All posts by Gennifer Birnbach

Every curl on my head is an idea.

Gennifer with a G Blog – Hair I am with my authenticity!

There are many reasons I somehow found myself out of touch with my identity.

I grew up knowing I was different. I didn’t feel that I fit in at school because I was one of a few Jewish kids in my grade. Class picture day was held on Rosh Hashanah (school was open, I was absent). I was asked to sing “Ave Maria” in the school holiday show which only had Christmas songs. I went into Manhattan a lot with my family and wore clothes that others announced were weird. I was even accused by multiple kids in my class that I was lying when I said I had been on an airplane.  

I didn’t feel that I belonged at Sunday School either. There the kids were mostly from a different district and knew each other from their zip code. I also didn’t seem to wear the right clothes there or be into the right things.

For years, I’d toggle between trying to conform with hopes of building friendships and feeling accepted. Or at least to fly under the radar from any teachers or other authority who let me know in a subtle way that they didn’t appreciate what I brought to the table.

It wasn’t until high school that I felt more relaxed about my uniqueness. I met others through a shared love of music explore, pushing fashion-norms and expanding beyond my suburban bubble to meet others who were also considered “others.”

Throughout those years, one of my biggest struggles was with my hair. It was curly and was tough to “feather” or “straighten” or look more like “permed curls.”  When I was little, I gravitated towards the black dolls because their hair looked more like mine. I connected more with Donna Summer. My imaginary friends were the cast of The Wiz (on Broadway with Stephanie Mills as Dorothy). 

I had a hard time finding a hairdresser up in my parts who knew how to cut and/or style curly hair so I went for styles that were punky or trendy in a way that I could style with my fingers. Pulling my hair straight and strapping it down with hairspray and gel. I started going to Astor Place in Greenwich Village for cuts and then following it up at a local Barber Shop for upkeep.

When I got to college, I was encouraged (for the first time ever) to let my hair be curly. I found an amazing stylist who was great with curly hair. Celebrities like Maria Carey began to surface and finally I started to see women who looked more like me and were considered beautiful. It felt good.

Flash forward to the mid-2000s when I began working for a company that was more conservative than I had been in years. It was creative too but sort of in-the-box (at least that was my perception).  It didn’t feel quite right and in hindsight I realized how much of it brought me back to unresolved feelings of reporting daily to a place where I didn’t always feel like I belong.

I would get occasional comments about my outfits. I was once in a meeting where my favorite color to wear was described as “lowbrow” by an executive when seeing it in a potential ad. Color and fashion are choices, I suppose. But when I received unsolicited suggestions about straightening my hair, I felt personally attacked and judged. 

I know many people go through this sort of thing (and far much worse than I, a white woman, will ever experience first-hand). One day, I felt pushed too far and explained how my curls were my ideas growing out of my head. My hair was my power. My hair was one of the only things that no matter how I cut, dried, brushed etc, it will always keep coming in as it was 100% intended to. Curly. Unruly. Unpredictable. I loved how that also mirrors how my thoughts flow.

Getting back to authenticity and what that meant for me in the workplace, I knew it was time to cut bait and be my own thing. I had a beautiful image from a co-worker who wanted me to get back to who I was and now I needed a tagline to go with it. My brain shot off dozens of options. My hair and I agreed upon, “every curl on my head is an idea” because it is true and I am true.

For further discussion around being authentic, listen to my guest appearance on Your Practical Magic Podcast. – Gamer Leaves the House

My great joy as a mother is expanding my kids’ worlds through experiences. Of course getting my son, a video game enthusiast, out of the house (or even out of his room) can be a challenge. So I created two itineraries — inspired by his interests — one for NYC and one for Westchester. They are listed in order to maximize time. This was published in Westchester County Moms Blog on 12.19.19


Modern Pinball NYC

What: A pinball arcade and museum.

Where: 362 3rd Avenue (Take the 4, 5, 6 train from Grand Central to 28th Street).

Helpful Info: Entry wristband with no time limit and free same day re-entry.

Parental POV: You’ll spend about an hour here and it’s great for all ages.

