Frontline Mom

A Mother’s Grief

June 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

On Friday, after a long week of work and happiness of having accomplished a ton, I received a Gmail that the Shedd Aquarium’s beloved newborn dolphin had passed. The Shedd is one of my most favorite places on Earth and days before I has shared the birth of Tique’s offspring on my mobile phone with my own daughter, age four. We saw the video of how Tique, who had lost a previous baby dolphin, gave birth and instinctively brought the calf to the surface to breathe. What a beautiful, life-giving moment. And one proud dolphin Mom.

Upon further inquiry, I was very saddened to learn how that in the past years the only four offspring of Pacific Northwest Dolphins at the Shedd did not survive (due to either being stillborn or failing to thrive due to difficulty with nursing).

I’m not sure what is the root cause of this most recent tragic loss (unfortunately the calf failed to nurse effectively) but I do know one thing for sure, I can empathize with one Mother’s agony. Some may minimize this by saying Tique is just an animal but I will simply say, “sorry Tique – I feel your pain.”

And I will also say: please know that Shedd fans, and many Moms (and Dads) everywhere are routing for you. We saw in that first video a Mother’s love and that’s what matters. My kids and I are coming back to visit you soon – but in the mean time I’m going to curl up, be proud and appreciate my children as I know you have appreciated (and been proud) of yours.

The Top Three Principles of a Front Line Mom

June 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

As I’ve mentioned before in previous blog posts, I’m a busy woman. I’m a wife, a mother of two young children, and an active marketing professional. With so many things on my plate, it can seem impossible to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle without going nuts at the end of the day. And I know I’m not the only one. Whether by choice or necessity, millions of moms work outside the home and handle this demanding juggling act.

This is why I’ve created the Top Three Principles of a Front Line Mom; they’re for the woman who’s chosen family and career, because, why not have it all? Whenever I’m feeling tired, overwhelmed, stressed, or just plain uninspired, I read these principles and get back to work.

Take care of yourself, first We are all familiar with the rule on an airplane during an emergency which says to place the oxygen mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting children or adults. The same principle applies in life. It is very important to take care of your own health before you can expect to have the energy to help others. This means being responsible for your own physical, emotional and spiritual needs. So take that warm bath, watch your favorite TV show or read a chapter in your favorite self-help book without feeling guilty about it.

Avoid the superwoman syndrome  There are simply not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on your to-do list. Acknowledge this fact by setting realistic goals or lists, delegating a few tasks to your husband or children (even if they are not done the way you want them to be) and you may even find time to rest. (See principle #1).

Simplify complicated tasks Examine your regular chores and create new ways to accomplish complicated tasks. For example, instead of preparing every meal and side dish from scratch, consider slow-cooking meats in the Crockpot, buying ready-made salads and quick steaming fresh vegetables. Tip: I often ask my husband how he would do a task. More often than not, his method is much simpler than mine.

What frontlinemom principles do you embrace?

Fitness for Kids

June 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

I’m doing my best to get and stay fit. As a Mom of two kids though I’m now tasked with ensuring my kids stay fit. They are too little to really have any worries yet and are quite the active ones, but physical fitness is important for children just as it is for adults. According to, children and adolescents should participate in 60 minutes or more of physical activity per day. Although most of the 60 minutes per day can be moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, at least three days per week should include vigorous-intensity physical activity, muscle strengthening and bone-strengthening.

The good news is that most kids are drawn to physical activity by nature. Playing sports, running around the block, and playing tag all seem to be second nature for children.  Still, not every child has the same interests. Some children may not enjoy spending time outdoors, playing sports or going for a walk. Some children rather sing or participate in arts and crafts. Regardless of personal interests, however, it is important to encourage all kids to participate in physical activity.

According to, the key is to introduce physical activities that are “appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety.” Here are a few ideas to consider for children.

Aerobic activities: Aerobic activities increase cardio-respiratory fitness and typically move large muscles in the body. While your child may not enjoy running a mile, he or she may prefer dancing, jumping rope, or bicycling. Plan a family dance night or a weekend bicycling trip. Other creative aerobic ideas for kids include hopping, skipping, swimming and running.

Muscle-strengthening activities: In order to strengthen muscles, your child needs to do more work than usual during activities. Instead of traditional muscle-strengthening activities such as lifting weights or working with resistance bands, allow your kids to climb trees, play tug-of-war or play on playground equipment (with supervision, of course).

Bone-strengthening activities: This type of activity can only be accomplished by impact with the ground.  To promote bone growth and strength, encourage your child to run, jump rope, play basketball, tennis, and hopscotch.

I’m now off to the park with my kids! What are some creative physical exercise ideas you’ve introduced to the kids in your life?

Planning a Road Trip with the Kids

June 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

I just successfully completed a road trip Chicago to Baltimore to NYC and back to Chicago. Despite the long hours in the car, a good time was had by all. Indeed, a family vacation should be about relaxing and having fun, even if it is a road trip with the kids. After all, everyone has worked hard and deserves a little R&R. And although life is not perfect, it is possible to plan and enjoy a peaceful road trip with your family.

