Category Archives: Mom-a-rama

Lice Lessons (On Marketing, Business and Life)

Bird louse

Image via Wikipedia

Yeah Baby, We Have Lice … But, I’m Not Embarassed

Ok, so that’s not entirely true.

When I had to call Lesley Bohm, the amazing celebrity photographer I was supposed to have a photo shoot with today,  and tell her I couldn’t make it because I have lice, I was a little embarassed.

More than a little embarrassed.

When I first found out my daughter had it, I wanted to keep it a secret.  I wanted to tell her not to tell anyone at school.  I wanted her to make something up about why she didn’t go to school.

Fortunately, before I passed on my tendencies towards shame and hiding, I came to my senses.

I remembered that keeping secrets is the heart of just about every emotional dis-ease out there, alcoholism, drug addiction, food issues, anorexia, bulimia.  Behind each one of them is a secret that’s festered into a kink.

In each case, there’s some well-meaning parent who inadvertently conditioned his child to feel shame, embarrassment, or judgment about something and hide whatever that something is, creating a hole that needs to be filled.

Lice isn’t something to be ashamed of or embarassed about.  If you get it, it doesn’t mean you’re dirty.  (In fact, did you know that lice is more attracted to clean hair?)

The only reason we are instinctively embarrassed about it is because at some point we were conditioned to think that way.

I decided not to pass on the conditioning.

I mean yes, it’s kind of yuck-o that there are bugs laying eggs in my hair, but feeling shameful about it certainly doesn’t help the situation.

And, passing that shame/need to hide  on to my daughter is definitely not the answer.

So, I boldly picked up the phone, called the school nurse and let her know I’d be keeping Kaia home for the day and that the 3rd grade class should be checked for lice. Gulp.

(Guess what? It turns out half the school is infested, I really didn’t have anything to be embarassed about! Yay.)

I accepted the reality of the situation, and then got busy.

We went out and bought that poison stuff from the drugstore and started going through Kaia’s hair.  Then, when that didn’t seem to work that great, I got out the vinegar and went through her hair wit the nit comb dipped in vinegar, which apparently helps to unstick the nits.

To top everything off (literally), we slathered her hair with half a jar of mayonnaise and wrapped her hair in saran wrap and a shower cap before bed.

After all that, I expected we’d be cleared for school, no problem.

But, no.  When we got to school, the nurse still didn’t give Kaia (or me!) the all clear and I realized I needed to call  in reinforcements.

Hair Whispers.  For a $35 travel fee and $85/hour,  they saved the day.  (I called around and they were the least expensive.  I was quoted a $50 travel fee and $125/hour by another company and then $250/$300 by a third company).

What a great business!

Amy Goldreyer is one smart cookie.  She was even named best nitpicker by LA Weekly.  Yep, best nitpicker.

If she doesn’t have enough business via word of mouth (which I can’t imagine she doesn’t – she was mentioned in the NYT amongst celebrity baby consultants and as I sit here I just got my third email from a schoolmate friend of Kaia’s whose mom never emails me, looking for a referral to my hair fairy – the mommies are desparate!), I can suggest some quick changes to her web presence that would get her even more business.

For those of you small business owners who have been asking me for advice on marketing your businesses, here’s some good stuff for you:

Web presence suggestions –

* Create a nitpickers blog with stories about people met while nitpicking (all names disguised of course) and about how they act, what they say when they call for appointments, etc.;

* Put up an opt-in form for her nitpicker’s weekly that offers something extremely valuable, like a weekly report tracking infestations throughout the area so parents can be proactive and schools can avoid the kind of infestation our school is dealing with at the moment;

* Give affiliate commissions to referrers.  If I was getting paid, I’d email the whole school about our experience with my affiliate link included.  I may do it anyway, but only if I find an extra 15 minutes tomorrow.  If I was getting paid, I’d find the 15 minutes for sure.

* Establish a Facebook page for the business where I can become a fan and set up a Tweet that I can send out announcing I’m a fan of the business.

