Archive for the ‘working’ Category

So It’s Official, I Have a New Job

Okay, so maybe NEW isn’t the correct word. I’m still working with EverythingMom.com but my role has evolved. Since I started working for the online company in 2009, I have been a big supporter of everything the site and the company and the founder, Michelle Davies, has stood for. I believe EverythingMom offers its members, writers, readers and marketers a great environment to connect and learn and share. It’s because of my belief in the company and Michelle that I became a partner in 2010, albeit a silent one.

With the new relaunch of content, site design and ad network, my role as Managing Partner and Editor-in-Chief has been made public. I will still be overseeing editorial content on the site but as a partner I’ll also be working with Michelle to carry the site forward into a prosperous future. What a thrill to be able to be part of a company that is supportive of its community, its contributors and staff, as well as the world around it.

Here’s to a fun and fulfilling 2011.

BlogHer: Emotions and Self-Discovery

I don’t know what I expected for myself by attending BlogHer. The idea of meeting people who I only connected with online was both thrilling and terrifying. Attending sessions where hopefully I would learn from the experience and expertise of others was encouraging. The fact that many others, who seemed to be attending for the first time, were just as anxious as I  (at least according to blog posts and twitter feed) was promising.

Sure I made connections and learned a few things from the conference but the whole trip affected me so much more.

See I like to play the ‘I have it all together’ card. To some I may look the part. I have my own business that I enjoy doing and a family I love. Am I where I expected to be at this point in my life? No, but maybe the more relevant question is am I happy at this point in my life. Yes.

However, let’s not confuse happiness with anxieties or challenges. It’s funny to think that at this point I still have both and it was attending BlogHer that helped me, okay, pushed me, into facing some of these things.

Even when I was younger I was never much of a risk taker, though I do think I was a little more adventurous. I left everything and everyone one I knew to come to a city on my own for school, to start a new life. I traveled overseas on my own to visit countries I’ve never been too. Perhaps I was scared then too but my only memories are the thrill of the adventure and independence, the bragging rights when I got home.

But as you get older and things change you can’t help but change too. I have a job and family and responsiblity. I’ve still traveled by it has always been with my family, with my husband taking the lead. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I love traveling with my kids and husband and I’m fine with taking a passengers position; there’s much less stress. But I’ve been in the passenger position for so long that the thought of taking control again was terrifying.

And going to BlogHer, on my own, would mean just that. Booking my hotel and airline and making my way to New York City on my own, all of this was freaking me out.

I’m sure this seems funny to those who have traveled on their own. It seems crazy to me too. Here I am in my 40s, independent enough to take change and run my own business and I’m worried about taking a trip on my own. I would lay away at night obsessing over getting through security at the airport, missing my plane or getting on the wrong plane, having my luggage go somewhere else, finding my way to the hotel in New York City, getting screwed by the cab driver. All this worry before I even go to the event (which was a whole other set of worries).

I tried to handle my anxieties the best I could. I read the airport details and reviewed the airport layouts. I even made sure to arrive at the airport extra early. I was fortunate enough to know a few ladies who were flying down for the same conference and could catch a ride to the hotel along with them. But even for the flight back, which I was going on my own, I started stressing again.

Everything went fine and the folks at Porter were amazing, even bumping me up to an earlier flight on the way home. I had no issues with my bags or security or finding the check-in deck. Everything went very smooth (except for the main road to the Newark airport being blocked due to an accident and my driver not knowing how else to get there but eventually we made it).

Although I probably won’t be traveling on my own that often, it proved to me that I could do it, that all the stress was for nothing. And if I do get the opportunity to travel on my own again will I be relaxed about it? Probably not, especially if it’s a new airport or city I haven’t been to. These things I know about myself and I try my best to deal with them but perhaps now I’ll have a little more confidence and faith in my own ability when put in this position as the leader, my own guide.

I thought going to BlogHer would have some sort of impact on me but I never really thought the mere act of traveling there would affect me so much, instill more confidence and perhaps a little more security in my own abilities. If I took nothing else away from the whole conference, this personal insight into my passenger seat mentality and being forced out of my comfort zone to face my fears, this lesson was far more valuable than any party or session I could attend.

And if only that was the end. But like everything in life, after you face one fear a new challenge appears. This new challenge is to remember that I faced this fear head-on. Yes it was terrifying and yes, I will feel scared when faced with it again but I made it, on my own. And if put into the same position I will make it through that too.

