A Mom First

In All Things, A Mom First

My Fantastic 3am Discovery: www.themotherhood.com

I fell asleep early and then woke up and have not been able to get back to sleep. Of course that means I am writing, sharing, reading and making some cool discoveries.  http://www.themotherhood.com/

About the website from their website:

TheMotherhood is organized around Circles and Talks.

Circles are on-going conversations started by members on any and all topics.  Join the circles that interest you, and if you don’t see what you’re looking for, start one!

Talks are scheduled, live conversations that last a day with expert hosts on topics recommended by members.  We’re always looking for new ideas on topics and people you’d like to talk with, so anytime send us an email with your recommendations to Talks@TheMotherhood.com!

Neighbors are the amazing women who make up TheMotherhood.  You won’t find a nicer, smarter, funnier, more supportive, resourceful, authentic, friendly group of moms anywhere.

TheMotherhood Creative keeps the lights on.  Here’s where we partner with favorite national brands to help them work with moms in wonderful, innovative and real ways – online and off. It’s all creative goodness for brands and for moms. If you are a mom or a brand interested in working with us please email contact@themotherhood.com.

TheMotherhood on the Web: We’re where you are and would love to connect.

Become a fan of TheMotherhood on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter:




We Are TheMotherhood

A few years back, we started thinking about the idea that maybe TheMotherhood needed a tagline to capture the essence of what we’re all about in just a few words.  TheMotherhood is such a special place, we wanted to be able to broadcast that to the world, right up front.

Two things happened though.  First, all the four or five word taglines we could come up with sounded like bad advertising copy, and second, we knew in our bones we couldn’t boil us mothers down to a sound bite.  There’s no one approach to motherhood or to what we’re all here for.

So, we decided to come at it from the opposite direction – to list all that we are as mothers –  The “We Are’s”.  Who we are in all our varied glory. Here are some:

As Mothers, We Are …

  • humanity training 24/7
  • stunned at how quickly it all flies by
  • collectively unstoppable
  • living the ultimate reality show
  • ready for anything
  • dreaming of a beach hammock
  • altogether stronger
  • not picking up his socks again
  • making the world better for our kids
  • stuck in the office
  • raising all boats
  • Superheroes
  • on another diet
  • sending our prayers
  • letting them stay up late
  • in an epic battle with a pile of laundry
  • listening
  • looking good in our Target outfits
  • leaving a legacy
  • undecided about tofu
  • keeping our eyes on the big picture
  • shouldering the burdens of the world
  • so cool
  • finding some time for us

Come visit TheMotherhood “We Are” circle to see more and add your own!


June 9, 2011 Posted by | Social Media Mom | Leave a comment

OpenStudy Wants to Turn the World Into “One Big Study Group”

For the full article including screen shots and video about the Education-Focused startup, OpenStudy, go to: http://wp.me/pNaxW-1j5o

Reposted from TechCrunch article:

Education-focused startup OpenStudy is a platform for “massively multi-player study groups.” What this means is that students who are studying the same subject like math or writing can ask and answer questions on OpenStudy, which uses Facebook Connect to let users interact and learn collaboratively through profiles and group chat.

OpenStudy aims to make education fun by providing users with gamification (yeah I know how terrible using this word is, but I make an exception for things education-related) elements like medals and achievements for completing actions like answering a question quickly or answering  more than ten questions. You can also fan people you’d like to follow, giving users incentive to engage and contribute.

“We want OpenStudy profiles to become like LinkedIn for education,” says Marketing Manager Jon Birdsong, ”An accurate and evolving representation of your academic persona.  We want our students to become heroes to their peers – and we want to make sure everyone knows when they are.”

Having just come out of beta in February OpenStudy now has 40,000 registered students in over 1,500 schools in 143 countries. There are 20,000 questions being asked monthly in the math group alone.

And the institutions that have forked over cash to support OpenStudy are impressive: the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Georgia Research Alliance and the Gates foundation. Most recently the startup partnered up with MIT OpenCourseWare to let students work together on over 65 courses.

