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4BabyAndMom mom blog, Lauren Hochreiter an interview

4BabyAndMom is a mom blog, written by a mom, for other moms- to read all about parenting, life, and the latest and greatest products. I’m a mom of a gifted, sarcastic, fun and loving 6 year old, and an artsy, adorable, and completely hysterical 3 year old, and love sharing random stories of our days adventures. I love small businesses, and love to help promote companies that give back to their communities, or have truly home grown values. I now try to integrate everything that makes me me, into my articles, and into my reviews.

My first blog entry was horrible… Ok, scratch that, the entire first month I blogged, it was horrible! Although, there were two posts that aren’t too painful to read, one about my mischievous children and moon sand, and the other about Classic Tinker Toys.  I also tried my luck at two giveaways, one I had only 6 entries for, and the other, 15. After both of them completely bombed, I was worried that I wouldn’t be good enough, and decided for the month of January to network, and blog hop to see what successful bloggers in my niche were doing, and how. I participated in guest blog posts on Mommie911, and on Dolphin Bubbles, and started to get paid for writing.

I set quarterly goals, (that other more successful mommy bloggers told me were completely un-reachable), that I reached one by one. From different products to review that they warned me were no longer being offered to bloggers to review, to earning money for writing articles, to meeting Ted Murphy and Wendy Piersall at a Twitter Tweet Up for central bloggers, and asking them the questions I needed answers to.

The best advice I got as a newbie blogger, which I share with all newbie bloggers I meet is the same advice both Ted and Wendy shared with me last February- the key to becoming a successful blogger is “Network, Network, Network”, and my own mantra, don’t give anything less than your best.

The one thing I hate the most about advertisers, marketers, PR firms, or companies do is when they try too hard. When you’re delivering a pitch, don’t act like you’ve read my blog if you haven’t. I love writing the marketers or advertisers back and asking them which article they liked and why. Sometimes I get a reply, and sometimes I don’t. There are people behind small businesses, and I am one of them. I take any constructive critisim I can get, but don’t blow sunshine and roses up my dress to make me feel better, or try to woo me to work with you by saying you’ve read my blog.

The one thing that irks me the most about other bloggers is that they don’t seem to give them selves enough credit. I’m over the line, “I’m just a mom” as much as I’m over the line, “I’m just a mom blogger.” Other bloggers do write beautifully and I follow quite a few that are not yet parents or over the childbearing years, so I’m not saying anything about that, but being a mom is one of the most influential and important jobs in this world. Being a ‘mom blogger’ is taking that voice, taking that authority and being able to share it with our peers, our friends and families, outsiders or other consumers looking for advice from real people that have been there-done that, to the next generation of moms, and being able to discuss it. To share our opinion in classic word-of-mouth marketing with a hint of technology makes the voice of moms that much more powerful.

I try to improve the world one baby step at a time. I love charities, and have donated several times to the Make-A-Wish foundation. My family is not entirely green, but we do try to help by recycling, and I do have several reusable shopping bags. I love to try green cleaning products and as long as it’s easy for me to find, (and affordable), I usually stick with it. I have fought a very hard battle as a mom of a gifted child that was almost misdiagnosed, and have started networking with other families in my area that have gone through the same struggles. I made a promise to myself that I would never let our school district put another family through the same thing they put us through last year.

My favorite book? This is such a loaded question.. see, I love to read, any type of book, but unfortunately do not have a ton of time to read anymore. One of my favorite authors is Nelson Demille. He writes mystery/love/drama stories based on Long Island, very near to where I grew up. It makes his stories feel that much more “real” to me knowing exactly where he’s talking about. I recently finished the Twilight series and must admit that it has sucked me in completely. No pun intended. From my childhood, I would say Matilda, and for my children, I’d say The Kissing Hand & Goodnight Moon.

