Thursday, July 8, 2010

Taking a Break from Blogging

Not that any one would notice that I've rejoined the living because I've gone at least a month since blogging! If I had 2 or 3 readers before, I'm sure I have none now. Anyways, basically what I've figured out is that between starting a new job (as a brand manager for a commercial construction company), spending time with my family, trying to keep up with household responsibilities, and making sure to get quality family and friend time in each week, I'm no good at keeping up a blog.

I hope to return someday, even if it's not here at this exact URL, but for now, I need to focus on what's most important in my life, my family and my sanity! So, thank you for being a part of this short-lived exploration into the blogosphere, and hopefully we'll meet up again someday :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Where are the Women in Kids Shows?

Wow, I just noticed that I haven't blogged in a month! So sorry...crazy busy life right now, but I'm back on it! So on to my post.

Now that my son is starting to pay much more attention to TV and videos, I've noticed something that actually baffles me - men are predominantly found as the lead characters in children's shows. Curious George has the man with yellow pants, The Wiggles are all male, Barney is a boy, Elmo interacts with Mr. Noodle, Mr. Rogers was a staple of my childhood, and Blues Clues have male leads as well.

This doesn't bother me at just makes me wonder, where are all the women? Is it mostly men who come up with kid show concepts, or are there studies that show kids responding better to men in authority? When my son was first born, I read something about how babies just like women better at first because they're used to hearing their mom's voice in the womb. That's why we inherantly raise our voices to a "girlier" tone when talking to babies (we all do it without knowing...but that's why).

Again, I don't see anything wrong with this, especially since I have a son, but c'mon ladies...let's come up with some shows that cast BOTH men and women as the leads so that our kids recognize both as authority their play world AND the real world. :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mom Tip Monday: Try, Try Again

Each step of the way, my little boy has been a picky eater. Even at 10 months, when we tried to feed him something new, he would stick his tongue out to taste it before it could go in his mouth. Where in the world did he learn to do that?! If he disapproved, he would refuse to eat anything else for the rest of his meal!!! Meanwhile, I would see my friends throw a bunch of random foods in front of their babies who would happily eat anything and everything up just because they were excited to eat something more interesting than pureed veggies.

THEN, once he finally started trying more solids, we were thrilled that he loved cheese and bread, but if you tried to give him a grilled cheese...he would spit it out immediately. Anything "touching" or seasoned in the slightest bit would be rejected on the spot. I couldn't believe that at just 13 months of age, he was so picky; it was incredibly frustrating. And I was afraid my son would end up eating out of baby jars until he went to elementary school.

When we asked our pediatrician about it, she was even a little baffled because at that age, he really shouldn't be incredibly was usually closer to 2 years of age that he would start testing us at the dinner table. However, her advice was simple...she said that what he disliked one week could be his favorite the next. Even though I wasn't incredibly satisfied with that answer because it meant lots of dollars down the drain each week as we "tested" his preferences, I followed her instructions. Some days have been better than others along the way, but recently our efforts have started paying off. Finally, at 17 months of age, he's willing to taste almost anything on our plates, and for the most part, he has liked almost everything he's tried in the past week. Who'd have thunk? So I guess the old saying is true: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again..."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My First Diaper Cake

This past weekend, I co-hosted a shower and presented my very first diaper cake. You may not know what this is, and frankly, I didn't know until about a month ago, but they're adorable and totally worth the little extra work. Honestly, it was SO much easier than I thought.

Here's what you'll need:
1. Approximately 60 diapers
2. Clear hair rubberbands
3. Regular large rubberbands
4. Bottles for the center (I used an 8 oz one an a 5 oz one)
5. Double-sided tape (buy the REALLY strong stuff)
6. Gross grain ribbon
7. Anything you want to decorate the outside with

I learned how to do it through this Youtube video, which was super helpful. The look on the mom-to-be's face was so worth it when she saw her adorable present. And, the best part is that she's not only getting a ton of useful diapers, she gets bottles and other fun stuff all tied up in a pretty package. Try it for your next shower!

Monday, April 5, 2010

This Blogger's Perspective on Sponsorship

Recently, the incredibly talented Unexperienced Mom asked me to share my thoughts on how bloggers should approach brands for sponsorships...specifically, conference sponsorships. As a marketer who represents multiple brands seeking relationships with bloggers, I had a few recommendations about this very topic.

Check out my post at Blog Conference Guide for the Unexperienced and share your own thoughts!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mom Tip Monday: Household goods play kit

At 16 months, my baby boy LOVES assembling things and taking them apart. The thing is, he'd much rather work with every other object in my house except his toys that are specifically made for young ones. For instance, every time I'm in the bathroom, he's trying to pull out all of my cosmetics and twist the lids off or moving things from drawer to drawer.

