition

Categories: Balancing Act, Guest Blog, Parenting & Family

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Today’s guest blog post is by Florinda, one of our most active members here at Work It, Mom! (To say we’re thrilled to have you, Florinda, is a huge understatement!) If you’d like to have your guest blog post featured on Work It, Mom!, send it in an email to nataly@workitmom.com. Please make sure it’s relevant to working moms and is under 300 words or so.

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Many of us want to be involved in our kids’ education. It may frustrate us sometimes when schools schedule events that cause us to juggle our workday if we want to be there - and can make us feel that they just don’t consider working parents, especially in schools that seem to have a lot of students with an at-home parent - but then again, it is their workday too. School classrooms, offices, and administration buildings are staffed by working parents, but they don’t tend to work the same hours that many of the rest of us do. (I have to admit it took me a long time - and the input of some teacher friends - to see that perspective on it.)

That schedule difference usually means having to make arrangements for our kids before school, after school, or both. If some form of flextime can’t take care of everything - and it’s unusual if it can, on both ends of the day, when you’re working outside the home - then you’ll need to decide among child-care programs, sitters, and, for older kids, the “home after school on their own” option.
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Guest Blog: Motherhood is a life, not a job

Categories: Career Talk, Guest Blog, Your life

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As you know, some Tuesdays are Guest Blogger Days here at the Work It, Mom! Blog. If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please email your post to nataly@workitmom.com, along with a one-sentence byline you’d like included. Please make your posts under 400 words and while the topic is up to you, it should be relevant and interesting to working moms.

Today’s guest blog post is from Kimberly.

I recently heard motherhood described as “the hardest job on the planet.” Not surprisingly, the person making this pronouncement is not, in fact a mother. I don’t think many mothers would agree with that statement. Motherhood is many things–it is hard, it can be a chore, and certainly involves a fair amount of work–but it is not a job.


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Guest Blog: The Selfish Parent

Categories: Balancing Act, Guest Blog

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It’s Guest Blogger Tuesday on the Work It, Mom! Blog and today we’re featuring a blog post from Trudi. (Yes, I know it’s Wednesday. The explanation for why this didn’t run on Tuesday is boring but I’ll let you have it anyway - I thought Tuesday was Monday. I’m allowed these slip-ups, right? After all, I am a busy working mom!)

The Selfish Parent

I recently had a distant friend ask me how I stayed sane during the early days of being a working parent. For a long time, I believed that being a good parent meant giving up all my non-work time to my son, after all, I was away for ten-hours each day. How could I parent him if I wasn’t there in the evening as well?

Being Canadian and living in Canada, I had a huge advantage when it came to returning to work. Namely, my son was nearly a year old when it happened. I had 11-months and 1-week with him before I dropped him off that first morning and he went willingly into the arms of Wanda, our child care provider. She took him into her kitchen, plopped him in the highchair and gave him some Cheerios while she fed her own sons their breakfast. I cried all the way to work. My son did not.

Even starting daycare later left me with feeling of guilt that I had to give up my every non-working hour that he was awake to him. It was as if I didn’t spend all that time with him, I was being selfish, and that selfish was a bad thing. As it turns out, being selfish was the best gift I ever gave him. By taking some time to myself every week, I was able to bring some balance back into myself and he benefited from happier, more rested mama.

Giving yourself a time out!

I have it easy in so many ways. My husband is an active and involved parent and full partner in my life. We both recognized a need for extra sleep and some alone time every week. We made a pact. On Tuesday after dinner, he was free to do whatever he wanted. On Wednesday, that rule applied to me. Weekends, we alternated sleeping in each morning. I think I lucked out there, since I took Saturdays. By Sunday morning, I was caught up enough to manage the 6:00 AM wake-up call of “maaaa-maaaa” with a smile on my face.

Generally, I’d stick around on Wednesdays until just before bedtime, then slip out of the house and hit a local café and have a cup of tea and read a book. Sometimes, I’d go visit a friend or run errands, but for the first six months, I was content with being alone. I’d come home close to my bedtime, climb into bed a little early, and quickly fall asleep. The break in the routine, the time away to write in my journal or read a book, and the support of my partner all rejuvenated me mid-week.

As our son gets older, this becomes much easier. Now, at the ripe old age of 4 ½, he asks every day “what night is it?” The options are Mom & Him Night, Boys’ Night, or Family Night. He really doesn’t care which of the three he gets, as long as it rotates often. On Wednesdays, he’s been known to ask “are you going out now? Can you leave now? Dad and I are going to __________!” He’s quite ok with that time away from me. On our night home, we play, and he often wants to go to bed a half hour early so we can lay together, read books, and snuggle. We’ve carved out some really special time together.

Last night, I used my night out to fold laundry and organize the closet. What do you mean that’s not fun? In fact, it was great because I did it without interruption. When I was done, I changed my clothes, kissed my boys goodnight and left the house for a late-show with a friend. We saw Hairspray and had a ball.

This morning, I was woken up with “What night is it tonight mom?” I told him it might be our night, since Dad never got out on Tuesday. He responded with “Oh good. That’s what I always wanted.” Cute as it sounds, that’s his response to everything these days.

And it doesn’t matter to me if Dad goes out tonight and tomorrow night because I know come Saturday morning, I will be lazing in my cozy bed and on Wednesday, I will be out on my own. And our son will be happy with the answer to “What night is it”, whatever that answer may be.

Selfish can be a good thing.

Trudi Evans is the publisher of As We Are Magazine and the mom of Sam The Wonder Child and his cat Hero. Along with Wonder Dad, they are growing one pumpkin, getting ready for the first year of school, and adjusting to everyone’s greater independence.

If you’d like to have your guest blog post featured on the Work It, Mom! Blog, please click here for details.

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