My friend Denise at BlogHer recently wrote I'm fascinated by New Year's Resolutions but I don't make them. Do you?
I had to respond with my rather ambitious Setting Goals When You Don't Know What the Future Holds (and a look back at 2007 with Setting the Stage for 2008).
Denise emailed me, "Wow. This is one heck of a list. It's cool but it scares me." I wrote her back to admit it scares me, too. Not only do I have lengthy professional goal list, but I have My five weight loss and exercise goals for 2008.
Did I mention I have a part-time job, do volunteer work, have two school age kids with active schedules, and a semi-high maintenance husband?
Ambitious? Nah, insane is more like it.
For some more inspiration, I went to Freelance Switch to read 20 Time & Energy Drains You Eliminate. Lots of great advice, but I needed specifics.
Do you think it will change the way we communicate? Do you think it will change the way we do business?
Give your opinion at Content Connection LLC's survey at
http://www.contentconnections.com/socialmedia/. You don't have to be a problogger to take it. Mommy blogger, craft blogger, tech blogger, food blogger - I'm sure they want to hear from us all.
I took the survey. It was very interesting, especially for someone like me who is trying to earn a living blogging and who writes at many blogs.
You will be entered in a drawing to win one of five iPod Nanos that will be given away at the close of the survey.
Content Connection plans to share our results early in 2008 via YouTube and a downloadable Executive Summary. Can't wait to see the results!
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I cracked up when I saw Copywriter Underground's post, Need More Freelance Work? Schedule a Vacation… I wish that was the case with me.
I noticed that I've been ignoring my kids and needed to take the time to help Monkey Boy with school work and discpline/attitude issues. He's a smart kid with a lazy attitude. Boo Girl is very good at playing by herself, but we need to get out of the house more and go to the zoo, see friends, and go to the park.
Also, we have a family trip to see my sister in Switzerland coming up. That means a compromised writing schedule even though I'll be taking my laptop and have access to a wireless connection. So why not start slowing down before we go?
Yet it's just not about the family obligations. I've realized that I've become burnt out and depressed. It's come to the point where I had to stop writing for awhile. When I dread writing I know something is wrong, since writing energizes me and gives me purpose. It was time to read, think, breathe, watch lots of Star Trek reruns, and have a glass of wine or two.
Also, I realized I've been neglecting my health. I forgot to get my annual check up, blood work, and mammogram last year - and I never do that. So I've been making doctor's appointments and finally found time to go back to my yoga class. Considering how well I slept that night after class, I need to go to yoga more often.
So it's time to regroup, reevaluate goals, read, and write. I'm going to start doing magazine work, since it's a good fit with my kids' schedules, especially with summer vacation just around the corner. I hope to take advantage of our trip and write small articles for various travel sites. Also, I've been having fun doing the LoudLaunch paid posts. At $15-35 a campaign (posting the same info at several blogs) for 15 minutes of work, that's not so bad. I just hope it hasn't pissed off or bored my readers too much.
So my apologies if you're wondering where I am. I'm fine, just taking a break.
(Originally posted at The Write Spot, my freelance copywriting site, but edited here.)
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Life is moving at the speed of life...what gets me so pumped up is that when you give up control – the Universe/God/Spirit (call it what you will) ALWAYS has a bigger plan than you have for yourself.
I truly believe in Serendipity. I've fallen into the best things in my life, from my husband and kids, to my paid writing gigs and being on the charter school board. Sometimes I find that when I pursue things too hard - and want them too much - they don't work out or aren't right for me.
I literally follow my own yellow-brick road as it continues to unfold in front of me. One brick at a time. One shiny-red, ruby slipper in front of the other.
However, I just don't sit here all day waiting for something to happen. I'm purposely proactive and try to be ready for the next good thing. I keep my blogs up to date, and try new services and techniques like Technorati tags and FilmLoop. I work on improving my writing and web skills. I network vitually with other bloggers, editors, publicists, and book publishers. I also network locally with business people and government officials through my local chamber of commerce.
