How She Does It: Angela Santomero

Angela Santomero
Angela Santomero

Do you know Angela Santomero?  You might not.  But I bet you know her work, especially if you’re a parent.  Blues Clues?  Super Why?  Peep and the Big Wide World?  Angela created these characters and more.  It has been years since my children enjoyed those TV shows, but I’ll always feel a fondness for them.  In a very real way they accompanied my early years as a mother.  In addition to being the producer responsible for such great television hits, Angela is also the mother of two daughters.  She lives with them and her husband in Connecticut.

I was hugely honored when Angela agreed to participate in How She Does It (thank you to Samantha Ettus for putting us in touch.)  You can learn more about Angela, her work, and her thoughts on parenting at her website, Angela’s Clues.

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Tell me about the first hour of your day?  (I often describe mine as being “fired out of a cannon”)

My husband does the heavy lifting in the morning. We get up and get our two girls out the door for school and then I get ready for work. I had started meditating for 10 minutes in the morning and have my “morning pages” journal by Julia Cameron on the side of my bed. But alas, as school started I have yet to do those things!

Do you have a work uniform that you rely on for getting dressed?  What is it?

For the Fall it’s usually a dress and tall boots!

How do you and your spouse reserve conflicts about scheduling?

The same way everyone does — we debate. But we debate Italian style!  🙂

Do you second-guess yourself?  What do you do when that happens?

I have to remember to always trust my gut. My best decisions are the ones that I make from my intuition. I’ve always said that I studied and read every book about child development and then just “threw them away” and started writing from my gut. The truth is I need to be prepared and then to write from my passion.

What time do you go to bed?

11pm-ish

Do you exercise?  If so, when?

I love yoga. I tend to go to more classes on the weekends than during the week.

Do you cook dinner for your kids?  Do you have go-to dishes you can recommend?

We make a mean veggie stir fry!  Varying the veggies and protein and sauce changes it up!

Do you have any sense of how your children feel about your working?

I know they feel proud. They have been to some of my talks where I get to thank them. And they love to see the entire production process and help out in it. My girls are 14 and 12 now so they have helped to give notes on scripts, storyboards, animation, and have even lent their voices for voice overs! They love seeing a bit of themselves on screen! I also know it’s hard when I travel or work late. FaceTime has been a godsend– I’ve been face timed out of meetings to check on next day outfits or haircuts or to hear the latest news in their lives.

What is the single piece of advice you would give another working mother?

Make your own rules with regard to your own kids and how you parent. Don’t follow anyone elses. And the best advice I was ever given was “you are the best parent when you don’t care what others think.”  Also, as a working mom, the ability to be flexible is key for me so I can be at as many things as possible.

And, inspired by Vanity Fair, a few quick glimpses into your life:

Favorite artist? Greg Santomero, my husband and Traci Paige Johnson, co creator of Blue’s Clues

Favorite jeans? AG

Shampoo you use? Kerastase and switch off with Peter Thomas Roth

Favorite book? The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron.

Favorite quote?  “Play is the work of childhood.” – Piaget

“Education is a dress rehearsal for life that is yours to lead.” – Nora Ephron

Favorite musician? Listening to a lot of Taylor Swift these days!

Favorite item (toy, clothing, or other) for your children?

My 12 year old:  her sewing machine

My 14 year old: her collection of Broadway playbills.

How She Does It: Stephanie Clifford

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I read Stephanie Clifford’s Everybody Rise without even realizing how many friends and connections we had in common (it turns out we went to the same high school).  The book is compulsively readable, fascinating, and entertaining.  Clifford makes salient and sometimes uncomfortably true points about the emphasis a specific part of today’s world places on money and heritage and amusingly, compellingly evokes a certain corner of society.

Many critics have called Everybody Rises heroin, Evelyn, a modern day Lily Barth, and the novel certainly reminded me of Wharton, updated for the social media generation.  Clifford’s book transports you to another world, makes me laugh, and makes you cringe all in space of a few pages.  I highly recommend it!

