Wednesday, October 28, 2009

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We've changed our name, given ourselves a revamped look and are excited to show you the new mommy madness marketing site - Check us out and thanks for following!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Simple Card

Mornings have been and always will be, a slow time of day for me. Unlike hubs who can bound around the room at 5 am, singing loudly and handing out bear hugs, I slowly climb down the stairs most mornings in a stupor. After I blindly brew coffee, I sit at the counter stunned that another day has begun. That's why the kiddos get to watch cartoons in the mornings. It's the only time of day I am completely and totally left alone. (Ok, after getting breakfasts of yogurt, milk, cereal, nutrigrain bars, more milk... you get the idea.)

I use the time to read the paper, do a little writing, catch up on client emails. I was in the middle of my morning routine yesterday, diligently typing on my laptop, when my son asked me to look at something. "Just a sec" I said, brow furrowed. (Let me just say I use the phrase so often, one of my 2 year old's first sentences was "jesec".)

"MooooommmmMMM..." came his reply. "Come look at what I drew." "uh huh", I said distractedly. For heaven's sake, kid, can you pull the umbilical chord out of my belly button for a pithy hour? I thought. "MOM!" came the reply.

Knowing I wasn't going to win this one, I turned and gave him my full attention. "I made you an 'I love you' card," he beamed. And there, in the middle of the page he was holding, was the most beautiful, lumpy, misshapen hearts I have ever seen. The first one he's ever drawn --- and he drew it for me.

I shut my laptop, gave him a big hug and got down on the floor to draw with my two beautiful kids.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A case of the "whys"

My almost 4 year old son has a condition that we can't seem to break. It came about very suddenly one day and now, I'm afraid, it's here to stay.

It's an unmistakable case of the "whys".

As in, why is the sky blue? Why is dirt called dirt? Why is the ground called ground?Why is your answer I don't know? And the ever-popular, "Why does your armpit have little hairs poking out?" For the record, I do shave, just apparently not close enough for the hawk-like eyes of a preschooler.

Frazzled as I am by the endless questions, I can't help but wonder how the technique would work on my clients. In my mind, it would go something like this:

Client: So, in a nutshell, we need to get on Oprah, pronto.
Me: Why do you need to get on Oprah?
Client: So we can get in front of a national audience.
Me: Why is there a national audience?
Client: (Strange look) Uh.. I guess so they can be sold on products like ours.
Me: Why are there products like yours?
Client: (Blank stare)
Me: Exactly.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wall Street Journal and...potty time

Here is my life in a nutshell: yesterday I was running around my house screaming over the fact that me and my company were named in an article in the Wall Street Journal. The WALL....STREET...JOURNAL!

But, and here's the catch, as I fielded calls congratulating me over my serious press, I was crawling around on my hands and knees begging my daughter to put on some diapers. She had pulled them off and decided to pee in the middle of our kitchen floor.

And that, my friends, is the beauty of my life. To someone who doesn't know me well, they may be impressed that I landed myself in one of the nation's premier papers. But for those who know the real me, they know it's the practice of trying to act like I'm "the shit" while wiping up the real thing.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Got a Good Slogan?

Seriously! What is it about 4 year olds that make them instantly ready to interrupt phone calls and any conversation that doesn't involve them? It's like my son has a sensor in his head connected to our phone. I pick up the receiver and he comes running - more often than not screaming something only dogs can hear!

Which is how I found myself on a phone call last Friday afternoon, with a laughing client as I tried to speak intelligently above my son's 500 decibel questions about his private parts. Really?

Ok ladies, I think it's high time we have some humor in the mix about our predicament. I'm putting out a call for best slogans for work-from-home moms. Things like, "Mommy Needs a Nap." Or "Where's my Bottle?" with a pic of a bottle of wine.

Give me your best shot and I'll begin posting them. We gotta laugh about it, right? Either that or continually bang our head against the wall. And I don't know about you guys, but I've got enough headaches in my life!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Client Communication in the Service Industry

If you are a freelancer or in the service industry, you have got to watch this video. It will make you laugh (or cry) all day. A friend of mine sent it to me this morning. It's brilliant.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Running for my life..

Here's a little sneak peek if my life were a movie -- this would be the horror scene.

Imagine a conference call for a new client, needed at 3 pm -- officially the time between when our nanny is off for the day and hubs comes home from work. Otherwise known as - the dead zone. I set up the video, popcorn and juice for the kids. All is ready. They're watching a moive quietly as I dial into the line. When SUDDENLY...dun...dun...dun...

A chubby hand knocks on the office door. OH NO! I put the phone on mute and direct her back out to the living room. Unmute. And then.... chubby hand. Mute. Direct her back. Unmute. This is not working...

I run upstairs to our bedroom and close the door. Unmute. I can hear my daughter milling around the door outside. Mute. She finally gives up. Unmute. Hmmm... it's a bit too quiet. I peek out. She sees me and comes running. Mute. Mute. Mute.

This is the chase scene part of the movie. I literally run from my two kids and try to find a quiet place, wildly hitting mute and unmute while answering questions with a quick yes. mute. no. mute.