National Museum of Mathematics

What: An interactive museum with math as a fascinating backdrop.

Where: 11 East 26th Street (walk from Pinball Museum and across from Shake Shack).

Helpful Info: Open daily but closes early the first Wednesday each month.

Parental POV: I have a fear of math but loved this place as much as my kids, especially the Coaster Rollers where you “roll over unusual shapes but have a smooth ride due to their constant diameter.” The staff’s enthusiasm is contagious. Fine for any age but I think best for older kids.

Society Billiards + Bar

What: Families play billiards, ping pong, and darts while enjoying drinks, tater tots, pizza bagels and other snacks.

Where: 10 East 21st Street

Helpful Info: You pay per player and per hour. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. it’s about $9.50 per person, per hour (check in case your visit falls into their holiday hours which is a little more). We’ve always just walked in and never had a wait, maybe because we visit earlier in the day.

Parental POV: As long as your kid can see over the top of the table, they’ll have a great time.

The Paley Center for Media

Check out the “PaleyGX: Your Ultimate Gaming Xperience.” This is walking distance to Grand Central and a nice final spot to hit if you still have energy.

HOME GAME (Peekskill)

The Rift

What: Comic book, card, and collectible store but they also host game nights like Dungeons & Dragons, Smash Bros Ultimate, and a BYO board game where anyone can play.

Where: 913 South Street (a few blocks from public parking lot)

Helpful Info: They post their events and game schedules online and via Instagram. Good for elementary school age kids – adults (they mostly get a teen and young adult crowd). Next door is Gleason’s (flatbread pizza). Kids also like Peekskill Coffeehouse (waffles, crepes, and paninis) and RameNesque (ramen dumplings and more).

Parental POV: The Rift staff are so kind and happily offer to teach kids how to play any game in their stores.

Spins Hudson 

What: Arcade, laser tag, ropes course, bocci, and other games are under the same roof as an open space bar for the ultimate entertainment complex.

Where: 5 John Walsh Blvd

Helpful Info: They take credit cards but a few times their machines were down and we needed to use cash which I rarely carry.

Parental POV: It’s very lively and energetic so if you have a child (or self) who gets overstimulated in crowds and loud music, you might want to go when it’s warmer out and they open the garage door which makes it more tolerable. The younger kids seem to like this place a lot.

We also love 2nd Nature Skatepark

This indoor skate park is amazing. Skaters of all levels go and are so giving with their time to help a newer skater learn the ropes. They have lessons, schools-out camps, and nighttime parties.

What places does your gamer love?

Born and raised in Westchester, Gennifer Birnbach has spent over 25 years as a writer and marketing communications executive for brands including Nickelodeon and Bravo. Every career aptitude test she has taken since high school, however, suggests she should be a camp director. Makes sense since Gennifer’s favorite thing is bringing people together for unique and fun adventures. Gennifer resides in Yorktown Heights with her husband and two teens and stands by calling sandwiches “wedges” (not “hoagies” or “subs”). For more information visit and follow her on IG @genniferwithag – Ghosting Busters: Removing the “Professional Ghosting” Slime in 4 Easy Steps

A funny thing happened to me (and millions of others) in the past few years, I got “Professionally Ghosted.” Not just once and not solely tied to a job inquiry. It happened in a few work situations.

If you are unfamiliar with what “ghosting” means or feels like, please keep carrying around that lucky penny. Ghosting is the practice of disappearing while in the middle of a professional conversation or interaction without any explanation.

Sometimes it is innocent, an inbox casualty impacted by the recipient’s busy week. Other times the recipient may be struggling with and avoiding delivering bad news or feedback. And once in a blue moon, it’s personal.

No matter the reason, it leaves the recipient feeling disappointed, isolated and with a negative slime energy all over.

The good news is you can remove that grossness right off of you in 4 easy steps. Let me show you how:


Do you remember in The Wizard of Oz when Glinda the Good Witch told the Wicked Witch of the East, “you have no powers here, be gone” and waves her away like an annoying mosquito? Do that.

Whatever emotion you just gave your power to (anger, anxiety, heartbreak), please let it know that you are in charge and you get to decide where your thoughts and energy will go today. 


