Working It Wednesday Link Up #6
As I have become more involved in the blogging world, and especially the mommy blogger world, I have noticed something lacking. It’s the working mom blogger. Yes, yes, I know there are bloggers of every type out there, and there are a few others who are reading this, probably saying, “I’m a working mom blogger. Here I am!”
But as I have ventured out more and more to learn about other bloggers through link-up parties, Pinterest boards and other social media groups, I have found a lack of resources or groups for the working mom blogger. And let me clarify here – I am talking about the woman who runs a blog in addition to another, unrelated job outside the home.
I am often inundated with the blogs that feature recipes, meal plans and activities for your toddler, all things which are a luxury for this working mom. Let’s face it… I love to bake, but only do it occasionally and only in large batches so I can freeze some for later. My idea of meal planning is getting 5 Lean Cuisines for $10 at the grocery store. And my toddler gets plenty of activities provided through his daycare.
While there are some larger working mom sites, many go well beyond the one-woman show of many mommy blogs I see these days. I can only assume this is because, at the end of a long work day, you’d rather spend time with your kids (and perhaps sleeping) than be up writing stories and being active on social media until midnight. For those of us who are crazy enough to even try, I’d like to create a place where we can find camaraderie.
I recently started my Working It Wednesday link-up party. I know that none of us like to exclude folks, but since I am trying to focus in on a specific group here, I’d like for bloggers to post articles related to career, goal setting, parenting challenges that come with being a working mom, being a mompreneur (cause working moms don’t just include those who work outside the home), etc. Join me on Wednesdays as I continue to try and get some momentum behind this link-up!
Just starting my own blog took months of me going back and forth in my head over whether it was even worth my time (some days, honestly, I am still not sure). And some days it is a real struggle. Sometimes, things like going to a girl’s night out are the priority. Oh, and giving my child a bath… that’s definitely a priority, too. But I love learning new things, too, and blogging has given me the chance to really grow and learn lots of new skills. That, along with the ability to connect to and support other moms other there, is what keeps me going. I hope you will continue to join me on this journey. I truly appreciate everyone’s support.
Are you aware of other working mom sites, groups and resources out there (maybe even your own)? Tell me about them in the comments, below, and I’ll add them to my list!
Working Mom Sites
It’s finally fall! And for me, this means wearing extra-large maternity sweaters and sipping on decaf mochas and pumpkin spiced lattes – in moderation, of course. I love everything fall! Oh, and in case you noticed, I did not do a link-up last week (read why, here), so I am hoping to see lots of new posts this week! You never know where you are going to find new audience members, so come and join us. As an example, a post on tweens resonated with my sister a few weeks ago, as she has a tween herself – and I know nothing of this topic so cannot contribute too much to the conversation.
Often, it is in little ways, but we can always support our fellow moms. As we traverse the professional and parenting worlds, sometimes it’s just nice to know we are not alone in the journey. Every time (ok, almost every time) I make the effort to reach out to other moms, I find open arms welcoming me. And, if those arms aren’t open – or if they are judging me – I don’t need that kind of support anyways. So here’s to a welcoming experience. Grab your coffee, and I’ll grab my decaf mocha (no judgments!), and read on. I hope you will find the support and encouragement you need this week.
Working It Wednesday #5
It was a very busy week at the office, so when I was asked to attend a large event Thursday, I wasn’t too terribly excited. And when I found out ‘attending’ meant I would be sitting on the stage as part of a panel discussion, I was quick to try and think of a reason to not go. I had already politely declined another panel/speaking event for next week, and was hoping I could avoid this one, too. But when the person I was planning to ask to attend in my place suggested I do it before I had a chance to express my absolute fear of speaking in public, I had to accept.
My week continued on, with many other obligations taking up my time. I didn’t even make notes until the morning of the event. And I think that was for the better. I didn’t have (too much) time to agonize over whether it would go well, over whether I might pass out on stage (which is a real possibility at 7 months pregnant). And you know what, I just did it. I went to that event, I smiled and shook hands, and I sat on that stage, listening to the other panelists and speaking as intelligently as possible when it was my turn – the great thing about big stages is the lights blind you enough that you really can’t even see all the people staring at you.