I bust into the bathroom, running for my life, close the door and sit on the floor. Awww - quiet. Unmute. ----- Only to have my cell phone die.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back from a little va-kay

It's been awhile since the last post. In that time we've taken gorgeous family photos by a ridiculously gifted photographer by the name of Nicole Ishida, who owns Lyrebird Images ( The photo above was taken during a rare down moment for my otherwise BUSY one and a half year old daughter.

We then visited some family in NM. My sister-in-law is the multi-talented mind behind Sweet Bitty Bows (, the cutest and best quality clippies and bows you'll find for your little princesses.

Both of these women are so inpsiring. They have multiple children and choose to chase their passion while juggling full families and schedules. Nicole does her photo sessions on weekends, Denise has her laptop propped at the kitchen table to ensure she doesn't miss upcoming orders. In fact, she's been known to stay up until 2 a.m. putting bows together, after the kids have gone to bed.

I always feel so guilty about owning a business while raising my kids - am I doing enough? Am I spending the right amount of time with them? Are their imaginary cell phones and laptops crying out, "stop working and pay attention to me!" ...

And then... I have the privilege of hanging out with women like Denise and Nicole and am reminded that we all are beautiful and unique. We have dreams. We have goals. We are... still women in addition to being mothers, wives and daughters. And that's worth something. We moms talk a lot about never giving up on our kids. These women have taught me something else - the pure beauty of not giving up on ourselves.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Every now and then a moment comes along that makes you stop and realize the blessings you have in life. Recently that "moment" for me was encapsulated in a day. Father's Day in the Halter household, to be exact. If you couldn't already tell from my blog, I'm a bit of a "go-getter" if people are being kind and a "hyper, pain-in-the-ass" if they're being realistic. So for Father's Day I had a huge amount of things planned that I just knew hubs would like. Maybe we'd rent a boat for the afternoon? Perhaps a picnic at the lake? No, I know -- we'd go bowling! I would ask Tim what he wanted to do and he'd tell me exactly what he wanted - he wanted to do nothing. Just relax..... ahem.... What? Who does that anymore?

The day came and I settled down enough to actually take Tim's wishes into account ( Crazy, I know.) Me, Tim and the kids stayed in our pajamas until almost 2 pm and did... nothing. And you know what? It was fantastic! Ethan and I made a father's day breakfast and later made rice krispy squares, Tim watched the US Open, Emi played with her toys... After awhile I realized my kids were the most happy and relaxed I'd seen them all week. When I took enough time to slow down from the business of making things "fun" (aka running around like a chicken with my head cut off) Guess what? We actually started having fun. In our jammies. At 2 pm.

Later we did manage to scrape ourselves off the couch and go bike shopping. We were supposed to be looking for a bike for Tim (being Father's day and all), but ended up getting one for Ethan instead. So my darling husband spent his father's day assembling a bike for our son.

And that's the thing about dads - they're so busy taking care of us and teaching us how to relax - they can often get overlooked. But every now and then the veil is pulled from my eyes. As I watched Tim sweat over assembling our son's bike on what was supposed to be "his day" I fell in love with the father of my children all over again.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dealing with a load of crap...

This is not, as you might expect, a post about a hard client. No. no... this is a situation that will go down in Halter history and lore. My almost four year old has become completely obsessed with all of the different ways he can pee. This is a kid who learned instantly how to go potty as soon as he realized he could do it standing up.

So it came as no shock to me when I found him one warm, sunny day showing his goods to the world as he peed off of the side of our backyard deck. I asked him why he did it and he informed me daddy taught him how. Ahem.

As you ladies know, you've got to pick your battles. He was in our backyard and wasn't peeing directly on his sister, so I figured what could it hurt? "Let the sun shine in."

....You know what's coming, right?

Yesterday we're out in the yard playing when I see a huge load of dog poo by our deck. Here's the kicker - we don't have a dog. I pull Ethan aside and as quietly I can muster, ask him if he poo'd off of the side of the deck. The answer was an absolute yes. You've gotta give the kiddo points for honesty.

Needless to say, after a long coversation, poor Ethan is no longer able to pee as nature intended. Man, talk about a crappy week...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Check out the power of mom bloggers!!!

Go Moms!

See video by AdAge in regard to the power of mom bloggers!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Balancing Act

A close friend of mine and business associate recently decided to try to stay at home with his newborn while continuing to work from home. (And yes, I said "his" - it's a guy - how cool is that?) As all of us work from home moms can attest, it's been a bit... um... difficult for him. After about two weeks he's decided he needs to bring a sitter in at least two days a week so he can get some time to concentrate on work and work only.

I did the same thing after my first was born. Thought I could work while also watching the baby. That's how I got puked on during a business meeting, but that's a story for another post....

I eventually got a nanny. At first for 12 hours a week and shortly thereafter upped it to 20 hours. After all, not many Editors think it's "quaint" to hear, "Mom, I need you to wipe me!" at 300 decibels.

Interested in hearing how you solved the dilemma. Weigh in.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Introducing Darry Miller...

