Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Domestically Challenged!

Hello, patient bloglings! I've been very busy and somewhat absent from the Internet, but the good news is I've been AMAZINGLY productive, writing anywhere from 7-20 pages per day on two separate projects. And before I knew it, it was Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit time all over again.

My plan: I'll devote this day to my guest, and in the next few days post something about the very exciting things happening over in Jolly Olde England! In the meantime, you may check out an interview with The Bookseller to the Stars, most talented purveyor of books in England AND in the known Universe.

For now, let's welcome the lovely Alana Morales to the blog, author of Domestically Challenged. You can believe I was ALL OVER this title! I, in fact, have the following magnet SOMEWHERE on my cluttered refrigerator!

I figured it wasn't going to change, so I may as well embrace it. I need to put one next to it that says CAUTION: OPENING DOOR MAY CAUSE AN ENVIRONMENTAL INCIDENT. Blech.

Alana is a very sweet person. I had the pleasure of being interviewed by her for her side project, Mom Writers Talk Radio, back when my book came out! The interview ought to be archived there somewhere--click around if you're inclined.


Gilbert, AZ (April 2006) – More and more women are opting to leave the rat race in favor of staying home to raise their children. While most of these moms are happy with their decision to put their career on hold, they are also discovering that being an at home mom is much more difficult than they thought. Luckily for them, there is a new book that offers humorous support and practical advice just for them.

Domestically Challenged - A Working Moms Survival Guide To Becoming A Stay At Home Mom by Alana Morales is written as a guidebook to new at home moms to offer them support and practical ways to adjust to their new lifestyle.

“When I first started out as an at home mom, I had no idea what I was getting myself into” states Morales. “My house was messier, I was more stressed out and I quickly realized that I needed help. I turned to books, but I couldn’t find anything that offered practical advice, so I wrote my own.”

Domestically Challenged (Wyatt-MacKenzie, $13.95), which tackles such tough topics as the myth of the Super Mom (hint – there isn’t one) and keeping the kids entertained without hiring a circus, is intended to help moms find ways to make their life as an at home mom easier.

“When I was looking for books about being an at home mom, I found a lot that were either religious or talked about my spiritual journey through motherhood. It was 3:00 in the afternoon and my kids and I were still in our pajamas. I needed to know how to manage running the house full time, not a spiritual pep talk.”

Morales, who also writes a bi-weekly humor column and co-hosts a weekly online radio show for moms, wants her book to help new at home moms find systems that work for them so they can actually enjoy being home.

“I want this to be a resource for moms, so when they are freaking out because they feel bad that they are a little bored or they feel guilty for wanting to take some time for themselves, they know that 1) it’s ok to feel this way and 2)it’s natural.”

Alana Morales has been published in numerous places, both online and off. She received a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Arizona State University and went on to teach English for six years before staying home with her kids. She began her writing career with a parenting humor column, which she still writes to this day.

Ms. Morales is also the host of the online radio show Mom Writer’s Talk Radio and runs a copywriting business called The Write Decision.

Ms. Morales resides in Arizona with her two very active kids and husband of ten years.


Julie Watson Smith, founder of Mommy Hullabaloo and author of Mommyhood Diaries: Living the Chaos One Day at a Time states:

“With quick wit and unending warmth, Alana Morales has created for stay-at-home moms a must-have handbook for traveling the precarious path of parenthood...and life!”


MO'C: How did you get this idea for this book? Please describe how the book grew from a glimmer of an idea into a whole book-length manuscript.
AM: It all started when I began staying home. I was really lost as an at home mom, so I went to the library to check out every book I could find about being an at home mom. I was really disappointed with what I found. The books were either outdated or they were really religious and spiritual. I didn't need to read about my spiritual journey through motherhood, I needed to know how to get dinner on the table when I had two kids who had been creating havoc all day long. I was sitting at the computer, complaining to my husband about the whole thing and his response was "Well, why don't you write your own book?" So I did.

MO'C: If you had to give one piece of advice to aspiring stay-at-home moms, what would it be? Also, what's the biggest pitfall for stay-at-home moms?
AM: Have a game plan in mind. What I found is that if you don't have a plan for how your weeks are going to go, the days start to melt into each other. Have certain days for running errands, certain days for cleaning bathrooms (don't do all the cleaning at once - it's too overwhelming) and certain days for vegging out. Now, obviously the kids won't always want to stick to the plan, but at least having a plan in mind gives you a sense of control. It may be a false sense, but it's a sense nonetheless.