Stephanie Clifford herself has many balls in the air (more, ultimately, than Evelyn does!).  She’s a reporter at the New York Times, a successful novelist, and a mother.  I was so happy when she agreed to be this month’s How She Does It feature.  Without further ado – her answers.  And I urge you to buy and read Everybody Rise!

Thank you, Stephanie!!

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1. Tell me about the first hour of your day?  (I often describe mine as being “fired out of a cannon”)

It is, counterintuitively, one of the most peaceful parts of my day. When I was writing “Everybody Rise,” I’d get up at 6, make myself a decaf coffee, and go to my desk, where I’d write until 8. (It took five years of doing this!) I had my baby – he’s now 2, so not so much of a baby anymore – when I was close to having a draft of the book done. Happily, he’s a late sleeper, so I was able to keep up the 6-8 routine, working on new drafts, once he settled into a sleep pattern.

These days, he starts chatting to himself at about 7:40, and by 8, that becomes full-on yodeling. My husband and I tend to trade off – one of us gets him up and dressed while the other one showers, and the other gets him breakfast while the first one showers. Then I feed the cats, feed myself, and put my lunch together (there aren’t many healthy options near where I work, so I bring my own lunch). My son and I often have a little time to play before I have to leave for the day – he’s really into toy fruits and vegetables right now, so we’ll pretend to cut them or put them in a shopping bag.

2. Do you have a work uniform that you rely on for getting dressed?  What is it?

I hate pants. Can’t explain it, can’t defend it, but I tend toward a skirt and sweater in fall and winter, and a simple shift dress in spring and summer. I used to wear glorious shoes, but I hurt my foot a few years ago, and I have a standing desk, so now I’m resigned to really functional shoes: Frye boots (the hard soles help my foot), Dansko sandals, and – horror of horrors – clogs.

3. How do you and your spouse reserve conflicts about scheduling?

We talk the night before about who needs to do what the next morning – if I need to leave early, he’ll get the baby up and fed, and vice versa. I’m a reporter for the New York Times, and since I cover Brooklyn courts, I mostly work out of the courthouse. That’s closer to home than my husband’s job, so I am usually the one who’s home at 7 to take over from our babysitter. We do have a regular Saturday-night sitter, which has been fantastic – it means we get out together at least once a week, without having to scramble for a sitter last-minute. It was easier than I expected to get one – I looked on Sittercity, a babysitting website, for neighborhood sitters and was up-front with them that I’d like them to work most Saturday nights, and we’ve had great luck with that.

4. Do you second-guess yourself?  What do you do when that happens?

Oh, yes. Most of the time I summon my sister, who is wise and frank, especially about parenting. Her basic message is “Whatever you’re doing, you’re doing well. Don’t worry about it.”

 5. What time do you go to bed?

I try for 10:30. It doesn’t always happen.

6. Do you exercise?  If so, when?

Yes. Six days a week. It’s not for fitness, though that’s a nice side benefit, but for mental health. In a high-stress world, it’s one thing I can count on to calm me down. I usually fit it in when I get home from work, but if that’s not going to happen, I’ll get up even earlier than usual, or even slip to the gym during lunch if it’s a slow day at work. I came up with lots of exercise options – a gym near my work, a stroller that I can run with, a space in our house where I can work out while the baby plays, exercise DVDs (I’m currently into PiYo, and those are as short as 20 minutes) – so that however little time I have, and wherever I am, and whatever the baby’s up to, I can fit something in.

7. Do you cook dinner for your kids?  Do you have go-to dishes you can recommend?

I don’t right now – he eats at 5, before I’m home, so our terrific babysitter does this. On weekends, I’ll often make him something like an omelet with cheese and vegetables, to sneak in those vegetables before he realizes they’re in there.

My husband and I try to cook most nights for ourselves, and the baby often gets leftovers. I love to make things ahead: if I have a slow Sunday, I’ll sauté and freeze huge amounts of greens in small batches – spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard. That means on weeknights, we can have greens without any hassle. I do the same with tomato sauce, doing a huge vat of it at the end of summer and freezing it in small portions. I add pepper flakes for arrabiatta, or vodka, cream and parsley for vodka sauce, or put it on polenta with some sautéed mushrooms. And, whenever I’m making a stew, or Swedish meatballs, or pot roast, or anything that freezes well, I triple the recipe and freeze the extras. It means we can have dinner on the table within 15 minutes of arriving home.

