Hello my friends! I feel like it's been a while since I have shared what is going on in my family, so today I am sharing an update on what it is like to be a working mom of 6, and share a tool that has been really helpful in navigating through life as a mom on the go [and today I am on the go with my youngest son in our new Bugaboo Bee⁵]!
Working mom of six… even when I read that I feel tired!
But as I share often on my Instagram
and my YouTube channel
, navigating life with my large crew has been equal parts enjoyable, equal parts challenging, but most of all really, really fulfilling.
Motherhood, like anything, is a skill. It has a learning curve. You can feel like you have it all together one minute, and then feel like you are going to lose your mind the next moment. Add on to that the very real pressures that come with a job outside of the home, and it can all be a difficult space to navigate. As I have told many of my first time mom friends, I think having your first child is harder than having six children in a lot of ways! There is such a steep learning curve with your first child, and such a drastic change in your identity, your regular schedule and your body!
But with eight years of this motherhood gig now under my belt, and six gorgeous humans who I get to call my children, I have a little more confidence, I am way less hard on myself, and I have learned strategies that help me to persevere through the challenging parts of motherhood.
When people ask me, "how do you do it?" I honestly don't always know what to say. But I will share this: one strategy that I have learned is an absolute necessity to thrive in motherhood is self care. And let's just say I have failed pretty epically at it over the years. But what I have learned is that if we want to be good moms, good contributors to society, and generally nice people to be around [lol] we have to listen to our bodies, listen to our emotions, and take care of ourselves so we can take care of others.
This weekend I spoke at event [a really fun ladies tea event in Oakville on the topic of creating family memories at home] and I knew that I would be pretty tired after it. So I booked a babysitter, and made sure I would have enough time on the way home to do something I LOVE- which is to spend time on the waterfront in my home of Toronto, Canada.
We only hung out for about thirty minutes- but boy was it restorative. There is something so soothing to me about water. I love how peaceful it is, how vast it is, and for me it is just so restorative. I live in a really busy city- and I just love how even in my urban dwelling I can escape to a scene like this for a moment of rest. [It doesn't hurt that there was a pierogi food truck nearby- so yummy]
It can be really challenging to make rest a priority. For many years, I didn't think rest was important enough to hire a babysitter for, and spend money on to achieve. But what I find is when I rest, I dream. I am a dreamer. I love having the space to just think. To listen. To recalibrate. And my spouse, my kids, and myself are all better off as a result.
With my large family of six kids ages eight and under, one of the ways we make our family work, and make it easier for me to have this self-care time, is to have more than one stroller. This way, if I am doing something on my own with the baby, and my husband or a babysitter is taking care of the rest, whoever is taking care of my other children has the flexibility to take my older kids out on their own adventure.
The Bugaboo Bee⁵ stroller makes traveling with my infant on my own really simple. It's compact design makes it ideal for my urban neighbourhood- it's narrow width is easy to navigate around crowds and shops and the suspension design makes for a smooth ride on my self-care trips to the water (or the mall, lol).
It's also incredibly flexible- it has integrated attachment points for things like coffee cups and a comfort wheeled board [no need for adapters], customizable colours on the faux leather handle bar grips and changeable wheel caps, and my favourite, the Bugaboo Bee⁵ has 700 possible design configurations- so you can customize your stroller to your heart's content.
And speaking of heart's content- how much fun is this bassinet fabric design? I love the denim and the butterflies (my three year old is a big fan of the pinks ones)! In my work as an interior designer I just love to have beauty all around me- and this stroller is no exception.
To learn more about Bugaboo and dream up your own design, learn more here. And for more self-care strategies for busy moms, watch here.
How do you take care of yourself as a busy mom? What tools help your family make this possible? Love to know in the comments below.
Cheers to designing your beautiful life,
Special thanks to Bugaboo Strollers for partnering with me on this blog post.
