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Hi all -

I have learned a ton in the past month about blogging for pay. I have found that many people have no issues accepting a gift card and writing about the product. Thank you to the lovely folk who have said yes!

I've found that some people never want to do that. The only types of reviews they'll give are the ones that they decide to do on their own.

I have found some people would normally do a review, but have gotten busy at this time of year. Totally understandable.

What I've found the most fascinating, however, is that people who don't do reviews tend to be people that are already making a gazillion dollars on their blog. This makes sense. After all, they don't have to.

There is definitely a fine line between making some money (which you know I have no problem doing) and still being true to your own voice. After all, some of you write just to write. Others write for pay. (Me.) But at the same time, I have built up my audience based on "me" - not my product pitches. So... and here's the real tip I've learned from my job:

FULL DISCLOSURE.

Can we say it again? FULL DISCLOSURE.

This means that should you do a review for pay, always say you've been paid to do it! This at least makes you credible.

And so, on that note, I am giving FULL DISCLOSURE to say that
Leapfrog has paid me in the past to write about their products. They have been very good to me, and I do really like their stuff - especially their TAG readers (these are books with electronic pens...less stimulation than a computer but still interactive for little hands... great gift for the 3 - 7 year old crowd) so I am letting you all know about their sale in case you have little ones to shop for.

At some point, if I keep doing product review, I will put a new tab up. Then, all the people who are into freebies can go there. And all of you who just don't give a rat's booty about discounts but want to hear about me - God bless you - can simply stay here.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

DISCLOSURE! I'M PROMOTING
LEAPFROG HERE! (WHO I LOVE!)
BLACK FRIDAY / CYBER MONDAY DEALS, STARTING 10 PM PST TONIGHT!
·         25% to 75% off sitewide

·         Select Leapster games as low as $5

·         Select Tag Books as low as $5

·         Up to 75% off on our gift packs

·         Spend $50, get free shipping

·         Black Friday Bonus, Spend $100, get $10 off

 

Gobble gobble!
 
 
Before I start this post, let me begin my saying how grateful I am for a paycheck. Between my Good Housekeeping gig, some animated cards I recently sold to JibJab (they aren't up yet) and my current part-time job, I have more than so many do. I am beyond thrilled to live in a country where my big mouth... ahem... freedom of speech... is allowing me to balance both motherhood and a career I love.

That all said, I'm curious what ya'll do with your paychecks. Does it all go toward paying the bills? Do you budget some for your hair and nails? Does it go toward education for the kids or vacations?

I ask because for years I had let my beauty regime go. I have
thrift stored my kids' clothes (and still will... I love it.) But... but... now that I'm finally earning a salary again, it doesn't seem like that much more will go to me. Not if I want to get some extra classes for the kids, or some acupuncture for Stink. Not if I want to finally fix those blinds in the bathroom or tile in the kitchen. Not if I want to pay off some expenses incurred from purchasing a cabin a few months back.

My final comment is that I know everyone should have my problems. As someone wrote on my Good Housekeeping site, "Oh, it must be so hard for you to have a second home when so many don't have one."

Okay. Should I feel guilty for being born to a family who gave me love, an education and a bit of tenacity to use my skills for pay? Should I flog myself for marrying a man who makes an okay living?

I'm feeling this odd shift in the times. For so long (and many can attest to knowing me "back then" ) I was a housewife with a teeny blog and two small babies. I literally had to budget in my snack food. I have a bit more now, but I know it's by (don't kill me non-Christian readers) the grace of God that I'm able to parlay my chatty soul into jobs. But do I need to justify myself to those who aren't as fortunate?

Or, like Oprah always says, "I came from the projects. I don't feel guilty at all."

Um... that doesn't help me. The only projects I come from are mounds of Ebay clothes that used to line my floors, earning me a few hundred dollars each month.

I don't know, people. But I do know that I am grateful, thankful, and plan on tithing some cash to those in need. What else can I do? What do you do? And if you're not doing what you love, how can I help? Let's talk, people.

More of my writing can be found at Goodhousekeeping.


 
 
I completed Day 1 of the part time job. The good news:

* I'm LOVING it
* Rex has really stepped up to the plate. He picked up the kids from school, did homework, dinner, bedtime, the whole nine-yards. He is willing to do this 3 days/week so that I can clock in my 24 hours and be home 2 days/week.

The bad news:

* It's going to take me an hour to get home on those three nights of work
* Staring at a computer for 8 hours straight is going to make my mind melt more than my heart at a Salvation Army 50% off sale
* Coming home when my kids are already in bed? Ditto the extra heart break

And so, I'm now going to work 5 days/week. Rex will get the kids Monday only. I'll be home at 5:30 those days for dinner and the bedtime routine. The other 4 days I'll work while the kids are at school, allowing me to pick them up. They won't even know I was missing, despite having a look of permanent sleep deprivation. (Oh well, the extra cash will go to botox pick-me-ups. Kidding. Kind of. Shit - I'm almost 40! How did that happen? Moving on.)

The 5 day work week - despite nice hours - is not ideal, as I was hoping for a little more down time for me.

On the flip side, seeing my kids' down turned faces as I rush to kiss them good night is worse.

It's a tough thing - this working mom deal. While I need to do what is best for me (hello extra cash, stimulation, some adult interaction) my kids are only young once.

And so, while I am fortunate enough to not have to work full time, I'm going to enjoy my problem. So many mothers don't have that option.

What about you? What are your thoughts on work? What is best for you? Do you miss it?

In closing, I've decided to get back into writing what I love the most: parenting topics. At some point I'm going to start the anti-Parent Center blog where we'll have our own little Momformation, but it'll be a bit more real and no one can fire me. Stay tuned.


* You can also find me at Good Housekeeping where I write about sex and marriage 3 days/week.
 
 
After being let go by BabyCenter six months ago, and with my kids now in school full time, I'd been feeling a bit antsy.

Yes, I know I don't have to be busy 24 hours/day, but staying stimulated is how I roll.

I made a list of my dream job:

* Writing in an office
* Working part time
* Decent salary to make the wear and tear on my car, as well as my personal life, worth it
* Being a mom to my kids, but being true to me while they are at school

Two weeks later I landed a fabulous job working as a blogger at DeiWorldwide.com

As I type this, music is pounding over the speakers. There's a long line of young advertisers engaging audiences through Facebook, Twitter and Aol. There's a window behind me looking out over a bustling street with trees waving in the Fall wind.

As for me, I'll be writing content for a big brand (name to come) and engaging the audiences I have built over the past five years here, at Baby Center, Good Housekeeping and new folk throughout the web.

What I like about this company is that they want me to fully disclose who I am and what I'm doing on the blogs. Ex: If I'm on Facebook talking about sugar for their client, I'll be "Andrea @ DEIWorldwide" (or whatever my final screen name is.)

The great news for you all is that I'll be able to promote your blogs through this new venue, helping you gain traffic, some holiday cash through your advertising, etc. There's talk of handing out gift cards to my favorite bloggers (ahem.... you know who you are) to make your holiday shopping a little bit easier. Your only job is to write a post  about what you did with the money, as well as dropping a weblink back to the client. (Again, client to be revealed later. No, it's not porn or Pottery Barn. Other than that,

Some of you might not be interested in doing this at all. Totally fine - Pass the Zoloft will still be about my life, my kids, etc. But since a huge part of me has always loved to work, expect some posts about that sprinkled in.

I owe so many of you a look, and I'll do so this week.

Hope you had a great Halloween!