Millennium Mom

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The launch party

Tonight was the official launch party for my book. When we planned out the book a few months ago, the publisher estimated that it would hits stores November 1st. So we planned the event for tonight (given Halloween is tomorrow). It ends up that we printed early and the book has been in stores and shipping online for a few weeks, but we still celebrated tonight.

The event was held at Saks Fifth Avenue in Cincinnati. They had light food, champagne and informal modeling. We had great turnout of friends, co-workers and some people who heard through friends and came to support me and buy the book. It was wonderful to be surrounded by all the familiar faces, knowing they were all there to show support.

My in-laws drove down from Detroit. Unfortunately my parents could not come from NY, but I know they were there in spirit. I will try to post some pictures tomorrow on facebook so you can check them out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My first ever TV experience

Today was a big day for the Zucker family as mom was on TV. While I have been in many TV studios for my job and even more commercial back lots, it is another whole story when you are sitting in the green room waiting for them to come get you (and by the way, it was tan!).

Fox 19 News in Cincinnati was kind enough to have me for an interview regarding my book. I was asked to show up at 7:40 am (which meant I actually got to sleep in a bit) and we would be live at 8:25 am. We got there on time and were sitting waiting. I really hadn't told many people about it because either they don't live in Cincy or they would be all at work already. But my co-workers were cute and decided to bring in a TV to the office and watch.

At about 8:05 they told me they moved me up to 8:15. That gave me two minutes to call home to tell the kids so they could see, and call the office to let them know. After a few pictures and the weather and traffic update we were live. Rob Williams was the anchor who interviewed me. Thankfully you can't see yourself anywhere in the studio, so I wasn't distracted at all. I had no idea what he was going to ask me beforehand, but I must say he definitely did his homework, which made my job very easy.

The interview went better than I could have expected, it was very conversational in tone and fairly rapid, which for those of you who know me know that's the way I like it.

It ended up that a few people I have worked with in the past actually saw it and sent me very kind emails to tell me. I finally got to watch it this evening, thank goodness for technology and DVR. I was scared to death to watch it, as you are always your worst critic, but it was exciting and uplifting...another fun experience on my book journey.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Christmas Shopping all year round?

If where you live in the world is anything like Cincinnati, then you too have noticed the holiday decorations and aisles popping up in stores around you. How the Target's of the world gradually trim down the amount of Halloween aisles and replace them with Holiday decor...roughly 25% of our year is spent in the "holiday season."

When I had kids something changed in me about the holidays. I know longer enjoyed shopping and suddenly cared more about "soaking up" the holidays and creating memories. It just so happened that my first holiday season with a baby we were living in Brussels, only 40 minutes from the German border. The Germans are famous for their Christmas markets in their squares, and it didn't seem like a weekend without visiting a holiday market. We were also traveling around Europe quite a bit, so I began the tradition of buying a Christmas gift in every country we went to. Then there was a story behind it which made it more fun.

While we know longer live in Europe and don't have "holiday markets" to go to, now with three kids I have kept the habit of buying throughout the year. If I see something I like or a good deal I buy it and put it in the gift armour. Often when I like something I think my sister will too, or my mom. A trip to Sam's club can yield some great clothes finds for my younger brother, last week I found some great Polo long sleeve tees. When I stock up on my birthday gifts when they are on sale, I'll pick up an extra one for my kids. Scholastic book sales at the schools are also great.

What's in it for you is a LOT LESS stress in the month of December, but more importantly time to spend with your family creating memories. Visit the light displays, host a holiday party, bake some cookies...and laugh at all those people in the long line at the mall.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oh the joys of maternity leave

On Friday I had the pleasure of having lunch with the women who works for me, we will call her E, who is now on maternity leave. E had her baby girl in May, and she will be off until January, a total of 8 months off.

Like most moms E had that glow, perhaps its the glow of pure love for your little one, but a lot of it is also the lack of work glow. Maternity leaves are a blessing on many fronts. They allow you to bond with your child and rest from the tough pregnancy and delivery. But they are also a blessing for you outside of your child. They let you decompress from all aspects of your life, including work.

When else do you have weeks on end off from your 40 hour "other job", time to get projects done around the house, to do things you always wanted to do (take language or cooking lessons, get the house organized, decorate a room, etc). It also allows you to spend time with family and friends, you can go visit your mom for 2 weeks with the new grandchild, just because.

E is able to enjoy doing these things, like I was, because she took a long leave. I push this hard in my book, and you need top financially prepare to allow for this given the majority of companies don't give pay for most of it. But is is worth it. I get so sad when I think that I won't have another maternity leave. There are so many things I want to do. Maybe I will take a sabbatical one day and have three months off, until then I hope you will all sign up for long leaves, I am sure you mind and body will love you for it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Run, Jump and Play headache

For those of you who have read my book, you will recall one of my tips is to "keep the birthday parties small."