8. Do you have any sense of how your children feel about your working?

He’s such a little guy that it’s hard to tell, but he cheerfully waves to me every morning when I head out – it’s not something that upsets him. He does get actively annoyed when I’m on my laptop or cell phone when I’m spending time with him, so I’m trying to stop that.

9. What is the single piece of advice you would give another working mother?

Go easy on yourself. There’s such pressure to do it all right now, and it’s ridiculous and way too hard on women.

And, inspired by Vanity Fair, a few quick glimpses into your life:

Favorite Artist? Piet Mondrian. There was a great exhibit a few years ago on his lifetime of work. Seeing how he started with realistic paintings of trees, and how that turned into his colorful blocks as he tried to simplify everything, was fascinating.

Favorite jeans? Current/Elliott white jeans.

Shampoo you use? Maple Holistics sage shampoo. Good for itchy scalp and doesn’t feel as aggressively chemical as some of the options out there.

Favorite book? Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth. Lily Bart was a big inspiration for Evelyn in Everybody Rise – someone on the fringes of a group who wants so badly to be at the center of it.

Favorite quote? T.S. Eliot: “For us there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.” I found this in a pleasingly tiny red book called “The Mindful Writer,” by Dinty W. Moore. I read it nearly daily when I was writing Everybody Rise. He pulls quotations from authors and artists, then applies Buddhist thinking to those. I’m not Buddhist, but there’s a lot to learn from that spirit of mindfulness. The book, and this quote in particular, was especially helpful when I had bouts of writing anxiety.

Favorite musician? Stephen Sondheim. “Everybody Rise” is a line from one of his songs, “The Ladies Who Lunch.” His lyrics are so clever and sharp, and no one captures New Yorkers as well as he does – their wit, their yearning, their difficulty in connecting. Evelyn is dealing with all of that in “Everybody Rise,” and I listened to Sondheim on repeat while I was writing.

Favorite item (toy, clothing, or other) for your children? The BabyBjorn soft bib. It’s plastic and machine washable, and has a big pocket to catch spilled food. It’s genius.

 

How She Does It: Jessica Lahey

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It’s an honor to feature Jessica Lahey in this How She Does It profile.  Even though we’ve never met in person, I feel like I know Jessica.  I was thrilled that she joined the lineup of writers in This is Adolescence, and I read her writing – in the Atlantic, on her blog, in the New York Times – regularly.

And her book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, is an absolute marvel of honesty and rigor and gentle reminders that truly one of parenting’s central tasks is just getting out of the way.  I read it and loved it and am looking forward to reviewing it in a couple of weeks for Great New Books.

In short, reading the The Gift of Failure felt like staring in a mirror.  The book’s central tenet is one I share without hesitation intellectually, but it is also one I fall short of meeting in myriad ways on a regular basis.  Jessica’s persuasive writing helped me see what stands in the way of my being the parent I want to be.  Since reading it I’ve given Grace full responsibility for making family dinner one night (she did great, and told me afterwards that she felt proud of herself), stopped re-folding clothes in Whit’s closet that aren’t as neat as I’d like, and given both children more daily jobs around the house.  I also watched Grace make a mistake with her job (she walks a local dog twice a week) and work her way out of it, including direct communication with the adult on the other end.  I stayed out of it, even though I could easily have helped.  It was a learning experience all around, though there were certainly some tears.

I’ve been telling everyone I talk to about The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed.  I recommend it immensely highly and am delighted that Jessica agreed to be profiled today in How She Does It.

