Monday, November 20, 2017

Preschooler Milestones and a Game That Helps Reach Them - Building Character Through PLAY!

I had the pleasure of attending the SoCal Moms Wellness Event last weekend at the beautiful Marion Davies Guesthouse on Santa Monica Beach. I was excited to bring my son to this one because not only was it a smaller enclosed event, but I knew there would be activities to keep him busy, and one of his good friends was also attending. I always love learning about new products for babies, but getting to meet creators of products for big kids that don't involve technology tend to really peak my interest.

Although my son, and most five year olds, can be very sweet, they still have a tendency to see the world through self-centered eyes. As much as we try to model empathetic behavior for our kids, we don't always see the results of this as quickly as we would like. At this age kids can notice what emotions others are going through and put names on those emotions. But when it requires a child to put another person's needs first, they don't always follow through with an empathetic act demonstrating true understanding of wanting to help another through a difficult time.

Enter Meghan DeRoma, Cofounder of Wannaplé and creator of the board game Silly Street. She had a simple toy was on display where the kids had to figure out how to swing a ring on a string to catch on a distant hook. As simple as it was, it held their attention for a very long time, almost as long as the LeapPad! While my son played, determined to win like his older friend already had, I had the pleasure of talking to Meghan DeRoma.
Not only is the board itself a big puzzle (big win for my puzzle loving kid) but the images and graphics on it are very eye catching.  The game pieces are wood circles with cute animal faces and the cards you draw to play with do not disappoint visually either.  This award-winning game inspires creativity, encourages healthy competition, promotes strong communication and rewards all around silliness.  In addition, it also helps promote empathy and social skills through the activities they have to complete on the game cards.  After my son finally caught the ring on the hook, he was overjoyed to be able to take the game home.  In fact, he even got an opportunity to try out the game on the spot with Meghan while I visited other vendors at the event.

We brought the game to a friend's house and my son, who normally has to always go first, offered to let his friend go first. And when my son didn't win a round, he didn't get upset. The friendly competition throughout the game really has improved his ability to work with others in a more positive manner.  When his friend was having difficulty completing a task on her card, my son was encouraging and tried to help her, even though that meant it would help her get closer to winning.

Although being able to read isn't necessary in order to play the game, encouraging my son to read the cards he draws in order to complete each task has been great for his sight word recognition as well as building his confidence. I love that some of the cards require the player to create a story about a character pictured on the card. Silly Street creates a fun environment where my son gets to demonstrate his ability to invent a story with a definite beginning, middle and end, including exposition, conflict and resolution has made this storytelling mama extremely proud.
Overall, I highly recommend this game. As much as I love traditional board games from my childhood that help with counting, color and shape recognition, this game has a great balance of learning and fun. I am a huge advocate of play-based learning and this adorable board game fits in-line with those principles. After all, who doesn't love a friendly match of Rock Paper Scissors or a Thumb War now and then, especially after a visit from the tickle monster?  You can get your very own copy of Silly Street online at Target, Amazon, Toys R Us or Barnes and Noble this holiday season!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Why You Should Capture and Document Your Birth

Having the honor and privilege to be invited into my clients lives to capture one of their most intimate moments is an opportunity I do not take lightly.  During my own labor, my husband was able to film the entire process with a helmet cam and I know many times I looked up at that thing and wished it was not on.  I said some things that are now memorialized that I probably will not ever want my son to hear.  Labor gets uncomfortable, frustrating, disappointing, and sometimes ugly.  But ultimately it is triumphantly beautiful.  My own birth video does not have the best angles, the sound could be better, both my husband and I are never in it together, but what it does have that could never be replaced is the exact moment my son entered the world from my husband's point of view, gently being guided into this world in his daddy's hands: absolutely priceless.

