Sunday, June 21, 2015

InfoBarrel Author of the Week: mommymommymommy (Hannah Gold)

I'm joined in the studio today by InfoBarrel author mommymommymommy. Wait, what studio? Yeah, I decided to class things up for this lady since there were numerous requests for her to be on InfoBarrel Author of the Week.

Welcome Hannah. Ignore the guy behind the couch, it's Vic Dillinger (not sure how he got in).

Avatar of mommymommymommy (Hannah Gold) interviewed by RoseWrites
Credits: Black and White photo background by wonderlane on flickr CC-by-2.0 | Photo of my head (RoseWrites), avatar of mommymommymommy, and image of Vic Dillinger added using Pixlr

Hope you found the green room relaxing. First of all, I have to say, I love your hair style. Those angled cuts are great for the summer (keeps your neck cool). 

One of the first things I discovered about Hannah is she is far more organized than I am. I remember reading about how she crafts her articles and thinking 'gee, I do it totally backwards.' I get the sense she is a morning person.

One statement of hers I'll never forget (and was relieved to hear): "My family needs me." 

I realized how much healthier and happier my family is too (since I also work from home). 

Brownie (Girl Guides of Canada) gets helped by Scout putting on snowshoe
Photo: Ray Christiansen (Girl Guides of Canada)
on flickr CC-by-2.0
When I visited mommymommymommy's profile page on InfoBarrel, I couldn't help but notice all the references to the Girl Scouts

I never made it out of Brownies [is anyone surprised?] but I loved that little change purse that came with the uniform.

And what's the deal with that toadstool and owl that we had to skip and dance around? 

Guess the earliest Girl Guides of Canada (GGC) troop leaders hauled in the real thing. 

I found the following photo in the GGC National Archives titled: Brownie Enrollment circa 1924 - 1934.

I'm sure Hannah and her troop look happier.

Brownie Enrollment c.1924-1934 from GGC National Archives
"Brownie Enrollment" c. 1924-1934 Girl Guides of Canada on flickr CC-by-2.0
 Source: GGC National Archives

Without Further Ado

I present to you my interview with Hannah Gold (aka mommymommymommy, triple mommy, mommy x 3, and mommy cubed).

Writing-related questions:

Q: I couldn't help but notice all the Girl Scout references on your IB profile page. What compelled you to get involved in Girl Scouts?

A: My oldest daughter was a Girl Scout until fifth grade, and I was unable to be a leader because I had my twins to take care of. When my younger daughter received a flyer about a Girl Scout Round Up in October 2008, I went to the meeting and sat with a bunch of other kindergarten moms I knew from her class. Everyone wanted their daughter in a troop, but no one would step up and be the leader. One woman was already co-leader for her older daughter's troop and would co-lead this one, so I said that I would lead under one condition – no camping and no cookies.

No cookies? Now Hannah, I don't want to brag, but in the '70s, Brown Owl let me be portrayed on the 1978 GG cookie box. See the red arrow in the image below? It points to me.
Girl Guides of Canada Girl Guide Cookie Box 1978
 Image Credit: 1978 Girl Guides of Canada on flickr | Taken April 9th, 2012
(CC-by-2.0) | Red arrow added by RoseWrites using Pixlr
As you can see, I went AWOL once I realized I had to be nice to people and help seniors.

Hannah cont'd: All agreed and I became the leader of six adorable little girls. Since I have two teaching degrees and have been in the classroom since 1987, leading a Daisy troop was in my wheelhouse. I started writing about what I did with my girls because Girl Scout leaders have no guides, unlike teachers who have Teacher Guides with lesson plans they can use and tweak to make their own. The response was very positive. I added level specific blogs and websites because there is a need for this.

Our troop has been pretty stable over the years, but I see a change coming. My girls are going into seventh grade, and with all of their competitive sports and activities, we will be losing a few next year.

Q: For over five years, you've been an InfoBarrel author. What has kept you on InfoBarrel this long?

A: That's an easy one to answer. InfoBarrel has evolved over the years in a very positive direction. The old SEO driven garbage is no longer published. Quality articles with photos and sources are encouraged and featured.

Kevin and Ryan are very hands on and communicated with the writers on the site. We do not go months without hearing from them, and they answer private messages and emails as well. Forum threads are shut down when they get heated and personal, and that kind of behavior is not tolerated at all.

Before implementing changes, they are Beta tested by actual authors on the site. What other writing platform has done that?

In addition, my work will not magically disappear one day due to traffic falling. Seriously, no one is looking for Chanukah gifts in June, so of course the traffic will be non-existent. But to unfeature it for that reason serves no purpose.

Q: Is there some topic that you'd like to write about but haven't (and why)?

A: I want to write more about the middle school years and the dynamics between girls this age. Living through it again with my younger daughter has me seeing it through a different lens than with my older daughter. The only reason I have not had time to delve into this topic more is because I have spent the last twelve months moving content around to different sites when I'm not working my two real world jobs, volunteering or taking care of my family.

Q: If you could change one thing about the Internet (online world), what would it be?