I’m not going to lie – the relief at being done with the event was pretty all encompassing. I could finally completely focus on other things, without this in the back of my mind. No longer did I have this thing lingering over my head, this to-do that definitely had to get done, but which I had no desire to do.
How often is it in life that we dread some event, something that we know we need to do, and then keep putting it off? How much energy do we spend worrying about that item, only to realize it isn’t that bad once we take the steps to actually get it done? Sometimes life is about showing up, about just doing those things that make us uncomfortable, facing those people who we don’t like, or powering through when we really would rather binge-watch our favorite NetFlix show.
Whether it is a report for that graduate school class, an overdue doctor’s appointment, or a difficult conversation with your boss, these things can be avoided – but they eventually have to be done in order to move forward in life. The consequences of not doing that dreaded task can be minor (I would have been forgiven if I had not attended the panel discussion due to not feeling well), or they can be downright life-threatening (like when you have a suspicious-looking mole that needs to be checked out by your dermatologist). While it is easier said than done, just showing up is most often the best route to take. And the less time you put something off, the less energy you will spend worrying about. I know my list is a mile long and any item I can check off it is a weight taken off my shoulders.
What did you get done recently that seemed way worse before you actually took the steps to make it happen? How did you feel once that task was accomplished? Tell me about it in the comments, below.
Find Your Extraordinary is written by Jessica Dilullo Herrin, the founder of Stella and Dot. For those who aren’t aware, Stella and Dot is a “social selling company that creates flexible entrepreneurial opportunities for women.” (StellaDot.com) I really enjoy hearing the stories of entrepreneurs and how they got their start. These stories usually motivate me (even if for a day) to believe in my dreams. This book has some great insights, recommendations and some quotables.
While I could appreciate Ms. Herrin’s story, it was clear she had some lucky breaks and opportunities that many others have not been blessed with. In her own words, “Some bold decisions and some serendipitous encounters have redirected the course of my life.” This is not to say that she didn’t work hard, but I think she was able to figure out her path fairly early on, without too many hiccups along the way. The fact that she sold her previous company, WeddingChannel.com, for $90 million before starting Stella and Dot certainly helped this business launch, as well.
I commend the idea behind Stella and Dot – Ms. Herrin’s desire to help other women enter the workforce without a lot of capital up front (Stella and Dot stylists work under the direct sales models followed by many other in-home sales-type companies). And she did have somewhat humble beginnings, starting off at a community college before transferring to Stanford. But her foray into the jewelry world was after the sale of that first company and was likely funded, at least initially, by her own bank account. I think, while interesting, using her own story as an example of how others can succeed despite having modest starts or personal struggles kind of makes the point fall flat. I would have enjoyed hearing stories of how some Stella and Dot consultants succeeded, despite the odds.“…Luck can’t be your strategy for life. You can’t chart your path to extraordinary based on luck.… Click To Tweet
That said, there are many great takeaways throughout the book. There are also points for reflection and questions to get the reader thinking about their own career path. This book is an easy read (of course, my first time through it was via audiobook) and can provide that little bit of inspiration some of us need to propel ourselves forward. And one point especially rings true for me: the fact that she stresses that each person’s extraordinary will be different. I truly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all formula for success (or happiness, for that matter!). And if this book reminds you of that, then it has been worth the read. For some actual stories of extraordinary women, you can check out the Hello Extraordinary website (which compliments the book). Have you read any inspiring business or personal development books lately? Anything you want to read but haven’t gotten to yet? Tell me about it in the comments, below!
I’m excited to introduce the latest mompreneur to this series. Kate is a friend and neighbor of mine. I really admire Kate as she juggles a lot professionally, and still manages to not only make time for her family, but for herself, as well – a trait all of us moms could stand to adopt. Read on to learn more about how Kate is branching out and learning new skills through her Rodan + Fields business.