Let me just state up front, I am not a fan of young children's birthday parties. Twenty or so, 3, 4 or 5 year old's in a room for a couple of hours is nothing but exhausting. Add in bouncy houses and it can put you over the top. Yesterday we had the joy of once again being invited to a party at the Cincinnati resident birthday factory, also known as "run, jump and play." Let me give you some background.

You enter this large factory and get warmed up by your children running around roughly 10, $7,000 plus play sets by Rainbow Co. Mega-slides, climbers, swings of all get the picture. You would think this would get a lot of energy out, but after 15 minutes of this, they then line up (well attempt to) and are guided by two teenage helpers to the first room with (3) bouncy house like things. In the first room is the "flower", "basketball court" and "obstacle course." The next 30 minutes are in this closed room, with really loud music, lots of screaming and occasionally the fun of watching a parent get in too (to coax the child in of course). From this room we line up again and go into room 3 (I did say factory right) to the "shark slide", "aquarium" and "pirate ship" for 30 more minutes of fun. There is a place to sit, for max 5 parents (but of course there are 20 of us there, because no one just drops off kids anymore).

After all the jumping is done, you go into one of the birthday rooms (I think there are 5) for either pizza and cake, or just cake depending on the time of day. Yesterday was just cake, so not too bad, followed by opening presents, which is always a nightmare...child doesn't want to open card, parent trying to so they can say thanks and inventory the toy, others kids wanting to get the picture.

This all ends for me with a massive headache. Yet again yesterday I came home (and my husband was there too, as our entire day was planned around it) and just wanted to collapse on the couch. Silly me didn't take my Tylenol PM until 2 hours later, but at least I got a good nights sleep.

Please consider a simple little party. Make your little one feel special without dragging 20 families out to the local factory for head-ache inducing fun...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pizza Night

Oh it's Friday, and as the saying goes "thank god." As much as I love my kids and my job, I am totally exhausted each Friday and rarely do I make it to 10pm. I am always in dis-belief when I hear peers at work saying they are going out on a Friday. I just can't even comprehend it.

Worse than that, I can't even muster enough energy and mind space to think of dinner. That is why we instituted "pizza night" each Friday. You can't go wrong with Pizza takes no effort, everyone loves it, and it's easy to invite others to join you...just order more pizza.

Tonight we had Patty our neighbor and her twin five-year-old over. Their dad is traveling this week so we had her over to give her a bit of a break. She even brought a cool dessert for the kids to help make...a graveyard (think chocolate pudding, vanilla wafers for tombstones, cool whip for ghost, etc -- you get the picture. The kids loved it. Then we all played some games and now we are settling down for the night.

Next week try it and take some stress out of your life while hopefully welcoming others into your home. I'm looking forward to a pretty open weekend before a really chaotic week.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


After doing some interviews and book signings I have quickly come to realize that there are some frequently asked questions emerging. So I thought I would answer them for all of you who are following this blog.

What is a Millennium Mom?
Hmm...a millennium mom is a women who wants to have it all. She wants a family and a job/career. She doesn't want to sacrifice one for the other. My book is written to help a "newer" millennium mom, as that is the only perspective I have to give, given that my children are between 3-6.

Why did you write the book?
I wrote the book because I wanted to help women like me. Women who suddenly had two worlds colliding...their professional/work world and their family, and didn't know how the two would work together. When you are expecting there are so many things going on and that you are concerned about that you don't need the stress of "how am I going to manage it all" added to the list. My book hopefully will help working women save some time and implement some tips and time savers that will make each day a bit easier.

Who or what inspired you with the idea for the book?
The real inspiration is the question I was frequently asked "how do you do it?" being work full-time and raise young children. So as I thought about the answer to that question I came up with a list of things Arnie and I did each day to make life easier, that became my book.

How did you do research for the book? are they all your tips or others?
I started to track what Arnie and I did each day. In fact in the appendix of the book I give some examples to share. So our life day in and day out was the research. I also shared the book in early form with my baby group and they gave me some additional tips and insights, so you will often see "from my friend xxx...." in the tips.

What are your favorite tips?
The simple ones are my favorite - never walk up or down stairs empty handed, multiple hampers, all-inclusive vacations, list of easy to make meals, gift closet, list for everything.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Is anyone out there

Well, if you are reading this I guess you are out there. When I wrote my book, I would guess like many other authors, my biggest fear was "will anyone read it." You hope and pray someone will and actually find it useful. I guess the same can be said of this blog. I started the blog to be able to share my daily experiences, the same way I shared my tips in the book. I thought it would be useful for other women to hear more about "the daily grind" and things I encounter each day.

If you are reading this and have found things useful please let me know. Also, if you have any specific topic you would like to hear more about, let me know that too. Or if you just want to say hi. I am happy to take this blog in any direction, make it more a "chat" and respond to thoughts on it, or continue to just share my thoughts on some things related to being a working mom...I will let my consumers be the boss by telling me what you want...that is if you are out there :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It was too good to be true

If you have read my book (which I hope you have) you will know that one of my cardinal rules is find childcare you love. We had childcare we loved for 5 years from when my son was 10 months old til this past August right before he turned 6. We were are our company's daycare and had tremendous support and love for our kids each day.