Future plans for the startup include adding even more gamification features like referring questions to Facebook Friends, a groups function (“teams”) and the widgetization of OpenStudy profile credentials so users can add them to other sites. “We want our students to become heroes to their peers – and we want to make sure everyone knows when they are,” Birdsong explains.

June 9, 2011 Posted by | Social Media Mom | Leave a comment

How School Districts use Social Media to Strengthen Community | GetFreshPR.com

For some time now I have been intrigued by Van Meter Schools in Iowa and their effective use of Social Media to strengthen their school and community. Here is a great article full of tips on how your school can use social media and some case studies on how it has worked for others!

How School Districts use Social Media to Strengthen Community | GetFreshPR.com.

June 7, 2011 Posted by | education, social media, Social Media Mom | , , , , | Leave a comment

My Son’s Love Affair with Trucks – Having a Low Tech Morning…Sort Of

I woke up early and began doing some work on the computer. True to every morning for the last several weeks, the Public Works trucks showed up about 7am to do their daily work on the curb replacement project. But this morning it was different, because they had a dump truck and a tractor (I think my dear fiance would say that the tractor is a loader and I hope I am making him proud here) literally right outside of my bedroom window today. I have yet to figure out with all of the pot holes and the constant reminder of budget cuts as the reason for them why we need to have the curbs replaced. I complained a lot at first about the noise every morning and the inconvenience getting around the neighborhood, but I have to say now I will miss the trucks when they go. My 2-year-old, Julian, is absolutely enthralled with them. He wakes up when the trucks get here (another thing I cursed at first) and spends a good half hour just watching them with the kind of excitement most of us experience so rarely in our day-to-day life. Oh for life to be so simple and so full of complete joy every day like the life of a two-year-old.

This morning he was especially nuts over the loader scooping the dirt and dumping it into the dump truck (two trucks!!) and we had a wonderful time talking about them. Then I did a Google image search on all sorts of trucks and my child, only two years old,  and I had school on my bed mixing our real-world, low tech observations with the power of the internet. I facilitated the discussion and he was so excited. This is what we have to capture and keep in our schools, I thought as we surfed the internet.

What will it be like when he gets to high school? Will Julian be like my now 20-year-old? Ethan was in talented and gifted and went to the Downtown School in elementary (where they taught very much like this morning’s school session) but got so bored in high school that he dropped out of traditional school, went to Future Pathways alternative school, and eventually opted for a GED before going off to college. It almost killed me to watch the light go out for him and witness his complete withdrawal. I am determined that this not be my 2-year-old’s experience. I hope he continues to be as excited as he is today about learning for the rest of his life! I will be watching the schools and really shop around this time. I pray the schools will have what he and all kids deserve by then or we might just keep schooling in bed!

May 12, 2011 Posted by | education, Social Media Mom | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advocating for my Digital Daughter (via What’s On The Go With Mr. Ro?)

Stumbled on this post because I was looking for Angela Maiers to see if she had a blog on wordpress. I have a passion for how to leverage technology and social media for the good of our kids and schools. I think we are all aware of the bad that technology can cause our kids. But for better or worse I think its here to stay! I believe we must embrace it and use it to its fullest advantage. What a wonderful post here by this father!

Advocating for my Digital Daughter This past Friday morning at 6:00 am, I was stirred awake by loud unusual noises from outside my bedroom. At first I thought I fell asleep while watching T.V. however, when I opened my eyes the bedroom T.V. was off but I noticed that the hall light outside my bedroom was on. I found this very odd since the lights were turned off before I fell asleep. I curiously got out of bed to see what was going on and this was what I saw: I have a three-year o … Read More

via What’s On The Go With Mr. Ro?

May 12, 2011 Posted by | Social Media Mom | Leave a comment

Transition from “Teaching” to “Learning”

One of the 8 Driving Forces changing education is a transition from a Teaching to a Learning environment in schools, as sited by Thomas Frey on the FutureSpeak.org website.

The Future of Education  (click to go to the website archive and read the full article and 8 driving factors). This one really stands out to me as the problem with current eduction — we have not transitioned to a “learning” as opposed to “teaching” model.

