Friday, November 9, 2012

Mom in the Spotlight: Rockstar Blogger, Suzanne Fleet







Suzanne Fleet is the amazing blogger behind Toulouse and Tonic. In her past life, before consigning herself to days spent chasing after two stinky kids, she led a reality-show worthy life in PR, as manager of a rock band and a competitive baton twirler. Not all at the same time, of course.

Recently, In response to Bully Prevention Month, Suzanne declared open season on childhood and adolescent peer persecutors via Bully Shaming™.  Bully Shaming™ is a project of Toulouse and Tonic meant to give people the opportunity to free themselves from the tormenters of their past and to help show bullies how much impact their words and actions have.  


By the way, in case anyone wants to confront those painful times, Bully Shaming™ is accepting photo submissions.  



To get better acquainted with the phenom that is Suzanne, find Toulouse and Tonic on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.  

Bully Shaming™ appears on Facebook and Twitter.  





How old are your children?  Boys?  Girls?

As one of three girls growing up and someone who dreamed her whole life of having at least 2 little girly-girls to keep her knee-deep in tutus around the clock, I, of course, have 2 stinky little boys.  But it’s great.  Because isn’t life more exciting if you’re learning new stuff constantly?  Especially stuff like how to properly clean a tiny penis and how to seamlessly shift from acting out the role of Perry the Platypus to that of Bizarro Superman in the blink of an eye.

My oldest is 5 and a brand new kindergartner who’s learning stuff I’m pretty sure didn’t come up until 7th grade when I was in school, like the difference between fiction and nonfiction, and hexagons and octagons.


My youngest is 7 months corrected age, 9 ½ months for realz.  Yeah, it’s been a long year.   He’s still partially fed by feeding tube but we’re blessed beyond measure because that seems to be his only remaining problem.  





What were your plans to combine work and motherhood?  
I had no plans to combine the two.  I’d had what felt like a long career working in advertising, public relations and event marketing, including having my own company that really just involved me working from home in my pajamas.  I worked for a big international firm for a while and even managed a rock-n-roll band.  But when I got pregnant, I felt like I’d been there, done that with the working world and was ready to throw myself into motherhood full time.  It took me a few years to figure out that I need something else too.  For me, I really want to be there for my kids, and writing has been my greatest passion since I was a very small child...put those things together and voila -- mom blogger.


When did you start your blog?  What spurred you to jump on the blogging bandwagon?

I started my blog about 2 ½ years ago but I couldn’t have been more clueless about what I was doing until recently.  I wrote a couple of posts a week and just kind of threw them up on my blog and went about my business.  I remember being ecstatic about breaking 100 hits in a day for the first time and often, even after 2 years, I’d be lucky to have that.  But recently, with the support of some incredible mom bloggers, my blog has grown a ton and I’m more and more excited and passionate about the chance to connect with people through my writing every day.




Sometimes as a blogger, I think, “I got this,” and others I’m pretty sure I have the blogging chops of a cocker spaniel. What would have to happen for you to know you’ve hit blogging pay dirt?
Maybe it’s just a blogger thing, but there are days I think I’m really getting somewhere and others where it feels like I’m spinning my wheels.  I get the most excited when I suddenly have an idea I know is really good and I’m running for my notebook to write it down before I forget it.  Sometimes that’ll happen 4 or 5 times in one day.  And then I’ll have a dry spell where I feel like I’m in a funk and will never come up with anything good ever ever ever ever again.  But I keep at it.

Every time I achieve a goal, I just end up putting a new goal in its place so I’m not sure what would make me feel like I’d hit blogging pay dirt.  Maybe eventually having enough clout to be able to sell my books?  The ones I’m too busy working on my blog to write, of course.

Parenting issue you’d write a sketch about starring SNL alum divas Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler?
I’d throw them all on a restaurant set and make Kristin Wiig and Tina Fey a couple of single women without children and Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler moms sitting at a table next to them with their maniac offspring emptying all the sugar packets into a pile of “sand” and sword-fighting with the silverware.  

There’s so much humor in the contrast between people who think children don’t belong in restaurants and people who have kids and just want to freaking find a way to eat a few bites of their food before it gets cold.



Now ain't those folks you want to hang with?
Suzanne and fam's Halloween redneck wedding!


If someone said I am driving you somewhere so you can have the afternoon off to do whatever you please where would insist upon being taken?
I would insist that person turn the car around and drive me back to my house, whereupon he or she would remove all the people in it for a few hours so I could have an afternoon of complete solace in my own home.  That might be boring, but that’s what I crave.

Describe your mommy style in one sentence.
As a mom, I’m just like I am as a person.  Much too complicated to sum up in once sentence.  If I said, “I’m a loving mother who tries not to let her own stresses impact her kids’ lives,” I would mean it, but then totally contradict it the next day by yelling at them because they were asking me questions while I was on the phone with the cable guy.  I do the best I can at any given moment and if I fail, I try to say I’m sorry.  My kids know I love them more than anything on the planet AND they know I’m human.  Sooo, no.  Can’t do the one sentence thing.

