How did one mommy blogger get
plucked from the many to go on TV and talk about empty nests? I got lucky when Fox 5 news reporter Jennifer
Lahmers googled “empty nest blogs,” and voila!
“The Never-Empty Nest” popped up on her screen.
In true 21st century style, Ms. Lahmers reached out to me on Twitter
and asked for an interview. I tweeted
back “yes” (media savvy Mom that I am) and gave her my phone number. It was a Friday morning, and in a matter of
minutes I agreed to a Monday interview at my apartment. It was as simple (and delightfully random) as
But wait a minute—was this really
happening to me?
pre-mommy days, I’d worked in public relations.
Many moons before the Internet--I’m sure you remember that bygone era even
if your kids don’t—I wrote press releases, arranged meetings, prepared media
kits and followed up with phone calls. I
labored to get the attention of the
press for my clients. Doggedly persistent (without becoming a stalker) I had to
convince reporters and editors to shine their spotlights on my clients. After weeks (or months) of effort (always
practicing to perfect my pitch), I’d eventually succeed in securing a “media
placement.” I imagine PR firms today continue
many of these labor-intensive activities— albeit with the help and speed of the
Internet, Skype, Twitter, etc.
maybe I’m wrong about what PR firms are doing these days. Come to think of it,
I have NO IDEA how the media decides who and what will make the best
story. For 18 years I was a
stay-at-home mom raising an unusual set of twins. Even after they left for college, I was still
busier than expected, helping them manage their complicated lives (especially
Sarah, who’s on the autistic spectrum). When
I realized that my kids were still unexpectedly present in my life (even while
physically far from home) I decided to blog about my “Never-Empty Nest.”
course, I had to overcome technological challenges and my lack of 21st
century media know-how. Five years ago,
if someone had asked me: “What’s a blog?” I’d have stumbled over my answer. I
remember thinking “blog” sounded uncomplimentary, a derisive term used to
describe the work of people who dumped their ideas and words onto the internet
without much skill or editing. (Okay, so
I wasn’t entirely wrong). After all,
“blog” rhymes with “bog,” “fog” and “slog,” so how could the prose be any good? My husband, Henry, who is old school, prefers
to call my blog, a “weekly column.”
(Thank you, Henry).
started “The Never-Empty Nest” 1 ½ years ago, I hired a “social media advisor.” Midway through 77 blogs, I decided to add pictures. First I learned to use the camera on my
iPhone. (Yes, I’m pretty late in that game). Next I mastered sending the
pictures from my cell to my email, and then tackled uploading my photos so they didn’t appear sideways or upside down. In addition to posting links to my blog
entries on Facebook, LinkedIn and 8 LinkedIn sub-groups, I also compiled an
email list. But even that wasn’t enough
social media. Everyone told me Twitter
was a MUST. Try to tweet every day, I
last week, I wasn’t a big Twitter fan, I must confess. Who has the time and
energy to compress their thoughts into a 120 character tweet? (I know, I know,
many people LOVE basking in this semi-anonymous attention.) Also I’m also supposed
to “follow” (Does that mean read?)
other people’s tweets and hope that some of them follow me. The goal is to acquire thousands of
followers, (I have 50) with the hopes of building a “social media platform”—supposedly
de rigueur in preparation for publishing
my book, Picture Perfect Family, in
2015. Dutifully, I went through the motions of setting up my Twitter account
(yawn), but I never understood how it could help me until last week when I got
the notification from Jennifer Lahmers at Fox 5 News.
haven’t been on television since I was a toddler on Romper Room, and that was eons
ago. Back then I couldn’t bear to watch myself on the small screen, and as soon
as I appeared on my family’s black and white Zenith, I ran out of the room.
For my second ever TV appearance, I
wanted to look good enough not to flee from the screen when the show aired. “Are
you getting your hair and make-up done?” My friends wanted to know. But I
had no time for movie star prep. I
just managed to shower and change (after my dance class at the Equinox) in time
to meet Jennifer Lahmers and her cameraman.
Viewers of Fox 5 News with Ernie Anastos would have to see me with gray
roots and self-applied make-up. Of
course, I felt even older and dowdier when the lovely Ms. Lahmers, (perfectly
groomed and without a hint of gray in her lustrous, dark locks) entered my
While looping the mike under my
shirt and clipping it to my waist, I admitted to being horribly nervous.
“Don’t worry,” the cameraman
assured me. “I make everyone look good.”
The 45 minute interview flew by. I spoke about becoming an instant empty nester
when both twins left for college and tried to offer some upbeat
advice to parents who are recent—or soon to be—empty nesters. I also gave a short guided tour through the
remnants of Max’s bedroom: family photos, sports trophies, the father/son
soldier collection, and a forlorn and battered suitcase. I explained that my son’s recently vacated
room was transitioning into a den.
Had I talked too much? I wondered
when the interview was over. Had I yammered on about stuff I was going to
“Not at all.” Ms. Lahmers smiled warmly. “You did just fine. It will all be edited
down to a few minutes and should be on at the very beginning of the 6 PM show on
Friday, unless there’s breaking news.”
We were about to shake hands
goodbye, but somehow we ended up in a hug.
Ms. Lahmers was every bit as friendly and kind as she was
beautiful. Dazed and floating, I
returned to lunch in my dining room and ordinary life. Could this interview be the beginning of my
15 minutes of fame as promised by Andy Warhol?
If you missed my interview live, you can still check it out at http://www.myfoxny.com/clip/10714492/the-empty-nest. Is it too much
to hope that the Huffington Post will notice me and pick up my blog as a
“weekly column?” Fingers crossed. Who
says lightning can’t strike twice?
Labels: Andy Warhol, blogs, empty nest, Equinox, Fox 5 News, Huffington Post, internet, Jennifer Lahmers, mommy bloggers, PR firms, Skype, social media. Romper Room, television, trophies, Twitter