In addition to my PR agency, I've been working on a side project helping promote a wonderful up and coming musician named Darry Miller. We recently posted his new single, Everly, to YouTube. Check him and Everly out when you have a chance - you'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Help - I'm Addicted to Jon and Kate Plus 8!!

I seriously love this show. I love the 8 kids and up until this season I loved Jon and Kate. They were in Hell, but damnit, they were in it together and even more amazing, could laugh about the exploits of their crazy life. What was there not to like?

This season's opener - for starters. It was like being a fly on the wall in a marriage counselor's office. Could Kate be any more flippant? And John - help decorate your damn kid's party, man! It couldn't have been more awkward as the couple sat as far away from each other in the chair as possible.

I feel bad for the family - and oddly connected to Kate. While I may not believe in the tactics she's using - I connect with her need to try to balance family life and a fulfilling career. Is this proof that we can't have it all? Or maybe we just need to each individually determine what "it all" means to us. Interested in your thoughts on this matter...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Throw Her in "the Hole"

I've been in the hole the last few days... its been dark, scary and devoid of any communication. I haven't truly been in jail, but its a prison of its own making. This last Monday I plunged myself into darkness when my coffee spilled and fried my Blackberry. How one of the great loves of my life (coffee) could create so much pain defies logic... but I digress...

I was never a person who had to have a cell. In fact, just a few short years ago friends would ask why I even owned a cell phone. I never carried it. But that all changed when a seemingly innocent fruit came into my life, dun... dun... dun... the Blackberry...

I marveled at its charms. It was a working moms dream come to life. I would check emails from the zoo. Text about "business meetings" while downing glazed donuts, even chat with friends while playing yet another round of Whack a mole.

Fast forward to a year later and I was hooked faster than a trout with no peripheral vision. I could now text without looking at the pad, make calls with voice activation, even update Facebook. And then came the morning it all ended. I was frantic. I felt like the corporate rug had been pulled out from under me. Actually, more like spit on and then yanked, leaving me falling behind. Some suggested using my work phone. Hmm- an unworthy competitor. Go back to my old cell? Ridiculous!! And that's why I found myself running into the nearest Verizon store, two kids in tow, desperate for another hit. I felt feverish and hot until they placed the new, shiny communication powerhouse into my sweaty palm. And only then did my heart returned to normal.

Folks, I am now, officially, a crackberry citizen. If my old cell could see me now....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's a cruel, cruel summer...

My agency has been operating almost exclusively in the automotive industry for the past several years and we've been riding the gravy train... but lately the train has become a bus. A broken-down, old school bus on its last leg. As the summer approaches it looks like more dealerships are closing, Chrysler may be gone for good and Fiat is going to rule the world. Interesting times, to be sure. And yet...

Amidst all of the upheaval, I can't help but feel optimistic. Some could say down right inspired. This will cause me to stretch my limits, reach into new industries, learn new PR techniques. This week I've been using Twitter for business, creating a blog for my company, learning how to promote my company on LinkedIn and sharing my thoughts with the world in byline articles and blog guest posts. I'm working harder than I have in the last few years.

I think every now and then we all need a little nudge to get out of the "gravy train" lifestyle and back into the business of being creative. Just happens instead of a nudge, I got an asteroid. An asteroid with the names GM and Chrysler flaming behind...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Makeup Emergency

I'm on the phone with a client this morning and letting my daughter, Emi, do whatever she pleases so she'll stay quiet. Mind you, I am in the same room, just letting her do her thing, so I can do mine.

I'm not paying much attention until I get off of the phone and turn around. She has taken a makeup "pack" out of my bathroom drawer, dug her nails into the 50 or so eyeshadow, lipsticks and blushes and "applied" the makeup to her face, clothes, tights, the bathroom carpet, and by the looks of the purple smudge on her teeth, has decided to eat some.

This with just 15 minutes to go before we need to scoot out the door to take my son to preschool. I did my best to clean her up so we could go, but some days, a girl's just got to have her "face on" before she presents herself to the world....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Employee Number One

There are certain times as a work-from-home entrepreneur that seem unbearable and one of those times, without question, is the passing of a pet. This week we had to put our beautiful dog Bogey down after a battle with cancer. Bogey was my stalwart companion. When I was on bedrest with my son Ethan, Boge put herself right down beside me and we toughed out the 5 weeks together. Not a day went by without her pawing my office door and once I let her in, laying down with a sigh at my feet. She was always here... until she wasn't.

As I work in my office, I find myself looking to the corner where she always laid and I'm missing her in so many new ways. Her wagging tail when I got home from meetings, her "love barks" in the middle of important conference calls, even her farts, which measured off the charts on the richter scale.

I think I would still miss Bogey just as much if I had a job outside the home, but I don't know that I would miss her as often.

So here's to you, my first and best "employee." You are missed more than you know.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Clean Up in Aisle 5...

As a non-coupon clipper I'm usually the one behind the person with the envelope huffing and puffing for them to hurry up so I can get on with it. But recently I read an article where a woman saved a whopping $75 on her grocery bill using coupons. It was one of those crazy articles where her total was $95 and her final tally was $17. WHAT?