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Tell me about the first hour of your day?  (I often describe mine as being “fired out of a cannon”)

Don’t hate me, but I spend the first 20-30 minutes of the day in bed, awake, eyes closed, allowing my mind to wander. It’s that untethered, stream-of-consciousness thinking that helps me come up with ideas, plan my day, decide what to write that day, and get ready to work. I used to get up with my kids when they went off to school, but when I suffered a bad concussion in 2013, I found I needed a lot more sleep, and that has persisted. My kids responded by getting more responsible and self-sufficient in the mornings, and my husband helps them out if they need it.

Do you have a work uniform that you rely on for getting dressed?  What is it?

Jeans, my purple Glerup slippers, and a comfy t-shirt/sweater. The clothes may vary, but the Glerups are a constant. I love them.

How do you and your spouse reserve conflicts about scheduling?

We use a shared calendar so I can see his call schedule (he’s an Infectious Diseases physician) and he can see my schedule and the boys’ schedules. I run every speaking date by him before committing, and try not to schedule them when he’s on call.

Do you second-guess yourself?  What do you do when that happens?

Every time I’ve second-guessed my gut feelings about what I should do, I am wrong. I’ve learned to trust that immediate gut reaction. If I’m really not sure about something, I talk to my husband. Don’t tell him I said this, but he’s often right about what I should do.

What time do you go to bed?

9 or 10.

Do you exercise?  If so, when?

I walk, I horseback ride. I hike in the woods. I take bike rides. In the winter, I skate ski (cross-country skiing that’s fast) at least three days a week near my house. I used to run a lot but it’s not fun anymore, so I just don’t do it. I usually get out in the late afternoon, while my kids do their homework, because I work until they get home.

Do you cook dinner for your kids?  Do you have go-to dishes you can recommend?

Almost every day. Go-to dishes are “salmon and noodles” (salmon, broccoli, soba noodles, and teriyaki sauce), roasted veggies and a chicken from our CSA farmer, sushi rice and some kind of raw fish, shrimp, whatever is fresh at the store. We also have what we call “scavenging nights” where everyone fends for themselves.

Do you have any sense of how your children feel about your working?

They have always liked that I’ve kept teaching hours because I’m home when they are. I don’t think they really get what I do as a writer, because they don’t see me do much other than read books and sit at my computer and do some social media and talk on the phone. I think they think it’s cool that I’m in the newspaper or on television, but they’d never admit it.

What is the single piece of advice you would give another working mother?

When you stop working to spend time with your family. Stop. Shut it down and pay attention to your family. That’s hard for me, but I’m working on it. My agent does not respond to emails on the weekend, and I totally respect that about her.

And, inspired by Vanity Fair, a few quick glimpses into your life:

Favorite Artist?

My father. He does architectural watercolors.

Favorite jeans?

The ones I get at the thrift store for $2.50 to garden in.

Shampoo you use?

Whatever my hairstylist sister tells me to buy or gives me as a present.

Favorite book?

84 Charring Cross Road

Favorite quote?

“I decided to make my life my argument.” – Dr. Albert Schweitzer

Favorite musician?

My guitar-playing teenager.

Favorite item (toy, clothing, or other) for your children?

Stinky, a stuffed version of Rotta the Huttlet from Star Wars. My younger son cried with joy when he received it as a birthday gift after a treasure hunt orchestrated by his big brother.

 

How She Does It: Alyssa Hertzig

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I can’t remember exactly how I met Alyssa online, but I thin kit was through the phenomenon of the Binders Full of Women Writers this past summer.  Since then I’ve been entirely smitten by her blog, The Sparkly Life, which covers an eclectic mix of style, fashion, beauty, links, and parenting.  Her weekly link roundups are not to be missed.  I was delighted when Alyssa agreed to participate in my How She Does It series.

Alyssa is the Beauty Editor at Brides Magazine.  I highly recommend her Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest feeds too!  She’s funny, smart, and has great taste.  What’s better than that?  Alyssa’s children are younger than mine, so I live vicariously through her in some ways, for example when she posted about her son’s adorable first birthday party or her daughter’s toddler-version-of-fashion-blogger outfit.

Without further ado, I’m honored and thrilled to introduce Alyssa.  I hope you love her wisdom and humor as much as I do!

