The Business of Mommyblogging

I’m getting myself very out of sorts lately following all the J&J, Disney drama. It has nothing to do with who got invited, who got snubbed, who got an email, who got a pitch, who is going, who is staying silent.

Nothing.

It has everything to do with the buzz word of the moment: ‘brand.’

Queen of Spain Blog is a brand. CityMama is a brand. Sarah and the Goon Squad is a brand. Mom101 is a brand. Karen Sugarpants is a brand. Table for Five is a brand. Suburban Oblivion is a brand.

From Heather Armstrong to Sparks and Butterflies to those of you getting 3 hits a day-2 of which are your husband-YOU ARE A BRAND.

I didn’t believe it either, then all these other people told me. Not that I needed them telling me, it was just the wake-up call to a slumber that started somewhere in San Jose about 2006 when I was cornered between a Weight Watcher representative, a Disney PR person, and a cameraman, all while nursing my daughter in the middle of a conference.

The proof is not in the community we’ve created. The proof is not in the ad checks we receive. The proof is not in the press or the interviews or the issuing of credentials to important functions.

The proof, my dear friends, is in the shift in corporate America.

Remember when we used to say “if only they knew how great and powerful we are they’d partner with us and pay to have us use their shit and we’ll all live happily every after!”

Guess what-they know. They know, they’re pitching, and they are finding you a wide-eyed doe in an open field. Not that I don’t love my does, but it is time to be re-educated in Mommyblogging. More important the BUSINESS of Mommyblogging.

I don’t know about you, but when I started Queen of Spain it was because I was at home with kids and needing something. I needed to get out my fears and my frustrations. I needed to talk about what I loved about being a mother, what I loathed about being a mother, and I needed to find other mothers like me to talk more about what we liked about being mothers, what we loathed about being mothers, and so on and so on.

Very few of us went into this thinking we were doing anything other than writing, finding friends, talking shop. Even fewer of us went into this realizing we were creating a business.

I want you to understand in no uncertain terms: Mommyblogging is a business.

I know half of you are shaking your heads and saying things like “I’m not really here for that, I just want to lament about potty training and gab with my girlfriends and maybe make a few extra bucks to pay a few bills.”

While all of that is true, understand you have graduated from “make a few extra bucks” to “they want us so bad they are sending us on all expense paid trips, filling our inboxes with press releases (fyi PR peeps-I’m not the New York Times I’m a mommyblog. If I were a reporter your release might come in handy, in my email-not so much) and partnering with some of us to consult, sit on a focus group, even blog on their corporate website.

You. Are. A. Business.

Here’s the problem: most of us don’t know shit about business (myself included) and they are taking advantage of our ignorance.

I’m sorry ladies, truth hurts. You’re getting snowed, fleeced, taken, abused, used.

I am too. Correction, I was.

I am the first to admit I want an open and transparent partnership with companies that come a courtin’. But I want it at market value. If my market is WOMEN ONLINE, what’s the value?

Recently I about lost my mind reading a very sweet post over at the LadyBug and her Blogging Mama. It’s something that has popped up a few times on many of the blogs discussing all the recent PR and marketing dust ups.

The idea goes if we are not nice to corporate muckity mucks, and if we don’t mind our Ps and Qs like good little girls, none of us will get flown anywhere, ever again, and we’ll be stuck to wallow in our silly little community. In other words: ‘you Mommybloggers need to quit your bitching or the big boys and their big money are going to go away.’

Heh.

As you can imagine I started to type a rather half-crazed response, when I noticed something else over at Self-Made Mom’s comment section,

“This Disney event was a test, one that now may not soon be duplicated.”-Maria Bailey

Now for those who don’t know, Maria is paid by Disney to arrange these sorts of meetings. Maria contacted me in September of last year to attend a similar event for Halloween. We went. We had fun. Apparently no one objected to it being held on Satan’s Holiday and all went off without a hitch.

I too have consulted, and have gotten paid, by Disney to help them better understand Mommyblogs.

