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How Ivanka Trump Said Buh-Bye to Working-Mom Guilt

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

*Guest edited by Patty Adams Martinez

Ivanka Trump is a master multitasker. We asked the mompreneur and mom to Arabella, nearly 3, and Joseph, 5 months, to share her work-life balance secrets. Take note!

Is it easier going through life with a newborn the second time around?
Yes! I’m already much less anxious than I was with Arabella. I feel prepared having gone through it once before and have a better understanding of the fact that, no matter how much you plan ahead, there is no avoiding the chaos!

Which is harder: being a high-powered executive or a mom?
Though both are equally enjoyable for me, no matter how hard I work, how many hours I spend at my desk, how many countries I travel to, I’m much more exhausted on Monday morning after two full days of being a mom. Being a full-time mom is definitely harder!

Do you go through mommy withdrawals, being away from your kids all day?
I’m lucky to live only two blocks from my office, so I run home any time I have a spare moment, see my kids, and then return to work. It’s never easy balancing both, but my time with my kids is so fulfilling that it’s worth it. Spending time together as a family throughout the day also means I’m not always feeling drained when I’m with them. Each morning we sit down as a family for breakfast, and on Wednesdays Arabella comes to my office for a lunch date (soon Joseph will join her!). It’s my weekly working lunch appointment, and it’s the best part of the day.

Is it possible to keep your home life off your mind while you’re at work and vice versa?
It took time for me to adjust and learn to let go of the guilt I initially felt. But I realized that having a fulfilling career makes me a better wife and mother, so I’m present at the office and I work hard knowing that at the end of the day I get to go home to my family. Nothing makes you more efficient than having children!

What’s your multi-tasking style tip for going from mommy to executive? 
Accessorize. Making an outfit transitional is all about having the right accents, whether it’s beautiful statement jewelry, a scarf, or great shoes. Have fun with it!

TELL US: Share your best work-family balance secrets!

Images via Instagram

 

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Facebook Wants to Get Me Pregnant

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Lately my relationship with the social network has become a little…awkward.

It was subtle at first: the “We’re having a baby!” statuses filling my news feed like the first hashtag in a Jimmy Fallon sketch. Then came the ultrasounds and nurseries and—eventually—living, breathing humans birthed by my high school and college classmates.

But it didn’t stop there.

Maybe it was because my timeline showed that I was married but childless. Or the fact that I had worked for and “liked” both Parents and American Baby. Or perhaps it was the CBS segments I did (and later posted) on postpartum anxiety, sleep training, and raising two under 2. Whatever the reason, Facebook decided it was time for me to join the childbearing ranks. Not years from now liked I’d always assumed—right now.

The ads for everything from prenatal workouts to birth announcements started pouring in. They weren’t funny the way the ones for pet stairs were after I shopped around for a set for our vertically-challenged chihuahua. No, they were far creepier—like Facebook had figured out where I fit into the so-called plan: get engaged, get married, buy a house, have kids.

I don’t know—maybe it’s my fault. Did I send mixed signals? Maybe I should have posted fewer pictures of my cat and more of my 1-bedroom apartment that couldn’t possibly fit a crib. Or worked harder to not be so genuinely happy for my friends that I “liked” photos of their little ones. Or perhaps I should have added life events like “focusing on my career” and “vacationing in places that have adult-only pools” to my timeline.

But I didn’t do any of those things, and so Facebook continues to be relentless. Just today, I received an ad about potty training. I guess in Facebook’s mind (and maybe everyone else’s) I should be on to teaching a toddler how to use the toilet and trying for Baby #2. But here I am—still bump-less. (The one above is from AB‘s prop closet. Don’t ask.) You want to know why? Because I’m not that easy, Facebook. I mean, at least take me on a date first.

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Raising Awareness for Colic

Friday, March 8th, 2013

My mom has always said that I was the happiest baby the world’s ever seen. Perhaps she’s right: My baby book is filled with photos of me grinning from ear to ear. Still, I’ve always wondered if what she saw as “happy,” was really just normal. Normal, that is, compared to my older brother, Craig—who had colic.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to care for a baby whose cries fill the air for hours on end. But a new survey released in tandem with Born Free‘s second annual Colic Awareness Month tells me that it’s lonely: Eight out of 10 moms with colicky babies say that colic has moderately or significantly affected their ability to leave the house, and nearly 80 percent of them are hesitant to ask friends or family for help.

So what can we do? For starters, pledge to help a friend or family member who has a fussy newborn. Born Free’s request is simple: Commit one hour to assisting another mom. Wash her laundry, watch the baby while she gets some much-needed rest—whatever you can do. The important thing is to let her know that you care.

And if you’re the one in the trenches, be sure to check out our how-to on relieving colic. You’ll get through it, mama!

Image: Alexandra Grablewski

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Questions About Maternity Style? Tune In!

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

If you’re wondering how to dress that gorgeous, growing bump of yours, listen up: American Baby‘s resident maternity expert, senior lifestyle editor Jessica Hartshorn, is joining forces with maternity designer and Parents contributing editor Rosie Pope and Hollywood Hot Moms co-founder Natalie Klein for an all-things-maternity-wear Twitter chat, hosted by zulily, this Friday, March 1, from 12 to 1 p.m. EST.

Follow along at #zulilymaternitystyle, and don’t forget to bring your best 140-character questions and insights! One lucky participant will walk away with a $50 zulily gift card.

Still not following AB on Twitter? Hop to it!

