Thursday, October 16, 2014

Working Mom Tip: Looking Nice When You Have Small Children

Seen on Facebook: It is really hard to look really nice when you have a tiny human whose care takes precedence over how you look. Anyone else with me on this?? 

My Response:

Every working mom knows that a baby can wreck your pursuit of elegance if you let it.  The secret is, you can’t let it.  Because while other moms will understand that your kid has you looking like a hot mess in public they will talk about you. And chances are, you were talking about those crazy looking moms before you became one of them before you became a mom.

I can relate to the challenge. Both of my kids have been spitters. It’s like they are allergic to clean shirts. When they encounter a clean shirt their mission is to soil it.  I think it makes them feel better or something.  The secret to looking good is to eschew natural fabrics and rock polyester.

I know this advice seems odd coming from me. I have shared my stories of natural childbirth, making my own baby food and making green drinks from scratch. I believe in natural foods, but appreciate the simplicity polyester. For you purists, I dare you to judge me. For you moms with small kids, trust me. Man-made clothing is the secret to looking good with small children. Cotton stains easily. Silk is ruined by spit up. And it's hard to get foul odors from wool.

You want to look good and smell good? Avoid natural fibers at all costs, especially leather.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday...

My princess and her admirer...

(love this shot!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Working Mom Tips: Planned Homemade Lunches by Laura Fuentes, the Key to Reducing Workweek Chaos

We are all back into the rhythm of the school year. Back to school season represents many things to parents.  For some, it represents ten months of free childcare.  Others find that it is the time when they spend money to buy clothes, school supplies and things for their kid’s classrooms. For others it represents the beginning of carpooling, lunch making and inevitable chaos.

Back-to-school doesn’t have to be chaotic

For me, it represents a new beginning, a time to get it right, a time to create an end to the chaos that families have experienced during the school year for generations. When the school year starts we vow to abandon the lackadaisical bedtimes of the summer in favor of more rigid schedules.  That requires organized and efficient schedules.  

As working moms, we want our kids to be healthy and our mornings to go smoothly. Providing our kids with healthy lunches is one way to keep our kids healthy, but who has the time? 

When you have a plan, it is possible to provide your kids with healthy lunches without it disrupting your schedule.

An adult lunch

Having a plan for healthy school lunches calms the chaos

Laura Fuentes is a working mom who is committed to giving the rest of us healthy lunch recipes. I met Laura a year ago at the Niche Parent Conference in Hollywood, Florida.  We bonded because of our common love of healthy eating and providing our children with healthful choices. However, unlike me, Laura has created an empire focused on helping other moms do the same thing. Genius!

How Laura Became Passionate About School Lunches

I have gotten to know Laura better over this past year and have been even more impressed by her character and her story. Five years ago Laura enrolled her oldest daughter (who is now 7!) in a 3-day a week pre-school program. Initially, Laura was excited to pack healthy lunches for her filled with a variety of fresh foods. But… after three weeks she ran out of ideas. After awhile Laura ran out of ideas and her daughter was generally unimpressed by her mama's efforts.

By probing, Laura learned that the problem was “soggy sandwich mommy”. At that moment Laura realized she needed 3 things: 1) a variety of ideas made with fresh foods, 2) learn how to pack foods well in reusable containers so they remained fresh for about 4-5 hours, and 3) she needed a plan for making the meals ahead of time and assembled quickly in the morning (at that time she also had an 18 month old son).

One of the things I admire most about Laura is that she found a solution to this problem while she was knee deep in mommy duties!

Laura became an expert through trial and error

Many moms struggle with what to provide their kids for lunch.  Laura struggled for a brief period, and then she solved the problem when many moms before her had failed. As an MBA, Laura has a bit of a perfectionist streak. So, she dove right into the world of school lunches. She began testing new recipes, thinking creatively and identified options "outside the sandwich", and developing a lunch packing techniques that could easily be duplicated by anyone. In a word, Laura's commitment to her daughter created a business.

Sharing her lunch making tips with others

Two years later when her oldest two were in school 5 days a week, she launched MOMables, the first meal planning website specifically developed for kids.  The next year she launched her personal blog where she began sharing recipes with others.

The Cookbook was born

I tracked Laura's progress with her cookbook on social media and was thrilled when it was completed.  Here is how it evolved.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Peek Into the Life of a Working Mom: Having it All

I don’t want to have it all—I want to have what men have.” Miriam Gonzalez Durantez

Often when the topic of “having it all” comes up it can seem to be a classist discussion where entitled women are advocating to fulfill their own selfish desires. Indeed, “having it all” sounds a lot like “having your cake and eating it too”. For generations, we have been taught that “having your cake and eating it too” is not only wrong, but impractical and selfish. 

       We scoff at those who suggest it is possible and practical people don’t even attempt to pursue such a pointless goal. 

Having it all and other lofty goals

That said, I am generally a proponent of the concept of having it all because I understand the connotation. It reflects the desire to have a fulfilling life that includes professional satisfaction and personal fulfillment. It’s in response to the many women, including Erin Callan, former finance executive, who have written about how they sacrificed having children in favor of focusing on their careers and they regret it.

Still, I do find it interesting that the notion of “having it all” only became a discussion point when more middle class, white women began working. When those types of women worked, the presumption was working outside of the home was a choice and not a requirement. Accordingly, something other than survival was motivating them.

Prior to that and men (and poor women often members of underrepresented ethnic groups) who worked and had children were simply doing what was necessary or expected. They were providing for their families. And somebody in the household had to work to make ends meet. Nobody noted their sacrifice or accomplishments and nobody thought it was special.  Moreover, nobody questioned that working and having children was somehow in conflict. It was universally accepted and not questioned.

Once you believe that working is a choice certain ideas seem normal instead of insulting. People feel comfortable expressing ideas like,  "Don't be greedy. Nobody can have it all." or "You may be able to have it all, but you can't have it at the same time." Some women are beginning to question that logic.

           Wouldn’t it be nice if working mothers received the same matter of fact acceptance?

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Wordless Wednesday (almost)

Generally our weekends are jam packed and we are in different places. Andre is renovating the new house and I am with the kids. The other week we were fortunate enough to go out to dinner together to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday. As you can see, we had a great time!

Tender father/daughter moments

Me and the baby!

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