Honoring Parents Category
Last week we met Johanna a new mom full of fun and energy. Today we have with us Anna – a mom with a lot of experience under her belt. Married for 19 years, Anna has 7 children ages 18 years old to 4 months old! We were able to catch Anna for a glimpse into her world.
Wow – 7 children! Did you always want to be a mom to a big family?
No, I was the first in my school crowd to say I will never ever have children, but God had other plans!
7 children brings a lot of experience and diapers! How would you say your parenting has changed over the years?
I would have to say when I was younger there was a tendency to give my child anything to keep him or her happy. I also didn’t spank the children or discipline them even though I was taught to do this and I rejected the advice of experienced people in our family. Needless to say, I no longer give my children everything they want and I do discipline them now. I’ve learned to always listen to experienced people and look to see if they were successful!
Do you ever find it overwhelming to have such a large family?
No not at all! If you teach the children to clean up after themselves, do their chores and not raise a lazy child, it helps. Also I’ve had to teach them to use “inside voices,” otherwise it can tend to get a little loud!
What is your secret to keeping everything organized?
I’m a stay at home mom, so its not so hectic to keep the house in order, take kids to appointments, help with homework, prepare dinner, etc.
What have your children learned from having so many brothers & sisters?
They have learned that there is always somebody to play with and they are not always going to get along with each other, but they must stick together like glue. Family is #1!
Now for a quick glance into Anna’s life.
What is your favorite time of day? My fav time of the day is nighttime because it’s my time to relax with my hubby, pop in a movie and share a bowl of popcorn.
What’s the one pregnancy product you couldn’t live without? I couldn’t live with out the baby doppler. I just had to hear the baby’s heartbeat everyday 3 times a day!
What is your favorite hobby you do with your children? Yard sailing and community events.
If someone was going to make a movie of your life, who would play you in the movie? What would the title be? Renee Zellweger… A Bio of A Mother’s Love
During this special Mother’s Day month we are highlighting some moms who work at Kolcraft. We are excited to start our Kolcraft Mom interviews with Hyon who is our Fashion Design Manager. Not only is Hyon talented and vivacious at work, she is mom to two beautiful girls so her work at a baby gear company takes on special meaning.
You have a great story of “love at Kolcraft,” but let’s start at the beginning. How did you decide that you wanted a career in fashion?
It’s a long story. Here’s the short version…I was always a creative person, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue a career in it. I already had plans to study something very different, very structured, but somewhere along the line it was obvious to me and to everyone around me that I was not happy with what I was doing. I had complete support from all my friends and family to go after my dreams and do something that will make me happy. It sounds so cheesy, but it is important to go after your dreams! I will pass this wisdom on to my kids.
When you came to Kolcraft you met the man you would eventually marry. Having both worked in the baby gear world, did you feel a little more prepared to be parents?
Yes and no. Yes I felt more prepared, but only with the technical aspects of baby gear; folding and unfolding a stroller, assembling a bassinet, etc. When it was actually time to take care of the baby…not so much. For me, it was a whole new experience. I would honestly say that my husband was much more prepared than me. He already had experience taking care of babies…he has two siblings much younger than him. I had never changed a diaper in my life! The first week or so was a bit challenging, but you quickly adapt to this unique situation and somehow everything becomes second nature. It’s all worth it!!! And you forget about all the headaches you had with the first one…then comes baby #2!
You decided to be a working mom and Damon is a stay at home dad. What would you say the benefits are of being a working mom and breaking the stereotypes that you would be the one to stay home and not Damon?
As a working mom, the time I have with my kids is that much more special because of the short time I have with them when I get home. The benefit, according to Damon, the kids will always consider me the “treat” at the end of the day. I truly feel that dads don’t get enough recognition when it comes to parenting. Nowadays, dads are very hands on with everything: feeding, sleeping, cleaning, etc. I don’t think parenting stops when one (mom or dad) goes to work. Physically I am not there with the kids, but I am still planning the next meal, what games to play, which books to read, etc. And as soon as I get home, it’s all about kids!