A: Besides getting rid of trolls, scammers, get rich quick schemers and perverts, I would like to see garbage taken out of the search engine results and have quality writing rise to the top. [Nods.]

Q: What is the most valuable piece of advice you would give to a new InfoBarrel writer?

A: Give it time! With the microwave entitlement mentality that so many of the younger generation have, it drives me crazy that people think that just because you write something, thousands of people will be flocking to read it and help you earn money. It took time to get to the point that I am at now. If I gave up after a few months like so many writers do, I would be working a job with mom hours.

Bonus piece of advice: Read The Top 100 articles. There is a REASON they are there! These are not generic how-to save money, how-to get rich on the Internet, how-to lose weight articles. They are in-depth, off the beaten path topics that have photos, videos and sources.

Q: What newbie mistake(s) make you cringe? And if you could, what would you say to "repeat" offenders?

A: The first mistake a newbie makes in not reading classicalgeek's Newbie's Guide. She goes into great detail of the IB's do's and don'ts in a language that is easier to read and understand than the Terms of Service.

I also cringe when a new person to IB complains in the forum that their articles are being denied. Typically, they are making an easily corrected mistake that, if they bothered to read the above mentioned article, they would not be making. Other times, the grammar used in a forum post tell us exactly why it was denied without ever having to read the article.

To repeat offenders, I would tell them to stop thinking of denial messages as a bruise to their ego, but to take it as a big piece of advice. The article approvers are trying to tell you something, not hurt your feelings. Make the necessary changes to see your desired results.

Highly inappropriate questions (entirely voluntary):

Q: Best way to spice things up (in the bedroom) with a longtime partner?

A: A couple needs to remember that they are more than parents. There is a reason you fell in love with each other.

You need to get away from the kids, even if it is just for the night, and go to the most luxurious hotel you can afford. No contact is allowed from the kids or from whomever is watching them unless it is an emergency. Treat yourselves to an expensive meal at an elegant restaurant and order a bottle of wine to go with it. Talk about everything except the kids. Do this as often as possible!

[One question, Hannah. Does it really have to be with the father of the child(ren)?]

Hannah cont'd: If you can't get away, take advantage of any alone time. Take a day off from work together while the kids are in school. Go out or stay just need some "we" time that does not include others.

Q: If you had a choice between eating in a fancy restaurant a few times a week or having your home professionally cleaned a few times a week – which one would you choose?

A: contest! My kids are pigs.

[Psst, that's all I really want too. A clean house.]

Q: If a boy wanted to join Girl Scouts, what would you say?

A: Hmmm...I would wonder why. There are so many options available to him with Boy Scouts and other organizations. There is something to be said about girl power and an all female environment. When the children are younger, it might not matter. As the girls get older, this might make some of them uncomfortable, a normal feeling for tween and young teen girls who are not confident around boys.

Q: What famous person, TV character or cartoon character do you most relate to (and why)?

A: Frankie Heck from ABC's The Middle. It is like watching my life on television. First of all, Frankie is middle-aged with three kids, just like me. When the show started, she was taking care of her kids and her elderly aunts, making her a Sandwich Generation woman like myself. My mom is disabled and with my brother a plane ride away, all of her needs fall on my shoulders.

The personalities of her three children are similar to mine (except my son does not have quirky tics like Brick does). Mike, Frankie's husband, is a hard-working man who has worked for the same company since college. Not only has my husband done the same thing, he also resembles Mike as well. He is almost a foot taller than I am, has a head of premature gray hair and loves to wear flannel and jeans as he watches sports on television.

The major differences between Patricia Heaton's character and me is that I cook and she does not and she procrastinates and I plan. They do a lot of take out, and they could probably fix up their house more if she just made pasta a few times a week and banked the money.

Back to you and your work:

Q: Which three articles are you most proud of?

A:  Does My Daughter Have an Eating Disorder? 5 Warning Signs Every Parent Must Know. I was able to finally write this article after my daughter outed herself with an article she wrote about her journey and shared with the world on Facebook. Until then, it was a secret that only a handful of people knew about. [Nods. It's an incredibly insightful, raw, honest piece.]

Why I Am Not a Cool Mom. If you Google "uncool moms" my photo will pop up! You will also find my image under "Meanest Mom" as well. [Hmm, I used to show up under "the most uninteresting woman in the world" but not any more.]

The Negative Impact of Homework - Why Teachers Need to Stop the Madness. I am writing a follow up to this article because I am not looking forward to doing this again with my younger children. I know many successful adults who did not have eight hours of homework each night.

Q: Where can readers find you?

InfoBarrel: mommymommymommy The place where it all began!

Goody Guides: mommymommymommy Hannah

Spacial Anomaly Posts By Hannah Gold (aka mommymommymommy)

Pinterest: Hannah Gold

Twitter: GirlScoutBlog

My Girl Scout blogs are:

Girl Scout Leader – This blog is for all levels of scouts.

Daisy Activities – This site is for brand new leaders who need help.

How to Earn Brownie Badges – A site with lesson plans for every single Brownie Try It badge. [Hmm, I might just see if I can finally get through Brownies then.]

