Bronx 'Mom's Nite Out' Gives 'Mompreneurs' a Chance to Mingle, Multitask

By Patrick Wall on May 11, 2012 11:13am 

Geanine Petraglia (l), one of three Bronx women who organized the first official "Mom's Nite Out" in The Bronx Thursday evening.
Geanine Petraglia (l), one of three Bronx women who organized the first official "Mom's Nite Out" in The Bronx Thursday evening.
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DNAinfo/Patrick Wall

VAN NEST — It was a pre-Mother’s Day paradise — nearly 200 mothers packed into a room and not a single child in sight.

At The Bronx’s first official “Mom’s Nite Out” Thursday evening at F & J Pine Restaurant in Van Nest, child-free mothers sipped fruity grownup drinks, snacked on legions of cupcakes, and listened to a pair of amped-up DJs announce a raffle that included a do-it-yourself margarita kit, because, as the emcee explained, “Sometimes after a full day of being a mom, you just need a drink.”

But, of course, these being mothers, many had come to multitask — particularly the “mompreneurs” who supplement their domestic duties and any paid work with a little money-making venture on the side.

Twenty-two vendors set up shop at the event, and almost all were Bronx-based mompreneurs.

Janet Freder, four kids, and KimMarie Metzger, two little ones, came to show off their “Pixie Clips,” homemade children’s hair accessories.

Metzger, a self-described “domestic engineer, chauffeur and cook,” beside a hairclip-maker, said the crafting happens around the kitchen table after the kids go to sleep. During the day, her 6-year-old daughter handles most of the modeling — though her 2-year-old son is not above clipping back a clump of hair now and then.

At one mouthwatering booth, Michelle Coppola arranged some home-cooked samples made using Tastefully Simple ingredients, a line of “easy-to-prepare foods” sold by thousands of independent consultants, including Coppola, across the country.

Coppola, mother of two “they’re a handful” boys, works as a contracts administrator at a pharmaceutical company for 50 hours a week, then sells Tastefully Simple food on the weekends at home taste-testing parties, which can net her up to $1,000 extra a month when sales are good.

She pointed out some of her favorite products: Classic Chocolate Pound Cake “that melts in your mouth,” Bountiful Beer Bread that she baked with a 12-ounce can of Coors Light and Garlic Garlic dip which, “If you’re eating, you need to make sure everyone you’re with is eating it too.”

The woman bearing raffle tickets that lured mothers with a chance to send their kids away for a free week of sports camp was Marie Musacchio, founder and chief of ShoptheBronx, a website and Facebook page that offers cheap advertising to Bronx businesses and coupons to Bronx consumers.

Though Musacchio, mother of three boys, was recently chosen as one of StartupNation.com’s Top 200 Leading Moms in Business, she isn’t racing to add “momprenuer” to her business cards.

“I always just considered myself an entrepreneur,” said Musacchio, who managed the New York Post’s online advertising for several years, and now runs her own company, AdTraffik.com, along with ShoptheBronx, from home.

“You want to be there for your children, but you still want to be a successful business person,” said Musacchio, and “the internet gives you the ability to do both things.”

On Tuesday, the state legislature passed a resolution introduced by Bronx Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera that officially recognizes May 10 as National Mom’s Nite Out, a “celebration of motherhood” conceived four years ago by Florida mom Maria Bailey.

At Thursday’s soiree in The Bronx, Rivera said that even on Mother’s Day, many moms wind up straightening up the house, baking treats or delivering gifts to their mothers-in-law.

“We have to learn to give ourselves time to celebrate,” Rivera said.

She also issued citations to the three women who organized the event — Rebecca Borrero and Christina Cespedes, who run Mommies Mingle, a Meetup.com group that hosts kid-friendly outings, and Geanine Petraglia, editor of Macaroni Kid East Bronx, an email newsletter filled with events, crafts and reviews.

Petraglia, with children aged five-years and nine-months, said she and her partners had been planning the party since February.

It was crucial to host the party in The Bronx, she said, both to keep local money in the own borough, but also to change people’s perception of Bronxites.

“People think that everyone in The Bronx is rude — but we’re not,” said Petraglia.

As if to prove her point, Petraglia looked up from the table where she was boxing up to-go cupcakes and bid farewell to a woman she met at the party, a mother who had just moved to The Bronx from California.

“Call me,” Petraglia said with a wave. “We’ll do a play date!”

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