Moms Gone Viral
May 2 2008

I was planning to write a post updating everyone on our search engine optimization experience today but the real world injected itself with a sick kid at home.  High fever and rescheduling meetings doesn’t leave much time for writing long, heavy posts.  Plus I had to sneak in a nap in the afternoon while our daughter napped since we didn’t get much sleep the night before. :)

So instead, while my husband takes care of the kids this evening, I thought I’d write a post on the example of an unanticipated, viral marketing story with a mom twist.  So here it goes…

Once upon a time I met a friend on the Internet.  I found her blog and commented away.  After some time, we realized we had similar visions and she invited me do a guest post on her blog called Entrepreneurship: A Blessing or a Curse.  We kept in touch, spoke on the phone a few times about ways to work together, became twitter pals, and finally met in person at SXSW here in Austin back in March and clicked even more. 

While at SXSW she got further proof of what she already knew which was that the name of her blog, then called eMoms at Home, was not really reflective of the demographics of her readers and would-be readers so she had a mini-meltdown, picked herself up and came up with a cool new name called Sparkplugging!  Since she was and still is an advocate of entrepreneurs and especially those who work from home, her cool, new name opens the door wide open to many of us who are moms or not but like to spark up ideas and play with them until something happens.

So after SXSW, she went home and saw a post about dads on twitter and decided to do one for moms.  Within hours she got tons of replies and created a post called The Ultimate List of Moms on Twitter that started with 250 moms.  I commented and subscribed to comments on that post and every day new moms would leave a comment with their twitter name until May 1, 2008 that is.  Twitter sent out an email to everyone yesterday, May 1, and in it they included:

Mother’s Day: On The Way

We’ve noticed a trend of parents twittering the moments of their baby’s birth so we know there are some new moms on Twitter. Are you a mom on Twitter? Is your own mom on Twitter? Maybe you even made “The Ultimate List of Moms on Twitter”? Mother’s Day is just around the corner so don’t forget to @reply the moms you know with a thoughtful phrase–but keep it under 140 characters, moms are busy people.

List of Moms on Twitter: http://tinyurl.com/6cxgp5

And today I had 150+ comments in my inbox and they are still coming.  Now she has close to 400 comments on that one post! Did she do anything extraordinary to make it happen? Not really.  Did she tell people on twitter about it? Yes, of course.  Did she know others would tell and re-tell more people about the list? Possibly.  Did she know twitter would pick it up in their mass email to everyone? Doubtful (but I don’t know what went on behind the scenes).  So in hindsight what played in her favor to have a post she wrote on April 8 (before her name change) take on a life of its own?  Here’s what I think:

  • She took the initiative to do something that ended up being quite time consuming, but she saw from the responses it resonated with hundreds of moms on twitter that it was a worthwhile endeavor. 
  • She told her friends about it who re-tweeted and blogged about it. 
  • The tweeters kept the link going within twitter and in the blogosphere. 
  • Mother’s Day was around the corner and the guys (I think they are all men) at twitter saw the activity and might have said to themselves “Hmmm. How can we mention a major holiday, get brownie points with our wives/mothers, and promote twitter at the same time” and voila a mention was born!

UPDATE: I sent a link to @Biz to this post and he informed me there are several women who work at twitter!  So of course I followed them.  Here is his tweet: 

biz @aruni awesome! I included the moms list because it was noteworthy – also, women who work at Twitter: @crystal @krissy @alissa @lane @sara

In case you haven’t guessed who this friend is, it’s Wendy Piersall.  I guess only Wendy can tell us if she planned all of this, but to me it’s another example of viral marketing that in hindsight makes sense but when started, the current result would have been highly unpredictable. 

To me, this is why it is so hard to orchestrate a viral campaign.  You can plan everything down to the “t” and still not have it work out the way you wanted.  It’s hard to predict when there are so many variables.  You can also just do something you enjoy doing that helps others and see a “spark” turn into a flame!  Way to go Wendy! :-D

Oh and by the way, I am @aruni and Wendy is @eMom on twitter…

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, mom, mother, mother's day, networking, social networks, success, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Give the Gift of Peace-of-Mind This Mother’s Day
Apr 28 2008

I don’t often do a full on post about Babble Soft, but considering Mother’s Day is coming up on May 11, 2008 and we are offering 15% off of all subscriptions (click here for full press release) to Baby Insights and Baby Say Cheese using code MOTHER#1 on the Purchase Form through May 15, I figured it would be OK.

So for all the new moms out there who want a record of their baby’s newborn activities, who want a place to create a unique baby’s first year photo album with a family tree, who want a better way to communicate about childcare with their spouse, nanny, sitters, and family members, this one’s for you!

Gift subscriptions also make great Mother’s Day and baby shower gifts for those couples who you know will want breastfeeding support or see how often mom pumped and share when their baby ate, slept, and pooped! :-)

I even came up with a poem that I had submitted for a local parenting related publication.  It wasn’t selected so I thought I’d share it here.  As you can tell, I didn’t major in poetry but I hope you like it anyway!

