Michelle is a mom of four and the co-founder of Winster.com, the friendliest gaming community on the Web.
How many children do you have? I have four girls, all in their teens.
How did you come up with the idea for your company? When I was a Stay-at-Home-Mom, I really enjoyed playing games online, but couldn’t find a game that was just right for me. The games I played pitted players against each other to win points, status or prizes. In my opinion, the games were better suited for young men that enjoyed slaying monsters or shooting villains, which definitely wasn’t my cup of tea. I prefer social activities that allow me to help friends, not compete with them. The last thing I needed was more stress or drama in my life. So I decided to design a different kind of game – one where people cooperate, rather than compete, to help each other win. I shared this idea with my friends and my mother, and they were all ecstatic about the concept, so I collaborated with my husband, Jerry, a computer engineer, and came up with Winster.com, where social game site friends help friends win prizes.
What’s your favorite parenting tip? I know this is a bit of a cliché, but don’t sweat the little things. It’s only worth bugging your kids over something that is truly important. A messy room or too much eyeliner aren’t big deals but grades, safety, and responsibility are.
What has surprised you the most about parenting? The thing that surprises me the most is how proud you can be! I never expected tears of joy over test scores, but is does happen.
How do you get your kids to eat healthy food? This is an easy one. Don’t buy food that you don’t want your kids to eat. Have lots of healthy snacks available and encourage them to try new things when they are little.
How do you work exercise into your family’s life? We love to go on hikes and walks together because it is a good time to talk, they don’t even notice the exercise. If your kids like a particular kind of exercise, you should take it up too. The more things you can do together, the better. Also, if the kids see the parents exercising regularly, eventually they will pick up on the habit too.
How do you recharge your batteries? Believe it or not, playing on Winster is a convenient and easy way for me to recharge my batteries. I take a break to play games and interact with people from all over the world for as little or as long as I’d like. People on the site are so friendly and giving. It’s so refreshing to meet people who are helpful and genuine, especially after having a rough day at work or having a tiff with my daughters.