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Well everyone… Tonight is the night. I have been unable to think of much more, like, sponsors, vendors, trying to get MomCom to make money, because I have been working on my pitch.
For six weeks, I’ve been in a PreAccelerate class and it has put a lot in perspective. It has been an informative and emotional time. I’ve realized how tied I am to MomCom and how it’s my other “baby”.
Tonight is the pitch to investors and potential sponsors. I need sponsors to keep MomCom going and to expand it to include an online community so we can all connect between conferences, more small conferences in other cities, and much much more that I have been able to flesh out over the last few weeks that will make MomCom a place for all of us to really come together, to create a real community and our very own supportive, inclusive village.
Wish me luck. I’ll be having one glass of wine before I get up in my 5 inch heeled black Prada boots in front of a mostly-male audience and represent all of us mamas as not only capable business women and mothers, but worth more of an investment than any other demographic in this country.
Remember this when you are pitching your own product, your service or yourself. YOU have the power. You control 85% of the spending in your household and YOU are a contributor to more than $2.3 TRILLION in spending in the US.
And, you are not alone. We mamas are 85 million strong in the US. We kick ass. We are worth it. We can do anything we want when we get together and realize our power.
As a stay at home mommy I often wondered…what next? I was living my “dream”, but I felt like something was missing. That something was me. The passionate me, the one who loved to make a difference, the one that was good at what she did. I felt that I had lost her after the first poopy diaper hit the diaper genie. Please don’t get me wrong, I am so blessed that I can stay at home with my three girls. Yet, at the end of the day, I looked at the piles of laundry needed to be folded, the sticky floor that was just mopped, and I felt sad. There was a time in my life that I was successful. I was the teacher of the year, I traveled to Japan on a Fulbright grant. I felt intellectually fulfilled, and I was making a lasting difference. When I tried to express how I was feeling, I often got the well meaning response, “You are making a difference for your three girls.”
I struggled with that urge to do something other than mothering, and felt guilty about it. I tried several part time jobs from home and found myself sobbing. I felt that I was not good at anything anymore. I attended the first MomCom on a whim. I did not know a single person. I listened to inspiring stories, and met other mothers that felt just like me. I could feel that little voice in my head reaching out and saying, “Do something big.” I began writing again, submitted my articles to several magazines, and was published. I can’t really put into words what it felt like to be successful in a public way again. I attended the second MomCom and talked three of my other friends into going as well.
My friends felt that energy, that spark and are now moving toward doing what they are passionate about. MomCom got me thinking. I wanted to be apart of their mission to inspire mothers and women to not only meet their family’s needs, but their needs as well. The stars somehow aligned and I now find myself working for MomCom, as the first official employee. I feel connected, passionate and as though I am giving back to the conference that inspired me to think big, and “Mom Up”.
Melissa Madole-Kopp is MomCom’s VP of Customer Relationships. Please visit her bio to learn more about her.
So much joy in these girls. Thanks for sharing Smart Girls at the Party!
When you’re moving along with your business and you have your head in the computer or your ear to the phone all day, sometimes you need to step back and look at what’s really going on. I’ve done that recently as I’ve entered the “startup world.” I was a startup a year ago when I began planning the first conference but I didn’t realize it until recently.
Being in the startup world is interesting. There are all these people with great ideas, some partially realized, some looking for funding, and others just looking for someone to validate their “next big thing.”
After being selected for the PreAccelerate program, I’ve been thrust into a world of hopeful people who are passionate about what they are doing. It’s really amazing but it’s also a bit overwhelming. I’m being forced in a way, to realize my own dream, to make it solid, to mold and shape it and to make it work. I’m going to need to step out of my comfort zone and I am going to have to grasp that along the way, I may fail but failure is a step to making something better.
I now have mentors. I have always wanted a mentor. I’ve heard people talk about their mentors and wondered why I couldn’t find someone to lead me along. Now I have a whole team of them. They are smart, interesting, funny, educated. It’s freeing talking with people who have been where I am now and who see potential in what I’m doing.
