The Family Bed

Our summer vacation this year started on a low note. After a hectic work day and the official end of summer camp, we packed up our bags and hit the road for a nine day trip to New England. First stop, Mystic Connecticut. We arrived pretty late (around 9pm) and while the hotel we were staying at was supposed to have tons of amenities…like a bellman to take our stuff to our room, no one came out to greet us. And so, with two hungry kids, we lugged about 10 bags into the hotel lobby. We then saw the valet who said “Oh, you need help? Here’s a suitcase trolley – just bring it back when you’re done with it.” My husband at this point was obviously annoyed but the frustration didn’t end there.
When we opened the door to our room we noticed a glaring oversight. There was one bed in the room, but we were travelling with two kids who are finally used to sleeping by themselves. We immediately called down to the front desk to advise them of their error in not putting us in a room with two mattresses, and the concierge explained that they had no way of reaching us to tell us that they didn’t have a room available with twin beds. Hmmm…that’s a likely story, considering I booked our vacation online and entered everything except my social security number into their list of questions to approve my booking. When we went downstairs to complain in person, the woman behind the desk insisted on telling us she had no way of reaching us. At this point we were fuming, and told them they better get us two rollaway beds pronto. Problem was, they could only send one since two would be against the fire code. Of course.
We walked back up to our room and saw the rollaway hanging outside our door – far be it from this luxury family friendly hotel to actually wheel it inside and set it up for us at 10 o’clock at night. No, I told my kids to move out of the way and then proceeded to set it up myself.
But it gets better. My daughter went to the bathroom and noticed that someone had literally rubbed an indelible mark into the toilet seat and the bathtub. Plus, when I went to turn on a lamp to read, it was broken.
When we went down to the desk the following morning to complain, surprise, the hotel manager wasn’t there – even though she was supposed to report for duty at 9am and we were lingering by the concierge desk at 9:20am.
Determined to make the best of the situation, we set out for a fun-filled day in Mystic – luckily, by the time we returned, there was a new room awaiting us with two double beds, clean tub and toilet and working lamps. At least they got it right in time for us to leave for our next destination.


We’re stuck in bumper to bumper traffic following a fun-filled summer vacation and the natives in the back seat are getting restless. Desperate for something to eat, we promise them that the moment we see the famous Golden Arches, we’ll stop for some lunch. After another hour in the car with no rest stops in sight, the kids are really getting antsy and the whining has begun to commence. Suddenly, I see something in the distance that’ll take their mind off food. With as much enthusiasm as I can muster on a seven hour road trip, I tell them, “Look kids, a bunch of cows,” To which my son responds, “Is that McDonald’s?”


Three chicks and a lot of margaritas.

That?s how Julie Rice describes what it took to help her make the transformation from Hollywood heavyweight to her new role as co-owner of Manhattan?s latest fitness phenomenon, Soul Cycle.

In her twenties, Julie had what most would consider to be the proverbial dream job, as a high powered talent manager she worked with the biggest celebs in the business.

But as is so often the case, in her thirties, the glamorous parties and premiers Julie once viewed as perks ? were eventually becoming more and more of a pain. The same industry events that once kept her career thriving were now keeping her from having dinner with her husband.

Julie wanted a change.

Enter into the picture ? Julie?s beautiful baby daughter, Phoebe. Those same industry events were now not only keeping Julie from dinner, they were messing with the new mom?s baby bonding.

Like many of us, Julie didn?t want or need to be with her baby 24 hours a day ? but she did want to be there, on her terms. She wanted to be a part of her daughter?s life and even know what Phoebe had for lunch. Something she just didn?t se happening on the Hollywood fast track.

What?s a girl to do? Why reinvent yourself, of course.

Always a fitness fanatic, Julie followed her passion which led her to two women who share the same fitness philosophy.

The three women joined forces and over many of those infamous margaritas, their new Upper West Side spinning studio, SOUL CYCLE was born.

It?s only fitting that the studio wall be adorned with a picture of a long road ? a metaphor for the mind body journey you experience with every class ? and for the even longer journey every mother faces as she tries to find her way down the long and windy parental path.

Julie credits having a child with making her brave enough to take the leap of faith and start her new life. Now, instead of long hours helping others achieve their career goals, Julie is following her own dream. It?s a dream that led her to a career she loves while also allowing for midday trips to the Park and bedtime stories with Phoebe.

There is no doubt, Julie Rice sets the gold standard for Mothers of Reinvention. She?s managed to reinvent not only her own career and lifestyle, but with her contagious smile, endless energy and life changing approach to fitness, everyone else but in her wake as well?.hey, she might even help you lose a few pounds! Click Here to visit Soul Cycle.


Meet one of the most influential moms on the internet, Mindy Roberts, creator of THE MOMMY BLOG, an irreverant site on the worldwide web that gives visitors a birdseye view of her rollercoaster life. Mindy is a transplanted Chicagoan living in the Bay Area with her three children who are eight, six and four and a half. She rode out the rise and fall of the Silicon Valley high-tech industry, recently ended a 12 year marriage and is now on the lookout for a new job – the perfect combination for a book, TV or movie treatment! The Mommy Blog, launched in 2002, started out as an online journal that documented the near-death of Mindy’s second child and evolved over the years into a hilarious diatribe centering on her chaotic life. In fact, The Mommy Blog has become so popular, attracting nearly 20,000 visitors per month, that magazines from Redbook to Parenting have picked it as one of their favorite destinations to visit on the web. Corporate America has even taken notice of The Mommy Blog. The site has become a prime destination for major corporations that have placed advertisements on The Mommy Blog to attract female consumers. Mindy has also been called upon to consult with Fortune 500 companies, offering her insights on what moms want most out of the products they buy. Mindy is currently putting the finishing touches on a can’t put down memoir about her life, titled MOMMY CONFIDENTIAL – Adventures from the Wonderbelly of Motherhood. Mindy’s book, along with ROAD LETTERS, a memoir written by Phil Ribaudo, a chef, writer, teacher, photographer and the man Mindy fell in love with after putting her life back together, will be available for purchase in the coming months…we’ll keep you posted as soon as it’s released so you can place your order! Click Here to visit the Mommy Blog or to place an ad on her site, visit Mindy’s advertising representatives at Federated Media. If you’d like to order Mommy Confidential or Road Letters, just click on the book titles and enjoy the read!


My kids have become hooked on the all-time classic musical, THE WIZARD OF OZ. It started out as a simple rental from Blockbuster where we watched it five times before the kids begrudgingly gave it back so we could return it to the video store. Then they started begging for Wizard of Oz paraphernalia – Dylan wanted a scarecrow costume, Becca saw a Dorothy dress she just had to get her hands on and they kept pleading with us to buy them the movie. And so, their grandmother, who heard how much they loved it, decided to buy it for them as a special surprise. The DVD arrived a few days later, and we have now watched this movie approximately 100 times. No joke. My kids and I are now experts on all things relating to The Wizard. The famous lines: “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore” to “Put ’em up, put ’em up, I’ll fight you with both hands behind my back!” or the all-time favorite “There’s no place like home.” Then there are the songs. My son can act out every musical number from the film including the deleted Jitterbug song which we discovered after watching all the DVD extras about 25 times and counting. From “We Represent the Lollypop Guild” to “If I Only Had a Brain,” I have been re-living the Wizard of Oz every morning, afternoon and evening. Sometimes I even relive it in my dreams. Last night, Dorothy and I were kidnapped by the flying monkeys. When will this insanity ever end? As I’m writing this post, I hear a 100 year old munchkin fondly recalling the time Judy Garland gave him a tour of her movie trailer. Somebody please stop the Wizard before me and the scarecrow lose our minds!


Meet Melina Bellows, an amazing woman who has managed to juggle a demanding day job as Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Kids Magazine along with her passion for writing. All while keeping up with her two young children. Melina, who previously was Senior Editor at Ladies’ Home Journal, took over National Geographic Kids a few years ago, relaunching and redesigning the publication and increasing circulation from 700,000 to 1.3 million. Today, National Geographic Kids is the fourth fastest-growing publication in the country! If you think holding down a demanding job is enough for one person, then think again. Melina is also an accomplished author, having published The Fun Book series – The Fun Book, The Fun Book for Couples and coming soon is the perfect gift for busy mothers…The Fun Book for Moms! Melina’s first novel Wish, which was released last year, is a book about a Hollywood reporter who spends 15 years interviewing A-List celebrities – posing her favorite question to everyone from Oprah to Sally Field – “Got any love advice for me?” This busy Role Mommy, who lives with her husband and children in Washington D.C., has also managed to do one of the most difficult things a new mother faces after giving birth…take off the baby weight! Having gained 80 pounds from both her pregnancies, Melina has been determined to shed all that excess weight and works out almost every day! So far, she’s shed 72 pounds and only has eight more to go! This Mom of Reinvention is truly an inspiration – taking care of her family, her day job, her passion and herself all at the same time! To visit Melina’s website and purchase her books, click here.

Color Me Stupid…

Passed by an expensive children’s store today that appeared to be bustling with pony-tailed preppy moms on the lookout for the latest overpriced pinafore for their precious pixie. While the place was jam-packed and obviously making lots of sales, what caught my eye was the fact that the owner decided to provide a children’s activity in the entranceway while the moms shopped inside. Before you set foot into the store, you could deposit your child at a round table complete with coloring books and crayons. Nice idea, but here’s the problem. No one was on hand to supervise in case a three-year-old dropped her chartreuse crayola, it rolled under the table, out on the sidewalk and into the street that was filled with oncoming traffic. Who puts a kiddy table out on a sidewalk near a busy intersection with lots of cars just so that moms won’t be distracted when they plunk down a huge chunk of change on their incredibly expensive offerings? I know it’s hard to shop with young kids, but leaving them outside while you go inside to mingle with friends? If that’s not a fashion faux pas, I don’t know what is.


Rebecca is in the bathroom with her grandmother and discovers what she believes to be a prize dispenser. Thinking she’s hit paydirt, she asks, “Grandma, do you have a quarter? I want to win something!” Unfortunately, the winning prize comes in two varieties, tampon or sanitary napkin.