I think the biggest pitfall is not allowing ourselves our own personal time and space. There are so many at home moms who feel guilty about no longer bringing in a paycheck that they think they aren't entitled to do anything for themselves. I was like that for a while too. I learned that moms need to take time for themselves, otherwise they get Mommy burn out - which is not fun. We all need to recharge our batteries, even if it's just going for a walk by ourselves once in a while. Just because we stay at home doesn't mean we can't be our own person once in a while too.

MO'C:Can you comment on your work with Mom Writers Talk Radio?
AM: I love it! It has been so much fun to interview the variety of authors we have talked with. One of the really cool things about it is that even though we talk to these very successful authors, they are still moms just like any other mom. They have the same issues with juggling everything that we do - it's nice to see that you can juggle it all and still put out some good work.

MO'C:What are your thoughts about the animosity between stay-at-home moms and working (in business) moms? I have heard many women on both sides of the fence get VERY defensive. It's disconcerting.
AM: I agree. I think the issue here is women being catty. In my not so humble opinion, you can't truly have an appreciation for the women on the other side of the fence unless you have been there. When I worked, I thought all at home moms did was watch TV, decorate their houses like Trading Spaces and dote over their husbands. I was one of those working moms who looked down on at home moms, because they obviously couldn't handle being a working mom. Boy, did being an at home mom shut me up quick. Both sides of the argument have merit - it's difficult to be a mom whether you work outside the home or inside. Each has its unique challenges. I think we all need to get over ourselves and stop looking at who has the harder job and instead see how we can all be better moms. When I look at how some kids are being raised now (no manners or respect for "elders" for example) I think that should be the focus, not "Well, I work harder because I'm [fill in the blank]"

MO'C: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
AM: Write. You can't be a writer unless you write. It seems that there are so many moms who want to write, but then they waste time watching Survivor or American Idol(Editorial--Please ignore the FLASHING ARROW over my HEAD... *blush*) or whatever their shows of choice are. If you want to be a writer, you have to get your butt in the chair and actually do it. One of the authors we interviewed had a great quote that I switched around to suite my purposes - "Reading isn't writing, outlining or researching isn't writing. Only writing is writing."

The other thing I would say is don't give up. This is a brutal industry and it's easy to get discouraged. You have to make a decision - do you want to roll over and give up or do you want to push forward and be one of the success stories? If your bummed, give yourself 10 minutes to wallow in sorrow with some chocolate (I have no idea why chocolate makes rejections so much more bearable) then get over yourself and move on. That's the only way to have any success in this industry.

MO'C: What's your writing day like? Any tips or tricks for getting organized?
AM: HA! My days are so chaotic that no day is like any other. What works for me is using the time I have available to me in the best way possible. This may mean typing on my laptop while the kids are playing or writing while I wait to pick my son up from school or staying up late to reach a deadline. As far as tips for getting organized, you obviously haven't seen my office! LOL I do use spiral notebooks for each project that I work on, so that I can keep all my notes for the project together. This helps with portability - if I need to work on stuff for the book, I take my book notebook with me. If I want to work on the radio show, I take that notebook with me. This at least helps me organize the notes I take. I am also real big on file folders with typed labels. Now, if I actually filed the folders, I would be in business.

MO'C: What's been the most exciting thing about publishing? The most frustrating?
AM: The most exciting - where do I begin? Seeing a book with my name on it. Landing interviews with my local news media on my own merit (without the help of an overpriced PR agent, thought if I could afford one, I would have one). Hearing people say they can't wait to see the book.

The most frustrating - Feeling like I can't be successful without a HUGE national campaign run by an overpriced PR person (thought I would have one, if I could - notice a theme?), Feeling like I can't get places to take me seriously as an author simply because I don't have a PR person.

MO'C: Do you think you might write a follow-up to this book? If not, what else is in the works?
AM: I think so. The trouble with that is writing something that hasn't been overdone. I have a few ideas and I would like to keep the Domestically Challenged theme going, because I think it has merit, but I don't have any specific plans at the moment. All I have in the works is promoting as much as I can handle.

Thank you so much, Alana! Alana's book is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local independent bookseller.