Top 10 Tuesday: Things I Hope to Accomplish at BlogHer

I can’t believe I leave for New York City this Thursday, off to attend the blogging and social media conference BlogHer for the first time. I am excited but completely stressed also. I’ve actually been pretty busy so I haven’t had a lot of time to dwell on the event (which also means I haven’t had a lot of time to prepare for it either). Some blog posts I’ve been reading have helped (like the ones I listed on my Top 10 post last week).

Now with the day so close I’m starting to focus on what I want to get from this event. So for Oh Amanda‘s Top 10 Tuesday blog post I’m putting together a list of the Top 10 Things I Hope I Accomplish at BlogHer.

  1. Eat Well. Yes it’s a conference but we’re talking about New York City. How can you go to New York City and not enjoy the amazing food it has to offer. My husband wants me to check out the restaurants but I’m really interested in trying some of the unique and delicious street food; stuff we can’t get here.
  2. Organize Myself. Thanks to Michele McGraw (@scrappinmichele) for putting the entire BlogHer schedule online so I could import it into my calendar. I now have everything right on my phone for easy access. Hopefully I won’t miss any of the sessions I really want to attend and the parties I’ve RSVP’d for.
  3. Crack out of My Shell. I’m really, really, REALY, going to make an effort to break out of my comfortable shell. It’s safe behind my computer and on twitter but the times I have met people face-to-face have been so rewarding. I don’t want my insecurities and introverted nature to limit me from some great encounters (I think I can, I think I can).
  4. See the Sights. This will be my first trip to New York City (hopefully not my last but who knows when I’ll be back). I know the days and nights will be busy but I want to get out and see some of the sights that New York City is known for. I’m attending Carol Cain‘s (@NYCityMama) New York City bus tour at night so that should be a lot of fun.
  5. Buy Souvenirs. My kids have a collection of iconic souvenirs based on places they have been or my husband has traveled (like the Space Needle from Seattle, the Liberty Bell from Philedelphia). Now’s my chance to add to their collection so I need to get out to get something that is very New York City.
  6. Take Care of Myself. Based on my calendar and the stories I’ve heard from past BlogHer attendees, I need to make a concerted effort to take care of myself during these few days I’m away. That means drinking (besides cocktails), grabbing more than an appitizer to eat and getting a few hours of sleep.
  7. Be Flexible. I know I have a plan about what conferences I want to attend but I need to ensure I don’t let my schedule dictate my entire trip. This may seem like a contradiction to point 2 but I need to ensure I have some flexibility in my day to take advantage of last minute events or meet-and-greats, even if it means a missed event or a late party attendance.
  8. Take Photos. I’m bringing my camera and my flip and my iPhone (which has a built-in camera) so hopefully I’ll remember to take a snap or too of what’s going on, if only to remind myself what I did over those crazy 3 days. More important than taking photos, I need relinquish control of my camera and let someone else take pictures for me, with ME in them.
  9. Skype Goodnight. I’ll admit it, I’m looking forward to getting away, taking a bit of a break from the kids and household responsibilities, of sleeping in a big bed by myself, of having an uninterrupted shower. But that said, I know I will miss my kids. I’m so excited to have discovered Skype earlier this year (yes, a little slow I know), now I’ll be able to say goodnight to my kids face-to-face so to speak.
  10. Take Advantage of Everything. BlogHer will offer so many opportunities to me: learning how to help my personal blog as well as the work I do at EverythingMom, reconnecting with some fabulous ladies I already know, meeting some others I’ve only known online, growing my own confidence and so much more. BlogHer is only a short period of time and I know it will be over before I know it so I hope I can take advantage of everything BlogHer can offer me.

Hopefully having this list will help me to focus when my mind overloads when I get there. If you’re going to BlogHer this year, what’s on your list?

If it’s in print, it’s official. Right?

Okay, it’s not news that I’ve been working with Michelle at EverythingMom. I started working as the Review Editor last fall and have been really enjoying the work (and trying out new things and sharing my opinion, of course). At the start of the new year I was very fortunate to offered a more integrated role with EverythingMom as the Managing Editor of the site. This means I get a say in what sort of content appears on the site and when. I also love working with companies and public relation firms getting our members new products to try. Michelle made the announcement about my addition when it was official (I still blush when I read it) and I’m listed on the team page, but everything seems so solid when these little guys arrived. And boy am I excited!