All conversations, experiences and relationships have energy. You know how it feels when you’re surrounded by good Glinda energy, the kind that feels powerful, protective and validates your confidence that you know what you are doing.

On the flip side, negative energy has the consistency of a spider’s web. It’s a subtle stickiness that sometimes feels like it’s hard to find and remove.

You’ve heard the phrase “brush it off” right? Well this is physically brushing off the ghosted experience and it’s super easy to do.

Start with your right hand on top of your left shoulder and with pressure brush your hand down from shoulder to hand resulting in pushing that energy off that arm.

Do it again but with opposite hand and shoulder.

Return to right hand and left shoulder.

Then raise your hands over your head and throw your hands down to the ground with force.

Repeat this series two more times. Then take a moment to feel how that shook things up and off.


You cannot control what happens to you but you can control how you react.

Most of the damage we do to ourselves is through the stories in our head, the ones we then share out to others. If you don’t have actual facts about why you didn’t hear back and are fabricating a story arc complete with villain and victim then you are giving your power and your good Glinda energy right back to the situation.

Let’s assume innocent until proven guilty. We may never even know why it happened But attaching to the drama (whether it’s real or imagined) will not serve you well and will tangle you up in more spider webs vs allowing you to move forward towards something better.

Sometimes you have to rewrite or reimagine the story. “They had me jump through hoops going through several interviews and then radio silence” becomes “They juggled many schedules to get me in to meet as many decision makers as possible but it didn’t go further than that.”

Cliffhanger ending: “it didn’t go further than that.” That can mean you were not the best fit or headcount was killed or maybe they didn’t want someone who was smarter than them ; -) 

Who knows? Who cares? Boy, bye!

Take a beat and get some nourishment. Go read Dr Seuss’ Oh the Places You Will Go or listen to LL Cool J’s Mama Said Knock You Out. Just spitballing here and giving you some ideas.


Last step in removing the slime is to hold your own post-mortem on how this all went.

First you were afraid, you were terrified (to lift from Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive) .

Next, you put on your F.U. socks and reclaimed your power (these are my favorites if you want to purchase yours today).

And finally, you reminded yourself and others that “you had the power all along my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”

Remember, you ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

Published in Thrive 10.30.19 and discussed on the Your Practical Magic podcast released 1.9.20

Grown& – I got a D in marketing and became an award-winning marketing executive

Published by “Grown and Flown” on 10.18.19

It was 1990, I was attending University of Kansas (my 2nd stop in my college career after Emerson College) and I was taking a course in my very favorite subject, marketing. My teacher was excellent, the other students were engaging and inspiring and I looked forward to each and every class.

The teacher loved my ideas and thoughts on various marketing problems he asked us to solve. He thought I had tremendous talent but at the end of the day I received a D because of my low test scores. I remember speaking with him directly about my final grade and learning that he was as confused as I was.

Around 1991, I had transferred to my 3rd college, SUNY Purchase which had an incredible career development team ready and able to help students secure their dream internships. Completely ready for dozens of interviews ranging from The Joan Rivers Show to MTV Networks, I went from office to office marketing myself in hopes of landing the coveted internship the following semester.

To be honest, my heart was set on MTV Networks as I was a die-hard fan of Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite. My interview with the human resource rep seemingly went well, at least in my head. But Ms. Hall said to me, “I’m sorry but you are not MTV Networks material” and passed on me right then and there.

How I Got a Dream Internship

I was determined to get into MTV Networks and to enjoy a successful marketing career because despite what I was experiencing, I knew deep inside that that was exactly where I was supposed to start and marketing was precisely what I was supposed to do.

My parents always told me, “don’t take no for an answer.” That was not coming from a place of always getting what you want. It was coming from a place of knowing myself the best and not letting others tell me who I am or what I should do. I’m fortunate to have had parents who gave me that pep talk and drilled into me that I had the power to make things happen even at times when I felt powerless.

I located some executives’ names (pre-internet thank you very much) and reached out to them directly with a passionate letter about why I wanted an internship on their team. It resulted in an interview at Comedy Central Publicity which was an MTV Networks channel.