Spring is FINALLY here and I swear all I want to do is throw all the doors and windows open, diffuse some essential oils and sing Alleluia [cause the Canadian winters are so GOSH DARN LONG]. But the amount of clutter that has accumulated in my house while we've been cooped up is kinda embarrassing. I seriously need to take my own de-clutter challenge.
This week I am most definitely going to tidy up- and if you are too here are some tips that really help me and my family.
1. MAKE MONEY ON VARAGESALE
When possible, I like to make money on items that I no longer need. With the various ages and stages of my six kids, selling my gently used and new stuff that just doesn't work for me anymore helps to keep the clutter low, and put money in my pocket for new items they will inevitably need. But I have often stayed away from it from the sheer hassle of posting the item, taking photos, waiting for people who don't show up, or playing telephone tag or email tag forever. At the end of the day the inconvenience was just not worth it. But recently, I posted on my Facebook wall for recommendations on an efficient way to sell my no longer wanted items and someone suggested the online app VarageSale– and let me tell you, my efficiency woes have been solved.
It's an app that makes buying and selling new and used items really efficient, and super safe. People are rated based on their ability to communicate and show up for their purchase or sale, and all communication is done through the app so you're not chasing people so to speak on various forms of communication. I have bought and sold baby items, home decor items, even clothing. And I have yet to have one person not show up, or haggle me at the door or anything like that. So clean out all your unwanted stuff, make your house loose a few pounds and make money at the same time : )
2. DEEP CLEAN AND PROTECT WITH CONCROBIUM MOLD CONTROL
Now that your house is a little lighter, let's deep clean it. I was recently introduced to Concrobium Mold Control Spray– this safe for people and the environment spray creates a protective layer to inhibit mold from growing on surfaces like wood, drywall, metal and plastic. I just used it to clean, and protect my plastic outdoor dining chairs, and used it to get rid of an unfortunate layer of mold that built up in my mini bar fridge that we turned off [but never cleaned- gross].
And then for all the winter items that you might be putting into bins for the season and storing in a potentially damp place like under the stairs, or your basement, consider using Concrobium Moisture Grabbers. These packets absorb moisture in a small space, which will help to ensure mold does not grow. Use it in bins, under the stairs, under sinks- anywhere moisture may cause mold. It uses the same materials found in diapers which I think it pretty cool. They can also help absorb gross smells in gym bags- love that.
3. WASH YOUR DISHWASHER
We renovated our house a few years ago and put in a new suite of appliances– but lol, I learned the hard way that proper maintenance of appliances is important, especially in a house like mine where appliance run more than once a day. Do you know you are supposed to wash your dishwasher??? I did not- and apparently I am not the only one as only 27% of Canadians have cleaned the interior of their dishwashers in the last twelve months. From regular use, minerals build up on the interior of your dishwasher that can inhibit it from performing optimally. This can be solved super quickly by running a packet of Affresh in your dishwasher in a cycle [it's also sae to use with dishes in the appliance]. Affresh works with all major dishwasher brands and can be picked up on your weekly grocery run.
4. BRING IN THE PRETTY
Now that the house is all cleaned, bring in some pretty. I am a big fan of the convenience Bouclair brings to my life. In one aisle, Bouclair curates on-trend, colour coordinated collections- which make bringing the pretty in after you have spring cleaned just so easy and efficient. Favourites for me include their marble serving platters, concrete candle holders, printed napkins for easy entertaining and coloured trays.
IA great big thank you to these brands for partnering with me on this sponsored post. I love to work with brands that bring value, efficiency and beauty to my life, and I hope to yours as well.
It's reveal time!!!! I am so excited to share with you this labour of love.
For the last six weeks, I've been participating in the One Room Challenge hosted by Linda at Calling It Home. It's a friendly competition of sorts [we're all winners for finishing!] where you are challenged to complete a room in six short weeks.
I have joined in the madness before with my home gym and laundry room. And this time, I tackled not one, but TWO kitchens. As I have shared in weeks past, I got to work with two very special families, who live next door to each other, who decided to tear down, rebuild, at the same time, with the same builder, and the same designer [ME!] How much fun is that?!?! On top of everything, I just love these two families- so creating spaces where they can thrive at home has just made me so happy.
