Meet Traci Arbios, aka @herdingsquirrels. Traci is a mom, stepmom, adoptive mom and a working mom. She lives with and writes “about my MASSIVE blended family of seven kids, four pets and one amazingly patient husband” at www.herdingsquirrels.com.
I inadvertently stumbled upon a blog post of Traci’s that I thought was hystericaI. I tweeted the link and ended up meeting Traci. So naturally I wanted to reach out and interview Traci as a part of my continuing upfront and personal Mom stories. And you’ll see as you read further exactly why I wanted you to meet Traci.
I asked Ttaci was there anything unusual she would like everyone to know about her.
She said, “I guess the only unusual thing of note is that I killed my two previous husbands with a chafing dish and handful rock salt. Nooo– I’m kidding. That was just the first husband. The second one is in hiding somewhere.”
How did Herding Squirrels get started and what inspired Traci?
You have to admit the name of Tracy’s twitter handle and blog is unusual. So I just had to know how it came about.
“The title for my blog came from something my dad used to say whenever my sisters and I got all our kids together. Trying to get a group of toddlers organized inspired a mix of desire, insanity and futility, which he likened to herding squirrels. It was amazingly accurate.
…And then a decade later I blend families with this awesome man. Suddenly, we have seven crazy squirrels all our own, all leaping to their own dances while my husband and I try to corral them down a path of success. Or, at least, out of our basement and away from the video games by the time they’re 40.”
And if herding squirrels wasn’t enough…
“I work for The Fresno Bee Newspaper. It’s located in Fresno, CA which you may have heard of as a punch line or tossed off as a ridiculous location in many a TV series. Because we’re awesome like that.
I’m also an editor and writer for CentralValleyMoms.com, a newspaper-operated community site for moms in Central California. My pieces are syndicated through McClatchy-Tribune Information Services, appearing online and in print in about 30 some-odd cities across the U.S. I also like cheese, but that’s neither here nor there.
I’m a reviewer for Blogher.com, and I’ve reviewed Oxyclean and Powerade. I’ve also worked with Disney and a few book authors.”
What does Traci love about blogging, tweeting?
“I got involved in blogging back in 2005 as a tool to express the hysteria of single motherhood. Over time, it became an outlet for me to laugh or vent—to keep track of feelings and occasion. I love that I can be ridiculous and irreverent and self deprecating, and find a connection with so many others. I started tweeting the year after Twitter went live, and made some great connections out there in Imaginaria. There used to be a service (much like favstar) called favrd.com. The point of favrd was about rewarding authors of humorous tweets with a gold star. It’s gone now, but I loved that site and the concept. It forced me, as a ridiculously verbose writer, to learn how to be SUPER concise with my writing and humor. Exactly 140 characters concise. Tweeting humorously really is an art and there are some amazing micro-bloggers out there.”
What’s Traci’s typical day like?
“Wake. Sex. Coffee. Bathe. Dress. Greet children. Make lunches. Drive kids to school. Work. Check Facebook and Twitter. Check my sites. Post. E-mail. Do my regular job. Facebook. Lunch. Work. Facebook in the late afternoon. Post, cross-post, communicate with interested parties. Network as much as possible. Work. E-mail. Facebook. Pick up kids from school. Dinner. Clean. Homework. Laundry. Shopping. Wine with husband. TV. Put kids to bed. Get ready for bed. Read. Snuggle hubby. Sleep.
Also drink coffee. Except while sleeping.”
When it comes to marketing to Moms, Traci has some strong tenets/beliefs.
“Facebook. I feel strongly about Facebook. And that we are not all pearl-and-sweater wearing women. I think Dove does some amazing advertising, in attempting to break down stereotypes. And Kotex’s recent apology spots are amazing. I guess my belief is, we Moms all do ridiculous things, and we all laugh at ourselves. Or should. We moms have all been puked on, pee’d on, ditched, taken advantage of, acted as saviors and survivors—either by our kids, or because of our kids. We are constant and willing slaves to our children and families. The depths of our love for them are completely impossible to fathom—except we’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. Tap into that feeling of community we share, and you’ve got marketing gold.”
What does Traci think about how Moms are changing the world.
“I think it’s awesome that advertising caught up to reality. Steve Jobs turned to the blogging community to launch the iPod. It was a massive success, in part because of the reliance on the word of a trusted source. The statistics about women being the major decision makers has long been an established fact. Finding moms where they spend their time—on Facebook, Twitter and via blogs—is already helping to replace the displaced broadcast dollars due to DVRs.”
What can we expect from Moms in the future?
“Definitely more children. Probably some bitching about said children. Also world domination. And cookies.”
Does Traci have any favorite social media campaigns that have been aimed at Moms that she particularly liked?
“Aimed at moms: Hands down, the Toyota Sienna “Swagger Wagon” pieces. They’re a humorous take on the drudgery of everyday life, and yet make it look like fun.
Aimed at women: Kotex apology; Old Spice guy.”
And that’s Traci in a nutshell.
I’m sorry but I couldn’t help myself. I wholeheartedly encourage all of you to follow Traci on twitter or her blog. We all need a little laughter in our lives.