By Dr. Bola

The dreams of working from home in your PJs are so alluring.

Freedom to work when you want to

Control over your work environment

The flexibility of having work fit into your life not the other way round

Not having to deal with the rush hour traffic

What’s there not to like? “Sign me up” you say.

Our survey of 258 women working from home uncovered some of the not-so-glamorous aspects of the work from home environment.

Long toil in front of the computer is the order of the day. These women are working longer hours and accomplishing less because of the many distractions in this work environment. Partners and spouses conveniently assume that they can work, do the household chores and take care of the kids all at the same time.

Isolation and loneliness were by far what troubled work from home women the most. In trying to make up for the paucity of adult interaction during the day, these women hangout in Facebook groups which in turn puts a drain on their productivity.

Many met the criteria for clinical depression.

The issue here is not the work environment. Being in an office outside of the home has big draw backs; traffic, distractions and lack of flexibility. The issue here is the isolation. We humans thrive in communities. One cardinal sign of depression in an otherwise outgoing person is withdrawal.

I had dreams of being a medical examiner so I could just recreate all the fun they have on the TV show; CSI. Eighteen months working in a reference lab before my medical training got me off that path. I could spend a whole day doing my work running the machines and fiddling with pipettes without getting to get out of the lab or interact with co-workers.

I discovered myself in that environment and changed my career focus to become a family physician instead, where I was sure to interact with people (my patients) on a daily basis.

While you might not have the latitude to change your work-from-home environment, there are ways to deal with the isolation it brings.

Sign up for a co-working space

Co-working spaces are springing up in lots of cities and even small towns. You don’t need to go every day. Once a week or once every 2 weeks makes a big difference in dealing with the isolation of working from home.

Organize or attend meet-ups

Go to meetup.com to find a group in your locale. It does not have to be work or business related you are not a one dimensional person; you certainly have other interests apart from work. If not, intervention time.

Structure time in your week for some sort of video conferencing or call;

Skype calls, Google hangouts or even facetime on the iphone.  Nothing beats face-to-face interaction but the video calls come quite close.

Make time for exercise

The endorphins released by the brain during exercise helps to combat the low serotonin in the brain that could lead to depression.

All of the above help if depression has not set in. Depression will sap you of energy required to connect with people which makes the sense of isolation even worse.

So how do you know if you are depressed? These 2 questions will help guide you;

  1. In the past 2 weeks, have you been sad for more days than not?
  2. In the past 2 weeks, have you lost interest in things that previously brought you pleasure?

If you answered yes to both questions, I suggest you get seen by a medical or mental health professional for further assessment and treatment (if necessary).

Dr. Bola is a family physician with a fondness for women’s health and women lifestyle issues. She is the co-founder of Healthgist.com; the hub for honest health talk for the busy women.

How are you are faring in your work-from-home arrangement? Get your Work-From-Home Wellbeing Index by taking the quiz.

As you know, the stem cells in cord blood have transformative potential and have been used to treat over 30,000 patients worldwide. It’s been shown that using a higher number of stem cells in a transplant leads to better engraftment and survival. Did you know that you can preserve significantly MORE of your baby’s stem cells by adding placenta blood banking to your cord blood collection?

Banking the most stem cells can be critical and only through banking both cord and placenta blood do you have this opportunity. Numerous studies published in top medical journals have shown that transplanting more stem cells significantly increases success and transplant survival rates. In fact, customers who bank placenta blood in addition to cord blood with LifebankUSA preserve 60%-70% more CD34+ stem cells – the cells that are the most important for rebuilding diseased blood with healthy blood.

Only LifebankUSA has the proprietary technology to offer placenta blood banking with cord blood banking to expectant parents. We are also the only company in the world to release placenta stem cell units for transplant.

Your child is being born into a world of extraordinary possibilities that include the enormous potential of stem cell banking. Make the most of this once-in-a- lifetime opportunity by choosing LifebankUSA and add placenta blood banking to your cord blood collection, for a very real, proven layer of protection for you and your family.

(For more information please visit www.lifebankusa.com and www.facebook.com/LifebankUSA.)

