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Join Us For The 5th Annual Brooklyn Blogfest!

By Melissa Lopata

Last year I had a great time being a panelist on the Why We Blog panel at the 2009 Brooklyn Blogfest. This is a yearly event in NYC that grows bigger and more prestigous every year. This year I will be leading the Parenting "Blogs of a Feather" breakout session as the Co-founder of Momasphere so please come join me at 5th Annual Brooklyn Blogfest on Tuesday night, June 8th at 7pm.

Head to the Brooklyn Lyceum to discuss Brooklyn's reputation as the "bloggiest borough" with the likes of director Spike Lee, spoken word poet Lemon Anderson, Gothamist's Jake Dobkin and others. Visit for more details.

Some of the topics I talked about last year will be topics that I'll be covering during the Parenting Blog of a Feather breakout session. To read more about my thoughts on blogging, including how I find my inspiration, how I balance life while blogging and how I measure my success as a blogger please read on!

Why do I blog?

The idea of using something so new and kind of cold like a computer to help generate warmth and community around something so old like the topic of parenting is endlessly intriguing to me. Using the computer in this way has opened up doors to so many new friendships and opportunities. There is also an allure to the excitement of the chase of the story and being of service to my readership. Above all else, blogging has become a creative outlet that has allowed me to be a viable part of society beyond just being a mother.

I made the choice to become a stay at home mom for a few years and I started my blogging right after giving birth to my son about 2 1/2 years ago. At the time, even though I was really happy to be home with my baby, I was having a bit of an identity crisis because I wasn't prepared for how challenging it would be to transition out of a high powered career to become a stay at home mom. The internet became a window to the outside world during a time that felt kind of lonely and oppressive. I needed a way to integrate my journey as a new parent with my passion which was creating community and blogging synthesized all this perfectly for me.

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Having Your Baby and Business Too: The Trials and Tribulations

 By Ellen Bari

As one can imagine, Having Your Baby and a Business Too, is fraught with endless challenges. The group of mompreneur panelists gathered by Babybites Brooklyn and In Good Company Workplaces reiterated that time and again, first when talking about finding the right balance between baby-time and work time and then when talking about juggling husbands, financial concerns, child care, etc. The panel featured four Brooklyn mompreneurs who have started their own businesses, in an attempt to meet their creative, professional and family needs, all within the past four years.  Panelists included Hannah Macdonald, co-owner of Bump Maternity, Miriam Milord, owner of BCakeNY, Lakey Evans-Pena, owner of MightyMamas and Williamsburg Movement & Arts Center and Desiree Detoy, owner of Chavella’s.

Desiree Detoy, opened one of Prospect Heights’ favorite restaurants almost four years ago. She and her business partner/husband, had a keen sense about starting small and growing organically. By relying on the financial support of family and friends, having found a space where the rent was manageable even before they would see any income, the couple was able to get the business up and running at their own pace. Once the restaurant opened, they opted for low-key word of mouth advertising versus spending lots of money on marketing. They felt this would give them time to get the kinks worked out before the crowds started rolling in. They were right. The restaurant is a success, and now they are looking to add another location. Desiree, a font of information about everything from legal business structures to how to get a business plan done, eloquently described the importance of knowing yourself before undertaking your own business. The realities of working solo, at home, every day, are not for everyone.

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"The War on Moms" Panel Discussion (or The War on Mommy Wars)

By Rachael Ellison

I was called by Momasphere and Park Slope Parents Career Network (both fabulous Brooklyn based groups), to participate in a panel discussion of Sharon Lerner’s latest book, “The War on Moms: On Life in a Family Unfriendly Nation.”  It was a great event and sparked some important discussions on work-life balance and the challenges facing moms today.

