If a girlfriend told you she was feeling guilty about not feeling guilty, the two of you would share a good laugh, wouldn’t you? Still, there are plenty of working moms falling into the same strange scenario – they’re not agnst-ridden, with hearts broken and hair pulled out, because of the time they spend away from their kids at work or on business trips – yet maternal guilt never fails to whispers in their ears, “don’t enjoy yourself too much!”
This nonesense is completely self-inflicted, but so subtle, and lightening fast, we don’t even realize it. Besides just staying alert to it, other effective ways to stop, or at least muffle, the mommy guilt are all rooted in a good amount of high quality alone time with yourself.
Most of us, myself included until three years ago, don’t really take the time to figure out what success means to us. For me, it was going to college, finding a good job, getting my MBA, landing another good job, and racing up the corporate ladder. That’s what everyone around me was doing – people I loved, admired, and trusted - and it made sense to me. I never gave it much more thought than that, nor was I particularly unhappy. Instead, I think I was pretty much asleep at the wheel. That is, until I started looking at the people at the top of that ladder and realizing I didn’t want the life they had. I didn’t want to be on my blackberry during every family vacation, or helping my kids with their home work over the phone, from my office late at night. I also didn’t want to have to pay attention to the office politics or not speak my truth for fear of losing my job – and my big paycheck. Once I defined what success meant to me, and only me, then I became 100% more comfortable with the choices I made about my career and family.
My choice is only mine. There are other women who want the career I was chasing, and who view it much differently than I do. I truly support them 100%, too. It doesn’t matter what I think, what our mothers or co-workers think, etc. We can put mommy guilt to rest, and get on that next plane with delight, when we know at a soul-level what we’re doing and why.
What’s your definition of success? What choices do you make to support it, or perhaps, not?
Posted by momprenuer Phaedra Cucina, author of the children’s book, My Mommy’s on a Business Trip.
What an honor to be invited to speak with the mompreuner community today! What a pleasure to spend the day with the smart, dynamic women who are a major force in our economy… all while raising happy, healthy kids!
Today, we’re talking about an almost inevitable part of doing business today – business travel. After writing my children’s book, My Mommy’s on a Business Trip, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with tons of moms, road warriors and those who just travel occasionally, who are wracked with guilt about leaving their kids behind and heading for the airport. Some feel guilty about the time away, and some feel guilty that they are actually looking forward to the trip!
I believe your time away is GOOD for your kids, the person left behind to care for them, and you. We’ll talk a lot about this today, as well as stories about our trips – the good and bad. Let’s share the sad stories to offer support to one another and our tips and tricks to help the next trips go much better. Let’s also talk about the upside – what we love about our trips how we make the most of them. One of my favorite parts of business travel is the moment when I walk in the door after a trip and hear that delightful, high pitched yell of “Mommy!” Then 40 pounds comes rushing into my arms and I get a big squeeze around my neck. I can’t think of many things better than that!
Where do you find your self on the Mommy Guilt Meter – guilty about having to go on the trip, or guilty that you’re happy about going? Why?
Posted by momprenuer, Phaedra Cucina, author of the children’s book, My Mommy’s on a Business Trip.
In a few weeks, many of you will be leaving your home offices to attend the BlogHer conference. Or some of you may be attending summer and fall trade shows. Businesses trips are a pretty big deal when you work from home—thrilling, but a little bit traumatic too.
I’ll never forget my first business trip as a mom entrepreneur. My son was 18 months old, and I had to fly from NY to LA for a media appearance. While it was exciting to pack up my professional clothes and business cards and anticipate 3 kid-free days filled with adult conversation, part of me felt guilty for leaving my baby behind. Would he think I was abandoning him? After all, I hardly ever even left my home office without him in tow! Of course, my baby was fine and the business trip was a big success—just the first of many over the years. But I would have had way less anxiety about it if the book My Mommy’s on a Business Trip had been around back then. Written by working mom Phaedra Cucina, My Mommy’s on a Business Trip will not only help you prepare your kids for your departure and reassure them while you’re gone, but it will calm your traveling mommy angst.
The story is told by a little girl, whose own mommy is on a business trip. Through delightful illustrations and straight-forward text, we see the big hug and kiss goodbye, and the nightly calls back home, and all the things that mommy does during her trip, like riding in a plane or train and going to meetings and dinners. Most importantly, we see that even though the little girl misses her mommy, she knows she will be back, and the happy homecoming is beautifully captured on the final page.
Cucina wrote the book after finding that she needed a simple way to explain business trips to her own two kids. “I wanted to help children understand what moms do while they’re away, and help moms feel less guilty about going,” she says. “Getting through TSA is hard enough without having your little ones tugging at your heart strings as well!” she says.
On Thursday, June 25, 2009, Phaedra Cucina will be our guest blogger http://www.mompreneursonline.com/blogs/category/travel-mom/, and will also answer your personal questions on our Mompreneurs® message boards http://www.mompreneursonline.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=6 (look for “Traveling on Business?” post in the Meeting Place section). She will talk more about her book, My Mommy’s On A Business Trip, and explain why feeling guilty about your business travel is like carrying unnecessary baggage onto the plane. Phaedra will also share her tips on how to help kids get more comfortable with your trips and talk in-depth about the silver linings of business trips – there’s more than one, if you know where to look, she says. Not a business traveler? Phaedra’s tips and philosophies work equally well for those of you planning a kid-free vacation!
