An open letter to my daughter on becoming a big sister

Dear daughter,

You’re going to be a big sister. I know you don’t know what that really means yet, and to be honest, neither do I.

I know what it feels like to look down at a tiny face that looks a little bit like me and a little bit like Daddy and wonder how in the world we existed without you.


But I don’t know how you will feel when you look down at a tiny face that looks a little bit like you, too. Will you wonder how you existed without him? Or will you want us to send him back to mommy’s belly?

I know what it feels like in the middle of the night when you won’t stop crying and I think I might never sleep again.

But I don’t know what you will feel like when the sound of his screaming jolts you awake like an ambulance siren in the middle of the night.

I know what it feels like to look in the mirror and cry at the dark circles under my eyes, stretch marks that criss-cross my body and loose skin that just doesn’t seem like it belongs anywhere (even with NASA-grade spandex doing its best to hold it in place).

But I don’t know if you will see me hating my post-second-baby body and think you should hate yours too, because you’re a woman and that’s what we do.

I know what the waves of overwhelming love feel like when I see you lay your head on Daddy’s shoulder and wrap your hand around his finger.

But I don’t know how you will feel when you seen him holding someone else instead of you.

So you see, sweet child, we’re in this together.

All I can promise you is that I’ll still think of you as my baby, too. I’ll still come when you cry out at night with a bad dream. I’ll still sweep you up and tickle you until you laugh like a hyena. I’ll still hold your hand when you walk down the stairs and help you put on your socks. I’ll still ask about your day at school when I pick you up after work. I’ll still put the 5,678 pictures you draw on the fridge. I’ll still stare at you when you sleep and wonder how in the world I existed without you.


Six Public Relations Tricks You Can Use On a Toddler

I am one of those fortunate college grads of my generation who landed a job in her chosen field upon graduation. Not everyone gets to do that, nor does everyone want to. For me, Public Relations was a natural fit. I loved to write, I loved to talk and I loved to plan. As a working mom and public relations professional, I’ve come to the realization that being a PR Pro is not unlike parenting a toddler. Let me explain.

MIW photo

Along with years of experience, hard work and expertise in relationship-building, communications professionals have picked up a few tricks of the trade. But, you don’t have to be a pro to use them. Here are six PR tricks that also work on toddlers.

  1. Distraction
    There’s a reason this is number one. I consider this a gift in disguise: a toddler’s inability to focus on whatever task you want her to do. Her easily distracted personality means you also can point out a shiny object if she is heading the wrong direction, pulling the dog’s tail or otherwise losing her mind.
  2. Plan for A, B, and C
    Would you plan an outside event without a indoor option? Then why would you take a toddler to the doctor’s office without a bag of toys and books to distract her from the impending doom that is the stethoscope? As long as you’re filling up your bag with books, you may as well add a snack, a change of clothes and extra socks because who knows where she put hers when she took them off in the car. And let’s be honest – her adorable little feet can be embarrassingly stinky sometimes.
  3. Spin
    Me: “Green beans ARE yummy. See, watch Mommy eat them. Yummmmm!”
    Toddler, staring blankly at me, doesn’t break eye contact as she feeds the green beans to the dog.
  4. Flexibility
    Literal: I’ve personally kicked the dryer door closed while standing at the refrigerator looking for non-expired yogurt just as my 2-year-old was about to deposit our cat into the spin cycle.

    Figurative: You had grand plans for an organic breakfast and a lovely stroll around the farmer’s market with your adorable family. But your toddler refuses to put on pants. Or shoes. Or her diaper. Go-Gurt and the local playground are looking better and better.

  5. Patience
    Just like in public relations, it can take years to build relationships inside and outside your organization. What’s an agonizing 7-minute “walk” down the stairs (because she doesn’t need your help), when you’ve worked years to build positive media partnerships? Slow and steady wins the race.
  6. Fear
    Just kidding. Sort of.

Five reasons moms make great managers

Let me preface this by pointing out that I, myself, am not a manager. I have experience managing people (thank you, summer lifeguarding job), but not as an adult in the corporate world. I did spend the summer informally supervising our team intern, which has given me a peak into the role, and I LOVE it. That being said, I’ve had some fabulous managers and some not-so-fabulous managers and because I work in a the heavily-female world of communications, most of my managers just happened to be mothers.

I think we often overlook skills that moms have as being valuable in the workplace because they are considered “soft skills.” We sometimes feel like to be successful in a male-dominated workforce, we have to act more like men. Here are five reasons the skills we acquire as mothers make us great manager
Untitled Infographic1. A mom can multitask LIKE A BOSS (no pun intended). I know, I know, researchers will tell you there is no such thing as “multitasking,” we are really just switching from task to task very quickly. I bet that researcher has never replied to an email with one hand from home while nursing a sick baby in the other.

2. Moms are nurturing.
I’m not saying you need to hold your employees’ hands and walk them to the playground, err, conference room, but there’s something to be said for having a boss who takes a personal interest in your career and goes out of her or his way to help you further it.


3. When it comes to work-life balance, moms get it.
Whether you have a sick relative, are preparing for the birth or adoption of a child or caring for an aging parent, life gets in the way of work. Moms are constantly riddled with guilt thrust upon us by nature or nurture (I’m not getting into that debate right now) so we understand the need for flexibility at the office. With technology that tethers us remotely wherever we go, there’s no excuse not to allow flexible work schedules in your office.