Prior to becoming a mom, I was a professional filmmaker and freelance documentarian, filming a wide array of projects over the years. But once my son was born, I knew that if I was going to leave him in someone else's care, there had to be good justifiable reason to do so. That was when I redirected my focus to birth, newborn, and family videography, helping parents without the knowledge or equipment to professionally memorialize these moments that they can never get back.  I make it my mission to help others to understand why it is important to capture birth and share some of the best ways to do so.

Being able to edit others' birth videos, I realized even more how special that instant is when parents meet their child for the very first time.  Before our children are born,  we spend so much time thinking about what they will be like, who they will look like, how our family dynamic is going to change, what they'll be when they grow up...but all of those thoughts dissipate in that instant when we hear our baby cry or finally have our child in our arms, all we want to do is just be in that moment and experience a loving connection for the very first time. You will never be able to know what that moment looks like from the outside, unless it is captured on film. And being able to look back on photos or videos of that moment you will actually be able to relive that emotion again and again. Another amazing sentiment that needs to be captured is the triumph of completing the daunting marathon that is birth. Labor is no easy task on the body, so once it is completed, the rush of positive emotion that runs through the room is palpable for all and comes through in video and photos.

As important as it is to capture the moment baby joins the world, the hours of labor prior to the big event are definitely extremely special as well.  The breaks between the surges or contractions are filled with such emotion, both positive and negative.  The positive ones are important to capture in order to remember how strong a mother truly is. The negative ones are just as important because the final triumphant result is proof of how much a mother overcomes bringing a child into this world. Whether someone has taken a birth class or not, nothing can compare to actually experiencing labor. Preparation and practice does definitely help, there's no question about that. But how a woman gets through those difficult moments truly is a testament to how strong she really is. Being able to look back and see yourself hitting a wall but then pushing through it can inspire you long afterwards in many other facets of life. Capturing images of a mother in labor and her support team can be some of the most beautiful images to look back on.  A birth support team can provide such strength and motivation to a mother and those images will forever be a reminder of the love surrounding the day baby joined the world.

One of the easiest ways to capture and document your birth would be to hire a professional filmmaker and/or photographer. I am obviously partial to video because of my ability to capture words and sentiment in each moment, however some photos that birth photographers take need no caption to explain what is going on at that instant.  Another option is the hire a doula who can take photos and or video.  The downside to this is that the time she spends taking photos and or video will be time taken away from supporting you in your birth.  I definitely discourage having a birth partner capture these moments, unless they can do so passively like my husband did with a helmet cam Another option would be to have an additional friend or family member documenting, however as they are not a professional, they do not know what to expect and cannot always anticipate the moments you will want captured.  Finally, another option would be to set up a camera in the corner of the room and just let it record.  You may not end up with the best angle for a lot of the time, but at least you'll have something to remember the moment by.  Keep in mind that if you are having a hospital birth, you will have to get clearance to have someone else in the room filming and/or photographing prior to hiring someone. Different hospitals have different rules and you will need to respect them.

Professional photographers and videographers are an expected hire for milestone events, yet birth isn't usually considered one of them.  But what is more life altering and a greater milestone than bringing another life into this world?  The details of this once in a lifetime event will fade faster than you can imagine and there are no do-overs. It is so much better to have it and not watch it, than it will be to wish you had captured it after the fact.


Monday, November 6, 2017

More Stuff! (Part 2) -- Covering the LA Baby Show 2017

I had the pleasure of attending the LA Baby Show downtown at the Reef this weekend. Having attended last year as well, I can honestly say that this year did not disappoint. Not only did the organizers bring in more vendors, but they also had more speakers, demonstrations and an even better organized event, spread out over two floors, instead of one.

I got there early, and found out I wasn't the only early bird excited for the event to start. The line  started even before check in with anxious parents and parents-to-be.
I headed straight to the blogger lounge to take advantage of the awesome services offered there before snapping any selfies. I got my make-up done by @chicstudios, who also offer classes on how to do your own make-up. After a lovely conversation I shuffled to the next chair over so I could get my hair done by @petitemason. I learned that their West Hollywood salon keeps hours that give us moms no excuse to give ourselves a little pampering (open late and on weekends too!) Now that I was camera ready, I could take the beautiful @SilverCrossUSA luxury stroller for a spin.
Once on the showroom floor, I ran into brand reps, that I've grown to call friends, saw new products from companies I already know and love, and learned about new products that one could even consider a "must-have" despite saving everything from baby #1.

