Meet Our Favorite Chicago Moms: Best of Bump Club Edition

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We are so excited to be heading home to Chicago for our HUGE, all day annual event – our 9th Best of Bump Club & Beyond on Saturday May 4 10 am – 3 pm at the Swissotel! 

Join us for an entire day filled with the BEST education and information for parents-to-be, new parents and parents of toddlers. NINE EXPERT SEMINARS including Gearapalooza with @thebabyguyNYC, an exclusive BCB Panel presented by the Chaotic Commute: Real Chicago Moms Spill It All, Infant CPR, Potty Training, Sibling Preparation, Newborn Sleep Strategies, Toddler Sleep Strategies + SO MUCH MORE.  The BEST experts, the BEST resources, the BEST services, and the BEST brands for your family will join us with their products and expertise to talk one-on-one with YOU! Lunch included in your ticket. 

We can’t wait to introduce you to some of our favorite Chicago moms who are along for the ride as we prepare for this exciting event.  We are so lucky to have all of these amazing women as part of our BCB community & most of them will be joining us at Best of BCB so be sure to stop by and say hi!  Keep reading to learn more about each of them, their motherhood journey and how you can follow their story ongoing!  

We want you to meet…

1) Name: Ceta Walters

Kid(s) and Ages: Clark (7) and Stone (6)

Where do you live? East Village

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I am a Digitial Content Creator for a Chicago based lifestyle blog, Clark and Stone.

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? The biggest reward has actually been becoming a mother.  I struggled with fertility with my first son Clark for two years. Watching their own personalities develop has been so rewarding.

What’s your best “mom-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? (We all one at least one time or sanity saving tip that everyone would want to know…spill it!)  I have the boys pick their clothes out for school before they go to bed.  It removes the stress of figuring it out first thing in the morning.  It also creates independence and self expression.

What is the best part about where you live?  East Village has so much to offer.  The restaurants, parks, and people are all so diverse.  We are also close proximity to so many other neighborhoods like Bucktown, Fulton Market, and Ukranian Village.

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown.  Taking them to the museums in Chicago.  We have so many in the city and they love them all.

Favorite date night in your hometown.  Sushi is my favorite.  My current fave is Radio Anago.

What are 5 things that you could not “mom” without? An Ipad and the app word search.  I believe if I have to give in to screen time it should be educational, wipes, those magic marker books that you can find at Target in the dollar section, snacks to prevent anyone from being “hangry”

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? Veg out on a good reality show.

Who are your “mom idols”?  I love Sai De SIlva from Scout The City, my friend Shabnam Mirza.  She has three kids and runs a sustainable apparel business based in India.  I really have no idea how she does it.

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? I have a few mom tribes.  One group met at school.  Another tribe and I all met over the years and recently reconnected through motherhood.

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood? To take it easy and accept that you won’t have it all figured out.

How do you balance it all?  I rely heavily on my sitters.  I wouldn’t be ½ the mom without them.  They allow me to have a passion outside of motherhood and they give me the ability to do things for myself.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?  I’m Every Woman by Whitney Houston.  This is such an amazing time in our society to be a woman.

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it:

  • I started my blog, clarkandstone.com as a creative outlet to inspire moms to not lose themselves in motherhood.  I had completely lost myself and the blog brought me back. I aim to inspire women to put themselves first even though that is the opposite of what society tells us.  You have to place the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help anyone else.
  • Instagram: Clark and Stone
  • Facebook: Clark and Stone
  • Pinterest: Ceta Walters

We want you to meet…

2) Name: Samantha

Age: 35

NAMES OF CHILDREN AND AGES: Elle, Age 2

Where do you live? Chicago

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

A little bit about yourself and your social media profile/account/blog/business, etc. Hi! My name is Samantha and I write a Chicago-based Fashion + Lifestyle blog called Gold Coast Girl. I started this blog about 5 years ago as a creative outlet for me to express my love for all things related to fashion, food, fitness, home décor, beauty, and more recently motherhood. YOU CAN FIND ME ON INSTAGRAM AT: @gold_coast_girl

YOU CAN FIND ME ON FACEBOOK AT: https://www.facebook.com/Gold-Coast-Girl-231922780310758/?fref=ts

YOU CAN FIND ME ON TWITTER AT: https://twitter.com/GoldCoastGirl

YOU CAN FIND ME ON PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/gold_coast_girl/

What diaper bag do you carry & what are the top items you will always find inside?  We love using backpacks as our diaper bag in our home and are currently using this hot pink one: https://www.shopbop.com/kane-backpack-state/vp/v=1/1514773644.htm

1: Wipes. We currently love the ones by Seventh Generation and always have them on hand.

2: Snacks + Snack Cup. My daughter loves snacks so we always bring one of these Skip Hop snack containers filled with Whole Foods cheesy crackers. Not only do they come in a bunch of different cute styles, but they’re extremely functional too. They keep snacks fresh and are perfect for on-the-go. Snack Cup: https://www.buybuybaby.com/store/product/skip-hop-reg-zoo-7-5-oz-snack-cup-in-monkey/1042998228

3: Puffy Sticker Pads. These are perfect for eating out or long car rides. They keep our daughter entertained and are super portable. Puffy Stickers: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01K76FUGK

4: Travel Sippy Cup. We already use the Munchkin Miracle 360 cups at home, and especially love this stainless steel travel one. It keeps water cold and comes with a great travel lid so nothing spills. I’m so sick of other sippy cups spilling all over in our daughter’s back pack, but this one is amazing. Travel Cup: https://www.buybuybaby.com/store/product/munchkin-reg-miracle-reg-10-oz-360-stainless-steel-sippy-cup/5206925

5: Extra diapers and an extra change of clothes because accidents happen.

6: Coloring book + crayons because we eat out a lot and it’s always great to bring activities to keep your kid entertained.

