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The Mom Entrepreneur's Top Picks for 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008
2008 is a year most people want to forget. In reading through the year's current events, I saw listings of key news events, which included deaths, suicide bombings, government corruption, war, economic devastation, job losses and more.

Yet as crazy as 2008 was, the year marked historic elections, the first woman to win an IndyCar race, the house passing a law to expand civil rights for the disabled, leaders of the world's richest nations agreeing to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, California banning trans fats in restaurants, and neighbors helping neighbors through a power outage in a bad ice storm in the northeast.

These may seem like small accomplishments (except making political history) in the wake of the tragedy and devastation recorded this year, but in order to find a light at the end of a dark tunnel, you need to look for the good and remain hopeful.

I choose to mark 2008 as a year of revelations and renewed passions. The creation of The Mom Entrepreneur was born out of my frustration and boredom. I lacked interest in what I was doing everyday. I needed a new creative outlet and a way to connect with different people. I found mom entrepreneurs who were struggling to balance motherhood and running a company like me.

I want to commemorate 2008 with my 10 Top Picks count down. The year has presented me with amazing products, services and ideas as well as interesting people who have made it a memorable year. These 10 Top Picks in some way helped me to juggle my mom entrepreneur responsibilities and gain a sense of sanity at the end of the day.

The Mom Entrepreneur's 10 Top Picks Count Down for 2008:

10. The (Oopdoo) Hug - An (oopdoo)™ hug is an irresistibly soft fleece wrap in the shape of a large bandage; the symbol of healing. This item worked like a charm when my kids had a hard time sleeping due to a cold. It made them feel comforted. I think this is such a creative product and all moms should have at least one on hand for helping kids feel more secure when needed.

9. OxiSoft Hand Sanitizer - My kids are always getting dirty. OxiSoft is great because it is alcohol-free. I have read several reports about children becoming sick from the alcohol in many hand sanitizers. My four-year old always wants to suck his thumb after petting farm animals, picking up something dirty off the ground, etc. This product helps keep his hands germ free and allows me rest assured that he is safe from accidental poisoning.

8. Fabulous After 40 - I love Deborah Boland and JoJami Tyler, "The Glam Gals", who are image and style experts. They specialize in helping women 40 plus look and feel fabulous. I subscribe to their newsletter, which offers advice, tips and resources on how to look your best. In November, they offered a Mommy Makeover article for our blog, which was a huge hit with readers.

7. Kraft's 1 Bag, 5 Dinners - Kraft's quick and simple meal plans have saved me from several dinner jams. Sometimes it is so hard to get motivated to cook for the family or get creative with dinner ideas. The kids love mac and cheese, but I would be a bad mom if I served it every night. I use the 1 Bag, 5 Dinners meal plan when I need quick, simple and nutritious meal ideas for the week. The site offers many different meal ideas, easy to follow recipes and a complete grocery list that can be printed out.

6. Garmin Nuvi - This GPS navigation system has helped me out of many jams. Most recently, I was caught in traffic on my way home from a meeting with a client in Boston. I had a limited amount of time to get to my son's school to pick him up. I hit the detour button on the GPS and it navigated me around the congestion. It also told me approximately what time I would arrive at the school. I love devices like this that help me balance being an entrepreneur and a mom.

5. The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur (TPE) - TPE is more than a book or a is a life philosophy. Even though I started my company several years ago, I can easily connect with many of the lessons Mike Michalowicz teaches. His book, by the same name, offers valuable advice in a blunt and realistic language that will make you laugh, cry and say ah ha! Use it as your guide to success...especially in this economy.

4. Me Time - Me time is not only a rare moment mom entrepreneurs long for, but it is also a great line of t-shirts produced by Coed Sportswear, Inc. I love the bright colors of the shirts as well as the many sayings, including "celebrate life" and "live your dream". The company has creatively captured the spirit of the phrase "me time" and also provided women with fun and fashionable apparel.

3. Chris Brogan - I am a big fan of Chris Brogan. I appreciate his knowledge of social media as well as his sincere approach to informing his blog readers about new technology and methods for connecting online. Chris' advice inspired me to research social media, which has resulted in amazing opportunities and a large online community of mom entrepreneurs. Don't try to navigate the social waters without first subscribing to his blog or newsletter, and following him online.

2. Twitter - Many people think Twitter is a waste of time, while others swear by it. I am with the latter. This social media tool has been a great resource for allowing me to connect with other mom entrepreneurs. I have "met" amazing people from around the world and taken advantage of opportunities that many companies only promote on Twitter. It is free to sign up. And in my opinion, it is the best way to be connected to the social scene.

1. Blackberry - Any mom entrepreneur who owns a Blackberry already understands the many benefits this device offers for balancing motherhood and running a company. I absolutely love my Blackberry! It allows me to stay connected to my kids when I am at work, and on top of client projects when I am with my kids. I do not have to always feel tied to the office. I can have the flexibility of spending quality time with my kids, and at the same time monitor my client's needs. The Blackberry IS my #1 Top Pick for 2008.

What is your Top Pick for 2008?