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Foto Friday: For the love of Princesses

Happy Friday

It’s been some time since I’ve participated in Candid Carrie’s Friday Foto Finish Fiesta, but I’m back today. We’re heading to Disneyland soon for my birthday which means my youngest has started talking about princesses again:

My 2yo and her Disney World pal Cinderella

My 2yo and her Disney World pal Cinderella

Then she met the real Cinderella

Then she met the real Cinderella

For the love of Princesses:My oldest daughter was never really into princesses. I mean she liked them, but she wasn’t nuts over them. Then comes child number three, the stereotypical fairytale, prince charming, castles in the sky, princess loving girl. It’s funny because we were never really big on pushing girly things.

One year my oldest daughter (now seven) received a Cinderella doll as a gift. She liked it but it sort of just sat on her bed. When my youngest found rescued Cinderella, she took possession, like it never belonged to her big sister. On our recent trip to Disney World the Cinderella doll came with us. She slept in the hotel, she ate dinner in the restaurants, she even went on a few rides. The Cinderella doll was the best friend a little princess loving girl could ask for.

Then we had dinner with ‘the real’ Cinderella and my daughter almost leapt across the table to give Cinderella a hug (according to my husband because, as life seems to work sometimes, I was away from the table and missed the whole event). Through the entire meal my daughter would wave at Cinderella, give her hugs, offer her food, even if Cinderella was across the room.

It was an amazing night for my youngest, which only makes it sad that the night should end with the Cinderella doll going missing. I don’t know if it was from the excitement of seeing Cinderella and therefore the doll was left behind. Or perhaps the doll now paled in comparison to the real princess. Whatever the reason, Cinderella doll will be missed, at least by me.

Training for the Saturday Boy’s Club

Saturday Boys Club in training

Saturday Boys Club in training (2yo)

Women have been known to belong to a number of different social clubs based on their interests: book club, wine tasting club, yoga group, running group and so on. But woman aren’t the only ones. If you’re married, your husband is probably a member of the Saturday Boy’s Club. You see them out on their own but in proximity of other guys. They look at table saws, they compare drill bits and share renovation stories. They always seem to come up with an excuse to get away for their not so secret meetings at the local Rona or Home Depot.

I always thought this was a club guys become a part of when they got married. An excuse to escape requirements at home. A place to enjoy their like-minded company.

But then I made a trip to Rona the other day with my son. He had to sit on and try each of the display toilets. He ran back and forth past the motion sensor set lights. He compared screw lengths and hammered the store shelves. And then it occurred to me… a love of tools and hardware stores isn’t something that guys escape to, but something they learn from a young age.

I realized I was raising a future member of the Saturday Boy’s Club.

I won’t be opening a daycare anytime soon

I’ve been working from home for over two years now and I really enjoy it. My office job was great but the stress of working in the office and handling my family needs was hard. I know others juggle both and I’m impressed. And if I had to go back to the office routine, I’m sure I could make it work too. I’m very fortunate that I have this alternative arrangement.

I say I work from home, which is true I do, but I’m very relaxed about what I do. I think since my husband covers most of the financial burden I don’t have the pressure of ensuring that my home business means I’m working on a job every day. I can take the jobs I want or that work around my family schedule. I love that I can sit on the couch in the family room working while the kids play in the playroom beside me. As I work on a job I’m able to join in on a tea party or help build a Lego tower. It’s a great mix of work and play.

But I know my kids won’t be at home forever. And my original plan wasn’t to stay at home forever. I think that’s why I started working from home in the first place. It wasn’t a financial requirement but more of a mental one. I love my kids but spending all day building with blocks, baking cookies, practicing letters and numbers, that’s just not for me. I didn’t always think that. At one point when I was on leave I was already thinking of not going back, of how to avoid dealing with the stress of work and kids. I actually took a course on running an at home daycare. I toyed with the idea of doing just that, hanging out with my kids and other kids painting and doing field trips. And although I benefited with some knowledge on how to structure my day at home with the kids or setting up a play space, the thought of doing this all day didn’t really appeal to me. Something I enjoy doing with my kids was now going to turn into work and probably more work then my office job.

Maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Yes, at some point I’ll probably have to re-evaluate what I’m going to do. But at the moment I’m spending time doing what I enjoy, taking care of my family and working. And the way my kids are growing and changing, if I spend too much time worrying about what’s coming next, I’ll end up missing what’s happening now.