You have been at Kolcraft for 9 years. What unique challenges do you find in the fashion aspect of baby gear that you didn’t find working in other fashion industries?
In the apparel world, generally, the primary focus is aesthetics. But in the baby gear world, functionality plays a major role alongside aesthetics. Just like everything else in life, you have to find the right balance; choose fabrics with structural integrity but also soft to the touch, forecast colors that are trendy but still timeless, etc. The apparel industry has trends that are fleeting but with baby gear, the products tend to get reused, whether it’s for the 2nd or 3rd child or you pass it down to friends or other family members. It’s these kinds of challenges that make my job even more worthwhile.
How has being a mom impacted how you design baby gear?
I tend to think a lot more about the end users: mother, father and baby. If a product only looks good, but doesn’t function well for the parents and doesn’t provide comfort for the baby, then it is an incomplete product.
Hyon at a glance :
Favorite part about being a mom? The out-of-the-blue, indiscriminate “I LOVE YOU, MOMMY”
Favorite time of day? When I get home from work – all the smiles, the hugs and the kisses that I get as soon as I walk through the door.
Best “sanity” break to recharge your mom battery? Sitting in my massage chair for 15 minutes.
If someone was going to make a movie of your life, who would play you in the lead roll? What would the title of the movie be? Beyonce?! Irreplaceable
Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to talk with us Hyon. If you have a burning question for our “fashion mom,” feel free to leave it in the comment section!
This Sunday, all across the United States, mothers will be celebrated for their love, dedication, care and commitment to their children. This holiday dates back to ancient Greece honoring the great mother of gods and has since taken root in several religious and civil celebrations throughout the world.
Some will celebrate Mother’s Day with gifts, a special outing, preparing a meal for mom or going to her favorite restaurant. My mom still has the myriad of Mother’s Day cards my sister and I made for her throughout the years. She loves to look through them and tell stories of us when we were little – like the time we brought her breakfast in bed and managed to dump it on the sheets. Nothing like starting your special day doing laundry! Whether it’s breakfast in bed or a celebration at a bed and breakfast, the ways to pamper mom are endless.
Do you have a favorite Mother’s Day memory or a special Mother’s Day request? If so , please share it with us. And if your special wish is to be pampered in a spa, make sure a special someone enters you in our Mother’s Day contest.
Are you a busy mom with barely any time -if any- to get ready in the morning? You can still have a “finished” look on the go and new York City’s makeup artist Carmindy is ready to help with some easy tips from her new book, Crazy Busy Beautiful: Beauty Secrets for Getting Gorgeous Fast. A few easy tips that we liked:
- In a pinch, you can use mascara as eyeliner. Pick up a little color from the mascara wand with a cotton swab and smudge it into the lashline.
- When applied with a clean dried-out mascara brush, regular hair gel can work as brow gel.
- For a quick hint of glow-to-go, bland a dab of clear lip gloss on the top of the cheekbones.
Whether you have time to “prime yourself” or not, we are know you are a beautiful mom inside and out!
What quick “get ready” tips do you have?
It’s May and we are celebrating Motherhood in a special way. For our 5 Mom Mondays this month you will be hearing from moms who come from very different backgrounds and experiences, but who share a deep love for being a mom. We kick off our Month of Moms with Johanna from And Baby Makes Three (Plus Pooch)
As a first-time mom what were some of your fears of becoming a mom?
I worried that I’d never be able to do it all. I was worried that I wouldn’t be good enough; that I wouldn’t have enough to offer or to teach my daughter. I worried that I would work too much and spend too little time with the baby and she’d resent me. Or that I’d work too little and spend too much time with her and get fired. I worried that I would never sleep again, that I would never, ever be caught up on laundry, and that the days of my husband and I sitting alone to enjoy a bottle of wine would be as frequent as a buy one/get one sale at Bloomingdales. And I worried that I’d have to buy all new clothes because I didn’t think there was a chance in the world that my behind was ever going to fit into my skinny jeans again.
