How one mom + dad duo entertains Canadian families—with the help of a business plan

“One of the things you should do before you launch is write a business plan.”

How one mom + dad duo entertains Canadian families—with the help of a business plan

What

does it take to go from business idea to lady boss? This column features an


entrepreneur, who happens to be a mom, each week—walking us through the process

of how you too can take your ideas from dream to reality. If you missed our

last article featuring Jenny from Fawn Design on how social media contributed

to her success, you can read that here. This week, we're discussing the sixth

step many modern entrepreneurs need to make on the journey to success: building

a business plan.

The best time to create your business plan was a

year ago. The second best time is today.

A thoughtful and well-researched business plan not

only keeps your business on track, but helps you to realize when you've

accomplished something. In the world of being an entrepreneur there's always a

million and one items on your “to-do" list, which makes it difficult to realize

when you've achieved something remarkable. A business plan can help remind you,

validate you, and guide you to the next stage of your business.

Kim

Thé runs Pebble Star Productions, a children's

entertainment company that she co-founded in 2012 with her husband &

musician Will Stroet.

She

recently started a booking agency within their company in addition to handling

the tour planning, marketing, event planning, community partnerships and grant

writing for Will's career.

With

two girls, Ella and June, she juggles her family, her marriage and both her and

her husband's careers with a kind of zany grace. Never working on less than

three things simultaneously, she is a master at multitasking.

I recently

got to sit down with Kim to find out how she keeps it all together—and thrives.

You're in a fairly unique situation managing your husband's career. Tell

me what he does and what role you play?

Will is a

performing, touring musician for kids and he tours across Canada now. He also appears

on Wills Jams airing on Kids' CBC weekday mornings. He does anywhere from 150

to 200 shows a year and has done more than a 1000 performances for kids across

the country.

I act as his Manager.

He started

writing kids music when we were first together, before we were married, when he

was studying to become a teacher at the University of BC. Things really took

off when he got a contract in November of 2005 to record and release his first

album which ended up being called “Let's All Dance."

I was working

for a children's charity at that time as their Marketing Manager and I had a

background in Marketing so I started helping on that front. We haven't really

looked back since. Now it's a full-time job for both of us!

Before Wills Jams became a television show, what did his musical career

consist of and when did you come in to the picture?

Basically, when

he started in 2005, I had a full-time job in Marketing Communications. As he became

busier and got more popular, I got more involved with the management of his

tours and schedules. In 2012 we incorporated as Pebble Star Productions.

We both

realized that things went smoother if I organized and scheduled him, as well as did the pitching and negotiating for him.

As an artist it's very hard to negotiate for yourself because people always want to undercut you. So it was much better to have me do it.

How did things change when you had kids?

When I

was pregnant with Ella, I booked him solidly after her birth, not knowing what

it was going to be like as a new mom. So he was basically booked solid for the

first three months of her life. He actually almost missed her birth.

I booked him

for so much and then I realized, okay well, maybe that wasn't the smartest

thing to do.

It's a lot,

solo parenting. Luckily I get tons of

grandparent help.

Why do you think his music is so popular?

Will has many

talents, but the most obvious one is connecting with kids. He really truly loves kids.

He's a big kid himself and he knows how to speak to them, how to make them

laugh and smile. I call him the Pied Piper. He's just a natural at what he does

because very few people can connect with kids that genuinely.

Will's got a gift. 'Cause he's really truly is like that himself. He's very kid-like.

How did the television show come to be?

That was a

long process! It must have been 2009 or 2010 when

we started making the music videos. One of the first ones was the “Bike Safety Boogie". We approached Turtlebox Productions, a husband and wife team to produce the first nine videos, the would become “Will's Jams".

that are

video producers. They were excited about the idea and wanted to help us make

the music videos into a series that we could pitch to networks.

So we worked

with them over the course of a year to create and film this series, and then in

2011 we decided to pitch the show to broadcasters. Will and I knew very little about how to pitch to broadcasters. We went to the Banff Media Festival, in Canada, and I had lined up a

whole bunch of 5 minute meetings with all the kids TV executives.