I also try to be ready to take advantage of any opportunities that come my way and always have my Usborne Books, blogging, and freelance writing marketing materials with me or in my car. I leave the house each day knowing that I may make a contact that becomes a paying gig...or good friend. So that means always leaving the house nicely dressed, with makeup and hair done, wearing my Usborne pin or a blogging t-shirt.
So what are you doing to bring Serendipity (or just good opportunities) your way? As Kammie asks,
First, there was the response by Literary Mama in The "Elite" Talk Balk, and then the response to that by Linda Hirshman herself (see the second comment from the top). Linda left a scathing response to Miriam Peskowitz of Playground Revolution (and author of The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars: Who Decides What Makes a Good Mother?) and her comment that:
"She's trying to find a book contract for this, god help us all. And she's a scholar too, she should know better about how to use evidence. Enough, enough, enough. We've got a whole country out here trying to make ends meet, and this is the crap we get, again and again and again."
My response? We argue until we're blue in the face, but still the fact is that the whole work/life balance is a tricky one for today's parents, especially those at the lower end of the pay scale. If we spent time changing the situation instead of arguing about it, maybe we could come up with some better solutions for work (full time, part time with better benefits, job sharing, telecommuting, etc.) and affordable, quality daycare (public financing, mandatory fulltime preschool and kindergarten, daycare co-ops, etc.) We need to stop talking and take action.
As usual, the media is going out of its way to make working mothers feel guilty. As Jim Williams of CBS reported on August 16, 2005, there's a supposed link between working moms and child obesity.
(CBS) With an obesity rate in this country triple what it was 30 years ago, scientists are now exploring the role a woman's job may have on a child's health.
Whether you blame school vending machines, fast food, or too much TV, American kids have never been fatter. Now, Wellesley College professor Phil Levine has found a link between working mothers and childhood obesity. One finding in his study was particularly surprising.
“That effect tends to be concentrated among upper income women,” he said.
But by upper income, we're not talking about the country club set. The study is referring to families with a total household income around $80,000.
Professor Levine believes working moms are so strapped for time they may be forced to take unhealthy shortcuts like swinging through a drive-thru for dinner.
Dr. Lee Kaplan is an obesity specialist. He says a possible relationship between career moms and childhood obesity is worth looking at. “There's some evidence that the generation of our children is the first generation in recent human history that will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents,” he said. “That's mostly due to obesity.”
Many women we talked to say they try, but they just can't do it all.
“It's hard to be successful at work; it's hard to be successful at home; you spread yourself really thin,” one woman told us.
“They beg me for time to go to the park,” said another. “In between work and cooking, I only have time to do it on the weekends.”
Dr. Kaplan says inspiring change will be difficult. “We're not going back to an Ozzie and Harriet lifestyle where we have mom sitting at home spending six hours a day shopping for food and making breakfast, lunch and dinner,” he said. “No one has that kind of time.”
Both Dr. Kaplan and professor Levine say this doesn't mean moms should stop working, but they agree it may be time for society to start looking for a solution.
(© MMV, CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
Of course no one is blaming working dads, since moms are still responsible for most of the cooking and grocery shopping. But look at society. These kids are not walking to and from school each day, probably because they have activities before and after school and have too much gear to lug around (sports equipment, band instruments, dance gear, etc.)
Then many upper income kids don't go to a neighborhood school but are bussed or driven to a better public or private school far away. Then many parents don't want their kids walking to and from school for fear of getting snatched or run over.
Also, between work, school and extra curricular activities, so many families are on the run that no one's sitting down to eat any more. I know several families who go through the drive through and eat pizza in the car on the way to sports practice no matter if it's mom OR dad who's driving.
Then there's stress eating. Everyone's getting fat because we're all soothing ourselves with sugar-laden fattening treats. Better than cocaine, I guess.
All in all, there are too many factors to take account of, so lay off blaming everything on working moms. All moms work - and dads too - whether it's inside or outside the home.
I've taken the plunge and become an Usborne book seller. You can see my book website here.
For those of you who don't know about Usborne Books at Home (UBAH), it was the first multilevel direct selling company in the United States to offer primarily nonfiction educational books for children. UBAH has approximately 8,000 active consultants who sell 1,300 titles plus have exclusive rights to offer another 80 more.
