Meet Our Favorite Chicago Moms: 100th Gearapalooza Edition

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We are so excited to be heading to our HUGE 100th Gearapalooza back home in CHICAGO!  We can’t wait to be back in the Windy City on November 21 evening!  It’s going to be so great to bring our ultimate baby gear and registry event to our hometown city to cap off our 2019 Tour!  As always, we will be featuring our good friend and baby gear expert, TheJamieGrayson, who will showcase the BEST baby gear, products, services + safety information in one action-packed night!   If you’re a new or expectant parent this is a DO NOT MISS event!  The gift bags are also incredible and there are thousands of dollars in giveaways (strollers, car seats, carriers, and so much more!) from top brands like Bumkins, Newton, EZPZ, Thule, JuJuBe, Love To Dream, Uppababy, Seventh Generation + more!

To celebrate our homecoming in sweet home Chicago, we want to introduce you to some of our favorite Chicago moms!  We are so lucky to have these amazing women as part of our BCB community & most will be joining us at Gearapalooza so be sure to stop by and say hi!  Make sure to read all about them and follow them on their blogs and social channels to see more about why we love them!

 

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Maria Khan-Zuberi

Age: 32

Kid(s) and Ages: 5 and 1

Where do you live? Bartlett, IL  

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I work part -time at a healthcare IT company as an IT Analyst. 

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? Out of all the gifts that God has given me, I cherish Motherhood the most. It gets challenging at times, but the snuggles, kisses and smiles on their faces keeps me going. They give me mo0re strength and motivation to do more in life.

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!) Prepare lunch a night before and pick out outfits for the week on Sundays. 

What is the best part about where you live? I love living in Bartlett we recently moved here and my neighborhood has alot of kids so my kids are loving it. 

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown. There are so many cafes for kids around my area also a bunch of indoor playgrounds and waterparks for kids.

Favorite date night in your hometown. We love going to Geneva, IL (downtown) if we don’t want to drive all the way to the city.

What are 5 things that you could not “mom” without? car seat, cereal, snack bars, my husband, bubble baths

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag? wipes, diapers, extra pair of clothes, jacket, rash cream

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? catch up on life, my emails, blog, photography, tv

Who are your “mom idols”? moms who spend time engaging with kids physically, taking them out and having a conversation with kids. 

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? a bunch of my friends from School are now moms so I usually hang out with them. Our kids are the same age too.

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood? That all the fun begins after the baby arrives! Every age is so hard from being a newborn to toddler to a kindergartener. you just have to hang in there!

How do you balance it all? Do I have a choice? 🙂 Well, I try not to stress but enjoy everything. With my first born I realized, how fast they grow so I am taking is easy with my second one and enjoying every bit of it. My husband is a great help and because of him, I am still doing fine. He would watch the kids and let me have me time and even girls night outs.

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online personal and what is your mission behind it: I started off with more of beauty on my IG @beautybymariakhan because I always loved beauty/makeup and got motivated when I finally saw that it was going somewhere and people started to recognize more. I started to post a little bit about my kids, family and I realized that every time I mixed content with lifestyle, I would get more responses and the posts would perform really well. So I started doing more of lifestyle/beauty/fashion and travel posts and my followers seem to like those a lot more than just beauty so I try to stick with this more. I recently started my blog so I am trying to work on that more as well. I like doing what I am doing. It’s more of a passion than a profession as I only do this part time. But in future, I would definitely want to turn this into a career.

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Jenny LeFlore

Age: 39

Kid(s) and Ages: ObieQ 3yo

Where do you live? Bronzeville, Chicago

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I am the founder and Mama behind Mama Fresh

What does BCB (and/or Gearapalooza) mean to you?  BCB was my starting point when I was expecting.  Gearapalooza specifically served as a map for me as I navigated what I REALLY needed for my family. My favorite thing about BCB events is you are presented information in a very objective way. There is no “perfect” stroller.. what works for me in the city as a FTM probably won’t work for a Mom of 2 in the burbs. Events like Gearapalooza presents all the information so you can make an informed decision.

What has been one of your favorite parts of being part of the BCB community? My favorite part has been how I have seen women feel empowered from being part of the community. Mamas feel confident because they are learning from experts and most importantly other Moms. 

Have you met some BCB Besties through BCB?  There was a woman who went to college with my husband. I didn’t know her well at all BUT I invited her to the first BCB event I attended. We went and it started our Motherhood journey together. Fast forward 3 years later and we are still besties and so are our kids!

 

 

 What’s your #momlife advice to other expecting and new mamas? Remain flexible and parent the unique child you have. I became a Mama at 36 so I was fully prepared with what I “thought” I would do with my child.  I thought I would exclusively breastfeed. However in the hospital I had complications after birth. We waited too long to feed him so he needed to eat NOW. I had to give him formula. THAT was not my plan! So I cried. That moment was there to teach me that you do what you need to do in the moment for the wellbeing of your kid. Eventually he did latch and we nursed for 25 months so that moment was not the end of the world. 

What is your #1 baby product you always recommend to others? Baby Frida Nail Clipper.. there is NOTHING more scary than clipping a baby’s nails.

What is your favorite family thing to do or place to go in the Chicagoland area? We love Chicago’s free parks.. you can find us there all the time. We also love our local book store. ObieQ has been going there for storytime since he was 3 months..

If you had a personal mom motto, what would it be? “I got this!” Whatever is thrown my way, I can handle it. I have to remind myself of that sometimes.

If you could have 1 mom super power, what would it be and why? Easy! Making snacks appear out of thin air..

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: My brand is Mama Fresh.. I take a fresh approach towards Motherhood.  I create space where diversity of Motherhood can be celebrated. I am a community builder, speaker, media personality and event host, advocate but first of a I am a Mama. You can find me at @MamaFreshChi across all social media platforms. Follow my blog too!

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Dana Harf

Age: 35

Kid(s) and Ages: Brody, who will be 5 in December and Levi, who’s 2.5

Where do you live? Chicago’s NorthShore!!

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I have a blog + Instagram, I am the Social Media Manager for a some suburban restaurants.

What does BCB (and/or Gearapalooza) mean to you? BCB means everything to me! I met some of my very best mom friends at BCB Wildfire dinners and events!! With that, I remember going to Gearapalooza when I was pregnant for the first time feeling so sick {I had the worst pregnancies} but also so excited about what was to come in my life! It gave me life to keep on keeping on! And I’m pretty sure I won something that night too!

What has been one of your favorite parts of being part of the BCB community? Meeting new people who went from strangers to friends. Also, learning to be a better mom from each of the events and seminars that I’ve attended! 

Have you met some BCB Besties through BCB?  If so, tell us about them and how you met and what they mean to you.  Omg yes!!! One of my very best friends is from a playgroup that I went to at Little Beans through Bump Club! We both lived in the city and now we both live in the suburbs and our kids are now besties too!

What’s your #momlife advice to other expecting and new mamas? My best piece of advice is to take deep breaths because not every moment is easy, and that’s okay. Deep breaths ALWAYS help. 

What is your #1 baby product you always recommend to others? Hard question! But I would say Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Diaper Rash Ointment – Maximum Strength in the red container. It’s magic!!!! It’s one of those products that will come in handy from birth to toddlerhood!

What is your favorite family thing to do or place to go in the Chicagoland area?  I love exploring new places in Chicago with my family! Currently, we are obsessed with going to all the different kids pop-ups happening. I just got tickets to the Toys ‘R’ Us Adventure Pop-Up!