Our first

meeting was with Kim Wilson, the CBC creative head at the time and the

first thing she said in our meeting was, “Hey Will! I totally know who you are,

we were just listening to some of your songs! CBC music is launching

its own kids portal and I actually hand selected some of your music for it. I

love it and I love your videos. How many do you have? Nine? Well we need to do

more. Let's talk business."

It was crazy!

We were just on

this high! She kept her word and we worked with Turtlebox to produce two more series - 18 episodes in total - in the next

year and a half. Each episode is 2-5 minutes long and they're branded as Will's

Jams. Now they have 27 in rotation and they play twice a morning on CBC, Monday to

Friday.

How do you model the business to make it work for you financially?

Most of our income is still from live performance.

A small portion is from merch, and a growing portion is from songwriting royalties.

A word to any

other musicians out there, don't sign up with a label. It just makes absolutely

no sense these days.

If you're a

budding musician, try to do it independently as much as possible because there

isn't much of a pie and if you sign with a label, they're going to take a huge

part of that small piece of the pie.

Do you tour with Will?

Absolutely not. I mean, it doesn't make any financial sense, we have kids. My life is here and I'm working. And besides, life on the road is not glamorous.

I'm not working from a tour bus, in a hotel with a mini bar, you know? Not with two kids – no way!

How important is creating a detailed business plan?

It doesn't matter what kind of company you are, one of the things you should do before you launch is write a business plan.

We did a five-year plan and every year we look at it, update, and compare our performance to

it.

Did we meet

our objectives? Did we actually meet our targets? What have we achieved? It's

funny, when you're in it, you forget your objectives. It's good to reflect and see

actually how much you've actually accomplished. It's usually more than you

think.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs just writing their business

plans?

Don't be

scared. You have to be kind of fearless and that should be reflected in your

business plan.

As an entrepreneur

you have to be willing to take risks, but calculated ones, right?

Never go in blindly without doing your research, but don't be scared.

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How important do you think it has been to have those clear objectives?

Very

important. My background is in marketing, and you always start with objectives.

It's not only important to have them,

but to write them down and stick to them, referring to them often.

What has been the hardest part of working as a

husband and wife team?

Separating

who does what so you each have your own job description, and sticking to that

because once you start interfering in each other's areas, you'll definitely have conflict.

But finding

that separation has been so good for both of us. That and outsourcing the

pieces that we can.

Why is confidence important when building a brand?

You

have to be fearlessly confident in your brand to have success. If you're going

to try to sell your community or audience on your brand, you have to be

passionate about what you do and wholeheartedly believe in it.

People can smell deceit or hypocrisy from a mile away!

I can't imagine Will doing what he does

if he didn't like children and wasn't confident on stage with them. Kids are

such an honest audience—they would cry, scream and run away and shout “I don't

like this" and never come back!

How does being a mother impact the way you run your

business?

It

impacts our business every day since we're in the business of children's

entertainment and gives us great insight into what parents and kids really like

and want—especially when it comes to creating good music that won't annoy

parents after the 100th time they've heard it in the minivan!

Will

gets inspiration daily from our own kids and their friends – Will wrote one of

his best songs about fruits and veggies called “Full of Beans" while our

first daughter Ella was learning to eat finger foods. It's now one of his most

loved songs and really works to get your kids to eat their veggies.

It goes," 1, 2, 3 broccoli, 4, 5, 6 carrot sticks…"

For

me, being a mom to two girls has taught me how to be extremely organized with

my time in work and my personal life. There's no more time to waste unless I

want to accomplish very little in a day. I'm still trying to maintain a

work/life balance but find that being an entrepreneur allows me to fit in way

more in a day because I can manage my own schedule and work in a bike ride or

Bollywood dance class around my kids' schedules and my own business and

housework!

Is there any one piece of advice you'd give to

aspiring lady bosses?

The

most important piece of advice is that you CAN do it! A wise female

entrepreneur friend told me that “You can have it all but you just can't have

it all at once." I try to remember this daily so that I don't get as anxious or

frustrated by the many interruptions that stop me from achieving a “perfect"

workflow in my day.

I'm learning that “perfect" doesn't really exist in life

and it especially doesn't exist when you have two kids under seven. I try to

reflect on my successes more often with Will so that I don't

forgot all the great things we've achieved together. The list of things you can

do never ends so it's really important to take a moment to pat yourself on the

back and say, “I can do this! In fact, I am doing this!"