Still stunned by a monthly grocery bill of $1200 per month for four (yes, you read that right), my mind reeled at the thought of saving all of that money. So the next morning I dutifully cut out all of my coupons and headed to the store with my one year old daughter. Each and every item I had clipped out was gone - every one! How could this be? We had just clipped out the coupons that morning.

I wearily made my way to the meat counter and asked the woman to give me the two for one coupon special on lunch meats. She looked at me and then at my overflowing cart and 15 month old. "Honey, that sale doesn't start until tomorrow."

So, with as much bravado as I could muster, I lifted my daughter out of the cart, asked them to restock it all said I'd visit again the next day.

Damn coupons!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Introducing a New Mamapreneur

This Monday's mamapreneur is fabulous Denise Erickson, owner of Sweet Bitty Bows, the cutest custom-made bows and clips for little girls you will ever come across. Denise hand makes the bows and runs her business while also raising three adorable kiddos under the age of 10. Our hats off to Sweet Bitty Bows and to Monday's Mamapreneur, Denise!

Check out her bows at or on Etsy at and help support fellow mamapreneurs. Congratulations, Denise!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Not Now, Mom, I'm Working...

My son Ethan has learned an interesting trick from me when trying to get out of something he doesn't want to do. Rather than explain it, I'll give you a real life example from yesterday.

Me: Ethan, it's time to pick up your toys.
Ethan: Mom, I can't right now. I'm working. (With hand palm- out, as in "Don't bother me.")
Me: Working? On what?
Ethan: My compooter.

Hrrrmpphh. Why could the kid not learn work ethic? LOL

Monday, March 23, 2009


As momtrepreneurs, it's a tough balance between kids and your business, but women are doing it, and doing it extremely well, every day. Today I'd like to introduce the first of hopefully many guest columnist mamapreneurs -- otherwise known as ONE HOT MAMA.

Today's HOT MAMA is Jennica Maxfield. Jennica is a mom of 4 and the owner of Peekaboo Kids Gear (, a unique kids consignment shop. She also maintains a blog at called I Want to be a Work at Home Mom!!

If you like her below post, head on over to and follow her or let's support other mamapreneurs and purchase her gear. -Laurie ______________________________________________________________
Do you ever wonder what kind of legacy you are leaving your children? What they are learning from you every day and the impressions you will leave on them that will last for the rest of their lives? Does it freak you out as much as it does me?? As overwhelming as that can be, I believe it is good for us to be frighteningly aware of the task ahead of us.
I was thinking about this the other day as I came home from working at my (temporary) day job and then picked up where I left off with my business (my real passion). I kind of speculate sometimes about what my kids see as they are watching me work 12-16 hour days every day. A workaholic? Maybe.But maybe not.
When I’m putting in the amount of time that I am to create the business of my dreams I occasionally sit back and ask myself ‘Why?’…and you know what the answer is? For them. I want my kids to see that ANYTHING is possible. I want to show them that regardless of circumstance, age, class, skin color, gender or anything else that might present as an obstacle in their lifetime, they have within them the ability to be a force in this world.I also want to demonstrate to them that the sole purpose of our lives is not to make as much money as we can and acquire a gazillion possessions. This life is about people. Relationships. Connecting.
And while it honestly doesn’t matter to me whether my kids become business owners or doctors or missionaries (though all those are noble!), it matters that they learn to follow their passions and know that they can make a difference in the lives of people around them with those passions.So I’m here to tell you today that yes, it is worth it. It’s worth all the hard work and time and effort you are putting into ‘It’. And BRAVO for pursuing your dreams and being an example of courage and determination to your precious kidlets!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

You Know You Need to Vacuum when...

I just asked my son to stop laying on our dog as if she's a pillow and instead lay next to her on the rug and he told me, " I can't -- the floor's too dirty." Ahem.

He then went on to point out, " See, cracker, cracker, (Imagine his pudgy finger pointing to minuscule crumbs on the rug.) It's too yucky to sleep."
When I stopped laughing, I did have to admit that a week without a nanny, handling kids on my own and trying to work full days, had indeed done a number on the cleanliness of our house. But come on, Kid. We're not living in a shanty here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Little Clarity

Lately hubs and I have been feeling, well, blah. Our 120 lb dog Bogey has been diagnosed with canine lymphoma and doesn't have much longer to go, I've had to lay employees off due to the current market and our kids have been down with colds for much of the past 4 months. And let's not even get into the current economic crisis. But today I've decided if you can't change your situation, you can change your perspective.

So, drumroll please, here are some of the beautiful things about my life right now:

1) My son picking daffodils just for me and saying they make me a "beautiful princess" (What can I say, the kid's a charmer.)

2) My daughter's eyes lighting up when I enter a room.

3) Hubs and I sharing inside jokes that grow stronger with each year we're married.

4) Bogey, our dog, still kicking and stealing food off of our counters like she was a puppy again.

5) A trip to San Diego with Leggo Land and Sea World in our future.

6) Hot coffee on a rainy morning.

7) Wonderful family and friends who know where we've been, where we are and where we yearn to be.

