I was recently at a conference in Las Vegas for “internet geeks” and the topic was networking – as in with people, not computers. Chad Hymas was the keynote speaker. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for motivational speakers. Maybe it’s because, as my husband says, I see most things through rose-tinted glasses. Or, I just like the feeling of being motivated to think and do beyond expectations I have for myself. Regardless, his message really resonated with me and I think it could help you to grow your mommy network. Hymas says “time is the greatest gift you can give to someone else because it’s a limited commodity.” Basically, once it’s gone it’s gone. He says “watch what happens when you give someone your time.” Hymas’ keynote was about recognizing your network and expanding it in ways that take you out of you comfort zone. Because, you never know if the next person you meet will change your life in ways you could only dream about. Hymas got me thinking about my own network of mommy friends or lack of one. I have a few mommy friends and many mommy acquaintances. I “used” to call them fringe friends or hi-bye friends because we would see each other everywhere (i.e soccer, gym, skiing, school, etc, ) and we would chat during that time, but we didn’t get together outside of that environment. Sad, but true. I’ve been wanting to change that for a while, but it’s not easy. Maybe it’s because I had my head buried in our former business during a time when my oldest child was in preschool and I didn’t make the lasting connections, or I didn’t see the opportunity to nurture a connection when it was handed to me on a silver platter. Either way, I recognize it now and I feel like I get somewhat of a do-over with my youngest child as far as my mommy network goes.
5 Ways to Grow Your Mommy Network:
- The next time you attend your child’s activity (i.e dance class, Gymboree, gymnastics, soccer practice, etc) introduce yourself to someone new and then introduce them to other moms or dads you might know in the class. Reno and Sparks are small towns. You will see these people at more activities than you can imagine. Make friends now while your kids are young and you while you are all at the same point in life.
- Don’t turn your nose up just because the new mom or dad you met lives in a different part of town. Come on people, everything in this town is a 20 minute drive or less. If you are a transplant, you’ve become spoiled. Get over it.
- Accept invitations and RSVP to birthday parties. If you have a young child, welcome to the birthday party circuit! Use it as an opportunity to meet the kids in your child’s class and their parents.
- Don’t just say let’s meet up for coffee or lunch or a playdate- mean it and follow through! I’ve met some amazing women recently and I’ve reconnected with other moms just by following through and committing to a date. If it’s in my phone’s calendar, I’m less likely to let the opportunity pass me by.
- Bears hibernate – people don’t! It’s really easy to retreat to a corner with your cell phone and scan Facebook so you don’t have to interact with anyone. I’m guilty. But, now I recognize the opportunities I am missing, not just with making mommy friends, but also meaningful, professional relationships.
As I mentioned earlier, I recently attended a networking conference in Las Vegas. I was actually tagging along with my brother, but I was also interested in the seminars. My brother had meetings throughout the duration of the conference, so I was on my own for a good chunk of time. Before the first seminar, I saw a group of nine women standing in the back corner of the room talking. Since the conference was mostly attended by men, I thought it couldn’t hurt to have a little girl power in my corner. I walked up and introduced myself – totally out of my comfort zone. Those were the best connections I could have made. I not only made nine new friends, but these nine women bloggers taught me more in a few hours than any seminar I attended. They made time for me and I embraced it.
Jennifer from housewivesofriverton.com Staci from thepotters-place.com Vanessa from ourthriftyideas.com Jennifer from mydaylights.net Summer from summerscraps.com Becky from utahsweetsavings.com Coralie from lovebugsandpostcards.com Leanne from organizeyourstuffnow.com Janet from www.thebloggernetwork.com I’m not going to say I need to change my ways, but rather as Hymas said “we need to make new habits.” Kind of like I’m not making New Years resolutions, but rather I’m making New Year’s goals. Your time is the greatest gift you can give someone. Embrace it and see where it take you.
Michelle Simmons is a Nevada transplant for the second time. She first moved to Reno in the 1990’s, after graduating from Chico State, to work as a news producer for one of the local television stations. She remembers working during the flood of 1997, the grand opening of the Silver Legacy Resort and Casino, and when the former Pink Scolari’s was the edge of town. After a couple of years in Reno, Michelle took a producing job in Portland, Oregon. A career change of sorts brought Michelle and her family back to Reno and she’s not complaining. She says she could only take so much rain, constantly wet dogs and towels that never dried. Michelle would say she’s not crafty, is mediocre in the kitchen and has a running list of anxieties. She doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions, but rather New Year’s goals. In 2015 her goal is to conquer her anxieties, take a few cooking classes and attempt to make “something” crafty. Her two kids ages 10 and 4, and her husband just roll their eyes, but offer support. What more could a girl want?