I'll end with saying to all lady bosses out there, “You've got this!"

Will's

kids' TV series, Will's Jams, airs weekday mornings at 7:25 AM and

9:25 AM on Kids' CBC in Canada and is available in the U.S.

and globally (outside of Canada) on Kidoodle.TV

To

try Kidoodle.TV for free for a month,

click on this link and use the promo code “WILL." You can also check out

Will's Jams on Kids' CBC's TV for Me app for

iPad or on YouTube (Canada only).

For

more about Will and his music, check out www.willmusic.ca and connect

with Will on Facebook, Twitter @willstroetmusic, Instagram @willstroetmusic and YouTube. You can connect with Kim on Facebook @Pebblestarpro and Twitter @pebblestarpro

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In This Article

    Kristen Bell and Jackie Tohn on how they’re ‘sneak teaching’ kids with their new show "Do, Re & Mi"

    The best friends created a musical animated show that's just as educational as it is entertaining

    Amazon Studios

    This episode is sponsored by Tonies. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    Kristen Bell and Jackie Tohn have been best friends since they met as young singers and actors more than 15 years ago, and now they're collaborating on a new Amazon Original animated kids series called Do, Re & Mi. The show, which follows best birds Do, Re and Mi as they navigate the world around them while also belting out catchy tunes, is just as educational as it is entertaining.

    On the latest episode of The Motherly Podcast, Bell and Tohn talk to Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety about how they're "sneak teaching" kids with their new show and why music is such an important focal point.

    "It was basically our mission from the very beginning to 'sneak music education' into kids' lives, hands, brains, all of it," Tohn admits.

    "There's so much science and data to support that [music] helps kids, their brains grow with math, with social skills. It literally can change your neuroplasticity. You can put music of their favorite genre or timeframe on, in an Alzheimer's ward, and they will come back online for a couple minutes. I mean, it's crazy," Bell, who has two daughters of her own, adds. "You know, music can bind a lot of families together. It can bind friendships together. And it's just a show that you can feel really good about. We want to get it in front of as many kids as possible, because I don't like the fact that some kids won't have exposure to music. Their brains deserve to grow just as much as everyone else's."

    The first season of Do, Re & Mi premiered on September 17th and its creators recorded 52 different songs for the show that range from reggae and pop to country, blues and jazz.

    "That's what's so exciting about this show," Tohn gushes. "Not only are the lessons we're teaching for everyone, but every episode has a musical genre, a musical lesson and an emotional lesson. And so there really is so much to learn."

    Elsewhere in the episode, Bell tells Tenety about how she made literal toolboxes that carry different regulation tools to help her kids calm down (one is "find a song you love and sing out loud") and why having a village is crucial to surviving motherhood, especially in a pandemic, while Tohn details her special friendship not only with Bell, but with her daughters, too.

    To hear more about the show, Bell's experiences in motherhood, and her enduring friendship with Tohn, listen to The Motherly Podcast for the full interview.

    Entertainment

    12 baby registry essentials for family adventures

    Eager to get out and go? Start here

    Ashley Robertson / @ashleyrobertson

    Parenthood: It's the greatest adventure of all. From those first few outings around the block to family trips at international destinations, there are new experiences to discover around every corner. As you begin the journey, an adventurous spirit can take you far—and the best baby travel gear can help you go even farther.

    With car seats, strollers and travel systems designed to help you confidently get out and go on family adventures, Maxi-Cosi gives you the support you need to make the memories you want.

    As a mom of two, Ashley Robertson says she appreciates how Maxi-Cosi products can grow with her growing family. "For baby gear, safety and ease are always at the top of our list, but I also love how aesthetically pleasing the Maxi Cosi products are," she says. "The Pria Car Seat was our first purchase and it's been so nice to have a car seat that 'grows' with your child. It's also easy to clean—major bonus!"

    If you have big dreams for family adventures, start by exploring these 12 baby registry essentials.

    Tayla™️ XP Travel System

    Flexibility is key for successful family adventures. This reversible, adjustable, all-terrain travel system delivers great versatility. With the included Coral XP Infant Car Seat that fits securely in the nesting system, you can use this stroller from birth.