They paid me $6,000 for what essentially amounted to a few emails, a survey, and a meeting. (that last sentence is called being TRANSPARENT-goes right along with that ‘brand’ word we discussed at the beginning)

But here is the important part and why I am pointing out Maria’s quote- “…one that may not soon be duplicated…” which, in my opinion, implies Disney told her to this isn’t going to happen again if we keep yapping on our blogs.

Despite the fact that I’m a bit confused by this is an ‘experiment’ when I did something similar months upon months ago and it was a huge success, (and they did something in Palo Alto awhile back too) I’m more confused by Disney possibly not wanting to connect with influential Moms. Or the idea that companies don’t want to come inside social media and use us as their advertising because we might actually talk back.

At what point did I miss them not needing Moms. Are you seriously trying to backhandedly threaten me, and imply Disney doesn’t need Moms? Are you telling me Johnson and Johnson doesn’t need Moms to buy their baby shampoo too? Maybe they will market J&J babywash to single males instead??

If sales are dropping dramatically for magazines, if viewership has dropped dramatically for television, if MILLIONS OF MOTHERS ARE NOW ONLINE READING AND WATCHING AND CONSUMING are you really trying to tell me my mouth is what is going to drive them back into their corporate headquarters???!!!

“Oh, shit! Those Moms have OPINIONS! Holy fuck! Quick-get me the best team in the world and let’s figure out how to get all those Moms offline and BACK watching Days of Our Lives because marketing to a person as opposed to throwing a shitty 30 second spot together is waaaaaaaaaaaaay too hard!”

…and then Mr. CEO realizes we still hold the pursestrings and he doesn’t have a motherfreaking choice. He has to assemble that social media team to come play by our rules or we’re buying the organic shampoo at half the price a friend of a friend blogged about last week.

My latest and greatest concern in this entire Mommyblogging Coming Out party is very simple: don’t be a sucker. I too have been a sucker, don’t be me.

Take the free trip but take it knowing what it means for your brand. Take the free box of diapers understanding this is a business deal. Treat all of this not like a star-struck fan, happy to get some bibs in the mail, treat it LIKE A BUSINESS.

They want you to blog their product? Charge them for ad space. They want to know if you think other Mommybloggers will like their new website? Charge them a consulting fee.

And for good measure, you might want to know who you are dealing with on the other end. They want a piece of the action too, and allegedly don’t mind stretching the truth to get it.

This is business, not personal. This is about me saying ‘yes, I help out Photrade.com and if I ask you about using our new ad format -this is business.’ This is about you saying ‘yes, I’m blogging this humidifier because some PR company sent it to me, and they followed up with 30 emails and I’m afraid if I don’t say Vic’s Humidifier on my blog they may never send me anything again.’

This is also about realizing the true value of our community and what it’s become. Make no mistake, they need you-make them treat you appropriately.

If they give you shit, send them to me.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl

3 is worse than 2. 3 is worse than 2. 3 is worse than 2.

Today, she is 3.

She’s sassy, she’s determined, she’s smart.

Everything I had hoped she would be…time to batten down those hatches and inquire at convents. ;)

The Story I Didn’t Tell You

On Super Tuesday, February 5th 2008, I drove to Central Los Angeles (with pneumonia) and interviewed Congresswoman Maxine Waters for BlogHer.com.

During the course of the interview we discussed why she was supporting Senator Hillary Clinton and I shared with her the story of my very stubborn grandfather who, no joke here, thought I would grow up and be a ‘fine secretary’ one day. I thought it was an important point to make; a 90-year old man with some very ‘traditional’ ideas was going to vote for a woman. I’d like to think it meant progress.

What I didn’t tell the viewer, or the Congresswoman, was that in the same breathe my grandfather championed Hillary, he called Senator Obama (and I’m paraphrasing) slimy like that Jesse Jackson and a typical black politician. Mind you all of this information came to me through my Dad, who I am guessing censored.

While a 90-year old, former Chrysler worker, blue-collar, union, grandfather being racist may not be all that shocking, what happened in my mind is - I just shrugged it off and accepted it as life.

In my mind, I filed it in the ‘some people are just like that’ category and moved on.

Now I’m not saying I was going to give my grandfather a call and lecture him, as he is not always very clear on thought these days, but I could have at least processed the gravity of what I had just witnessed.

