A couple months ago I got an email from my dear blogging friend Jaymi aka FlipFlop Mamma telling me how I might get a call from someone at Google to go to some thing about moms in Chicago. She had been contacted and wouldn't be able to go, but recommended me. Ok, how nice is that?
Sure enough I got a phone call from the nicest gal ever at Google asking a bunch of questions and wanting to know if I could be a part of a special panel of moms at an upcoming presentation. Of course! It's Google! Sign me up!
I had really been excited about it and was kept in contact with Jen (the nicest gal ever at Google)- she would keep me updated on what kind of questions we'd be asked, what to expect, etc. Over 140 rsvp's had come in for the event including big name brands, PR people, marketing people, etc. There were 3 other Mommy bloggers on the panel and two other moms that don't have blogs but who also consider the Internet as a big part of their life.
Last week as the big day was approaching, I had a lot to think about. Mainly- what was I going to wear? Seriously. I asked Jen what we should wear and she said most would be in business casual or suits. Oh, so usual mom attire of a cute shirt (with or without snot stain on the shoulder) and jeans was probably not appropriate. I wasn't going to wear a dress or be too dressed up, and still wanted to look like a mom to represent myself as a mom, but not look so much like a mom that I looked too much like a mom. Get that? Anyway, I went shopping at- where else?- Marshall's. Turns out there were some business-suited people, but also many in the "Google casual" wear that could be jeans and a nice shirt. So a mom like me would fit right in... oh, and I still wore my Crocs!
I had a wonderful drive into the city. I must admit it was really nice to be alone in my car, all by myself, driving along, alone (did I say that already?) I got there a little early and was just so glad I wasn't late. I found the building, gave my name and who I was meeting, and then was escorted up to the Google office. Upon exiting the elevator I felt like I was entering FAO Shwartz and not a business office! There were lava lamps and colorful exercise balls everywhere. And everything was Google-colored. You know, white, blue, red, yellow. Fun.
First I had to sign into a computer and a name tag was printed out for me. Then I met Jen and went into the "green room" for us moms. They had lunch for us while we talked over what we'd be doing that day.
Here is probably my favorite part of the day: Jen tells me she read on my blog that I was vegan, so she googled for vegan Chicago pizza and found me the most heavenly vegan veggie deep-dish Chicago-style pizza! I am still dreaming about it. I wish I would have taken a picture... What an awesome first impression, Google!!
Over lunch, all the moms arrived. We chatted and got to know each other and I just felt at home. Everyone there at Google was so nice. Nicer than nice.
Pretty soon we were heading in to take our seats for the presentation. There were a couple slide shows and speakers before our part at the end (us moms were the 'carrot' to the audience and we were saved for last.) The speakers and presentations were so interesting - mainly accentuating how important opinions of moms as consumers are, and what we're talking about, what's important to us, and what role the Internet and technology plays in our lives and also how it works for us as moms. To see it all in more detail, you can check it out here. One of the moms there was Sara from Self-Made Mom and she live-blogged during the day. She also posted about our whole Google experience way better than I am trying to do right now.
Soon it was our turn to go up front- microphones and all- and answer questions like How Does The Internet Fit In To Your Daily Life, How Do You Find Time To Blog (My answer: My husband has his Xbox and I have my blog for therapy) and How Has The Internet Played A Role In Various Ways? We talked about how we used the Internet during pregnancy, caring for newborns & toddlers, shopping, communicating with other moms, meal planning & recipes... pretty much everything!
MJ from I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl was hilarious and pretty much talked about breastfeeding the whole time. Of course I loved that! Sara from Self-Made Mom was really cool and had a neat perspective as a working mom. Amy from LadyBug Picnic had a lot to say about life always online with her little girl. The two other moms that didn't have blogs were so personable and fun- Madeleine was a sweetheart and Jessica has teen boys and was just downright entertaining.
When our panel was finished, questions were fielded from the audience. Representatives from big name brands like Kelloggs, Kraft, and Proctor & Gamble, and marketing research companies asked questions like How Can Companies Market Their Products To Us? and What Do You Blog About?
One person asked if we spend any time researching little purchases like laundry detergent or breakfast cereal, to which I answered those are the things we spend most of our time researching! Moms of today are reading labels and want what is best for their kids and good for the environment, and we're researching products online before we head to the store with two toddlers and a baby!
After the last question was taken, we all went into a different room where we could each stand by a computer station and talk to the audience members as they came by. I was at the YouTube station and really ended up showing videos of my kids, and before long had people just looking at my blog. Hubby had made me some cute little business cards to pass out and I had many people asking for them. I hope to start getting some emails about my ideas and free products in the mail! I love telling my ideas and getting free stuff!
I left my computer station briefly to go take pictures with the other moms and when I came back I found one of the Google guys looking at my blog post of my mom in her swimsuit!! Everyone there was a hoot. Did I just say hoot? Yeah, I guess I did.
The whole day really went by very quickly and before I knew it I'd been away almost 7 hours from home (the longest I've ever been away from Gray in his 18 months of life!) I checked my cell phone periodically and there were no messages all day! Here is when I started to wonder if they even missed me!
When the event was winding down, the moms started saying their goodbyes and the Google people assured us we'd done a great job. Jen and Denise (another way cool and super nice vegan Google gal) expressed that they'd love to have us come back to do more Mom Panel things for them. There's also a possibility they'll help me go to BlogHer this summer! We all got some nice Google swag as we left and a generous compensation for our participation in the panel. Google is just as how you'd imagine it!
I made it home in record time- I am still amazed that I didn't have one bit of traffic on the way! And when I got home, I expected Gray to go straight for my you-know-whats (for which he fondly now calls "Boo") but instead he wanted to show me how he and his big brothers were playing with their light sabers and then he was off playing with them. He didn't even want to nurse until after dinner, much later to my surprise! And maybe I stuck out my bottom lip once or twice at the fact that no one seemed to miss me...
So, there you have it. Now for your patience I feel like I should have a contest to give away some of my free Google stuff... I'll think of something and post about that tomorrow!! And of course I'm going to think of how I can thank Jaymi for passing this opportunity along to me as well. I promise to at least knit her baby a sweater (and I do think she'll be having a boy, but will wait just in case!)
Be sure to check out the other moms to read about their take on the Google Day and tune in tomorrow for fun contest information!! Whee!!!
Thank you to Amy for the pics!