Sunday night was Disney night when I grew up. My mom would make a bowl of popcorn and the six tow-headed Brainard kids would slouch on mom’s avocado green crush velvet couch to watch ~
I loved Tinker Bell’s fairy dust!
When I started parenting, I wanted to give my kids the same wholesome entertainment.
We were the first in the neighborhood to buy Jungle Book on VHS and regularly hosted viewings in our living room, the neighbor kids huddled on my dusty pink Olefin thrift store couch eating animal crackers. Now our media cabinet contains shelves of VHS, DVD and Blu-ray movies.
I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, a blogging conference they took on the road to four cities this year. As you can imagine, after revealing above I raised my kids on VHS, I was one of the oldest mommies there. But, I still got excited when I walked into the room filled with Disney balloons and stuffed animals and heard the Disney songs.
It got a little intimidating when the younger moms started Tweeting and updating statuses, but HEY, that’s why I was there. To learn. I am wise enough to know a mommy learns from the older and younger moms in her life.
I guess it’s safe to say - now that they can’t uninvite me – that I’ve never been to any of the Disney Parks, but I really wanted to learn more about social media.
I also wanted to network. I hung out with my mommy-blogger friend, Nan, who blogs at “Mom’s the Word” and is way funnier than I am. I’m pretty sure funnier is a word now, and I’m pretty sure I will never chew blue gum in public again. She was the other “experienced” mother in the crowd who has a Justin Bieber lookalike son. (Guess what? Bieber isn’t in spell check yet. He must not be that famous.)
They keynote speaker was Mindee Doney, inventor of Boogie Wipes. Her light bulb moment came when she was moving in for the boogie kill with a bulb syringe and saline solution. Her baby daughter’s nose was crusted over and Mindee was determined to get those boogies so her daughter could breath. The freaked-out reaction caused a quick retreat and change in battle strategy.
Mindee reached over to the wipes container, sprayed one with saline solution, and gently wiped her daughter’s nose. Baby’s boogies were gone and Boogie Wipes were born.
I loved hearing the funny, candid, and sometimes gut-wrenching, journey of her personal and business life from the creation of Boogie Wipes to the sale of the company. As the challenges grew, so did the stakes.
Early in the game, the name of her company was criticized by another mommypreneur prior to appearing together on the television show The Big Idea. She thought Boogie Wipes was disgusting and thought something like "The Salt of the Earth" would be more appropriate and less offensive. Mindee justified the name and gave a hint of the marketing strategy that helped launch their product successfully. "Our target demographic has poop under their fingernails." She was a mom, she knew moms, and knew their needs.
They utilized the power of moms and formed a Boogie Brigade, similar to a book launch team. Women dropped off samples for the company and wore free Boogie Brigade t-shirts when they ran in races. But when they tapped into Mommy bloggers, the impact was really felt. Mindee said that moms not only reviewed the wipes, they videoed them, photographed them and took them on vacation.
Mindee encouraged bloggers, "Whether it’s product, content, message or a mission…you’re impacting people and lives.”
She’s a marketing genius and a brilliant strategist. But, instead of getting on stage and telling us how great she is, Mindee was honest enough to share her mistakes on the journey.
During the rise to success, which included the financial benefits, interviews and television appearances, Mindee realized what she had lost with this gain. "I had let go of all the things that mattered to my heart. I stopped going to church. Stopped exercising. I was working all the time. We all have periods of our lives where we work a lot; the problem was, I was never NOT working."
She had an 18 month old, 4 year old, 7 year old and a pilot husband who was frequently gone. At a low point she said, "Time out. I am broken. I am done. I have nothing that matters in the depths of my soul for what I want for the next five years."
Between leaving the company and getting divorced she confessed to spending "a year with lawyers and therapists."
She is joyfully back in the groove with her family and business, and freely gave us what she learned through the agony of losing it all.
“You can be Super Mom, but you can’t be Super Mom at everything.
There is something about you that is SUPER, but you can’t do all those things SUPER. You have to respect what those things are. Find them. Embrace them. Rock who you are.
If people don’t know what your blog is about, that’s your fault. You aren’t telling them what you are good at. We all need to do our job the best we can, in businesses, life, and as a person.
She illustrated with a conversation with her son:
Son "Mom, I think we’ve been robbed."
Son, "Oh, I’m just kidding. Our house always looks like this."
Mindee urged the room of mommy bloggers to use two words moms hear but don’t use themselves – Help and No.
“Help is not a 4-letter word.
And when you get help, from husband, friend, relative…learn to say, it’s not MY way, but it’s OK. When you step away, but don’t really step away, you come back to the same space you were in before.
Learn to say NO. If it takes away from what nurtures you and what you do, then say NO.”
Expect life to NOT go according to plan. The hardest choice is if you are going to smile about it or be grumpy.
What goes up must come down. What goes down must be lifted. Eventually you have to lift yourself up.
Specific things to stay IN the journey:
(There is an exception to rule, but when exceptions become the rule, there’s a problem.)
1. Laptop stays in office.
2. Schedule is sacred. Give full attention to what you’re doing. No distractions.
3. To do lists find me. I used to make lists. At night I think about what the next day’s needs are.
4. Don’t promise things the next day. I use vague terms. "I’ll work on it and get to you at end of week." If I set a deadline I can’t meet, I change the deadline.
5. When kids say "momma’ stop and look at them. Connect. Communicate.
6. Leave your phone. Just leave it. If you set the precedence that you’re always available, you’ll be expected to be always available.
Moms struggle with balancing their lives.
If we give everything to business or ministry, we may regret not making our family a priority.
If we give everything to the family, we may regret not putting ourselves on the calendar.
Mindee provided great advice and encouragement to make the right daily decisions to fully show up in all a mom’s worlds; wisdom made more precious by the cost.
If you want to read more about Mindee’s journey read: