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Opinion Editorials

Why mothers rock as Realtors

As a Realtor, there are amazing lessons to learn, amazing people to meet, and flexibility, but balancing work and family life as a mother AND a Realtor is more of a challenge than many see on the surface.



Anna Altic as Super Mom.

Becoming a Realtor

I still remember clearly the day in February of 2004 that I affiliated with my Real Estate firm here in Nashville. As I sat filling out paperwork with all the assurance of a woman graced with a plan, my mentor whom I do believe actually possesses “the force” said  to me with an irksome calmness , “you know, there is no easy to make a living” and I curtly retorted  “well THIS has got to be a heck of a lot easier than what I have been doing.“

I had just had my second child and the idea of going back to 50 hour work weeks, endless meetings, client events, and office politicing just seemed something I was unwilling to do anymore.   Yet I wanted and needed to work and Real Estate seemed a fantastic compromise. As I am sure it was with many of you, I realized there was upfront cost but compared to starting your own business in other industries, this seemed doable. I loved purchasing our first home, had even helped a few of my friends find their homes in our neighborhood and I had been in sales for years so how hard could it be?

Most importantly, I was thinking gone will be the days of tense calls in to my boss because my kid caught some obscure daycare virus like fifths disease and would need sequestering for a week. No more awkward moments of showing up late to an 8am meeting because my two year old hid my keys so we could play hot and cold or kept stripping his clothes off because he didn’t like anything I put on him. Since it is generally frowned upon to deliver a naked kid to daycare as is beating your kid in to submission, I was always on the losing side of these battles. Harried and defeated, I would head to work to face my childless judgmental boss tapping her watch while spouting parenting advice and dropping not so subtle hints my job may be in jeopardy.  Good times…

I also figured if I eliminated all the endless corporate meetings and lunch ( I mean who needs an hour to scarf down a hot pocket) and just focus on my work, I  could shave at least 2-3 hours off my day. This would be the quality time I so envied stay at home moms for giving their kids and maybe, I thought, mine are so vexing because they need more of me. And the glorious flexibility; if all the schools shut down 3 hours early because of some forecasted apocalyptic weather event, if a kid forgets their lunch, or pee’s in all three of their changes of clothes, no problem – I’ve got this… 

Here’s How it Really Went Down

To be completely frank, it’s kind of a blur. At one point I found myself crawling in to crawl space with a baby strapped in a bjorn on my chest and I’ve had to sneak out of open houses to nurse babies while my husband stood watch. My favorite is when invariably I am in the car line picking up kids,  an agent or lender calls with some knuckle headed demand which leads to tense discussion while I angrily plead with my eyes at my kids in the back seat to stop screaming at each other.  Once I even hid from my kids in the bushes of my front yard to save a deal in the 11th hour hoping the attorneys didn’t hear them fighting over whose fault it was that the toilet was overflowing. I have even comforted a vomiting toddler while telling a first time home buyer they didn’t get the home they wrote an offer on, all three of us in tears.

Many of you may say sanctimoniously that I need to set boundaries or work hours and or perhaps utilize time blocking to better manage my time and conversations. To you I say, BS!!!! The reality of our industry is that there are time sensitive issues that come up at the most inconvenient times and kids will throw you curve balls just for sport. I can create the most efficient, intelligent and balanced calendar that will accommodate all the kids actives, all my client needs, marketing systems, and at one point I even naively tried blocked time for the “unexpected.”  Invariably, my schedule will fall to pieces the first 30 minutes of Monday morning when one of the kids leaves a sink running and floods our laundry room or forgets they have Greek day and need me to produce a toga replete with gold sash from thin air as well as the hummus and chips he volunteered me for.  Perhaps a sadistic underwriter decides they need written proof from a now deceased homeowner that they relinquish their interest in a home my buyer is trying to purchase an hour from now, while my computer simultaneously crashes, and my neighbor calls to tell me our dog has escaped and is chasing cars in the street. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up…

