Taking your brand from online to “on air”

Yesterday, I had the chance of talking to a great group of women at Bloggy Boot Camp Chicago. I’ve never attended at BBC before, which is run by Tiffany and Fran, two really dynamic women who also run SITS Girls. But my dear friend Cynthia has always sung their praises, so I was really glad to be included.

Y’all know how much I hate speaking in public, but the group of women in attendance were so welcoming and genuinely seemed eager to hear what I had to say that I instantly felt comfortable. Tiffany and Fran really set a good vibe for the conference.

I spoke to the crowd about how to transition your brand and content from online to video and on-air. I’m not a vlogging expert, but through my PR work I do do a lot of TV work, and as such wanted to share what I’ve learned about getting on TV with other women who might be interested in doing the same.

I’ve posted my presentation to slideshare and posted it below. What questions or thoughts do you have about TV work? I’d love to hear it so I can improve on this talk in the future.

Hey! I still write for Chicago Parent!

Are you hot yet? It’s going to be record temps in Chicago this weekend.

Find out where to “cool off” in my latest “Best in Chi” Column for my favorite local parenting magazine!

If you have any ideas for future “Best of” Lists – please leave a comment here – I always love hearing from readers.

 

The not-really-working-yet-working mom’s guilt

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted just what I’m going to do with my career, or, lack thereof. See, this past Fall I decided I wanted to go back to “work.”

But “work” when you don’t have to “work” for a living has many definitions. I thought I wanted a real job in a real office where I could have set hours, a real paycheck and other benefits. So, I had a bunch of meetings, poked around job and social networking sites, but after a few months of that, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not quite ready to go back to WORK.

Instead, along the way, I’ve built up with my “business partner” various projects that are keeping us busy. Busy enough that we’re in the process of building our website which will lay out our offering (think marketing to moms, not a huge stretch), and sort of crystallizes in my head what I really want to do: help brands connect with real-life moms through experiential marketing, traditional PR, networking and writing. It’s not rocket science, but it’s taken a long way to get here.

And, for now, I’m happy.

But here’s the rub. All of my networking, business development, website creation, meetings for paying clients and such is slowly drawing me away from my kiddos activities. Already.

Out goes the work I produce, in comes the guilt. The not-really-working-yet-working mom’s guilt.

I’ve already had to cancel on my baby’s two mom-and-me classes for today and tomorrow due to a packed meeting schedule. The baby won’t know the difference, but I know what he’s missing. I’m trying to be good about staying offline at home when my kids are awake and want my attention. I’m staying up late at night sending the emails, drafting notes, connecting. I use my babysitter hours to do more work, but that just translates to taking kids on more errands.

It’s all coming full circle again, three years (wow) after I quit my job.  A reader asked me over email how it felt to quit work, because she was thinking about doing it. I told her I’d write my thoughts and opinion. I can only sum it up like this:

A mom is always working even if she’s not getting paid. A mom is always feeling guilty about something. You just gotta do what feels right for you and your family because that’s what matters the most.

So I’m going to keep on truckin’ for now. Because even though the guilt is there dangling above my shoulder, I’m feeling better than ever about my professional prospects. Now’s the time.

What say you all on not-really-working-yet-working mom’s guilt?

It’s a mad mad mad mad networking world

I’ve been doing it so subtlety even I didn’t realize what I was doing until I made the pronouncement last week while at dinner with my husband, my MIL and her husband.

I’m looking for a job.

Not a half-job (although it’s a nice half-job), but like a job where someone might hire me for regular work, I may have to go into an office once in awhile and most certainly where I’ll make more money than just to cover my babysitter costs.

I thought what I was doing was just scheduling some random meetings so that I would keep myself busy on days that I have childcare and my eldest was at school. But as I got into scheduling such meetings with old colleagues and friends, the more I found myself getting kind of mad, in a nutty, not angry kind of way, about my schedule and the people I am trying to connect with. I’m in mad networking mode.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to on-ramp again. I had an itch two years ago and now it’s like a festering mosquito bite that won’t go away. It’s time, people. I’d like to work again.

I’m planning on journaling this potential re-entry into the workforce so I can help other moms who are trying to get back on that ramp.

People keep asking, well, what do you want to do? This is where I’m at: I have high standards, not only for myself and what I want, but for my potential employers. I don’t want to work full-time. Yet. I need that flexibility while my baby is still a baby. I also want to shift my career focus from employee communications consulting to new media-type consulting especially locally in Chicago. I’d like to think that my four years spent blogging and my time writing, event planning and the like will have set me up for such a shift, but that remains to be seen.

I’m still on step one. Mad mad networking. Seeing how marketable my skills (and I) are after all this time off.

And moms who’ve tried to re-enter the workforce after a break, I’d love any and all tips on how you did it!

My “half” job

I was kind of excited to see my mug in the October issue of Chicago Parent alongside my fellow friends Caitlin and Meredith. So excited that I actually divulged to my eldest that “this is what mommy is doing when she says she has ‘work.'”

