Moms We Love: Amy Smith of MomTini Lounge

How did MomTini Lounge come to be?

My kids were getting super savvy in social media, and I had no clue. My professional roots were in journalism, but my career took me in the direction of PR, so I really wanted to add a project that combined my passion for writing and also for sharing parenting tips with fellow moms and dads. I wrote about this new chapter in “Stumbling into Cyberspace,” an essay in the book, Knowing Pains: Women on Love, Sex, and Work in our ‘40s. I also had early aspirations of writing a book myself, but got so busy with my PR firm (Write Ideas, Inc.) and keeping up with MomTini, that I haven’t done that yet.

How did you come up with the name?

Great question, and I love to come up with #Momtastic punny names for all kinds of things. Honestly, it just came to me one day, and while I wanted to share “tips and tools” with parents, I knew there had to be an element of fun or it would get too serious. I pictured this site as somewhere, and I think I even wrote this early on, where parents could put their feet on the desk or on an overflowing basket of laundry and learn. Some people think it has something to do with Martinis, which it doesn’t, but there’s an obvious resemblance in the name, so I did include a Martini glass in my recent logo to have some fun with it visually. But my site has nothing to do with drinking, and I’m a huge advocate of responsible drinking, especially when it comes to driving, and I’ve spearheaded several education programs in our high school to promote responsibility in that area, and have published several posts on the topic.

What can users expect from the MomTini Lounge experience?

My tagline is “tips and tools for the business of motherhood,” and being a journalist, having a really tight and defined editorial mission was important to me professionally so that the user experience would be familiar and consistent. I share those guidelines on the site (Submit Mom-Tent) and try to stick to it as much as possible, but of course, the beauty of online publishing is that you get some flexibility. My goal is short, quick, tips-oriented pieces that provide ideas to try at home.

What makes your site different from other parenting sites?

I rarely if ever write solely about personal experiences. Exception: When our first dog, Goldilox died, I wrote a tribute to her as my VP, but of course, the pain from the loss of a family dog is something many people can relate to. Articles are tips-oriented on a variety of parenting topics vs. essays about my personal life. I do include personal anecdotes to illustrate a point, but I like to think of my site as an online magazine for parents. There are tons of parenting sites now, and some great tips sites out there, but I hope mine has a “friend next door” personality that is approachable, relevant and engaging.

Your tagline is “Tips and Tools for the Business of Motherhood.” How do you relate being a mom to running a business?

The mechanics of parenting are tough and constantly changing. Our customers (kids) can also be tough and constantly changing! Parenting, like business, is challenging and rewarding. I’m all about butterfly kisses and warm fuzzies, but I try to run a tight ship in terms of getting everyone on board to help, creating a teamwork environment, and reinforcing positive attributes whenever possible. I see tons of parallels between work and home life.

What business strategies have you implemented in raising your own family?

Teamwork is key. If everyone feels valued and important, they are motivated to help. The more help, the better for everyone. Family meetings are also a great strategy to get everyone together to talk about hits and misses and to give everyone a voice in the success of the family. We’ve also used contracts over the years to get expectations in writing (signed) for important things like driving, technology, and as needed for behavioral expectations. We wrote a set of family rules when the kids were very young, and it was so fascinating, because we asked THEM to tell us the rules, and they knew exactly what was expected. Getting it in writing (and sometimes on laminated, posted sheets) has been a great tactic.

How do you balance your personal life with your professional life?

It’s not always easy, but I do try. I exercise regularly (4x a week), which is a huge help, and is a great stress reliever. From the start, I firmly believed that I needed a physically separate workspace, and that my kids needed to respect my work time, just like I respect theirs (homework, etc.). I also keep separate work and personal email boxes so I don’t lose focus during the workday. I love keeping to-do lists, and separate work and personal tasks. Also, I love to clear my desk each Friday and have a plan of attack for the next week in writing. Even if I put a stack of papers in a cabinet, it makes me feel good to have a clean workspace.

What would you say to other entrepreneur moms who are toying with the idea for a business but are hesitant to take the first step?

I always say, “GO FOR IT.” As an entrepreneur, the highs are much higher, and the lows are much lower, but…it is a thrilling venture to not only create something, but also be able to shift gears as you discover new interests and goals. There have been times I have envied friends who get to leave a company job and truly leave everything at work. But I get such incredible satisfaction helping clients in my PR firm make headlines and helping fellow parents find new, creative ways to run a household, that I can’t imagine life any other way!

Where do you see MomTini Lounge headed in the future?

I started this venture, as mentioned, partly to dive into social media. Since then, it has become so much more. My experience in the mom blogosphere led me to launch a Marketing to Moms division in my PR firm, Write Ideas, Inc., and I have helped many companies promote themselves to the parenting marketplace. Another early goal was to publish a book, and I hope to do that one day!

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