It was a serious race to the finish- and while I had wanted to pull off two full kitchen reveals, integrity had to prevail. Kitchen Two, which was my more traditional kitchen, unfortunately had a few scheduling set backs including a countertop that had an imperfection that the fabricator insisted on redoing. While it impacted the schedule, and made it unable to reveal in six weeks, it is far better to have something redone and installed correctly- so come back in a few weeks to see Kitchen Two unveiled here.
But today… feast your eyes on Kitchen One in my Tale of Two Houses- this is a modern kitchen for a fun modern family and I hope you like it as much as I do!
I wanted this space to feel modern and family friendly, yet very current with a bit of edge. The navy blue island, gorgeous tufted and chrome counter stools, and modern prints on the textiles I think do the trick. The marble herringbone backsplash is another classic, yet modern element in this space, and I love the contrast in scale against the large veins of this Cambria countertop.
Wanting to keep things really modern I opted to use Delta's Trinsic faucet with Touch technology. One tap anywhere on the faucet and clean up is a breeze. And I just love how the pull down spout is integrated so elegantly into the design of this faucet. We used the matching pot filler in chrome.
A full suite of Thermador appliances makes this a serious chef's kitchen. We designed a lovely little prep area [with a matching Delta Trinsic bar faucet] to keep coffee, and bar prep mess contained.
It's no secret that navy blue is a really popular colour as an accent in kitchens right now. And I love how this shade [Newburryport Blue by Benjamin Moore] turned out. We wrapped the kitchen island, and the pantry shelving in this shade- and I love how it can read really modern, or really classic, depending on how it is styled.
As a mom of six young kids, I know how much happens in a family kitchen- so many memories are made in the kitchen! And I feel so blessed to be able to help create a space for this family to make memories. I just love when families thrive at home.
Thanks for joining me in this fun journey- and don't forget to come back in a few weeks to see a Kitchen Two reveal! Many thanks to Linda from Calling It Home and media sponsor House Beautiful for sponsoring this event. For a crazy amount of inspiration, check out the other challenge linking participants here.
Photography by Larry Arnal.
Renovating is hard, yo! It is gruelling. It's costly. It can be the most exciting thing for a family, and the most challenging thing for a family. It is week five of the One Room Challenge, a fun blog challenge put on by Calling It Home. I am participating as a linking participant- go see what everyone else is doing here. In a nutshell, in six short weeks we are challenged to complete a space- and I am tackling not one, but two kitchens for lovely neighbours who have hired me to create unique spaces for their unique families.
Tackling two spaces in six short weeks has been a bit of a hustle. And I am not entirely sure if we are going to make it! But I can promise that the results are going to be incroyable.
Here's a quick peek- I only have shots of House One because it had just been that kind of a week [lol]
As you can see House One is sooooo close. There are a few things that are still to be tweaked- but we are so close.
If you're renovating, and feeling like you just can't survive- here are a few things I have told clients over the years:
1. Picture yourself in the house when the dust has settled
A strategy I use both in business and in life when I am feeling overwhelmed is to picture myself when the dust has settled. When I am really overwhelmed, I will sometimes play imaginary "fast forward" on my life, and picture myself when the chaos is over, all the mess is cleared, and I am standing in a finished, beautiful space. I find it's a helpful strategy to get yourself out of frustration, overwhelm and things you cannot control [whether it's trades finishing up work or yet another mess to clean up by your toddler].
2. Make a punch out list
It might be a daunting task, but get out a piece of paper, or your phone, and make a big fat list of all the things left to do. The act of doing it will quell some anxiety, and then you can create a strategy for grouping activities together, delegating some or deleting some.
3. Drink some wine.
This need no explanation. LOL
Come back next week for the FINAL REVEAL. I am pretty gosh darn excited. It will yet again be a race to the finish!!!