Me and my “coworkers.”

He flipped through the magazine and uttered this:

Cool, mom! You have a JOB!

I hemmed and hawed a bit,

Well, love, it’s not really a “job,” it’s just a part-time thing. A part-time sort of job. Not a full-time job.

“What’s that?” he inquired. Because he likes to inquire about these things everything.

More hemming and hawing, and this is all I could come up with. The stereotypical SAHM response.

Like I don’t have to go into an office all day, like, you know. daddy.

“Oh, so it’s a half job.”

Yeah, something like that. I have a half-job.

My husband advised me against putting that title on my resume, but I think it’s catchy, no? 😉

The Limbo Rock

Remember the six month itch I had a couple years back? Well, it’s back, but it’s for real this time and it could be called the My Baby’s Going to Be One Soon and I’m Starting to Freak Out About Having a Career Again Itch.

Or, as I’ll refer it to, The Limbo Rock. (Also, that’s a lot shorter).

I’m in limbo here, people.

I’m craving work. Like real, paid work. Yet, I don’t want to give up some of the flexibility I have by being home with my children.

I’m so torn. Many of my friends whose kids are older tell me to cherish my baby. And so I’m doing that. But they are also the ones who’ve managed to carve nice, flexible careers. And, they somehow managed to do it when their children were young.

So I feel like now’s the time. The baby is almost a year. (I know this isn’t “old,” but it’s not like newborn madness.) I have that ITCH. I want to do more.

But I want the cuddles when I want them. I want to be able to pick up my son from school and his activities. I want to be there for bedtime.

Do I give that up for a taste of an office? A meeting? A *gasp* paycheck?

I’m partly sure I do.

But, there’s the part of me that is worried once I get under that limbo stick I’ll fail and fall down.

I’m doing the Limbo Rock.

Babies and Dentists…

I swear there’s a tie in. You must see the movie “Babies.” Plus, you can win stuff from Maclaren as featured on my Second City Baby Blog

And, with the great help of Tamara at Chicago Parent, my long-labored article about pediatric dentistry is in this month’s CP.

Next time a real post, I promise.

Lull

In some ways I feel like life as I knew has come to a screeching halt. My “professional” work doing occasional freelance writing has dried up just like my milk supply.

It wasn’t totally intentional that I would stop writing and breastfeeding around the same time, but apparently, the less time I sit at my computer to write, the less milk I produce.

In my current, sleep-deprived state, I’m not necessarily missing conducting interviews while bouncing baby burrito  in his seat, or having engorged boobs in the morning. But, it’s nice to be needed. The cries of hunger that eminate from the crib can now be quenched by daddy, or nana, or just about anyone who I beg to come over to help so I can just. go. pee. I liked being the only one who provided nourishment for his little (not so little at 3 months) belly.

It’s also nice to use my brain. There’s only so much television I can watch in an afternoon (and the DVR makes it so much easier to pack it all in). As much as a small assignment stresses me out, I like having my BlackBerry calendar buzz with a calendar reminder of something other than “Get Diapers.” (Yes, I set calendar reminders for such things.)

Motherhood the second time around has brought me a lot of pride, not the least of which is that I felt comfortable enough to breastfeed in public multiple times, not anxious whatsoever to hide the baby under a terrific hooter hider. (FYI, as a Bravado Ambassador, I found it interesting that according to a recent Bravado Breastfeeding Information Council report, where, when and how to feed your baby away from home is a source of concern for many new breastfeeding moms. Up to 30 percent state that having to breastfeed in public creates anxiety for themselves and their spouses.)

I also felt I could conquer more than perhaps I could. Having two kids decreased the amount of free time I had by a factor of like 70, not two. And such, I can’t really feel good about myself putting the baby on the activity mat and the older in front of the television just so I can write up a few paragraphs.

At least not yet.

I’m in a bit of a personal and professional lull and I’m thinking that’s probably okay for now. While my lack of milk will be a permanent change to my body, the professional well will fill up again as soon as I can see QWWERTY straight on my keyboard again. (See! A typo on QWERTY!)

They don’t stay babies forever, and so if I’m not being needed in the same way, I’ll take what I need for now.  A little lull.

What do cool aunts and brain color have in common?

They’re both topics I wrote about in the February issue of Chicago Parent. Thanks to Melanie and Sheila for making my job easy!

See Me Read from See Mom Run

seemomrunNothing like ignoring your blog for 10 days while in newborn hell heaven. And nothing like remembering while in such newborn hell heaven that in about 13 days, you have to get up in front of a crowded room at a public place and read something you wrote that was published in a book.

I hope I remember to shower.

On December 3, catch me and popular writers Dawn Meehan and Vanessa Druckman (now I’m wondering how I fit in with these ladies AND how I’m going to remember to shower) at the Comedy Sportz Club in Chicago at 5 pm. Click here for RSVP and official invite.

And please, if you are kind enough to watch me make a fool of myself in a crowded room, please also be kind enough not to get to close to me. In case I really do forget to shower that day.