However, if the idea of enjoying a family road trip sounds foreign to you, consider the following tips on how to plan a pleasant, kid-friendly road trip and maintain your sanity. 

Select an exciting destination. Although it has been said “it’s all about the journey, not the destination,” you have a better chance of rallying your children for a road trip if the destination is worth their time. Consider driving to a theme park, national forest or lake.

Make the most of the journey. Back to the famous adage, the journey should be fun, too. To prevent bored and cranky kids, stop every one to two hours. In addition to stopping for lunch and dinner, take 10 to 30 minute breaks to snack, stretch, enjoy a view or visit a specialty store.

Designate roles. If your son or daughter loves to take photographs or video, assign them the tasks of a trip historian. Other kids can help with distributing snacks, cleaning out the car during gas stops, and (depending on their ages) taking turns navigating the route. A child entrusted with responsibility is more likely to stay engaged and enjoy the journey.

Keep it simple. Driving to a new location and for days at a time is stressful. A road trip is not the time to take risks or travel down the road less traveled. Create a plan and stick to it.

Allow time for daydreaming. Resist the urge to plan out every moment of the journey. Without music or conversation, your children will have the opportunity to peer out the car window and let their imaginations run wild.

Marketing to Moms – key ingredients (but no single recipe) that works

June 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

As a working Mom in marketing I get a chance to market to Moms but as a Mom I also get exposed to others marketing to me – the great and the good practices, the bad and the ugly. No small surprise that Moms are a major influence behind consumer spending; the ones who not only make purchases (such as food, clothing, cleaning supplies, etc.), but also live/love to tell about them. 

Nearly 46 percent of moms often tell a friend about a business or website if asked, according to data collected in January 2011 by Lucid Marketing. Another 52 percent sometimes tell a friend, while only two percent never do. The point? Get Mom on your side and she will promote your business, product or service. Here are a few dos and don’ts of marketing to moms.

Do use social networking sites. 71 percent of Generation Y moms said they have a network of online friends, compared with 64 percent of Generation X moms, according to Lucid Marketing. Get your message across to moms via popular social networking sites, such as Facebook,, and, to name a few.

Do support a cause. While most U.S. consumers have a better image of a product or company when it supports a cause, mothers are even more sensitive to this approach. According to a 2010 study from Cone LLC, 95 percent of moms believe cause-marketing is acceptable. In fact, 73 percent of moms will try a new or unknown brand because it supports a cause, and 26 percent of moms will purchase a more expensive brand because of the same reason.

Do give free stuff. One of the best ways to influence moms of all demographical backgrounds is to promote free products, items and discounts, according to a Retail Advertising and Marketing Association survey conducted by BIGresearch. On a scale of one to five, when asked what types of promotions most influence their purchases, moms said: free samples in the store (3.9), free samples delivered to residence (3.6), loyalty cards (3.5), and special displays (3.4).

Don’t generalize. Although every mom is a parent, they should be treated as individuals. Some moms like to prepare light, healthy meals while others make hardy comfort foods. Some moms stay at home while other moms go to the office. Craft a unique marketing message that doesn’t offend moms by making a generalized statement.

Re-building a Calcium Habit

June 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

There was a time when taking my calcium supplements was as easy as pie. In fact, there was a time (not so long ago) when I was not only consuming calcium supplements, but I was eating right and exercising.  Now, as a wife, mother of two young children, and a time starved working mom, the thought of doing anything more than I absolutely have makes me a bit crazy. At the end of the day, if my family is fed and clean and I’ve managed to work on my passion, I’m done right? Not quite.

Calcium deserves attention, too. Our bodies need it to build and maintain strong bones and if we don’t get enough of it, we could develop health issues related to weaker bones. Without the proper dose of calcium over many years, we may have more bone fractures. A calcium deficiency can also increase your risk of osteoporosis. And since our bodies do not produce calcium, it is important to get it through diet or supplements.

Calcium and Food

A typical woman consumes about 640 mg of calcium a day. However, the recommended daily dose of calcium for pre-menopausal women is 1,200 mg. The best way to consume calcium is through a healthy diet. Calcium is found in a wide range of foods, including:

  • Cheese, milk, yogurt and other dairy products.
  • Broccoli, kale and other dark-green, leafy vegetables.
  • Sardines, canned salmon and other fish with soft, edible bones.
  • Calcium-fortified foods and liquids, such as orange juice, soy products and cereal.

Calcium Supplements

Even if you eat a healthy diet, you may not get enough calcium.  In order to meet your daily calcium requirements, you can take supplements. However, there are many different types of supplements on the market.  

As my MD would say check with your doctor or pharmacist about the best type of calcium supplement for you, depending on your needs, preferences, medical conditions or the medications you take. You should also ask them about the best time to take your calcium supplements, especially if you take other supplements or prescription medications.

Off to have my yogurt! What kind of food habits are trying to (re)build?