What has been your biggest surprise about motherhood?
That none of the stuff I feared mattered. I was surprised to find out that as long as I did the best at what I knew, it was enough for my daughter. After all, she was new at this whole thing too. Everyone talked about the instant connection that I would feel after the baby was born, but nothing prepared me for how deeply into my bones and through my blood I would feel that love. I was totally shocked that I didn’t always totally mind when Marin woke me up at 2am. I was surprised by how unbothered I was by her dirty diapers, her runny nose, her spit up… And I was surprised by how content I was to just sit with my daughter in silence, not necessarily doing anything at all. And yes, I was surprised when I fit back into those jeans. In fact, I did a dance and ran around singing, “My jeans fit! My jeans fit!” and I’m not embarrassed to admit that.
What is your biggest challenge?
Balance. That work/life/family/love/friends/dog walking balance has been really hard for me. I’m not sure I will ever really figure this out. Does anyone?
If you could receive ‘expert advice” on one aspect of parenting, what would it be?
How to survive a meltdown in the middle of the grocery store… the kind where your child just plops right down on the floor and wails. Yeah, I’m there.
Where do you see yourself in 25 years?
I just did the math and am over the fact that I will someday be as old as my mother-in-law… but I’m not yet over the shock that Marin will someday be 26! Isn’t she going to be my sweet, innocent baby girl forever? I suppose if forced to face that reality, in 25 years I’d love to be relaxing, traveling, writing, and thinking about how to gently persuade Marin to make my husband and me, grandparents.
Now for a quick glance into Johanna’s life.
What is one thing always in your fridge? Whole milk and my grandparent’s homemade pickles!
What is your one guilty pleasure? Jelly bellies. I like to eat them in amounts too embarrassing to disclose.
If you had a free day to yourself, how would you spend it? At the park with Marin in the morning, at the spa with a girlfriend in the afternoon, a quiet dinner with my husband that evening… all topped off with a good book in a bubble bath. Ahhhh…perfection!
If someone were going to write a book on your life, what would they title it? I had the idea about a year ago to write a book titled Blood, Sweat and Breastmilk, based on my theory that breastmilk has unparalleled value to a breastfeeding mother. And about the equal parts love and sweat equity that a mother pours into her children. I think that pretty fairly represents my life at this moment.
Thank you Johanna. We really enjoy your great outlook and sense of humor. If any of our “seasoned moms” have figured out the “balance of life” part of motherhood, chime in!
We are sure you are a Marvelous Mom and we want to celebrate you! To honor Marvelous Moms, Kolcraft is hosting a Marvelous Moms contest where you can win a $150.00 spa pamper package. The contest is easy to enter:
- Put a photo of a Marvelous Mom on our Facebook wall along with a paragraph or two explaining why she is a marvelous mom
- Judges will pick the finalists from the entries and you will get to vote on which finalist you think should win.
- While you cannot nominate yourself, tell your kids, friends, hubby, significant other, etc. so they can nominate you because we know you are a marvelous mom just waiting for a spa day!
Join the fun because you deserve to be pampered! Complete details are on our Facebook Mother’s Day Tab
Today we have the opportunity to talk with Beth from Happily Domestic. Beth is a SAHM to 4 beautiful children ages 9 years old to 5 months. If that didn’t keep her busy enough she also is their home-school teacher. We were excited to have a few moments to catch up with her.
The name of your blog, Happily Domestic, seems to say it all for you. What is your favorite part of being a SAHM?
First of all I want to say that I feel absolutely honored and blessed to be able to stay at home with my children. My husband and I decided from the start of our marriage to live off one income. We did this so that it would not be a shock to us when we started our family. It hasn’t always been easy financially, but worth every sacrifice. I have never missed hearing any of my children’s first words, I was by their sides as they took their first steps, and have had the privilege of teaching both my older children to read. This is my favorite part about being a stay at home mom.