Tell us a little about you.
Hi, I’m Kate! I’ve been married to my wonderful husband, Erik, for 7 years. I have lived in Annapolis, MD my entire life and my husband and I have been best friends since we were 15. We have three amazing children, Dylan – 12, Danny – 4, and Kylie – 2, and our pup, Lily, who is 7. Erik and I started dating in 2006 when his son, Dylan, was 2. Being only 21 at the time, I was extremely nervous as to what I was getting myself into, but knew in my heart this was definitely the right thing to do. It has not been easy these past 10 years, however, being able to be a MOM to my 3 kids has been the best!!
What is your current business?
I recently became an independent consultant for Rodan + Fields. It is a premium skincare brand created by 2 dermatologists who also created Proactiv Solution. We are now the #1 fastest growing skincare brand in the U.S. I also have a very demanding full time job as a political media buyer.
Why did you pick this particular business? How does it utilize your existing skills? How does it allow you to grow and learn new skills?
I chose this business on an impulse, really. I have been using the products for a long time and my best friend started selling them and said I should look into selling them…so I did! I wasn’t able to join her team, but it’s fun to bounce ideas off of one another. I never saw myself doing direct sales, especially with skincare products, but I’m having a blast! I love that this work revolves around me and my time and how I want it to grow. I also like that you don’t need to have home parties to be successful! I also got into it because money has been very tight and neither my husband nor I could take on another full time job outside of our home. I thought this would be a good business to get into because many people are looking for good skincare. People need to wash their face and when they run out, they need more! I think this business is great at utilizing my skills at multi-tasking. I am able to work my full time job (sometimes 16 hour days), and have a successful ‘side gig’, gaining customers on a weekly basis. This business has a great opportunity to grow, whether that be to grow your customer base or have people join your team and sell with you. Both opportunities are extremely rewarding. Since joining Rodan + Fields, it definitely has taken me out of my comfort zone at times. I have always been a somewhat shy person, but talking to new people and building personal relationships has definitely given me confidence I didn’t think I had before. It’s also great to be able to catch up with old friends I’ve lost touch with over the years.
What is your biggest challenge as you work to establish and grow your business? (you may have answered above already!)
My biggest challenge is getting turned down and being able to pick myself back up and not get frustrated. I understand that this is not for everyone. I have found that many people in my area are unfamiliar with my business so I’m trying to find new and creative ways to get the word out about it. Another challenge is realizing that building your business (like any business) TAKES TIME. Seeing some of the other consultants in this business and to see how far they have come is so inspiring, I know I can do it too! It’s definitely easy to get discouraged. When I get discouraged, I keep reminding myself that I’m doing this for my kids and my family and I truly believe in the difference the products make in people’s lives.
With small children at home, how do you make time for it all? Any tips or secrets you can tell us about?
With this business, there are no set hours. You work on your own time, when you want to and how you want to. I do much of my business when they are at preschool or after they go to bed. Or if I’m on the road traveling to my other job, I make a couple phone calls here and there. I try to include them in many aspects too. They will help me make up mini-facials.
Blatant plug: Tell us about your favorite (or most popular) product!
Our most popular product right now is the Reverse Regimen. These products help reduce the appearance of dark marks, dullness, and discoloration; giving you a healthy radiant complexion. My favorite product is the multi-function eye cream and the Redefine Regimen, which focuses on visible signs of aging, for firmer, smoother looking skin. My 12 year old loves them too! He has very sensitive skin, and has been to the dermatologist several times for psoriasis and itchy/dry scalp. He’s had several prescriptions to try to treat this and nothing has worked. Once I became a consultant I received many of the products so I decided to use part of the Soothe regimen on his scalp. He said it’s the best his head has ever felt! I was so happy and relieved we have finally found something to help him. It’s really hard to choose just one…I truly love all of them!