Did the phrase multilevel direct selling company make you gag? Yes, it's like Tupperware or Mary Kay. However, I signed up with them because books, not bread, are the staff of life. Like being too rich or too thin, you can never have too many books or read too much.
I've always wondered why I rarely find Usborne books at thrift or consignment stores. I think it's because people keep these books for a long time, and pass them down to younger family members. The books can take a lot of wear and tear because they're of good quality with reinforced covers and thick, stain resistant paper.
Now some of you familiar with UBAH may think that the books are expensive. Have you priced children's books lately at Barnes & Noble? Good books, no matter where you get them, ARE expensive. However, Usborne book prices are comparible to what you'd find in any bookstore. I'm also convinced that parents, schools and libraries think that Usborne books are worth the cost.
It's a bit ironic that I'll be making money selling other people's books instead of from writing my own, but that's o.k. for now. It'll be three more years until Boo Girl's in school fulltime. Lately I've found it very hard to find more than 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to write (which makes blog writing so convenient). So this fits my plans for now. Plus, it'll help me learn how to market myself, a big deal when you're trying to sell your writing services, books and articles to clients, publishers and readers.
Go to my UBAH website NOW and help get me started!
Now that things have calmed down somewhat with My Charter School, I'm looking to the future AWAY from school like a job or freelance writing. But I wonder wonder what direction to head in. I've had some interesting things happen with my volunteer work with MOTHERS - the e-newsletter and book blog (MOTHERS Book Bag) I write for them.
So far I've talked to the Denver Post about the book blog, and had my name in print just before Mother's Day. Then last week I was interviewed by an intern for Working Mother magazine. (The article will be out about the book blog in their September/October issue.) No big deal, I thought, just an intern. But then a senior editor emailed asking for more information on me personally, so I took the opportunity to highlight everything else I'm doing from the charter school to the MOMS Club ot the cooking blog 'cause you never know.
Then ABC News called me about a story I wrote awhile ago called In defense of television at DotMoms. The reporter talked to me about my philosophy on letting my kids watch TV. Then she asked if it was o.k. for the local ABC affiliate to come by and interview my family. I turned her down since I didn’t want my family subjected to a media circus helping ABC (and their parent company, Disney) defend their children's programming (that's their job). Plus I didn't want people questioning or challenging my parenting style. Now if they wanted to come out and interview me about blogs or My Charter School that would have been different. Still, it was neat getting a call and finding out someone at ABC News is reading my stuff.
Then today I saw a help wanted ad from a nearby daycare center needing toddler aides. It's a wonderful facility with great employees and a good program. I really liked having the kids there last summer for one day a week. Since I could work and have Boo Girl at the center for free while Monkey Boy was in school, I'm considering applying for the position.
It wouldn't pay much since it's entry level, but at least I'd be in the work force and not just volunteering (good for the resume). Also considering if I did go back to work full time, pay for daycare for Boo Girl, and after school care for Monkey Boy, I'd probably be making just as much. Even so, the extra cash would be nice.
These days I've been researching the childcare industry since afforable, quality daycare is key to the work-life balance issue that I've been writing about with MOTHERS. Plus after helping to set up the preschool program at My Charter School, preschool/daycare has become an intriguing career opportunity. I don't know if it'll mean going back to school, getting an early childhood degree, and becoming a daycare/preschool director, but you never know. It's certainly a growing and needed service, especially out here since I live in the fastest growing town and next to the third fastest growing one Colorado (both towns are in the top 10 of fastest growing towns in the U.S.)
So whether it's writing or childcare, interesting things are happening around here. Where it'll lead no one knows....
MOTHERS is a grassroots, diverse network of mothers, fathers, grandparents and other adults who are family caregivers. We are coming together to promote the economic, social and political worth and importance of family child and dependent care. We are bringing together a coalition of individuals and organizations to improve the economic security of those who do caring work.
Check out the website, see what they're about, and sign up for the e-newsletter while you're there, too!
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