If you had a personal mom motto, what would it be? Calm parents, calm baby/toddlers/kids.  

If you could have 1 mom super power, what would it be and why? Easy: eyes in the back of my head!!! I have two boys and they are a handful. This would come in handy!

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: My blog is called I Adore What I Love. It’s a mom blog all about ways to make life a little easier. I share about my own life as a mom, I share easy recipes, simple style ideas, gift guides, lots of local love, and about our travels. My IG account {you can find me at @danaivy} is an extension of that and on my stories, I share about my everyday life and the mom tips found within it.

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Melissa Ackerman & Brittany Dobslaf

Age: Both 36

Kid(s) and Ages: Melissa is the mom of three amazing boys, ages 7, 4, and 1.5. Brittany is the mom of two kiddos: a 4.5-year-old boy and a 1.5-year-old girl.

Where do you live? We both live in the northern suburbs of Chicago.

Tell us a little bit about yourselves…

Work life: Melissa Ackerman is the President of Produce Alliance; Brittany Dobslaf is the Director of Client Services for Produce Alliance.  Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, Canada, the Caribbean, and beyond.

What does BCB (and/or Gearapalooza) mean to you? Bump Club is an amazing community of women–led by an inspirational working mom–that ensures expectant and current parents are able to find resources and a network of others to lean on and laugh with. Gearapalooza is the ultimate event to learn about and experience EVERYTHING baby.

What has been one of your favorite parts of being part of the BCB community? BCB has great events and options for both expectant woman and children. As full-time working moms, Bump Club provides us with so many amazing, free activities and partnerships for our nannies to take advantage of, especially with our littles.  It’s so great to be able to sign them up for these activities and know that they are well-run (and so much fun!). 

Have you met some BCB Besties through BCB?  If so, tell us about them and how you met and what they mean to you.  “I remember my first Bump Club event when I was pregnant with my first.  We were at a play space in the city of Chicago learning about Car Seat Safety from a good-looking Chicago Firefighter.  I remember looking across the room and seeing another girl I grew up with who was also pregnant.  We connected at that event later in the evening and have now been in each other’s lives ever since.”-Brittany

What’s your #momlife advice to other expecting and new mamas? “Most of what you need to know is already inside you.” -Melissa

“It is ok and completely normal to cry!”- Brittany 

What is your #1 baby product you always recommend to others? Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother– Brittany

Step2 Push Around Buggy – Melissa

What is your favorite family thing to do or place to go in the Chicagoland area?  Chicago is home to so many amazing sports teams with die-hard fans.  It’s fun to take our kids to sporting events and create a new generation of fans!

If you could have 1 mom super power, what would it be and why? Easy—we’d add more hours in the day. Or the power to leave our work—physically and mentally—at work, so that when we get home at the end of each day we are completely present as moms and wives. And maybe have a wand that magically grants us eight uninterrupted hours of peaceful sleep each night. And turns an intense, hour-long workout at the gym into a vitamin chew. A chocolate vitamin chew.

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: The Chaotic Commute is a network for working moms.  Our mission is simple: Connect one working mom to another.  We created The Chaotic Commute to inspire and cultivate this sense of community, to provide a forum where working moms can share their struggles and wins, and to help them find a relatable network of other amazing women trying to make it work.  Find us on Instagram @thechaoticcommute, Facebook and our blog.

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Helen Berkun

Age: 39

Kid(s) and Ages: 12 – 8 – 3

Where do you live? Chicago Northshore Suburbs

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: Creative Director + Influencer + Fashion Photographer + Stylist + Mama… I wear many hats!

What does BCB (and/or Gearapalooza) mean to you? It’s incredible to have a community of mamas and experts to help in all aspects of motherhood.

What has been one of your favorite parts of being part of the BCB community? I love the ability to share and learn from each other. 

What’s your #momlife advice to other expecting and new mamas? Oh gosh… I wish I had it all figured out and I simply don’t. So I guess the advice would be to breathe… this too shall pass. It’s so hard to deal with the unknows and balancing motherhood in general, well it’s crazy! Sometimes we just have to  let things slide and remember, no kid is a text book. 

What is your #1 baby product you always recommend to others? Aquafor. I’m totally like the dad in my Big Fat Greek Wedding with Windex. I’m like that with Aquafor. It’s honestly the best product for everything. From dry skin, rashes, chapped lips, to fly aways. Yep, I’ve used it on my hair before.

What is your favorite family thing to do or place to go in the Chicagoland area?  We have so many but in the summer definitely boating. We have a boat on Montrose Harbor. In the winter, we love to ski, build snow men and cook! We also host a ton at home in the winter.

If you had a personal mom motto, what would it be? Lead with love… 

If you could have 1 mom super power, what would it be and why? I would love to clone myself. Like all moms there simply never enough time in the day.

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: My blog is www.HELENBERKUN.com and it’s a place filled with fashion, interior design, travel, lifestyle and cooking. All the things I love to do and all the things I love to share. This goes the same across the board with my @Helen_Berkun Instagram. I love to share everything and I feel like my content is useful to so many mothers. I’m a true believer that we can do it all! I don’t believe you have to hire everyone for everything and DIY projects are fun. I also travel a ton and always write about tips and tricks and where to go, etc.

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Ria Pretekin

Age:

Kid(s) and Ages: 1 daughter, 1 son

Where do you live? Chicago

Reading Intercultural Stories while Co-Sleeping

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I’m an educational 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 does BCB (and/or Gearapalooza) mean to you? I’ve been a part of BCB since I had my first kiddo seven years ago and it has been a place for me to learn about motherhood, mom hacks, and a place to meet other moms!

What has been one of your favorite parts of being part of the BCB community? I love going the different BCB events with my friends that I’ve made in this journey through motherhood. My most favorite memory was being surprised by the whole cast of Bad Moms 2 years ago. That was an epic moms night out!

Have you met some BCB Besties through BCB?  If so, tell us about them and how you met and what they mean to you.  Larissa and Maria are good friends of mine that were part of the original BCB crew 9 years ago. I’ve learned a lot from them, especially being Filipina American moms too.

I’ve met so many moms in the Chicago area and have connected at BCB events. Getting connected with the Bubbles Academy family has meant so much to me. I was in the Baby’s 1st Year group at Bubbles Academy with BCB and it introduced me to a whole new community. I recently hosted a Filipino American History Month Festival at Bubbles Academy and am eternally grateful for the Bubbles Team for their support. I also was able to partner with BCB and 7th Generation and am so thankful to Lindsay and Jill for supporting my event. I rounded out the whole BCB family by having TK Photography as the photographer for the my FAHM Festival. It’s been so great to think about all the connections I have made through being a part of the BCB community.

What’s your #momlife advice to other expecting and new mamas? 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. 

What is your #1 baby product you always recommend to others? Boogie wipes! Still use them for the kids now and have them everywhere.

What is your favorite family thing to do or place to go in the Chicagoland area! There is so much to do see, learn, eat, and explore right when we walk outside our front door, we have the most amazing parks, museums, and the lakeshore path! 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. My favorite thing to do might be the Art Institute. There’s something for everyone in our family there and it’s such a great way to spend an afternoon, immersed in art, culture, and architecture.

If you had a personal mom motto, what would it be? .  Every child is different, every family is different, there isn’t one way to parent. 

If you could have 1 mom super power, what would it be and why? To pause time to allow myself to soak in my most favorite family moments.