7: Travel Bib. Our favorite is from the brand b. box. What I especially love about it is that it’s easy to clean and zips-up, making it portable and perfect for on the go. It also comes with a matching spoon and super cute designs. Bib: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004MDL5GE

8: Board Book. Board books are always a good idea. They’re not only educational, but durable and an easy way to entertain your toddler while out to eat. Our daughter has been on a Dr. Seuss obsession lately so we especially love this alphabet book. Board Book: https://www.buybuybaby.com/store/product/dr-seuss-39-the-alphabet-book/1015090995

9: Sunglasses. My daughter is a huge fan of Babiators! They make the cutest sunglasses and are perfect for sunny days outside. Sunglasses: https://babiators.com

We want you to meet…

3) Name: India

Age: 25

Kid(s) and Ages: Ava – 7 James – 4 Ella – 1

Where do you live? Chicago western suburbs

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: Esthetician and makeup artist turned stay at home mom and blogger. I love to share my motherhood journey and incorporate how to stay true to your self through self-care combing my passions skincare and makeup.

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? Motherhood can be very testing and sometimes you wonder if you’re doing it right. The most rewarding thing is when my kids give me hugs and kisses, and then I know I am.

What’s your best “mom-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? Keep a stack of post its in your bag for the automatic flush toilets! My kids understandably get freaked out from them flushing while they’re sitting. If you stick one over the senor before they sit down then it wont flush on them.

What is the best part about where you live? We have access to so many things! Even though we live in the suburbs there are so many parks, museums, zoos, and much more to go to. If we want more adventure we love to hop on the train and go to the city.

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown. We are pretty easy to please. The ideal afternoon with them would be to spend some time at the library, get something to eat in our downtown and then visit the candy or ice cream shop.

Favorite date night in your hometown. They don’t come often but my husband and I love getting sushi from a place just down the street!

What are 5 things that you could not &”mom” without? 1. Having a mom group – I found mine from a local FB group 2. Listening to encouraging podcast – Risen Motherhood is one of my favorites 3. Doing yoga – YouTube videos are a good way to practice 4. My minivan – it’s a lifesaver when you have 3+ 5. Giving myself grace and knowing that I am doing my best but I can not do it all

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag? 1. My phone – I love taking a few photos or videos of our everyday moments 2. Lots of snacks 3. Boogie wipes (especially in the winter!) 4. Gum 5. Sunglass (helps when you’re looking super tired!)

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? The most practical answer is when my kids are asleep I love to clean up my answer while listening to a podcast and then sit on the couch, watch my favorite shows (usually one of the Chicago shows) and eat something in peace!

Who are your “mom idols?” I cant’ think of a specific answer for this. I look up to many moms. I am very inspired by other moms that have care deeply about themselves as much as their children. Moms that don’t take things too seriously when the kids are being crazy. Also when they ambition!

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? I have a mix of a mom tribe. I found a mom workout group that has made me feel so comfortable and I love connecting with them. I also have my sister and sister in law. I have even made true friends from IG connections.

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood? Prepare for anxiety. It comes in all different forms and is very normal! Be sure to speak up about how you’re feeling and there is no shame in seeing to a therapist about it.

How do you balance it all? I don’t! I do my best. I have to pick and choose which area I want or need to rock at that day and be okay with letting the rest go. Sometimes my house looks great but I didn’t make dinner or I have emails to return. Sometimes the laundry is done, emails returned but my house is a mess. There is so much to do everyday and if I try to do it all I would totally burn out! I also make sure to ask for help when needed.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? I’m stuck! Anything super wild because that’s how life feels haha

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: I am an esthetician and make-up artist turned blogger and stay-at-home-mom to three kids. My blog is about sharing my journey in motherhood along with staying true to your self. I share our adventures as well as beauty tips and tricks. As well as the occasional outfit inspiration! I am most active on: Instagram @lipstick.and.laundry.blog Blog www.lipstickandlaundryblog.com Facebook @lipstickandlaundryblog

We want you to meet…

4) Name: Samantha Regan Age: 34 Kid(s) and Ages: 3 girls, Taylor (age 4), Kinze (age 2), and Harper ( 11 months – almost 1 years old)

Where do you live? Geneva, IL

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I have an interior design company, Samantha Regan Design, and lifestyle blog called Shining on Design. My clientele (and many blog readers too!) are families with young kids that want their homes to look beautiful, and still be kid friendly.

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? Watching their personalities evolve as they grow up. All three girls are so different from each other, but all so fun!

What’s your best “mom-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? (We all one at least one time or sanity saving tip that everyone would want to know…spill it!) When the kids are fussy, put them in the bath 🙂 Works every time.

What is the best part about where you live? We have the cutest town, like something out of a Hallmark movie. Geneva is a small town, but only an hour drive from Chicago and easy to get to by train. Boutique shops, amazing restaurants and the people are why we love it here.

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown.  The festivals are always fun (Swedish Days and the Christmas Walk are favorites) . Also, Grahams for ice cream is always a must!

Favorite date night in your hometown. Dinner at Fioras

What are 5 things that you could not “mom” without?  

  1. Apple watch. I don’t like to have my cell phone out when I’m with my kids but with my job, I need to be available to clients at off hours sometimes. I can get call and email notifications on my watch but only respond when absolutely necessary.
  2. Dry erase weekly calendar on our fridge. This has been great for my husband, me and our sitters so we can all keep track of all our daily activities. Since each day is so different, this has been a life saver! Also, writing things down (vs typing) is supposed to help you remember 🙂
  3. Instagram! Staying connected on social media, especially instagram, is great for keeping up with things like helpful mom hacks, fashion trends for kids and moms, craft projects, etc. I know social media gets a bad rep sometimes because we see too many “picture perfect” lives but I do believe it is also a great place for inspiration and to connect with our moms.
  4. Amazon subscribe and save. I have diapers, wipes, boogie wipes, toothpaste, laundry detergent and much more automatically delivered to our house so I don’t have to worry about buying these things – or running out!
  5. Baby Einstein Lullaby Classics CD for the car. This CD has been like magic for my babies. If they are fussy in the car, I play this CD and it almost instantly settles them down. Most of the time puts them right to sleep; it’s so serene.

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag? Besides diapers and wipes, I always like to have these things on hand:

  1. Snacks (my kids always want snacks!)
  2. YumEarth Organic lollipops (Sugar free). Even my husband loves these 😉
  3. Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow (for me)
  4. Tory Burch card case. I use this as my wallet and just keep the essentials (drivers license, credit card). It’s tiny, which is great because I like to keep my diaper bag as lightweight as possible.  
  5. Sunscreen

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? I try to do something creative when I have extra time to myself (which is why I started I design and decor blog 🙂 . I do love tackling a home project, browse through flea markets or try a new recipe with any free time.