Motherhood and Childhood

What does it mean to be a mother?
Is it love?
Is it fear?
Is it feeling dear?

What does it mean to be a child?
Is it love?
Is it joy?
Is it having a favorite toy?

As mothers we hope for our child’s happiness
We pray for our child’s health
We hope they are treated with kindness
We pray our children find peace in the world

As children we live for today
We anticipate a life of fun
We hope for a million tomorrows
We cannot imagine a world without our mothers

As mothers we cannot imagine a world without our children
We are one and the same…

Aruni Gunasegaram
March 2008

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby say cheese, baby sleep, mom, mother | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Why Aren’t There More Rich Women Entrepreneurs?
Apr 24 2008

That’s the headline of a Wall Street Journal blog post that came out yesterday: Why Aren’t There More Rich Women Entrepreneurs?  It starts with:

Recent studies show that there are more wealthy women than ever before. While a growing number are making it by climbing the corporate ladder, most of today’s wealthy women are still making their money through inheritance or divorce. A scarce few are making their fortunes by launching big companies – the most common source of big riches for today’s men.

and concludes with:

There are two explanations for the female shortfall, according to the USA Today story. First, starting a business usually requires capital, and men have easier access to the clubby world of bankers, venture capitalists and private-equity. Second, the article says, women are more devoted to their family and have less time than men to start businesses.

The blog post is interesting but the comments just blow me away because it’s like I was reading comments from people back from the dark ages.  Most of the comments were well thought out but several posted by people not choosing to put their name down were really shallow.  I mean do people really think like this:

There is this little thing called a brain. Most women are severely lacking in this department, and as such have been relegated to house duties for most of history. Now that women are clamoring for equality, we see that they really aren’t equal at all.

Talk about issues! Other thoughts from the commenters:

Seems to me that women are better at following rules than men, hence they do better in structured institutions (schools, large companies, institutions) whereas men are more intrinsically rule breakers and therefore on average do less well, but sometimes succeed spectacularly.  – Bill

While I agree that risk aversion plays a part, one also has to look at Analysis Paralysis. As ‘not trying to offend’ points out, men often “execute and follow through based purely on logic”. Women (and I am one, early 30s, well-employed, trying to start my own company at the same time) tend to need full answers before they act. – More than just risk aversion

Despite advances for working women, I think it is certainly the case that they are not supported by husbands. I am about to be married and my fiancee is asking me to quit my job to raise a family – despite making twice as much as him.  – so true

To be an entrepeneur one has to be completely comfortable with business risk. In my experience, women as a group
are far less willing to risk everything they have for a business idea. This may be a gender specific biological trait related to the female’s reproductive functions. – Orrin Schwab

Many of the paths to entrepreneurial success are only open to people who have college degrees in science or engineering. Most women don’t have them and it certainly limits their opportunities. – Kevin

I think women also tend to have their eye on the “big picture,” and define success much more broadly than in dollars and cents. This can lead to decisions like cutting back on work hours or taking less challenging jobs in order to have more time to spend on family or other personal pursuits. At the end of the day, this may lead to less money – but greater happiness.  – e c

Sometimes I can’t believe we are still having discussions and comments like this.  Why can’t we just get along and let women choose to do what they want to do without analyzing every thing about it? If a woman wants to stay at home with the kids full time and be CEO of the house, great! If she wants to work from home, great! If she wants to work outside of the home, great! If she wants to work part time, great! If she wants to work full time, great!  If she doesn’t want kids, great! If she wants to try to be Bill Gates, fine. If she wants to be the CEO of PepsiCo, awesome! If she wants to be head of the PTA, cool!

We are all (hopefully) doing the best we can. Us women were given the gift of being able to incubate and give birth to the future generation of humans, honestly that in and of itself is success! Sadly that ability is often sort of brushed aside as not being as valuable as being a billionaire entrepreneur/CEO.  Honestly, I can think of several former billionaire CEOs who would have traded their fate to be a woman/mom. :-)

Author: | Filed under: diversity, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, mother, random stuff, working mother | Tags: , , , , | 16 Comments »

Nine Tips to Recession-Proof Your Career
Apr 21 2008

I saw this great post in Renee Trudeau’s recent email update and asked her if I could re-publish it on my blog and she agreed!  Given what we are seeing happening around us in the economy, I thought this article was extremely relevant. 