Anything else you want to tell us?
Since starting working with R+F, I have been much happier and love what I’m doing. I also love helping people feel comfortable in their own skin! I am so excited to see where Rodan + Fields will take my career and change my life!
You can find out more about Kate’s business by visiting her Rodan + Fields site at https://kateklebahn.myrandf.biz/.
This post is linked up at 100 Happy Days.
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This week has seen me doing a lot of behind the scenes work on my blog. It can be difficult when you feel like you are doing so much, but no one else is seeing it. But isn’t that how life often is? Sometimes, you have to trust that you are doing what you need to do – for you – and that having the validation of others isn’t the most important thing. Whatever your goals are, there is always an element of putting in the blood, sweat and tears, without the external pats on the back to keep you going. Just remember, if you are working toward those things that are important to you, you are on the right path – no matter whether there is a cheering section there to propel you forward.
And now on to the link-up, where I hope you’ll find a bit of inspiration, cheering section or not.
Working It Wednesday #4
As I work to get this link-up going, I look forward to seeing new submissions each week. I am eager to connect with other working moms, and to give our readers some varied views on life as a working mom. Please come and join me with your posts! You never know when you’ll gain a new reader.
This week marks my birthday (shh…don’t tell!), and I have officially given up coffee – yes, even decaf. Boo. The baby doesn’t like it anymore and I simply can’t handle it. But I can always get a Frappuccino at my, ahem, favorite coffee-related hangout. I’m learning to go easy on myself and just enjoy the little things, as I simply try to stay comfy until December, when baby arrives. Speaking of babies, check out my own post (blatant plug) on a fellow mom of a toddler who also works as a sleep consultant. Who knew this was a business – but it’s a service I’d definitely pay for! Have a great week, all!
Working It Wednesday #3
After a few months without any interviews (can I blame summer?), I’m getting back to learning more about some awesome mompreneurs. I’m excited to introduce Teresa, who has a sleep consultation business. As a mom of a toddler, I may need to put her on speed dial (is that still a thing?). Read on to learn about Teresa and how she got into this field.
My name is Teresa Phelps. I have been married to my husband for almost 7 years. We have a blended family: a 15-year-old daughter, a 14-year-old son, and a 2-year-old daughter (mine, his, and ours). I grew up in a single-parent home, so having a good foundation for our kids is something I strive for.
We are a pretty active family—volleyball, basketball, and we’re still trying to figure out what our little one likes. I love to run, bike, and swim, but with a business and trying to keep a balance, I haven’t participated in many events this year.
I will be turning 40 next year, but age is just a number, right??
What is your current business? Explain it a bit for those who may not have heard of this?
I am a pediatric sleep consultant. I work with parents who have tried just about everything and still cannot get their child to sleep through the night. I educate, support, and help them create solutions based on their child’s personality, their history, and their parenting style. I find that the process is a lot easier when parents are ready for their child to start sleeping independently and in their own crib or bed.
Why did you pick this particular business? How did you get turned on to it?
Being a sleep consultant was never something that crossed my mind. In fact, I didn’t even know what one was until we needed help with our (then) 8 month old!!
Our youngest did not sleep more than 4 hours at a time for the first 8 months of her life — so of course I didn’t sleep well, either. I knew something had to change because I was tired, anxious, miserable…and our daughter was fussy ALL the time. I was also very frustrated because my oldest slept great at about 4 months, so I thought, “What is wrong with this kid??”
Well there was nothing wrong with our daughter, it was the fact that my husband and I would rock, bounce, or do anything possible to get our daughter to sleep. And do it all over again when she woke not long after. We never intended to get to that point, it just sort of happened, and the situation was so overwhelming that my husband and I decided to get help.