Advice to mom bloggers?   
You don’t need to know exactly what you’re gonna write about to start a blog.  I began by posting a ridiculous poopourri (not a typo) of stuff, including recipes, which is totally stupid because I hate to cook.  It took some time for me to refine my voice and figure out what I did and didn’t wanna write about.  And that’s absolutely fine.  The important thing is to get started and keep at it.

These days, I like it best when my finger is hovering over the word “publish” and I feel a little scared because then I know I’m pushing my boundaries.  Those are always the posts I’m proudest of, and usually the ones that end up resonating the most.








28 comments:

  1. Great interview! This: "I would insist that person turn the car around and drive me back to my house, whereupon he or she would remove all the people in it for a few hours so I could have an afternoon of complete solace in my own home. That might be boring, but that’s what I crave."

    A million times, yes.

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    Replies
    1. Hubs is always trying to get me to go and have some "time to myself." He doesn't understand what I really want is time to myself AT HOME. You get it, Paige Kellerman!

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    2. I am so with you on this one and my husband doesn't get it either. Every year for b'day, Xmas, Mother's Day, you name it, I ask for a weekend alone in my house with no one else and I'd never leave. I revel in the silence of an empty house.

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    3. Reveling in the silence of an empty house - an amazing thing. Now the trick would be to see if I could get find peace in my own head instead of a cacophony of monkey chatter.

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    4. Jen - that's the only gift I want too. I end up getting about 1 weekend every 2 years. It should be at least every 2 months, just for sanity's sake.

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  2. " I do the best I can at any given moment and if I fail, I try to say I’m sorry."

    This is the definition of Good Parent. Loved the interview!

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    Replies
    1. Huh. Well then, I hope to add my photo to the dictionary beside the term. Would that be unreasonable? ; )

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    2. Thanks so much for visiting. Madame Toulouse is a star interviewee. Warm, honest and crazy funny! Next stop Piers Morgan!

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  3. The more I learn about my blogging sisters, the more I love them. I think Suzanne's Bully Shaming is so brave and important. Great interview.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your support and kind words. Who wouldn't want to have something they're doing called brave and important? Mwuah!

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    2. Bully Shaming should be a movement. How healing it is for us as adults to confront those times. Bully Shaming needs to be a national movement. Urgently.

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  4. SO cool! You are super cool Suzanne. When my finger hovers over 'publish' too, I feel like I'm ready to jump off a cliff. Great interview! Thanks Keesha.

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    Replies
    1. I have super cool friends so maybe it's rubbing off on me! ; )

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    2. Yeah, that feeling about hitting publish . . . sometimes its a there's nothing more I can do, and sometimes it feels like I'm dropping a bomb (and often those turn out to be like that saying "If a tree falls in the forest . . .")
      Thanks so much for visiting!

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  5. Great interview. And yes, to the time by myself at home. Why is that so very, very hard to get?

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    Replies
    1. It should be consider medically necessary or at least psychologically necessary. I'm getting a doctor's note!

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    2. I actually get the time off when the kids are at school. Unfortunately, under those circumstances. I get an F for uses time wisely. No rest at all :(
      Too much to do.

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  6. Such a great interview! Keep pushing those boundaries!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Anna. I'll just keep emulating you.

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  7. This is fantastic! I love learning more about the person behind the blog!
    BTW, possibly the best Halloween collaboration evah!
    Kerry at HouseTalkN

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    Replies
    1. Glad you liked, and thanks for visiting, Kerry. I love showing the gal behind the blog, too!

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    2. Kerry, I'll be more than happy to mail the 80s wedding dress to you for next Halloween. Deep, deep tanning is absolutely necessary to pull off the look. I suggest you begin applying bronzer now to achieve the proper effect by next October. ; )

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  8. Keesha - Thank you so much for allowing me to hang out on Mom's New Stage with you. I enjoyed answering your fun and thoughtful questions and having the chance to share with your readers. You rocketh!

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  9. Great interview. You rock mama. Thanks for sharing your blog experience - so inspiring for a newbie to hear. I will wholeheartedly jump on the bully shaming bandwagon. I just spent the past few weeks trying to get an online bully /troll blocked from a popular mom forum website and it finally paid off. Hats off to you!

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    Replies
    1. Do share how you got the online troll blocked from the mom website!!! Those cretins need to have their fingers broken!

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  10. Fantastic interview! I agree with the time at home thing, except that if I'm ever home alone I feel like I ought to clean and I don't want to clean so I'm overcome with guilt and self loathing about cleaning vs laziness. BUT, all that self loathing still beats being home with other people.

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  11. I love this interview. You have great tone and personality in your writing. I loved ya from the start.

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  12. What an inspiring mother! She looks like she's great fun!

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