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Nine Tips to Recession-Proof Your Career
By Renee Peterson Trudeau

“You have the choice between being the victim of circumstances or being empowered through them.”  Carol Orsborn, author, Inner Excellence: Spiritual Principles of Life-Driven Business

Many of our clients are asking how to respond to the volatility and uncertainty in the current job/economic market. Here are some insights to support you:   

  • Move into the driver’s seat. Job stability (and loyalty) are a thing of the past. Take control of your career path. You’re in charge, don’t hand your power (or your future) over to someone else. Read the book “Work Less, Make More,” by Jennifer White.
  • Pause. Then, take time to plan. Now is a great time to hit the pause button and ask the important career questions: What do I most want at this life stage? What do I do best? What type of work/environment is a fit for me? (Consider attending our Career Mojo Workshop to help you hone in on how to determine what type of work is a fit for you. Click here for more information.)
  • Be prepared. It can take days to create a really outstanding resume. Update your resume (and cover letter) now and be thinking about references, even if you’re not ready to leap. Make sure and highlight recent awards/accomplishments/promotions.
  • Stay connected and make time for networking. Over and over again I meet professionals who were so consumed by their current jobs, they lost touch completely with their community and contacts. Take time to build and nurture relationships and attend professional organization and networking meetings. Read the book “Never Eat Alone,” on authentic networking by Keith Ferrazzi.
  • Know-and leverage-your strengths. Ideally, 80% of your time at work should be devoted to activities that you naturally excel at. Know where your brilliance lies and leverage your innate strengths. This is how you can bring the greatest value to your company AND how you substantially increase your income.
  • Save and live lean. Give yourself as much financial flexibility and breathing room as possible over the next 12 months. Live below your means. Cut out unnecessary expenses. Enjoy free or low-cost leisure activities (there are hundreds in Austin!). Create a budget and stick to it.
  • Be open to new possibilities. Layoffs, mergers, buyouts and outsourcing decisions don’t have to signal bad news. How can you take advantage of these changes? Where are there opportunities for new products/services? What niche can you fill? What problem is not being solved that you can address? Are there new internal opportunities within your company you should consider?
  • Stay in the loop on changes in your field/industry. What are the biggest challenges facing your current industry? How has your field changed in the last three years? Where are the employee shortages in your profession? What are the reoccurring themes or headlines at your professional conferences or in industry publications? Learn to be agile.
  • Take time to enhance your skills/talents. This is a great time to brush up on leadership or management skills, receive career or success coaching, reach out to mentors for guidance or sign up for in-house mentoring or training programs. Don’t isolate yourself-reach out and ask for help. People have a genuine desire to help others-we’ve all been there.

Finally, be kind to yourself. Realize that there is a lot of fear in the air right now due to all the uncertainty. Be discerning and own your feelings, not others’.    

Renee Peterson Trudeau is a career/life-balance coach and president of Austin-based Career Strategists, and author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life.  Visit http://www.reneetrudeau.com/ to start/join a self-renewal circle using the Guide, receive monthly self-renewal and life balance tips or order the book.   For more information on Renee Trudeau click here.

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, FYI, mom, mother, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Why Keeping a Daily Journal is Important for Moms and Nannies
Apr 15 2008

I see the world of childcare changing before our eyes and having a place to keep up with your baby’s precious moments and activities can be a great way not only to share with your family and friends but also to make sure your baby is getting what he or she needs.  More often than not, these days there are many people involved in childcare from dad, to nannies, to sitters, to grandparents, to aunts, and communicating effectively with everyone about when your baby ate, slept, or had medicine can be extremely important!

One of the ways I am currently trying to get the word out about Babble Soft is through marketing relationships with nanny and sitter agencies, and I recently had the honor and priviledge to write the following article for the International Nanny Association.  

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Why Keeping a Daily Journal is Important for Moms and Nannies
By Aruni Gunasegaram, President and Founder of Babble Soft
Written for the International Nanny Association Spring 2008 newsletter

When a new mom leaves her infant in the care of a nanny or newborn care specialist, what are her concerns? What does she want to know? How can a nanny help her feel more connected to her baby and help her deal with possible feelings of guilt over leaving her baby?

A new mom’s perspective
As a new mom, I was so concerned about leaving my baby with anyone else … even my husband! When I returned, I wanted to know when he ate, if he slept, and practically everything he did. Now that I have two kids, I still ask their teachers and care providers what they did during the day. It’s so comforting to have an idea of how their day went. I sent our son to a home care on a part-time basis when he was a baby. I felt frustrated by the vague answers I received when I asked about the details of his day; but I bit my tongue, felt guilty, and walked away wondering what I had missed.

It was difficult to leave my son with someone else and thereafter, leave my daughter – but I wanted to work. My career is very important to me and I knew I would be a better mom if I was able to pursue my passion. However, I still wanted to stay connected to my babies. It would have been a pleasure to receive an email, a text message, a picture, or even have the ability to log in to a website to see how my babies were doing. It would have made my life so much easier if I was assured that although they might have cried a bit when left them, they were eating well, sleeping well, learning and having fun.

I was still breastfeeding when I returned to work, and I made every attempt to time my pumping sessions so that I could nurse my babies when I picked them up. If I arrived only to find out they had just been fed, I would have to go home and pump instead of feed them, making me feel very disappointed.  On the other hand, it was nice having breastfeeding support and knowing that I had expressed enough milk for them while I was away made me feel more connected to them.