Who are your “mom idols”?  My mom

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them?  There’s 5 moms in my mom tribe and we get together twice a month. We started playgroups almost 5 years ago when we all had babies and barely knew each other (our husbands all went to high school together). Today, we are all good friends and our group has grown quite a bit! Each mom has a month where they host a playgroup and choose a field trip. There’s 14 kids between all of us which means juggling a lot of schedules to get together but we all try. Sometimes, just the moms get together without the kids!

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood? Trust your instincts – no matter what.

How do you balance it all?  This is a struggle for me. Balancing work, family and life is challenging. I create a lot of “to-do”lists and number each item on my to-do list based on priority. That has helped me stay on top of things lately.  

If you had a theme song, what would it be? Let it Go

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: Instagram @samantha_regan_ , Facebook @shiningondesign, Pinterest Shiningondesign

We want you to meet…

5) Name: Amanda Simkin

Age: 36

Kid(s) and Ages: Two boys, aged six and seven

Where do you live? Arlington Heights

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I am a freelance writer for print and online resources such as Chicago Parent and also run my own popular blog for Chicagoland families, Queen of the Land of Twigs n’ Berries.

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? The biggest reward is how I am constantly learning from my boys. They are so carefree and optimistic and as someone who sees the proverbial glass as half empty, having their good nature rub off on me is so impactful. When you stop and watch, you can learn so much from your little ones. You might think that YOU are the teacher but learning truly goes both ways.

What’s your best “mom-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? Keep an “uh oh” bag in your trunk. What’s in the “uh oh” bag? Anything you might need to tackle the chaos that mom life throws at you. Right now our bag includes a complete change of clothing for each of my kids (right down to the undies), hats, gloves, wipes, plastic bags, first aid kit…and lollipops. Because let’s be honest. Sometimes you just need a lollipop.

What is the best part about where you live? While we may live in the suburbs, we live in an area where people are constantly outside and walking around town so I love that I can ditch my car and walk to school, the library, etc. It helps us live a healthier life and be more social since our friends and neighbors are often outside as well.

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown. Exploring downtown Arlington Heights is one of our favorite things to do as a family. We can take a bike ride to the library, stop at the local theatre to see a movie, grab a slice of pizza or a scoop of ice cream, play arcade games at the local brewery…the fun never stops.

Favorite date night in your hometown. Since I am a foodie, my favorite kind of hometown date nigh or Mago for tacos, a yummy restaurant is our first stop. Afterwards we love playing old school arcade games while sipping local brews at the Arlington Ale House or listening to live music from the plethora of bars that offer live music.

What are 5 things that you could not “mom” without?  As for apps, Waze (because I have the absolute WORST sense of direction), Target Cartwheel, and Park Whiz are KEY for me. Some of my other favorite products are my collection of Keds because my feet can be both stylish and comfortable while chasing after my kiddos and my Canon camera. I might take professional quality photos for work but I also take them for myself so I will have prints to look at when I’m old and gray.

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag? Thankfully I ditched the diaper bag a long time ago, but my purse is STILL full with items to make “momming” easier. Bandaids, hand sanitizer, tissues, water bottle, and those bribery lollipops that I spoke about earlier are always in my purse.

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? READ! As a writer, I feel like the best way to get through Writer’s Block is to get reading. Not only does reading inspire me, it also helps me take a brain break from my daily grind as a working mama.

Who are your “mom idols?”  Gosh, this is a hard one. I love Instagram and while I might spend too much time on it, it’s because of connections I’ve made with amazing moms. Some mom idols are Karin Stortz (joyinthemeantime) for her creativity, style, and positive energy as a mom as well as Tabitha Green (definingtabitha) who has reminded me that being a mom doesn’t have to take over your entire life and the best way to be a mom is to stay true to yourself.

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? This might be a shocking one, but some of the most important people in my mom tribe are DADS. Yes, that’s right, dads. Why? I have always been more comfortable around guys since I avoided the female drama of middle and high school and you can learn so much about how to open your mind from befriending someone who is straight up different from you. My dad friends are the fathers of my sons’ friends and I met them because they work from home or have unique work schedules like my close friend Brian “Whip” Paruch from the Eric in the Morning Show on 101.9FM. I love to hear my “dad squad’s” unique perspective on issues and my husband adores them because they tell me to calm down when I complain that he loads the dishwasher the wrong way.

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood? Give yourself grace. I’m not a religious person, but the idea of grace is something that is ever constant in my mind. My home doesn’t need to look like it is in a magazine (even though that is one of my life goals), picking up fast food every once in a while doesn’t need to be guilt inducing, and asking for help doesn’t make you weak. Delegate tasks to your partner, hire a sitter, get your groceries delivered–do what you have to do to make life a little bit easier.

How do you balance it all? For me, balance is impossible. Instead I focus on harmony. While one of my sons goes to school full time, the other has kindergarten for two hours a day. That’s it. So I have to be VERY efficient and prioritize that kid-free time so that I can get my work done and also tackle mom tasks that I simply can’t do when kids are around (hello, Easter baskets!). Having two big goals a day helps me to stay on task and not feel overwhelmed and I also give myself something to look forward to before bed each night, whether it is a glass of wine with my favorite Bravo show, a dip in our hot tub with my husband, or a juicy chick lit book sitting on my bedside table.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? Not sure if I have a theme song, but a song that I blast in my kitchen whenever I need to is Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” because I tend to be a worry wart. Dancing with my boys to Stevie is such a great way to shake off the stress and remember that worrying is pointless

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: My blog ( www.queenofthelandoftwigsnberries.com ) is a corner of the Internet just for Chicagoland families. That is where I highlight ways to make “momming” easier in Chicagoland, whether it is a list of local Touch-A-Truck events, ideas for what to pack in your carry on bag, museum tips, or local business stories. I also share local family friendly events on my Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/queenofthelandoftwigsnberries/) and share our adventures- -and my mom fails–on my engaging Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/queenofthelandoftwigsnberries/). My social media goal is not just to keep it real, but to also provide a positive online space to celebrate all things related to Chicagoland families. We are the city of broad shoulders–and we mamas have the strongest ones!