Image: Jessica Hartshorn (right) with Rosie Pope

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Stay Connected After Baby

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Nothing rocks a relationship quite like having a child. Last week, we asked readers on Facebook to send us their toughest questions. Joyce Marter, owner of Urban Balance LLC, a multi-site psychotherapy practice in Chicago, answers—just in time for Valentine’s Day.

My husband and I seem to fight all the time about who does more around the house. We’ve even tried tracking chores on a spreadsheet, but nothing seems to help. Any advice for how to alleviate this point of contention?

I agree that this is the biggest relationship challenge for parents of young children, myself included!

I recommend that you and your husband revisit the chores spreadsheet together, making sure you include all household, financial, social, and familial responsibilities. Also, map out your daily or weekly schedule and identify who is responsible for what on which days. The more specific and clear the delineation of responsibilities, the easier it is to make sure both partners are contributing equally.

When you’re finished with the spreadsheet of responsibilities and the weekly routine, discuss them. Does the plan feel fair? Is it realistic? Communicate assertively and respectfully, make any necessary changes, sign off on it, and post it in your kitchen. Agree to revisit it every Sunday, even if just for a 10-minute check-in.

It’s these follow-ups that are most important. Otherwise even the best laid plan won’t work. Make a point to acknowledge and express appreciation to one another for what you’ve both contributed.

Division of labor is something that will constantly need to be revisited and renegotiated as your children grow and your family’s needs and responsibilities change. Consistent and pro-active communication is the key to preventing arguments about who does more.

In my practice, I see many couples where the woman over-functions in the areas of caring for the kids and home, which leads to exhaustion and resentment. They are often seen by their male partners as negative and critical. It’s also common to see men under-functioning at home, but believing they do their fair share or at least more than most dads.

It’s important to seek a mutually supportive, loving partnership. Women need to stop enabling men to slack off on baby care, by instead setting clear expectations and boundaries, and allowing them to contribute without micromanaging or criticizing. Men need to step it up, realizing that the time and energy spent managing more responsibilities at home will be far less than that spent arguing. As they say, happy wife, happy life!

I’ve become a really light sleeper since having my daughter, and my husband’s snoring is just too loud. It’s causing resentment on my end because I’m the only one who gets up during the night with her, and I’m already exhausted. I’m considering separate bedrooms. Will this hurt our relationship even more?

Everything is harder when you are sleep-deprived, and snoring is the worst!

First, you need to insist that your husband try to resolve the snoring problem. There are many remedies (such as nose strips) that are easily available and perhaps worth a try. He may need to consult a doctor to rule out chronic sinus infection or even participate in a sleep study to make sure he doesn’t have sleep apnea or another condition. Alcohol use and being overweight can exacerbate snoring, so a healthy lifestyle can lessen the problem.

Second, you need to prioritize rest. That means getting to bed as early as you can and napping whenever possible (it’s more important to catch some Z’s than to empty the dishwasher). But it also means putting your foot down and asking your husband to help with your daughter during the night. I recommend that you agree on a routine so the expectations are clear. Additionally, perhaps he could tend to her first thing in the morning and allow you to snooze a bit later—at least on the days that both of you are off work. Even if you’re awake and he’s dead asleep, you need to insist that he get up. Otherwise your resentment will continue to damage your relationship. Ironically, it’s because you love him that you are making him help.

Finally, I do not recommend separate bedrooms. Sleeping separately can lead to serious disconnection that can be difficult to regain down the road, after it becomes clear how damaging it has been to the marriage. Physical and sexual intimacy is important in a relationship.

In fact, you might remind him that women who are well rested are more likely to want to have sex! (more…)

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Do Your Part!

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Around the world, at least one in three women has been abused—most often by a member of her own family. Shocking, isn’t it?

On International Women’s Day, I want to encourage you to take even the smallest step to put a stop to it. Last week, I was honored to attend the 2nd World Conference of Women’s Shelters in Washington, D.C. There actress Reese Witherspoon, who’s the honorary chairman of the Avon Foundation for Women, introduced Avon’s newest Empowerment product: the Circle of Support necklace ($5, avon.com). The circle is comprised of infinity symbols that represent the unlimited potential of women everywhere. More importantly, 100 percent of its net profits will be donated to the Avon Foundation for programs dedicated to ending violence against women.

So spare a few dollars, won’t you? Together we can make the world a safer place.

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Love Letters

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

I’m a sucker for a sweet video, so when one of the people I follow on Twitter tweeted this one today, I just had to share. Yes, it’s an ad (for Google Chrome, to be exact), but it’s also one of the most aw-worthy displays of daddy-daughter love I’ve ever seen. What a great way to document your child’s life! Have you done something similar? We want to hear about it!

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Healthier Foods For Kids?

Friday, April 29th, 2011

ServeImage.aspxIf passed, new guidelines from the federal government will give the food industry an ultimatum: Make your products healthier, or stop marketing them to children.

In an effort to end childhood obesity, the Federal Trade Commission would require manufacturers to include certain ingredientslike whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and low-fat milkin their products, while also avoiding unhealthy levels of sugar, saturated fat, trans fat and salt. Companies who choose to comply will likely have 5 to 10 years to do so. And ones that don’t will be asked to stop using kid-friendly themes and characterslike Froot Loops’ Toucan Sam, for examplein their advertisements.

Proponents say it’s a huge step in fighting an industry that, in 2006, spent nearly $2.3 billion to market often-unhealthy foods to children in the U.S. What do you think? Are you in favor of having the standards passed?

Image via.

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