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COAST, CENTRAL, AND NORTHWEST CITIES : VILLA PARK

Web Site Keeps Family on the Same Page

March 22, 2000|MARISSA ESPINO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

About a year ago, Villa Park resident Carol Cuoco woke up one day and realized she was the mother of two teen-age girls who would be off to college sooner than she liked.

The 44-year-old mother wondered: "What do people do on the weekends without their children?" and decided she needed to cherish the remaining years with her teenagers before it was too late.

After working for a company with a Web site, Cuoco learned more about the technology involved and saw an opportunity to work at home and be closer to her children.

And with the encouragement of her daughters, Jennifer, 14, and Michelle, 16, Cuoco launched her first Web site, http://www.go-mom.com/about.htm, dedicated to moms of teens.

"The older they get, the faster time passes," said Cuoco, who was a court reporter and taught court reporting for seven years. "I would just hate to miss anything right now. I really want to savor these last few years before they go to college."

Cuoco said she does not pretend to be an expert on raising teenagers but offers several resources on parenting, including articles on raising teens and links to various subjects such as college preparation, buying the first car and health issues.

The site also allows visitors to network with their peers and offers mothers a chance to research what opportunities they have to rediscover themselves once their children leave home.

"It's meant to be very comfortable," Cuoco said.

Cuoco's daughters help maintain the Web site. Jennifer helps with the design and Michelle determines, through visitor comments, what makes it most appealing. Cuoco's husband, Rick, also pitches in with design advice.

Both girls said they support their mother's newfound career and like having her home.

"I'm very proud of what she has done," said Jennifer, an eighth-grade Cerro Villa student. "I think it's amazing that one person, who has to deal with a family, did all that."

Michelle, a sophomore at Villa Park High School, said her mother can handle anything that comes her way.

"She is a very strong woman, and I knew she could pull it off," Michelle said. "Launching a Web site has got to be easier than raising two teenagers."

Although maintaining the Web site is a full-time job, Cuoco said she enjoys the ability to break away and be with her children when they need her.

"The beauty of it is when my daughter has a water polo game, I can be there," she said. "I can work full time and still be a full-time mom."

Jennifer recognizes her mother's efforts.

"I know this sounds silly, but out of my friends I am the only one that has a packed lunch from home," Jennifer said. "None of their moms take time to do it. She just takes a lot of time out for us, and she is very caring."

Cuoco launched the site in May. It receives 700 page hits and 100 responses a day via e-mail from visitors and advertisers. In October, Cuoco launched her second Web site, http://www.christmasgiftstores.com, and has about 600 subscribers to her newsletter.

There is still much to do, Cuoco says. "I am not satisfied yet," she said. "There is so much I want to add, I am just busting with ideas."

Marissa Espino can be reached at (714) 966-5879.

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