My work at Comedy Central was crucial. It was their first year of existence and they were trying to grow their audience and distribution on cable channels. My project was to single-handedly pitch a show they had called Mystery Science Theater 3000 to college newspapers and radio stations nationwide. I did well and quickly my reputation led to MTV Networks’ channels and departments recruiting me to join them. I held internships with Nickelodeon Animation (just as Ren & Stimpy was finally debuting it’s 2nd season) and with Nickelodeon Programming where I helped plan marketing sponsorship opportunities that they sold to advertisers. I was runner-up for employee of the year.

As my career continued, marketing was always a major part of what I did each day. Over the years, I’ve won marketing awards for my work at brands like TV Land and Bravo. I’ve been recruited for think tanks to come up with new ideas. I serve as a mentor and coach in many organizations because branding oneself is also marketing.

I’m sharing this with the Grown & Flown readers because sometimes people get caught up in grades, other’s opinions and sometimes they choose paths out of fear. That kind of energy is sticky and won’t allow progress to be made.

Walt Disney’s newspaper editor told the aspiring cartoonist he wasn’t creative enough. A Baltimore TV producer told Oprah Winfrey she was “unfit for television news.” Thankfully, neither listened to naysayers and continued forward living their truth. There are tons of these stories and while all of us are not necessarily going to become a household name like Disney or Oprah, our success is no less important to the work we know we are meant to do.

What parents can do to help their student find their career path:

1. Space and Time 

The number one thing you can do for your student or young professional is to provide them with unlimited space and time to know who they are. There are many exercises they can engage in if they are feeling stumped such as the career assessment tests they take at school or through books like StrengthFinders and What Color is Your Parachute. Those answers do not need to be a perfect hit. They can be used to explore further. There are so many careers one might like and so many we don’t even know about yet.

2. Be Less Literal 

Next in importance is helping your student or young professional be less literal about what they’d like to be. For example, a young child may have dreams of being a New York Yankee and maybe the talent makes it seem possible. But just in case it doesn’t happen that way, what other avenues can lead your child to the New York Yankees in a role they feel enriched by?

Are they talkative? Maybe they aim for the NY Yankee publicity department where they will be paid to talk enthusiastically about their favorite team. There’s a difference between saying “that will never happen” or “you should absolutely go for your dreams and see where it takes you.” Because who knows where a path might take someone. Maybe right to the dugout and maybe to the press team that gets to be right by their side cheering them on.

3. Encouraging Them

Encouraging people to aim for what they truly feel determined to do can only lead to good things. Jobs will come and go but knowing your true self and knowing that you can and will find your way is the ultimate in determination, resilience, problem solving and a success story in itself.

My name is Gennifer Birnbach. I got a D in marketing, and was told I was not MTV Networks’ material. Despite that, I became an award-winning marketer for MTV Networks and beyond.

Gennifer Birnbach is an award-winning writer living in Yorktown Heights, NY with her high schoolers and husband. She spent the past 25+ years working on brands including Nickelodeon and Bravo as well as smaller businesses in her own backyard. Her company Gennifer with a G, inc affords her the flexibility to see her kids more. But now their doors are locked so it’s a case of bad timing.

Gennifer with a G Blog – 5 Children’s books I keep on my nightstand

I’ve always loved reading and stories and colorful drawings especially when it is a book written for children. I earned a B.A. in Literature and, of course, there are many classics I studied through the years but it’s the children’s stories that I hold close to my heart and my pillows and blanket.

#1 Bear’s Magic by Carla Stevens

There are three short stories in this book, the first is called “Wish I May, Wish I Might.” In it, a rabbit wishes nightly on the evening star for a brand new lunchbox.

Many decades later and I still have to stop myself from wishing for a new lunchbox. And believe me, I am often wishing on the evening star (or an airplane, doesn’t matter, still good!).

#2 Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum and her parents think she has the perfect name. But when she goes to school the other kids make fun of her for her name. She comes home distraught but her parents help her through it.

Chrysanthemum felt much better after her favorite dinner (macaroni and cheese with ketchup) and an
evening filled with hugs and kisses and Parcheesi.