We want you to meet…

6) Name: Ria Pretekin

Kid(s) and Ages: 2, daughter (6), son (almost 2)

Where do you live? Chicago

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life:  I’m the Lead Postsecondary Coach at the Network for College Success at the University of Chicago. I coach counselors and college coaches to help support student identity development. We work with Chicago Public School to help transform high schools into equitable learning spaces for students.

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? Discovering my own strength and learning more about who I am and who I want to be for my children. I was a single mom before meeting my husband and it really made me think about who I was and who I needed to be for my daughter. Motherhood is exactly what I needed in my life to find myself.

What is the best part about where you live? That it is a real city! Right when we walk outside our front door, we have the most amazing parks, museums, and the lakeshore path! There is so much to do see, learn, eat, and explore. If we want to hop on the el train, take the bus, or even drive, we have tons of options for getting around the city.

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown. Disneyland! I am a huge Disney lover and going there is always so nostalgic for me.

Favorite date night in your hometown. I still have yet to bring my hubs but I love the Hollywood Bowl.  No where else comes close the sound, feel, and experience of watching a concert there.

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag? Diapers of course, although we are going to be headed into potty training soon (yikes! Not looking forward to that next task), sanitizer, baby wipes for everything, bandaids, and snacks!

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? Self-care: whether that’s a workout at Bar Method or Shred or an acupuncture session at Harmony Health and Healing.

Who are your “mom idols?” My own mother of course! She has been my role model of motherhood and I continue to lean on her every day on my motherhood journey.

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? I have my mom friends that I love and miss so much back home in Los Angeles. I’ve also been so fortunate to meet so many Chicago moms through social media. That is what I love about the mom blogging world, that you get to find your community. I moved to Chicago a decade ago and didn’t know anyone, know I feel like I have women I can rely on and who know they can rely on me too. I’ve also met so many women through my days of teaching yoga, in fact that is how I met my husband. A yoga friend set us up!

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood? Trust your own instincts and don’t feel pressured to conform to traditional American norms of what good parenting is supposed to look like. I have found that a lot of the rules and suggestions for parenting do not consider the values that come from other cultural backgrounds. Being Filipina-American I have found that many of the tips and suggestions I find in books and parenting classes do not seem to line up with the way I was raised and what I find my gut tells me is right.  Trust your own.

How do you balance it all? I don’t do it alone. I have a super supportive husband who is an amazing partner in parenthood. I also have the most involved parents who I am so fortunate to have, that help me with everything. They are like second parents to my children.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? Janet Jackson’s Escapade! I’m so excited I’m going to see her in concert this summer in Vegas for my birthday. Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation was my first concert I ever attended.

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it. I am exploring what it means to raise my kids in a multicultural, interfaith family, raising bi- racial kids and exposing them to both Catholic and Jewish faiths. As a former counselor and yoga teacher I am big on social emotional learning and mindful parenting. I am constant learner and always looking for ways to become a better mother, wife, friend, counselor, and educator. I think the best way to learn about the world is to experience different places, so my husband and I love to travel with our kids. You can follow my family’s adventures at @urbanohana (https://www.instagram.com/urbanohana/) and my blog at www.urbanohana.net

 

We want you to meet…

7) Name: Leyla Tran

Kid(s) and Ages: Luke (7); Cruz (9 months); Levi (9 months)

Where do you live? Chicago

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work Life: I work for a quasi-governmental entity in Chicago. I’m not sure I can say a lot about the role and company but it’s basically has a lot to do with accounting and auditing (You can stop yawning now…lol!).

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? That I’m always learning new things. Learning about myself, what I can do. Learning about my kids, figuring out how to work with their different personalities. But most of all, experiencing this love with my kids that is really unexplainable. It’s the best feeling in the world.

What’s your best “mom-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? (We all one at least one time or sanity saving tip that everyone would want to know…spill it!) A stop watch! Or use your phone’s stop watch. Sometimes it takes my 7 year old son what seems like forever to get out of the house. So we play a game with the stop watch to see how fast he can get in the car, etc. It works for when we are out and he says he’s bored. I get the stop watch out and ask him to first walk to a certain point and back. And then ask him to do it again running instead to see what the difference in time is. Somehow it gets him to change his mood.

What is the best part about where you live? There is always something to do in Chicago and something new to try out or experience. I love going out to eat and there’s an abundance of restaurants in Chicago to eat at. I also love taking my kids to parks and there are so many to choose from, with fun playgrounds and splash pads. The public art scene in Chicago is amazing. So it’s always fun to explore or discover the beautiful public art in the city!

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown. I love seeing the city through their eyes. As I mentioned about, Chicago’s public art scene is quite amazing. We love exploring colorful art and the city’s hidden gems. I want my kids to have fond memories of growing up in the city with all the fun things we like to do or see.

Favorite date night in your hometown. Having drinks at a restaurant with a nice roof deck with great views of the city and then having dinner at a restaurant in the West Loop. Afterwards, walking to other restaurants in the neighborhood for more cocktails.

What are 5 things that you could not'”mom” without?   A family calendar (outlook or google calendar) Our VW Atlas car, which fits everything and everybody. We seriously love that car. Target (makes diaper runs more fun) My phone – for taking pictures and videos of the kids Mom friends – a great group of women who understand your frustrations as a mom and are supportive of you.

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag? Change of clothes for the babies Hand sanitizer Baby wipes/diapers Toys Water/food

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? Go out and take pictures of things other than my kids. Sometimes I love exploring the city by myself. So I take out my camera and take pictures of what I see.

Who are your “mom idols?” Jill Kargman of “Out Mom Out” and comedian Ali Wong

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? A group of moms from my son’s daycare. We all met during the many birthday party “rodeos”. We would see each other at the same birthday parties and one day said we should have a moms night out, which was a pretty epic night. The rest is history.

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood? Motherhood is not perfect. Do what is best for you and your baby. What might work for one mom may not work for you and that’s okay.