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 and my blog.

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Magda Lasota

Age: 35

Kid(s) and Ages: Adrian 5 and Julian 2

Where do you live? Chicago IL

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I’m a stay at home mom and a founder of @themlmbrand_ — a collection of breastfeeding and pregnancy friendly basics designed for the women on the go.

What does BCB (and/or Gearapalooza) mean to you? The best baby and kid gear on the market. I love that BCB also features and promotes local small businesses — this is how I’ve discovered several of my favorite mom-owned, Chicagoland businesses.

What has been one of your favorite parts of being part of the BCB community? Meeting other moms navigating motherhood every kind of way, both online and in real life. 

What’s your #momlife advice to other expecting and new mamas? In motherhood everything is a season. Taking care of yourself is taking care of your family. It truly takes a village and it’s nothing to be ashamed of — it needs to be normalized and celebrated. 

What is your #1 baby product you always recommend to others? Nose Frida! It’s been a life and sleep saver in our home during the cold seasons.

What is your favorite family thing to do or place to go in the Chicagoland area? Maggie Daley Park, Present Place Indoor Playground, Little Red School House Nature Center in Willow Springs, IL and Elli’s Ark Ice Cream in Wicker Park.

If you had a personal mom motto, what would it be? Letting go of what I thought motherhood would be and accepting my unique motherhood experience for what it is. Some days I find it fulfilling. Other times I feel bitter about having to go through it alone most days. It’s probably one of my biggest struggles as a mom. To me, the quote “You can’t always change your reality, but you can change your attitude” rings particularly true. I’m still working on improving that attitude. 

If you could have 1 mom super power, what would it be and why? Ha! Love this question. I’m going to say: an extra pair of hands at certain times of the day. It would be helpful to have an extra helping hand at dinner time when both kids want my attention but I have to cook dinner, or when my boys ask me to carry them simultaneously, or carry their scooters, toys, and other “treasures” when I’m already carrying grocery bags.

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: @magdalasota_ — Just for fun account documenting my career pause to make room for motherhood and pursue a passion project (@themlmbrand_ — breastfeeding and bump friendly basics designed for women on the go).

The goal of @themlmbrand_ is to empower women to embrace all stages of motherhood by creating dresses that can take busy, multitasking mamas throughout their day in style and feeling confident. My first design — the little black breastfeeding dress — can be worn during pregnancy, postpartum, and it comes with a discreet breastfeeding-friendly panel. I’m currently working on two new designs, both well suited for pregnant and breastfeeding mamas, and I can’t wait to bring them to the market.

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Christine Corrigan

Age: 36

Kid(s) and Ages: Finnen 2.5 years old & Mairead 4 months old.

Where do you live? Chicago, IL but soon Charlottesville, VA!

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: SAHM

What does BCB (and/or Gearapalooza) mean to you?  It is a community of people who understand the daily life of a parent and are doing so much try to make that life easier!

What has been one of your favorite parts of being part of the BCB community? Meeting new people and learning about great products and events in my area. 

Have you met some BCB Besties through BCB?  If so, tell us about them and how you met and what they mean to you.  I have met some great woman through BCB.  Many of these ladies I’ve developed a friendship with on Instagram and the BCB events have allowed us to meet in real life!

Suzie @mama_pret, me, and Liz @liz.m.stanton at Best of Bump Club, May 2019

What’s your #momlife advice to other expecting and new mamas? You are going to get a lot of advice, but ultimately you have got to do what works best for your family.  Don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy the big moments.  Also, don’t think your life is over once baby arrives.  The world is a much more baby friendly place than you may expect.  

What is your #1 baby product you always recommend to others? I struggled with swaddling my son for so many months, then I discovered Halo’s easy to use swaddlers.  We now use the Love to Dream swaddle with my daughter and it’s even easier!

What is your favorite family thing to do or place to go in the Chicagoland area?  We love walking to the Lincoln Park Zoo and grabbing a bit to eat at one of the kid-friendly places near there.  Like Mon Ami Gabi, RJ Grunts, or if your lucky enough to grab a seat at the Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co.

If you had a personal mom motto, what would it be?  Everyday holds a new adventure, buckle your kids in, and go find it!     

If you could have 1 mom super power, what would it be and why?  Super speed, cause I feel like I am always running behind or trying to catch up on EVERYTHING!

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it:  My blog and my IG/Twitter/Facebook is also @mommahasyou. I started my blog (and all the other social media accounts) when I first moved to Chicago 2 years ago.  My son was 7 months old and was napping 2 times a day.  I basically was bored living in a new city, knowing no one, and looking for a way to share a very personal story with the world.  I felt that an experience I had while 3 months pregnant, needed to be shared to help others.  Beyond writing that one story I wasn’t sure what else I would write about.  Mommahasyou has slowly turned into a place where I provide helpful tips and tricks to making motherhood & parenthood easier.  I give insight into products and methods I love to use with my kids.  It is a place for others to share their lives and ways they handle parenthood each day.  I see mommahasyou as a resource for parents, to make each day more adventurous and manageable!

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Michele Narsinghani

Age:  36

Kid(s) and Ages:  Shayaan (M)- 4 y.o.

Where do you live? West Town, Chicago, IL

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: Clinical Pharmacist by day and Recipe/Food Blogger by night @momunderpressure

What does BCB (and/or Gearapalooza) mean to you?  I will be forever grateful to Bump Club and Beyond! The sessions I attended when pregnant with my son were so helpful. I remember my husband learning how to wrap a swaddle at one of the basics classes, and then each panel had great tips for us. I wasn’t scared of flying with my newborn, and was able to save pumped milk after hearing other moms talk about their experiences. BCB is also immensely involved with different organizations and the community so I love that my son can attend cultural events like Diwali and Holi.

What has been one of your favorite parts of being part of the BCB community?  Meeting fellow moms and their kids has been awesome! I love that you really have a built in community through BCB. When we attend events we meet so many knew families, discover new kid friendly businesses, always run into friends that we haven’t seen in a while. BCB has the best events for moms whether it’s educational/informative, getting pampered, adding in more exercise, or being able to catch a movie premiere! Oh, and the discounts and swag is INSANE! I could go on and on about why I love Bump Club! 

Have you met some BCB Besties through BCB?  If so, tell us about them and how you met and what they mean to you.  I’ve met some mommas who I adore. They are a wealth of knowledge in the parenting arena, so fun, and inspire me to accomplish so much more as a working parent.

What’s your #momlife advice to other expecting and new mamas? Just survive! I know that’s easier said than done, but take it day by day and take a break when you need one! As moms we are always giving (…and giving) so we NEED to slow down and breathe.

Finding an outlet for me was key. When I started my blog I felt like I finally got my groove back, and found a release for the craziness that is #momlife. Hence Mom Under Pressure. 

What is your #1 baby product you always recommend to others? I was introduced to the Baby Zen Yoyo stroller through BCB and absolutely cannot live without it! This stroller is the best when it comes to travel and it’s so lightweight and easy to use that it’s become our everyday stroller as well. I also always recommend the Keekaroo Peanut changing pad or similar product. It’s durable, easy to clean, and sleek.

What is your favorite family thing to do or place to go in the Chicagoland area?  Whatever is convenient! I’m not one to seek out new places or events because we are a very laid back, lazy-weekend kind of family. So you will find me at nearby festivals when it’s nice out, places I can walk to (and have a blast at as well) like Altitude Trampoline Park. The Kids’ Table is so fun and has drop off classes, and if there’s an event with a charity component you will most likely find me there as well!