In addition to the author, I was  joined by two amazing and accomplished pioneers in the work-life field, Anne Weisberg and Sherry Leiwant. Both were truly fascinating resources and brought great insight to the issues facing moms today. The book told some heartbreaking stories of mothers in America today struggling to maintain careers and households in the absence of adequate policies to support them.  Here are a few of of my takeaways from the discussion:

  • We’re working with a flawed system, but we have choices. One of Lerner’s objectives was to call attention to the inadequacies of the American system (e.g. limited and unpaid maternity leave, lack of childcare subsidies, lack of flexibility in the workplace, disproportionate  division of  housework responsibilities falling on woman) particularly in comparison with other countries. I agree with her assertion that it’s more than difficult for moms in this country due to a intricate web of societal factors and systematic failures. That being said, I resent the implication that we are victims of some kind of attack and are left with such limited options. I think we, as individuals, have the opportunity and ability to empower ourselves in the process of developing our careers and having families. I do believe the system needs to change, but in the meantime we each need to make informed decisions and develop creative, individualized solutions for ourselves.

Momasphere attendees listen attentively to the riveting "The War On Moms" panel discussion. CLICK ON IMAGE ABOVE TO VIEW EVENT PHOTO GALLERY.

  • A new kind of corporate career path is on the horizon. I have not yet had a chance to read her book, Mass Career Customization, but I can’t wait to learn more about Weisberg’s work. She and her colleagues at Deloitte are piloting a program that will give every employee a framework for dialing up and down their hours, travel demands, and responsibilities as their personal needs change over the course of their careers. Instead of a corporate ladder, they are calling it a corporate lattice. A review of the book is coming soon!
  • Meanwhile, it’s WAY too quiet out there. One of the audience members, a former architect of 15 years turned freelance photographer, asked if there were any programs designed to teach adolescents about READ COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE.

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Momasphere hosted the only NYC 2010 Lunafest this year!

CLICK ON PHOTO ABOVE TO VIEW MOMASPHERE'S 2010 LUNAFEST WOMEN'S FILM FESTIVAL PHOTO GALLERY!On May 23rd, Momasphere hosted the only 2010 LUNAFEST™ film festival in New York to a packed crowd of mostly women, though for a change of pace, not exclusively moms. Showcasing ten short films by, for and about women, this year’s LUNAFEST™ was held at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), a performing arts space whose numerous studios and theatre are a welcome haven to the Brooklyn arts community. Now in its ninth year, Lunafest is the only fundraising film festival dedicated to promoting awareness about women’s issues, highlighting women filmmakers, and bringing women together in their communities. The award-winning films this year ranged from animation to fictional drama, and cover topics such as women’s health, motherhood, body image, sexuality, cultural diversity, and breaking barriers: Our guests laughed together watching films like Plastic, in which a young woman literally redefines herself moments before a first date, as her body miraculously becomes a sculptural work in progress,  and also cried together during Anjali, a poignant examination of how a father’s betrayal can devastate a family. After the screening, guests had the rare opportunity to engage in a personal talk-back with Ela Thier, the director of A Summer Rain , a moving depiction of a young Israeli girl’s struggles with her transition to American life. Read Momasphere’s interview with writer/director/producer Ela Thier.

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Last Chance to Buy Tickets for Momasphere's Lunafest Film Festival For Women - Sun, May 23!


Time: 4:00pm to 7:30pm - (Film Screening 4:30pm - 6:00pm)
Date: Sun, May 23rd, 2010
Price: General Admission: $20 online and $30 at the door (cash only at the door)
Place: Brooklyn Arts Exchange, 421 5th Avenue (Between 7th & 8th St.) Park Slope, Brooklyn 11215. Space is limited so please RSVP by purchasing tickets online. All proceeds from Momasphere’s LUNAFEST will benefit the Breast Cancer Fund and the BAX Artist in Residence program. READ MORE and SEE TRAILER.

This year’s NYC’s only Lunafest award-winning films range from animation to fictional drama, and cover topics such as women’s health, motherhood, body image, sexuality, cultural diversity, and breaking barriers. Films by, for and about women – sponsored by Luna Bars! VIEW OUR LUNAFEST MOVIE TRAILERS CLICK HERE:

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