Hey, Amy, if you want to take this business huge, contact me.  I’d love to see it birthed out of the Millionaire Mom Business Incubator I’m launching with fellow millionaire mom Sheri McConnell (like the program name Sheri?) in 2009 as part of an incredible new association we’ve got launching.

But, even without the serious web presence, it’s a great business.

Do a little bit of marketing by making sure your brochures are in the hands of local school nurse, buy up Google Adwords for lice {local city} and lice removal {local city}, put up an informative website using the key words and keeping it updated with new information frequently, then send out young women with a cute utility bag of nitpicking tools to desperate moms who have no one else to comb lice out of their hair.

It’s a homerun.

I paid $200.39 + gave our nitpicker (who didn’t like being called that, by the way) a $20 tip to be deloused and it was well worth it.

I mean truly, what else is a mom to do?  It’s not like she can ask her husband to do it, or even a friend.

If I had nothing else going on and had to make some quick money, I’d get into the lice removal business.

I passed on Amy’s company information to at least three other desperate moms in our neighborhood already.

Here’s what I learned about lice and lice removal:

1.  The lice removal kits you buy from the drugstore are a big ripoff.  And, they poison you too.  A doubly bad combination.

2.   The little plastic comb they give you is bunk.  It doesn’t work.

3.  You can do the whole comb out deal at home without the service.  But, you need the right equipment and you DON’T need poison.

The equipment:

* A real nit comb – metal, not plastic. I recommend you buy one now to have on hand for when the lice hits your family.

* A bottle of water/conditioner mixed together

* Some type of oil – olive oil works, lavender oil.  Whatever.  The hair whisperer gal sold me a nice size bottle of their proprietary blend for $20.  Whole Foods wanted $30 for a teeny bottle of lavender oil, so I felt good about my purchase.

* Paper towels

* A bowl of water

That’s it.  No poison necessary.  Total cost minus the cute gal to comb your hair for you?  About $30.

The difficult part is the combing out of the nits/lice.

It was done totally differently than I expected.

There were three steps, which took a total of about an hour.  The key seemed to be running the comb through your hair vigorously from forehead over top of scalp and off back of hair with various substances combed through hair.

(It actually felt kind of nice – we sat out in the sun on my front patio area during the combing and for a few minutes I imagined I was at a high end spa, having a head treatment outside – ahhhh, I love having my hair played with).

It’d be nearly impossible to do to yourself, I imagine.  And not nearly as enjoyable.

Overall, my personal lesson from the whole day is there’s never anything to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.  There’s so much to enjoy about and learn from every experience … even lice.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under Entrepreneurism, How To Stuff, Mom-a-rama, Moving Beyond Fear, Personal, Values

Balancing, Juggling and Keeping All the Balls in the Air

juggleI’m in the midst of a 2-day planning retreat to map out 2009 and boy, is my life complicated!

My boyfriend lives in Atlanta, where he has two kids of his own.

Fortunately, his business is run from his laptop, which means he can come out to stay with me every other week.  But, he also has a business partner in Richmond he has to go see at least once a month.

Plus, both of us run coaching groups.  Mine are for lawyers who want to  serve their clients in a more holistic, caring way, while they make more money and work less.  His are for business owners and professionals who have something to say and want to make money with their message.

Not to mention, as of right now, I’m speaking at tthree events next year, attending a training to become certified in helping people discover their passions, beginning a course with Reverend Michael at my Church, hosting my own marketing event, writing my second book, attending three live events with my new mentor, and continuing to pitch (or maybe begin?) my television show.

Oh, and of course, taking care of the kids and running my businesses.  AND, perhaps most exciting of all, launching a new business for millionaire mom entrepreneurs or those who want to be.  More on that one soon.

And, of course we will be taking some vacations – on the schedule already we’ve got Mammoth in early February to ski, Chicago over the summer (I know, not the best time of the year), and of course Burning Man!

Whew, what a year!

This kind of a year doesn’t happen without some serious planning.

