This is a guest post from Intel Insider Erin Kane, one of the dynamic duos behind ManicMommies — follow them on Twitter. We first met at Intel’s Upgrade Your Life event earlier this year, and joined her this month for the annual Manic Mommies Escape gathering in Napa, CA.
I’ll admit, when Intel first approached me about being an Insider, I felt a little (OK, a lot) out of my league. My interest in technology is really a recent phenomenon, sparked by the success of “Manic Mommies,” the weekly podcast I produce and co-host with my geeky neighbor and good friend Kristin Brandt.
Kristin and I met several years ago in our neighborhood outside Boston. At the time, she was working in marketing and advertising and I was doing publicity for a public television series. We both had 2-year-old boys and instantly bonded over our work. As communications professionals, we knew that podcasts and blogs were the hot new thing and we decided that together we’d like to learn a little more about the new media universe. Kristin had been designing Web sites and knew HTML, but my computer skills were pretty much limited to Microsoft Office.
We talked a lot about doing “something for working moms” and finally, one Sunday morning in June of 2005, we reached out to working moms around the world with our first audio podcast. How’d we do it? We plopped a microphone on the sticky counter in Kristin’s kitchen (next to a full basket of unfolded laundry, naturally) and hit the record button. Kristin was on maternity leave at the time, having just given birth to her daughter Sophie, and I had just left my full-time job to launch a public relations consulting business out of my home. Together we had four kids under three, two husbands, two houses, two careers and too little time.
The first podcast covered the usual topics: breastfeeding at the office, managing the household, day care, and, of course, our relationships with our husbands. It was raw, it was honest, and when we uploaded the poor-quality audio file to Apple’s iTunes store, we had no idea if anyone would ever listen to it.
Then the e-mails started trickling in. Working moms praised us for our honesty. They told us about their struggles to do it all day in and day out. They said they had little time for nurturing friendships. They felt like bad moms because they worked. Or they felt like bad employees because they had kids. Maybe dad was the stay at home parent and mom was feeling a little jealous. Some moms who wrote said they tried to do it all and they just couldn’t. They left their lucrative careers to start their own businesses. Experienced moms wrote in to say, “I’ve been where you are and, trust me, it doesn’t get any easier when your kids get older. It just gets different.”
Suddenly, technology was opening up a whole new world to us! We were connecting with women across the U.S. and the world who were also struggling to manage the chaotic combination of work and family. As iPods became more ubiquitous, our listenership increased. We were featured in the iTunes store. And within months, Manic Mommies became more than just a weekly podcast. We launched and re-launched our blog several times. We opened up a private community using Big Tent. We landed our first corporate sponsor and started writing a tech blog for Real Simple Magazine’s Web site. Suddenly, our little baby podcast grew into a trademarked, incorporated new media company. Technology has literally changed our lives.
And we are not alone. Almost every day I receive a note from a listener who says listening to our podcast has helped her feel better about her work and home lives. Through interviews on our show and in posts on ManicMommies.com we try to provide working moms lots of support. We share recipes. We review helpful products and offer advice (some good, some questionable) on how to manage the chaos that is modern motherhood.
After all, we know what it feels like to fall short on a work project. To forget a kid at day care. To miss the school bus. To run out of diapers or wipes when baby needs them most. But we also know that what we do is so very important. Raising the next generation while contributing to the economy and the corporate bottom line is no small task.
It’s no wonder we’re all so damn exhausted!