Two Timing

While we’re not quite ready to be parents of two yet, we got a taste of what it would be like last week when we had a co-worker’s son stay over since she had an early morning meeting out of town. Of course, dealing with a two year old and a six year old is way different than an infant and a toddler, but it was refreshing to see what the future could look like.

The biggest difference of course is seeing Westley act like so much more of a big boy since there was an older child in the house and another boy. He immediately brought out his dinosaur toy and sat down on the sofa with his tablet quietly playing next to his older friend. It was so cute.

Then there was the little bit of showing off and extra clinginess for fear he would be replaced…a taste of what adding another sibling to the mix may bring out in him. For the most part, W was sweet and well behaved and it gives me hope that one day he may be a wonderful older brother. He shared and played and it was so fun to watch.

We usually have had younger kids hang out with us including our God Daughter, so it was interesting to witness how incredibly independent a 6 year old can be. From brushing his teeth to going to bed with no fuss and dressing himself, it’s wild how things change in just a few short years. Of course, I know when we get to that point, I will equally love the independence, but also miss having a sweet little toddler who craves snuggle time with mama.

Finally, got a taste of what’s to come in Elementary School including the craziness that is the drop off line. Cars upon cars, safety patrols and parents honking oh my…it’s a wild ride.

This test in “two timing” was fun, but I definitely know I need at least another year, a potty trained and more independent 3-year old and a lot more working out before I embark another baby adventure 😉

Until then, I’m enjoying every crazy moment, laugh, cry, tantrum and adventure with our little family.

XO,

Ivette

 

 

 

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Tips for Working Mamas on the Road

I’m sitting on a plane. This is my 23rd flight of the year and I’ve logged in 22,700+ sky miles. While I love my job and traveling for it, I’m a mom too and there is always some level of guilt associated with being away from my son and husband. I especially feel bad because my husband doesn’t ever travel for work, so he’s always playing single dad, while I’m jet setting.

I know I’m not alone in the juggle and hustle of being a working mom, so I wanted to share some tips on how I parent from afar and stay connected with my family.

  1. FaceTime, Not Just Phone Time

Thank you, sweet baby technology. What would working parents who travel do without you? But seriously. We are so incredibly lucky to live in a time where a video phone call is possible. I can’t imagine traveling as much as I do and not being able to FaceTime with Westley. A FaceTime call is so much more special and it makes me feel like I’m part of his evening routine. I can hear about his day, make silly faces and see him in his PJs before he goes to sleep. He gets to see my face and I get to see his and give the screen kisses. It’s my No. 1 way to stay connected and close to Westley. I also get to see Sam, which is a bonus J

  1. Pics on Pics

This may just be me, but I LOVE a photo. A photo of Westley is worth its weight in gold. I already have thousands of photos of him in my phone (current photo roll count 6,762 and at least 5,000 feature W), which I scroll through on the regular while traveling. During my travels, Sam keeps me pretty up to date with all of Westley’s adventures with action shots, videos, etc. One of my favorite pictures I’ve ever received (a series really) was W eating my baked ziti, stuffing his face with a big ole smile and literally licking the plate. It brought me so much joy to witness him enjoying a meal I made especially for them to have while I was away. So a steady stream of photos and visual updates is a must to keep this working mama happy.

  1. Wake Up Call

No matter the time zone, I always start every day with a morning call with Sam to hear all about how Westley did the night before, his morning, etc. We time it so I call Sam right as he is leaving daycare and on his way to work for a full report. Some times it’s a very early morning, but to me it is the very best way to kick off my day.

  1. Digital Daycare

Westley has a phenomenal group of teachers at his daycare and my little charmer has definitely stolen their hearts. I’ve always made it a point to get to know all of his teachers because let’s be honest, he spends more time with them during the week than he spends at home. I feel very confident leaving him at daycare because the team there truly cares about the kids. So much so, that when they know I travel, they are more cognizant of Westley’s behavior, if he is spending longer hours there or coming in earlier because of my husband’s work schedule, their main priority is keeping W happy…and they succeed. I also keep in touch with his teachers via Facebook Messenger – they send me updates and photos. It’s awesome and makes me feel more connected.

  1. Just Say No

Once becoming a mom, I have set certain rules up for myself to keep my travel in check. Sometimes I fail miserably and have back-to-back travel, but for the most part I try and stay away no more than three nights in a row and try and avoid trips that stack up. I’ve also learned to say no more than I did before having a child. Sometimes a trip is not feasible and will be an issue for my family, so in that case I have to say no. Luckily, I have a great work family with a lot of moms who get it and clients who also are mindful of my work life balance attempt.