So, Dave and I spent the entire day yesterday plotting it all out on big fold out calendars from Franklin Covey.

The cool thing is that even with all of that happening, I can feel I’ll have plenty of time and space for myself, to deepen my spiritual practices, to do yoga and pilates, and to spend time alone.

How is that?

It’s all about choices.  I choose to fill my life with things that inspire me, excite me, and fill me with more energy.   And, I let go of all the rest.  Amazingly, the more I do that, the more I find room for more of what I love and supports my highest purpose.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

2 Comments

Filed under Burning Man, Entrepreneurism, Mom-a-rama, Spirituality

The Antidote to Mean Girls

postermeangirlsThe other night, I wrote about how the answer to life’s pain/suffering/uncertainty is to rest in the awareness that everything’s okay.

The following morning, I was given the opportunity to translate that into a real life situation with a friend of mine and in doing so, remind myself.

Isn’t it beautiful how so often we find ourselves telling people in our lives exactly what we ourselves need to hear?

So, here’s the story.

Kaia is in third grade and some of the girls in her class seemed to have suddenly learned that it can be fun to exclude some of the other girls.

I first discovered this when I found out Kaia had not been invited to the birthday party of a girl she had previously spent a lot of time with.  I wrote about that experience on the LA Moms Blog.

The long and the short of it?  I felt a lot of pain around the whole thing.  Kaia couldn’t have cared less.

When I brought it up with my ex-husband, he looked at me like I had three heads.   He reminded me that our kids had learned in preschool that it was fine to exclude people and fine to be excluded.  It’s all okay.

Oh, right, now I remember.  That’s why I loved that school so much.  The unconditioning.  I chose it because when I showed up there for a tour, half of the kids were running around naked and playing in the mud.  Perfect.

Unfortunately for my friend, she didn’t have any of that unconditioning.  Her kid went to a traditional preschool where all the kids kept their clothes on and were made to take turns, share and be polite.  And, she herself had experienced generations of conditioning, none of which had yet to be unraveled.

So, when she found out her daughter was being excluded, she immediately decided something was wrong.

And, wanted to fix it.

But, how do you fix it when your child is being excluded?  Well, naturally, you try to help your child figure out what they are doing that’s causing the exclusion.

Right, that’s the conditioned reaction.  That was my immediate reaction too when I first heard my daughter was being excluded.

Except that, here’s the problems with that natural reaction:

#1:  You can’t fix it.

#2:  If you try to fix it, you make it worse.

#3:  By trying to fix it, your child inherits the conditioning that tells her that if she’s being excluded, there must be something wrong with her.  And, she begins to believe that if she can just change something about herself so that she fits in she won’t be excluded.

And well, we know where that leads, don’t we?

To feelings that we’re not good enough as we are. To low self-esteem.  To trying to please other people to feel good inside.  Eventually, to sex, drugs and alcohol to dull the pain.

So, what’s the unconditioned response look like that can break these patterns?

Let it be.  Teach your kid that it’s fine to be excluded.  Help her to focus on the people she enjoys spending time with who enjoy spending time with her instead of on the kids who don’t want her around.

Above all, help her understand it’s not personal.

She’s not being excluded because there’s something wrong with her.  She’s being excluded because not everyone is a match with everyone else.

And, that’s okay.

She needs to focus her attention on and hang out with the kids she does fit with and not worry about the rest.

What a gift to give your daughter.  The gift of being able to be herself without worrying what other people think.

Yes, for a mommy who does care what other people think, this can be incredibly difficult.  But, what an opportunity to let go of everything we once thought was important and find what really matters.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

6 Comments

Filed under How To Stuff, Mom-a-rama, Uncategorized

The Brady Bunch Reunion

My boyfriend Dave lives across the country in Atlanta.  He’s got two kids.  A daughter and a son.  I’ve got two kids.  A daughter and a son.

This past weekend over Thanksgiving they met for the first time.