How are you able to keep a balance in your life with four children, homeschooling and writing a blog?
Good question. I am still trying to find the perfect balance. It is a challenge keeping up with it all. My days are very busy from early morning until late at night. One thing I have been working on is making sure I am not caught up in time wasters. I do not watch television, I do not have a cell phone (I do not text anyone), I keep my phone calls brief and have recently set my computer so that I can only go online in the evening. These things help tremendously at keeping me focused on the everyday tasks that need to be accomplished.
You have great tips on saving money. What would you say is the most important thing for a family to keep in mind so they can save money?
I think that American families in general are caught in a trend that they need to have it all to be successful. We are continually told that we need the big house, the luxury cars, etc. All the while we are becoming increasingly more in debt. This is not a successful lifestyle. We all need to be good stewards of what we are given and learn to live within our means. We cannot rely on our jobs to always provide. If the goal is to live debt free (including your home mortgage) then saving money will come easy to you. After all, we owe it to our children to leave them with more than just debt when we die.
What has been your “success tip” for raising children?
I was raised in a broken home. My parents divorced when I was 6 and I was shuffled back and forth between Colorado and California until I was 18. I experienced a great deal of stress growing up. I was rejected by my own mother and mentally abused by her when I had to stay with her. I always knew in my heart that when I had children of my own that I would do everything in my power to be a great mom for them. I never want a day to go by that I take my children for granted. My success tip for raising children is to realize that your little babies will one day be grown adults. Love on them, spend time with them, let them know that they are special. I see so many parents who seem put out by their children and it is sad. We have only a few short years with them. We need to learn to cherish each and every day.
What is the one thing you know now after parenting 4 children that you wish you knew at the start of your parenting journey?
I wish I knew how fast they grow up. Little old ladies always use to tell me, “enjoy them…they grow up fast!” I would laugh and go on. Wow! It goes FAST. I wish I had spent less time stressing and more time enjoying my little ones. Even on those days when they were marking the walls with crayons or tearing the batting out of our couch.
Now for a quick glance into Beth’s life.
What is the book currently by your bedside? There is no book, just an adorable little baby boy sweetly sleeping in his bassinet.
What’s the one baby-care product you couldn’t live without? This is a hard one. There are so many baby products I feel I could not live without. For instance…my nursing cover (I am not about to start lifting my shirt in public), my baby monitor (I would worry excessively if I could not hear my baby while he is taking his naps), my Itzbeen timer (My poor baby would probably be nursed only 3 times a day if I didn’t have this handy timer to remind me when I last fed him)…but hands down I could not live without a stroller! How else could I go anywhere with having two little ones 2 and under???
If you had a free day to do anything you wanted, what would you do? A whole day to myself? Wow! This may seem simple, but I would love to go to lunch downtown with some of my girlfriends, go shopping at all the neat little shops and then end the day with a trip to a day spa for a massage and pedicure.
What’s your favorite activity to do with your kids? We love to go to the library together. Our local library always offers puppet shows, craft parties, special guest entertainers, and story times. I love seeing how excited my children are every time we go through the library doors. We pick out books and movies together and always have an enjoyable time.
Thank you for your time and insight Beth! You truly are an inspiration.
This week we are celebrating Earth Day. We thought it would be fitting to feature a “green mom” on our Mom Monday interview. Today we are lucky to have the earth-friendly, eco-minded, ever-so-green mama Maggie from Dexter’s Super Savvy Mommy.
You started your blog because of the economy and the lack of jobs open to educators while Dexter was still a little guy. What would you say you have learned through this unplanned twist of events?