Yesterday I participated in Austin Startup Week. Melissa and I went first to the Startup Bazaar where we heard people pitching their businesses. Some did incredibly well and others fell short but all had the same kind of energy and passion in their voices that made you believe that even if this idea didn’t work out, the next one would.
One glaring observation: Men. Everywhere, men. As one woman said later, (and the rest of us thought) “It was a sausage fest.” The other observation: Tech companies. Lots of them with some kind of technology that is going to be the next best app or game or technical something-or-other. With me in my Mom up! shirt and Melissa with her red hair and pretty purple dress talking about MomCom, a non tech, very un-male endeavor, we definitely stood out. That was okay though. I have mentors who are telling me I’m on to something and I have the support of some incredible women who have attended and the backing of sponsors who have sponsored MomCom saying the same thing. We belonged there, in this part of the startup world.
Then came the Afternoon Tea Time mixer for women. It was such a different feel between the two events. Even their locations had the male/female vibe to them with the Bazaar in a dark concrete-floored bar, The Stage on Sixth Street and the Tea at Langford Market, a women’s clothing and accessory boutique on Second Street. The former was a bit alien to me while the latter felt like I was coming home.
It’s inspiring to talk with other women you admire. Tina Cannon from Napkin Venture, Misty Gibbs of Empower Lounge, Laura Beck, the founder of Stripedshirt, the women of Something Local, and the inventor of Handana, Katie Niemeyer were just some of the women there to talk business and connect on a more personal level. Overall it was a great day, especially since I got to hang out with Melissa our Community Relationship Manager. Most of our business is done over email so this was a real treat to spend time with her.
Other than my assignment for PreAccelerate, I am now on to the other parts of my life for the weekend. I go to a parent/teacher conference, then to an interview with Tina Hambly, founder and designer of Valentina and speaker at the Texas Conference for Women who I’ll be interviewing for both MomCom and LiveMom. Then on to ACL with Nicole from LiveMom, where we’ll be interviewing bands and taking a break from the Startup Life. Well, unless I happen to stumble upon some potential sponsors…
Today is a really sad day for me. I feel like I’ve lost a friend. I have lost a lot of history. MomCom would not be happening and I wouldn’t have started this business had it not been for my daughter. But before MomCom came Mamaontheverge.com.
MOTV was personal. It was about me, my daughter, my husband, our life. It was where I could work out my mixed feelings about motherhood. It helped me stay sane when I thought I was losing it. But today I found out that all my files are gone. It was my mistake. I didn’t back up my site and I let my hosting account lapse. I didn’t tend to my personal site because I was too busy honing my business site. I have looked for copies of my work but only have one piece that has survived my neglect.
I am learning lessons every day while working on MomCom and this is a big one. If you love something or someone, don’t take it for granted. Don’t neglect the important things in your life. And keep hold of that which is precious to you.
My work is extremely important to me. I believe in what I’m doing. I am inspired by it. But sometimes it’s all consuming and I have to let go and breathe. I have to remember that I will always be a mama first. Mama on the verge will be back, even if it ends up being for my eyes only. Until then, here is the one post I saved.
My Delightful, Darling Delilah:
I left the house this morning and felt a little blue. Leaving you most mornings is a difficult task. The first time I left you to return to work, I cried in the car and didn’t think I would make it through the day. You didn’t quite realize what was happening until a couple of days later when I left and you gave me your old man face, curling your lower lip. Even back then, you were so bright and intelligent, so aware of what was happening around you.
Old man faces are few and far between these days. In a week you will be six months old. You have managed to work your way into the deep crevices of my heart. I cannot and do not want to imagine life without you. You smile and laugh so much, it’s unbelievable. You are what most people would call an easy baby. You are lighthearted and sweet. My favorite thing about you right now are your feet and toes. I never knew how much expression could come from a pair of feet. You point your toes when you’re happy. You curl them when you’re eating and you rub your feet together when you laugh. You have the most beautiful feet I have ever seen. I could kiss them all day if you would let me.
