Meredith Sinclair, who blogs and video blogs on her website HOO-DEE-HOO, has made it her life’s work to share with moms ways to enjoy play, messes, fashion and fun. The Wilmette mom has combined her love of live television, teaching, and sharing stories to form her own fascinating career evolution.
A Career Change
“I started out as a teacher,” Sinclair says of her master’s degree in elementary education. “A lot of my ideas of play stem from there. I love the environment of the classroom.”
After a relocation for her husband’s job, she worked as an educational consultant for a Pittsburgh children’s museum and for a local PBS station.
“I looked at the children’s shows for the PBS station and helped them make sure that they were educationally sound,” she explains. “That was my first taste of working in television and marrying it to education, and I loved it.”
Babies and Blogging
After moving to the Chicago area, Sinclair and her husband started a family and she knew she wanted to stay home with her children. When her youngest boy was three, she says she was ready to start working part-time, and heard about blogging from her brother, a public media consultant.
“I wanted to start practicing my writing,” she says. “At the time blogs were not at all what they are now, and social media was not at all what it is now.”
“We were having dinner with my brother, and I literally went home so fired up about this idea of a blog, I started that night,” she explains.
She says her blog, A Mom’s Life, was the “traditional mommy blog,” and mostly read by her family and friends, until she saw a call out from Chicago Parent Magazine for mom bloggers.
“I’ve always been someone who leaps at things, “Sinclair admits. “I never thought, ‘Oh, they’re not going to want my blog. I’ve only been doing this for six months.’ I just applied.”
This move led her to appearances on local television segments on behalf of Chicago Parent and writing for their print publication. Soon after, she realized she wanted her own website where she could keep her own ideas and writing, and HOO-DEE-HOO was born.
“Then I discovered video-blogging, and I realized that it was what I really love,” she explains.
Again at the forefront of a new form of social media, Sinclair started speaking at social media conferences teaching the points of video blogging.
Fun and Games
Each blog and vlog, or video blog, she says, has its own niche, and hers is mom fashion and the idea of play.
“That niche of play really incorporates my education background which I love,” she says. “I talk about fun ways to play in your own life and with your kids, and I highlight the latest and greatest toys and games for kids.”
The toy, game, and play aspect of her website opened up a whole new path in her career. She now works with toy brands like Razor Scooter, who sent her to the New York Toy Fair as their “playful mom,” and Universal Studios who asked her to host an event for their new Despicable Me campaign. This will be her second year acting as toy ambassador for the Chicago Toy and Game Fair, and she’s appeared on Windy City Live and the Today Show highlighting some of her favorite and kid tested toys.
“I get emails and emails in my inbox everyday now from toy brands,” she explains. “The UPS guy comes to my door so many times it’s ridiculous with new things to try.”
Sinclair admits that her two boys, now 14 and 10, love when they hear the doorbell ring.
“If a toy can get through my two boys, I know it’s a really good toy,” she laughs.
Creating a Career from Passion
Sinclair’s job has evolved from a part-time job that she squeezed into afternoon nap time to a passionate career. She believes women can find their own passion after their children are born by using the time to dabble in their own interests.
“It’s this time of selection and growth,” she explains. “Don’t be afraid of that time, don’t be anxious. Relax in it and use it as a time of reflection. Play and take risks. Experiment and see what resonates with you.”