Giveaway: To enter to win one of the 3 Graco Carseats they are giving away, you can enter here. Hurry, the contest runs until May 29. Good luck!

We are SO excited to announce the winner of our 2015 S.T.A.R. {successful, tenacious, accomplished, remarkable} Mom Entrepreneur Award! Market Mommy wanted to honor an awesome mom for her continued dedication to her business and her family! Our judges did not have an easy task; we had many exceptional nominees!

Our goal was to honor a leader; someone who is balancing her business and family in a creative way. We asked moms to tell us what sets them apart from the thousands of other mom entrepreneurs, why they are determined to succeed, how they’re helping others and what they’ve done to show the world that they’re confident, remarkable and steadfast!

Here is a snippet from the winner’s nomination form:

“Chrissy started by creating a list of local sales so she and her mom could plan their frugal shopping adventures for her first baby boy. From there, she created a site that reaches thousands across the country.  All while welcoming her 2 younger boys, starting a second business (web design), volunteering on her local preschool consignment sale committee, and being a very involved classroom mom. She is smart, enthusiastic, creative, always smiling with a kind word to share, crazy busy and makes it all look easy.”

We are overjoyed to announce that Chrissy Freeman of Consignment Mommies is the 2015 Market Mommy S.T.A.R. Mom Entrepreneur! She was very excited to find out that she had been chosen as our award winner. “It is an honor to be named the 2015 S.T.A.R. Mom Entrepreneur—especially with all of the talented mom entrepreneurs out there!”

She went on to say, “I have the opportunity to connect with an amazing community of women each and every day through Consignment Mommies and am always in awe of the power of a resourceful mom. I owe much of my success with Consignment Mommies to the savvy women and amazing small business owners who have joined in our network and spread our news to friends and family.”

“I accept this award for all of us mamas who are working hard to support our families and achieve our dreams. Nothing should be beyond our reach!” she added.

Visit her at the following channels and see why we think she’s such a strong example of entrepreneurship.

Consignment Mommies

Facebook

Twitter

And, here’s a little more about her company from the nomination process:

ConsigmentMommies.com provides a full portfolio of resources for consignors, consignment sale shoppers, and consignment sale owners. Sale owners can provide their sale information and reach a large yet targeted audience.  Consignors can find helpful information on the site about pricing, tagging, popular sale items, etc. Consigning for the first time can be a very intimidating task; consignmentmommies.com makes it far easier by offering great info to get new consignors started and keep veteran consignors updated with industry trends and product/recall info. Shoppers can easily search for sales in their selected area on any specified weekend and view results in a list or on a map for easy planning.  Listings also include details on what each sale offers; for example, maternity, junior sizes, furniture, etc. Shoppers can also find links to their favorite sale’s website, follow them on Facebook directly from their consignmentmommies.com listing and view a list of award winning sales.

As the winner of the 2015 S.T.A.R. Mom Entrepreneur Award, Willard receives all of the wonderful prizes supplied by our sponsors listed here.

SILVER STARS

We had a feeling that there would be a large number of excellent nominees and we were right. So, we are glad that we reserved the right to name Honorable Mentions, aka Silver Stars. Our judges have chosen:

Kendra Nicastro at Baby Bonanza

Debbie Mast at Green Mountain Mini Baked

Melissa Reed at Packable Pails

We do want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their nominations and offer sincere congratulations to every nominee. You all are amazing women and doing amazing things in this world! Kudos to you! {You can view all the nominees on our Facebook page}

 

In most of our lives an event will happen that changes everything. You’ll remember “before….that day” and “since that day”.

What happens next will transform you.

I’ve had an ongoing discussion with one of the most import people in my life about letting things go or the inability to let things go! She can show me articles that confirm its how we are wired and I do agree. However,
One day….the day I was transformed my wiring must have melted!!!

Many things like a clean house, pretty yard and uniformity still bring peace and calmness to me. But it’s not a priority. I can let it go because when I’m gone……I want my kids to remember I played outside and read to them. I want them to go be teenagers and not stress over folding laundry. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want my kids feeling entitled but that’s a different discussion.