4. Moms are the hardest working people you will ever meet.
Long hours and late nights don’t necessarily make you a good employee, but we’ve been there. Did you bring your baby home from the hospital only to have your little cherub sleep through the night immediately? I didn’t think so. Moms know hard work, sleepless nights and selflessness better than anyone. Caring for a child is a full-time job and all you SAHM, you’re doing incredible work!

5. Moms know that poop happens.
Didn’t get that contract? Lost an important client? Ticked off the head honcho? Yeah, that sucks. But it’s not the end of the world. Most moms have literally been pooped on and it’s not a pleasant experience. But it’s also not the end of the world. Grab a baby wipe and move on.


**This is not to say that single, childless men are bad managers. On the contrary – I’ve had bosses who have never been married, have no children and are some of the most understanding people I have ever worked for.

Women who make it work: Margeaux Egorova

Out of all the people I still keep up with after college, I think Margeaux Egorova has one of the most unique jobs I’ve come across.

She is an education coordinator for the Business Enterprise Program for the blind. She teaches men and women who are blind how to run food and convenience establishments and Troop dining in government buildings.

“After they finish their training, I provide continuing education to keep them current with business trends and maintain a competitive edge within a tight market, she says.”

me-2 Margeaux and I met in the Dance and Choreography program at VCU. I switched my major and lost touch with some of the dancers after graduation, but one day on maternity leave I was wandering around Target like a sleepless zombie with a baby strapped to my chest and we bumped into each other. Now we’re in the same moms group, our girls play together and she still teaches dance. (I’ve taken her class and it’s awesome!)

I think all dancers struggle with body image at some point in their lifetime and now that I have a daughter, I know my perspective has changed. I was curious to find out how Margeaux felt now that she’s a mommy and a dance teacher. Read on, we get there about halfway through the interview.

What’s the best thing about being a mom?
It’s hard to pin point one since I couldn’t think of my life any differently and wouldn’t want to. But if I absolutely have to pick one it would be the cuddles that turn into sleeping moments. Those moments fill my heart up and then some!

What tips do you have for working moms?
As I have had to move away from a sitter that is one-on-one with my daughter and enter the realm of daycare I wished someone had some sort of guidance on how to cope with that transition; not just for my daughter but for me too. So this is what I did:
1.  Do a play time 30 mins to an hour at the facility beforehand.
2.  Make a special breakfast the day of and really go over the top excited for your child (more so when they are toddler) that they are a big kid starting school.
3.  Brace yourself for not only your little one’s cries but your own.
4.  Know that it is what is best and you can always call or visit the location on breaks (some places have live web streaming).
5.  And most importantly: at drop off DO NOT LINGER, it made it worse for both of us.

What are your career aspirations?
Goodness, well I am actually adjusting to a career change now. There is no corporate ladder in my field since it’s government/public service, but my main goal is to make the public program a thriving one and a poster child for the other state agencies.

Sr. Proj. Fall '07 049You’re also a dance teacher. How do you balance that calling with you career and family?
Luckily I work at a studio with a director who is flexible on the times and amount I work. So to get back in the swing of things I only took on two days after rush hour. On my tight day I have to pick up my daughter then head straight to the studio. My daughter loves to watch the “big girls” do ballet as mommy preps for class and for papa to pick her up. I am also very lucky to have a husband who splits the responsibilities with me. Since I’m expecting my second child, I’ve recently decided to take a sabbatical until my baby is born.

light danceDancers put a lot of pressure on themselves to have a “perfect body”. Now that you’re a mother, what do you want your daughter to know about body image?
So as much as I always wanted the “perfect body” I knew with my genes that would never happen. I realized at puberty that I would never be a professional ballerina and that was ok since that wasn’t the only form of dance I could do. But I will take the same approach as my mother did. I remember her saying, “the moment that you start making unhealthy choices is the moment that you need a break from that environment.” I held that near and dear since eating disorders are common and I even saw two friends of mine when I was younger go through the pain. My mother never sheltered me from the ugly parts of such a beautiful thing. She was always honest.

What’s in your purse/bag?
Well, my husband calls my purse “the universe” since it contains everything and things tend to get lost in such a questionably small space. But currently I have: my personal phone, work phone, crackers, bobby pins, hair tie, my hand cream, keys, wallet, pen, Colgate wisps, lip serum, my FitBit charger, and apparently a hotel key I forgot to turn in after a conference in DC last week.

What do you think the biggest challenge is that working moms face?
Mommy guilt. I don’t think there will be anything that can change that since it is imprinted in us, and that is fine because that is what makes us do so well as a moms.

Who is your role model?
Tina Fey. Silly I know, but she is a strong women who has built a huge brand AND she is a mother. She also knows how to take on life to embrace it, to go with the ups and downs. She truly “makes it work.”

apples with papaHow do you “make it work”?
Planning. I embrace our family calendar app Cozi up the wazoo! I have to even plan my cleaning throughout the week to make sure I don’t neglect it! But most importantly my husband; he really makes it so I can be me and helps take on the responsibility more than I have ever known a father to do. He is my secret weapon in parenting.