8) My kids dancing like crazy around the living room as we listen to yet another round of "Choo Choo Soul."

9) Secure jobs that enable us to live comfortably.

10) Perspective to see that while everything has been woefully hard the last few months, a better time is coming.

And that, my friends, is what I'm going to focus on today... and feel blessed for all we have.

Monday, March 16, 2009

SCORE a Mentor

Ok, so you've got your forms filled out and domain URL assigned. YAY!! Now it's time to get someone who knows what the heck they're doing to help you through the hard stuff. And I have GREAT news for you - there is such a source and it is absolutely, positively free.

SCORE stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives and provides expertise from seasoned professionals to young business owners. Their website allows you to find an expert in your state. Wondering how to start payroll services? They'll know. Hiring your first employee? They can help.

Check them out - believe me, you'll thank me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Business Forms to File

So here's the boring part about being an entrepreneur, all of the paperwork. I swear I thought I would drown in paperwork when I started. And just wait until you hire employees - pure torture. But for the sake of brevity, today I'll discuss the paperwork you need to become a company (as a sole proprietor).

Basically there are two main forms you need:
1) Business license (often with city, state and county)
2) Registered business name

And we'll add in:
3) Domain name for your website.

Don't panic! These forms are very easy to fill out and obtain. As you research the forms, you'll see lots of references to an EIN (or employee Id number) you don't have to have this if you are a sole prop. You can use your SSN instead. If you don't feel like using your SSN, you can apply and receive an EIN as a sole proprietor. It's up to you. has a terrific link to each state's online directory for both determining how and where to get your states business license forms:

And obtaining a registered business name form:

In addition, visit to see if your domain name ( or website URL for your business) has already been taken. If not, you can buy it on the GoDaddy site. is going to become your new homepage, ladies. Truly. It's a great site for the new business owner.

If you are going to form an LLC, corporation or any other entity beyond a sole prop., you will need a whole host of additional forms. Which you can easily find on

Boring? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely. Fill out your forms today so we can go on to more interesting stuff in the posts ahead.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sole Prop, S Corp - Is this Greek or What?

Today I want to begin delving into some of the questions a lot of mamapreneurs have when beginning their own business. The one I get most often is : How do I get started?

When I started Charisma Communications I had no idea what I was doing. I just began going to networking groups, created business cards on the Office Max business perforated cards ( I know, I know... you should be wincing over this) and threw up a website. If I had it all to do over again knowing then what I know now, my first step would have been this:

1) Determine your business entity.

Depending on the needs of your company, you can be a sole proprietor, S Corp, LLC etc. This post will focus on Sole Proprietor and what that means.

The good news is, it's simplest for those of you who will be working on your own and not hiring anyone right out of the gate. That puts you in the Sole Proprietor category.

A sole proprietor, in a nut shell, means you don't have to create any paperwork on the legal side for your business entity. Any and all money you make is considered your own personal money and can go into your own checking account, if you want. You are required to pay self-employment taxes, but because the money you make is based on you as an individual, you add all of the revenue you made for the year on your personal tax return. It is, by far, the easiest form of company to start and maintain.

But here's the catch, if you plan on having any employees or shareholders, you have to go on to either an LLC, S Corp or other type of corporation. While I am in no way, shape or form anywhere near an accountant - I can send you to a great article to get you started:

Once you've figured out your entity, it's time to get legal. My next post will discuss some of the different forms etc needed to get started, with tips on where and how to find them. Stay tuned...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Get More Traffic for Promoting Your Blog

I just read a terrific post about getting more traffic to your blog using a giveaway, written by mom Betty at the blog: ItsMeBetty. Check it out...

Great info, Betty! Thanks! In the next few posts I'll be sharing ways moms who are looking to begin a business from home can get started. A very good friend of mine is beginning a marketing consulting firm and has asked me some of the very questions I asked others when I was getting started in 2003. I thought if we both have the same questions, some of you out there would have them too. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Bad Cliche?

On my way back from dropping my son off to pre-school today (and arguing in the car over whether he could take the guinea pig home) I stopped off at Starbucks to get a coffee. As I headed out with my daughter on hip and Grande in hand, seating her into my CR-V, I caught a glimpse of myself in the coffee shop window. Oh..My...God, I've become my worst nightmare. There I stood, Starbucks in hand, Uggs on feet, child in arms, SUV in parking spot.

On my best days I feel like a young(ish) creative, tapping away on my laptop in coffee shops, having it all - the wonderful hubs, the beautiful kids, the successful business. But on my worst days... just another work from home mom with too many Uggs and not enough time.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Guilt-Stricken Mom...

People always tell me how lucky I am to balance working from home with raising my kids. It's true -- I am. But those same people would be shocked to learn there are days I can't wait until those same precocious youngsters go to school. Truly and honestly, I find myself thinking, "Thank God, only two more years... "

I've always felt guilty about it. I mean, this is but a very small amount of time in their lives and I want to enjoy every moment. But here's the thing, the word "enjoy" doesn't exactly equate to what I'm feeling as my daughter screams at me across the room because "doggy" fell or my son indignantly informs me he doesn't want to (insert any word of your choosing here, because these days, he doesn't want to do anything.) I often feel perhaps if I could be one or the other - a stay at home mom or a working mom, perhaps I wouldn't feel the way I do.

