Monday, May 07, 2007

My Media Breakthrough

After three solid years of knocking on the national media's door, I finally got the big call! I've been invited to appear on The Today Show this Saturday, May 12. I couldn't have asked for better timing than the day before Mother's Day.

I am really excited about this opportunity to represent Mojo Moms everywhere on the national stage. I'll be bringing my perspective to a discussion about "Women Who Opt Out" of the workforce and what happens next. My goal is to breathe some fresh air into this topic with my ideas about identity, career reinvention, and mothers making a difference whether or not they are in the paid workforce.

The discussion is scheduled to include Leslie Bennetts, author of The Feminine Mistake, and my blogging about her book is what drew The Today Show's attention to my work. Fortunately the panel will be rounded out by Lisa Belkin, author of the original "Opt-Out Revolution" article, and Today Show regular contributor, psychologist Gail Saltz.

This is an interesting group and I have been thinking about what distinguishes my Mojo Mom perspective. Three main qualities jumped out: First, I truly represent Gen X and newer Moms among a panel of established Boomers in this discussion. Second, although Lisa Belkin's Opt-Out concept has been criticized for representing a small sliver of women, I am a member of that precise demographic, so if they want to talk about that group I can speak from experience. I hope to broaden the topic to connect to the needs of all Moms. And third, I am much more of a media outsider, working my way up as an independent author.

When I approached agents and publishers with the book proposal for Mojo Mom, the uniform response I received was "This sounds like a good idea, but it's a crowded market and you don't have a platform." Translation: I wasn't famous enough. So rather than giving up, I created MojoMom.com independently, published the book independently, landed a national distributor, and hired a publicist. I like to think that this entrepreneurial spirit represents Gen X at its best. I came of age in Silicon Valley in the 1990's. By the end of the decade, everyone and their brother had a startup, so it didn't intimidate me that much to launch my own company. Desktop technology allows me to publish my blog, create & distribute the Mojo Mom Party Kit, and produce my podcast. I have kept writing and publishing as I built my "platform" one plank at a time.

After receiving the call from The Today Show, my first reaction was to email my colleagues at MomsRising.org and Mothers & More to ask them to help me gather the most relevant statistics to arm myself with. This was a useful exercise, but I soon realized that I have been preparing for this moment for years now. I know who I am and what my message is. This is like a final exam in being myself.

My friend Meghan Gosk, whom I interviewed in Mojo Mom about her family-work-life path, will be coming to New York with me. We've been friends since our children were in baby and toddler playgroup together and our friendship has grown to include my book, joint activism, and a year together in our Mojo Advisory Circle that focuses on business development.

And finally, as I come up on my 300th Mojo Mom blog posting, I want to thank all of you who are reading this for joining me on this journey. I've written the equivalent of a second book on this blog, and I enjoy our timely and interactive discussions even more than book publishing. Keep reading the blog and listening to the podcast--and please send some mojo my way on Saturday. I promise I'll do my best to make you all proud.

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11 Comments:

Blogger PunditMom said...

There's no doubt you ARE ready. I'm so excited for you and know you will be fabulous! Even tho' I am a boomer (tho' on the young side), I think the Gen X (and beyond) perspective is an essential one in this debate. I think it will refocus it in a meaningful way that will help all of us!

I guess the bigger, and possibly more exciting, question for you is, "What's next?!"

11:40 AM  
Blogger MojoMom said...

"What's next?" is a good question, one that I am almost but not quite ready to discuss. I had hoped for a strong Mother's Day push for my Mojo Mom book publicity and I've gotten my wish.

I have a few new projects in development and I plan to share them with you around the beginning of June. I hope to surprise and delight you with "what's next."

12:14 PM  
Blogger Tina B. said...

Congratulations Mojomom! My TiVo will be set.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Lisa Giebitz said...

Congrats! This is definitely a big opportunity!

I rather surprised that you'll be the youngest member of the panel, representing Gen-X. As a soon-to-be-mom and an older member of Gen-Y, I think about my folks (Baby Boomers) and say, "Who's having kids at that age?"

Furthermore, let's face it, there are different challenges that we'll be facing than the Baby Boomers when it comes to parenting. For example, there's a lot of media talk about SAHMs VS Back-to-Work Moms, when for a lot of parents closer to my age, that option is a luxury they just can't afford. How about some more talk (and action) about health care, making the workplace more parent-friendly, and education (for children and on-going for parents)?

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

Hooray! A huge congratulations. I'm also learning to be a platform carpenter, one plank at a time...but you are many steps ahead of me, and a great inspiration. I'm so glad I have TiVo (courtesy of your suggestion, by the way) to catch your big debut. Above all, enjoy this experience!
-Amy V. (equallysharedparenting.com)

4:28 PM  
Blogger Deborah Siegel said...

Can't wait to see you et al on Today! Seems they've finally woken up and smelled the mojo. Will there be a clip of the appearance that we can link to?

Brava for persistence and perseverance, and enjoy the ride!

-Deborah Siegel (www.girlwithpen.blogspot.com)

9:07 AM  
Blogger Robyn said...

Congrats! I cannot wait to see what sort of dialogue transpires from the segment. I have to say that I enjoy your podcasts so much. They are so validating of my experience as a new mom. I listen to them while I walk the track at our local rec center and I feel like I am in a conversation among good friends. Looking forward to Saturday's Today Show. Happy Mother's Day!

12:14 PM  
Blogger MojoMom said...

To Lisa: Yes, I feel a little old to be the youngest person in the discussion! This is definitely not a "new Mom" panel. I am 38 and my daughter is 7 years old but I did start writing Mojo Mom when she was 3.

Lisa Belkin is about 8 years older than I am; I don't know how old her kids are. Leslie Bennetts has grown-up kids I believe. Gail Saltz has three daughters.

So we are all women who study and write about family & society. Leslie Bennetts is the one who presents a strong point of view by interviewing Boomers looking back retrospectively and telling Gen X-Yers what mistakes they made and how Gen X-Yers may be going down the wrong path. This drives me absoultely nuts. You can ask podcast co-host Sheryl how many off-blog rants I have emailed her about this!

My message to the Boomers is, thanks for the heads-up--and we are busy working it out for ourselves.

12:54 PM  
Blogger MojoMom said...

To Robyn: I love that you listen to the Mojo Mom Podcast while working out. Other listeners put us on while cleaning the house or driving. That's when I have my iPod on too, walking the dog, running errands. That is one kind of multitasking I feel is good for me. Today I have to clean out the stinky contents of my broken-down refrigerator. That activity could stand a lot of improvement so thank goodness for WUNC public radio podcasts.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Lisa Giebitz said...

For some reason, everything I read about Leslie Bennetts and her book reminds me of my own mother. She kept trying to make me do what SHE thought was best for so long, until I did the most opposite thing I could think of partly to shut her up. She now understands that a) I'm not her and b) I have to live my own life and make my own decisions.

I think that Boomers need to understand two things about younger parents: 1) While some things never change in this world, a lot has since you were in the middle of raising children and 2) Not everyone is upper-middle class - in fact, MOST aren't. Sometimes hard choices have to be made and sometimes mothers and wives put themselves in precarious positions for the sake of their families.

Sometimes fathers and husbands do it too - like mine reenlisting in the Army, so we can start our family and have a stable way to build up savings for the future.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous michael gibbons said...

Amy, So another "overnight sensation" huh? Kidding!! -- that is great news and well deserved -- I still want to get together and talk about MojoMom, MojoRiding and my application for the official MojoDad!! I will be watching to TIVOing for sure --you will do great!
Michael in Charlotte

6:14 PM  

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