Potpourri

I2I: Resourceful Mommy

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Welcome to the Interviews to Inspire (I2I) series on MamaHeartsBaby. I, like so many social media mommies, have a vision of the personal and professional life I want for myself.  It includes being a WAHM and using social media to make that happen.  I’ve got a whole lot to learn so I’ll be approaching women in social media that inspire me.  I’ll be sharing my interviews with them here because that’s what social media is all about – connecting people and sharing knowledge.  Hope this inspires you!

Have you ever met a person that was everywhere?  You go to a business lunch and they are wooing everyone.  You go to a fun cocktail party and they’re hosting.  You discover a fun new cafe and they’re the owner.  Well that person for me lately has been Amy Lupold Bair, or as she’s known in social media circles, Resourceful Mommy.

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Mom of 2, Amy is a former teacher turned SAHM turned social media darling.  Blogging for less than a year, this mom keeps just a little bit busy blogging at Resourceful Mommy, Blissfully Domestic and Family Eden, being an editor for Type-A Mom, maintaing the Twitter Party directory and growing her own business.  Did I mention she’s speaking at Blissdom ’09 and was named one of the 50 Most Powerful and Influencial Women in Social Media?  Give me a minute while I catch my breath!

Amy somehow found time in her insanely busy schedule to do an interview for MamaHeartsBaby.  Enjoy!

You’ve been blogging less than a year, since August 2008.  What prompted you to start blogging?

I’ve always loved writing and majored in literature in college. I am a former English teacher and made the choice when I had my first child to become a full time stay at home mom. We do not have any family living near us, and my husband is out of the home for work eleven hours of the day, so it was not a tough decision to give up one income in exchange for stability for our child. I began considering blogging as a way to get back into the world of writing (and back into the world in general!) when I wrote frequent e-mails while on bed rest with my second child, which my friends urged me to turn into a blog. It took meeting Jessica Smith from JessicaKnows.com, however, to finally convince me to enter the online world. And I’ve been living in it ever since!

Can you tell us a bit about how you connected with Jessica and how that drove you to enter the online world?

I knew almost immediately upon staying home with my daughter that I would never want to return to teaching.  For awhile I tried to keep up with the necessary courses to maintain my certification, and I even worked from home grading the essay portion of the SAT.  But the truth is that I would have only been returning to work for the sake of the needed income.  The plan was always that I would return when my daughter went to kindergarten, forcing me to put my son in daycare.  As that day began to become more real, I thought constantly about what I could do to work from home – but I had no answers.

Then one day last May I was at a MOMS Club (Moms Offering Moms Support) meeting and I met a mom from a MOMS group that we had merged with.  It was Jessica Smith!  We talked about our sons who were headed to the same pre-school in the fall, but she also mentioned that she had a website: Moms Club Manual.

I didn’t think much about it until that summer when I checked out her sites.  And then I decided to e-mail and ask if anyone ever made a little money writing or editing sites.  I had no intention of starting my own blog, but I have always wanted to write, but never knew where to start.  She called and after talking for about a half hour, I ran to the computer and Resourceful Mommy was born on Twitter and Blogger!

Before becoming a mom, I never would have dreamed of ditching my degrees, my career, and following my passion: both to write and to stay home full time with my children.  But somehow everything came together at once – my desperation and meeting Jessica – and here I am!

Did you have a vision for what you wanted to accomplish when you first started out?  If so, has it changed since then?

I did have a vision! I knew I wanted to be the Resourceful Mommy, but I honestly envisioned writing much more about health issues. I had many difficulties during my pregnancies, and I also gave birth to two sick children who spent time in the NICU. It has turned out, however, that I write much more about general resourceful tips.

Another vision that has changed is where blogging would take me. I hoped to turn blogging into a freelance writing career, but never expected to develop a social media marketing business as well. But I’m certainly not complaining!

In the short amount of time you’ve been at it, you’ve gained amazing popularity and respect from your peers, including being named one of the 50 Most Powerful & Influential Women In Social Media.  What would you tell a new mom starting out in social media to focus on to be successful?