    Add to Babylist

    $849.99

    Iora Bedside Bassinet

    Great for use at home or for adventures that involve a night away, the collapsible Iora Bedside Bassinet gives your baby a comfortable, safe place to snooze. With five different height positions and three slide positions, this bassinet can fit right by your bedside. The travel bag also makes it easy to take on the go.


    Add to Babylist

    $249.99

    Kori 2-in-1 Rocker

    Made with high-quality, soft materials, the foldable Kori Rocker offers 2-in-1 action by being a rocker or stationary seat. It's easy to move around the home, so you can keep your baby comfortable wherever you go. With a slim folded profile, it's also easy to take along on adventures so your baby always has a seat of their own.


    Add to Babylist

    $119.99

    Minla 6-in-1 High Chair

    A high chair may not come to mind when you're planning ahead for family adventures. But, as the safest spot for your growing baby to eat meals, it's worth bringing along for the ride. With compact folding ability and multiple modes of use that will grow with your little one, it makes for easy cargo.


    Add to Babylist

    $219.99

    Coral XP Infant Car Seat

    With the inner carrier weighing in at just 5 lbs., this incredibly lightweight infant car seat means every outing isn't also an arm workout for you. Another feature you won't find with other infant car seats? In addition to the standard carry bar, the Coral XP can be carried with a flexible handle or cross-body strap.


    Add to Babylist

    $399.99

    Pria™️ All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

    From birth through 10 years, this is the one and only car seat you need. It works in rear-facing, forward-facing and, finally, booster mode. Comfortable and secure for every mile of the journey ahead, you can feel good about hitting the road for family fun.


    Add to Babylist

    $289.99

    Pria™️ Max All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

    Want to skip the wrestling match with car seat buckles? The brilliant Out-of-the-Way harness system and magnetic chest clip make getting your child in and out of their buckles as cinch. This fully convertible car seat is suitable for babies from 4 lbs. through big kids up to 100 lbs. With washer-and-dryer safe cushions and dishwasher safe cup holders, you don't need to stress the mess either.


    Add to Babylist

    $329.99

    Tayla Modular Lightweight Stroller

    With four reclining positions, your little ones can stay content—whether they want to lay back for a little shut-eye or sit up and take in the view. Also reversible, the seat can be turned outward or inward if you want to keep an eye on your adventure buddy. Need to pop it in the trunk or take it on the plane? The stroller easily and compactly folds shut.


    Add to Babylist
    $499.99

    Tayla Travel System

    This car seat and stroller combo is the baby travel system that will help make your travel dreams possible from Day 1. The Mico XP infant seat is quick and easy to install into the stroller or car. Skipping the car seat? The reversible stroller seat is a comfortable way to take in the scenery.


    Add to Babylist
    $699.99

    Modern Diaper Bag

    When you need to change a diaper during an outing, the last thing you'll want to do is scramble to find one. The Modern Diaper Bag will help you stay organized for brief outings or week-long family vacations. In addition to the pockets and easy-carry strap, we love the wipeable diaper changing pad, insulated diaper bag and hanging toiletry bag.


    Add to Babylist

    $129.99

    Mico XP Max Infant Car Seat

    Designed for maximum safety and comfort from the very first day, this infant car seat securely locks into the car seat base or compatible strollers. With a comfy infant pillow and luxe materials, it also feels as good for your baby as it looks to you. Not to mention the cushions are all machine washable and dryable, which is a major win for you.


    Add to Babylist
    $299.99

    Adorra™️ 5-in-1 Modular Travel System

    From carriage mode for newborn through world-view seated mode for bigger kids, this 5-in-1 children's travel system truly will help make travel possible. We appreciate the adjustable handlebar, extended canopy with UV protection and locking abilities when it's folded. Your child will appreciate the plush cushions, reclining seat and smooth ride.


    Add to Babylist
    $599.99

    Ready for some family adventures? Start by exploring Maxi-Cosi.

    This article was sponsored by Maxi-Cosi. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


    Boost 1

    This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

    One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

    I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.


    Honestly, it's no wonder. Originally designed as a better blanket for luxury hotels and engineered with textile experts to create this uniquely soft fabric, it has made my bed into the vacation I so desperately want these days.