How do you balance it all? I don’t.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? I’m not sure I have a theme song. But my favorite song is “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz.

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: My blog (www.secondcitymom.com) started out as an outlet for me to post picture of my oldest son when he was a baby. I didn’t want to flood my Facebook posts with pictures of him so I would post his pictures on the blog for friends and family to see if they wanted to. Then the blog slowly progressed to sharing what we do as a family around Chicago with some insight on motherhood. Instagram (@secondcitymom) is just showing pictures of Chicago and some of our family adventures around town and on our travels.

 

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8) Name: Jenna Griffin

Age: 32

Kid(s) and Ages: 1 daughter – 18 months

Where do you live? Chicago, IL

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I used to be in Medical Device Sales, selling orthopedic products to surgeons, but a year ago I started my own social media marketing agency for the medical device industry. I also consider running the Chicago Babies On The Go page my “fun” job.

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? The amount of joy that one little person brings my husband and I is incredible. We are in awe of everything she does and love seeing the world through her precious, new eyes.

What’s your best “mom-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? (We all one at least one time or sanity saving tip that everyone would want to know…spill it!) I let her feed the dog and fill up his ball with treats. It takes her a long time, but she loves it and feels a sense of pride from it. https://www.chewy.com/omega-paw-tricky-treat-ball-dog- toy/dp/51234?utm_source=google- product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content=Omega%20Paw&utm_term=&g clid=CjwKCAjw7_rlBRBaEiwAc23rhtlF8P84gUHPjTCqEMYicn6gcGcx3FxU60wrW-BagA76m7Oi- bb7RhoCyCAQAvD_BwE

What is the best part about where you live? The amount of awesome activities there are for babies, toddlers and kids. And many of them are free!

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown. The Lincoln Park Zoo – her jaw DROPS every time she sees each animal.

Favorite date night in your hometown. The Saturday cabaret show at Davenports in Wicker Park. We laugh our butts off.

What are 5 things that you could not “mom” without? Wine (just kidding), Nose Frida, Frida Baby Toothbrush, Water Wows, Baby Dolls and their accessories (stroller, bed, etc).

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag? Backup clothes for blowouts, diapers, wipes, aquafor, sunscreen.

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? Sleep or splurge at TJ Maxx.

Who are your “mom idols?” My mom – she raised four successful, happy children.

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? My sisters and sister in law are who I go to for baby advice since they have seen it all already!

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood? Trust your natural instincts. Also, buy big underwear and flexible ice packs without sharp corners for after birth 😉

How do you balance it all? My daughter goes to preschool a few days a week while I work, which saves my sanity.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? Who run the world? Girls! – Beyonce

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it:  When I was on maternity leave, I wanted to find activities to take my baby to in order to stimulate her brand new senses. I could only sing to her myself so many times! I looked on Instagram for ideas and couldn’t find pages with comprehensive lists, so I decided to start a page that parents could follow for daily activities and ideas for babies and toddlers in the city called Chicago Babies On The Go. We went around town trying out new classes and events and posted about them on Instagram. We get to have fun while helping other families learn what’s available to them in their hometown of Chicago! Win, win! Instagram @chicagobabiesonthego: https://www.instagram.com/chicagobabiesonthego Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chicagobabiesonthego/

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9) Name: Jillian Horn

Age: 31

Kid(s) and Ages: Greyson – 20months

Where do you live? Chicago, IL

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life:  -Mom -RN -Chicago Influencer I run a Mommy & Me, Fashion, Travel blog and love every minute of it! JillianHorn.com

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? Everyday has its struggles but I also notice that everyday has a rewarding moment. It can be little moments where he gets all of his animal noises correct or that nice quiet time before bed when he wants to snuggle but those moments fill my heart with pure joy and prude.

What’s your best “mom-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? (We all one at least one time or sanity saving tip that everyone would want to know…spill it!) Oh Geez. If you can put in the work the first few months as far as sticking to a schedule goes I swear it pays off in the long run. Those first few months are a blur and it is beyond hard but if you implement a schedule right from the beginning the baby adjusts and you can anticipate better when they will sleep, when they will eat, ect… and then you can actually plan things and be a normal human. Every baby is different but my guy thrived off of a strict schedule. Also, now that my little guy is older, there is no shame in turning on a movie to allow yourself the chance to pickup, cook, or get something else down. No shame in your mom game.

What is the best part about where you live? We live in the city of Chicago and I think the amount of available activities, parks, beaches etc… is amazing to experience with my little guy. We try to fully take advantage of the numerous mommy and me classes along with just enjoying the beautiful lake front in the summer.

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown. I would say during the winter months we love to attend indoor music classes at Bubbles or gym time at Kid Ville. During the summer we love anything outside, such as, walks along the lake, swimming, going to the park. We try to soak it all up!

Favorite date night in your hometown. My husband and I are big foodies. Luckily for us, Chicago has some of the best restaurants around. We LOVE to try out new places as often as possible.

What are 5 things that you could not “mom” without? My guy is a little older now but I’ll share some of my absolute favorite products I used when he was a little smaller Dock-a-Tot. I LOVED this. It was great to bring it around the house with me so he could nap, I could see him and still get stuff done. Merlin suit. My little guy slept like a champion in this at night. Absolutely my favorite. My handsfree Medela breast pump. When you have a newborn you are constantly wishing you had more hands. There’s always so much going on. So the handsfree option on the FreeStyle pump was amazing and so easy to travel with Hatch Baby changing pad. Since my little guy was delivered a tad early weights were a big thing at the beginning. This change pad has a built in scale which was an absolute lifesaver. My husband. He is incredibly hands on with the baby and I couldn’t “mom” as well as I do without someone there to help. A sixth just for fun … My baby zen yoyo stroller. We travel a lot and this was absolute perfection when dealing with airport madness.

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag? Always a change of clothes for my little guy because …well kids Snacks. He is a hangry monster without snacks Diapers. Always Since its currently summer (ish) sunscreen for my little man Toys. When in doubt and trying to enjoy a meal in public, bust out the toys.

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? I love ‘me time’ in general. Either a pedicure, a massage, or even going to see a movie I feel like it almost recharges you.