Cadette Girl Scout Journeys – A website with lesson plans for each of the three Journeys.

I have a Girl Scout Junior site in the works and hope to have it up over the summer.

Q: Both HLesley and DebW07 wanted me to interview you. Lesley wanted to know "How on earth do you find time to do everything that you do?"

A: How do I do it? I am very organized and never leave a pocket of time unused. There is always something you can do! For example, when my twins were younger, I would make their lunches for the next day as they did homework at the kitchen table. I was with them if they needed me, but also being productive at the same time.

I also do things in bulk. For example, I use Sunday as a baking and food prep day so that I do not have to deal with making dinner for most of the week. When writing articles, I stay in the same niche so that my brain is focused on it. I cannot write about unrelated topics at the same time!

I am also a planner. I used to plan out my Girl Scout meetings months in advance so I could get all the materials I needed organized and ready to go.

You might think that a woman like myself who juggles so much is great at multi-tasking, but I really don't like to do that. I choose to focus on one major thing at a time. I have worked on several fundraising committees over the years. When I am doing that, other things will slide as I pay attention to that project. When I worked on my new Brownie Girl Scout website, I took an entire month to work only on that. When my schedule is packed with substitute teaching assignments, I do not even try to write an article.

Most importantly, I have learned to slow down, say "No", and to ask for help. If I choose to sit and read the Sunday paper for two hours, the world will not collapse if I am not doing something that would be considered "productive". We all need to stop and recharge our batteries. Then I am ready for the week ahead!

Q: Are there any other writers on InfoBarrel you'd like to see interviewed? And if so, are there any questions you'd like me to ask him or her or them?

A: I would love an interview with classicalgeek and Deborah-Diane. Both have been on IB forever. I would also like to know more about newbie Leigh Goessl. She has had a lot of great featured articles. How did she find IB? [Yes, all three of those fine women have been on my mind (and a couple more). I asked Leigh but (at the time) she was too busy. I'll keep asking, though.]

Q: Is there a writer you would like to give a "shout out" to?

A: I hope he doesn't mind, but I owe a debt of gratitude to Vic Dillinger. It was Vic who prodded me out of my writer's shell to write more in-depth articles. Before that, I was content to write things that would hopefully make money. In addition, it was Vic who saw my series of articles about eating disorders and messaged me to ask if something was going on in my real life, as those kinds of articles were unlike anything I have ever written about before.

The message made me cry because I had real world friends who knew what was going on and never inquired about my daughter. Either they were afraid to ask or were just too busy to care. Vic can be a real softie....but don't tell anyone! [Nods]

In Closing:

I want to thank Hannah Gold, aka mommymommymommy, for joining me today. I learned a great deal from reading her articles. Tune in next week when I interview another incredible InfoBarrel author.


  1. Be still my heart! Hannah, what a great name, and it's nice to learn about the woman (not just "the mommy').

    1. It certainly is nice to know more about Hannah. And thanks again Vic for everything you've done to help writers on InfoBarrel (even me).

  2. Thank you, are the best! Rose, I love the humor and the photos you injected here.

    And yes, going away for the night must include the father of my children. No substitutes!

    1. Oh I'm so glad you approved. I was a Brownie (in the Fairy group) and it's true, I never made it out of Brownies. I couldn't knit and Brown Owl didn't like me, I think. Glad to hear you found the love of your life. Your children are lucky to have you as their mom.

    2. Thanks for that, Rose. My husband is my one and only...even if at time he drives me crazy! I am sorry you did not make it out of Brownies...Girl Scouts/Guides are really fun for the girls.

    3. I bet if I had a leader like you I might have learned to knit and graduated.

  3. Just a minor correction for your readers - the site name where you can also find Hannah's work is Spacial Anomaly (with a c, not a t). As owner of the site I like to make sure that's linked correctly, and here's her direct profile page:

    1. Hey sockii, Sorry about that, I assure you that it wasn't intentional and I used exactly the information that was given to me (at the time). I will make that correction now. And yes, it's ideal to have Hannah's profile page instead. Thanks again, Rose

    2. That was my bad, Sockii. Spell check did not pick up that error. I cannot wait to write more there-I have a bunch of ideas in my head.

    3. No worries, Rose! Just thought I'd drop the correction in when I saw some referral hits popping up from the article :) Thank you.

  4. Another excellent interview, Rose! What a wonderful surprise to learn Hannah (MMM) identified with the television character Sue Heck. I'd always pictured her as Samantha Stevens from Bewitched because she is able to be a hands-on mom, lead her Girl Scout troop(s), and contribute quality work on several sites. Hannah, you are amazing!

    1. Deb-I'm Frankie, not Sue! My younger daughter is Sue-always sees the good in everyone. Me, I am a bit old and jaded at this point. I kind of want to know what your angle is.

      I love the Samantha Stevens comparison. I loved watching that show as a child and again with my older daughter and reruns. If only I could twitch my nose and have dinner done and the house clean!

      Thanks for the kind words.