    The comforter is made up of two layers. On one side is their signature knit "snug" fabric which out-cozies even my most beloved (bought on sale) cashmere sweater. The other, a soft quilted microfiber. Together, it creates a weighty blanket that's as soothing to be under as it is to flop face-first into at the end of an exhausting day. Or at lunch. No judgement.

    Miraculously, given the weight and construction, it stays totally breathable and hasn't left me feeling overheated even on these warm summer nights with just a fan in the window.

    Beyond being the absolute most comfortable comforter I've found, it's also answered my minimalist bed making desires. Whether you opt to use it knit or quilted side up, it cleanly pulls the room together and doesn't wrinkle or look unkempt even if you steal a quick nap on top of it.

    Also worth noting, while all that sounds super luxe and totally indulgent, the best part is, it's equally durable. It's made to be easily machine washed and come out the other side as radically soft as ever, forever, which totally helps take the sting out of the price tag.

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    Here is my top pick from Sunday Citizen, along with the super-soft goods I'm coveting for future purchases.

    Woodland Snug comforter

    Sunday-Citizen-Woodland-Snug-comforter

    The bedroom anchor I've been looking for— the Snug Comforter.

    $249

    Braided Pom Pom Throw

    Because this degree of coziness needs portability, I'm totally putting the throw version on my list. It's washable, which is a must-have given my shedding dog and two spill-prone kiddos who are bound to fight over it during family movie night.

    $145

    Lumbar pillow

    sunday-citizen-lumbar-pillow

    What's a cozy bed without a pile of pillows?

    $65

    Crystal infused sleep mask

    sunday citizen sleep mask

    Promoting sleep by creating total darkness and relaxation, I've bookmarked as my go-to gift for fellow mamas.

    $40

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

    Shop

    10 Montessori phrases for kids who are struggling with back to school

    The first day of school can be hard for everyone, mama. Here's how to use the Montessori method to help your child adjust.

    No matter how excited your child was to pick out a new lunchbox and backpack this year, there will likely be days when they just don't want to go to school. Whether they're saying "I don't like school" when you're home playing together or having a meltdown on the way to the classroom, there are things you can say to help ease their back-to-school nerves.

    More than the exact words you use, the most important thing is your attitude, which your child is most definitely aware of. It's important to validate their feelings while conveying a calm confidence that school is the right place for them to be and that they can handle it.

    Here are some phrases that will encourage your child to go to school.


    1. "You're safe here."

    If you have a young child, they may be genuinely frightened of leaving you and going to school. Tell them that school is a safe place full of people who care about them. If you say this with calm confidence, they'll believe you. No matter what words you say, if your child senses your hesitation, your own fear of leaving them, they will not feel safe. How can they be safe if you're clearly scared of leaving them? Try to work through your own feelings about dropping them off before the actual day so you can be a calm presence and support.

    2. "I love you and I know you can do this."

    It's best to keep your goodbye short, even if your child is crying or clinging to you, and trust that you have chosen a good place for them to be. Most children recover from hard goodbyes quickly after the parent leaves.

    If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, give one good strong hug and tell them that you love them and know they can do this. Saying something like, "It's just school, you'll be fine" belittles their feelings. Instead, acknowledge that this is hard, but that you're confident they're up to the task. This validates the anxiety they're feeling while ending on a positive note.

    After a quick reassurance, make your exit, take a deep breath and trust that they will be okay.

    3. "First you'll have circle time, then work time, and then you'll play on the playground."

    Talk your child through the daily schedule at school, including as many details as possible. Talk about what will happen when you drop them off, what kinds of work they will do, when they will eat lunch and play outside, and who will come to get them in the afternoon.

    It can help to do this many times so that they become comfortable with the new daily rhythm.

    4. "I'll pick you up after playground time."

    Give your child a frame of reference for when you will be returning.

    If your child can tell time, you can tell them you'll see them at 3:30pm. If they're younger, tell them what will happen right before you pick them up. Perhaps you'll come get them right after lunch, or maybe it's after math class.

    Giving this reference point can help reassure them you are indeed coming back and that there is a specific plan for when they will see you again. As the days pass, they'll realize that you come consistently every day when you said you would and their anxieties will ease.