So before you get ready for your trip without kids, stop by our blogs and message boards on Thursday, June 25, 2009 to hear Phaedra Cucina offer her very best advice.
Facebook, like other forms of social media, is a phenomenal way to become more visible and successful by making a face for yourself online. Facebook is now the largest social network on the planet with over 200 million active users, surpassing MySpace—and it is growing at 1 million new users a WEEK! So you have to ask yourself, do you think your target market MIGHT be there? And if you’re not there, what might you be missing out on?
For those business owners who still aren’t using it, a common objection is that most of those users are teenagers or college students and that there aren’t any benefits to marketing their business there. However, they are often surprised to find out that the average age on Facebook is 35, and that the fastest-growing demographic is Women 55 and over!
Plus, compare the low to no cost of using Facebook—essentially just your internet connection—to other marketing and advertising methods such as the Yellow Pages, the newspaper, TV and Radio and you have got a pretty convincing case for why you should be building a presence on Facebook.
The biggest thing to understand is WHY you are there. What is your strategy? What are your goals or purpose? Again, if you don’t know WHY you are there, it becomes a lot easier to waste time kind of aimlessly floating around.
So how can you achieve maximum visibility in minimum time? Here are some quick tips:
*Update your status regularly
*Skim through the News Feed on the Home page and if something interesting catches your eye, comment on it or hit the “like” button
*Check your wall and if anyone has commented to you, quickly respond
*On the right hand side of the Home page see who is having a birthday and wish them a happy one
*On the top right of your Home page, handle any requests you have waiting
*If you are a member of any groups, check in with them to see if there is any activity you can comment on or questions you can answer or ask
*If you have an event going on, such as a local workshop or a teleseminar then post that using the Events application
*If you have a blog, use an app like the “NetworkedBlogs” to import your blog posts
Facebook can be a very powerful tool to get your business noticed and it doesn’t need to take up hours in your day–you can block out time to use Facebook in your schedule. People laugh, but set a timer if you need to. Think of it as part of your marketing strategy, just as other marketing activities are.
Do you use Facebook in your business? Let me know if you have any strategies to share.
One of the questions I get asked most often from entrepreneurs doing their own PR is “Where can I post a press release for free?”
If you have the time and are so inclined, check out 60+ sites to post a free press release.
As mompreneurs our time is valuable so from the feedback I gathered, three good sites to post on are:
I’d love to know if any of you have used these sites, or others and have feedback to share.
Practical Publicity for the Time-Strapped Mom Entrepreneur
If you’re overwhelmed and confused about how to use Facebook to market your business then you might want to sign up for the free call I am doing this Tuesday night.
In the past year I’ve built a business I love, made valuable contacts, grew my subscriber list, boosted my website traffic, secured speaking engagements and created much more visibility for myself with the help of social media—largely with Facebook. While this experience has been wonderful, I still see a lot of misconceptions and frustrations floating around among small business owners. There are a few myths in particular I decided I wanted to address—so that others can start seeing the results and opportunities that I have enjoyed. It’s time to dispel the myths!
This FREE 60 min. call will be held on June 16th at 8pm EST
If you can’t make the live call you will be sent the recording–however, only those on with me LIVE will benefit from the Q & A at the end of the call—as well as be eligible for the special offer I will be introducing!
REGISTER HERE: http://communicatevalue.com/fbmythsfreecall/
Hope to hear you on the call.
It’s a funny thing with Twitter. You’ll often see spammers or some poor misguided folks promoting the latest follower-getting tools with messages like “get 99,000 new Twitter followers in 2 days just by using this ONE secret trick!!!”
But you don’t need resort to this type of craziness as I am sure most of you know. Of course, you may boost your numbers–but can you really connect with that many people? How meaningful will those connections be? It’s actually a lot more fun to gain new followers the organic, “natural” way.
So how do you do that?
1. Share cool stuff. Regularly tweet links to interesting stories from other sites, blog posts you’ve come across that might be helpful to others, or pictures you’ve taken or found online. This is an easy way to “give” to the community and make it clear that you are not just there to promote what it is you’ve got going on.
If what you are sharing is truly interesting and valuable to others then it is very likely you will be “re-tweeted.” This is often how new followers will find you.
2. Engage in the conversation. This sounds obvious, but you don’t know how many times I see twitterers whose presence is very one-sided. They may tweet about things they are promoting or even share cool links, but there is no interaction.
Start conversations with others or jump into ones that are already in progress. Don’t be shy here. Even if the person is someone you have never interacted with before, people appreciate when others take an interest in what they’ve tweeted. Those who aren’t following you yet will often begin to do so based on seeing your involvement in these conversations. It’s a great way to raise your profile in the twitterverse.