Through the process I realized that I did things differently with my oldest—she had a great sleep environment, she self-soothed (she was a thumb sucker, which helped), and I allowed her time to re-settle without going in every time I heard her wake. With my youngest, my whole experience was different from the beginning–I had a pretty rough delivery, had issues with breastfeeding, and I wasn’t recovering as quickly as I thought I should. Add sleep deprivation to the mix and it just made the situation worse. Once we changed our routine and schedule, our daughter started sleeping better at night. Naps took a little bit of time, but she caught on and we’ve had a happy child since.
When our daughter started sleeping better, I started sleeping better, and more importantly I began feeling like my old self again. One day I received an email about an opportunity to train with the renowned sleep expert that created the program we completed. I believe one of the most fulfilling things we can do in life is to take our hard lessons and experiences, overcome them, and then help others to do the same. After some research, I decided to start helping families who also struggle with their child’s sleep. And here I am.One of the most fulfilling things we can do... is to take our hard lessons & experiences,… Click To Tweet
What is your biggest challenge as you work to establish and grow your business?
I struggle with keeping a consistent schedule. Life is pretty busy not only with our three children, but I still have my full-time job. So taking time to work on my business gets a bit hectic sometimes, especially when it comes to marketing, networking, and keeping a constant presence. But I’ve been blessed with a supportive husband and kids, and I’ve also had the opportunity to meet some of the most wonderful Momprenuers who support, encourage, and give me a kick in the ass when I need it.
With small children at home, how do you make time for your business?
I’d love to say that I am a master of time management, but unfortunately I’m not. I’m getting better, though! I try to make the best use of my time by cutting out distractions—things like phone calls, surfing Facebook, and responding to incoming texts. Also, I try to be fully present with what I’m doing, whether it be spending time with my kids or working with parents. This is easier said than done because there are always 50 million other things on my to-do list!
What has been the most surprising thing you have learned working as a sleep consultant?
I have learned that at some point or another, many families struggle with their child’s sleep issues, which can affect the whole family. I don’t believe that parents “get lucky” when it comes to sleep; they are doing something that is helping their child sleep. Most often parents don’t need to make drastic changes to their schedule or routine, it’s the small changes that make the biggest difference.
Anything else you want to tell us?
I understand that sleep training is not for everyone, BUT I am trying to change the stigma that surrounds it. Sleep training is not a “leave your child to cry all night by himself” kind of thing. There are many different methods to sleep train that work because every child is different.
Sleep training is actually a process of getting to know your child, his or her sleep needs, and creating routines and schedules that contribute to great sleep. If you want a quick fix, unfortunately there isn’t one, especially if your child is older.
If someone suggests doing something that you are not comfortable with, don’t do it!! Everyone—your Mom, Grandma, friends, even the stranger on the street–has their opinion, and what may work for them may not work for you. The bottom line is you know your child better than anyone else and it’s up to you to ultimately decide what is best for you…and your child.
You can learn more about Teresa and her business at http://www.onceuponalullabyconsulting.com/.
Ever meet that lady who says she loves being pregnant? You know, the one who simply glows the whole nine months, who always looks good, and who seems to have MORE energy during pregnancy? Yeah, that’s just not me. I love being a mom, and I am so grateful for having the ability to carry my own children (with a little help from science). But being pregnant? I am mostly tired and uncomfortable. And I feel fat, especially given I am 5’ 1” and that baby has nowhere to hide. Being in a car for an extended period of time is excruciating to me, I have heartburn, and I’m just plain ready for this baby (#2) to arrive. But there is always a silver lining. There are always a few perks of being pregnant. As I enter my third trimester, I’m reflecting on the reasons to enjoy being pregnant (even if you really just don’t).
1. People stop to let me cross the road.
There are some pretty rude people in this world, which irks me on a daily basis. But once I stick out that belly, the folks who are actually paying attention seem to stop and give me the right of way. I can (usually) make it across the road without risk of being hit. And people hold the door for me at stores. I could take offense, but I choose to enjoy it. Yes, I do need help with my groceries. Yes, you can pick up that item my child threw under your table. Bring on the generosity and thoughtfulness that is so lacking in this world!