What moms want to know
In the “old days,” moms had no choice but to stay at home.  They could get advice and make decisions based on one-on-one face time with baby, family members, and friends. Nowadays, moms rely on their nannies to communicate their baby’s daily activities, issues, fussy periods, smiles, and schedules. When moms are not present, having the opportunity to review their baby’s activities at a glance in a daily journal or report is not only powerful, it helps them and their nanny make better baby care decisions. It is also a great way to provide records for their pediatricians, which can aid in making medical decisions. Here are more examples that illustrate the importance of keeping a daily journal:

  • A new mom misses important milestones. While she is at work, baby shows off her biggest smile or makes a first attempt at crawling. Imagine a caregiver who captures the moment via a picture, includes a milestone caption, and emails it to the mom. What a way to brighten her day. Although the mom is not present physically, she can take delight in knowing that the true “first” was captured.
  • An infant spits up often but with no discernible pattern. Both the mom and nanny are busy and jot down handwritten notes, which might be stained or misplaced by the next day! Maintaining an online daily record of the baby’s feedings (with corresponding spit-up times) can help to establish a pattern of feeding times and a correlation between the feeding quantity and spit-up periods. The mom can forward the reports to the doctor to aid in a decision regarding whether her baby needs medicine for acid reflux or if there is a need to simply change the baby’s feeding schedule.
  • A baby has difficulty sleeping. Mom (or dad) puts the baby down in a specific manner and in a specific place during the weekends. The nanny arrives and puts the baby down in a different manner, thus she witnesses a different outcome. The baby appears confused, which results in additional stress for both the nanny and family. One solution is to review online reports that are designed to track a baby’s sleep patterns and reveal how the baby was put to sleep. The reports can serve as physical proof that specific baby sleep positions or methods work better than others for the baby. The reports can also give parents the assurance that their baby is okay, and shifting their behavior or the nanny’s behavior can make life easier for everyone.
  • A baby needs regular medications. Administering medications is a critical part of providing childcare. Therefore, it is beneficial to have a central place where medicine doses are recorded. This procedure can allow both the mom and nanny to ensure medicine doses, reactions, and duration are properly recorded and timed. Proper daily record keeping can help to avoid accidental overdoses and ensure a dose is not missed.
  • The nanny runs out of expressed breast milk for baby. If the mom keeps daily pumping records and both the nanny and mom keep daily bottle-feeding records, Mom can adjust her breastfeeding and pumping schedule to ensure there is enough expressed milk for her baby.

There are many more sound reasons to keep daily records. However, the most important reasons in my opinion, are for the health and well-being of the baby, and improved communication between the nanny and family. Although moms today have many more opportunities than they did in the past, they also have more decisions to make and more balls to juggle. Keeping daily records of an infant’s activities helps nannies and moms make better baby care decisions – and it helps moms feel more connected to their baby. A happy mom means a happier baby!

Aruni Gunasegaram is the President/Founder of Babble Soft and she blogs at entrepreMusings. To learn more about Babble Soft, please visit http://www.babblesoft.com.

Author: | Filed under: babble soft, baby advice, baby care, baby sleep, baby tips, breast milk, breastfeeding, breastfeeding schedule, mom, mother, nursing, parenting, sleep, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

The Blogger Mom, In Your Face
Apr 12 2008

The Wall Street Journal ran a piece on Thursday, April 10, 2008 called The Blogger Mom, In Your Face written by Sue Shellenbarger featuring none other than the most well known mom blogger on the Internet today: Dooce.  She has been blogging for close to 7 years now…before most people (including myself) even knew what a blog was!  I got the opportunity to meet Heather Armstrong (a.k.a Dooce) at SXSW and exchange a few words with her after she finished her panel.  She is such a down to earth person.

I think it’s great that the WSJ has chosen to highlight a mommy blogger who according to the article might be making as much as $40,000 per month on ad revenue for her blog!  Wow!! It’s not without its downfalls though because full time blogging for that kind of money is a crazy, often stressful job.  I blog very part time (3 or so posts per week) so I can’t say I can relate to the stress of full time professional blogging, but I can certainly imagine it…especially if I had to post original, often personal content every day like Dooce does.

According to the WSJ article, “Among the Web’s 200,000-plus bloggers on parenting and family, few have succeeded to the extent of Ms. Armstrong; countless at-home parents would love to be in her position. But less obvious is the behind-the-scenes price an at-home mom pays to shoulder her way to prominence in the blogosphere — giving up her privacy, sustained time off and any remnants of work-family boundaries at all.”

Sue Shellenbarger did a fantastic job with this article by illustrating both the ups and downs of professional blogging, unlike the recent New York Times article called In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop which emphasized primarily the negative aspects of blogging as a profession and inferred that full time blogging can be fatal.  If they had mentioned how many journalists had died in the same period, then I think it might have made the article a bit less biased against blogging.  Check out Marc Andreessen’s funny take on this article called The New York Times Covers Blogging including statements like “Bloggers Have Bad Breath,” “Bloggers Have Herpes,” “Hitler Probably Blogged,” and “The Bloggers Have WMD.”

