By Katie Collins
News Eagle reporter
A wife and mother of two, Susan Szymczyk had an idea and she ran with it. Three years ago, after going to stores and never finding free magazines that were meant for moms, Szymczyk took it upon herself to start, "hyper Mommy," a free magazine for moms. Szymczyk says she thinks moms "need the most help," so she thought the magazine would be a great opportunity to help the community and local moms.
A bimonthly magazine, with just the help of her husband Andrew delivering the 7,000 magazines to Pike, Wayne and Monroe counties, Szymczyk produces the magazines out of her home.
Each issue, Szymczyk works to provide tips and advice for parents with articles contributed by readers as well as informative pieces from the internet. Shannon Sennefelder, a Certified Performance and Relationship Coach helps parents with issues they may be experiencing, like a recent parent asking Sennefelder how to deal with the loss of a family dog. The criteria for articles, Szymczyk says, the articles need to offer advice, such as a piece from a local dentist.
Without any website development experience, Szymczyk was able to teach herself how to use Adobe software and create She credits Google with teaching her everything she needed to know, and she calls Google "her best friend."Wanting to help other parents, Szymczyk says she decided to create the magazine, rather than joining the Parent Teacher Association, because she understands that when parents have children, "your life changes so drastically" and sometimes "you lose, kind of a sense of identity," and through the magazine she says she wanted to go out in the community and meet other parents. So far, Szymczyk says she has been meeting parents, which has been "really rewarding."
In order for the magazine to be "accessible to everybody," Szymczyk says she decided to make it free because the whole idea of the magazine is to "help local parents," and as a mom, she says sometimes, busy moms, don’t have the money to buy a five dollar magazine.
Thus far, the hardest part of producing the magazine, Szymczyk says, is finding sponsors who want to advertise. She says it’s hard because, "it’s not like I can sit on the phone all day." So, instead, she has turned to emailing her sponsors.
At this time, "hyper Mommy" is available at over 300 businesses, but with time, Szymczyk says she would like to expand into the Scranton area and provide more copies because they go fast. Eventually, Szymczyk says she would love for the magazine to grow, in part because she has received rave reviews from parents and the community. She says she has, "really been blessed" because of the success of the magazine and everyone’s help.
With ads from local businesses, Szymczyk says a part of the magazine that is important to her is that it is an opportunity to support the community and local businesses. At a low cost, she says the magazine offers an "advertising solution for local businesses." There are free ads and donated space to nonprofit organizations like the Make a Wish Foundation and the Special Olympics.
Szymczyk admits that the work is not easy, but being a bimonthly magazine helps, plus sticking to a routine is important too. Through time, Szymczyk says she has learned that "if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen and that’s okay." She adds that people should not stress themselves out because "you’ll lose your head, you really will."
The best thing Szymczyk has taken away from doing the magazine, she says, is balancing family and time management.
With a mother's glow, Szymczyk says, being a mom, "is everything, it’s just fantastic." She adds that she is "super lucky to have an amazing family" because of the endless help from her husband and her girls.
The oldest of six, her entire life, Szymczyk says she has wanted a large family. Currently, with Madeline, five and Olivia who is two and a half, Szymczyk is expecting her third girl. But, she does not plan on stopping there, because she would like four, with the fourth hopefully being a boy. Being the eldest of six, she says it helped her have a "can do attitude," because more often than not, Szymczyk says she is able to handle anything that is thrown her way. When the magazine first started, she admits that she did get overwhelmed because she was "very nervous and scared." But with her husband by her side, Szymczyk says she learned that "if it doesn’t happen tomorrow, my life is not going to be over."
With some advice for parents, Szymczyk suggests that parents "make the most out of your life," because if there is something they want to do, "you can do it." But, Szymczyk adds, "you have to put your mind to it and work hard" because "nothing is going to come easy for you." Of the magazine and her life, she says she is doing what she loves, which "is an amazing feeling."