It may appear that I am a walking disaster but I am hear to say proudly, I believe in my heart mom’s make the best kind of Realtors.  If you are a first time home buyer, we are going work tirelessly to help you make a prudent purchase and get all “mother bear” on anyone who tries to take advantage of you.  If you are single, we are going to try to match you up with an amazing single friend we think you would be perfect for. If you are in the throws of a major life change good or bad, we are there with you worrying and hoping for the best and trying to make things as easy for you as possible. If you are a parent and you dash in 20 minutes late to a showing frantic because you couldn’t get your kids out the door, we aren’t going to say a word. In fact we will watch them for you while you walk through the house. Most importantly, we don’t need a document to tell us that it is our fiduciary duty to put your interest above that of our own because that is just who we are and anything else would feel unnatural.

I am now entering year 9 and it has literally taken me this long to figure out that all I really set myself up to do was try to squeeze 45 hours productivity in to 30 and I set the bar even higher for myself as a mother because of the all this “extra” time I thought I was pulling out of thin air. I wouldn’t trade any of it, even the recent lean years. I have learned so many valuable lessons, met some amazing people, and that glorious flexibility has indeed afforded me opportunities to be involved with my kids in ways it never occurred to me I could be.

Year 10 will come with one humble lesson learned and finally embraced though – there is indeed no easy way to make a living just as there is no easy way to be a mother. Happy Mothers Day !

Anna Altic – Village Real Estate Services. I’ve called Nashville home for the last 15 years and have been practicing (practice being the key word here) real estate for just over 6 years. In the fall of 2007, I went to a local German Festival that had a home tour, including a LEED certified property, and I instantly became enamored with the idea of eco friendly living (ok, so I’d had a little beer and the dual flush toilet rocked my world). I have since devoted much of my time and energies in to studying and espousing the benefits of better building technology within our local residential market and my proudest accomplishment thus far has been successfully leading the initiative to get over 25 green features added to our MLS search fields.

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  1. Pingback: Three Super Flexible Jobs for Mothers | Behind Closed Doors

  2. Jenise Gato

    May 31, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    I recently started my own (“one man”) brokerage. I have 3 kids and summer is here! As a fellow mommy realtor, what tips can you give me to have a decent balance for family and the business?

    • Lani Rosales

      June 5, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      Jenise, the first thing you have to know is that you’ll NEVER feel like you’re doing enough! You’ll never feel like you’re spending enough time with the kids, and you’ll always feel like if you had just worked four more hours this week you would have had more income next month. SO once you wrap your mind around that, you can breathe.

      Then, just as you would a corporate job, schedule hours and set expectations with your clients. When you first meet with them, remind them that it’s summer and your kids will be ever present, but they’re still your priority, and your work hours are M-S 3-7 and that they have 24 hour email access to you and you typically respond within two hours but they can always call with an emergency. Then stick to your schedule. It helps keep your children AND clients regimented and unless there’s an emergency, no client needs you 24 hours a day. Pace yourself.

      You’ve got this!

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Opinion Editorials

Don’t buy the hype that Google’s $13B investment is about creating US jobs

(EDITORIAL) Google has announced a massive expansion for their data centers and offices, but don’t buy into their hype that they’re saviors of the jobs market…



google classes

Google is reportedly investing $13 billion in their data centers and offices this year in the United States. Most of that money will be spent outside of tech centers like Silicon Valley and Seattle.

Nebraska, Ohio, Nevada, and Texas will each be getting data centers. The centers in Oklahoma and Virginia will be expanded.

Google’s CEO , Sundar Pichai, writes, “These new investments will give us the capacity to hire tens of thousands of employees, and enable the creation of more than 10,000 new construction jobs in Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia.”

The whole blog post is dedicated to how Google is connecting with communities and how it benefits the economy and supports jobs here in the U.S.

Is Google concerned about local economies?