Ok, so it wasn’t quite the Brady Bunch and won’t be from this distance.  But, the kids got along great and I have fantasies of all of us living together one day in a big house by the beach.  In California.

Gina and Kaia were asked several times over the weekend if they are sisters.  They didn’t know how to answer!  Here are a few pictures:

kaia-and-ginanoak-kaia-gina

4-kids

2 Comments

Filed under Mom-a-rama

Sunday Night: A Movie to Watch With Your Kids (While You Prep Your Week)

l3gallery_02vert313x470A few weeks ago, the kids and I got to preview The Librarian, Curse of the Judas Chalice.   They liked it because it was action-packed and I liked it because it had Noah Wyle in it.  My 9 year old daughter was a little scared during and after the movie.  I think the vampire theme freaked her out a bit.  But, not my 5 year old, he loved it.  He also loves to watch Jurassic Park 1, 2 and 3 and has been begging to watch Jaws, but I just can’t let him do that yet.

If you’re like me, you use Sunday nights to prep for your week.  So, if your kids are still up at 8pm (mine would be asleep by then on a school night or getting ready for bed), this will definitely occupy them so you can work on your computer while they watch the movie and you can look up every now and then to catch an eyeful of Noah.

Alternatively, you may want to Tivo it for a Friday or Saturday night movie night.  We don’t do TV during the week at all, but I do let my kids have movie night on the weekends and I’m always happy when they choose a movie that I can watch along with them.  The Librarian would definitely qualify.

2 Comments

Filed under Mom-a-rama

Why So Upset? Maybe Someone Needs a Motrin …

Over the past weekend, Motrin began to run this ad on its site and it has caused a major uproar throughout the blogoshpere and all over Twitter.

It culminated with an executive from Motrin, who happens to be a mom of 3 children herself, writing a personal letter of apology to @Katja Presnal, who I believe started the whole uproar. (I should mention that @katjapresnal is a dear friend who I hope will not be pissed off by this post.)

Patricia Handscheigel, who is not even a mom by the way, noticed the outrage at the Motrin ad and was shocked at the hubbub created around it when nary a mom tweeted about a recent bill to combat child pornography that barely passed.  Patricia posted a video about child pornography that I watched in shock.  I had no idea.  Now that IS something to get outraged about.

But, the Motrin ad?  Not so much.

I was a baby-wearing mom.  I even sold Maya Wraps because I loved them so much.  I carried my kids in slings til they were 4.  And, yeah, my back hurt sometimes.  And, sometimes I looked tired and crazy.  I could see how some good intentioned marketing team thought they were sympathizing with moms and laughing with us, not at us.  I mean do you really think that they intended to put down their target market?

And, if they didn’t intend to do it, why get all outraged before cluing them in on their error.  Then, if they ignore you, get outraged.  But, why come from outrage first?

What if, next time, instead of moving from standstill to outrage in 3 seconds flat, we all took a collective breath, and gave the benefit of the doubt?  Didn’t take it personally?  Read or re-read the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Want to be happy in life?  Don’t take anything personally, ever.

Honestly, I felt bad for the folks at Motrin.  They spent a pretty penny on this campaign you can be sure of that.  I’m a marketer and a business owner.  And sometimes I put my foot in my mouth too.  I hope the next time I do it (and surely there will be a next time) I can count on the caring compassion of other moms and business owners to give me the benefit of the doubt and not come at me with guns a-blazing ready to run me out of town on a rail.

Sorry Katja, I don’t agree. I still love ya though.

32 Comments

Filed under Mom-a-rama

Kaia On the Ellen Show Today!

A few weeks ago, Kaia and the Agape Kids’ Choir recorded a music video.  You’ll remember I showed it to you here.

Well, it made its way to Ellen Degeneres who liked it so much she invited the kids to come down to the studio and perform the song live on her show.

Here’s a couple photos, but be sure to check out the real thing on your TV.  Set your TIVO!

kaia-on-ellenellen-being-swarmed-by-the-kids

4 Comments

Filed under Mom-a-rama