Tell me about the first hour of your day?  (I often describe mine as being “fired out of a cannon”)

My day starts when my daughter wakes up, which unfortunately, is almost always between 5:30 and 6 a.m. (I haven’t set an alarm in years.) I go downstairs, make her breakfast, pack her lunch, make a fruit-greens-and-almond-milk smoothie for myself, and then sit down at my computer for a bit until it’s time to start getting ready for work. (My son doesn’t wake up until 8 a.m., which is basically a dream.)

Do you have a work uniform that you rely on for getting dressed?  What is it?

99 percent of the time I’m in a dress or jeans. I almost never wear a top and a skirt (or a different type of pant) because that requires a lot of thought about what coordinates with what and my brain just does not want to be a stylist at 7 a.m.! I’ll do a pair of dark skinny jeans, boots, and a sweater or top/blazer if it’s a more casual day; a dress if it’s a day where I have a lot of meetings or events. And then I’ll almost always throw on a big statement necklace. It’s the quickest, easiest way to take even the most basic outfit to the next level.

How do you and your spouse resolve conflicts about scheduling?  

My work life has a bit more flexibility, so I’m usually the one who ends up changing plans (or staying home from work) if there’s a scheduling snafu. It’s one of the few downsides of working part-time.

Do you second-guess yourself?  What do you do when that happens?

Not a ton, actually. Occasionally, sure, but my bigger problem is indecisiveness. Once I’ve made a decision though, I’ll usually just go with it. I try not too worry or second-guess too much—I’d never get anything done!

What time do you go to bed?  

Around 11:30pm. I should go to bed earlier, but the evening is my primary work-on-the-blog time (and my main unwinding time!), so going to sleep any earlier is tough.

Do you exercise?  If so, when?

I do—although I wish I was able to go more. I go to Pilates twice a week (one group class, one private). I try to fit in one other thing each week (typically Spin, barre, or yoga), but if I’m being honest, it rarely happens.

Do you cook dinner for your kids?  Do you have go-to dishes you can recommend?

Because we have a nanny during the day and I get home after they eat, I am not usually the one cooking dinner for my kids. I do make their dinner on the weekends, but my kids are both going through a picky stage, so I wouldn’t really call what I do for their dinner “cooking.” My daughter will usually eat a hot dog (no bun) or chicken fingers, rice or soup, and green beans (one of the few veggies she’ll eat!). My son will eat any of those things, too, but he’s a little more adventurous—his favorites are meatballs, broccoli, and feta cheese.

Do you have any sense of how your children feel about your working?

Recently my four-year-old daughter said to me, “I wish work wasn’t a thing. I always want you close to me.” And my son has recently started screaming and crying every time I leave in the morning. That’s tough. I know they don’t like me going to work, but it’s important for them to see me having a career, doing things that I love, being happy. And I know that I’m happier when I’m working—part time. I am very, very lucky that I am able to work part-time, so that I really have the best of both worlds.

What is the single piece of advice you would give another working mother?

Just do your best. That’s all you can do. And you’re doing great. There will always be someone on Instagram who looks like she’s “doing it all” better than you. But your kids think you’re doing a damn fine job—and they wouldn’t trade you for that Instagram mom for anything in the world.

And, inspired by Vanity Fair, a few quick glimpses into your life:

Favorite Artist?

Marilyn Minter. I dream of having one of her pieces on my living room wall.

Favorite jeans?

Rag & Bone Kensington Skinnies

Shampoo you use?

Whatever they happen to be using at the blowout bar! 😉

Favorite book?

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving and She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb are two of my all-time favorites.

Favorite quote?

Right now I’m very into “Comparison is the thief of joy.” In our Instagram/Pinterest/Facebook world, it’s very easy to look at someone else’s life (or body or job opportunity or whatever) and think how much better your life would be if that thing was yours. But it’s not and the constant comparison is just going to make you upset. I try my hardest to remember this quote whenever I feel that comparison/jealousy rearing its head.

Favorite musician?

I’m a closet Katy Perry fan.

Favorite item (toy, clothing, or other) for your children?