  1. Digital Detox

I rarely travel on weekends, so weekends for me are all about family. There is honestly nothing else and no one else I’d rather be with than Sam and Westley. So part of my being present is disconnecting from emails on weekends (I check once a day for a quick skim to ensure no client crisis have occurred). I also try and put my phone away as much as possible, although I still use it for photos and to check social media because it’s something I enjoy. Being present and not spending time checking email makes my weekends feel more free and 100 percent focused on my little family.

As my good friend Heidi Floyd put it, it’s all about the work life integration. And at the end of the day, it’s about making it work for you and your family – whatever that may look like. Would love to hear from you with any other tips!

XO,

Ivette

Motivation MOMday Profile: Wendy Kerr

Today I’m featuring one of my work mom squad members – Wendy Kerr. She is an all around bad ass who kills it on the job, but always makes family her top priority. Her sweet daughter Chlo-$ is one of the cutest and sassiest 7-year olds I know. Hope you enjoy reading about this awesome mama.

  1. Mom 411 – Tell us a little about you and your family – My family is my life and includes my daughter 7 year old Chloe Sophia, my husband, Rob our kitty, Calvin and our newest edition, Sequin our 6 month old Teacup Yorkie. Since we struggled with infertility for so long to welcome our little girl after 3 IVF attempts and 4 years of treatments, I never take anything regarding her for granted and try to enjoy every stage of her life to the fullest.
  2. Mommy Mantra – Words you live by – Work hard but family is always first, life is too short to not enjoy every minute with your little one as time is not our friend…
  3. Me Time – Favorite escape, activity  Love a great run or a spa treatment because me time is so hard to come by…
  4. Mom Peeve – Biggest pet peeve as a mom – Competition between other moms, I do what I want to do for my daughter not to impress anyone else and not for social media, I just love that Chloe knows she is always the most important part of my day.
  5. Mom Hack – Necessity is the mother of invention – I just started using a new app called Chore Monster, it helps to assign chores to Chloe and keep her motivated with an built in incentive system.
  6. Mom-preneur – Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance – Refer to #2, I’m on point always while at work but I know how to separate from my home life to be fully engaged with my family
  7. Mom Squad – Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships – My work moms, my school moms my faraway moms are always good for advice and much needed laughs to get through this mom life…
  8. Mom Goals – Aspirational, inspirational – My main goal right now is to focus on as much family time as we can squeeze in, my husband works crazy hours and travels a lot so time for the 3 of us is definitely my priority…
  9. Mom-cation – Dream vacation – Always somewhere tropical on a beach with a good book and watching my little one soak it all in…
  10. My Children’s Take – Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you – My mommy is sweet and takes me to nice places and dresses up with me and gives me the funnest parties. I love her the most.

If you’re interested in being featured in an upcoming profile, please email me at ivette.faulkner@gmail.com.

 

Mom Hacks: Amazon Prime Music

First off, if you’re not an Amazon Prime member, then you’re missing out. Casa Faulkner is an Amazon household and Westley especially loves Alexa – the Amazon Echo. He talks to her all the time and says goodbye to our dog Lucy and Alexa every morning as we head to daycare.

As first time parents, we have struggled with bedtime and creating some sort of a routine that realistically works for our family. With both of us working full time and me being on the road a good chunk of the time, we really never expected Westley to ever be asleep by 7pm. Our family usually gets home around 6pm and selfishly we’d like to spend some quality time together before calling it a night. Between bath time and dinner, 7pm would not be feasible, but we wanted to get to a point where he was asleep around the same time every night and it’s an enjoyable experience.

Enter – Amazon Prime Music. Not only is it included with our Prime Membership (best $99 you will ever spend a year), but also it has an amazing array of lullaby play lists and stations. I tried lullabies on a whim because we were having issues with Westley actually napping on weekends. One day I randomly thought about lullabies and looked it up on Amazon Prime Music and found the holy grail of lullabies…Disney Classics – instrumental versions of some of Disney’s best songs. The best part, of course, is that I know and love all the songs from The Little Mermaid’s “Part of Your World” to Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” – basically 14 songs that each make me nostalgic and I sing in my head, while my toddler goes down. This was a game changer during nap time and transitioned seamlessly during bedtime, making the bedtime routine way more relaxing and enjoyable for this mama.

As with all things Disney (even lullabies), it’s magic. Westley has really gotten into these songs and looks forward to bedtime. Every night between 8 and 8:15pm, he tells us he is ready for “Night Night” and with that we say goodnight to Lucy, Alexa and Elmo, turn off all the lights, grab his “Leche” (milk) and lay down to the tunes of Disney. That along with our beloved white noise maker (which we also found and bought on Amazon…obvi) creates the perfect environment for our little guy to be out within 15 minutes.