My grandfather let go of sexism (sort of) before he let go of his racism.

I say ‘sort of’ because I can’t seem to shake conversations I’ve had over the years. The ones where he would be proud to the point of playing tapes for his friends of my radio news days, yet convinced I should be having more than two children.

I’m also very used to racism in my own family. My childhood memories are littered with my uncle screaming N***** RUN! at the tv while watching football. My cousin knew she was being a rebel by putting a poster of Michael Jordan on her bedroom wall.

As I watch the race issue continue to unfold in this election, I wonder how many more grandfathers and uncles are out there. The ones who would congratulate me on ‘marrying well’ and then decide voting for a woman was a much better option than voting for a black man.

I don’t have the knowledge or the expertise to go into all the reasons why these things are the way they are, but I am watching poll numbers for Senator Obama dip since the Wright flap. It’s beyond discouraging. It leaves me without much pride for this nation. It is starting to make me very angry that it matters.

God Damn America, indeed.

There. I said it. Let’s see the outrage. Let’s see the hate. Tell me how unpatriotic I am and how I’m evil.

Let me say it louder

GOD DAMN AMERICA

Prove me wrong. Show me you’re not a bunch of racist idiots.

Don’t let them fool you-the Rev. Wright fiasco is ENTIRELY about race.

How many of you have been to a black church? Show of hands please. How many of you know or even TRY to know the reasons for anything that *may* happen inside a black congregation? How many of you have seen or read the ENTIRE sermon?

I am not an African-American. I am not a minority. I do not even pretend to know the experience. But at the very least I have attempted to educate myself. At the very least I have stepped outside of my safe suburb and stood at First AME in Los Angeles.

Rev. Chip Murray, who has since retired, was one of the most inspirational men I have EVER met in my life. I have struggled with religion since I was a child and I can honestly say the ONLY person who ever came close to bringing me to God was a black preacher in Los Angeles.

That particular church had members doing and saying exactly the words of Rev. Wright and this white girl was always welcome in those doors. Welcomed with hugs and kisses and invitations to picnics after services.

In the end I have to believe that if my 90-year old grandfather can make just enough progress to vote for a woman, the rest of you-who have far longer lives ahead of you and far more clear thoughts left, can go all the way and make enough progress to vote for a person of color.

It is time. Hell, even Dave Winer admits he’s racist and voting for Obama.

The discussions are happening. Be real. Get yourself involved in them. Talk about it, write about it, be honest about it ALL.

It is time for this nation to get over this, or at the very least make an honest effort to try. You can’t do that if you’re afraid to ask or to speak up or to learn.

If not, we are a damned America, for certain.

Are You Reading This On BlogNetNews.com?

*updated at 1150ampst with new email from ‘Dave’ at bottom. My site has been removed-has yours?

If so, find a way to click back to MY blog and be very aware they have syndicated this content without my consent.

MANY of you are being syndicated. If so, take action now-Email editor@blognetnews.com and tell him to REMOVE YOUR FEED IMMEDIATELY, and feel free to mention I sent ya.

Here is the email exchange with ‘Dave’ and I-

From: Erin Kotecki VEST <queenofspainblog@yahoo.com>
Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 6:15 PM
To: editor@blognetnews.com, queenmediallc@gmail.com, Aaron <aaronvest@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Something new for parenting bloggers

Hi my name is Erin Kotecki Vest, owner of Queen of Spain blog.

I’m concerned about what appears to be my site’s feed streaming into BlogNetNews. It is a)taking away traffic from me and b)not sending anyone back to my page. I see no links back to my blog. I have no indication of any hits from your service. I also am not sure I recall opting-in, although I see the last correspondence I have from you is dated 2006.

I’m going to have to ask you remove Queen of Spain Blog’s feed immediately.

Erin Kotecki Vest

Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 21:57:45 -0400
Subject: Re: Something new for parenting bloggers
From: “David Mastio” <editor@blognetnews.com> Add Mobile Alert
To: queenofspainblog@yahoo.com
CC:  

We certainly aren’t taking traffic away from you. Click on any headline or the “…” after the excerpts of your posts and you will appear on your site. (compare that to trying to get to a blog when it appears in a section front of technorati (here for instance: http://www.technorati.com/entertainment/celebrity/ )

You can find an archive of what posts are getting the most clicks here: http://www.blognetnews.com/parenting/most-clicked_archive.php

I don’t know whether any of yours appear there. Anyway, there is no place on our site where anyone can read your whole posts, people always have to click thru.