If you had a personal mom motto, what would it be? I only get to pick one? This one is hard, but it goes back to taking care of yourself first. I’ve stopped doing things that are only fun for my son. I remember being at classes that were so expensive and you had to sit there in agony while someone else tried to entertain a room full of littles.  These days if we plan things it has to be good for both parties- parents and child. It’s a fine balance for sure, but if it means that we stay in our PJs and do activities at home than so be it!  

If you could have 1 mom super power, what would it be and why? To be in multiple places at once. Many working moms want to spend more time with their kids and be present for all of those milestones and vice versa of course. I can’t even imagine how much SAHMs give up for their children. Wouldn’t it be nice to have it all?

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: Mom Under Pressure is a recipe blog that started because I want to show busy adults how they can get a healthy and delicious dinner on the table in a short period of time. I’ve always loved to cook, but I started to cook so much more after becoming a mother sice we just couldn’t dine out as frequently as we wanted to. On the blog you will see how I take shortcuts (#cookinghacks) using quality prepared foods,  and fuse a bit of my Indian heritage into the recipes. I also love highlighting local brands and their mission in the food space. I get Shayaan involved in the process and followers love when he makes an appearance in my cooking videos.  I want him to have a passion for discovering different cuisines in the same way that my husband and I do.  Follow me on Instagram at @momunderpressure and Facebook.

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Madeline DeLage

Age: 24

Kid(s) and Ages: Blair- 17 months, Brooks- due November of this year!

Where do you live? Suburbs of Chicago

Work life: Currently a stay at home mom

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

What does BCB (and/or Gearapalooza) mean to you? One of the most exciting events of the year! It is almost like a holiday/girls night/best shopping experience all in one!

What has been one of your favorite parts of being part of the BCB community? I have loved all of the fun events and activities that I have been able to do. Also, the other moms in the community are so helpful! 

What’s your #momlife advice to other expecting and new mamas? My #momlife advice to other expecting and new mamas is to get help from your community! It takes a village and it is okay to ask for help! 

What is your #1 baby product you always recommend to others? The #1 baby product I always recommend is actually for moms! If you are a mom who is planning on breastfeeding or are currently- get the haaka breast pump. Just trust me on this one!

What is your favorite family thing to do or place to go in the Chicagoland area?  Our favorite family thing to do in the Chicagoland area is to go for walks at outdoor malls or we love going to Goeberts farm in the Fall!

If you had a personal mom motto, what would it be? “I used to have functioning brain cells but I traded them in for children.” 

If you could have 1 mom super power, what would it be and why? To survive on no sleep! I always need 8-10 hours of sleep but sometimes that doesn’t always happen with littles in my home:)

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: I started my instagram account @madelinedelage years ago and as I have become a mother, it has morphed into my personal blog and a place to share my favorite baby products with other parents. I started my blog ‘Madeline Grace’ (madelinegrace.net) earlier this year to give more detailed reviews of baby products I receive and to get connected more to other bloggers!

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Becka B

Age: 31

Kid(s) and Ages: Triplets – Thomas, Declan and Isla (age 2.5) and Max (age 6 mos)

Where do you live? Elburn IL

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: My main job is “mom” currently, but I was a special education teacher for 7 years before becoming a stay at home mom. I am also quite the side-hustler, hehe… I work for VIPKID as an online English tutor, I tutor and babysit after school & run my Instagram account, @mymom_wife_life

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood/fatherhood? Motherhood did not come easy to me and it took several fertility treatments, and ultimately IVF to be able to have our triplets. Becoming a mother to triplets was overwhelming but extra rewarding as we had put in so much effort to becoming parents. Even when it is hard, being a mother and getting to stay home with my child is my greatest reward. I take comfort in knowing they are with their mom and I don’t have to worry about who is carrying for them and if they could handle and care for four very young children at once (we are a unique family in that not one of our children have turned 3 yet).

What’s your best “mom/dad-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 man, I have a lot of them since I have triplets + a baby. I go out A LOT with my four kids solo so my best hack for getting into stores & locations with a lot of littles, when you don’t have a stroller is to park to the side of the building. For example, when I go to Wal-Mart or Jewel, I skip the main parking lot and go to the one along the side of the building. This way the kids and I head in on a sidewalk the whole way and I don’t have to corral my free-range children in a parking lot full of vehicles. It makes getting to the triple cart a lot easier! 

Favorite date night in your hometown. Our suburb is growing, but still pretty tiny. There aren’t a whole lot of options so we usually drive one town over to Campton Hills/St Charles and hit Shima Sushi. It’s like a best kept secret! We have a favorite sushi choices list saved in the notes app on my phone!

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

AHHH, just 5! I have a list of 5 just for surviving multiples!!

  • The Hatch Baby Rest
  • Keenz Stroller Wagon
  • A good every day cooler (I use the one that came with our Keenz Wagon currently)
  • A backpack diaper bag
  • A timer (the one on my iPhone works just great)

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag?

  • Diapers; like way more than you think you need
  • Wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Burp Clothes
  • Spare clothing

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? What’s alone time? No really, I love to read, but I don’t have time for full books right now so I’m loving reading blogs because they are quicker reads and packed with great life hacks and tips from mamas and people who’ve been there. I also love baths, so I usually will read a blog on my iPad in the bath if I get the chance.

Who are your “mom/dad idols”?  People I wish I parented more like? Nicole Kavanaugh of The Kavanaugh Report (Montessori Blog) and probably just any mom who can find a way to yell less, cuddle more, and ignore the laundry better than I can.

Who is in your mom/dad tribe and how did you meet them? A lot of twin and triplet mamas; met for obvious reasons #multiplesmomssticktogether also some good girlfriends from my sorority in college; we’ve stayed friends through it all, a friend from childhood, my mama friend and neighbor, and a few other mama friends I’ve met along the way!

What is one piece of advice for new moms/dads that you wish someone told you before mother/fatherhood? Lower your expectations – of your house, of yourself, of the dishes, of how often your shower…lower it all; give yourself grace.

How do you balance it all? An energetic personality, my iPhone organizes a lot (calendar, notes apps, alarms) and a little bit of coffee. I really struggle to answer this question because I often do get asked how I do it all and I guess I’ve just always been a person with a lot of energy so I can keep going for a while before I need a recharge.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? Take the World By Storm by Lukas Graham – I have some pretty big goals for myself and I think this is kind of my jam that encourages me!

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: My IG and Facebook are cross-posted so you’ll find lots of similar content there. 😊 I just want to share my life raising triplets plus one along side my husband, John. We are a unique family with so many young children and I’m a woman who likes to spin a lot of plates, so I enjoy adding in the piece of sharing what we are up to each day. I was a teacher prior to triplet-hood so I love to create meals and educational themes for my toddlers and I share them on my Instagram @mymom_wife_life/Facebook.

 

Name: Carolyn Banner

Age: 39

Kid(s) and Ages: Oliver 5, plus 2 older step kids- Sofi 22 and Martin 19 (they live in Argentina)

Where do you live? Hyde Park Chicago

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I’m a mamapreneur and have been running Body By Banner for 3 years now. I offer fitness, nutrition and mindset coaching programs for women, 1:1 personal training and nutrition coaching as well as family friendly fitness classes in Hyde Park.