So imagine my surprise, shock, utter relief to find out that a good SAHM friend of mine feels the SAME WAY and on a daily basis!! She shared with me recently she's counting the days until her young ones can be carted off in that lovely yellow bus. I felt like weeping.

My gift to you today is this -- moms, let's admit there are days we absolutely love being with our kids and other days... not so much. There are times when they light up our world and others when they throw us into such depths of exhaustion we can't see the light. Days when we want to freeze a point in time and hold it always... and then days when we count...and count.. and count the days until we can meet the school bus and the kids become someone else's world for a few hours.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Is Your Desk A Portrait of Your Life?

I'm staring across my desk right now realizing it is the perfect illustration of my life as it stands today... the contents are, in no particular order:

1)A crumpled bib with something like spaghetti on it

2) Several framed photos of kids and hubs

3) A media packet from an industry publication

4) My portfolio jammed with business paperwork

5) A Thomas the Train coloring picture my son left from his computer time

6) A Golf Today magazine - I'm helping with ad sales

7) A camera

8) A piggy bank train my daughter was dumping and filling quarters in this morning

9) A day old Starbucks coffee cup

Wow - talk about furniture imitating life!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Building Traffic the Organic Way - Compliments of Amy at MomAdvice

Short and sweet blog today, with a GREAT article to point you to from Amy at In her blog, Motherload, Amy gives some terrific advice to any moms out there trying to build online traffic for promotion of their blog.

In a February 11 post titled. "Play It Again, Momma: Gaining a Readership the Frugal Way" _ Amy gives momtrepreneurs step-by-step advice for building a fan base without spending thousands. Thanks, Amy! Keep up the good work. And with her article in mind, if you're reading this blog - I'd love to have you sign up as a follower.

And about the fact that I'm just posting an article from Feb. 11 now, take it easy on me... it's been a tough week. More on that to come...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How to Juggle a Blackberry in the ER

As I said in the previous post, I'm really taking some positive steps to get back to a peaceful work/life balance. My original goal when I began my agency was to be fulfilled in my career and yet have quality time for hubs and the kids. Ahem...

Fast forward to today, when my one year old, Emi, fell face first out of a chair and onto our hardwood floors. I'll spare you the details, but needless to say, we ended up in the ER where poor Em looked like a mini version of Rocky.

Did I hold the poor darling and coo to her lovingly while we waited for the Dr? Uh, no. I'm distraught to admit, I was emailing and making calls to clients (Oh, the horror of it) while in the waiting room. The convos went a little something like this:

Me: Hi {client}, I just wanted to follow up on...
(Insert loud clinical voice over loud speaker at a volume only dogs can hear)
Me: Sorry about that, as I was saying, I was calling to...
Three year old son: Mom, what's this do? (pointing to non-working toy in lobby as I try to sign "It's ancient and germy, leave it alone.")
Me: Aheh, sorry...again. I just wanted to talk to you about a change in our policy. You see, I need more of a life/work balance....
(Insert loud wail by daughter, pierced by a shrill beeping that I can only imagine is the "ER buzzer" we have received. )
Me: Uh, I'll need to call you later.

Kinda ironic that I'm trying to describe to a client why I'll need to cut ties with them in order to gain more time with my kids, as my kids run willy-nilly around the ER with apparently no parental supervision. Seriously, is this my life?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

So I lied...

I didn't stay home with my little one today. The Emi waterfall stopped and I thought she was doing well. (More on that in a moment.) Instead, I kept my first appointment with Mike Curtis, a Coach and mastermind behind He did not disappoint.

Lately I've been trying to figure out my goals and where I really want to be in life, both professionally and personally, and made it one of my new year's resolutions to explore different options. Within the first hour of my time with Mike, he helped me focused in on what I want, how to get there, the measured steps needed to take action and most important of all, he promised to hold my feet to the fire.

Was it daunting? Yes. Were the decisions hard? Yes, some of the most difficult in my career to date. Is he going to keep me to my word? A resounding yes. But.... will I be happier and more fulfilled? I have a feeling the answer will be a whole-hearted yes.

I can't share with you yet what we went through today, because I need to take action based on our conversation, but I can tell you I feel much more positive about pursuing the career/life balance I so desperately need right now.

So a big shout out goes to Coach Mike - now if he could just help me clean up some of this puke, my life would be complete. (In other words, Mt Emi errupted yet again the moment I got home from our meeting.) Just another day at the office...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Famous Emerson Waterfall

As I write this I am still haunted by the thought of it... clothes, never -ending clothes to be cleaned-- furniture doused with Lysol and stain fighter, Febreeze and stain-out sitting in patches of pink-stained carpeting. Yes folks, I am talking about my daughter's first bout of the stomach flu.