I’ll remove you from the site when I reopen the database in the morning, but I hope you’ll reconsider.

Best,
Dave Mastio

BlogNetNews.com
We Serve Blogging

Remember to visit our advertisers

Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 19:21:16 -0700 (PDT)
From: “Erin Kotecki VEST” <queenofspainblog@yahoo.com> Add to Address BookAdd to Address Book Add Mobile Alert
Subject: Re: Something new for parenting bloggers
To: editor@blognetnews.com

Your click thru is frames, correct? Or your re-direct.link has something going on?

You’ve essentially syndicated my content. I am not being paid for this syndication. I am not being compensated for this syndication. There are others upset as well. We work hard to protect our brands and keep readers on our own sites, not yours. If you were writing an article on parenting and linking to me occasionally, that’s one thing. But instead you’ve syndicated my feed and used loop holes to abuse my community. Even some indexing sites have the courtesy to only use headlines in order to be genuine in their want to drive traffic out.

You are exploiting, plain and simple. You are not part of our community, you are simply here to capitalize on this community.

Expect emails from about everyone else on your blogroll in the parenting and politics communities.

I appreciate your quick response and thank you in advance for removing my feed and the feed of everyone else who asks.

I hope that if your business is sincere you extend an olive branch to the communities you are pillaging.

Erin Kotecki Vest
http://queenofspainblog.com
http://blogher.com
http://huffingtonpost.com
@queenofspain on twitter
http://photrade.com

Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2008 10:04:27 -0400
Subject: Re: Something new for parenting bloggers
From: “David Mastio” <editor@blognetnews.com>  Add Mobile Alert
To: queenofspainblog@yahoo.com
CC:  

We do not do frames and I’ve just been on the site, the redirect is working just fine.

If you can tell me what browser and os you’re using, I’ll ask our programmer to check if there is a compatability issue.

If you can forward to me the email you recieved or the URL to the site you saw that gave you the idea we are exploiting anyone. I can give you many examples of how BNN is far more blog friendly than lots of other sites that are out there.

You’ll be removed shortly.

Best,
Dave Mastio

BlogNetNews.com
We Serve Blogging

Remember to visit our advertisers

Happy? Birthday

Today my first born son turned 5.

We did the cake. We did the presents. We did the hoopla.

He was beaming all day and I was making a huge deal out of his ability to have accomplished 5 years of living.

Inside I was dying.

I spent the day in fear. I spent the day in denial. I put on a happy face but inside I was in PAIN by his big boy bike. His wanting to shut the door when he went to the bathroom. His growing up.

I don’t care what my job is supposed to be and I don’t care what sort of label you want to throw at me-THIS SUCKS.

It hurts. I’m not a fan. And I’d like it to stop.

The entire time I was encouraging him to sit on the new bike and test it out, and he was protesting that it looked too big and was too wobbly, I was thinking ‘it’s ok baby boy, don’t be afraid, Mom is here, don’t do it if you don’t want too, just come sit on my lap and lay your head on my shoulder and cuddle with me.’

I suck.

I stood there thinking to myself ‘god if you can’t handle the wobbly big kid bike I can’t possibly let you out there into the world and let you see how horrible things are, how your heart will be broken, how people will be mean, how sometimes your stomach will be in knots, how life can be very shitty…’

I was sick. SICK.

My children make me feel very weak. The kind of weak that could turn me into some insane helicopter mom who homeschools and layers the walls with foam. The kind of weak that makes me throw every ounce of common sense out the window in favor of whatever will keep my children in ignorant bliss for eternity.

It hurts too much. IT HURTS TOO MUCH.

Of course I gently coaxed him on that bike and eventually he was riding around the culs-de-sac and life was just happy happy but I couldn’t shake the amount of fear that came with this birthday.

Real school is around the corner. Big kids who bully. Teachers who may or may not find his quirks endearing. Expectations. Disappointments. Triumphs.