Who are your “mom idols?” Definitely my mom. She was a single mom almost my whole life while running her own business. If all that craziness wasn’t enough she was there every morning to make me breakfast and get me to school and was there every afternoon to pick me up, do homework and make dinner. Beyond impressive.

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? This is a tricky one. I don’t have a TON of friends with moms so my tribe is still growing. Its so funny though because the moms I have met and become friends with are from mommy and me classes and its almost a look and BAM your friends. You make eye contact and think oh look your tiny human is around the same age as my tiny human. You look nice. Should we hangout? Hahaha Moms get other moms. It just works.

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood? You can’t do it all everyday. But if you little one is loved and happy you are doing just fine. And ASK FOR HELP. I wanted to be super mom that didn’t need anyone else. Nope. Too much pressure.

How do you balance it all? The begin is just a blur and you feed, change the diaper, and sleep. Repeat. The best way to balance it is to have a good support system or partner. My husband and I are an amazing team and there is no way I could balance our crazy schedules without him.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? This is me by Kesha

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: My blog is a very open look into my life. I share everything from mommy and me things, to fashion finds, with a dabble of traveling with our little man. I recently went through a miscarriage and am currently undergoing IVF and I have shared all of these steps as well. I am proud to share and be open about this process because it shows how hard I fight for my kids and how motherhood can truly test you. Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/jilliankhorn/ Blog- https://jillianhorn.com/

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10) Name: Alyssa Goldwater Age: 28

Kid(s) and Ages: Miri (3) and Azi (2)

Where do you live? Chicago

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I’m a mom and lifestyle blogger at A Glass of Goldwater. I started A Glass of Goldwater as a community for moms going through all different phases of motherhood. It turns out that by handling issues head on, and with a lot of sarcasm and humor, I’ve not only helped so many followers, but I saved myself along the way.

I’m also an Executive Assistant at a NPO, because someone’s gotta pay the bills.

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? 100% it’s been seeing my kids get older and turn into decent human beings. When they do a kindness for each other or someone else, then I know I’m doing my job right.

What’s your best “mom-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? (We all one at least one time or sanity saving tip that everyone would want to know…spill it!) Ignore the toys under the couch. You think I’m kidding, right? Well, I’m actually not. Out of sight and out of mind. DON’T drive yourself crazy trying to clean your house.

What is the best part about where you live? We live in West Rogers Park so we have direct access to downtown, but we live in a house with a great-sized backyard and parks around every corner. It’s really the best of both worlds.

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown. We LOVE the Museum of Science and Industry. It’s a whole day trip and there’s never a lack of what to explore.

Favorite date night in your hometown. Drinks at the Signature Room and summer fireworks at Navy Pier. But we park over at the Shedd Aquarium to watch the fireworks. It’s so much less crowded, and it’s beautiful to sit right on the lake and watch the fireworks that way.

What are 5 things that you could not “mom” without? 1) A minimum of 6 hours of sleep. Don’t even try to get me to act like an adult without it. 2) Leggings. Always. 3) My Mom Tribe of women who always have my back. 4) Pinkalicious and The Little Blue Truck. #donteverchange 5) Hot dogs and chicken nuggets. #Judgeme

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag? 1) Purell because the world is gross. 2) Extra change of clothes for each kid because car sickness is real. 3) Extra cars and trucks. 4) Granola bars. 5) An old cheese stick…because are you actually a mom without a forgotten perishable in your bag??

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? Ha, free time! That doesn’t exist, but I try to make self-care a priority. I get a weekly manicure and a monthly massage. I also like creating funny content for Youtube and Instagram with other mom bloggers and social media personalities.

Who are your “mom idols?” Reese Witherspoon. Man, that woman has got her act together AND she’s a baller mom. Her kids seem really well-rounded and solid, not-jerky human beings. And their southern. So do you need to know anything else?

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? My ride or die is Andrea Rappaport from @AndreaDoesntGiveADuck. Shockingly, we met on a Chicago North Shore Mom’s FB group, but we act like we’ve known each other our whole lives. She ALWAYS has my back and is always down to make hilarious content together. It’s not work when we’re together, and she gets it. Valeri Stavnitser from @ValerisBoutique, Devorah Soroka from @dswigdesign and Christina Cate from @catecreative are all momtrepreneurs who are DOING IT ALL, admitting when it’s hard, and get back up again even when you’d rather lay in bed and drink wine, which is always. I love them for their support, guidance and ability to always make me laugh. That’s all you need in good friends.

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood? IT.IS.SO.FREAKING.HARD. And there’s no way you can do it all on your own. You may have PPD and THAT’S OKAY! Getchyo self someone to talk to (read: therapist) and some good friends who are likely going through the same thing, and you’ll make it through.

How do you balance it all? Oh, I totally don’t. But I survive each day through laughing — especially at my kids when the situation has become too ridiculous to handle. I do my best to take a few minutes for myself throughout the day, just to reset and breathe…and pee. And I focus on making memories out of everything with my family, because I know these years will fly by, and there will be some hilarious stuff to laugh at down the road.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? Tooootally digging Sally Walker by Iggy Azalea and as always Can’t Stop the Feeling by my childhood crush, JT.

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona:  I started @aglassofgoldwater after my oldest (3 years) was born as a creative outlet for myself and a way to make memories for my family. Over the last 3 years it’s morphed into so much more. A Glass of Goldwater is a community where moms can turn for support and a daily dose of the witty reality behind the #realmomlife. I survived 2 under 1 and now I’m trying to survive 2 toddlers — so basically, if I can do it, anyone can. And no mama should have to go through this insane time in our lives we call #motherhood. aglassofgoldwater.com is a branch of my Instagram account where I provide #MomHacks, tips and feature family-friendly activities in Chicago and throughout the country. It’s a place where I can get deeply personal at times, and I can really provide my readers with useful information that I’ve learned from being a mother. Pinterest: pinterest.com/aglassofgoldwater Twitter: @aglassofgoldh2o Facebook: facebook.com/aglassofgoldwater Instagram: @aglassofgoldwater

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11) Name: thu heintz

Age: 43

Kid(s) and Ages: I have two beautiful girls, Olive {5} and Ellie {2 1/2 years old}

Where do you live? We currently live in Downers Grove

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life:I work at Ann Taylor as a Store Manager. I love the flexibility it gives me with my schedule to be able to balance mamahood and having a rewarding career!  I work with an AMAZING group of women, in all levels of management, who lead in a powerful way!