Google does contribute to the community. I live close to a data center in Oklahoma, and I’ve heard how much it’s done for the economy in the town. I’ve also heard rumors that other communities are jealous. The company created jobs for locals. The schools are enjoying the benefits. Locally, when Google comes in, it can be a real blessing.

They want us to believe that they’re doing society a favor by “investing in communities and creating jobs.” But what are they really doing?

I believe that Google is simply spreading their tentacles further and making us more dependent on what they have to offer. According to Business Insider, Alphabet, the parent company of Google, “is a massive corporation that encompasses everything from internet-beaming hot air balloons to self-driving cars…” and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What Is Google’s motive?

If you’re a business owner, when was the last time you made a decision that was altruistic only toward the community? Face it, whether you’re a DBA or major corporation, every choice you make has to benefit your bottom line. If it doesn’t, you might as well be a non-profit 501c3 organization.

Google may benefit local communities by creating jobs and paying taxes, but don’t let the hype fool you. They’re simply maintaining their stronghold in tech by investing $13 billion in their company. Their stakeholders are simply looking forward to the profits that investment will generate.

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Opinion Editorials

Are liberal arts majors about to dominate the next wave of tech entrepreneurship? Yup!

(OPINION EDITORIAL) What do Liberal Arts majors and tech innovators have in common? Everything.



remote workers

*This is a guest story from Austin author, Will Ruff*

Crossing lines

This is a purely speculative article coming from a liberal arts major, and I do have a dog in this fight. That is: I have a liberal arts background, and I want to tell you how we’re about to drive the next wave of tech entrepreneurship based on my own experience.

Engineers have driven us forward at an incredible pace in the past few years, now it’s time for liberal arts majors to pick up the slack and tell everyone how incredible their work is. And that’s exactly what you can expect us to do: tell an incredible story.

Life comes at you fast

Let’s take a look at the past few years. Tech has moved fast. Unbelievably fast. Look at the smartphone’s evolution over the last ten years. Can you remember what kind of phone you had when an iPhone came out? I had a blackberry, and was doing door-to-door sales in college. I pine for that phone now, but they’re not really practical given how much screen I need.

In many cases, tech has moved so fast that the general population who buys a smartphone doesn’t really know what they’re getting out of a new upgrade and while they might adopt whatever new features are out there, their purchase is not driven by need.

Does a fingerprint scanner, or force touch really advance my productivity, or my security? No.

Whatever feature they’re selling you on this year will be equally underwhelming. And I would argue at best, because phones are all 99% the same, whether or not you want to admit this, that the companies behind them are struggling to differentiate themselves to their customer base, and they use features to do it. Features tell the story. The tech hasn’t really been revolutionary for years.

The big why

Think about the last time you had to buy a phone. We’ll assume that now you use one so much, you actually couldn’t imagine living without one. That’s me anyway. And we’ve all been there—the phone is locked up, or the screen’s cracked, the software upgrade shut it down, permanently, and now you have to get something new. But they should just replace it for free, I’ve been a customer for so long. Nice try. Maybe this time I’ll try an iPhone, or an Android. I’ve heard cool things about Pixel.

For whatever reason, we’ve decided to choose an operating system based on features we haven’t used yet, and this is driving up the cost of cell phones to be as expensive as a nice laptop. Well maybe they’re willing to spring an extra $200 for this new feature finally. Why wouldn’t I want this beautiful curved screen that has no edge?

For the record I’m an android user, but I could use any phone and be happy.

Now, I have nothing against advancing technology, despite my snarky tone, but the above illustrates a point of mine that is going to become more evident in the future.

Technology is only successful when you can tell its story to the audience who’s meant to use it.

It has to be clear, and it has to be on their terms. Engineers, and STEM workers absolutely drive all of the innovation, and it’s not a battle between the two, but we live in a world where billions of people have access to the Internet, and that means you have a lot more opportunity to build a business from anywhere. Not everyone is going to speak the language of engineers who build these incredible tools, and not every engineer is going to know their product can solve problems they didn’t even think of, because they can’t and shouldn’t spend most of their time talking to potential customers.