    5. "What book do you think your teacher will read when you get to school this morning?"

    Find out what happens first in your child's school day and help them mentally transition to that task. In a Montessori school, the children choose their own work, so you might ask about which work your child plans to do first.

    If they're in a more traditional school, find an aspect of the school morning they enjoy and talk about that.

    Thinking about the whole school day can seem daunting, but helping your child focus on a specific thing that will happen can make it seem more manageable.

    6. "Do you think Johnny will be there today?"

    Remind your child of the friends they will see when they get to school.

    If you're not sure who your child is bonding with, ask the teacher. On the way to school, talk about the children they can expect to see and try asking what they might do together.

    If your child is new to the school, it might help to arrange a playdate with a child in their class to help them form strong relationships.

    7. "That's a hard feeling. Tell me about it."

    While school drop-off is not the time to wallow in the hard feelings of not wanting to go to school, if your child brings up concerns after school or on the weekend, take some time to listen to them.

    Children can very easily be swayed by our leading questions, so keep your questions very general and neutral so that your child can tell you what they're really feeling.

    They may reveal that they just miss you while they're gone, or may tell you that a certain person or kind of work is giving them anxiety.

    Let them know that you empathize with how they feel, but try not to react too dramatically. If you think there is an issue of real concern, talk to the teacher about it, but your reaction can certainly impact the already tentative feelings about going to school.

    8. "What can we do to help you feel better?"

    Help your child brainstorm some solutions to make them more comfortable with going to school.

    Choose a time at home when they are calm. Get out a pen and paper to show that you are serious about this.

    If they miss you, would a special note in their pocket each morning help? If another child is bothering them, what could they say or who could they ask for help? If they're too tired in the morning, could an earlier bedtime make them feel better?

    Make it a collaborative process, rather than a situation where you're rescuing them, to build their confidence.

    9. "What was the best part of your school day?"

    Choose a time when your child is not talking about school and start talking about your day. Tell them the best part of your day, then try asking about the best part of their day. Practice this every day.

    It's easy to focus on the hardest parts of an experience because they tend to stick out in our minds. Help your child recognize that, even if they don't always want to go, there are likely parts of school they really enjoy.

    10. "I can't wait to go to the park together when we get home."

    If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, remind them of what you will do together after you pick them up from school.

    Even if this is just going home and making dinner, what your child likely craves is time together with you, so help them remember that it's coming.

    It is totally normal for children to go through phases when they don't want to go to school. If you're concerned, talk to your child's teacher and ask if they seem happy and engaged once they're in the classroom.

    To your child, be there to listen, to help when you can, and to reassure them that their feelings are natural and that they are so capable of facing the challenges of the school day, even when it seems hard.

    Back to School

    Yes, a shower can be self-care—here's how to level it up

    Some seasons of life can make you feel like you have no time for self-care, so here's how you can make an everyday activity a luxury.

    Getty

    Over the course of the last several years, "self-care" has become not only a buzzword, but also a daily requirement for personal fulfillment. And while self-care is important, it loses its appeal when it feels like a chore, or yet another item on a never-ending To Do list. I have a one-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. I work full-time, and I do not have full-time childcare. As a result, like many parents, free time is the stuff of fairy tales.

    Instead of beating myself up over my inability to get to the nail salon or to schedule a monthly massage, I decided to redefine self-care—to be grateful for the little moments, to elevate them. In the seasons of life where you can't figure out how to fit "self-care" in—or when trying to fit it in causes more stress—choose to relish the small escapes. After all, the intent of self-care is to feel better, to improve your overall health, to fill your cup so you can help to fill others. When the act of scheduling self-care puts more weight on your shoulders, it defeats the purpose.

    I can't tell you how many articles I've read that say a shower—basic hygiene—shouldn't qualify as self-care, and I do understand that sentiment.

    However, on the days, weeks, or even months where you can't find hour-long blocks of scheduled "me time," why not embrace your shower as an act of self-care?