My iPod has the oddest mixture of songs ever.. I love music from the 80’s, the 60’s, early 90’s, and some new stuff. Some of the artists you’ll find more than one song of is:  Jon Bon Jovi, The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Temptations, Butterfly Boucher, Sugarcult, The Beatles, Aqualung, Foo Fighters, The Doors, Rita Springer, Mikeschair, Third Day, Chris Tomlin, Toby Mac … Yeah, the list goes on, and on, and on!

My contact details are primarily my website, my email, my twitter account, and my phone number. I do have a Facebook account, a LinkedIn profile, and MySpace account, but prefer not to mix my “professional” and private life, mainly because I have kids and there’s a lot of sick people out there. You’ll find links to 4BabyAndMom’s Facebook Fan page on my blog, and from there I’ve befriended several of the faces behind companies I’ve come to love and trust. I belong to several forums, although juggling my time efficiently has been rather difficult since the back to school season began, and I haven’t been on them for quite some time.

I would love to go to every event that I can. So far, I’ve been to a Twitter Tweet-up in February and to this year’s IzeaFest. At Izeafest, I was invited to attend an event for a social media club based out of Tampa. 4BabyAndMom was invited to the Baby Show NYC, but could not make it due to a scheduling conflict and prior commitment to attend Izeafest. I’ve heard about many exciting events from new contacts I’ve made, so hopefully, you’ll see me at many more events in the near future!

I prefer to communicate by email, as my children have something embedded in them that as soon as I pick up a phone for a conversation (it could be with the pizza guy) they shreik this incredibly shrill, ear-piercingly high pitched scream for the most minuscule and trivial reason, just to watch how hard I try to cover the phone, run out of the house, or lock myself in the garage to complete the thought and not scare away the person on the other end. I recently participated in a phone-in focus group, and had to arrange a baby sitter for the hour that I was going to be occupied just so I could give the group my attention. It’s bad. I don’t mind texting either.

Who would I reccommend?
Other Mom-Bloggers:
Some of the most hysterical family stories ever: Cynthia at Crumbs in the Minivan
Some of the greatest advice about going green, and great eco-friendly reviews: Marianna at Green Mama’s Pad
For a great dose of parenting from the tropics, and some great product reviews: Sarah at The Ohana Mama

Steph from MamaSphere.com, one of the best forums for everything family- from ttc, through pregnancy, through teens, this community has it all, and so does this mama!

Allie at NoTimeForFlashCards.com writes about fun arts and crafts to do at home with your toddler and preschooler. She makes it easy for you to put together a fun activity for a rainy day, or a bag for a getaway or long trip.

Antoinette at Three Peas Co. has been such a great friend, an amazing colleague, and a great person to bounce different ideas off of. This Mom-preneur designs and creates funky, trendy, adorable outfits for girls and boys.

The team at Izea, (specifically, Ashley Edwards, Drew @BenSpark and Ted Murphy) have been amazing to work with through several projects, as well as several events. If you don’t know much about the company or any of their social media projects, definitely check them out.

Dave at Raging Tech– although he’s a fairly new acquaintance, he took the time to make two strangers completely comfortable and upheld the most interesting conversations debating hosting sites and computer woes at Izeafest. His blog is easy and fun to read, and the conversation is always something worth checking out.

I met several other incredibly interesting people at IzeaFest earlier this month, including Yvette Ferry, Murray Newlands, Michael Gray, Aaron Brazell and Jan Idleman. All of these people provided me with excellent business advice, new knowledge, and insight into expanding my own potential. I am very grateful to have met them all.

The biggest thing that people can do for me is go, check out my site, let me know what you think, and tell a friend about it. Even though the name says 4BabyAndMom, it’s *not* just for babies or moms. The products I review are for everything around the house- inside and out- and for Men, Women, and children of all ages. Constructive critisim is always welcomed, so if something’s not working for you, or you think XYZ would look better, let me know. If you know of a group, or online network you think I could benefit from, fwd me the info. I love what I do and can’t wait to grow and learn, and as I get more experienced I realize my possibilities truly are endless.

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