The Sleepover

For those of you who have been reading Role Mommy for a while, then you know I am the ultimate Type A Career Mom. While I’m a perfectionist on the job, at home, I try not to take things too seriously and let things roll off my shoulders. So when my daughter recently asked if she could have a sleepover birthday party for 13 of her nearest and dearest friends, I didn’t think twice about it and gave her the green light.
The moms of her friends however thought I was certifiably insane. The comments ranged from pure admiration to total contempt.
“Are you sure you really want to go through with this?”
“Bless, you. Are you gunning for a Mother of the Year medal or something?”
“I think you’re nuts – have you ever spent a night with a dozen screaming fourth graders?”
Unfazed, I moved forward with the plan and a few weeks later D day arrived. We kicked off the party at a burger place near our house and at 7pm sharp, the girls started filing in the door. The decibel level instantly increased to a pitch that I think could be heard by dogs in the next county and while I kept insisting that the girls keep their voices down, the minute I walked away, the high pitched squeals kicked in again. But this time, a few of the fourth grade attendees decided to whip out their cell phones and start snapping pictures of the 21 year old waiter who was paying extra attention to our group of Zach and Cody fanatics. Every time he came over to the table, the girls started screaming in delight and one of them who was doing an impersonation of London Tipton thought she was being cute when she offered him her phone number and proceeded to take a photo with him.
At that point, I was completely appalled and told her to knock it off, she was being completely inappropriate and I warned that I’d confiscate the cell phones if the photo snapping of older boys didn’t stop. Next, when the party was over and we loaded the girls up in our cars, I managed to drive home the flirty girls. As I drove them back to our house, I eavesdropped on their conversation and learned that the same girl who wanted to give out her phone number had inappropriate photos of her dad on her phone. And then, they started talking about “making out” with guys. Making out??? These girls are only 9 and 10. I couldn’t help myself and asked, “Do you girls even know what making out is?” To which one of the smart mouths responded: “Sure I do, my brother taught me about it.” With that remark, I was speechless.
The kids then trounced into our house with sleeping bags in tow and proceeded to eat more – the debris the next morning included goldfish strewn all over the carpet, a half eaten peach under the couch, popcorn kernels and pretzel crumbs ground into the floor. They then watched movies, danced and goofed around and pretty much stayed up until 2 am until my DH parked himself on the second floor hallway landing and warned that if they didn’t go to sleep that he’d start personally driving the kids back home. Thankfully, that tactic worked.
By the next morning, the girls awoke at 7 am and while I was craving at least two more hours of sleep, I trudged down the steps, whipped up 40 homemade waffles with whip cream and berries for the girls. The plate was devoured within minutes and then my DH brought home a bagful of bagels and those went too. With their bellies full and their screaming batteries recharged, the girls danced in the living room until the doorbell rang and it was time for all of them to head home. And in a flash, the sleepover was officially over.
Any lessons learned from this latest over the top birthday party escapade? Absolutely – this was our first and last sleepover party for 13 girls. Next, we will have a no cell phone rule at all further birthday parties and finally, we’ll be watching our daughter like a hawk to make sure she stays away from the kid whose brother taught her to make out. Now on to planning my son’s party – a swim party for 20 of his nearest and dearest first grade friends. Nothing can go wrong with that one – except of course if the kids can’t swim…