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood?  Can I answer everything?! It’s the most rewarding role I’ve ever taken on and it consists of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever experienced! It’s a pure blessing to be a mother.

What’s your best “mom-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? (We all one at least this one isn’t time a big or one, sanity but mom’s saving love tip to that take everyone pictures and would sometimes want multiple to know…spill kids won’t it!) This isn’t a big one but mom’s love to take pictures of their kids, right?! When I try to capture a few kids in a pic, I usually sing the ‘happy birthday‘ song or something familiar and catchy to get them to stand still and look at the camera! Sometimes, it’ll get them to smile too! So bonus!

What is the best part about where you live?  We used to live in the city and now we’re in the ‘burbs and I love having a house, a very spacious garage and yard, our downtown area is minutes away, and the neighborhood is so friendly!

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown: We absolutely love going to Target! We really do but I love that there are so many kid friendly things to do around our town. We love to traipse around, find a cute place to lunch at, and find a fun toy or book store to stop at!

Favorite date night in your hometown:  My hubby and I love the restaurants in our downtown area and our current favorite place is called Pierce Tavern. We love the cozy atmosphere, unique drinks, and delicious food! The menu changes seasonally and we love the service we receive every time we go there!

What are 5 things that you could not “mom” without? Our shared calendar- we rely on it to coordinate and plan out our days, weeks, and months! I can’t mom without snacks and drink cups – you gotta keep their inner beasts at bay and when they’re fed, they’re happy! Also my Canon camera…I’m obsessed with pictures and I love the memories we make together and that I can capture it. My dad always did the same when we were kids and I fondly look back and remember them through those photographs!

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag?  We have diapers {currently potty training Ellie}, wipes, toilet seat covers, butt paste, and toys.

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do?  Catch up with friends, blog, social media, go get a pedicure, and sometimes I love to do all of the above with a glass of wine!

Who are your “mom idols”? My mom, my sisters, my friends. I respect how they parent, how they uniquely parent, and I learn from all of them! I especially admire those who can balance the mom life and the career!

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? All my mom friends, I’ve met through work. They have become my best friends and through life & tenure, we’ve crossed the same milestones in our journeys and have connected deeply through those common threads!

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhoodDon’t sweat the small stuff! You don’t need all the latest gadgets…you’ll find your niche. Every child is different and unique and responds to different products based on their personal needs! Also, be kind to yourself! Your body created this miracle and it needs time to heal. It’s ok to not feel ‘normal’, to cry, or be confused after giving birth. It’s a huge life and hormonal change that you’ll adjust to!

How do you balance it all?  Plan, planning, and plan ahead! Make every moment count because it’s a true statement when someone says ‘the days are long but the years are short’! I work full time, craft, blog, collaborate on social media, and i make sure I spend time with my friends, have date nights with the hubby, and be present and create beautiful memories with my kids. It all comes down to what is important to you and how you prioritize!

If you had a theme song, what would it be?  Don’t Stop Believing! It’s my power ballad!

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind itMy blog is about my life! There are fashion, lifestyle, food bloggers out there but it’s hard to categorize my blog…it’s more of a mom/life blogging kind of site! I want others to experience the joy of motherhood, the joy of friends, the joy of family, and the joy of chicago! It’s a peek into my life and how I handle it all. I love life and love sharing it with others and I hope, one day, my girls will love reading back on their memories and how mom viewed and experienced it! My ig handle is @tandeminlove https://www.instagram.com/tandeminlove/  and my blog site is http://tandeminlove.com

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12) Name: Katie Cassman

Age: 32

Kid(s) and Ages: Caroline – 15 months

Where do you live? Wilmette, IL

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I’m a real estate broker with @properties helping clients buy, sell and invest in properties in Chicago and the North Shore. I also teach a class brokers at @properties on how to best utilize Instagram to leverage their brand. I love real estate and have a great partnership working with my best friend from high school, Theo Jordan. Together we are the Jordan & Cassman Real Estate Group. I also have a motherhood and lifestyle blog, KatieCassman.com. I’ve been blogging (in various ways) for over 7 years. I love sharing my favorite mom tips, local insight and some real estate content in there too. Lastly, I work with 2 local business to manage their Instagram accounts. No day is ever dull!

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? I have loved every age and stage. At 15 months, I can see the wheels turning in Caroline’s head and it’s so fun to watch her interact. She brings so much joy and love to our lives every day. I know truly understand what people mean when they say, you can’t imagine life before kids.

What’s your best “mom-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? (We all one at least one time or sanity saving tip that everyone would want to know…spill it!) This isn’t a ground breaking hack, but helps make my mornings go smoother. At night I pre- make sippy cups with water and milk so it’s one less thing to do in the AM.

What is the best part about where you live? We have the city and the beach – best of both worlds!

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown. We love the park, botanic gardens and summer beach days.

Favorite date night in your hometown. We love date night at the Deer Path Inn. They’re downstairs Bar has amazing cocktails and a delicious menu with something for everyone including fresh sushi.

What are 5 things that you could not “mom” without?  This answer changes at different ages but right now – wubbanubs, happy baby puffs, books, nest app and our uppababy minu stroller.

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag? 1. I have a dog poop bag dispenser in my diaper bag and it’s perfect for a quick diaper change when were on the go. 2. Hand sanitizer. It’s very hard to wash your hands while carrying a baby. 3. A change of clothes, because things happen… 4. Snacks on snacks on snacks! 5. Toys and books.

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? Get a manicure or massage. I also love to read magazines.

Who are your “mom idols?” My mom is my number 1 mom idol. I’m also in awe of all of my friends going through motherhood. I feel like we’re all in this together and I’m inspired by each and every one of them.

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? My tribe is made up of mom friends old and new. I’m constantly meeting new mamas at the park, through activities and from mutual friends. I feel very lucky to have a great support network.

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood? network.

How do you balance it all? I don’t. I’m just doing the best I can, like everyone else!