Other mommy bloggers that were highlighted in the WSJ article are:

5minutesformom.com
designmom.com
parenthacks.com
scribbit.blogspot.com
fussy.org
notesfromthetrenches.com
stirrup-queens.blogspot.com
izzymom.com
suburbanbliss.net

Asha Dornfest at Parent Hacks linked to a guest post on my blog about traveling with a baby and I saw a significant amount of traffic because of her mention, which goes to show that she definitely deserves to be on this list!

If you think there are a lot of mommy bloggers, you should check out Twitter because there are a ton of mommy tweeters out there.  In fact, Wendy Piersall at eMoms at Home just did a post listing the Moms on Twitter and the list is still growing! 

I have to say it’s much easier sometimes to come up with 140 character or less tweets than full blog posts!  I wonder if we can monetize our tweets.   Anyone want to pay me $10, $5, $1, 25 cents for a tweet? :D   Twitter are you listening reading?

Oh and if you haven’t already done so, please subscribe to my feed because if I survive the next 5 years of motherhood, maybe I’ll end up being one of the top mommy/entrepreneur bloggers!  Unlike Dooce, however, I will have to hire someone other than my husband to help me figure out how to monetize my blog…

Author: | Filed under: blogging, mom, mother, twitter, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

5 White Men, Rebranding, and Dads
Mar 22 2008

What do 5 White Men, Rebranding, and Dads have in common?  Well other than the fact that Dads are usually men, probably not a whole lot.  These are just some of the interesting things happening around the blogosphere.

5 White Men Talk About Social Media was written by Connie Reece at Every Dot Connects.  Connie is a huge presence in the world of social media especially here in Austin, yet was overlooked for a panel on Social Media the Chamber of Commerce was putting on.  She voices her frustration at women still being “invisible” even when they are playing a major role in the world of social media.   Connie got me started in blogging almost a year ago!  She is also one of the main reasons the Frozen Pea Fund initiative got started as a result of Susan Reynolds struggle with breast cancer.  Here’s a quote from her post:

This afternoon I got an email from fellow Dot-Connector Brenda Thompson with the subject line: “Five White Men Talk About Social Media.” That got my attention and I opened the email right away. …

It irked me too. It’s not like the organizers would have had to look very far to find some outstanding women to speak, and I’m not just referring to myself. In less than 30 seconds, Brenda and I came up with a list of five or six local women who would have made great panelists.

See, lists are easy to make. But women on lists are still invisible if conference organizers aren’t looking for the list.

Looking Minnesota. Feeling California and The Gaping Void Between Our Brand And Our Audience were two recent posts written by Wendy Piersall of eMoms at Home.  After her recent trip to SXSW Interactive, she realized she needed to rebrand because many of her readers are not eMoms or even parents!  I love Wendy’s blog for a variety of reasons but mostly because she is open and honest about her experience as an entrepreneur and she readily shares her blogging and business tips.  We met through our blogs, had a couple of phone conversations and when we finally met in person at SXSW, it was like we just “got each other” as entrepreneurs and as moms!  I’m not sure if she has come to a decision on the new name, so go check out her posts and give her your 2 cents!

AllTop Dads launches.  Thanks to Guy Kawasaki of How to Change the World my entrepreMusings blog is near the top of AllTop Moms blogger list.  It’s a great place to go to check out all the top mommy and daddy bloggers.   If you don’t know Guy, he was once asked to interview for the CEO position at Yahoo! take on the CEO position of Google and he turned the opportunity to interview down thinking there’s no way Google Yahoo! would amount to much.  He often refers to it as his $4 billion dollar mistake, but he reflects back and realizes that instead he was able to be involved in his children’s lives, which is priceless!  

So as I said when I began this post, there isn’t much in common between these links, but all are great reads!

Author: | Filed under: blogging, dad, diversity, father, mom, mother, parenting, random stuff, social media, working dad, working father, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

AllTop Moms – The Place To Go
Feb 16 2008

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If you’ve been in technology start-up land for any length of time, you have no doubt heard of Guy Kawasaki.  He’s a former Apple executive, founder of Garage Ventures, and author of 8 books.  Now he’s doing something new which I think is very cool called AllTop, and “they have all the top stories covered all of the time.”

So if you are into Politics, Gaming, Sports, Celebrities, Tech, Automobiles, etc. then they aim to be the place to go to find out all the latest news.  Since I’m a mom and love to know about what other moms are up to, I’m thrilled about their NEW Mommy Bloggers page called AllTop Moms!  My little ‘ole entrepreMusings blog is currently near the top of the page.  Thanks Guy!

If you are a mommy blogger or you blog on any of their other topics and you’d like your site to be included, check out their About page to get more information. 

Yay, Moms!  I did see some people on twitter (I’m @aruni) asking about a Daddy Bloggers page so check back frequently to see what new and interesting pages they add.