I ache for every moment yet to come that causes him to pause. I yearn for every moment passed that seems now to have been so much easier. I want nothing more than to stop time and pretend as though none of this is happening.

I feel like a failure of a mother for entertaining these thoughts and trying to will them into reality. Like if I blink hard enough I can poof us all back to when my biggest fear was him hitting his head while learning to walk.

I’m not good at this. I’m just not. I spend most of my day trying to keep them busy so I can ignore them and the other half complaining as I deal with them. Then I have the gall the be upset at the passing of time and the reality of children becoming adults. These small creatures bring out every weakness I have and throw it on the table for all to see, dripping in emotion and exposing what is best, but mostly what is the worst, inside my soul.

Tonight I watched my 5-year old glow as he blew out 5 candles. I watched his little sister, eyes as big as saucers, ready and willing to take her turn at the cake in 6 days when she turns 3. As I discretely exhaled harder to aid the extinguishing of the flames I wished right along with my baby boy.

Keep him safe. Make this hurt less. Make me strong.

Happy Birthday.

So You Want To Talk To Mommybloggers…

I assume by now you’ve seen the bruhahaha? Yes? No?

Go look, I’ll wait.

Back?

So basically there are these big ‘ol corporations who are just salivating to get their money grubbing claws into women online. Oh, wait, I take that back-they are ignoring those of you who are childless, of color, breastfeeding, in need of childcare, lesbian, or anything other than Christian. Which leaves us with what-White. Straight. Jesus-Loving. Breeders.

White, straight, Jesus-loving breeders online are a big fucking deal. Apparently we’re the only ones who can communicate a message and influence other white, straight, Jesus Loving breeders to buy! buy! buy! buy! At least that’s the message I’m getting, you?

It’s a damn shame these companies, marketers, PR flacks and social media opportunists don’t actually READ the blogs of the Moms they target. They would learn an awful lot in a very short period of time if they did.

They would learn you might not want to ask the Mom with the newborn to ditch the baby and screw that whole breastfeeding thing to come try their products for a weekend. They would learn you might not want to ask the Jewish Mom to come celebrate Easter or say, attend an event during Passover.

Oy Vey is right.

But really, more than anything else, they would learn we have voices and our voices equal power. We can praise your product across the globe and make our friends buy it…OR we can trash it and ruin your reputation. It means we are…wait for it…real people. I know you marketing types are used to us just being a ‘number’ or a ‘demo’ but much like everything else in this world, real people can make a difference.

With that said, a little birdie I know was kind enough to give me a peak at the eMarketer Moms Online study. Want to hear my favorite part?

“It is important to be upfront. Tell mothers what you are doing and
that you value their opinion. Reward them with something
tangible. Use word-of-mouth and blog monitoring techniques to
track where mothers are discussing your brand and enlist their
help in promoting it.
Speak to mothers as more than just mothers. In a study of mothers
by Draft Worldwide, 34% said they are often offended by the way
that they are portrayed in advertising. More than 68% said they
would like to be spoken to as more than just a mother and 55%
said they would react more positively if marketers spoke to them
as a multi-dimensional woman, not just a mother.
For web sites aimed at mothers a sea change is under way.There
is still plenty of traction in sites such as BabyCenter, iVillage and
the online destinations linked to parenting magazines. However, a
business model based on published content from experts and
professional writers will be threatened by a new crop of sites built
from content that mothers supply themselves.

That emphasis up there is MINE. All mine. What did we all learn from this? (this is the part where all you PR/marketing types needs to sit up straight and pay attention): Do it how we want or we will do it ourselves.

That means you need to get touchy, feely and join our community and get to know us. I know, sucks for you huh. You have to engage us. You have to even learn to trust us, but more than that you have to make us trust you. And you’re not going to gain our trust if all we are to you is a statistic.

Scary proposition when a few tiny tweets the other day launched this discussion into overdrive.

Another important point that I alluded to above: Women control $.83 of every household dollar. That does not, necessarily, mean a household with children. You assumed it did, right?

