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If you are looking for proof that Lynn Bardowski’s book, “Success Secrets of a Million $ Party Girl,” is a serious book, there it is, right on page 84, with her tip to “get a crock-pot”. As she says, “As long as your family is fed, they will let you do what you have to do.” Truer words were never spoken.

Lynn shares truths from her rise to a million dollar business owner over the last decades in order to encourage other women. I’ve known Lynn for years, but only in reading this book did I learn how similar our backgrounds are. We both spent years in corporate sales. We both considered our hot pink suit to be our power suit. We both raised (I’m still in the midst of) two girls. And we both absolutely love what we do. That last one is pretty important, because it’s awful to work for yourself doing something you don’t love.

Lynn’s book is full of good, tactical advice, like her reading lists on page 13.  She advises women to read, read, read.  Think and Grow Rich and How to Win Friends and Influence People are the two basics, but she goes on to list many of her favorite “can do” books.

She gets you excited not just for the idea of building a business, but building one that can create aundance for others, and not just the people who work for her. Her vision of prosperity goes well beyond your own home office.

 Think about the impact on the economy and the abundance my vision created.  That includes supermarkets that sold food that was serves at the parties, lighters purchased to light the candles, purchases made with the income entrepreneurs earned, etc. It’s a ripple that just keeps on going! And that doesn’t even count the number of UPS workers that delivered the products!

By chapter 10, I was thinking, “Who can I pass this book on to?  Who else needs to read this?”  Chapter 10, you see, is entitled, “Your business Is Your Life”.  The leading quote is “No one ever dies from sleeping in an unmade bed” from Erma Bombeck.  Not even this professional organizer will tell you to stress about the little things when there is so much life to be lived!

Lynn’s story of how a cell phone, sister-in-law, and candles collided to send this career gal into a totally new orbit is a quick read. And if you’re looking for a boost in the right direction, a little encouragement from someone who’s been there, you’ll pick up your copy quickly.

Available in paperback:

And available for your Kindle:

(Affiliate links included)

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Cats in the cradle and the silver spoon

Little boy blue and the man in the moon

When ya coming home Dad?  I don’t know when,

But we’ll get together then, son.  You know we’ll have a good time then.

 

This little refrain dances through my head with a folksy little tune quite a bit these days.  I’m sure I was a strange child, because Cats in the Cradle has been one of my favorite songs since I was about eight years old. Yes, I was cat-crazy from an early age, but I’ve always understood the story that the song tells. http://www.lyricsdepot.com/harry-chapin/cats-in-the-cradle.html

Cats in the cradle…

It seems like recently has been a particularly tough “cats in the cradle” time for my family.  My mom just retired after working 44 years with the same company.  She called me on the last week of her job, also my birthday week, and I was working on deadlines, stressing about sitter arrangements, and a dozen other things that day.  It was hard for me to stop the whirlwind of my day to settle down long enough to ask her how she was feeling about her next big life change.   Recently, I forgot my Dad’s birthday, but randomly called home just to say hi on his big day.  Luckily, it wasn’t a birthday ending in a zero. Both of these incidents shone the light on me, constantly in motion, compared to their process of slowing their lives to a “smell the roses” pace.  My workaholic mom and I have officially switched places.

And the silver spoon…

My two preschoolers keep me busy with the usual stuff, like running to school and playdates. We have a lovely home that takes time to maintain and update. We are blessed with friends, church, and family.  My husband sometimes travels for his job, which strains our schedule.  And, of course, we joke that I work for the most demanding boss ever, myself.  It’s not quite a silver spoon life, but we, like most Americans, have it relatively good, as long as we are working and paying our dues.

Little boy blue…

Discipline, sibling rivalry, and reminders about manners take up a lot of my day.  Most days feel like one step forward, two steps back.  I thought two little girls wouldn’t wrestle, for heaven’s sake.  Sometimes I am blue- no-worn out- by day’s end. Where are all the well-meaning lookers-on from the malls and the stores when I’m refereeing my 99th wrestling match of the day?

And the man in the moon…

When Cats in the Cradle was a hit for Harry Chapin in 1974, I was just a baby.  Moms all over the country were still busting out of the household, scratching and clawing to make it into the working world.  My girls don’t realize that women have, indeed, reached the moon, but only recently.  They don’t yet realize how happy it makes Mommy to be able to keep one foot firmly in my professional life, while also working a second shift at home rather than sending them off to daycare.  The song croons about a boy and his father, working too hard to fully experience his growing son’s life.  The young child wants to be just like his daddy and by the end of the song, the workaholic dad realizes that, “He’d grown up just like me.  My boy was just like me.”