Unplanned is right. I have learned that I can never take anything too seriously. Before becoming a parent, I thought I knew what I wanted. My plan was to travel around Europe after graduation and then settle down to look for a job. Well, I never travelled abroad but I did look for a job. I remember the day I found out I was pregnant I thought, I can’t be a teacher because someone else would have to watch my child. Putting Dexter in day care was never an option for me. I wanted to be there for every little moment and that, to me, is the greatest gift ever. Now that I am expecting baby number 2, I am still not hunting down a teaching job. My education is something that no one can ever take away from me, but the same cannot be said for the years when my children are babies and toddlers. I wouldn’t give up what I am doing for anything, not even a trip to Venice.
Your blog is defiantly earth-friendly and you are a “green-mom.” Can you tell us what that means for you and how you became so passionate about it?
Being green, to me, means that you are aware of the impact that you make on the environment. You are conscious about the decisions you make and the products that you use. To me, being a green-mom is more about doing what is right for my family rather than what is popular.
It wasn’t until after I became a Mom that I woke up and realized that the products that I was using on Dexter may have been “trusted by Moms for over 100 years” but that those Moms were unaware of the damage that they are causing their own children. I constantly have friends and family asking me about products, ingredients, etc. because they are trying to be more aware. For instance, in my household you will never see a product that contains parabens, phthalates, SLS (sodium laurenth sulfates) or petrochemicals. Why is this? Because these toxins/chemicals have been shown to not only cause cancer and cause premature puberty, but also because they can disrupt many your body’s natural functions. Did you know that when a baby is born, there are about 200 chemicals present in their blood? Of those 200 chemicals, 180 of them are known carcinogens! That is shocking but whats more….you can do something about it. By purchasing more all natural products you are protecting not only yourself but the lives of those around you (and inside of you).
ecoSTORE USA is an amazing Michigan-based company that loves Mommy bloggers. I worked with them eons ago on a couple of reviews and they are the people responsible for teaching me about chemicals that are found in virtually all household cleaning products and health and beauty products. I thank Lyne and ecoSTORE USA for their commitment to the health of the environment and for the health of my family.
Has Dexter picked up on your earth-friendly habits?
Funny that you ask. Even for a 2 year old Dexter is very aware. The other day he picked up an empty toilet paper roll and correctly put it into our recycling bin. That was one of my proudest moments.
Some people find it difficult to be green as a parent. How have you overcome the seeming “inconveniences” of finding and using green parenting products?
I don’t think it is hard at all. Being green doesn’t mean that you have to be a freak. It just means that when you are able to recycle, you do. When you aren’t in a room, you turn the light off. It means using products that help contribute to the health of the planet. These products are certainly not hard to find when you know what you are looking for. Education is the key.
Also know that when a company claims to be green, they don’t need to prove it. BUT, when they are claim to be organic they have to hold up to the US Government’s standards. Also, full disclosure of ingredients is key to knowing exactly what is in the products that you are going to use to clean or bathe yourself or your home. You wouldn’t want to eat something before you saw the ingredient list, right?
What tip would you pass along to someone who wants to be more “green” in their parenting, but doesn’t know where to start?
Knowing what certain ingredients are in the products that you buy is, in my opinion, a great place to start. This webpage is a wonderful resource to help you get started!
Familiarize yourself with your community and know where your local recycling center is. Having separate containers for plastics, glass and cardboard help to streamline your trip so you aren’t sorting it at the facility. Lucky for me, I live in a pretty green city. We have several recycling centers and the closest to me is only a couple of miles down the street! Dr. Greene’s books are also wonderful resources. He wrote Raising Baby Green and Feeding Baby Green.
Now for a quick glance into Maggie’s life.
What is the one product you will never see in your house? HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)
What is your favorite vacation spot? I love Door County, Wisconsin, New York City (BlogHer 10 here I come) and Mexico (anywhere warm really). I hope someday to add Italy to this list.
What is your greatest accomplishment? Hands down, without a doubt, becoming a Mom. I went into motherhood the hard way by choosing no drugs during labor/delivery and I breastfed. I did all the feedings for the first few months, but it was all worth it. I look at the child that calls me Mommy and I know that even as lucky as he feels to have me to kiss his boo boos and tuck him in at night that it is me who truly is the lucky one!