My new life with you in it has not been easy. When you were born, I didn’t quite know what to do with you. You cried and I couldn’t figure out what would make you happy. All I wanted was for you to be happy. This wish for you continues today, but now we know each other better and even though you aren’t happy all the time, I now know this is okay and I just do what I can. It turns out this really works because you are smiling and laughing and pretty content almost all the time.
Most of my life, I have been about me. I don’t think this is a bad thing, it just makes it harder once your life is no longer just your own. Taking care of another little human, no matter how wonderful she is, is the hardest thing a person can do. In the first few weeks, I cried more than you did. Your father was worried about me. People talked a lot about postpartum depression but I knew that I just had the baby blues. One thing your mama knows about is depression.
Intellectually I knew that my inability to nurse you without pain did not mean I was a bad mother. Intellectually I also knew that sleep deprivation was pushing me into fits of anxiety, restlessness, and even the inability to sleep once I did have a few minutes to do so. Like you, the less sleep I got, the harder it was for me to sleep. We rode that ride together.
Emotionally though, Delilah, I thought I was failing. Every time you cried, I thought I hadn’t done something right. Every time you wanted to eat, I cried, not only because it hurt so much, but because I wanted so much to love feeding you but how could I love something that caused me so much pain? The guilt mixed together with my anger and resentment that I had lost who I was, that my relationship with your father had changed, that I couldn’t manage my time, my emotions, my crying, scared me. I was tired and unsure about who I was. Physically and emotionally, I thought I was falling apart.
Jump to six months later and the crying has changed to laughter and giggles. My body, though not perfect, still looks decent in a bikini. And instead of crying every time you want to come to my breast, I feel a sense of loss as you depend less and less upon it. Nursing you over the past six months went from incredibly difficult to the most meaningful and enjoyable part of my day. Now that we are supplementing with formula and you are about to take on solid foods, I often think about how I will miss your excitement and sheer joy and enthusiasm at feeding time.
When I was pregnant, I felt like you were all mine. My own little secret. My own little love. Nursing you did the same thing for me once we got the hang of it. After everyone else, including Daddy, had their time with you, it always came back to just you and me. Now you are weaning yourself. I expect nothing less as you are an independent little wonder. You lead and we follow. As you wean and your interest in my breasts becomes less, I think about what is next for us, just you and me. As you grow and more people come into your life, will there always be some time for just the two of us?
Mostly though Delilah, I simply enjoy you. I enjoy waking up with you in the middle of the night when you’ve gotten your face stuck in the corner of the crib. I enjoy the way you scratch at the chairs in the back room because you like to hear the sound it makes. I delight in your laughter as you swing and talk to no one in particular. I experience your wonder for the outdoors as you feel the wind on your face when we go walking. I love getting soaking wet during bath time because of your enthusiastic splashing. I enjoy the fact that I know that sucking on my nose after Eskimo kisses is your way of telling me you love me. Reaching milestones such as turning over and sitting up have made me incredibly grateful that I have such a healthy, amazing baby but nothing compares to the feeling of your head on my shoulder right before bed as your entire body relaxes and you let me put you into the crib, trusting that I will be there for you when you need me next.
Delilah, at six months, we have grown together. You have taught me more than I could begin to teach you. Even though I want to keep holding you close to me, not letting you go, I also can’t wait for what’s next.
One of MomCom’s advisors, Holly Hanna of The Work at Home Woman just got a mention on HLN and we couldn’t be happier for her! It’s important to note when you watch the following clip that community is the edge that moms (and women) have that makes us different from men. At MomCom, we believe community is everything, hence the “com” in MomCom. It’s great to know that people are finally getting it; women do business differently, and guess what? It works! So much can be done when you have the support of other people and women are great at relationship building.
Every day is reaffirmation that we’re on the right track with MomCom. I’m looking forward to continuing to help build community for all women. Congratulations to Holly for already do this online.