I’m trying to think of something besides “the iPad,” since surely I would look like a better mother if I mentioned some cool, educational, indie toy. But I just can’t think of anything that they (and I) love as much. We’re an iPad family. There, I said it.

How She Does It: Raluca State

Raluca State’s blog What Would Gwyneth Do is one of my daily reads and has been for a long time. She runs a regular interview series called I Don’t Know How She Does It which definitely inspired this very series here.  For that reason, and because I admire her so much in general, it’s a huge honor to feature her words here.  Raluca’s blog has an addictive mix of content and is all written in her approachable, wise, wonderful voice.  I wish I lived closer to Raluca as I’d love to meet her.  What Would Gwyneth Do covers tyle, fashion, and design, music, cooking, working motherhood, and a million other things.  I highly recommend checking Raluca’s blog out and know you will be glad you did.  I was thrilled when she agreed to participate in this series, the stepchild of her own wonderful investigation of working motherhood’s particular joys, beauties, and challenges.
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 Photo credit: Fawn Christiansen

1. Tell me about the first hour of your day? (I often describe mine as being “fired out of a cannon”)

The first hour of my day is surprisingly mellow…most of the time. My son is three and a half and always wakes up first, around 630am. Luckily these days he is a serious daddy’s boy so he tends to go to my husband first and pulls him out of bed to pour his cereal. I get to snooze for a few minutes while they do that and gather my thoughts for the day. It always takes me a minute to focus: what day is it? What’s on my calendar today? What do I have to look forward to? What do I not have to look forward to? I like to do a quick assessment before I get out of bed. I have to wake my daughter (she is seven) and lure her down to the kitchen. We’re incredibly lucky because my husband and I both work from home so while we need to get our kids dressed, fed and washed up to get out the door on time, we can usually handle drop off in casual clothes, make-up free and with a coffee cup in-hand because we are driving right back to the privacy of our home offices. We like to keep the mornings as relaxed as possible – no TV, no music on weekdays (a ton of it on weekends), natural light, and patient voices, wherever possible. I also don’t micro manage my kids in the morning – both of them, even my three year old, can pick out what they want to wear (I edit their wardrobes on the side so everything is mommy approved, for the most part) so there are fewer arguments and hiccups in the morning.

2. Do you have a work uniform that you rely on for getting dressed? What is it?

Since I work from home, my uniform is definitely on the more casual side but it’s not (always) yoga pants or sweats. I like leggings or jeans and layered tops for cooler days. A tee under a chambray or cardigan. In the summer, I am in dresses every day. We live in southern California and it gets warm so I like to feel breezy and cool. I try to do a little make up every day so I don’t fall into a work-from-home slump. A bit of BB cream, a cream blush and a little mascara and I am set for the day. For work events or meetings, it’s a lot of the same but I will always throw on a chic blazer (my favorites are Helmut Lang and J. Crew) and a pair of heels (Cole Haan are super comfortable) and a little more makeup.

3. How do you and your spouse resolve conflicts about scheduling?

I am very lucky in that my husband and I share our parenting duties 100%. We both work full-time from home so our schedules tend to be fairly similar in terms of limitations and flexibilities. It means we can swap pick up and drop off duties as needed, we can attend school functions together or solo, and we can cover for each other when needed. It is an incredible set-up for this chapter of our lives. We are also very good about recognizing each other’s need for personal time – I always make sure he has a few early mornings to go surf, he will cover bed time if I want to go to an evening yoga class or a cocktail with a friend…and we make that a priority not only for ourselves and each other, but for our family dynamic.

4. What time do you go to bed?

Early, ha. I am usually in bed by 9 and most nights asleep by 930pm. And yes, that typically includes Friday nights. On Saturdays, I might stretch to 11 or 12. But that’s a stretch. I like to stay I party on east coast time 😉 My routine is a little geriatric in nature – I diffuse essential oils and put lavender oil on as well. I typically have a candle burning and like to do some deep breathing and stretching before I pass out. My husband finds it all quite amusing to watch.