I never set out to focus on being successful, and maybe that is the key. I only hoped to use social media as a way to connect with my “co-workers” in the blogosphere, find some help as I set out on my journey, and find ways to help others along the way. No matter what I have worked on, I’ve always remained true to who I am and my values and goals. For example, I have turned down affiliate opportunities and marketing jobs that would not appeal to or help my readers in any way and that I would not normally support in my life as a mother.

Regardless of the fact that social media takes place primarily online, people are very quick to discover when something is false or deceitful. Stay true to yourself and you’ll find success.

You recently launched Site Warming Parties.  You first did it as a “housewarming” for your own site and then branched out to help other moms generate buzz for their businesses.  Can you tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea?  Did you have hopes of turning it into a business when you had your first one?

I knew that other sites had events to build buzz for their sites, but I had no resources to be able to do that for my own site, Resourceful Mommy. I also enjoyed reading about product giveaways on various sites and thought that combining an event with a giveaway – a party with a Goody Bag – would be lots of fun! I decided to host the event on Twitter because it was a free venue where people were already gathering online to chat. I also used Twitter to find the prizes for the event and was shocked at how quickly I was able to build up a base of vendors. As for calling it a SiteWarming – I liked that much better than calling it a launch because my site had been online for a couple of months. It seemed more true to its purpose to model it after a housewarming.

As for turning it into a business, I never dreamed for a second that that would happen. At the end of the first party, several tweeps suggested that I launch a SiteWarming Party business next, and although I laughed it off at the time, I immediately heard from sites and businesses interested in hiring me to do for them what I had done for my own site. I now hear from several companies a month and try to choose only two parties due to time and resource constraints.Sometimes I end up doing more parties, though, because it’s always difficult to say no to a party.

Being a mom is a full time job that sometimes requires more than 40 hours a week.  How do you find a balance between your family and your various commitments?  How do you find the time to write and coordinate great events?

Finding the time is often a struggle, but I try my best to find quiet moments when the kids are sleeping in the morning or evening, when they’re spending quality time with my husband, or when they’re enjoying time on their own. My daughter is nearly five and often likes what she calls “alone time,” but my son is two and a half and needs my full attention nearly all of the time. The days that my daughter is at pre-school and my son is at home, I often don’t even turn my computer on until the afternoon when he takes a nap. I also try to find ways to work with my daughter next to me while my son naps. For example, my daughter works on workbooks and enjoys crafting, so she is able to do that next to me at the kitchen table while I work on my laptop. The bottom line is that my kids come first, and I make sure that that is clear to everyone. However, my home-loving children also know that it is a privilege to be able to spend their days in their own house with their toys, games, and each other. Sometimes they have to wait just a moment while Mommy finishes an e-mail, but that, in their eyes and mine, is worth it if it keeps me at home with them.

What’s your best piece of parenting advice?

You are not responsible for your kids – you are responsible to your kids. Don’t apologize if they slip up and do something inappropriate. They did it, not you. However, be responsible and guide them to become the best adults they can be, and if you’ve done that, you’ve done all that you can.

You are a huge Disney fan and recently took a trip there with your family.  What are top 3 must see stops if a family is going to visit Disney?

Every child is so different, and I think that the Disney experience changes as children grow and mature. However, for any parent of small children, you absolutely must enjoy a character meal (or two or three). Our favorites were the Winnie-the-Pooh meal at the Crystal Palace and the Princess Storybook Breakfast at Akershus in Epcot. I also recommend riding “It’s a Small World” over and over again despite the fact that the music can begin to wear on an adults ears. There is so much to take in on that ride and my children were absolutely mesmerized, seeing something new with each trip around the small world – and we made four or five. And my third recommendation isn’t so much a stop, but a time of year to try to visit the World. We went just after Thanksgiving and if you love the holidays, you’ve got to see Disney’s interpretation of the Christmas season. It was the most incredible way to kick off the holidays for our family.

What’s your favorite movie?

I love so many movies that it’s honestly hard to choose! I love to watch Cinderella – the original – with my children.From my younger days I would have to say that Say Anything was my number one. Recently my husband and I enjoyed Tropic Thunder – sometimes you just want to laugh.

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