I already have a jogging stroller and an umbrella stroller, and never quite found the need to for a portable playpen. But after chatting with the friendly folks @SummerInfant, I realized that an outdoor secure play space may be very necessary with an active five year old that is not planning on slowing down any time soon. Theirs even has a SPF cover, which is great if you want to avoid re-applying sunscreen throughout the day. I also checked out their 3DTote Convenience stroller.  You have to check out the amount of storage on this light stroller. Although it's not officially an umbrella stroller, it does fold pretty small and store like one.  Not only does it avoid the dreaded constantly dirty canopy that drives me crazy with my current umbrella stroller every time I fold it, but it also has special hooks on the handle that can hold a EXTRA heavy diaper bag that doesn't make the stroller flip over every time your kid gets out of the seat. How smart is that? 
The extremely knowledgeable staff @diaperDekor introduced me to their new line of reuseable cloth pail liners for their already famous diaper pail. I used this pail with number one for disposable diapers, but once I switched to cloth, I had to have a separate hanging bag because they didn't fit right into the pail. Well now the problem is solved! It comes in a pack of two, which is perfect because while one is being washed with your soiled diapers, the other is in place for interim changes. Way to make it easy on us #clothdiaperparents. Their parent company, Regal Lager also has a line of @LovetoDreamUSA swaddles that come in three stages, the first of which allows babies to keep their arms up, similar to how they sleep in the womb. Genius, right? When my little guy first wriggled out of his swaddle, that was the exact position he was trying to get into. Their stage two has wings that zip off, allowing one or both arms to be free. Despite having a supply of swaddles already, I will definitely be adding an Organic Stage 1 Love to Dream swaddle to my collection.

Another really unique product I discovered is an adorable doll all the way from Iceland. It's called @Lulla_Doll and not only is it soft and snuggly without any sewn-on hazardous parts, it has a sound feature that mimics mom's heartbeat and breathing sounds to help baby fall back asleep. It runs for a full eight hours too! Fingers crossed I win their raffle for this adorable little guy, otherwise I will just have to get one shipped over across the Atlantic. Really ingenious idea!
There were so many other great items I found, but these were some of my favorites I just had to share right away. If you're a parent who has saved everything from your little one and think you have everything you need, you may just find you will want more stuff this time around, especially five years later!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Shoemaker Without Shoes This Time Around

It's definitely been a long year of hurt, healing, acceptance and moving on.  Being able to finally bring myself to write down my feelings and share about my missed miscarriage last year was difficult, but definitely much easier to write about than it would have been six months ago.  But an unexpected difficulty came out of that experience as well, and that has been finding the courage to document this little rainbow I'm now carrying. I knew that I wanted to try again as soon as possible and was given the go ahead a month after the loss. But the fear of another miscarriage stayed with me more than after my first loss.

Last year I wrote about my feelings when I first found out I was expecting, I tracked my feelings as I shared the news and I took regular bump photos.  However, when I was fortunate enough to see that second line on July 6th, 2017, I quietly went to sleep and kept the news all to myself.  Would I be devastated again? How could I handle another loss?  It took five months to get pregnant last time, seven months this time, how long would it take again if this one didn't work out? How would I feel if I didn't see a little heartbeat at the first appointment? Instead of thinking about all the amazing things that were about to happen, I was already preparing myself for all the negative things that could happen, and therefore not allowing myself to be excited, which led to not feeling like documenting my thoughts. Somehow writing about my fears would make them more of a reality. Or conversely, writing about my excitement would only make it worse if it didn't work out.