Here is a video version of the story narrated by Meryl Streep which I HIGHLY recommend enjoying. Please!

#3 Maisy Goes Camping by Lucy Cousins

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sucker for the word “camp” and anything to do with going to a summer camp, camping and — unrelated to this book — camp-y things like Wes Anderson movies.

In this story, Maisy and her friends pitch a tent and then all try to get inside to go to sleep. I don’t want to spoil the ending but it’s impossible for them all to fit so they all sleep underneath the stars instead.


#4 Emily’s 100 Days of School by Rosemary Wells

Emily’s elementary school counts down to the 100th day of school. Each number is represented with a little blurb about what happened that day (as related to that day’s number).

Now, I’ve never been one for numbers (unless it’s birthdays or phones numbers) but I cannot get enough of each single and double digit entry. Here are some that I like (#92 is my favorite).

And mine is autographed to my daughter!!

#5 The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone

First of all, Grover is my spirit animal.

Secondly, as a child this book slightly scared the hell out of me. I mean, turning the page knowing something scary was at the end was really living on the edge of my comfort zone. But at the end we are reminded that Grover is considered a monster. And he’s adorable!

I think this book should be used in a college course or Omega Institute offering about reframing your thoughts so you see things differently.

Special Thanks

The most special thing about my selection is that each book is either mine from childhood or motherhood.

I remember the feelings I had reading my stories and I will also cherish the moments where I watched my little ones imagining as I read to them.

Special thanks to Carla Stevens, Kevin Henkes, Lucy Cousins, Rosemary Wells and Jon Stone.

Gennifer with a G Blog – What Count Chocula Taught Me About Empathy

A few years ago, I discovered that my life-long ability to deeply understand (and sometimes even feel) other people’s emotions had a name. It’s called being an Empath. Many of us describe it as a blessing (we can tap into it to help others who need support) and a curse (we often take on those feelings ourselves and it’s hard to shake off).

My earliest memories of being cursed with empathy was when I would watch Saturday Morning cartoons. In between each show there were a parade of commercials targeted to kids. Toys, games, fast food and cereal.

The cereal commercial that most-often triggers my anxiety around the feelings I’m feeling (on behalf of others) is Count Chocula and Frankenberry.  

Frankenberry was a little more passive, talking about how sweet and delicious his cereal was. He seemed proud.  Count Chocula had aggressive sales tactics and not only pushed his cereal as the more superior one, he often got in Frankberry’s face in a “come at me bro” kind of vibe.

Every single ad for this cereal stressed me out. I just wanted the kids eating cereal or ANYONE to tell them, “Guys, both cereals are great. People like both and we will take turns each morning choosing one or the other.”

Their office culture seemed toxic and they needed to work together not against each other.  These were mostly the thoughts my 8 year-old self would have throughout the :30 seconds (and sometimes continuing after).

Then there was the Trix Rabbit who just wanted to enjoy the cereal that his face was on. The kids were not inclusive and teased him saying, “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids” which is obnoxious. The cereal was obviously his idea and in addition to the kids not sharing, they insulted him and talked down to him.  My brain chatter would be like, “What is their problem? Give the rabbit a bowl of his own creation and fuck the rules!”

SIDEBAR: Interesting fact, there was a petition to tell General Mills that Trix were also for rabbits. I see there are others who cannot sleep until harmony is restored.

Now I don’t want to be all Debbie Downer so I’d like to point out an ad where I felt someone was treated fair and that was McDonald’s. In most ads, the Hamburglar tried to steal the McDonald’s hamburgers any chance he got. He did not succeed. It was taken back from him. But these ads were more soothing for my empathetic soul because it was more about the act of stealing vs. an exclusive VIP club where his kind didn’t have access to these goods. Plus Ronald spoke to the Hamburglar the same way he spoke to close friends like Grimace, Mayor McCheese and those cute Fry Guys. And I appreciated his warmth and understanding.

If you also identify as an EMPATH and if these advertising situations just triggered you as well, here is a 5-step guide I discovered on how to protect your energy. You are very welcome, Gennifer with a G.