Breaking into Talk Shows

Today’s PR lesson of the day centers on timely topics where you could fit in and promote yourself, your book, product or brand. If you’ve watched the Today Show lately, you can get a feel for how they produce a segment and then figure out how you might be the perfect guest for them.
Here’s how it works. If you watched today’s segment, which focused on women and body image, you’ll see that they featured Cindy Lieve, the editor in chief of Glamour who shared the results of a survey the magazine just did on women and body image (surprise, we all still think we’re fat). They paired Cindy with the author of a new book about body image – a woman with a lovely British accent who I think contributed two comments to the conversation and the third guest was a psychologist whose specialty was…you guessed it, body image – she only spoke once, if you’re keeping score.
So that’s the trifecta of a morning show television segment. Magazine editor, author, psychologist. So if you’re not an author, magazine editor or psychologist, how do you break in? Simple. Sometimes they also like to round out a segment with a mom expert. So what’s your specialty? Are you a green mom? A gaming mom? An Internet safety mom? A cooking and recipe mom? If you do have a niche, you actually have a much better chance of being picked for a news or talk show because producers can clearly see what your blog offers readers. If you’re more of a generalist (like me), then it will be much harder for you to break in. The reason for that is simple. While you may believe you are the all-knowing mom in the blogosphere, not having a specialty works against you – especially since those Today Show producers have just written a parenting book themselves. Why do they need you when they have each other?
I don’t want to depress you so here’s how you can beat the system. Figure out the topic that suits you best and bring in experts that’ll round out the segment and showcase you too. Even better, if you follow the Today Show on twitter, they actually send out messages when they’re looking for guests for a story.
As for the Queen of Talk, Kristin at Spirited Woman said the best way for a mom to break in is to visit Oprah.com and keep paying attention to the site and what shows they’re working on. Kristin actually got a call back for their talented kids show – that doesn’t mean she’s booked, but at least she got a call back. And trust me, when you have the email address and phone number of an Oprah producer that doesn’t mean you’re going to get anywhere fast. They do not return calls or emails unless they’re interested. And if they’re not interested, you are pretty much dead in the water.
For local TV news or radio shows, your best bet is to pitch the reporter who covers the topic that best suits you or visit the website and send your story to them as well. Another idea is to secure a newspaper placement on your business or book and then reach out to TV reporters with that story. A lot of times TV news is driven by print media so don’t count out newspapers when trying to make your mark.
The bottom line on breaking in is to do your homework. Study the network morning shows and the local news and pay attention to the stories they’re covering on a regular basis and then figure out how you could fit in. It’s not easy to do but with a little ingenuity and persistence, you may one day find yourself in the TV hot seat.

The Friday Fave Fives

You know what I love? I love it when I start searching for some fave five topics and it turns out a good friend of mine comes up instantly with the help of Google. So who am I talking about? Well, take a look at #1 on the fave five and find out!
1. If you are a Food Network fanatic, then you don’t want to miss their brand new Healthy Eats blog. One of my good friends, nutritionist and mom Toby Amidor is one of the writers behind that site and if you’d like to find out some easy recipes on how to prepare a meal that your whole family will love, then Healthy Eats may be just the site for you.
2. One of my favorite feature film stars, working mother and Role Mommy, Julia Roberts is back on the big screen with a spy thriller that’s set to hit movie theaters this week. I’ve always loved Julia – ever since the first time I saw her in Mystic Pizza and of course my personal favorite “big mistake” scene from Pretty Woman (that’s right up there with “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”). She’s a gorgeous and talented actress who proves each and every day that you can do what you love and still be a really great mom.
3. While I have been going to the gym regularly, I have to tip my running shoes to the gals at Wii Mommies – who demonstrate that no matter how busy you are, you can totally stay fit with the help of your Wii. And a little birdy told me that Julie at Cool Mom Guide (and the Wii Fit Mommies creator) and Jessica at Jessica Knows are going on a retreat with Oprah’s fitness guru Bob Greene. With the help of a new fitness program for the Wii from EA Sports, these blogging mamas are going to shape up even more in 30 days. Rock on ladies…hope you kick some serious butt (while all of your butts get smaller).
4. We all are saddened by the loss of Natasha Richardson and send our best wishes and prayers to her family. If you’re as shocked as I am about how a minor head injury could turn fatal, this article in People Magazine shares important warning signs.
5. We’re gearing up for our next event – a forum for parents of teens and tweens and are really excited to introduce our attendees to the Teen Angels – an incredible group of students whose mission is to provide children and adults with important Internet safety tips on how to protect oneself online and prevent cyberbullying.
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The Thursday Fave Fives