It took us a while to get here, but we are thrilled that at least bedtime has become a fun and enjoyable time. With a toddler tyrant, you have to celebrate the little victories because you never know when the next tantrum will hit.

Happy Toddlering,

Ivette

Motivation MOMday Profile: Katie Ibarra

Happy First day of Spring and Motivation MOMday! Today I am featuring one of my oldest and best friends, Tia to sweet Westley and a fierce and fab mom – Katie Manning Ibarra. Katie was my go to mama when I was preggo, she told me all the stories no one else tells you (especially about The After Birth…), helped me maneuver through the overwhelming task that is the baby registry and continues to be a soundboard for all things mommy hood. She has an adorable daughter, Bella, who also happens to be our Goddaughter and one of Westley’s favorite people in the world. Enjoy her take on being a mama!

  1. Mom 411 – Tell us a little about you and your family

We are The Ibarra Family: Chris, Katie and Isabella. Chris and I have been married for 5 ½ years and have a headstrong, sassy, fierce 3-year old daughter!

  1. Mommy Mantra – Words you live by

“Dear God, Please Give Me Patience”

Isabella is what we call “strong-willed.” I can’t wait to see how kick ass that will be when she is an adult. However, the path to adulthood is filled with independence and stubbornness as a child.

  1. Me Time – Favorite escape, activity 

I insist on having lunch by myself once a week: Just me, my Kindle and some food. It is absolutely refreshing to not have to do anything or speak to anyone for an hour.

 

  1. Mom Peeve – Biggest pet peeve as a mom

When Bella says she needs to potty and then suddenly no longer has to potty once seated on the toilet. It’s tough because I don’t feel like I can call her bluff just yet. So for now, we go to the potty.

 

  1. Mom Hack – Necessity is the mother of invention 

When Bella was a baby, my best Mom Hack was Amazon Mom. Their discounts on diapers and wipes were unmatched and the subscription service just makes diapers and wipes one less thing to worry about.

My Mom Hack to a 3-year old is: Snacks and Netflix. We have a 25-30 minute drive to and from daycare from Monday to Friday. Snacks and Netflix give me a little bit of peace at the beginning of my day and at the end of my workday. If Bella is fed and entertained when we are in the car, I have a few minutes to prepare for the next step in our day.

  1. Mom-preneur – Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance 

I do work full-time so Bella is in daycare during the day. During the week, we are in work/school mode. During the weekend, I do my best to plan fun activities for us to do together. I am a firm believer in family time and family vacations. But, for my own personal sanity, I have been known to play “Parent Hooky” and drop Bella off at daycare, while I spend the day at home resting and relaxing.

  1. Mom Squad – Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships 

I would say that the Captain of my Mom Squad is my own Mom. She’s the first person I call when I need parenting advice. The rest of my Mom Squad includes my friends Michelle and Catherine. They both have children older than my daughter and have already experienced all of the phases that I encounter with Bella. They are my friends, my parenting mentors and my sounding board.

Having a child changes so many aspects of your life – your friendships are no exception. I have been fortunate enough that the majority of my friendships have only grown stronger with parenthood. Girls nights out have become mommy mornings at the park or playtime at Sky Zone. Sharing the trials and tribulations of motherhood with your closest girl friends is just another way to strengthen your bond.

  1. Mom Goals – Aspirational, inspirational

My parenting inspiration comes from my own parents. Looking back on my childhood, I have so many fond memories of adventure. My parents were spontaneous and fun. We traveled all the time – even if only to the Keys for the weekend. My father would create these challenges and my brother and I would rise to the occasion. We biked, snorkeled, fished, swam… There wasn’t much we didn’t encounter as children. I have so many great memories filled with love and laughter. My parents just had so much love to share. Not one person came into my parents’ house without becoming an immediate “adopted child.” There was always room and always food and always time. I am forever grateful to my parents for the way my brother and I were raised. I want that for Bella. I want her to travel, to experience spontaneous adventures, to be challenged, to volunteer, to have laughter, to have unconventional traditions that she will always remember, to be brave, to be open-minded, to be loving, and most of all, to be loved unconditionally.

  1. Mom-cation – Dream vacation 

I don’t know that I have one specific place in mind for a Mom-cation. I kind of want to do it all! However, I think I want our family travels to stay within the United States. Traveling abroad is great, but I think that there are hundreds of places in our own country that I want our daughter to see. I would say my top 5 are: New York City, The Grand Canyon, Washington, D.C., Boston and Philadelphia.

  1. My Children’s Take – Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you

Yep. Totally forgot to do this one!

If you’re interested in being featured in an upcoming Motivation MOMday, please email me at ivette.faulkner@gmail.com!