3. Utilize available tools. Luckily, there are a ton of great tools out there to help you make the most of Twitter. Some of the ones I recommend for finding new people are Twellow, Who Should I Follow, Twubble and Mr. Tweet. These services are all free ways to zero in on targeted new folks to follow based on various criteria.
If you have any other ideas to add, feel free to let me know in the comments–and happy twittering!
Subject – Summertime Strategies – Part 1 – dealing with cancellations
We have been hearing from some of you that you are having challenges in two areas of your business as summer approaches. The first area involves party cancellations and the 2nd area is the challenge of balancing family and business. Our next “mini-series” will address both of these potential trouble spots.
Today, we will look at the “why’s” so that you can keep things in perspective. Tomorrow and for several days beyond, we will look at some solutions.
Summertime party cancellations are just a fact of life. Do not take them personally! This is something that those of us who’ve been in the business for a length of time learn to expect and we strategize accordingly. Summer comes and people leave town, kids are sent off to camp, and baseball and soccer season are in full swing. Schedules are, if it is possible, even more hectic and unpredictable than during the school year. Add to that weekend get-togethers – family reunions, weddings, graduations, First Communions, etc; and you find that people are not as available to attend parties as other times of the year.
Balance of family and business become an additional challenge due, in part, to all the aforementioned scheduling challenges that we ourselves are experiencing. Also, for those of us with school aged children; we now find ourselves in the position of “camp activities director” constantly in a position of coming up with activities to keep our kiddos busy so that we can not only have time to make calls, but to get all the other household duties under control. Add to it the fact that it’s even trickier to catch people at home when you do have a few minutes to make some calls and you potentially have a recipe for disaster.
Even if you don’t have children in your life, do not ignore this next series of emails. We know that you too have balance issues and you probably have team members who are challenged with having the kids at home. You will need to be able to brainstorm solutions with them.
So, the easy thing would be to just say, you aren’t working this summer, right? WRONG!
It is more important than ever to keep your business rolling in the summer, it’s just a matter of working it differently. Keep in mind that business is a 90 day cycle. Count 90 days from now and you will find yourself right smack dab in the middle of your fall season. When your fall harvest isn’t producing the “bumper crops” you’d hoped for, rest assured that you will be able to trace it back to your CHOICE of inactivity in the summer.
Subject: Summer Strategies – Part 2 – BE PROACTIVE to avoid cancellations
Summertime can present its own unique set of challenges in the party plan business. Our last email tip discussed the “why’s” of those challenges. For the next several days we will be offering some solutions.
Hostess coaching is always a critical aspect of our business, however in the summertime, it is more essential than ever. Stay in close touch with summer hostesses giving them specific strategies to help their parties to be successful.
Strategy 1 – OVER INVITE! Normally we say double the number you’d like to attend; for a summer hostess that should be triple…(Yes, we did say triple).
Help her to remember people from a variety of places in her life. She should not just invite neighbors or her Bunko Group. She should invite people from a variety of areas of her life. What does she do? Does she work or volunteer? Does she attend church or does she belong to any clubs? How about the wives of men her husband works with? Also, don’t forget the mothers or mother-in-laws of any and all of the guests on her list. You get the idea.
Strategy 2 – Personal invitations are KEY! TRUE STORY – TSF received a party invitation of someone we’d been in a small church group with several years ago. We’ve since lost touch so it was a bit of a surprise to receive her invitation to a home party! While she typed a personal note and included it in the hand written invitation (that described the wonderful dessert to be served); TSF has to admit that (shame on us), set it aside and promptly forgot about it. Imagine how embarrassed we were to find it amongst a stack of bills, the date long since past. A personal invitation via the phone or at the very least, a reminder call, would certainly have made this date more of a priority!
SUBJECT: Summer Strategies – Part 3 – Give your hostess WORDS!
Strategy 3 – Help your hostess with “words”. Believe it or not, some people do not know what to say to invite their friends to a home party. Help her with some ideas for scripts of what to say when inviting. Her enthusiasm for the product will make all the difference in the world with her attendance. Sharing specifically about a particular product that her friend might enjoy looking at is a great way to start.
“Hi Mary, this is Sheila So Swell from the bowling team last fall. I know it’s been forever and I’m dying to catch up with you; but I wanted to let you know why I’m calling. I’m having a Party On! Party this coming Thursday night and I know how much you love to have friends over for dinner. This company has a cool thing called the TACO-RAMA that I KNOW you’d love to use the next time you have one of your famous Bring Your Own Taco nights for the girls in your neighborhood. Do you think you’d like to come by and bring a friend? I’d love to have the chance to sit down and catch up with you!”
You get the idea. Even though Sheila and Mary haven’t talked for a while, we have coached our hostess Sheila to get straight to the point of her call (otherwise, Mary will be wondering the entire time if they are chit-chatting idly). Sheila is enthusiastic, mentions something that Mary will enjoy seeing (The TACO-RAMA) and also makes Mary feel special because Sheila sincerely indicates her desire to catch up with Mary on what’s going on. Getting to the point, enthusiasm, and sincerity are key aspects of a positive response to the personal invitation.