5. Do you exercise? If so, when?

I do. Sort of. I was one of those lucky gals who never had to worry about diet or exercise until I hit my mid 20s. Unfortunately, ten years later, it is still a struggle to make it a priority. But I try to. That means I typically aim to break a sweat at least five times a week and usually succeed three times per week. My work-from-home status comes in handy here because I will often sneak out for an early morning or mid-day class during the week and then always go to one on the weekends. I was a Dailey Method devotee for the past few years and it did wonders for my body, but have recently switched it up and started yoga. I tried it many years ago and didn’t enjoy it but now I have gone back with a different mindset and I am really liking it. You need to be in the right mindset for yoga, I think.

6. Do you cook dinner for your kids? Do you have go-to dishes you can recommend?

Yes, yes and yes! Menu planning is one of the pillars of my life and I blog about it all the time. It helped us get on a budget, helped clean up our eating habits and put family dinner front and center on the priority list…right where it should be. Sometimes it’s simple – tacos, homemade pizza, burgers – and sometimes it’s more elaborate – broiled salmon, roast chicken – but it’s a very important part of our lives. I also love to bake for my kids. Something about homemade muffins (I pack mine with zucchini, chia seeds and flax seeds for extra goodness and chocolate chips for extra flavor!) in the morning makes my mama heart sing. Most Sunday afternoons, you will find me in the kitchen with my two little sous-chefs. I want to set them up now for a long, healthy relationship with food and cooking and family dinners.

7. Do you have any sense of how your children feel about your working?

Yes. I think they are both annoyed and proud of it. They are definitely annoyed that my cell phone and laptop are always at the ready (one of the few cons of working for yourself and working from home – you are always working). I have been trying my best to put those distractions away, physically, when I am with them but sometimes it just isn’t possible or realistic. Most people don’t end their workday at 3pm so when my daughter comes home and my emails are still active, I need to be able to respond to them. On the other hand, they are proud. I have heard them talk about mommy being “her own boss” and my daughter is starting to understand what it means to have an income, where our money goes, etc. She asked me if I had more than $10 in the bank the other day and was beyond excited when I said yes. I think she gasped 😉 We also try to remind them that our situation is not typical. Most mommies and daddies don’t work downstairs in their house. Most mommies and daddies can’t be at every drop off and pick up and school meeting and event. We are lucky that we have the best of both worlds and they are learning that so it makes those late-night and weekend emails a little easier to accept.

8. What is the single piece of advice you would give another working mother?

Take it one day – sometimes one hour – at a time. Don’t worry about next week’s schedule or how you’re going to pay for preschool in three years or that you missed last month’s PTA meeting. How was today? Did you do your best? Were your kids happy and healthy? Did you feel fulfilled? Tired, maybe. Burnt out, likely. But fulfilled? I often say that some of my most exhausting days are also my most fulfilling and I like to look back on each one, individually, and give myself a little pat on the back.

And, inspired by Vanity Fair, a few quick glimpses into your life:

Favorite artist?
My daughter. She really is quite good.

Favorite jeans?
Madewell for more affordable, J Brand for less affordable. Always dark and typically skinny…they can work on girls with curves, I am sticking to it.

Shampoo you use?
Pantene for more affordable, Bumble & Bumble for sort of affordable and Frederic Fekkai (way less affordable) in my Christmas stocking every year.

Favorite book?
The Hours by Michael Cunningham.

Favorite quote?
So many come to mind, but I am going to go with this one from Ira Glass. Does that count as a quote??

Favorite musician?
I am very fickle when it comes to music and my tastes are all over the board, but I am going to say Michael Jackson. And anything on The Lumineers radio on Pandora. And a little Jay Z, always.

Favorite item (toy, clothing, or other) for your children?
Any kind of book for my daughter, she is such a bookworm and it makes me so happy.  We buy a lot of books. H&M or crewcuts for clothes and PLAE for shoes, they last forever and look super cool. We also like Native Shoes for the summer months. Finally, our Oeuf crib. It has seen 7+ long years of daily and nightly use and holds so many memories from both our kids and it still looks great.