Because my son was the first to learn of my loss last time and he didn't even know that I was pregnant to begin with, I decided to share the hopeful news with him early on and capture it on video.  One of my favorite parts of that video is him saying with such excitement in his voice "what if it works this time?" Even my four year old understood my trepidation. I shared the news with my husband by showing him that video. I told him that I didn't want to tell anyone, not until at least seeing a viable pregnancy. But then after seeing a heartbeat at 8 weeks, I still didn't want to share the news. I would wait until the results from my NIPT (non-invasive prenatal test).

I think nature plays a cruel joke on us preggos by causing so many horrible first trimester symptoms (especially at 40), all while you feel like you can't tell anyone why, especially after experiencing a loss, or in my case, two losses. I was hesitant to write out my feelings along the way, even though with each passing day of symptoms getting stronger, I had a strange feeling that everything was going to work out fine.  I don't remember that inkling of optimism last year.  So eventually I took a bump photo here and there, but refused to move into maternity clothes until it was absolutely necessary. I continued to hide my symptoms and exciting news from everyone, except my chiropractor, acupuncturist, and dentist (all for obvious reasons).  On a side note, I really feel like this pregnancy was helped to fruition by regularly seeing my chiropractor and acupuncturist, complemented by herbs and consciously trying to reduce my stress.

One thing I felt badly for not capturing with X's pregnancy was a gender reveal video. My husband and went for an elective 3D ultrasound at 13 weeks because we really wanted to know.  Our reactions aren't on video and after creating video baby books for clients that had this special moment, I knew I wanted one for this rainbow.  Despite the fact that I was still in my first trimester, we set up my "real" camera on a tripod and filmed ourselves biting into cupcakes with blue icing for our own little gender reveal, since no one else knew our news yet.

After the 12 week nuchal translucency scan combined with the favorable results from my NIPT, I knew it was finally time to spill the beans, at least to immediate family anyway. We captured video of sharing with both sets of grandparents in person (both of which had to have my big reveal t-shirt explained--clearly being vague is not the way to go if you want an immediate reaction).  I made a transfer of the image below and ironed it onto the back of my son's Batman t-shirt.  They thought it was a movie coming out next year??

I've also captured other family members reactions on film as well.  And now ss I've started to obviously show, I can't really keep the news to myself anymore.  Hopefully the few videos I've made and the journal entries I am finally getting to, will make up for my lack of documentation through the first half of this pregnancy. My little rainbow will have to forgive Mama, pregnancy hormones are crazy things! 20 weeks down, 20 to go!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

In Honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month....

 A year after my loss, I decided it was finally time to share, not only help myself heal further, but help others who may have experienced or may be experiencing the same thing.  Warning, detailed triggers regarding loss to follow.

I started a blog a little over a year ago called "Fit Pregnancy Pursuit." Last spring started HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and a few months into my new active lifestyle, I found out I was pregnant. I decided that this time around I would not gain almost a third of my weight, I would work out hard and continue to stay strong throughout the nine months and document what I was going through to inspire others to stay healthy during their pregnancies.  I purposely kept the blog "private," planning to share it upon reaching the second trimester. After experiencing an early loss before I had my son, I just wanted to make sure everything was okay before blurting the news out into the webiverse. But since I preach the importance of documenting everything, I didn't want to be a shoemaker without any shoes and started my blog about my experience early on.

I distinctly remember one of my last posts.  I had been having a particularly rough day at the gym, feeling frustrated from nausea and annoyed that I wasn't able to "push it" like I had prior to that second little line showing up.  Later that same day, I got to see and hear my little one's heartbeat on an ultrasound.  Because my first miscarriage was a blighted ovum, I thought that seeing a strong heartbeat, even at only six weeks, was a sign that all was good, I felt a huge sense of relief and excitement about the next seven and a half months and beyond.  I still hadn't broken the news publically, but started planning for a big reveal at Thanksgiving, when the whole family would be together. I was just about ready to make my blog public.