Gennifer with a G Blog – The Power of Words

I realized years ago that the crush I had on the lead singer of a band had less to do with his looks and more to do with the words coming out of his mouth. The passion, the intensity, the purpose, the meaning of each word he sang set me on fire every time. I would totally put up posters of my favorite words or sentences the way others pay tribute to a favorite team, movie or work of art.

When my kids were little, I told them that the only bad words were ones you used to purposely hurt someone. That meant that if they dropped their ice cream and said “shit” in parroting my own sailor mouth, I had zero problem with that. They were expressing an emotion. I did caveat it by saying, the rest of society was not on board with this so for their own safety, they had to limit any curse words to my car or our house. Using them in school or at a friend’s house could cause trouble. They understood that and it never was an issue. Not once.

Words evoke emotion and really have the power to make or break a relationship, a project or a person’s sense of worth. I’m mindful of the words I choose with others but realized I was misusing words in a stream of sentences that was stripping away my own confidence and power. And that pissed me off quite frankly.

It wasn’t until I received a ring for my birthday from three caring friends that I noticed the strength I got from wearing words, sayings, sentences that I knew to be true or that I believed in. I started shopping around and found a handful of apparel, accessories and cosmetics that all were telling a story that I wanted to be a part of. Here are my favorite finds.

COMME des FUCKDOWN was born in Brooklyn, USA, at the beginning of the new millennium. A mix of creativity and innovation characterize the brand, active and predominant in contemporary streetwear. His strength and know-how are clear signs of influence that COMME des FUCKDOWN will continue to have on the stage of global fashion.

MOTHER was founded in 2010 by Lela Becker and Tim Kaeding. With extensive denim backgrounds, they were determined to do it all differently.

SNASH JEWELRY is 100% USA MADE! Our items are hand-carved, crafted and produced by our small NYC-based team. Our materials are ethically sourced and recycled metals are used whenever possible.

EVERYONE SUCKS⚡️BUT US was born on the streets of NYC. Using design as our voice, we want to show a new attitude. ES⚡️BU represents a growing group of like-minded people that are sick of people sucking. United in defiance and bonded by the resistance to fall into the mundane.

BLUE Q are proud designers and manufacturers of life-improving, joy-bringing products since 1988

I leave you with this Huffington Post blog that is interesting as shit about curse words.

Gennifer with a G Blog – Brand Storytelling

Marketing is a form of storytelling. It is not a one-size-fits-all-formula.

Every brand has a story worth sharing complete with bullet points unique to that individual company, org or person.

The narrative should be engaging, it should form an emotional connection to the desired audience and ideally it should be entertaining.

Think about some of your favorite marketing campaigns of all time.

Why did you resonate with those ads?

If it’s an older ad, does it still evoke certain emotions?

Did it make you try the brand or at least talk about it?

Here are a few campaigns from the past several years that I really enjoyed (and why):

Old Spice “Smellcome to Manhood”

First of all that copy line makes me green with envy and entertained at the same time.

Next, I developed a newly-formed connection to women who were moms to boys (specifically teenaged boys but I’m sure this will continue along my consumer journey as he becomes an adult).

I am still the one who purchases products for him and this became top of mind forever and ever.

Link includes three variations, I love the last one the best!

Levi’s “Circles”

I am a dancer. I will dance anywhere.

I love celebrating life with all different kinds of people.

Levi’s fit me well but I haven’t owned a pair in decades.

This marketing campaign shows how their different styles is a part of different cultural celebrations and it really struck a chord with me. 

I want to be in all of those scenes and now I want Levi’s because the brand seems to be aligned with my heart and soul. It ends with the tagline, “Let’s Live How We Dance.” 

Yes! Agreed! Let’s!

#FinishIT / Truth

This anti-smoking org has put out many amazing campaigns. But the one that I really saw sink in with my kids was the one that spoke about the impact on pets.  And it’s not done in a preachy way (a total turn off for kids and teens). I love how it also empowers the audience to be the generation to end tobacco use. Very cool!

Essie Nail Polish Collection

My manicure process is simple.