Now when it comes to gastrointestinal mysteries, I am a prize champion fighter. My three year old, Ethan, had an entire season when I swore the only thing the kid could get down his gullet was batteries and misplaced coins he found behind our dresser. But ugh, I'd forgotten the sheer horror of the whole ordeal. The not knowing when it will come... as if you're being stalked by a crazy bird of prey just waiting to barf down the front of your shirt.

Of course, as we working moms know, sick days like these are made all the more disturbing by the fact that we still have work to do. The phone doesn't stop ringing - the meetings don't cancel themselves. When I first started my agency 6 years ago, I would trudge through these injustices, trying to do it all. But I like to think I'm older and wiser ( with a much healthier client revenue base) and this time around I think I'm going to cancel the meetings, put an out of office message on my phone, send the E-man out to have fun with his sitter.

My day planner is going to be filled with items like "Clean fifth pukey shirt", "Second round of Febreeze on unfortunate stain on couch" and "drink my baby girl in as I rock her to sleep", because after all, she'll only need mom in this way for so long. And I don't want to miss a moment.

Monday, February 9, 2009

My Son's Imaginary Friend "Oliber"

For the past few days now my son has had a new presence in his life - his imaginary cat friend "Oliber." He's been obsessed with the movie Oliver and Company about an orphan cat who finds love and a home with a sweet girl from the upper East side. Now, we're nowhere near the upper east side and I'm not a cat lover, to be sure. We have a 120 pound smelly dog who sleeps on the couch, farts with alarming results and steals any and all food possible. But somehow...this damn Oliber has made his way inside our home.

A few days ago my son, Ethan, began talking about how he picked up "Oliber" and he now lives with us. He asks me to wait for Oliber, or tells me Oliber will be watching Wall-E with him. You've got to applaud the kid's imagination.

But Oliber got me thinking... If my son, E, could have an imaginary friend - why can't I? My friend would love getting me coffee and Noahs Bagels every morning. She would die over the thrill of spreadsheets, smile sweetly as she typed coverage reports and coo into the phone when my client wanted yet another round of revisions. She would skip to the bank for me, sing sweetly as she mopped up the "waterfall" a three year old boy can make around the pisser, and gently sway my screaming daughter to sleep as she throws "doggy" across the room in a rage at the injustice of a nap. She would cook nutritious meals while holding a one year old on her hip, load the dishwasher and do the wash simultaneously, make great bubble fun in the tub for two, wet slippery seal children and then read numerous stories before bedding them down for the night. And did I mention her massage technique?

Ahhh, what an imaginary friend I would have - so good, she would even kick that damn cat Oliber out of our house.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

...Of Business Trips and Mardi Gras Beads

I just got back from a business trip to New Orleans and have to say... my kids are troopers. As I trudged out of the house in the early morning last week on my way to a four day trip, both kids gave me smiles and kisses (of course, after I promised uber gifts upon my return) and then turned back to Hubs and played with reckless abandon.

On my way over to a colleague's house I felt good- my kids were safe and secure in my love for them and knew I would be back. Right? I picked up a co-worker and watched as her two year old daughter cried and clung to her neck. Wait a minute....Why did my kids not act that way when I left? Thinking back, they turned away before I was even out the door. Daddy was being a cool T-Rex and mom was... what, extinct?

Now, just to be straight, I am not one of the moms who needs her kids to fall all over her in order to know their love. I see it in their numerous kisses and the way my son equates every over-protective animal mom in our stories to me and the small animal the rabid mother is protecting to him. But... come on kids, I was on bed rest for your asses - squeeze out a tear already!

As it turns out, my fears were quelled the moment I returned from my trip- running, bursting hugs ensued, screaming "fans" could hardly get through the door fast enough. I laughed out loud to see them, crouched down to take in the assault of hugs and kisses and breathed them in - my wonderfully secure and fabulously in-love kids. T-Rex be Damned!

Friday, January 23, 2009 1 year old called 911 today...

Yes, you read that right - my one year old daughter, Emi, called emergency services while playing with my blackberry at a Drs appt. Who knew there was a special button from the lock screen? I'm here to tell you fellow moms - it is there and it is real. As real as the phone call I got back from 911 Operators asking if there was an emergency. The call went something like this:

911: Hello - we just got an emergency call from this cell phone.
Me: Yes, the emergency is, I'm going to die of embarassment.
911: Excuse me, maam?
Me: And along with me, will be a one year old Hellion who has somehow learned how to use a Blackberry.
Pregnant pause....
911: Is this a serious call?
Me: It is. Would you like to send DFYS around to pick up my daughter? ... PLEASE!

Well, at least that's how it went in my head. The real discussion went something like this:
911: Hello - we just got an emergency call from this cell phone.
Me: I'm so, so sorry. My daughter had my phone. It will never happen again.
911: Hurmmmpph

I'll be reminding her of this moment when she's old enough to tell me she'll "die of embarrassment" by being seen with her mother....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Is Your Christmas tree still up?

I had a chat tonight with a beautiful friend of mine with two young kids and our conversation quickly veered from plans for tomorrow night to what we had not accomplished in our hectic day. My friend shared that they took down their Christmas tree TODAY! You gotta love that girl. I admitted something was growing in our fridge and based on the smell, it was a wet, very hairy dog, or maybe a dead fish... we're not sure. Between owning a company, working from home, being mom to the kids, wife to the hubs and starting the momtrepreneur community, there's too little room for showers, much less cooking, cleaning or "gasp"regular sex!