Fast forward two weeks, I pulled out my handy home doppler that helped me keep my sanity during my first pregnancy, and I wasn't able to find a heartbeat.  Although I knew it was early, I still was disappointed I couldn't find it. A week later I decided to go into the OB because my symptoms had started to wain and that got me worried.

The doctor and I chatted, I mentioned that I had seen a good, strong heartbeat at six weeks and we talked about usual early pregnancy things. I requested an ultrasound, even though she said there probably wasn't anything to worry about.  To this day, I'll never forget the look on her face as she scanned my abdomen, first routinely, then desperately looking for something. I felt the tears start to form. I knew before she even uttered a word. My son, who had no idea I was even pregnant, inherently picked up on the mood in the room and came over to me with great concern. My heart dropped. My tiny baby had passed.

Prior to that appointment, I was unfamiliar with the term "missed miscarriage." I thought that miscarriages only meant cramping and spotting.  I never knew that the embryo could pass and I would have no idea. A google search of the term made me realize just how common they are.

The doctor took me back into the examination room and gave me the low down on my choices: misoprostol or a D&C. I was devastated, and without my husband by my side to help me take a step back and analyze, I was lost.  I knew that I didn't want to have any surgery right away, and luckily the on-site pharmacy didn't have any misoprostol in stock.  Making a decision at that exact moment was not necessary.  The doctor told me that waiting too long could cause an infection, and even though my baby had passed two weeks prior, I still had some time to do my own research.

Ultimately I chose to give my body the time to figure out what had occurred on its own, hoping that route would help me to more naturally conceive sooner.  I had to make an appointment for two weeks later and really hoped that my body would figure itself out by then.  The next two weeks were excruciating emotionally.  Having to tell the even the small group of people I had shared the news with was like opening up the wound over and over again.  Knowing that I was still carrying that little tiny body inside and my body not doing anything about it made me frustrated and angry.

I returned to the gym with a vengeance, hoping that all I had done to avoid a miscarriage in the previous weeks would help bring on the miscarriage.  I tried acupuncture, herbs, essential oils and supplements to help my body move things along. Every time my son would see me cry he'd respond with "oh no, not again." I'm sure it was difficult for him to see his mommy so upset, and despite my trying to explain to him how that comment made me feel, it was just too much a four year old to empathize with.

The "not knowing when" was almost as hard to deal with as the loss itself. I hoped I wouldn't be alone with my son when it happened or that I wouldn't be out in public. Then thankfully, as if my body knew it was safe to do so, on a Sunday morning, I started to feel uncomfortable cramping. Thankfully my husband was home and able to keep my son occupied, although unfortunately that meant that I would have to deal with the pain, both physical and emotional, all on my own. It was so much like labor, but without the beautiful, amazing gift at the end. I knew I could do it physically, as I had given birth to my son without any medication, but without the natural high of knowing the light at the end of the tunnel was a beautiful child, it was emotionally excruciating.

Once I knew that it was finally over, I felt a sense of relief, but also a sense of further loss, as I was suddenly all alone once again. The physical pain ended long before the emotional pain dissipated. Ultimately though, that too began to fade. All loss is difficult, all loss takes its toll. With every comment of "is he your only one?" and "when are you going to have another?" I felt the need to let that person know that I had experienced a loss, even if it meant opening up that wound all over again. With time I was able to reply with "I guess I'm just meant to have two rainbow babies." Finding the hope in all the negative was the start of moving on.  Finding a way to celebrate others' pregnancy announcement and be truly happy for them got easier as well.  I still find my thoughts sometimes turning to "what might have been," but choose to consciously stop them and be happy now for what will be as I move forward.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

To Technologoy or Not To Technology, That is the Question...

I'm sure many parents struggle with this in the technological age we are living in, and even more so if you're a work at home parent of a stay at home only child that no longer naps. This is my current dilemma and the fact that I am somewhat addicted to technology and the work I do involves technology probably doesn't help either.