Now you’re probably thinking to yourself here, how can I let my big corporation even think about talking to these incredibly influential, LOUD women? Easy (no, really it is) be human and use your brain. If you’re talking to Moms, understand they HAVE CHILDREN that need to be taken care of. If you want their time, their thoughts, their blog love-either pay for it or show them some good faith.

I’m not kidding.

We’re getting pitched all over the place. Just today Plain Jane Mom was telling me a story on Twitter:

I got an email asking me to join some sort of panel where they’d send me stuff to review every couple of weeks. I checked it out and the first thing I was presented with was a looong questionnaire full of things like ‘why do you think ….. you’d be a good fit for this panel? Tell us 5 ways you would work this panel into your life.’ And so on. Seriously? Ask me to be in this group, and then expect me to spend an hour telling you why you should ‘let’ me in? All for the privilege of giving you nearly free publicity on your new baby bibs? Fuck that.”

Fuck that, indeed.

I can’t speak for how these companies go about formulating these strategies to court bloggers, what I can tell you is what has worked for me, personally.

Recently I needed a new laptop and asked my friends via Twitter what I should get. Within a few hours I was speaking directly with Richard from Dell. He never pressured a sale, just asked me what I was looking for and made a few recommendations. He and his colleagues took the time to get to know me. And guess what? We had all been talking about other things like politics and conferences and parenting well before I needed a computer. They were already part of my community. People support their friends, their communities, be they actual or virtual. When I finally opened my wallet, you bet your ass I bought a Dell.

Customer service is not dead, in fact it’s key in this social media space. YOU need to be that friendly shopkeeper from back in the day who knows every customer’s husband and kids’ names and keeps a little something special behind the counter because she mentioned she likes pink accessories. THAT is what wins in social media today. THAT is what will have me yelling “I BOUGHT A DELL’ to the entire world. And hey-I PAID THEM FOR IT and they didn’t have to pay me anything to say it. Funny how that works, huh? Keep in mind it wasn’t all pretty either. I had shipping issues and Vista issues but the entire time the Dell Social Media guys and gals were around, helping, checking in, emailing, making calls. I talked about all of it in public and so did they. TRANSPARENCY.

Another company getting it right-Graco. I’ve chatting with Lindsay on Twitter, watched as they crafted a MOMblog that actually is written by Moms about things Moms write about. It’s not just product discussion. I’m thrilled to say the Graco blog, it’s bloggers, and the other people involved in the effort are part of our community. That’s right, they did it-we gave them the secret handshake and everything. Why? They’ve engaged bloggers in conversations, events, and they kept it REAL.

I really don’t think any of this is rocket science. I have no idea why many of you have turned it into rocket science. I can tell you, however, we’re happy to teach you more-but if there is one thing you’ve taught us is that we’re valuable. So if you want more, feel free to contact us about our consulting day rates.

What can I say-you started it.

Twitter Rocks-the Mix Tape*

This little labor of love began on a whim-as do most things I do, and turned into a fun twitter exercise.

I tweeted about needing some music, because I was just installing Itunes on my new Dell, and viola-a mix was born. My apologies to those who did not get their song suggestions included, once I asked, the @’s started coming quickly and I missed a few. Next time?

Without further ado, I give you Twiter Rocks! Available on Itunes.

Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, The Temptations- from Lars30, aka Larry, and since I was begging for suggestions this works. It also works because I LOOOOOVE me some Motown.
My War, Black Flag- from Maria Niles and really why aren’t you following her on twitter already?
Learn to Fly, Foo Fighters-also from Maria because well-she answered first and loudest and who can resist some Foo
Short Skirt/Long Jacket, Cake-the first suggestion by Aaron, aka technosailor who sucks at bowling, but he gets my extra puffy heart love for writing a great piece on Obama.
Jump, Jive an’ Wail, The Brian Setzer Orchestra-from Suebob who did suggest the Louis Prima version and I dropped the ball. However she does look sexy hot in her latest blog post (sue, not louis tee hee)
Town Called Malice, The Jam-from SoCalMom who I will see tonight. Maybe we’ll have a sing-a-long
I See You Baby, Groove Armada & Gram’Ma Funk -from ArsePoetica who if you are not reading, you’re an idiot-THAT is how strongly I feel about her!
I Love Rock ‘N Roll, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts-from Michelle I just learned is having a BOY-congrats!
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), The Proclaimers-from Adele, have you seen her monsters? Go ask.
Sem Contençào, Bebel Gilberto-thank goodness Aresepoetica put something a bit ‘new’ to me in this list!
Kittens, Underworld-again, more Arsepoetica because much like Maria she came at me fast and furious with the suggestions
Southern Sun, Oakenfold-from babyspot-new twitter follower who joined the fun
Walking On Sunshine, Katrina & The Waves-and don’t it feel good? Thanks Maria and Victoria
Lips Like Sugar, Echo & The Bunnymen-from Arsepoetica who’s insight makes me feel more sane.
Buddy Holly, Weezer-from Michelle, did you know she *also* has a Mommyblog?
Virtual Insanity, Jamiroquai-Michelle again, but this one seemed a must.
Bullet the Blue Sky, U2-I admit this is one of my favorite songs of all time and would make my top 10 list. Glad the Diva suggested some U2
You Get What You Give, New Radicals-did I mention @MariaNiles used to work in the music industry?
Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, Michael Jackson- this one got our whole house up and dancing. I wish Mr. Jackson still made music like this, and wasn’t such a freak. From rockstar and PR killer Citymama
Let’s Get It Started, Black Eyed Peas-from Tojosan via DebRoby -nice teamwork kids
Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen-what? Maria loves him and I love Maria so it all works out
Dancing Queen, ABBA-I am disturbed at the number of you who suggested this song. Kimblahg, Kristy I’m looking in your direction.
September, Earth, Wind & Fire-another CityMama pick, the girl has damn fine taste in fun music
Don’t Stop Believin‘, Journey-because how can you not sing BORN AND RAISED IN SOUTH DEEETROOOOIT? Another Arsepoetica suggestion
Poison, Bell Biv DeVoe-they taught us never to trust a big butt and a smile and thanks to Redjade and Michelle and we can sing it loud and proud
Midnight Train to Georgia, Gladys Knight & The Pips -from my favorite feminist writer Victoria
The Underdog, Spoon- from Jenorama, who just taught me all about cool tea
I Get Along Without You Very Well, Chet Baker- Jeremy, PR guru, sent this one over. He’s the kind of guy you want to kick in the nuts from time to time, but still love him because he keeps it real.
Stupid Girl, Garbage-from Redjade-who’s photos rule, you should really go check them out
Old Time Rock and Roll, (by Bob Seger) Stan Werner-from Deb Roby and yes, I realize I downloaded the TOTAL wrong version but I’m thinking it makes it more interesting-no?
Girls, Girls, Girls, Mötley Crüe-Brendajos fault, blame her.
Your Love, Midtown-a final suggestion that came from Aaron as ‘anything’ off the Punk Goes 80′s compilation so I got to pick. I think I did good. Plus I tried to hijack his blog talk show yesterday and since I like pestering him seemed only fair I let him have a few songs.

Thanks Everyone!

*typing ‘mix tape’ makes me feel all warm and fuzzy in an 8th grade kind of way. Wondering if the boy I like will touch my boob after he listens…

5 Years Too Many

My son was born March 24th, 2003.

5 days before the life changing birth of my first child, the war in Iraq began.

Every phone call of congratulations mixed with worry and sadness. Every moment of joy, marred by CNN in the background. Every visitor with gifts and head shaking as they talked of the news.

Every single moment of my son’s life we have been at war.

His uncle is on his second tour in Iraq. Not first, second.

His cousins are stationed in Germany with their Mother and a new sister who has yet to meet her Dad.

I’ve spent five years grabbing the remote to change the channel quickly before little eyes see burned out convoys and dead bodies on the news.

I’ve spent five years biting my tongue as family marches off to serve.

I’ve spent five years looking at photos, always seeing the background before the bouncing baby.

Five. Years. Too. Many.

We will be* in Northridge tomorrow for a candle light vigil marking this anniversary. You can join us, or use your voice and blog.

*edited at 4pm march 19th-smalled child is passed out on my living room floor. Not sure we’re going to make the vigil. Please join the blogswarm.