#1 Transition from Teaching to Learning:

Education has traditionally consisted of the two fundamental elements of teaching and learning, with a heavy emphasis on teaching.

Throughout history, the transfer of information from the teacher to the learner has been done on a person-to-person basis. A teacher stands in front of a room and imparts the information for a student to learn. Because this approach requires the teacher to be an expert on every topic that they teach, this is referred to as the “sage on stage” form of education.

While lecture-style teaching has been used for centuries to build today’s literate and competent society, it ends up being a highly inefficient system, in many respects, the “equivalent of using Roman numerals.” For any new topic to be taught, a new expert needs to be created, and this universal need for more and more experts has become a serious chokepoint for learning.

To illustrate this point, let’s look at the example of a new topic that cannot be taught because the expert on this topic lives on the other side of the world. A teacher-dependent education system is also time-dependent, location-dependent, and situation-dependent. The teachers act as a control valve, turning on or off the flow of information.

The education system of the future will undergo a transition from a heavy emphasis on teaching to a heavy emphasis on learning. Experts will create the courseware and the students will learn anytime or anywhere at a pace that is comfortable for them, learning about topics that they are interested in.

In the future, teachers will transition from topic experts to a role in which they act more as guides and coaches.

GOOD NEWS! Van Meter, Iowa is transforming education.

Educational Transformation: The Beginning of the Beginning.

Click on the link above to see the full article about what Van Meter, Iowa is doing to change education in Iowa which could put Iowa back on top. Here is an exerpt:
Through #vanmeter, online and onsite, we all are connecting and learning. Size of school district, economic condition, “labels” and location in the World, old barriers to learning, are quickly fading away. “Welcome to the future

Together we are making this happen. Your participation and continued support is creating energy and a force that is reshaping and transforming current education into a system that empowers students to THINK, LEAD, and SERVE.

You can watch the “Transforming Education” clips of the January 28, 2010 presentation at the capital on Deron Durflinger’s Justin.TV channel.

April 18, 2011 Posted by | Social Media Mom | Leave a comment

How To Get A Real Education

Here is an article shared by my friend, Twitter @hostiowa. It’s a great article written by Scott Adams, the creator of the comic “Dilbert,” for the Wall Street Journal online April 9, 2011.  Forget art history and calculus. Most students need to learn how to run a business, says Scott Adams…

Why do we make B students sit through the same classes as their brainy peers? That’s like trying to train your cat to do your taxes—a waste of time and money. Wouldn’t it make sense to teach them something useful instead?
The article is fun and interesting and brings up the need for students coming out of college to have practical skills that bring value to the work place. Adams seems to be including himself in that group of “B” students. He majored in entrepreneurship at Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y. and feels by the time he graduated he “had mastered the strange art of transforming nothing into something.” He did however go on to receive an MBA from Berkeley’s Haas School of Business which he calls the “fine-tuning” he needed to “see the world through an entreprenuer’s eyes.”
If you want to read the full article, it is great and the beginning is an entertaining story from his college years: How to Get a Real Education. But the end of the article he gives a list of what an education in entrepreneurship should include, and what lessons he learned:
Combine Skills. The first thing you should learn in a course on entrepreneurship is how to make yourself valuable. It’s unlikely that any average student can develop a world-class skill in one particular area. But it’s easy to learn how to do several different things fairly well. I succeeded as a cartoonist with negligible art talent, some basic writing skills, an ordinary sense of humor and a bit of experience in the business world. The “Dilbert” comic is a combination of all four skills. The world has plenty of better artists, smarter writers, funnier humorists and more experienced business people. The rare part is that each of those modest skills is collected in one person. That’s how value is created.

Fail Forward. If you’re taking risks, and you probably should, you can find yourself failing 90% of the time. The trick is to get paid while you’re doing the failing and to use the experience to gain skills that will be useful later. I failed at my first career in banking. I failed at my second career with the phone company. But you’d be surprised at how many of the skills I learned in those careers can be applied to almost any field, including cartooning. Students should be taught that failure is a process, not an obstacle.