What does BCB (and/or Gearapalooza) mean to you? Connecting with and being inspired by other moms! Plus learning about awesome new products and companies. I love that you can learn more and try out products IRL- it’s so overwhelming to pick from all the products on the market, so actually seeing them and trying them helps a lot!

What has been one of your favorite parts of being part of the BCB community? Connecting with other moms in the community. I especially loved the mom panel at Gearapalooza!

Have you met some BCB Besties through BCB?  Yes! Suzie Pretekin is a good friend who first told me about BCB and invited me to go to Gearapalooza. I also connected with Magda Lasota, Liz Stanton, Ria Pretekin and Jenny Laflore.

 Magda, Ria and me at Gearapalooza

What’s your #momlife advice to other expecting and new mamas? To take advice from other moms with a grain of salt 😉 You know your child and your family best but it can be hard to filter everyone else’s opinion. Of course, ask for help and reach out for support, but know that you are strong, smart and know the most about your baby. Connect to yourself and foster your intuition daily through quick practices (for example: 1 minute slow, deep breaths, 5 minutes journaling, going for a 10 min walk outside without music or distraction).

What is your #1 baby product you always recommend to others? Can I pick two? 🙂 Ergo baby carrier for when they are little and for ease when traveling (it was a lifesaver when I traveled solo internationally with my son several times!) and a BOB stroller when they are a bit bigger. I still use mine after 5 years!

What is your favorite family thing to do or place to go in the Chicagoland area? Our family loves to walk or bike to Promontory Point when the weather is nice. We love to go on a weekend morning with coffee and have a picnic breakfast along the lakefront. My son loves to run around in the huge grassy area and climb along the rocks. Plus there are usually lots of other kids there to meet and play with. My son and I love to go on bike adventures in the summer- he rides on my bike and we bike from Hyde Park along the lakefront trail to millennium park for the free Saturday morning yoga and workout classes. Then we usually go for donuts and play in Crown fountain. On cold or rainy days, we love to check out one of the awesome Chicago museums- MSI, Shedd, Adler, Field, and the Smart Art museum are our faves.

If you had a personal mom motto, what would it be? Sometimes rest (or a quick break) is the most important thing to do.

If you could have 1 mom super power, what would it be and why? To move at light speed for all the cleaning, laundry and food prep so I could have more time to be fully present and have fun with my husband and son.

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: I am passionate about helping women ditch the dieting cycle and create a sustainable nutrition, fitness and stress management routine that optimizes their health and leaves them feel confident, empowered and at peace with their body. My work with women brings together 16 years of experience as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with 8 years of experience as a yoga teacher and personal trainer and a lifelong love of food and movement. I know from personal experience the stress women, especially new moms feel to conform to society’s expectations on the shape of our body and check all the boxes to look like we have it all together. My posts, blog and programs aim to give women their power back and dig past external demands and tap into what truly motivates them. I share practical tools to: -get moving with short, effective workouts -feel at peace with their body through simple yet individualized nutrition guidelines -manage stress through accessible mindfulness tools Follow me on my blog, Facebook and Instagram @body_by_banner

We Want You To Meet…

Name: thu heintz

Kid(s) and Ages: olive is 5 and ellie is 3. they are the light of our lives!

Where do you live? we lived in chicago, had kids…then we did the inevitable migration to the chicago suburbs and never looked back.

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: i try to balance it all…i mom full time, work full time, blog very part time, and craft sometimes.

What does BCB (and/or Gearapalooza) mean to you? it’s a wonderful outlet for moms, dads, and soon to be parents. this community of people is inspiring and i love how we come together to support and lift each other up. the information gathered here is crucial for parents and parents to be. i love that this company, and an event like gearapalooza, is like a one stop info shop for those who need it!

What has been one of your favorite parts of being part of the BCB community? that’s just it: the community…the moms, the women who i have met through BCB and have connected with! the support given by them has been amazing. i love being able to do the same for them too and pulling new moms into this world!

What’s your #momlife advice to other expecting and new mamas? don’t sweat the small stuff! take the information you receive and use what you need to truly understand your journey as a new mom. you don’t need every gadget out there, every baby is different, every pregnancy is different. my first child never took a paci and never had reflux but my second LOVED the paci and i needed 1 million burp clothes to catch all her reflux! so, keep it simple!

What is your #1 baby product you always recommend to others? a baby wrap! i loved using mine to keep my babies close, be hands free at home, and it was so easy to pack and travel with.

What is your favorite family thing to do or place to go in the Chicagoland area?  we really love exploring chicago. i believe almost anything is family friendly…it’s about knowing your child’s limits and what you are capable of as a family unit. we love hitting new brunch spots or being tourists in our own city! in the summer…our girls love festivals, or we’ll stay downtown in a hotel and hit the streets during the holidays!

If you had a personal mom motto, what would it be? i am women, hear me ROAR! i’m a go getter, i’m a passionate person, i believe women are capable of accomplishing anything! i’m a glass full kind of gal and love tackling life, problems, any situation with a positive mindset.

If you could have 1 mom super power, what would it be and why? to have the ability to accomplish 100 tasks in a day with ease to allow myself a solid 8 hours of sleep a night. isn’t that every mom’s dream?!

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: my blog is about my life. i’m not a fashion, mom, lifestyle, or food blogger. i’m like the OG blogger where it’s literally about my life. it’s my diary to my children. i hope that one day, they’ll be able to look back on it and recall all the wonderful memories we had together.  Follow me on Instagram @tandeminlove, my blog and Facebook.

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Aubrey Jacknow

Age: 36

Kid(s) and Ages: Mackenna (7), Savannah (4), Aurora (3) and Lilliah (5 months)

Where do you live?  Forest Park 

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I stay home with my girls and my husband and I work together to run our businesses; The Lantern Haus a bar and event space in Forest Park and our real estate business. So pretty much not busy at all!

What does BCB (and/or Gearapalooza) mean to you? BCB events were the first events I went to as a new mom. They gave me the confidence to get out of the house and meet new people and help figure out what mom life was all about. Gearapalooza has been my go to event with each new kid! So much changes between pregnancies it was always a helpful event, kind of like a crash course for all of the new info in baby land!

What has been one of your favorite parts of being part of the BCB community? The community! Everyone is so friendly and candid about motherhood, it is a sanity saver.

What’s your #momlife advice to other expecting and new mamas? Be kind to yourself and be prepared to always have to make adjustments. Also, schedule is key, naps, bedtimes, meal times… if you make sure those are all in order, it is easier to set up your day!

What is your #1 baby product you always recommend to others? Muslin swaddle blankets! I use then as a breastfeeding cover, a nice layer in the carseat, picnic blankets, and have had to wrap my kid in them when they have had a blowout!

What is your favorite family thing to do or place to go in the Chicagoland area? We love The Morton Arboretum! It has something to do during all seasons and is so calm and peaceful and a great way to escape from city life.

If you had a personal mom motto, what would it be? As a mom of 4 girls, I usually follow Elsa’s advice and “Let it go”. It applies to so many things!

If you could have 1 mom super power, what would it be and why? I would love to be able to snap my fingers and get the laundry done, including clothes leftn on the floor!

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: My personal Instagram is @nexttochicago and my business is @lanternhaus and @jacknowrealty. My personal page highlights a lot of things that I love to do and that make my life easier!

