Mona Mesereau

(WOMENSENEWS)–Mona Mesereau, a partner in Mesereau Public Relations in Parker, Colo., has two very special employees: her son, Michael, 14, and her daughter, Mariah, 12.

As a way to help introduce them to the working world at a young age, Mesereau asks her children assist her two to three hours a week doing paid tasks such as faxing and running envelopes through the postage meter. One time, they even helped her land an account.

Mesereau, 42, and her husband, Tom, drove with Michael and Mariah for two hours to New Mexico to make a presentation. The client was so impressed with their children’s politeness and business savvy that he hired the public relations firm on the spot.

“Our kids understand that it’s clients who pay for their clothes and food,” says Mesereau, who has been in business since August 1996. “It allows them to appreciate what I do for a living and see their mom as a business person as well.”

Involving Kids in Business Offers Benefits to Mothers and Kids

For the 9 million women who own their own companies, involving their children in their ventures offers advantages for both parent and child. It allows mothers to introduce their kids to the business world and appreciate what it means to work for a living. It gives children a chance to spend quality time with their moms and respect them in a whole new light. Small business experts say that a good age for a mother to start involving a child in her business is around or 7 or 8.

“This helps kids understand and appreciate the importance of mom’s business and they get to see their parent as more than the person who fixes their lunches and tells them to clean their rooms,” says Gene Fairbrother, a Dallas-based business consultant for the National Association for the Self-Employed.

In addition, depending upon what kind of business a woman operates, having her child in the office working quietly can project a very positive image to clients, notes Oklahoma City-based Terry Neese, co-founder of Women Impacting Public Policy, an advocacy group, and former president of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

“Having your children in the office shows you have a close relationship with them and projects you as more human to clients,” Neese says. “If clients have this kind of comfortable feeling about you, they will be more likely to want to do business with you.”

Seeing Mom Succeed in Business Gives Girls Confidence in Their Abilities

 Laura HerringFemale entrepreneurs can even expand upon their children’s specific skills and make use of them in a work setting. For instance, Laura Herring, president and founder of The IMPACT Group, LLC, a St. Louis human resources consulting firm with 70 employees, has had daughter Lauren, 24, help her in a variety of ways. From putting together packets of materials for mailings to creating overhead slides on a computer for presentations to translating documents from Spanish to English, Lauren has been an integral part of her mother’s business since she was 7. She now serves as account manager and alliance manager at the firm. At some point, Lauren may take over the business, her mother says.

“When my daughter went to college as a business and marketing major, she felt like she was way ahead of the other kids because of her work experience in my company,” Herring says. “And, since she saw her mom succeed in business, I think it gave her more confidence in her own abilities.”

Similarly, for Vera Moore, founder and president of Valley Stream, N.Y.-based Vera Moore Cosmetics, which manufactures and sells cosmetics for women of color, her daughter, Consuella, grew up in the business. As a child, Consuella helped with office tasks and waited on customers.

“The experience of watching me grow the company was so positive and self-assuring for Consuella that she is now our marketing director. Mothers can provide an excellent role model for their children by exposing them to their businesses in all kinds of ways,” Moore says.

Quality Time Away from Other Distractions

Some women may even choose to go one step further and bring a child on a business trip. Again, the child has to be an appropriate age and some planning must be done for this kind of excursion.

For example, Eva Wisnik, 39, president of Wisnik Career Strategies, Inc., in New York City, utilized a business trip to Boston about four years ago as a chance to spend some time with her son, David, now 9, and have him experience a new city. But she had to find reliable child-care for the five hours that she was involved in her training program.

Two weeks before her trip, Wisnik began asking various contacts she knew in the area for recommendations of quality, reliable daycare. A trusted client she was going to meet with referred her to a bonded and licensed backup child-care provider. For a cost of about $90, a babysitter picked up David at the hotel, took him to a museum that he enjoyed, and mother and child were happily reunited afterwards.

“This wound up being a really good trip for both David and me, and I was so glad that I could bring him along,” Wisnik says. “It was a great experience for both of us.”

Laura Koss-Feder is a freelance business writer who covers small businesses and career/workplace topics. She has written for The New York Times, Business Week, Time, Money, Investor’s Business Daily, and Family Circle.

For more information:

National Association of Women Business Owners:

Women Impacting Public Policy:

For more information:

The Lancet
Volume 360, Number 9348 07 December 2002:

World Health Organization:

Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

One Dose of Emergency Contraception Is Effective

(WOMENSENEWS)–One dose of emergency contraception is just as effective as two, according to a study by the World Health Organization published Saturday in The Lancet. The finding could make emergency contraception more accessible and easier to take.

Typically, the hormone treatments in emergency contraception involve either a single 10 milligram dose of mifepristone or two 0.75 milligram doses of levonorgestrel taken 12 hours apart. Women using levonorgestrel have been given the drug in two doses to avoid such side effects as nausea and vomiting that doctors believed could occur when it is given in a single 1.5 mg dose.

In a trial led by Helena von Hertzen at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, 4,136 women were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: 10 milligrams of a single-dose mifepristone; a single 1.5 mg dose of levonorgestrel; or two doses of 0.75 mg levonorgestrel given 12 hours apart. The women sought emergency contraception within five days of unprotected sexual intercourse at 15 family-planning clinics in 10 countries.

Study results show there were no significant differences between the groups and no increase in side effects. The results suggest that women who take levonorgestrel do not need to take split doses of the hormone. The average pregnancy rate was 1.6 percent and most women menstruated within two days of the expected date, although women given levonorgestrel menstruated earlier than women given mifepristone.

The current findings, Von Hertzen said, demonstrate that less works just as well for women looking to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

“Although emergency contraception has been registered in many countries, my understanding is that there is still much to do in bringing correct information on itsuse to women and even to family planning providers in some countries,” Von Hertzen said.

“This simplifies the regimen and extends the treatment window,” says James Trussell, director of the Office of Population Research at Princeton University and a member of the Planned Parenthood national medical committee. “It will certainly be more convenient for every woman.”

–Katrina Woznicki is a freelance writer in Washington.