2. I can call in sick and no one questions me.
I am tired. ALL. THE. TIME. And often I am worn out due to what should be considered regular daily activities. And I don’t feel too bad about calling in or working from home, if I simply need to rest. As a person who believes that no one at the office has sympathy for my non-pregnant self unless I have the flu and they don’t want it, I don’t mind calling in sick due to ‘pregnancy-related’ ailments. And they usually won’t question me, either. If they do, here’s my doctor’s note. I was just there yesterday…
3. I have a good excuse to take five and go get a snack (or lunch) during a busy day at work.
My work days can be hectic. And I often eat at my desk. But as a pregnant lady, I have no qualms with simply saying, “I need to eat” as an excuse to show up late to a meeting, or heaven forbid, actually take a lunch break. After all, the other people in that meeting won’t appreciate meeting ‘hangry Leah’ if I’m not allowed to get said snack. Never mind that smokers take non-guilt-ridden breaks daily. But that’s my own crankiness speaking, isn’t it? Must be lunchtime!
4. Umm, I can’t pick up anything too heavy? (current toddler excluded, of course)
The lady at Michael’s actually carried my purchases out to the car for me the other day. And I was grateful. I did not want to drop the massive frames my poor judgment allowed me to buy. And I refuse to take large loads of laundry upstairs. It can wait until my husband gets home. Pregnancy offers me the excuse to not overdo it in this area – unless, of course, my son is pitifully looking at me and saying “uppies!” Then I’m basically reduced to a sappy mess and give in. He’s only 24 pounds…
5. People seem to think me just getting through a day is an accomplishment (and I agree).
How many times during pregnancy have I heard a, “Wow, how do you manage it all?” or a “You must be so tired after this day!” Yes, yes, I am tired. And yes, I am superwoman for surviving a 9-hour work day, along with a three-hour commute, and then coming home to feed my child a reasonably healthy dinner. Can I get my trophy now?
6. I can eat whatever I want (well, almost).
Go ahead, say something about the Chips Ahoy and milk I’m eating for lunch. Just try it. I dare you. I’ll eat whatever I want, and as long as it doesn’t have alcohol in it, you aren’t allowed to look my way in disapproval. I recently traipsed (ok, waddled) in to a meeting, munching on the convenience store pack of chocolate mini-donuts, and preemptively told the others (no other moms in the room, ahem) to not judge. I’m pretty sure they did anyways. But I’m also pretty sure those donuts were awesome for the five minutes they lasted.
7. I suddenly become more assertive.
When I was nine months pregnant with our first, a telemarketer called and tried to sell me something. I bit their head off so quick and hung up the phone, that my husband suggested I answer all calls from unknown numbers from now on. Seriously, people, another human being is going to come out of me at any moment. I ain’t got time for that s@*t.
8. I can telework on a hot day (or snowy day, or super rainy day, etc.).
No one wants to risk my health or the baby’s, including me. When we recently had a day where the heat index was 110 degrees, I worked from home. Who wants some pregnant lady passing out in front of a government building, anyways? No one in my office, that’s for sure!
9. Maternity clothes.
Yes, maternity clothes can be awful. Why every designer thinks I suddenly want to wear stripes and loud prints to ‘show off’ my growing bump is beyond me. But, pregnancy clothes are comfy and oh-so-forgiving. I enjoy the ability to wear cotton or rayon EVERYWHERE. I like the idea of leggings, even if for just a few months. I don’t feel any pressure to suck in or try to make my waist look smaller. And for once, I can accept hand-me-downs from women of a completely different size than me. That giant cotton tent you call a dress? Of course it will fit!
10. Oh, yeah, and the baby.
At the end of all this, I get a cute, cuddly little baby, who won’t let me sleep for a couple of years. Yes, I will be tired and it is a thankless job, but it is the best job in the world. And all the discomfort of pregnancy will pay off when I get to hold my little guy for the first time. What is/was your favorite part of being pregnant?
Tell me (and everyone else) all about it in the comments below.