I pick up a color I like. If I also like it’s name, It stays. If I do not like it’s name it goes back.

Same color, different names. “Lucky Penny” or “Rusted Nails.” Which would you choose?

Essie is one of my favorite companies that puts out a collection based on a theme (and an underlying story that sets up how you’ll feel wearing those colors).

Recently they launched a Tea Time collection for spring with colors like “Pinkies Out,” “Tiers of Joy,”  “Reign Check” and “Teacup Half Full.” 

Not pictured but another brand that never ceases to amaze me with how they spin their story is Pizza Hut (how many ways can you make pizza new again? they seem to have the secret recipe).

SIDE BAR: When I was a young girl watching Saturday morning cartoons, I was watching the commercial breaks. That is where I saw the sugary cereals, McDonald’s, toys and more. Those storylines were far more entertaining and — quite frankly — better written than some of the shows. There! I said it!

Gennifer with a G Blog – Grandparents Managing Up Tips

Believe it or not, having a new baby and running your own business have many commonalities when it comes to managing various workstyles and personalities to keep things moving smoothly. Everyone involved has their own set of super skills and their own opinions about the right way to do things. 

In business, there are also investors who weigh in on how the business is run and you have a certain obligation to take in their suggestions. At home, the investors are the grandparents.  

It’s tricky to manage incoming feedback (solicited and unsolicited) from the older, wiser advisors. On one hand, they raised you and you have to assume they did some things right. On the other hand, there may be some things you know you’ll do differently. Everyone must acknowledge times have changed since the days when you were little and could cartwheel across the back of a station wagon at 60 MPH without causing concern from highway patrol. 

No matter what concerns you may begin to have about everyone’s involvement, I have some tried and true business tips that you can apply to managing your working relationship with “The Grandparents.”


This is a great way to onboard a new employee and, if you think about it, getting promoted to grandparent falls into that category.  However you want to share this (conversation followed by an emailed recap, a handbook of rules with a signed agreement), this is something you can even refer back to if everything goes off the rails.

You can even set up an “orientation” and invite them to attend courses with you like Infant CPR or How to Install a Car Seat. Some hospitals even do a Grandparent Boot Camp that teaches them current laws and rules around subjects like sleep safety. 


Most grandparents will appreciate a regular check in with status items like “her first check up went great” or “he is sleeping cozy in the new pajamas you bought him.” Photos and even videos are great support material for the grandparent status reports. “I ventured out of the house and neither of us cried, please see photo reference [insert image of you and your baby enjoying being out of the house].”  Grandparents are more savvy than ever and can easily learn how to FaceTime or Skype which you can schedule in advance or do on-the-go. This is a great way for them to see for themselves how things are going.

When you feed the updates to them, you will be less likely to receive a call when you’re in the middle of a chaotic diaper change or finally getting a 3 minute nap. It puts the control in your hands and is a great tool in “managing up” to your (original) leaders. 


A new baby creates new roles, responsibilities and promotions. You were your parents’ child and still are but now you’ve accepted the new role as a mother or father. Your parents are promoted to grandparents. During this time, it’s helpful to have thoughtful conversations and an ongoing grace period for growth, trial and error. You as a newly minted parent will have ideas of how you’d like to run things. The old regime will have their lists of what works and what doesn’t. 

Be patient, be open, be flexible, be able to pivot.


Once you’ve established your dream team of people who love and care for your little one and have plans in place so everyone can be happy and thrive, it’s time to acknowledge everyone’s hard work with perks and bonuses. Everyone loves to hear they are doing a great job and grandparents are no exception. Recognition and appreciation goes a long way. A bonus can be doing something their way (if it differs from yours) when you are visiting them at their home. Maybe a handwritten note of appreciation or a “World’s Greatest Grandmother” gift is the way to go. Celebrating what’s right and acknowledging what they bring to the table really goes a long way and serves as positive reinforcement for all of the big and little things they do for your family.

Just remember, grandparents want to be recognized for doing a great job.

More importantly, grandparents are coming from a place of love.  You just need you to make some executive decisions and then lead the charge in how you want things done.