My transformation came over time. It came from stressing so much that I was always ready to blow! Always angry and frustrated because the floor was dirty or I needed to do more or care more for someone else! One day our family had a life changing event and one day….a day post life changing event I was able to “let it go”! I had been trying for years and with every child it becomes easier but now I feel so free!!!
I feel obligated to love more and care less about junk!
I have been motivated to start my own business to help others feel free too!
Truth is less stuff….less clutter….less obligations = more freedom to be you!

Step one-purge!!!
Step two-stop and ask yourself “does this matter that much?”
Step three-clean it up
Step four- let it go

This is true for mind clutter and life clutter!  Letting it go means if you cant control it, let it go!
 If the pile can be folded tomorrow and you can enjoy a conversation or movie with your spouse, let it go!
If your kids are playing quietly and you want to read, do it!!! Let the chores go!

Life passes so quickly and we are not promised tomorrow! Enjoy your days! Savor them! Cherish your relationships and do those things on your bucket list!

Thanks to my good friend Amber for today’s guest post! Check out her new business, Organized Mess!

By Mindee Hardin

Here are a few of the basic things to BE thinking about in just starting a business from home. A product or service based idea all have a few things in common on how they can create meaning, joy and yes even in income in your life as Mom and business owner

Be Prepared:  Business plans are helpful  and will become necessary if you ever need financing but initially it is your vision and plan for where you want to see your company go that should drive your everyday decisions from day one.  Do you want to be in every retail store and hire a sales team or focus on specialty boutiques that you can manage?  o you want to sell online and manage a small business from home or head into an office everyday and manage employees. Do you want to make more money than purpose? Do you want to work 20 hours/week or 60? Think about these things in advance to help you decide the basic things that come up faster

Be Different:  Weather you have a new spin on an existing product or something all together new and innovative, determine what will set you apart from other products competing for your consumer’s dollar.  Tell that story in your packaging, on your website, your social media and PR.  If you are just another widget, you will not survive in today’s very cluttered and demanding, consumer driven marketplace.

Be Consistent:   Whatever your message is – tell it often and everywhere your product or service is displayed.   Your logo should always look the same.  Feel free to add to your branding package but do not ever change your base color scheme, fonts and messages.  Your consumers need to see your brand at least 3 times for them to easily recall it.

Be Your Consumer:  Before you spend a dime or a minute on your marketing efforts, determine who will buy your product, and why. Talk to them if you can (interview your friends and family) and think about what they do in their daily life and how you will best reach them.  Make sure your price and sales strategy aligns with their lifestyle.

Be Your Brand: Everywhere you go and everything you have is an opportunity to tell the world around you about your business.  Logo Apparel, Your Car, Your Suitcase, Your Kids……..you get the idea.  You are valuable advertising space!

Be your Competition: Expect the competition to notice you and copy you in one way or another.  If they don’t, you are doing something wrong.  Think about how you will maintain your edge – do you go to market faster than them?  Do you have a key message they will never have?   Focus on that , not the if, the when.

Be Bold: Don’t wait to be asked….do the asking.  Will your favorite health club post a flyer for you?  Will your child’s teacher send home a sample with the kids one day?   Can your best friend help you out a few hours a week with packing and shipping?   Ask for help and what you want and always remember those who put their faith in you and look for times to return that love and kindness.

Be Passionate: If you do not believe, neither will your clients.  Don’t be afraid to “tell your story” of your business.

Be Realistic: Starting a business will require a lot of you in many ways.  Do not expect great things that you do not have to work hard for and make sacrifices for.  Even when you close the deal on the first call, that is just the beginning. Plan for the tough times and set up systems now to overcome them.  Recognize what you don’t know and seek out those who do.  The best thing you can do is surround yourself with smart people you can guide with your vision.

Take everything one step and choice at a time. Remember you are starting a business from home to be..well home…present for your family and daily in the good stuff of life. Set your fulfillment points for your work with your spouse and even kids if they are old enough to understand. Seek to enjoy the journey more than the destination and you will always end up with a happy ending.