In this day and age, the song would be written for mother and daughter.  I really believe there is no absolute balance, no way to fully appreciate every single moment, no way to keep the kids small at their cutest stages.  If it’s hard to decide whether this is an article with more “up” sentiments or more “down,” that reflects reality.  Our lives are Cats in the Cradle moments strung together. Many women today take big risks to fashion a life that allows for professional pursuit, flexible scheduling, and time enough with their mini-me’s.  I wonder who will write the next Cats in the Cradle song for this generation.  I won’t be surprised if it will be all about a mom and her daughters this time around.

 

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Mommies-to-be, isn’t it great when you get sound advice from sage moms?  Mom bloggers are loving The Pregnant Entrepreneur, and they are willing to take up their blog space to talk about it.  Check out what they are saying, and click on their links to enter to win a copy they may be giving away:

In my opinion, this book is really one of a kind. Owning a business is a dream for many woman, but they may think it’s impossible to do this while expecting or already raising a family. Not anymore!

-Kecia at  http://southerngirlramblings.com/the-pregnant-entrepreneur-book-review/

Although there are some great business related tips, the book does not read like a textbook.  If you are trying to balance work and family, then you will most likely find this book extremely helpful and informative. 

-Cake Mom at http://jamielz.blogspot.com/2012/05/pregnant-entrpreneur-review-and.html

Whether you have a small starter business or a larger established company this book will help you navigate through pregnancy while owning your own business.  I wish I had this book 2 years ago while I was pregnant with Jace.  I had been working my jewelry business but stopped because I was so overwhelmed.  This book would have helped me to put things in perspective and keep the business going. 

-Lisa at http://www.astheygrowup.com/2012/05/mamas-ultimate-giveaway-bash-pregnant.html

 

Two aspects of the book that I especially enjoyed were critical questions and case studies. The critical questions at the end of each chapter help motivate and inspire the reader. The real examples of mom success stories are also inspirational and educational.

-Scarlett at  http://momswearyourtees.com/management-tips/pregnant-entrepreneur-book-review/ and https://www.facebook.com/Moms.Wear.Your.Tees.SMM

 

I kid you not – this is one of the most impressive non-fiction, how-to books that I have read in quite a long time.  Targeted to pregnant women who either have their own businesses or are considering starting their own business, it is also an invaluable resource for any self-employed, stay-at-home, working, or student mom.  I suspect that it is a terrific resource for all moms, at every level of working. This book has the potential of being life-changing!

– Cluadine Wolk, Author of It Gets Easier! And Other Lies We Tell New Mothers, Help4NewMoms.com

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Pregnant Entrepreneurs are about to learn about the sweetest sound in the universe: a child sleeping.  For the first two years, you can get an awful lot done from your home office when your child naps.  But somewhere around two, many moms get a little shaky because it appears that your sweetheart is giving up naps, which can destroy the entire balance of your universe.

Here are a few great and practical tips from my friend, Erin Flynn Jay, Philadelphia writer, public relations executive and mom of two girls. http://www.metrokids.com/Blogs/MomSpeak/April-2012/When-Your-Toddler-Drops-the-Nap/  Check out her blog at FlynnMedia.com/blog.

To be completely honest, my own sleep hygiene these days isn’t the best, what with trying to burn the candle at both ends.  But I have always zealously guarded my children’s naptime. In addition to Erin’s tips above, here are a few of my own.

  • When your youngster first starts giving up naps, that doesn’t mean she’s actually ready to give up naps.  This is called a nap strike, and may just be for a few days.  If your child doesn’t get back into a sleep routine, try changing the routine.  If she always sleeps in her crib, for example, try taking her for a drive.  Find a situation she falls asleep in, and try to repeat it over the next week to get her back into a sleep habit.
  • Guard naps religiously if it makes you a better mom and a better business owner.  I am ALWAYS, ALWAYS home for naptime.  That means we miss out on a few events and some lunches with friends, but my kids know the routine, and usually go to bed with little fuss after lunch.
  • When naps fail, turn it into quiet time.  My pediatricians back me up that even a kindergardener needs quiet time.  While it may not be as long as a nap, your child can still stay quietly in their room, reading or playing with quiet toys.  It might be a shorter window than nap, but we don’t need that much time to accomplish our entire daily to do list after all, right?   😉
  • Reward naps.  As a mom, I am not above bribery.  When putting my little ones down for lunch, I often say something like, “I’m really looking forward to heading to the park with you after nap.  But you need to be well rested.  So read quietly and maybe close your eyes so you can have enough energy to do the fun stuff we have planned, alright?” 

