matt jill
25 Jan

A Baby…And A Blog, The Benefits of Blogging

How to keep working in television and media after having a baby? My first piece of advice: Don’t panic… life might be changing in a different direction, but it just might be okay.

The date was January 17, 2010, it was the first Golden Globes red carpet I wouldn’t be working (on account of my longtime contracted job as an entertainment reporter with an up-and-coming cable network ending the month before… and I hadn’t found myself another gig yet). It was also the day I found out I was expecting my first baby. To say the whole thing was shocking and unplanned is the biggest understatement of my life. My husband was happy. I immediately panicked.

My mind raced. If I don’t find another on camera job before this belly pops, I’ll never work in television again. You can’t interrupt momentum in the entertainment industry or else… and at that time I had serious momentum. Momentum that was now seriously interrupted.

I networked and interviewed and auditioned like only a desperate and borderline-crazy hormonal pregnant woman can. I even barged my way into an audition about 2 weeks before my due date and tried to convince the Executive Producer that I’d be up and ready to travel and work again one week after having my first baby. Thankfully he didn’t believe me and just smiled and nodded, knowing better than I. Small gigs happened for me here and there throughout my pregnancy, but no longtime contract scored.

I’ll never work again. All that hustling, hard work, long hours and working my way into the industry I’d dreamed about working in since I was a little girl… gone.

I was now going to have a baby. Back then, the whole put-a-no-name-pregnant-woman-on-tv was less accepting and common as it is now… AND, I also always felt that, once I became a mom, I’d want to be home with my babies and only work on a part-time basis.

After crying and mourning my soon-to-be-over mini-career for close to 8 months, one of my digital-savvy friends suggested I start a mom blog. Keep in mind, I barely knew how to compose a group email at the time. Writing has always been a serious love (since elementary school) but technology had never been my strong suit. (Still isn’t actually!)

I searched domain names anyway. Everything that remotely felt applicable to me, that I felt I connected to, was taken. I searched more. I typed every domain I could think of and then plunked out variations of it to make sure I hadn’t missed a domain that was available. And then it happened: TheFabMom.com was available! (As found on GoDaddy…)

In a flash of destiny I decided that ‘fab’ would stand for ‘focused after baby’ and enlisted a web designer and started writing a few days a week just before my daughter was born. Talk about throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what stuck… I learned how to navigate this brand new digital world and what it meant at the time to be a ‘blogger’ along the way. I made BIG mistakes that, looking back at now, I still can’t believe I made and am embarrassed about. During my baby’s two naps per day (during her first year), I’d sit down at my computer and write, click, read and educate myself about the digital world. I joined Twitter. I started posting on Facebook. I researched resources and sent random emails to popular influential bloggers and digital video organizations asking if I could pick their brain and/or write guest posts for them. I’d like to say I became a whiz, but I’m still learning.

Starting my blog got me thinking, kept me creative and has proven to have built something that kept me relevant in the media world so that I can continue to do what I love… The key was jumping in and figuring it all out later. If you start it, you can build it. But you have to bungee first.

Am I making a ton of money? Nope. Could I pay for all things food and mortgage and wholly support my family with what I’m earning now? No way -- but that’s pretty typical for the average on camera talent working in showbiz, whether you’re an actress or reporter or host. The near-unbelievable circumstance of my mom blog being the thing that scored me repeat gigs on the TODAY Show? Well, that’s just the Universe rubbing irony in my face. Despite my panic about pregnancy ending my career, I’m still plugging along and working in television and media… and also thankfully able to be home with my kids and all.

Start a blog. It just might change your life. It kept my dream career going!

I will be joining the "Benefits of Blogging" panel at MomFair LIVE! on January 31 with the editors of Babble and Modern Mom (I am a contributor with both sites) and Sharzad Kiadeh, mom vlogger and personality.

Read More
20 Jan

VIDEO ALERT: Latest Video Interviews Posted

When we produced MomFair 2013 we were lucky enough to have Jill Simonian of TheFabMom and Hallmark Channel's Home & Fammily and Kristin Cruz of KOST 103.5 FM interview our speakers at the event. Every few weeks we post a few videos from the event. Check out the latest below.

Kristin Cruz of KOST 103.5 FM chats with published author Jenny Feldon regarding her book Karma Gone Bad. Whats her advice? Write with your heart and soul. Pour your passion into your writing. Write every day. Find ways to get into the right circles and get to the right publisher. Figure out who published a book similar to what you are writing and find a way to get your book to that publisher.

Fashion blogger and "hot mom" Paula Miranda of Paulaisms chats with the fabulous Kristin Cruz of KOST 103.5 FM re: starting a fashion blog. Take great pictures and be consistent. Paula's tip for being a "hot mom" - keep a scarf in the car to add a little oompf to every outfit and always wear lipstick to help you feel a little more polished.

Read More
03 Oct

FILOSOPHY: Working moms, sick babies & pre-mixed cookies.