Motivation MOMday Profile: Heidi Floyd

Happy Motivation MOMday! This week, I’m featuring one of my sweetest friends —  a fellow PR Pro who juggles media relations and mom hood on the daily. Hope you enjoy her mama advice.

  1. Mom 411 – Tell us a little about you and your family

Wife to one handsome dude named Keith / Raising 3 littles in the south with the sweet tea and green grass – Grayson (4), Oliver (3), Lucy (1)

  1. Mommy Mantra – Words you live by

If it’s not a HELL YES, it’s a no.

 

  1. Me Time – Favorite escape, activity

 

Coffee. In Silence.

 

  1. Mom Peeve – Biggest pet peeve as a mom

Sanctimommies.

 

  1. Mom Hack – Necessity is the mother of invention

    GROCERY DELIVERY!!!!!!

 

  1. Mom-preneur – Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance

 

Lucky to do a job I love (head operations for healthcare PR firm based in NJ), and do it from home where I stay connected to the littles. I don’t believe in work/life balance – work/life integration makes working and raising babies possible in my world.

 

  1. Mom Squad – Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships

As necessary as air. To the tribe of women who keep me grounded, honest, and upright – you have my heart, and all the gratefulness I can muster.

 

  1. Mom Goals – Aspirational, inspirational

 

Throw kindness around like confetti.

  1. Mom-cation – Dream vacation

Machu Picchu.

 

  1. My Children’s Take – Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you

Grayson — “I like that you build electronics with me. And you give me apples. Oh, and you love flowers. I will pick you all the flowers.” #winning

 

 

 

 

Motivation MOMday Profile: Jocelyne Fliger

Happy MOMday, friends! So excited to share the first Motivation MOMday profile with you guys. This week get to know my awesome friend Josie who is teaching her little girl how to be a lady boss and change the world from day one 🙂 She shares some really great advice. Enjoy!

  1. Mom 411– I am a 37-year old social worker and activist who married someone that I love and respect, Jeremy Deese. We decided we should have a child together about 7 months after meeting and it was the best decision of our respective lives. Morgyn just turned 3 and is very smart, insightful, and a bit sly at times (aren’t they all at this age though).
  2. Mommy Mantra– We must make the most of every single day because we might not get another chance to go around the sun. Keeping this in mind creates perspective when it comes to parenting my daughter and creating experiences for my family. I take Morgyn everywhere with me- to volunteer outings, traveling, to community events. I feel that she and I should experience a wide range of activities together and if you plan correctly, you can do anything.
  3. Me Time– When I get a few, very rare free moments to myself, I love to read (right now I am hooked on the Dresden Files books- can’t go wrong with a sexy wizard!) or watch any and all of the Real Housewives, with a glass of wine of course.
  4. Mom Peeve– My biggest pet peeve is when my child doesn’t listen, but I think that is pretty par for the mom course. My other pet peeve is when anyone (ahem, grandparents, ahem) gives Morgyn too much sugar. Sugar to a child is like water to a mogwai – they do not mix well!
  5. Mom Hack– I carry an extra set of her clothes in my car with me at all times. You never know when you might want to stop by the Railroad Square Park and play in the water tubes. Another must is Boogie Wipes, which are not just for noses.
  6. Mom-preneur– I have my master’s degree in social work and actually got pregnant in grad school (while working 3 jobs no less). So I am proof that if you put your mind to it, you can do it! I believe it is my purpose to help others have a better life, so I am very involved in volunteer and civic activities. My full time gig though is as the Director of Senior Volunteer Programs at Elder Care Services. I stay quite busy with that role as we have a 15 county footprint; I might be in Jefferson County one day and Bay County the next. While there is a bit of travel, if Morgyn needs me I can remote into my work computer and work from home. I am so lucky because I love what I do and have a pretty flexible schedule. My advice to keep a good balance between home, work, and extracurricular is to try to be truly present when you are with your family and that it is okay to say no to things.
  7. Mom Squad– I am so lucky because my best friend had her child four years before mine. I get to ask her about all sorts of icky and worrisome situations. I am also lucky to have a bunch of strong women in my circles that inspire and push me to make my community better for my daughter. Lastly, I admire you, Ivette, because you are a hard working mom who is smart, determined, and an expert traveler!
  8. Mom Goals– I want to make the best world that I can for my daughter (it’s that social worker drive in me). I want to promote inclusion and cultural competence in her as we have so much to learn from each other. I relish the fact that the preschool she attends has a tremendously diverse group of students (many are even international). I want her to know that even if we do not look alike, we all have something kindred in our spirits.
  9. Mom-cation– Dream vacation hands down has to be Ireland. I can see all of us enjoying the beautiful countryside and ancient wonders. I will have to see if they let kids into the Guinness factory though… 🙂
  10. My Children’s Take– “I like to go on adventures with you.”