Author: | Filed under: blogging, FYI, mom, mother | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Yoga and Other Blog Mentions
Jan 14 2008

I’m making some progress on my personal 2008 goals.  I signed up for yoga and have lost between .5 and 1 pound.   Regarding my business goals, I’m still working on the executive summary, financial projections, visuals, and finding an attorney in order to raise funds. If all goes well documents will be substantially ready by end of next week, and I’ll be well on my way to finding the perfect lawyer…if that’s even possible. :-)   

Posting will be light over the next few weeks so in the meantime please check out the Work It, Mom! interview of me where they asked me the following questions:

  • What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
  • You’ve written that you and the other founder of your first company were “washed out.” How did you recover from that? Was it hard to jump back into the entrepreneurial game after that experience?
  • Many women entrepreneurs have mentioned that they felt they were not taken as seriously as businesswomen once people knew their companies were geared toward mothers. Has this been your experience?
  • What lessons from your first company are you applying to your second?
  • What’s most challenging part of your working-mom juggle?
  • What advice would you give a working mom who is trying to start her own company? What pitfalls would you tell her to avoid?
  • You have a great general attitude — what motivates you besides, well, creating a super-successful company?

Then pop on over to Thom Singer’s Some Assembly Required blog and check out my guest post on Building your e-Network where I expand on the following tips:

  • Do what you say you will do when you say you will do it.
  • When someone reaches out to you for help, answer them.
  • Build and foster trust by being consistent.
Author: | Filed under: blogging, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, mom, mother, social networks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Guest Baby Tip: Increasing Breast Milk Supply
Nov 11 2007

I babble about business, babies, and parenthood on this blog, so those of you who come here to read my posts on entrepreneurship but do not have babies, please forward this post to your friends and family who do have babies. For those who have babies and dabble in business, these tips might be right up your alley.  If you have babies and have no interest in business, then send it on to the folks you know who are knee-deep in business and encourage them to have a baby! :-)


Since there were so many views of my first baby tip on Increasing Milk Supply post, and I saw on Carole’s blog recently that she was dealing with the exact same issue, I asked her to write up a baby tip based on her experience for my readers.  Carole is one my faithful blog readers and a Baby Insights user.  She has 3 kids at home and blogs at Alias Tex.  She is an amazing person and an awesome Mom!  Thank you Carole for a great baby tip!

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I’ve nursed three babies and have had supply issues with all three.  I was not able to correct the issue with the first two, so I ended up supplementing with formula both times.  When I discovered that my supply was low the third time around, I decided to work with a lactation consultant.  I ended up supplementing with formula for about a month; in total, I think Christina ended up having about 2 1/2 cans of formula before my supply was enough to make it unnecessary.  Here are the things we tried, in the order in which we tried them:

– Pumping.  I pumped as often as I could, but at least 5 or 6 times a day, for at least 10 – 15 minutes each time. (The pumping was in conjunction with all of the other things I was doing — I’ve heard that for some women, pumping alone can help, but I wasn’t one of them.)

– Herbs.  I took fenugreek, blessed thistle, and alfalfa — the highest dose of each that I could find at Whole Foods — two or three of each, three times a day.  (This did increase my supply some, but not enough that I could stop supplementing.)

– Domperidone* — I take 20mg capsules.  I started out taking five of them a day, then — once my supply was established — dropped down to four.  I tried cutting back to three and discovered that that was too low to maintain my supply, so I rented a pump for a week and jumped back up to five pills a day again.  Now, I’m down to four capsules a day, and I have enough milk that Christina only nurses one side at a time — and doesn’t usually even empty that one!  (I don’t like having quite that much extra milk, so now every couple of days I’ll take only three capsules — it seems to be working out….)

– Oxytocin nasal spray** — 1OU/ML.  (1 spray in each nostril, 2 – 3 minutes before nursing.)  In addition to my supply issues, I’ve had problems with my letdown reflex.  Sometimes it worked just fine, but it was not uncommon for me to nurse her for 45 minutes or more without having a letdown!  I also tended to have them at random times throughout the day/night, and then I couldn’t have another one for at least an hour, so I had to try to nurse her whether she seemed hungry or not!  The nasal spray has changed all of that:  if I don’t have a letdown when Christina starts nursing, I use my nasal spray and I have a letdown within a couple of minutes.  The only times it hasn’t worked are when I was experimenting, trying to see if I could do just one nostril, or use a drop instead of a spray.  (It does work as drops, but I have to do a couple in each side, not just one.)