But with my son starting Kindergarten in August, and it being only half-day (we have mornings), we knew we had to make a change. Rather than have do pre-school care, and then be picked up by a local daycare (so 3 different caregivers each day) we decided to switch to a nanny that would come to our house each day from 8-6.

We were so lucky in finding our nanny. We found her through Word of Mouth and it ended up she had been a nanny for a prior boss of Arnie and me, so we had a first hand reference. She started in August and the kids and we love her. She is great with the kids, managing their stuff (toys, laundry, etc) and even does our grocery shopping.

Well, I should have known it was too good to be true. We found out last week that in order for our nanny's husband to keep his job he must move to Cleveland. So, it is greater than 50/50 that come December we need a new nanny. So, this weekend we begin our word of mouth search again. We may turn to an agency if we have not luck, but we'll start asking around as we had luck that way last time.

The morale of the story is their are pros and cons to every childcare situation as my book says. The daycare gave us was there every day with multiple teachers in case someone was sick, etc. But, once we had two different schedules it didn't work. The nanny is in your home, so can put kids on the bus, get them off, shuttle them to dance class, etc...but when you that one person who has become part of your family, it is not always an easy transition and can cause a lot of stress while looking. The key is like any thing in a busy household, start early, go with the flow and keep the big picture in mind.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The perfect day

I love this time of year, it is my favorite by far. The cool mornings and nights and warmth during the day. The changing colors on the trees and that fresh clean crisp air. Nothing beats October in the four-season areas of the US. And today in Ohio it was 80 degrees and blue skies, and somehow the Zucker family was pretty wide open.

After a hectic September of birthdays, mommy traveling, my parents visiting, a freezer going and more I purposely did not schedule anything for this weekend. Additionally, as you will learn if you buy my book, we don't have our children in multiple activities. Perhaps you want to call me the anti-soccer-mom or maybe just a selfish parent, but we do not enroll our children in tons of activities. There are many reasons why:

1) we want the family time. Nothing is more precious than having time with our whole family together. Every dinner for sure and ideally most of the weekend. With both Arnie and I working we are committed to having family time at home as frequently as we can;

2) when it comes to 3 year old sports, piano and more I am not bought into the fact that they are learning something. While I can't teach my kids piano (because I don't have a musical bone in my body), I can expose them to music and dance. I can also teach them the rules and basics of just about every major sport. I would rather go outside and have a catch or shoot some hoops, then shuttle them to a field and watch them "herd a ball" for an hour.

3) the floodgate. As soon as I start scheduling my oldest in various activities I then have to multiply that by 3, so there goes seeing my family together, seeing my husband and down time. My third job after mom and marketing director will be chauffeur.

Because we don't have our kids over scheduled, as soon as my son and Arnie got home from his hockey game (the girls and I skipped it today so I could do laundry and book stuff) we had the entire day open. We searched online for local farms where we could pick apples and headed off around 1pm.

Apple picking, hay ride, pumpkin picking and a few cider donuts later we arrived home anxious to make an apple pie with our pickings after dinner. It was a perfect day, just for our family to take in the season, make memories and bond over apple pie...what could be more Americana than that...definitely not a soccer game :)

What to do when you are not a sales person

Well, I had my first "book event" this past week. It was called "Ladies Night Out" Dream House tour. The event benefitted the Luekemia and Lymphoma society. Women purchased tickets which got them food, drinks, a tour of a new design home, entertainment (DJ) and then their were various sponsor booths of which I was one.

I realized quickly that I need to prepare for what may be ahead for my book. We were stationed right at the first table as women entered. It became quickly apparent that the audience was slightly older than my target (younger working women), but regardless i wasn't prepared to "pitch my book". We got many questions on "what is a millennium mom?" (a working mom is the answer, one that wants a family and career). Is the author local? was another favorite. Yes...I was standing right there, but in the photo on the book cover my hair is very long. I have since donated it and it is pretty short, so now I need to make sure they know it is me.

And then unless I wanted silence I had to begin to "sell my book". Thankfully my friends at PMG, the marketing firm I am working with are much better than I am. So we went into "it offers great advice for working moms on how to manage it all" only to get my kids are all grown up. So then you go down the "it's a perfect gift for a working you have any baby showers coming up" angle, and so on, and so on.

The lesson for me is I am going to have to step outside of my comfort zone at times, and better target where we participate in events, to make sure we have lots of working moms in attendance.

This weekend my book chore is to send out t-shirts to my friends around the US. I am hoping as walking billboards they will make people aware of our web site and come visit to learn more. If you are here because of a t-shirt you saw, please send my an email (there is a click through on the site and let me know where you saw it so I can thank my good friends).