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Sara Yaniga

Age: 41

Kid(s) and Ages: Henry, 8 and Cecilia, 3

Where do you live? Chicago

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: An ongoing attempt at balancing a SAHM and WAHM balance as publisher of Macaroni Kid Chicago

What does BCB (and/or Gearapalooza) mean to you?  Connecting parents within a community

What has been one of your favorite parts of being part of the BCB community? I am new to BCB but enjoy seeing you around our city, participating in community events and hosting your own with great content.

Have you met some BCB Besties through BCB?  If so, tell us about them and how you met and what they mean to you.   Not yet but looking forward to doing just that!

What’s your #momlife advice to other expecting and new mamas?  Be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help & support.

What is your #1 baby product you always recommend to others? Since living in Chicago without a car I have a whole new appreciation for a quality stroller (LOVE my Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle!!!) that can handle everything from sidewalks to the beach and a close second is a good baby carrier.  I love the high weight limit the Ergo offers.

What is your favorite family thing to do or place to go in the Chicagoland area?  The parks – we love to be outside as much as possible and this city offers a lot of green space and playgrounds for families.

If you had a personal mom motto, what would it be? I often remind myself that the days are long, but the years are short and to let them be little while they can.

If you could have 1 mom super power, what would it be and why? To get the laundry washed, folded and away before it’s time to do the next load.  It may be wishful thinking 😁

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: My goal as publisher of Macaroni Kid Chicago is to connect parents to the amazing resources our city offers families in the way of events and community.  Also to get to know my city better – already in my first year I have met so many fascinating local business owners and have made really great friends. Follow me on Instagram @macaroni_kid_chicago, Facebook and my site.

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Suzie Pretekin

Age: 40

Kid(s) and Ages: Vivian (5) and Everett (2 ½)

Where do you live?  Roscoe Village, Chicago

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I’m in medical device sales for a large healthcare corporation, and sell respiratory equipment.  In college, I thought I wanted to be in bedside healthcare, but I didn’t have it in me for the sad parts of the job. This career has allowed me to still impact patient lives, but in a different way. The positive side  is hearing the impact my products have made on so many lives. It’s a pretty cool part of what I get to do.

What does BCB (and/or Gearapalooza) mean to you?  So many great products and knowledge in one room! One of my girlfriends is expecting her first, and had come to me with questions. I literally sent her the link to this event because it will answer so many of them for her. Being able to touch and feel so many products before committing to buy something is huge for first time parents. You’re worried about everything and if you’re making the right decisions. Being able to have confidence in your choices you make for your first ( or second, third, or fourth!) baby before they come home really makes life less stressful.

What has been one of your favorite parts of being part of the BCB community?  My favorite part of BCB is that its one large community across the country.  I love knowing that no matter where you are there are moms just like you that want to share their stories and help. I look forward to seeing the takeover stories in each city and meeting the new moms for the day. 

Have you met some BCB Besties through BCB?  If so, tell us about them and how you met and what they mean to you.  I’ve met some pretty awesome mamas through BCB.  Many of these women I had admired on Instagram or had gotten to know as friends on the platform.  The BCB events allowed us to meet in person.

What’s your #momlife advice to other expecting and new mamas? It’s ok to not recognize who you are right after baby comes home. You’re at a stage where you don’t feel like the childless version of yourself, but still don’t recognize the one with the child. I really struggled with that when I brought my daughter home.  I really mourned the old version, and loved the new one at the same time. It wasn’t until years later I heard the birth of the first child also referenced as the birth of the mother. It really is.  A new you is being born, and it’s ok to stumble a bit.  Babies and toddlers don’t come out of the womb walking.  They need to learn. So do mamas.  It’s ok if you need to learn about the new you, too.  It’s also ok to miss the old version. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. 

What is your #1 baby product you always recommend to others? Dohm sound machine! Both my kids still use them. Each night its part of their routine to put on their noise before they climb into bed.

What is your favorite family thing to do or place to go in the Chicagoland area?  You can usually find us at a park (probably Blue Park or Margaret Donahue) followed by dinner at a family friendly restaurant in Roscoe Village or Southport Corridor.

If you had a personal mom motto, what would it be? Kids are weird, remember to laugh as often as you can, and definitely buy the shoes! 

If you could have 1 mom super power, what would it be and why? The ability to snap my fingers and have a clean house. I swear we clean, and then two seconds later a toy bin explodes or a craft gets done and poof our clean house disappears!

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it:This was actually my second go around at blogging. Both came out my need for socialization while on maternity leave. Connecting with my girlfriends that weren’t in the same baby phase as me was hard. The first time around I had a really strict idea of what a blog needed to look like, and what mom’s wanted to see. The problem was it wasn’t me.  So I abandoned it. While on maternity leave with my son, I decided to try again, but this time the way I wanted. I looked around the internet and Instagram and found a lot of perfect mom lists. I’m by no means a perfect mom. So the second time I set out to share my mom story. Sometimes it includes my kid’s poop corner stories and sometimes it includes stories about my dad’s stroke. Ultimately, my goal is that you’d feel the same way talking to me as you would reading it. All moms should have that person they can laugh at, laugh with, or have a good cry with.

We Want You To Meet…

NAME: India

AGE: 25

KID(S) AND AGES: Ava (8) James (4) Ella (2)

WHERE DO YOU LIVE? Glen Ellyn

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

WORK LIFE: I am a Esthetician/Makeup Artist turned stay at home mom and blogger. I still do makeup freelance and love to talk about everything beauty and motherhood on my Instagram and Blog.

WHAT DOES BCB (AND/OR GEARAPALOOZA) MEAN TO YOU? It is a place where parents can come together to connect and learn. Things are always changing in the baby/ kid world and it is so fun to see how to make life easier and fun for parents.

WHAT HAS BEEN ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE PARTS OF BEING PART OF THE BCB COMMUNITY? Definitely connecting with other local moms, that is always fun! Also finding new great companies and products.

HAVE YOU MET SOME BCB BESTIES THROUGH BCB? IF SO, TELL US ABOUT THEM AND HOW YOU MET AND WHAT THEY MEAN TO YOU. I have sat down and talked with other moms during the events and just love to learn about what is going on in their life, share advice, and complain about how hard it can be sometimes. We all need that!

WHAT’S YOUR #MOMLIFE ADVICE TO OTHER EXPECTING AND NEW MAMAS? Do what you feel is best in your heart for your kids. Parenting is not black and white, everyone has their own style and routines. If your kids are happy and healthy that’s what matters the most!

WHAT IS YOUR #1 BABY PRODUCT YOU ALWAYS RECOMMEND TO OTHERS? Mamaroo 4moms swing, DocATot, any baby carriers! We recently started using the One4Life Britax carset and that’s now on my must have list.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FAMILY THING TO DO OR PLACE TO GO IN THE CHICAGOLAND AREA? We live in the suburbs but some of our favorite city adventures include the Shedd Aquarium, and the SkyDeck. We enjoy finding new play indoor places to go to like Little Beans, or Ninja  Gym.

IF YOU HAD A PERSONAL MOM MOTTO, WHAT WOULD IT BE? “Breathe you’re doing great”  I have to say this to myself a lot. We tend to put so much pressure on ourselves to make everyone else happy 24/7 and we have to remember we can’t do it all but we are doing great!  We should also remind each other often.

IF YOU COULD HAVE 1 MOM SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY? I would have to say that I am pretty laid back. I can keep calm even when things get crazy. I have a breaking point like anyone else but generally I can brush things off. Especially being on my 3rd toddler at this point, it’s the only way I get through the day.

