my marketing mini me

If you were to compare any picture of my kids to their fathers, the first thing out of your mouth would be, “they look just like their dad”. And it’s true. My boys are clones of their father. Their father is a clone of his dad. Their father’s siblings are also clones of my boys grandfather.

My daughter is young enough that her looks may morph into looking like me, but right now she looks a lot like her dad. Not that either are ugly, but I wanted just one kid that people immediately would say, “holy smokes, she/he looks just like you.” I carried them, felt every kick, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, delivered them, nursed them, and one of the first things that I was told after every birth was, “so-and-so looks just like their dad!” So I started responding with, “yeah – __________ (insert child’s name) looks just like ____________ (insert child’s name).”

It’s painful, a little…so, a word of advice, don’t tell a new mom that the kid is the spitting image of the dad. Maybe combine it – say something like, “she/he is such a mixture of the two of you” even if it is a lie…just do it. You’ll make the mom feel good – I promise! Especially when the first word is “Dada”, she’ll remember that you told her that the child was such a mixture of both parents.

But then I get some satisfaction…when they act like me or do things like me or think like me because, hey, in reality, I think I’m pretty darn awesome at most of the things that I do. So if my kids aren’t going to look like me, maybe at least they will have their feet on the ground, great heads on their shoulders and not be jerks. (Forgive my lack of humbleness – I think I’m pretty darn awesome. :))

When my oldest was three he started ice skating lessons, with the end result to be able to be a strong skater in hockey because, if any coach is any good, he/she will tell you that the strongest players are the ones that are the strongest skaters. So if today I won the lottery, one of the things I would do is fly his first skating coach back to the US from England and have her train with him…she’s just that good, or was at least that amazing with my son. The greatest thing about her was that she figured out how my son was wired, even at three years old…and she was spot on, even to this day. At the end of one of the sessions, she looked at me and #1’s dad and said, “he’s either going to be a general in the military or a politician”.

That’s who my oldest is…a born leader, sometimes a manipulator, always on the go, and always a salesman that has a ton of passion behind everything he does.

His personality has so many traits similar to my own that recently I’ve caught myself wanting to talk to him like a friend rather than his mom (and let certain things slide) because it’s fun to talk to someone that thinks like you. He’s funny and witty and has recently begun really learning and applying the art of sarcasm, recently started to put two-and-two together about world events (I love politics and understanding today’s world that we live in), and recently started to show some maturity about responsibilities.

After my husband moved out (his step-dad), I saw a whole new side to him. He became this responsible person that killed bugs, set the table without being asked, tried to do laundry on his own, helped with his sister, and told me that if E wasn’t going to be there that he would help me with whatever I needed. My nine year old. Who was this child? I wanted him to still be the five year old that needed me to tie his shoes but instead I had a little man standing in front of me.

So I have this whole new kid that I’m figuring out. Part of it is his age, part of it is the new family dynamic that we now find ourselves in…but whatever it is, he’s kinda cool…at least to me.

My ‘geeky’ side has always found it interesting to analyze marketing data – where customers come from, how they hear about you, what keywords were entered in their search, what time of day they respond, how long they stay on a website, where they stay on a website, what kind of traffic is coming in (qualified or unqualified), what is the driving decision behind the purchase process, and everything else that can be determined behind the numbers of marketing efforts.

When everyone else is tuning in to the Super Bowl to watch the game or the funny commercials, I’m Googling to find out how much ‘so-and-so’ paid for an ad and then I wait a few weeks to see if either their stock prices have gone up or if there is another determining factor to see if the commercial increased profits.

I critique ads or commercials based on color choice, content, length of ad, music choice, time slot, humor, choice of actors/models and so much more. Do I get paid for this – no, but it’s fun for me and it’s how I’m wired. I have a marketing mind.

Then one day, during summer break, my son looks at me and begs not to have to watch “The Price is Right” anymore because ‘it’s for old people’. Why I ask him? Because all of the commercials are about ‘medicine and the CVS pharmacy’ and they have ‘old people in the commercials’. I smile and make him watch anyway.

Then another day, he looks at me and says I know why they make that commercial for Pepto Bismal so easy to sing…so that people don’t forget that when they have diarrhea that they should take that medicine. Such a ‘boy thing’ to focus on.

As the weeks have gone past this summer, I’ve discovered that I can bounce ideas off of him, from a marketing perspective, and he gets me and he has pretty good feedback.

One day last week, I made the kids ride in the car without technology (I know – I’m such a mean mom, right??). My #2 man asked what we should talk about. My #1 man suggested that we create a name and subject matter for the vlog that they wanted to go live with soon. Then when we started talking about names for the vlog and I listed some things to remember about naming a business or project, he got it! He listened and then ran with it and basically put together the business plan for the vlog that he wanted to create with his brother.