Now that I have it all under control, my days of sobbing in frustration seem like a bad dream — it almost makes me want to have another, just so I can see what it’s like to get it right from the start!  Imagine:  me, with a baby who has never tasted formula….  It could happen!  : )

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*Some of you may know that the FDA issued a warning about Domperidone several years ago. (On the same day that the National Breastfeeding Campaign was to begin!)  It’s actually a stomach medicine, and was prescribed off-label for breastfeeding mothers.  Because of the FDA’s warning, it’s no longer possible to just walk into a pharmacy and get a prescription for Domperidone; you have to go to a compounding pharmacy to get it, and even some of those are afraid of FDA reprisals if they fill the prescriptions.  Fortunately, for those of us who need it to maintain a normal milk supply, there are still doctors and midwives willing to prescribe it for us, and some compounding pharmacies who will still make it.

Domperidone is widely considered a safe drug when administered orally, and is approved by the AAP for use in breastfeeding mothers.  Many were outraged when the FDA issued its warning — especially since the cases it cites in the warning were decades old. 

Official statements from prominent physicians can be found here.

A very good summary of the controversy can be found here, and many more links here.

Side effects of Domperidone.

Side effects of Reglan, another stomach medication that can increase milk supply, which has no warnings issued against it — even though it is NOT approved by the AAP for use in breastfeeding mothers!

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**I also get my Oxytocin nasal spray from a compounding pharmacy.

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Note to new readers: these tips are based on our experiences, as well as those of our friends and readers. Please always consult with your doctor before implementing any tip that might impact the health of your baby. If you have a tip you’d like to submit please send an email to blogger at babblesoft dot com for possible inclusion. Please check the ‘baby tips’ category to make sure your tip (in some form or fashion) hasn’t already been posted. If it has been, feel free to comment on that post and support the tip. We also welcome respectful challenges to the tips because as is noted in our inaugural baby tip ‘everything is relative!’ We will, of course, give anyone who submits a tip we publish credit and a link back to their site!

Author: | Filed under: baby tips, breast milk, breastfeeding, breastfeeding schedule, mom, mother, nursing, pumping, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Why I Watch Grey’s Anatomy
Nov 2 2007

 Grey's Staff

I don’t have time to watch a lot of TV but one of the shows I do watch on a consistent basis is Grey’s Anatomy.  I know it’s a night time soap opera of sorts.  I know it’s not a real depiction of life in a teaching hospital, and I know that most doctors aren’t that good looking, but I still get caught up in the drama.

In the November 1, 2007 episode, Dr. Cristina Yang said something quite simple yet quite profound to Dr. Meredith Grey.  First a little background for those who do not watch Grey’s Anatomy.  Dr. Yang is a brilliant surgeon who expresses little to no emotion.  It’s clear her entire goal in life is to become the world’s best cardiothoracic surgeon and nothing will get in her way.  She is very direct with people and she rarely takes time to listen to other people’s problems.  It’s all about her and she has recently been faced with experiences that are making her evaluate her approach to life.

Dr. Grey is also an outstanding surgeon with serious relationship/personal issues.  Her dad left her when she was a kid partly because her mother was cheating on him and partly because she was so focused on her career.  Her dad never came back to see her.  He married another woman and had two kids with her one of whom is Dr. Lexie Grey, who has just found her way to Seattle Grace hospital as an intern.  Needless to say Meredith and Lexie have an awkward relationship.

Meredith’s mom, Ellis Grey, was intensely focused on her own medical career and was a highly accomplished surgeon and pretty much resented that she had to take care of Meredith.  She often told Meredith that she did not want to have children and consequently was extremely critical of everything Meredith did (or did not do).  So now Meredith has tons of personal issues but somehow has won the heart of Dr. McDreamy (Dr. Derek Shepherd), whose character in the show is one of practically a saint among men because he is there for Meredith no matter what she does or says!

Meredith almost drowned in an episode last season.  She could have saved herself but instead gave in to her self pity and crossed over to the other side for a short while.  Somehow she comes through after being unconscious for several hours and awakens to a different perspective and awareness of who she is and where she fits into the world.  This perspective soon fades and she begins to involuntarily inflict her insecurities on those she loves and on those who love her once again.  She doesn’t want to, but she does not know how to accept or give love because she was physically and emotionally abandoned by the people most important to her as a child.  Despite these childhood traumas, most of the rest of the world would classify her as a functional adult (i.e., she is smart, has a career, has friends, etc.). 

In one scene Meredith asks Cristina why she just can’t get past all of this stuff and move on now that she’s aware of her issues.  Cristina says “being aware of your crap is not the same as getting over your crap.  They are two very different things.”  Meredith knows she’s right and stares off into space.

This post is dedicated to a good friend of mine who is dealing with crap of her own right now.  I worry about her.  I wish the best for her.  I can relate a tiny bit with what she might be going through, and I pray that the gap between her being aware of her crap and getting over her crap decreases exponentially day by day!

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Thank Goodness For Mothers Who Like To Shop
Oct 28 2007

My mother was in town recently for a quick visit.  She helped me go through my entire wardrobe and get rid of pretty much all of my pre-mommy and mommy clothes (up to 10 years old!) that were way out of style needed to go.  We took literally bags and bags of old clothes to the Goodwill.   She then helped me find and gifted me some really nice, new clothes.  I had several moments of sticker shock as I saw how expensive clothes have become!  I usually shop at Target, Ross, or Costco so you can guess how many times I said “Are you sure, mom?”  And she said “Yes, I’m sure.  Now is the time in your life to dress for success.  You are only young once.”  Isn’t she great!