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR BLOG/IG ACCOUNT/ONLINE PERSONA AND WHAT IS YOUR MISSION BEHIND IT:  I started Lipstick and Laundry Blog when I was pregnant with my 3rd baby (June 2017) and had very bad insomnia. I always used social media to feel connected to other moms when I was busy at home with the kids. I felt like I could have something to offer other moms just by showing up. I love connecting with mom and especially those in the Chicago area and  feel like we are truly in this together. My favorite and most received blog posts are about C-Sections. I had 3 and It can be very scary when you don’t know what to except. I want every mom to have the best experience they can. I also keep up with fun events going on in the area. I love talking about skincare and makeup which are my true passions. I’m a little bit of everything because I go with the flow! You can follow the fun at www.lipstickandlaundryblog.com www.instagram.com/lipstick.and.laundry.blog https://www.facebook.com/lipstickandlaundryblog

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Lauren Girardin

Age: 33

Kid(s) and Ages: Theo (2.5 yrs) Aria (2 months)

Where do you live? Chicago, IL

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: Owner of Fit4mom Chicago Loop and run a local Chicago moms group of over 400 moms.

What does BCB (and/or Gearapalooza) mean to you? BCB means a beautiful community of moms both before and after having children. Moms absolutely need other moms for support and BCB is exactly that! They help moms support moms.

What has been one of your favorite parts of being part of the BCB community? My favorite part is again the beautiful community of moms that support one another and the events that are put on by BCB. These events are a wonderful way for new and veteran moms to meet and learn from each other.

What’s your #momlife advice to other expecting and new mamas? Do You! You will be given a lot of opinions about how you should be doing things, but YOU mama are the best no matter how you do things. You know what’s best for your kid/s and if you are doing the best you can for them thats all that matters 🙂

What is your #1 baby product you always recommend to others? My uppababy vista stroller. It was hands down the best item we purchased. It has been with me through both of my kids. This stroller has weathered the brutal Chicago winters and the glorious summer days! It’s my stroller, grocery cart, car, and storage unit 😉

What is your favorite family thing to do or place to go in the Chicagoland area? Honestly, there is not just one place my family and I like to go in Chicago. We truly soak up all that Chicago has to offer every single weekend. We rarely repeat our adventures and search for a new and exciting place in the city to see! Just a couple of our favorites are the Chicago water taxi, sporting events, museums, the endless amount of parks and pop up play spaces!

If you had a personal mom motto, what would it be? Do you, Mama! I remind myself everyday no matter what the day throws at me good or bad if I am “doing me” and being the best mom I can for my kids that’s what matters.

If you could have 1 mom super power, what would it be and why? Snap my fingers and the tantrums turn into a joyful laughing session. Toddlers are tough, babies are tough, kids are tough! But if I could turn all those tough moments into fun filled laughter that would make all the difference for both me and my child.

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: I own two different Instagram accounts. One is my personal page- LaurenGirardin_. On this account I share about my families daily adventure through the city.  My other account is- Fit4mom_ChicagoLoop. On this account I share all about what FIT4MOM is. We are a community of moms who support and empower one another to be the best versions of ourselves. We love our workouts, but it’s so much more than that. We run free family events, moms night outs, date

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Lindsay Jill Kaplan — Chicago Northshore Market Leader!

Age: 36

Kids and ages: Eva 5, Ruby 4

Where do you live? Highland Park, IL

Tell us why you have chosen to be a BCB Market Leader? I love helping the mom community and connecting moms with local partners. Win win for everyone!

What is your favorite part about Bump Club and Beyond? Workouts! Now that my kids have kind of aged out of the younger “playdate” phase, working out with and exploring new things with my mom friends is something I look forward to! And Discounts (Duh!)!!!!

What does community mean to you? A safe place to share information, ask questions, have fun and live life judgement free.

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? I have made such wonderful friends from my girls’ preschool. I’m also “moming” with my two sisters who also live in Highland Park, which has been amazing.

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? Laughing with my girls and watching their personalities emerge!

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!) ..yep, I said it! NO SHAME! “Welcome to Ryan’s Toy Review!”

What is the best part about where you live? Day to day life is just easy, taking the kids to school, grabbing coffee, activities, parks, restaurants, shops…there is so much to do and nothing is too far.

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown: All things dance related, my girls (and me!) take dance at Soul2sole. Whether it be classes, specific events or recitals. We love it! Also, love walking around downtown Highland Park. We can go out to eat, get ice cream and shop around while running into friends!

Favorite date night in your hometown. Abigails is always a wonderful meal and great drinks. My husband and I also love going to Rivers Casino in Rosemont, we will go to Hugos for dinner then spend about an hour playing Roulette (0/00 is a “trick” my grandparents taught me) and 3 card poker (sounds fancier than it actually is, and you don’t really have to know how to play poker to play this).

What are five things that you could not “mom” without? hand sanitizer, kids youtube, starbucks app, goldfish crackers, Target/Amazon Prime

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do. Listen to true crime podcasts and watch everything on Bravo.

Who are your “mom idols”?  My own Mother and Grandmother for sure, they are my two best friends!

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood. It’s HARD! But also fun! Don’t be scared to ask other moms questions or for advice, we are all in this crazy journey together!

How do you balance it all? I put everything in my google calendar on my phone and before I go to bed I look at the next day, I plan my schedule. My brain is constantly all over the place, not sure I would consider my life balanced, I’m just making it work.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? I wanna dance with somebody, by Whitney Houston.

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Jacqueline Baird — Chicago Western Suburbs Market Leader

Age: 31

Kids and ages: Hunter – 17 months, Baby boy #2 – due November 2019

Where do you live? Aurora, IL

Tell us why you have chosen to be a BCB Market Leader? I love exploring everything the Chicago Suburbs has to offer and as a new(ish) mom myself, I am eager to help connect other moms in the community with each other and the best local resources. My previous work experience involved managing a community both online and off while connecting people to great local businesses, so being a BCB Market Leader allows me to take that expertise and apply it to all things motherhood which is my number one passion!

What is your favorite part about Bump Club and Beyond? The opportunity to connect with other local moms at fun events and be in the know about the best products and resources!

What does community mean to you? Community to me is having a group of people you can relate to. It’s a safe space to connect with others who have similar interests or are in the same season of life as you!

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? My mom tribe is made up of both online communities and in person friends! These are women I met in high school and reconnected with, college friends, and the most relatable moms in my tribe are the ladies I met while my son was in the NICU for 4 months.

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? Watching my son grow and learn! As a mama to a micro preemie (born at 24 weeks), you never take a milestone for granted. Someone once told me the days are long, but the years are short and I understand that now! It’s been extremely rewarding to watch my son go from a 2 lb preemie to a thriving and happy toddler. He’s my miracle rainbow baby after a hard journey of infertility and we’re very excited to welcome his brother to the family as well.

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!) My trick to taking a shower in peace when you have a young toddler: Set them up in their bouncer/activity center in your bathroom with a bowl of Cheerios or a teething toy, and prop up the iPad to play Pink Fong animal song videos (that they can only watch during your shower time so it’s special). This consistently gives me a half hour of uninterrupted time to shower and (finally) wash my hair, and my son is occupied and under my watchful eye!

What is the best part about where you live? There are so many parks and family friendly activities available! We have a playground and walking path right across the street from our house that we always take advantage of.