Be Well & Walk with God

Mindee Hardin:: Inventor of Boogie Wipes®, Author, Speaker and Business Coach for Mom Inventors. Mindee is the owner of Juicebox Consulting where she helps Mom inventors through the joys and trials of bringing their ideas to life all while they juggle the heart tugs and demands of a family.  She has been an entrepreneur for 12 years and is most widely known for her success as the inventor of Boogie Wipes saline wipes for kids stuffy noses. After finding a business partner, investors and hiring 12 employees, her idea hit $15 Million in sales in 2011 and the company was acquired shortly after by Nehemiah Manufacturing. Mindee has been featured on the Today Show, The Big Idea, Good Morning America, Fox News and in People Magazine, The NY Times, Entrepreneur.com, Inc and Forbes.  Recently, she was the keynote speaker for the Disney Moms Social Media Conference, Entrepreneur Uprising and Women Entrepreneurs of Oregon. In 2014, she earned the Spirit of Entrepreneurship award for her work at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. Mindee’s book, Boogie Wiped, trailing the lessons she’s learned in business in motherhood, will be out Mothers Day, 2015.  Her husband, Scott, is in his 20th year at Intel and together they revel in the blended family blessings of coaching, scouting, feeding, growing and taxi cabbing their six kids through one adventure to the next.

Would you like your children to be more interested in the somewhat ancient art of letter writing? Would you like it if they were even more interested in reading and discovering new authors? Letters For Kids can help with both!

This fantastic service helps foster a love of reading and writing in a fun way.  By signing up for the affordable program (just $5.50 per month), your child will receive two letters a month. The letters are geared toward children ages six years and over and written by authors such as Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler, Adam Rex, Kerry Madden, Natalie Standiford, Susan Patron, Rebecca Stead, Cecil Castellucci and more.

You can view a sample letter here!

The letters vary. Some have pictures or doodles, some are written by hand, some are in color others will be black and white. An exciting part of Letters For Kids is opening a different package each and every time!

Subscriptions are available monthly or you can sign up for a year’s worth of letters. There’s even an international option for those living outside the United States. The kids in your life will love checking the mailbox to see if they’ve received something special, addressed just to them!

Are you a teacher, a librarian? Letters for Kids is not only awesome for your own child, but libraries and classrooms as well! Many of the authors include their own mailing address so kids can write them back and some will respond with a personal note. This of course can’t be guaranteed, but it’s another fun aspect of the program.

Trust us; it’s as cool as it sounds. Click here for details and to sign up now. You can visit them on Facebook too. (Throughout 2015 they’re hosting book giveaways there too!) If you’d like to research a little more, you can see profiles on MSNBC, CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose, Huffington Post and USA Today. Or you can contact Letters For Kids directly, here.

By Jennifer Erikson
I’ve never been one to go out and buy second hand clothing on purpose, actually I would avoid it at all costs. I like my designer jeans, new with tags frocks and that new shoe smell. When I shop I rarely buy retail and spend the majority of my shopping hours have been allocated to outlet malls and local boutiques. Sometimes there are circumstances that arise that means the budget has to be cut back, I’m sure there is more than one fashionista out there who has found themselves in this situation.
So at the urging of one of my very stylish friends, who outfits herself almost exclusively at the local thrift stores, I have decided to give it a shot. Armed with a couple of hours of child free hunting shopping time and $40 I entered the land of the second hand.
You will be amazed by what I managed to find, but first here are 5 tips to keep in mind while you’re perusing the racks.

1. Stick with solid colors
Solid colors are more versatile while patterns can tend to look dated more quickly. There is nothing wrong with picking up that one patterned piece that is remarkably on trend if you stumble upon it but don’t go overboard.

2. Look for Simple Lines
Simple lines are often more flattering and again have more versatility than the trendier styles that can make your ensemble look dated. You want your outfit to be easy on the budget but look like it’s fresh off the style pages of a fashion magazine.