There’s so much to write in this post, I don’t even know where to start. So I’ll start at the beginning:

I’M NOW A REGULAR PERSONALITY ON HALLMARK CHANNEL’S EMMY-NOMINATED “HOME AND FAMILY” MORNING SHOW!

To say that I’m elated is a massive understatement. The new season just launched this week and I’ve been waaaaiiiiiiittttting for it since last March! Like a toddler decked out in a Snow White dress on her birthday. I’ve been sooooooo excited. I wished for it all summer. It happened.

Snow White had a phonecall.

Snow White had a phonecall.

But with good and wonderful things always comes balance. I even scoff at the word: BALANCE. Many a mom I know will tell you there’s no such thing. There’s juggling. There’s dodging. There’s coordinating. There are lots of deep breaths. Sometimes, you can’t think… you just have to GO. This weekend – the weekend before my very first day at this current dream-come-true job of mine – I had to just GO. So I did. (Now that I think about it, these things seem to happen to me late September.)

In a nutshell: It was my LadyP’s birthday. The big family royal court party was planned for the weekend (more on that in another post). I had swords, crowns and big plans involving big yellow-and-blue dresses (yes, Snow White to be exact). Meanwhile, my 18-month old LilMiss got a freak fever of 104 Friday afternoon. I noticed she was acting weird as I pushed them around in the humongous cart at Costco. That night, I cancelled my plans to stay home and cold-compress, administer Tylenol and ultimately cry with her as she was more miserable than I’d ever seen her. I let the older sister (soon-to-be birthday girl) watch marathons of Tinkerbell to keep her occupied. Keep going, I thought. (It’s what moms do.) After whipping up a quick batch of sort-of-homemade hot-pink frosty cookies (despite my Home and Family assignment to make HOMEMADE cookies for National Cookie Day… if you watched this Tuesday’s show you know what I’m talking about) and one Saturday night trip to the ER to make sure my LilMiss didn’t have some spontaneous disease (now with a temperature of 105), one cancelled toddler birthday party (thanks to the 105 temp) and a plate of hot-pink frosty cookies that just looked like a hot mess to me, I realized: I was officially in the Working Mothers Club. I’d spent the last few years willing and working towards this to happen, and it did. Finally. And, like I’ve said, with all good and wonderful things comes challenge. It’s part of the game. It’s part of life. Just keep going, I thought. (This is what they invented coffee for, right?)

I finally gave myself some therapy at 3am Monday morning (Sunday night, the night before my first day on set) when both my girls woke up in the middle of the night and I caught myself slipping into what all working-moms experience: Near-Burnout. (On account of the totally-planned-then-cancelled party, the fever-and-accompanying-screaming, the cookie-planning and show-prep… and technically I hadn’t even begun working yet.)

Unedited & unfabulous: What I look like at 3am. (Yes, she had fruit because she asked and I didn't feel like dealing with it.)

Unedited & unfabulous: What I look like at 3am. (Yes, she had fruit because she asked and I didn’t feel like dealing with it.)

I had cancelled the princess party, my cookie-assignment was not my best work, my baby was screaming and burning hot. But you know what? Life goes on. (This too, shall pass.) Sure, I was tempted to continuously feel sad about having to cancel LadyP’s birthday, I was tempted to fret about the not-really-that-homemade-cookies (that were supposed to be homemade) and I was tempted to worry about the horrific undereye circles that’d be blatantly-offensive on national television the next day. GET OVER IT. I’m not the first working mom in the world…. and I’m not the last. This. Is. What. We. Do. I’ve never tolerated guilt, and I wasn’t going to start now. It’s the week of Momfair, after all… if nothing else, my experience was absolutely appropriate. Game on.

Luckily, I had the foresight to decorate our kitchen in pink streamers and princess napkins (a surprise for my birthday girl), I put Hubby on-task for monitoring LilMiss’ Tylenol and Motrin doses and I started to look at my florescent pre-mixed frosted sugar cookie bars with a sense of accomplishment rather than disgust. I wanted to return to the workforce… so I’M GONNA WORK IT. Fight. Or. Flight. It was my choice. I chose to think about one saying that seems to get me through mommy challenges like this: Women Rule. Moms rule. Reminding myself of this gives me strength when I need it.

Moms rule. The gorgeous blonde is Sofie Uliano of GorgeouslyGreen.com.

Moms rule. The gorgeous blonde is Sofie Uliano of GorgeouslyGreen.com.

And guess what: LilMiss is on the mend, Snow White had a lovely birthday-day and I got a free pink T-shirt for running through tires on television (if ya watched the show, you’re with me… and you also saw how mom and healthy beauty advocate Sofie Uliano of GorgeouslyGreen can rock a football).

Here’s to the working moms and pre-made cookies everywhere. This too, shall pass. I promise.

HOW DO YOU GET OVERCOME BEING OVERWHELMED?

- See more at: http://thefabmom.com/2013/09/30/filosophy-working-moms-sick-babies-pre-mixed-birthday-cookies/#sthash.hWCJSKrk.dpuf

Read More