What’s the one thing that always motivates you? Besides my family, it would definitely be me. I want a lot of things out of life and I know I can’t depend on anyone but myself. Obviously I can depend on my husband for most things, but it is the inner dreamer in me that keeps me working as hard as I do to achieve all that I can!
Thanks Maggie for your insight!
What green-tips for parents do you have? Please share them with us in the comments.
Also check out Ecostore USA. This month they have a special 2 for 1 deal!
This Mother’s Day weekend the movie Babies will debut. This movie chronicles the lives of 4 babies from around the world – from birth to first steps. The featured babies from varied backgrounds and countries are: Ponijao from Africa, Bayarjargal from Mongolia, Mari from japan, and Hattie from the USA. Throughout the film we see unique and universal characteristics of babies.
Focus Films has done a great job of engaging the audience around their film. Check out their movie page for contests, apps for capturing memories of your baby, group rates to see the film and much more.
We obviously love babies here at Kolcraft and have popcorn in hand ready to enjoy the adventure and journey of Babies.
Are you planning on seeing the Babies movie?
Today’s Mom Monday features Dee from Two of a Kind Working on a Full House. We truly enjoy Dee’s insight, creativity, honesty and humor. We know you will love her too.
It seems that your “full house” is becoming a reality with the “addition” to your household this past year. How has being a mom of two little ones changed your life?
We are busting at the seams after having Isabella and are in search of a bigger house to fill. Surprisingly, life with two isn’t that much different than life with one. There are just more hugs to be had and kisses to be stolen. I had no idea my heart could love so much.
What did you learn from your first pregnancy that helped you out with your second?
I learned that I didn’t need to worry about every little hiccup.
How did you prepare your older child for the arrival of a sibling?
He turned 2 just two days before she was born, so he didn’t quite understand. We did have a baby doll that we kept around the house and showed him how to be gentle with it.
What has been your greatest joy of motherhood?
That’s a hard question. I love it all. I was totally made to be a mommy and love the tears just as much as the hugs. Waking up every morning to a little boy crawling in bed with me and giving me a kiss has to be the best feeling in the world.
How about your biggest challenge?
Time management. I want to be able to split my time between them equally and then we never seem to make it out the door when we’re supposed to. Our family and friends just know that we’re going to be late.
Have you had an “Ah-ha” mom moment that you can share with us?
I think I’ve had several which is why this question is so difficult for me. I would say my first was when Evan was just a few weeks old. He cried all the time…seriously…never stopped. I was always a wreck because I just knew that he was driving other people crazy. We were out to eat and I was frantically trying to get him to stop crying. My mom told me to look around. No one seemed to notice, everyone was enjoying themselves at their tables. There was even another baby crying a few tables down and I hadn’t noticed because I was freaking out over Evan. I calmed down and just hugged my baby. I thought he was bothering other people, but he wasn’t, he just needed his mommy to love him and he could tell that I was a wreck.
Now for a quick glance into Dee’s life.
What is always in your fridge? I’m probably supposed to say something like apples, right? I always have some sort of chocolate in there because I like cold chocolate.
What is your guilty pleasure? Just one? I like to eat brownies or cookies while watching the biggest loser.
If you had a “free day” with no commitments or obligations, what would you do with it? If I didn’t have my kids, I would take a bubble bath in peace and would watch a movie that I wanted to watch. But after about an hour or two, I would honestly miss my kids too much and have to get them and play with them. I took cake classes once, but didn’t even go to the last class because I missed my kids like crazy while I was gone for those 2 hours.
What is your favorite time of day? Nap time! I finally get to eat a little something without babies hanging off of me and I can watch them sleep on their monitors.
What’s one thing on your list of dreams that you still need to accomplish? Win the lottery! Just kidding-you’d actually have to play to win. One day, I’d love to own a place that does wedding receptions. How cool would it be to be a part of other people’s special day?
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us!
If you have any questions for Dee, feel free to leave them in the comment section!