It was so much easier for our parents when we were kids. Perhaps it was because I grew up on a street with other kids my own age, we played at each other's houses and only came home just in time for dinner. Of course I grew up in the suburbs in the Midwest on a dead end street with a park right across from my home. I can't say that where we live is really that much less "suburban," but it definitely doesn't have that same feel and with that comes less freedom for my child to explore and discover on his own. Some of that may be attributed to his age, but neighborhoods don't feel as "neighborly" as they once did.

So if I can't send him out on his own and if I can't be connected to the internet at the local park, what's a work at home parent to do? While I'm writing this he's actually interrupting me repeatedly for help with an art project that I thought would keep him occupied long enough to get this post done...wrong! Trips to the Dollar Store for art supplies are a regular occurrence just to get him away from technology and keep him occupied (somewhat anyway). I recently read an article that kids should not be allowed any technology before they turn one (oops!) and after that they should only be allowed up to an hour a day (another oops!). Ultimately we are all doing the best that we can, but there is an alternative to mind numbing toy review and surprise egg videos if we parents need some uninterrupted work time......

I am very happy to say that since attending a PBS SoCalKids event that focused on programming curriculum and their Ready to Learn Initiative, I know that if I do choose to turn on the television, then PBS Kids shows are the way to go.  So much time, energy, and thought goes into make their shows that my son's brain is continuing to expand and he is actually learning life lessons and various subject curriculum while watching.  I had the pleasure of learning about "Ready Jet Go!" and the fact that there is an actual JPL Astrophysicist on staff that not only contributes to the show's curriculum, but she is making sure that the science represented is scientifically based.  I learned that the whole production process for an eleven minute episode takes nine months from outline to finished product! In order to create an entire season, they are working on multiple episodes at one time throughout the year.

While I was learning all of these cool things, my son was in the back of the room with other kids on tablets to keep quiet and occupied. But when I found that that he was actually exploring various PBS apps that taught him new things that he was so excited to share with me after the event ended, I was looking forward to downloading the same apps for his tablet when we got home. The most interesting moment, however, was when we were watching a clip from "Ready Jet Go" and all of the kids stopped what they were doing to watch the scene and listen to how it was made, showing that they were not completely zoned out in the tablets.

Another cool element I had no idea about was that PBS Kids also has home based curriculum that kids can do to accompany what they learn in an episode. The activities can be found through their lab on their grown-ups site: http://grownups.pbskids.org/.  I know that my kid learns better when he's doing it hands on, so that fact that the lessons in each episode can be reinforced with activities that we can do together is awesome.

Ultimately, I don't need a researcher to tell me that too much technology is bad for my child. I can definitely see for myself when he has been exposed to too much on any given day (or week): his attitude changes, he is more difficult to communicate with, his patience is very limited, etc. I have resorted to "technology cleanses" for up to two weeks at a time when I feel like it's something that will benefit him and our relationship. Now that I have learned about the PBS for grown-ups site, at least I have a go-to for activities I can have him do that will not only be fun, but educational as well. Since the event he has gotten really excited about Astrology and Science, so I do let him enjoy the "Ready Jet Go!" app as part of his daily hour and he's even teaching me some things too! And since we cut the cord with cable TV, it's awesome to know that he can stream any PBS show at anytime on pbssocal.org/kids or through their video app.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

For all the "Stay-At-Home" Mompreneurs (or Dadpreneurs)

As I get ready to send my little guy off to preschool in the morning, I am beginning to reflect on what these last three years have been like as a stay-at-home mom who used to have a part-time job, then started a business, then started helping out with our new franchise, and then signed on as a consultant for a direct sales business.  It really has been difficult to juggle everything and not drop a few balls here and there.  Who am I kidding, I've dropped more than a few.  But we've made it out alive and I have to say that getting six hours of "free" time a week is going to feel like an amazing stay-cation...I may actually get some work done on one of my three businesses too!  I figured that through all of this, I can definitely provide some helpful advice to other parents out there just beginning the journey of stay-at-home entrepreneurship.