One joke in our family is that I was born without the shopping gene.  Growing up I was more than content to wear torn jeans and shoes with holes in them.  My mother would secretly throw them away when I wasn’t looking which resulted in a few teenage tantrums on my part.  I know she meant well, and she didn’t want other people to think she had a teenage daughter who dressed like a street urchin boy, but at the time I thought she was ruining my life.  I’m sure that episode will re-run in our house in some form or fashion when our daughter hits her teenage years.

She and I both felt that since I was spring boarding back into the business world, I should have a few modern outfits to wear instead of my old Levi jeans and Target tees. :-)

Now if I can only find those elusive, perfect shoes that are stylish yet without a “who can walk on those without breaking their back and tripping on the sidewalk?!?” heels to go with all of these nice new clothes….

Thanks Mom!

P.S.  By the way, I admire organizations like Goodwill because their missionis to enhance the quality and dignity of life for individuals, families and our community by providing job-related services for people with barriers to employment.”  I like non-profit organizations that help create jobs.  The Goodwill store sells clothes that are donated in stores that are staffed by volunteers and paid employees.

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MommyMixers – What an Interesting Idea
Aug 24 2007

I am not sure I would go to a mixer to meet a sitter but it looks like some moms would.  I believe the sitters/nannies have already been screened, but I’m not sure.  According to the article, they are “cash-strapped” college students looking to meet “sanity-strapped” mommies.  I have used Hire A Longhorn to find some college help around the house with cooking/cleaning but I haven’t been comfortable using it to find someone to watch our kids when we are not here.  Fortunately for us, the lady who runs the homecare our daughter goes to has babysat for us in the past and we have a teenage girl (who lives across the street) and her friend who also babysit for us.   The huge plus with the teenage girls is that one of their moms is right across the street and can pop on over if they ever needed help.  She’s a really neat person too.   I also like the fact that there are two of them so they can manage both kids and talk to each other afte the kids are asleep.  If neither the teenage girls nor homecare lady can do it, then we just don’t go somewhere!

Playing matchmaker for frazzled moms

MommyMixer provides a bonding experience for babysitters, mothers


SPECIAL TO THE AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Thursday, August 23, 2007

On a recent evening, about 35 women ranging in age from their early 20s to their mid-40s packed into the 1940s bungalow that houses Kick Pleat, the quirky chic South Austin clothing boutique. They seemed excited, nervous.

A buzz was in the air, but it wasn’t over the 50 percent sale on summer dresses and shoes. These women were shopping for child care.

More…

Author: | Filed under: baby care, mom, mother | 1 Comment »

Reading a Woman’s Mind??
Jul 16 2007

So some folks have developed a face recognition system to help read emotions.  I wonder what it would register for women who just had a baby who need/want to sleep?  Would it be the same feeling as if they wanted “ice cream or chocolate?”  I LOVE chocolate but I know my desire for sleep far outweighed my desire for chocolate on many occasions. :)

Via Engadget:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dutch researchers Theo Gevers and Nicu Sebe, known mostly for their work deciphering the Mona Lisa’s smile, have created a face recognition system which can gauge a person’s level of happiness. The scientists, working with the multinational goods-manufacturer Unilever, created a face-tracking algorithm which maps video of a subject’s face into 3D regions, and then uses those regions to determine their level of pleasure. The tests followed European women’s reactions to eating five different foods: vanilla ice cream, chocolate, cereal bars, yogurt and apples. Unsurprisingly, the scientists discovered that women enjoyed eating ice cream and chocolate far more than an apple or yogurt — the latter even evoking “sad” expressions from 28% of test subjects. Unilever hopes to put the technology to work in creating products such as reduced-fat ice creams which elicit the same response as their full-fat counterparts, while the researchers will be launching a consumer version of the software sometime in August, as well as a website to analyze up to 1,000 user-provided photos daily.

Author: | Filed under: mom, mother, sleep, technology | Comments Off

Lady Bird Johnson – 94 years of a wonderful life
Jul 14 2007

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Since we live in Austin, Texas we have probably experienced the great touch of Lady Bird more so than any other city.  She brought the Wildflower Center to life and helped manage the construction of the LBJ Presidential Library among other things.  Many well known political figures including the Clintons, the Carters, Laura & Barbara Bush, and Nancy Reagan are here today at Riverbend Church to pay their respects.  She was the first First Lady to have a press secretary and used her role as First Lady to actively help others.  I never had the honor of meeting Lady Bird, but I did have the honor of meeting her former well-known press secretary, Liz Carpenter.

I hope I’m able to make as significant a difference in the world as she has.

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Aruni

Author: | Filed under: angels, mother, success | Tags: | 1 Comment »