Find the Action. In my senior year of college I asked my adviser how I should pursue my goal of being a banker. He told me to figure out where the most innovation in banking was happening and to move there. And so I did. Banking didn’t work out for me, but the advice still holds: Move to where the action is. Distance is your enemy.

Attract Luck. You can’t manage luck directly, but you can manage your career in a way that makes it easier for luck to find you. To succeed, first you must do something. And if that doesn’t work, which can be 90% of the time, do something else. Luck finds the doers. Readers of the Journal will find this point obvious. It’s not obvious to a teenager.

Conquer Fear. I took classes in public speaking in college and a few more during my corporate days. That training was marginally useful for learning how to mask nervousness in public. Then I took the Dale Carnegie course. It was life-changing. The Dale Carnegie method ignores speaking technique entirely and trains you instead to enjoy the experience of speaking to a crowd. Once you become relaxed in front of people, technique comes automatically. Over the years, I’ve given speeches to hundreds of audiences and enjoyed every minute on stage. But this isn’t a plug for Dale Carnegie. The point is that people can be trained to replace fear and shyness with enthusiasm. Every entrepreneur can use that skill.

Write Simply. I took a two-day class in business writing that taught me how to write direct sentences and to avoid extra words. Simplicity makes ideas powerful. Want examples? Read anything by Steve Jobs or Warren Buffett.

Learn Persuasion. Students of entrepreneurship should learn the art of persuasion in all its forms, including psychology, sales, marketing, negotiating, statistics and even design. Usually those skills are sprinkled across several disciplines. For entrepreneurs, it makes sense to teach them as a package.

That’s my starter list for the sort of classes that would serve B students well. The list is not meant to be complete. Obviously an entrepreneur would benefit from classes in finance, management and more.

Remember, children are our future, and the majority of them are B students. If that doesn’t scare you, it probably should.

—Mr. Adams is the creator of “Dilbert.”

April 17, 2011 Posted by | education, Social Media Mom | , , , | Leave a comment

What Makes a Great Mom? Des Moines Register Wants to Know by April 22!

What qualities make your mom a standout parent? Humor? Compassion? Patience?

Or is she amazing because she always knows when to say no, when to say yes
and when to say nothing at all?

Tell us a story about your mom’s best quality for an upcoming article on
what makes a mom.

Send it by April 22 to Register reporter Jane Schorer
Meisner at jmeisner@dmreg.com or The Des Moines Register, P.O. Box 957, Des
Moines, Ia. 50306-0957.

This article was first contribututed by:

KatieKunert Katie Kunert
Graphic Artist | Des Moines Register
(515) 284-8567 | kkunert@dmreg.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DM_MomsLikeMe
Facebook: http://facebook.com/momslikeme.desmoines

April 13, 2011 Posted by | Social Media Mom | | 1 Comment

Social Moms – Where Smart Moms Connect

SocialMoms.com is a members based website specifically for moms that use social media. They bill themselves as “Influential Moms Network” and brands like Hershey’s Drops are already hooking into the network to get in front of these buyers and influencers. Unlike Circle of Moms , whose tagline is “Motherhood Shared and Simplified,”  Social Moms seems to be more brand and product oriented and about sharing products rather than parenting advice with other moms.

According to an article from December 2010, 79% of moms are on social media (I am part of a group that was bigger than I thought):  http://ht.ly/3sQbu

A recent study by Child’s Play Communications shows that moms might not be as inexperienced with social media as their naïve sons and daughters may think.

Of the 2,000 U.S. mothers surveyed, 79 percent with kids younger than 18 are active on social networking sites, such as Facebook, with 43 percent of these moms using it on a daily basis.

79% of Moms are on Social Media according to article on PR Junkie, December 2010

March 15, 2011 Posted by | social media, Social Media Mom | Leave a comment

#TED launches exciting new educational initiative! Educators, Students & Creatives

If you are a mom, a parent, a person interested in education or care about the future in the hands of today’s kids then check this out:

#TED launches exciting new educational initiative! Educators, students, & creatives, learn more here: http://bit.ly/ggUKNN @TED_ED.

March 2, 2011 Posted by | education | | Leave a comment