3. Don’t Rush
You can still find designer duds if you take the time to hunt for them. The designer labels may be more elusive in the second hand jungle but if you spend some time searching the racks you’ll be surprised what gems you uncover.
4. Timing is Everything
You are going to want to find out when the racks are replenished and strike when the selection is hot and plentiful. You want to fish were the fish are! (That’s a quote I heard at a marketing conference recently, it’s applicable to many aspects of life really.)
5. Don’t forget to accessorize
The right accessory can be a game changer for any outfit. Whether it’s a new bag, a fabulous scarf or a statement necklace don’t under estimate its power. You may have the perfect accessory waiting in your closet right now to dress up or dress down your new finds. Don’t discount the bags, shoes and other accessories in the various departments at the thrift shop you never know what you’ll find on any given day so be sure to take a glance in their direction.
Now for the great reveal! Here is what I managed to do with $40 and a little bit of time!
The fabulous black and white chevron print ( a must have!) sleeveless blouse from H&M was $2 paired with Jessica Simpson dark wash skinny jeans $15 and a light weight black cardigan $5 and you have a casual chic look just add earrings and a pair of wedge pumps and you’re set to go from school drop  off to the office and even ready to meet up with your significant other for a casual date night! 
 

Next we have the straight leg black riding pant (super soft & comfy) by I.N.C. $5 paired with a flowy A-line tunic guaranteed to flatter any figure $7 and a soft grey sweater $3. 
 

I added my own belt and a fabulous pair of boots and I was set for a day out with the family. 
The bonus is the tunic is long enough to pass as a dress when you loose the belt so add a classic pump in black, gray or nude and you have 3 outfits for $37!

Jennifer Erickson is a single mom of one, affectionately known as “the boy”, based on the beautiful West Coast of Canada near Vancouver BC. Jennifer has over two decades of experience in personal and commercial financial services working with families and business enterprises of varying sizes set and reach their financial goals. Once “the boy” came along she left her corporate career and found her passion for marketing, social media and freelance writing. Jennifer now publishes the Lower Mainland Children’s Directory, a hyper local blog dedicated to families and caregivers in search of the perfect place to stay, play, eat, shop and go with kids in tow. In addition to the day to day operations of the Children’s Directory she flexes her freelance muscles contributing to various local and national blogs. Also the Founder of Fresh Press Media were she brings bloggers and brands together and helps her clients make the most of their social media reach.

**Giveaway has ended**

Our winner is Leslie Lundeen. Congratulations!

Thirty-One Gifts was founded just over 10 years ago. The company prides itself on giving women an opportunity to own their own their business, while being rooted in a faith based mission. The company features a variety of affordable bags and accessories in attractive prints.

Items range from purses and wallets to totes and thermal bags. They also feature a large line of home storage options. There is literally something for everyone in your family, and for every room in your home.

Purchase
By visiting Jenny Hillenburg’s site, you can easily browse the available styles and shop from the most recent catalog. The easy-to-navigate website allows you to compare item sizes, prints and personalization options.

Customer Specials
All personalization is currently 50% off until April 30. This awesome option allows you to label, monogram or put an icon on your favorite Thirty-One product for less. You can check out all of the available fonts, icons and thread colors here.

Host a Party
If you’d like to host a party, you can do so virtually or in your home. Hosting a party allows you to qualify for additional hostess bonuses depending on the revenue your party brings in. you can earn both free and half-price items for yourself. It’s easy!

Hostess Exclusives
The more products you sell, the more credit you get to use toward any Thirty-One product(s). The company offers specialized, unique products that are available only to hostesses. Currently, there is a backpack and beauty bag that are unavailable to typical customers, only available to hostesses.

Join My Team
If you’re looking for an opportunity to run your own business on your own timeline and terms, Thirty-One could be for you! Just $99 gets you started with a kit and you choose how often you want to have parties. You’ll earn 25 percent commission on all sales. Learn more here.

Win!
Love what you’re seeing from Thirty-One?!? Register to win this awesome prize package valued at $174! It includes everything seen in this picture. A Daring Abby tote, wallet and strap along with a fashionable umbrella. All you have to do is fill out a simple form! The giveaway closes at midnight EST on April 16, 2015 and then a winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!