First of all, I want to mention that starting a business, whether it's signing on to an already existing direct sales company or becoming a franchisee, or mostly starting something from scratch that requires a great deal of consumer education for acquisition, it's going to take more time than you expect to see the dollar signs come in, no matter how great the business model is. The most important thing is to start as small as you can financially, especially if there are no other funds to fall back on. Babies and kids are always going to need more things than you think they do, and things like cloth diapers can easily become an obsession and get out of control.  But I digress..invest as little as possible to get the ball rolling out of the gate to test the market, your sales abilities, as well as find out if this is going to be something that you really want to do.

On that note, whatever business you are getting in to to either create an income for your family or supplement another income, you have to really love it.  You cannot just be in it to chase dollar signs.  This is going to be a business that you are going to take time away from your child to do. You will lose massive amounts sleep in order to get things done.  Nap times and bed time will sometimes be all you can look forward to in order to get to that project that's sitting on your desk (that also happens to be covered with stickers and temporary tattoos).  If getting to projects or responding to emails for your business starts to become something you dread, it's not the business for you.  Of course that sounds like a no-brainer. But there is a big difference between going to a job you greatly dislike day in and day out just to get a paycheck and finding as many mini moments as possible throughout the day in between cooking, cleaning, laundry and hopefully playtime to get five minutes of work done.  If you're not happy with what you're working on, you will put it off and it will not get done.  It's a lot easier to get distracted at home by an adorable little munchkin than it is in a cubicle when you're already there.

Along the same lines, know your limits and be realistic.  There really are only twenty-four hours in a day and you do need to sleep.  Don't set yourself up for failure by assuming you can complete forty hours of work while being a full-time parent at home.  You probably won't even be able to get twenty hours of work in.  And you cannot beat yourself up over the fact.  Find ways to work your business into your time with your child.  Try to get into a business that markets to parents in your similar life stage so that you can reach out at playdates and playgrounds, do work while you're not really working. If you're in direct sales, find some other moms who are as well and schedule a time for everyone to get together, each one brings a friend who isn't in direct sales, and allow each business owner some time to share while the kids get to play. Also understand that not every week is going to be the same, commitments to home and family will change and the first thing you may have to sacrifice is your "work" time.

Most importantly, remember why you are going out on your own to create income for yourself and your family as opposed to working a full-time job and paying someone else to raise your child.  Being a stay-at-home mom really is one of the hardest and sometimes feels like the most thankless job there is. There are no benefits, sick days, weekends or vacation time. And when you throw being a mompreneur into the mix, there is even less time for you. But understand that your child getting to see you day in and day out is priceless.  No one will ever love your child the way you will and no one can raise them to be who you want them to be, but you.  Once the money starts to come in and you have a bit of a cushion, don't be afraid to hire a sitter here and there to give you time for you, or hire a cleaning service to at least take that off of your plate.  Just don't lose site of the goal of spending as much time with your kids as you can while they're little. It really does go by way too fast.

For those interested to know a bit more of the specifics, I started Video Baby Books after my son was born when I realized that as a professional filmmaker I was sadly only capturing my son's milestones on my cell phone and I wasn't "in" any of the videos.  Knowing that I couldn't be the only one with this issue, I sought to create a business to help parents like myself that really wanted professional level documentaries of their families.  My husband and I opened a Menchie's Frozen Yogurt in Valencia, CA this past April and not having our family time has been difficult. I recently signed on to sell Neal's Yard Remedies (NYR Organics) a certified organic health and beauty line out of the UK. I seek to live as clean and pure as possible when it comes to what we use on our bodies and this company has so many amazing products that selling them turned out to be an obvious choice.  Feel free to check out my online store at: https://us.nyrorganic.com/shop/francinekozlovsky