My little mini-me. My marketing-minded mini-me. So while he may not look anything like me and he will forever hear that he looks just like his dad, at least I can take comfort that I did contribute to that brain in his skull. That he will understand my quirkiness one day because he’ll realize that he’s the same way.

I’ve learned that when you least expect it, you’ll learn about yourself through your kids and how they are wired…and you’ll come to realize that they are pretty darn cool and so are you.

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hockey sticks & pink bows: adventure #2

You may disagree with me but I live in the greatest state in the US. We have so much at our fingertips – everything from the beach, to the greatest theme parks known to man, state parks that we can visit year-round, hockey (it’s really great in August & September), some of the greatest college football teams (go Gators!), awesome fishing, unparalleled vacation destinations, and boats – lots of boats. And these are just some of my favorites.

So when I planned our second adventure, it was an easy decision. The beach is my place of peace…and after the year I’ve had so far, I think it’s fair to say that I definitely need some! My little redhead had never been and my two boys are my beach babies, especially my #2 baby boy. He could stand all day and let the waves hit him and never tire of it. His next wish is to learn to surf. I won some brownie points for choosing the beach as our next adventure. And lucky for me, as I would come to realize, my mom was able to join us too.

I was so excited to take Finleigh to the beach for the first time. In my fantasy (and that’s a huge keyword), she would love to feel the sand on her feet and would run to the ocean, giggling the whole time, chasing her big brothers and sitting for hours where the water crashed on the sand. The reality was something totally different.

So the reality…she hated every second of being at the beach and I decided that there probably won’t be anymore beach trips for this kid until at least next summer. I couldn’t get the kiddos out of the door as quickly as I wanted that day so by the time we got to the beach she was ready for her nap but I persisted, crossing my fingers that she could make it. I lucked out and found a parking spot that was close to the beach entrance, everyone grabbed a handful of stuff, and headed down to the sand. The sand was hot so the kids complained, I wanted to walk to an area that was a little further down and the kids complained, and then it was like wrangling bulls to try to get them to stand still so I could spray them with sunscreen.

When I was a kid, I experienced sun poisoning so frequently that I gave up trying to avoid it, so you can imagine my fear with a red-headed Irish daughter. I sprayed her body and covered her face with the newest sunscreen that is supposed to dry fast. Well…when you put any kind of lotion on a sweaty little girl that doesn’t stand still it’s a guarantee that it’s not going to soak in. Then when she gets mad at you for trying to hold her down, she cries, rubs her eyes and then gets sunscreen in her eyes and mouth and nose and then more in her eyes. And that was the recipe for disaster. I couldn’t do anything but laugh.

I took her down to the water, thinking that it would be a great distraction, and she screamed bloody murder even more. So we went back and finally my mom was able to calm her down and get her to fall asleep laying on her. My mom is a champ because my little red-head is a hot-box to begin with and then add the fact that she was super sweaty and covered in sand and sunscreen, and she let her lay on her for about 45 minutes.

Thankfully, my boys are great at entertaining themselves and they played, ate lunch and played some more. And then when they couldn’t find anything else to do, they asked to head home and with the little red-head getting red and more irritated we decided to pack it up and head out. That was an adventure in itself. The sand was hot, my #2 boy didn’t want to put his flip flops on because he didn’t want sand to get on them, and my little red-head just decided to stop walking.

We finally got into the car, got snacks for everyone, pulled out and the kids got quiet (aka slept or played on technology). And then I got my peace. I was frustrated because I had the perfect day planned out in my head and it ended up happening nothing like I thought.

I was disappointed because I thought the boys didn’t enjoy the trip…but I was wrong. My oldest looked at me before we even left and said, “Mom, that was a nice day” and my little man has asked to go back this week. So the lesson that I needed to learn was that while I was so busy trying to make it peaceful and stressing myself out, my boys made the best of the situation and enjoyed the moment, the adventure; they looked at the glass half full.

How did I do it?

#1: Get them excited! Excitement is contagious – if you are excited, they will get excited.

 

#2: Materials: I printed each of the flyers above and then slid them into sheet protectors and hung them on our fridge. The boys are quick to get the redhead her juice in the morning so they read it before I was even awake and started to get excited right away.
During our time together, I took pictures and then printed them onto a third page, in a collage form. Our next adventure will repeat this process – print out a description of the adventure, print out a collage of pictures from the adventure. Then add it to a notebook/folder so that when the year is over we can go through and relive some wonderful memories.

Moral to the story:

Live in the moment, the actual moment that’s happening, not the one you think should be happening because as much as excitement is contagious, being a downer will affect the kids or others around you.