This is another area where liberal arts majors can excel.

They can look at these two groups: the engineers they work with, and the prospective customers who might use it, and they can figure out how the two are best introduced. What context they should meet under. This should always be how it works. Now, there is the rare breed of people who can be an engineer and a great sales rep, but the vast majority of people have to focus on one thing to do it well.

So, how do liberal arts majors climb into the driver’s seat in the future? I see two fundamental pieces that have to be in place.

Two steps

First, the ability to learn about technology and code is relatively cheap, and you can do it after school, and on the weekends. I did this myself after starting my career as a content strategist for a literary PR company who built sites in WordPress, and it led to designing/building/selling a website to a local business. I decided that wasn’t for me, but there’s probably some liberal arts majors out there who can do it much more efficiently than I did.

The more you know about how these things work, the more opportunity you’ll have to work for these growing companies.

The next piece is helping the next great tech company pitch their product to customers. It’s knowing how to find a potential market for something, and not being afraid to go up to anyone anywhere just to say hi, and to find out what they do. You can’t always be selling, but you can always ask questions, and maybe down the road you can help someone solve a problem because you connected with someone else who does that exact thing they need. Guess what, you’re their hero now.


The shift between tech and humanities is cyclical and we absolutely will always need each other. That’s the point of this article. We’re not constantly aware of how to work with the other, but we’re getting to a point where it’s absolutely true that non-tech people have a role in spreading the reach of useful technology to people who didn’t have access a decade ago.

Things like WordPress, social media, and smartphones have made it easy to tell people how you’re about to change the world. And the next phase of this cycle is mass adoption, education, and communication among the crowds who haven’t quite figured out how to use all these cool tools yet. Strap yourself in, and hug a tech person, or a liberal arts major.


Will Ruff is the author of “The Tomb of the Primal Dragon: A Novel” which is available for Preorder on Amazon now. You can follow him on @twitter for crass and meaningless commentary, or sign up for his email newsletter and he might spam you with free books occasionally.

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Opinion Editorials

The case for using the Oxford comma

A humorous look at why a tiny comma can make a tremendous difference in your emails and marketing efforts.



oxford comma

Depending on where you grew up, you were likely taught in grade school that in a list of three or more items, a comma is placed before the coordinating conjunction (“and,” “or,” and sometimes “nor”) in the list. Some were taught that this is mandatory, while others were told it is an irrelevant rule, and these conflicting teaching methods have led to a confused nation.

That comma is called the Oxford comma, and while some call it a serial comma, others still prefer the hoity toity title of Harvard comma. How the Oxford comma works is as follows:

  • With the Oxford comma: “I have lived in Nashville, Toronto, and Mexico City.”
  • Without the Oxford comma: “I have lived in Nashville, Toronto and Mexico City.”

You may read those examples and think that there is literally no difference. The Oxford comma was originally eliminated by publishers where each manually loaded character was questioned as real estate on a page was at a premium. Publishers looked at sentences like the two above and agreed that there was no difference. Therefore, the AP Stylebook, which is still followed by traditional journalists today (but rejected by AGBeat).

The Oxford comma is common in many non-English languages of Latin descent, like Spanish, Italian, Greek, and French, to name a few. So why do some so vehemently disagree with this tiny comma’s use? Some say it introduces ambiguity, it is redundant in situations where coordinating conjunctions already point out the logical separation between items, and it adds unnecessary characters to text (important in the original publication days, and now relevant again with Twitter users).

No one here is an expert in grammar. Several of us have English and journalism degrees, and we write thousands of pages per month, but we make just as many mistakes as the next person. Collectively, we have a select few pet peeves, such as ignoring the poor Oxford comma.

Take a look at the pictures below and tell us in the comments whether or not you agree that the Oxford comma is vital to the language:

oxford comma rules
using the oxford comma
tim tebow and the oxford comma
god and the oxford comma
lincoln and the oxford comma

This editorial was first published here in 2012, and we stand by it today!

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