Keep these strategies with you as your child ages.  I have found that my days are the best with my kids when they are well-rested, especially as they grow into toddlers and pre-schoolers.

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You don’t know what you don’t know when you become a parent.  Here are a few doozies that still catch me off guard.

Table manners matter.  I’m not sure when this happened, but I became a stickler for table manners.  Of course, toddlers don’t have table manners.  More accurately, my toddlers actually own manners, they are just constantly misplacing theirs.  My oldest is five, and she absolutely loves being loud, making funny noises, hiding under the table, and getting her younger sister to misbehave along with her.  I wish I could be the carefree mom that laughs and sings at the table savoring every moment with my young children, but after getting everyone to a hot meal, I just want to enjoy it in relative peace.  Not complete silence, just peace.  Call me crazy.

No respect.  It amazes me that Rodney Dangerfield, who is absolutely a man, made a career of the phrase, “I get no respect.”  In fact, it is mothers who get no respect.  It’s become a running joke in my family, and it happens all the time.  I shop for dinner, plan dinner, and prepare dinner, but hand it off to my husband to grill, and the girls say, “Thank you for a great dinner, Daddy.”  For our recent trip to Hershey Park, I clear the dates, book the hotel, and buy the tickets, but my husband drives the car, and the girls say, “Thanks for taking us to Hershey, Daddy.”  I shop for clothes, launder them, and get the girls dressed, and the girls run to daddy to hear his obligatory praises of, “Oh, how pretty!”  I knew this would happen, of course, because I under-appreciated my own mom.  Serves me right.

Guilt.  I am sometimes ashamed and terrified of my perfect children.  As I befriend mothers who are raising children who are allergic, fragile, disabled, or tragically taken too soon, I am struck by guilt that I don’t actually worship my perfectly healthy children.  When they have a meltdown in the store or smack each other, I admit to sometimes losing my cool.  No, I’ve been too busy rearing them and setting boundaries to smother them in kisses several times a day, which is exactly what I should be doing. Which is exactly what my friends would do if their child were suddenly cured, restored, returned to them.  In the same breath, I am terrified that something terrible will happen in the next moment to my perfect children.  Would I be as graceful as these women I have come to admire?  There’s no way of knowing until I am tested, which I pray I won’t be. More guilt.

I love working.  Not that this one is a complete surprise.  I’m just grateful to be able to design a life where I can enjoy my kids and enjoy a fulfilling creative outlet that produces and income.  Especially when my kids drive me crazy, I still have this professional side of me up and running, and it is worth all of the energy that it takes to keep both sides of my life running at the same time.  Frankly, some days I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my awesome business.  Yes, I love working, and I love working for myself even more.  udge me if you want, but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone on this one.

I’m sure there are more. But they’ll have to wait for a refill on chocolate and coffee, which I swore I would never use as crutches to get through my day.  Never say never.

 

 

 

 

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Kelly McBride of Belly Pilates in Philadelphia has hit on a great idea…a series of free workshops covering a huge range of topics important to pregnant women, new moms, and their families.  Check it out here.  Even if you miss the series, looking at the list of topics covered might give you ideas on how to find resources for the issues you are noodling through.

Click here to see the video of Resources for New Moms , highlighting www.bellypilates.com.

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I am never sick. So how did I lose three days last week? I swear this kind of thing started when I was pregnant, and has only gotten worse with two children.

Before becoming a mom, if I was sick, I would call in to the boss, change my voice mail greeting, and crawl back under the covers.

During pregnancy, the days when I felt wrung out were mitigated by my sweetheart offering extra foot rubs.

Now, I have days that I recognize as being sick days only in retrospect. I was upright, driving, and taking care of daily tasks, but I was not really a functioning human. I was not taking care of things like returning phone calls, balancing checkbooks, and keeping up with emails. I re-emerged from the lost days to piles of laundry, piles of mail, and piles of whatever landed by the back door.

As the song goes, Mama said there’d be days like this. A few days like this don’t make you (or me) a bad person, chronically disorganized, or hopeless. They are just what happens. This isn’t pollyanna, but rather a reality check. The mom handbook doesn’t allow for sick days, but you can slow things to a crawl for a few days and still run your business and your life successfully when you return to speed. Take care of you, even when you really are running ragged.  If you are the boss of your company, no one else is going to do it for you.  My post-sick day remedy includes chocolate. Here’s wishing you some.

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