If you had a theme song, what would it be? Manic Monday

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: I share tidbits of motherhood, life & style all while talking about my favorite city – Chicago & the north shore. Blog – http://www.katiecassman.com/ Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/katiecassman_/?hl=en

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13) Name: Helen Berkun

Age: 39

Kid(s) and Ages: Natan 11 // Kalista 7 // Thalia 3

Where do you live? Riverwoods, IL

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I own my own company called MISSRED, INC. I started out as a fashion photographer over twenty years ago. What I thought was going to be my love for film, photography and fashion has morphed into me wearing so many other hats… including fashion of course. I’ve produced fashion shows, styled editorials, ad campaigns and celebrity red carpets. I have since become an influencer and a digital content creator. A happy accident!!!  I literally live, eat and breathe fashion + lifestyle!

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? Honestly, so many different things but the top two are knowing that the love these little beings have for you is unconditional. Also whenever my kids are kind or helpful, or wise. Whenever they exhibit traits I taught them as a parent just fills my heart.

What’s your best “mom-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? For a trip or overnight camps. Put all outfits in separate zip lock bags. Including underwear, socks, hair accessories, etc. I label the bags with type of weather the outfit may be. Cloudy, rainy, warm, layered, etc. This way there is no question about what to wear! Saves time and tears!

What is the best part about where you live? We are close enough to the city where we can go out for dinners, events and enjoy all the things the city has to offer. We also have a boat on Montrose Harbor so we are always enjoying city summers. We live in the top school district in the country and I love all the land we have. We’ve lived in the city before and I could never let my oldest just run around to friends houses or be on his own. Here our doors are literally open and kids run back and forth to each others houses and ride bikes. Basically the childhood we had!

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown. We love bowling!

Favorite date night in your hometown. Miramar! A total hidden gem, it’s our Balthazar!

What are 5 things that you could not “mom” without?  California Kids face wash! I have an almost teenager so teaching him skin care is a must! Hourglass lip balm that I slather on the kids, they always have chapped lips. Disinfectant wipes, because DUH! Iphone/Ipad because sometimes you need a digital babysitter. Nespresso coffee because without my coffee… I AM NOT A GOOD MOM!

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag? With the third I never carried a diaper bag. I figured all she needs at this point is a diaper or two and wipes. I typically have them in my car or purse.

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? Go out and dance! I’m still and always will be a club kid at heart.

Who are your “mom idols?” Gwen Steffani and my mom!

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? I’ve pretty much had the same group of friends since I came to America. I immigrated here from the former USSR. So that’s my tribe! We grew up together and we had babies together. I’ve of course met some wonderful mamas through blogging and they all inspire me so much!

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood? Relax! No kid is a text book.

How do you balance it all? I do not balance it all!

If you had a theme song, what would it be? O’migosh too many songs to go through! My life has a constantly, daily, changing theme song. Today it was O’Lamoir by Erasure!

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: I write mainly about TRAVEL + LIFESTYLE + BEAUTY + FASHION. I want to inspire women, especially moms that you can have kids, be a good mom and still look good doing it. I also love to travel and believe that kids and families in general learn so much from travel. Finally I always like to think that I’m a positive person besides life not being perfect. I love life and have had some horribly tough years. However, no matter what I try not to fester or harbor on that. I find beauty, love and positivity even in the ugliest. That’s truly what my message is! Follow along -IG @Helen_Berkun or on my site https://helenberkun.com

We want you to meet…

14) Name: Ashley Atkins

Kid(s) and Ages: Luna (3), Liam (1), Lyon ( 3 months)

 

Work life:  I’m a Program Coordinator at a local University!

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? Transformation! Motherhood has completely transformed me for the better. It has exposed me so many different parts of myself ( good, bad , and ugly). Everyday is an opportunity I have to learn from my kids! I’m so grateful to be on this journey.

What’s your best “mom-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? (We all one at least one time or sanity saving tip that everyone would want to know…spill it!) Invest in a good baby carrier! Especially, if you have multiple little ones. Babywearing enables you to still have the freedom you need to get different tasks done, while still having your baby close!

What are 5 things that you could not “mom” without?   1) God 2) Mom Friends 3) Nosefrida 4) Libraries 5) Kid tablets

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag? 1) Mom snacks 2) Socks for the kiddos and yourself 3) Shea Butter 4) Phone charger 5) Kid Snacks

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? I rarely have time to myself, but when I do I love to treat myself to a pedicure or go to Target!

Who are your “mom idols?” There are so many awesome women I look up to in my life especially my mother and grandmother! Here’s a few I follow: @heatherllove @noahandjoseph_ @thejamielynnshow @mamafreshchi These are just a few off the top of my head, but I’m inspired by all the mothers I follow!!

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? My mom tribe consist of close friends. I actually met most of my mom tribe during my time as a lactation peer counselor.

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood? There’s nothing that will truly prepare you for motherhood. You can read a ton of parenting books. Take parenting classes and you still won’t be prepared. Mistakes are bound to happen and there will be obstacles parenting books don’t cover. Motherhood requires you to be open and honest with yourself! As long as you’re doing the absolute best you can for you child daily who can tell you otherwise?! Own your motherhood and be proud even when it gets hard.

How do you balance it all? I don’t think any mom has a true “balance” of things. Everyday brings a new set of challenges! With that being said, I do my best to make the most of every day. If I mess up, I know that tomorrow will be a new day to start fresh and be the best me!

If you had a theme song, what would it be? Smile by Jonathan McReynolds

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it. My whole mission behind blogging is to be a source of encouragement for mothers, especially new moms. I love to encourage women to live healthy lifestyles and advocate for natural parenting.  Follow along on her blog, Instagram and Facebook!

What are your favorite things to do in Chicago? We love to take the kids to HelloBaby ( a drop in play space)! I love spur of the moment date nights to AMC…the AMC River East 21 is our spot!

If you’re an expectant or new parent in the Chicago area, Best of Bump Club & Beyond is an event you do NOT want to miss!  Join these fantastic Chicago moms + us on Saturday, May 4 10:00 am – 3:00 pm at the Swissotel!  We’re bringing you the BEST baby gear, products, services + safety information in one action packed event!  For more information and registration, CLICK HERE.