So, we got wise to this and created a play kit for the kitchen. This way, he can use real household goods that are still safe for his little hands. Our kit is a metal colander that we fill with his baby bottles (including all the innards), plastic cups, plastic spoons, plastic lids, etc. The colander makes a to squat next to - he even enjoys sitting in it now and again. All of the items fit nicely inside each other and even stack perfectly. And, his Dr. Brown's bottles are easy enough for a toddler to pull apart and put back together.

This play kit keeps our little one entertained for up to a half hour while we make dinner in the evenings, so I highly recommend creating your own version! Anyone else have a "household good" play kit idea?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Keeping Moms in Corporate America

To all the companies out there that have been approached by moms who want to work from home and have said no – WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? In this digital age, it’s so easy for anyone to pick up her computer, webcam, and mobile device and participate in meetings, respond to emails, create presentations, etc. – pretty much doing just about everything she would do at the office. Because of this, I am honestly baffled, just baffled, when I talk with another mom who longs for an opportunity to work from home even just ONE day a week but is met with uncompromising responses that her company “frowns” on that kind of thing.

In the AFL-CIO Now Blog, James Parks writes about the need for workplaces to adapt to the greater role of women in the workforce and references the 2009 Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation, which takes “a comprehensive look at working women and how their work has transformed today’s workplace.” Following a subsequent press conference, he writes that “the report’s co-author Heather Boushey, senior economist at CAP, cited a poll that shows a large majority of Americans support new, more family-friendly workplace policies. A full 85 percent of respondents say businesses that fail to adapt to the needs of modern families risk losing good workers.“

And that, my friends, is the key – during a time when workforces need to be the most productive they can possibly be, it’s incredibly important to retain and recruit savvy, ambitious, and hard-working employees. Many (I repeat, MANY) of these people are moms…moms who are looking for work-at-home opportunities that provide the intellectual challenge they need while allowing for quality mom time as well.
Flexibility in the workplace can take many forms, and part-time or flex-time is wonderful for many people, but my focus in this post is on the opportunity to work from a home office at least part, if not all, of the week. I left my previous employer because when I approached them about working from home one day a week after returning from maternity leave, they told me I could do it as long as I understood that it would mean I would not be promoted, manage people, or manage accounts. Hmm…essentially, they were telling me that working from home meant I wasn’t as valuable to them as those who sat in their offices from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (sometimes longer) every day. I now work at a wonderful, rapidly-growing company that allows me to work from home regularly and travel to the office (or elsewhere) for client meetings or other needs. I work more than I ever did before because I like the work I do, and I feel a greater sense of balance for lots of reasons (five of them I list below).

Peter Shankman, founder of Help a Reporter Out (HARO), offers great advice for how to convince your boss that working from home works for you. Below, I list reasons why employers/managers should highly consider saying yes the next time you approach him or her about working from home (print these off and anonymously leave them behind during your next meeting).

1. Drive time is eliminated - While many moms want to work (I being one of those moms), most still crave a work-life balance they simply can’t get from being physically in an office 40-50 hours a week plus commute time each day. Between getting ready in the morning, driving to and from work, and being in the office, employers are asking moms to only spend about 2 hours of quality time a day with their little one(s). That’s simply not enough.

2. Productivity will increase – I know this is absolutely unbelievable to managers who want to have a watchful eye over employees, but based on point #1, moms allowed to work from home have the opportunity to work longer hours because they’re not spending an hour getting ready in the morning, nor are they leaving work early to fight traffic and get home just in time to turn right around and drive little ones to an evening activity.

3. Sick time for kids is less of a factor – Millions of moms and dads have to take off work every day because of sick children. Now, even if one of them works from home and sends a child to daycare, she still has to keep the child home for the day. BUT!! If she’s set up to work from home, there are many, many more opportunities for her to get work done during naps and in between caretaking than if it’s the “policy” that she has to take a personal or vacation day just because she’s not in the office.

4. Retain valuable people – Everyone knows it costs more to hire someone new than to retain a current employee. And, when a smart, ambitious mom decides that working from home would make her happier in her career…listen, evaluate, and then TRY it…for the love of God, at least set it up as a trial situation before making a long-term decision. Is it really worth losing her?

5. Create a thriving culture – Lots and lots of articles have been written in the past few years about the changes companies have made to create more flexible work options, and the meaning behind the article is – WHAT A GREAT PLACE TO WORK! Work schedules don’t have to be a one-size-fits-all…it makes companies truly stand out when they realize how to be different.

Now I understand that there are just some jobs that require on-site presence, such as elementary and high school education, construction, and retail, but for your everyday corporate job, where someone literally sits at a computer almost all day long, there is absolutely no reason for an employer to not at least consider a work from home option. Moms will just find another place that does allow work from home options, or they’ll join a growing number of savvy moms called mompreneurs starting their own successful businesses because working in traditional settings just doesn’t cut it.