    In all honesty, my nightly shower after my kids go to sleep is beyond. I look forward to it. I set the mood and bask in 10-15 minutes of silence and pampering. Here are some of my tried-and-true tips to boost your shower:


    • Light a candle: What is it about the simple act of lighting a candle that sets the mood? I recently received a South Candle from my MIL, and the dreamy summer scent has me reaching for it again and again.
    • Use a dry brush: I jumped on the dry brushing trend a few years ago and never looked back. Right before I shower, I use a dry brush on my body to exfoliate and improve lymphatic drainage.
    • Hang eucalyptus: Visit your local florist, and buy a bundle of fresh eucalyptus. In addition to its spa-esque scent, eucalyptus boasts multiple healing effects, like promoting stress-relief and improving mental health.
    • Cleanse: Indie Lee's Brightening Cleanser smells delicious and is a great addition to anyone's summer skincare routine. This vegan and plant-based formula leaves my skin looking bright and firm.
    • Splurge: It's not cheap, but Tata Harper's smoothing body scrub buffs and polishes your skin, leaving it smooth, glowing, and in my case — ready to hit the sheets!
    • Moisturize: Post-shower, use your favorite moisturizer. I love Alba Botanica's very emollient unscented original body lotion — it's super hydrating and gentle on sensitive skin without an overwhelming fragrance.
    • Enhance your skin while you catch some z's: Glow Recipe's Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask completes my nightly skincare routine. It smells like candy, and I wake up with soft, dewy skin.

    Moral of the story? For busy parents, your nightly shower is a special occasion, so don't save the good products for another day—use them now!

    Elevating the little moments and being creative carries over to all other areas of your life as well. Can't make it to a barre class? Slide into bridge pose while on the floor with the kiddos and do some hip raises. Turn a dance party into a quick HIIT workout with some squat jumps. Take the kiddos for a walk and pop in your airpods. Fresh air, movement, and a podcast fuels my soul. Having trouble finding a sitter for date night? Enhance your "Netflix and chill" with restaurant-quality cocktails, fancy popcorn, and a bougie dessert.

    In certain seasons of life, recognize self-care in the little moments. It's not worth stressing about your inability to practice an idealistic—and unrealistic—self-care routine. Instead, find the moment, elevate it, and enjoy it.

    Beauty Style

    Kate Hudson says she's not done having kids—here's how she knows

    Hudson shared her reason for considering baby number four....and it's pretty relatable to fellow toddler mamas.

    For many parents deciding how many children to have isn't an easy one. Mama of three Kate Hudson welcomed her baby girl Rani Rose in 2018 and has two older sons, 16-year-old Ryder Russell and 8-year-old Bingham Hawn. Her family is beautiful, but it may not be complete.

    "I don't know if I'm done yet," Hudson said during a recent appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

    Hudson shared her reason for considering baby number four....and it's pretty relatable to fellow toddler mamas.

    "Right now, Rani's in that place where you're like, 'I want another baby,'" Hudson explained. "But once she gets like four, five, you're like, 'I feel like my life is kinda back a little bit. They're kind of in a groove.' There's, like, a window."

    There totally is a window, and it's 18 to 59 months, according to data from the CDC. More than half of the siblings born in recent years have an age gap between 18 months (1.5 years) and 59 months (4.91 years).

    In this way, Hudson is pretty out of the ordinary as she's had longer interpregnancy intervals than most American moms with her first three kids. The gap between her sons is 89 months and the gap between her middle child and her youngest is 87 months.

    According to the data, women in Hudson's current age group (30-44) are more likely to have longer interpregnancy intervals than younger moms, but only 20% of interpregnancy intervals are over 60 months.

    Hudson's revelation about her family size came as she spoke to Ellen alongside her brother, Oliver Hudson to promote their new podcast, Sibling Revelry. The brother/sister duo also chatted about parenthood. Both have three children...but something may happen to break the tie.

    "He raises children really easily. It's his best work, he's the best dad," Hudson says of her brother, who is a dad to Wilder, Bodhi and Rio. When asked if the siblings would keep having children until one of them "wins," they have two different answers.

    "I have a feeling I'm probably going to end up winning," she said, adding that she's not sure she feels done at three.

    Oliver won't be competing against his sister if she chooses to have another baby: He is, by his own admission, happy with three kids (because he's not in "the window"—his kids are 6, 9 and 12).

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