Rachael Herrscher and Stephanie Peterson are two enterprising moms who, after leaving the workforce to raise their kids, devised a concept that took off like wildfire in Salt Lake City, Utah and is now sweeping the nation. It all started back in 2004, when Rachael and Stephanie were searching for a Mom-n-Tot swim class. The pair wished they had a central resource for all the tidbits only mamas seem to know?and the idea for TodaysMama was born. First a local handbook?and now an expanding, national franchise?TodaysMama strives to simplify motherhood by making parenting resources accessible and easy to use. TodaysMama aims to empower women and mothers by: Helping women feel resourceful, excited about, and involved in educating and enriching their children, offering business opportunities to women who want to supplement their income, and supporting and motivating women who own businesses by providing marketplace opportunities at minimal cost. TodaysMama Handbooks have already expanded to Seattle, Arizona, Houston and Southern Nevada with more cities on the way. The TodaysMama website, which recently launched this spring, features “Expand Your Perspective” – a section where mom columnists offer heartfelt advice, useful tips and recount humorous stories from their busy lives (Role Mommy is a proud contributor); as well as a shopping section featuring products created by and sold by enterprising moms; favorite songs (Mama’s Mix); and coming soon…TodaysMama Magazine. There’s even a section called “Dream Big,” where moms can share their personal stories of how they followed their passion while raising their family. On the homefront, Rachael is the proud Mama of toddlers Josh and Addie, while Stephanie stays grounded caring for Logan and Lincoln. Neither believes in the concept of “super-mom,” but their shared philosophy of “It is possible!” forms the foundation of TodaysMama products and services. Between Rachael, a strategic marketing guru and Stephanie, a nine time marathon competitor, TodaysMama is already on its way to becoming a huge success with moms across the country. Click Here to check out TodaysMama.

LOST IN SUBURBIA? by Tracy Beckerman…In the Pink¬©

I have never been much of a pink girl. It?s not that I?m pinkaphobic or anything. In fact, some of my best friends wear pink. But personally, I?ve always preferred primary colors. Not surprisingly, my dining room is red, my kitchen is yellow and my bathroom is blue. Then there?s my daughter?s room.

Her walls are pink, her comforter is pink and her rug is pink. Her clothes are pink, her sneakers are pink, and I have no doubt, she dreams in pink.If there is such a thing as a predisposition to certain colors, I would have to assume she inherited some pink chromosomes from her grandmother, who also likes pink. But clearly the pink gene skipped a generation, just like the gracefulness gene, which I also seem to have missed out on but my daughter inherited. Before I knew that such things run along family lines, I deliberately decorated my daughter?s room in yellow when she was born. But then one day, someone gave her a pink blanket, and it was love at first pink.

When she was old enough to express a preference, she demanded pink outfits, and later, signed up for ballet just so she could wear a pink tutu. I have no doubt that one day when she is a rebellious teenager, she will dye her hair pink. I, of course, will be blue in the face from telling her not to do things like that. However, since she is still only eight years old, I have allowed her her pinkness and it really hadn?t presented much of a problem until the day the back-to-school supply list arrived in the mail informing us that she needed to buy a black binder.

?Why can?t it be pink,? she asked reasonably.?I don?t know. But it says it has to be black,? I told her as we perused the school supply aisle.?But black is boring,? she informed me, channeling Jackie O.?Yeah, I know,? I told her, taking stock of my black shirt, pants and shoes. ?But you also get to buy red, yellow and purple notebooks.??No pink???Nope. Sorry.? ?So what, does the teacher have something against pink or something?? ?I think she was probably trying to find colors that work for both boys and girls,? I explained.?Well they DON?T work for me!? she announced. And then her eyes narrowed and her lips disappeared and she began to turn a not-so-delightful shade of pink. She then proceeded to huff and puff until I thought she would blow the composition notebook display down.?I?m GETTING a pink binder,? she informed me through gritted teeth.?NO, you?re getting a black binder,? I informed her back.?PINK!!!??SSSHHH,? I Shhhed her.

Other mothers were glancing in our direction and then hustling their daughters out of the aisle as though afraid that the pink thing might be catching. Truthfully, I really didn?t give a pink hoot what color binder she got. And typically when I pick my battles with the kids, safety issues and health concerns usually far outweigh color preferences. However, I didn?t think it would get either my daughter or me off to a good start with this teacher if we blatantly ignored the black binder dictum.

?Tell you what,? I started. ?How about if we buy some pink markers and pink stickers and stuff like that and decorate your black binder with them.?She narrowed her eyes suspiciously at me. ?Does it say I can do that on the list?? ?No. But it doesn?t say you can?t, either.??Wellllll,? she thought for a minute as her face began to return to its normal color. ?OK? Oh, look, there are some stickers!?We walked over to the sticker display and I inspected the selection. ?Hey, here are some cute pink kittens,? I showed her. How about these?? ?Sure,? she said agreeably. ?But I want the blue ones.? ©2006, Beckerman. All rights reserved. For more LOST IN SURBURBIA columns, go to Tracy BeckermanLOST IN SUBURBIA?