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown: We love going downtown Naperville to walk the Riverwalk, picnic, and play at the playground. The Dupage Children’s Museum is another favorite!

Favorite date night in your hometown. Dinner and drinks downtown Naperville then a standup show at The Comedy Shrine!

What are five things that you could not “mom” without?  (Products, apps, anything that helps you to be a better mom.) 1) Nanit baby monitor. 2) City Select Baby Jogger strollers (double & travel!) 3) Pearhead Baby’s Daily Log Book for the newborn stage 4) Starbucks iced coffee stocked in my fridge! 5) BCB! The online community and offline events are a saving grace to momming.

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do. Cook, read blogs, listen to podcasts, drink coffee (or wine when I can!), get a blowout or mani/pedi, or catch up on Netflix!

Who are your “mom idols”?  My own mom – she’s a saint! She is the woman and mom I constantly strive to be. I also look up to all of the different NICU moms I’ve met in the last couple years. Not only did so many of these moms have to be so super strong during their crazy pregnancy journeys, but then they’ve tackled the journey of a preemie baby which ends long after the NICU stay. I’ve looked up to so many amazing women who I’ve watched thrive and conquer different challenges to give their NICU grads the best therapies and resources they need to thrive.

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood.  Motherhood is not a one size fits all. Everyone has a different journey to becoming a mom, different experiences, different children with different needs, and different ways of navigating the emotions of it all. As a mom your feelings are valid and there’s no need to compare yourself to others. If you love your children and do the best you can, then you’re a GREAT mom!

How do you balance it all? I heavily rely on my calendar and having a routine! I make lists, time block tasks, prioritize, and constantly re-prioritize. As a mom I’ve learned to have realistic expectations for my days and always be ready to switch up the plan. I’ve also learned the importance of taking care of myself and making time for the people and things that matter to me most. If mama is happy, everyone else will be too 🙂

If you had a theme song, what would it be? Beautiful Crazy by Luke Combs

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Jill Badlotto – Chicago Market Leader

Age: 31

Kids and ages: 6-month-old son named Jude

Where do you live? Avondale, a neighborhood in Chicago

Tell us why you have chosen to be a BCB Market Leader? I absolutely LOVE the mission behind Bump Club and have admired what the company does for years now (before I was a mom myself!) I’m also a total girl’s girl and love connecting with other moms, so when the opportunity came up I was ecstatic.

What is your favorite part about Bump Club and Beyond? The wealth of knowledge that is shared at each event. Knowledge is truly power when it comes to parenting, and I love that everyone who works at BCB and the partners involved are eager to share what they know.

What does community mean to you? It truly does take a village to raise children, so community means everything to me. Whether that’s in the form of a group of close family and friends, or in the form of an organization like BCB, community is all about supporting and learning from each other without judging.

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? My mom tribe consists of some amazing women! I’m lucky to have an amazing mom of my own that I’ve learned so much from. One of my best friend’s Heidy and I met at a blogging event a couple of years ago and we have gone through motherhood together – we were present at each other’s deliveries, I’m the Godmother to her son, and she lives two blocks away from me, so we’re constantly helping each other out by swapping babysitting duties. My best friend Christina, who I met in high school, lives about six hours way, but I’m constantly texting her questions and asking for suggestions. And I have an amazing group of close girlfriends that I’ve known since I was a child that have always been an amazing support system. It’s been such a treat to go through motherhood with all of them!

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? All of it! Life is so much sweeter with Jude. Motherhood is tough and the newborn days were extra rough on me, but watching his personality develop and seeing his smile is 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!) When I became a new mom I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but I also wanted to pump so my husband could be a part of the feeding process and the responsibility wouldn’t fall solely on me. I was quickly overwhelmed in the beginning by how time-consuming I found the process to be. Liz from Lactation Partners taught me that you could keep your pump parts in the refrigerator and wash them at the end of the day, rather than washing them after every pumping session. It was such a game changer for me and saved me SO much time!

What is the best part about where you live? I love, love, love this city. Chicago gives the best of both worlds – it’s lively and exciting but also very livable. And I love that Chicagoans are so proud of where they live. If the winters weren’t so cold, I think everyone would live here!

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown. My son was born during the coldest week in January, so we’ve really been enjoying taking him outdoors now that it’s summer. Walks along Lake Michigan and on the 606 Trail with our dogs have been some of our favorite times together as a family. But now that he’s a little older and more interactive, I am so excited to take him to his first class at Bubbles Academy!

Favorite date night in your hometown. My husband and I love to sit on the patio at Big Star and indulge in tacos and margaritas. It’s one date night restaurant that we can ALWAYS agree on.

What are five things that you could not “mom” without? 1) Taking Cara Babies sleep courses: Sleep is SO important for a mom’s mental health, and her tips and tricks have helped Jude become a rockstar sleeper. 2) The Wonder Weeks App: It lets you know when your baby is going through a developmental leap and how you can help them master the new skills they’re learning. It makes me feel so much more in tune with my son. 3) Baby K’tan Carrier: I’m all for baby-wearing in order to get stuff done. I’ve worn Jude literally everywhere – shopping stores, museums, restaurants, and even while doing laundry. 4) Haakaa: A silicone pump that suctions to the opposite side while you’re breastfeeding. It costs under $20 and has helped me build a stash of breast milk quickly and easily. 5) Instacart: Putting grocery delivery on this list may seem funny, but I despise grocery shopping and find it extra challenging with a baby (my husband jokes that he can’t leave me alone very long in a grocery store because I get lost!) I’m all for doing things that are convenient and help give you back time.

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do. Writing has been a hobby of mine since I was a child, and I’ve also been a blogger for a couple of years now. I also believe there isn’t a better way to wind down from a crazy day than with a glass of wine and the newest Real Housewives episode on DVR!

Who are your “mom idols”?  (Moms you look up to as women and parents.) Outside of my own mother and girlfriends, I look up to women who prove that you can be an amazing mom without losing yourself. When you look at aspirational women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg who are changing the world while also balancing being a mom, it’s truly inspiring. I also love moms like Amy Schumer and Jenna Kutcher who keep it real and don’t sugarcoat how tough being a mom can be.

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood. SAY YES TO HELP. You do not have to “do it all” and taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your newborn. Those in your life who are offering help are offering it because they want to. Do not feel bad accepting it!

How do you balance it all? Lindsay Pinchuk once said at a BCB event that she doesn’t allow herself to feel mom guilt, and I believe that is so helpful in balancing it all. I quickly learned that feeling bad for missing bedtime routine two nights in a row because of prior commitments, or feeling guilty because I hired a babysitter so I could run an errand alone is a waste of time. I’m all about finding what’s most convenient and making sure that you continue to do what makes you personally happy! I’m also constantly setting myself reminders on my Amazon Echo (I consider Alexa to be a part of my mom tribe!)

If you had a theme song, what would it be? Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now. It also makes for a great karaoke song!

If you’re an expectant or new parent in the Chicagoland area, our 100TH Gearapalooza is an event you do NOT want to miss!  Join these fantastic Chicagoland moms + us on November 21, 5:30 pm – p:00 pm at the Stan Mansion !

Click here to see even more year-round BCB events in Chicago and the suburbs!  We’re always bringing you the BEST baby gear, products, services, networking + safety information across ALL of our local and nationwide events – Gearapaloozas, webinars, playdates + more!  Follow us on Instagram and Facebook and sign up for our email list to make sure you’re first to know about our latest content, giveaways, events + more!