So here's my question to you lovely ladies, what gets kicked out of your routine so you can spend quality time with your family? Cleaning? Cooking? Scrubbing the toilet? Would love to know your thoughts. Because we can't be the only two moms in the world who still have an Xmas tree up and a dead fish smell in the fridge. Can we?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I don't care if you're Republican, Democrat, White, Black, Asian or anything in between, today serves as a momentous and amazing passing of the torch from ignorance into the light. The first black president! I watched the inauguration of President Obama with so much pride. As a nation of mothers who want the very best for our children, we've done right by our kids today. Not just because we've looked past the lines of color and hired the right person for the job, but because we've taught coming generations that regardless of where you come from, all that matters is where you dream of being. What a fantastic legacy to leave our children. GO OBAMA!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hudson Mom with Moxie

I watched one of the survivors from yesterday's amazing airplane rescue from the Hudson River on the Today show this morning, a mother who had two children on the plane with her - a preschool girl and a baby boy. While the story itself was incredible (a person in the seat next to her helped her get her son out safe and sound) what I loved best about the interview were her two kids literally bouncing all over her during the questions. Her little guy was fussing, the daughter was getting bored - at one point the baby even pulled on his sister's headband and she was screaming "he hit my ear" - all while Matt Lauer asked "probing" questions above the din. It was great!! Before long both kids were in the mom's lap as she gamely tried to answer questions while jostling the baby and cajoling her daughter. And while her day yesterday was MUCH more adventuresome than mine, I realized that that's what we do as moms, isn't it? We struggle, we face adversity - and yet - at the end of the day, we stop in the middle of the insanity, pick up our children, hold them tight against us... and go on...

To see the video, click here:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

YAY for Free-School

There are several milestones that have happened throughout my kid’s lives that have cheered my husband and me to the point of downright giddiness – whole milk? Let’s get down on our knees and praise the cows. Sleeping through the night? Goooo Ferber Method! While these events were all miraculous, near miracles that made our lives considerably easier, I had an aha moment the other day with a milestone I never expected. I dropped my three year old off at his pre-school up the road and as I walked down the halls, I realized that someday soon I would actually have "gasp" free time. (For three hours a morning,anyway.) My daughter was at home with our nanny and my son was at school – I was totally and completely ALONE. Oh my God, I could go to the bathroom ALL…BY…MYSELF! I smiled, hopped in the car and pulled into a Starbucks. Wow – no car seats. No shrugging coats on. Nothing but…me… and a steaming coffee (the third great love of my life behind hubs and the kids). I had forgotten this feeling. And there in my car, with my steaming coffee and Blackberry, I realized that life would indeed, some day, get back to being mine. Imagine….

Monday, January 12, 2009

DivineCaroline Publishes Motherload Post

Divine Caroline, a publishing site and ezine by and for women, has published an article I've written about my "toddlerpreneur" and his peddling money for an art project. If you have a moment, check it out here:

And if you like it, click on the "I liked it" link, that helps bring articles to the front page.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


So yesterday I dealt with the issue so many of us momtrepreneurs deal with on a regular basis. My little one, Emi, was diagnosed with an ear infection, which loosely translated means, "I worked with a screaming banshee in my ear all day." I had three clients who had to get things out by end of day, so I had no choice but to answer their calls while the little darling shrieked her head off. The coversations went something like this:

Me: {company name}, this is Laurie
Me: I'm sorry, would you speak up?
Me: Oh yes, don't worry, that's just my co-worker two cubes over with an ear infection. Yes, I'll inform her to put a sock in it.

LOL. Actually, I told clients the truth - that I had a sick kiddo - and we got along as best we could with a one year old screaming her head off right next to the phone. To my surprise, it wasn't as big a deal as I thought. Clients were very understanding.

Cut to an hour later and Emi falling asleep in my arms AS I TYPE A PRESS RELEASE. Have you ever tried to hold a one year old chubster and typed witty copy at the same time? Of course you have - it's just a normal day in momtrepreneur land. Ah the joys of working from home...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Momtrepreneurs, UNITE!

I started this blog because I wanted to share the experiences of being a wife, mom to two kids and business owner all at the same time. I think you ladies will share my opinion when I tell you the key is - BALANCE! I've owned my own company, Charisma! Communications, for more than 6 years now and have worked out of my home, all the while being happily married and raising two rambunctious kids - a one year old girl and a three year old boy. I so often bump into people who, when they hear about my situation, gush that it is ideal. And while I have to admit, it's pretty darn good, there are also situations, stresses and events that are unique to my situation. Things like my son yelling "I'm pooping" during a conference call with an important editor, or trying to get away from the sound of a moneky shrieking at the zoo while walking a client through a crisis. I'd like to use these posts to help other momtrepreneurs get their own business started, keep it growing or if nothing else, laugh about our intensely crazy lives as we try to "have it all."