Babies, Business and Religion

The Orthodox Jewish moms behind Mimulo invite us over for some morning musings.

Babies, Business and Religion

*We've partnered with Zahler's to help you find a little you-time in your mama morning juggle.

There’s nothing easy about getting up and out the door when you’re 8 months pregnant. Now imagine you’re not only 8 months pregnant, but also tasked with getting 3 kids out the door to school, prepping for your sabbath dinner, and opening your hip Brooklyn flower shop for the steady stream of customers already waiting at the gates.

It’s all part of the Friday morning juggle for Freidel Levin, a young Orthodox Jewish mom of soon-to-be 4, who co-owns Crown Heights floral favorite Mimulo with longtime friend (and fellow Orthodox mom of 4) Chani Frankel.


It’s a juggle that both women have been working on for more than 10 years, as they’ve watched their shop go from a young upstart to a floral and event planning destination. “Our shop has been held up to countless skeptics who said that a religious, orthodox young woman who is a mother and wife couldn't create a successful business,” says Freidel. But, “we've learned how to manage our time, balance our roles and prove to ourselves that we can do it all.”

Of course, in the midst of all of that, it’s not always easy to find a few seconds a day to take care of mama and baby on the way. So we’ve partnered with Zahler’s to show how fitting a healthy Prenatal + DHA vitamin into your routine is easier than you think...especially when it goes down smoothly, and has everything you need in a single serving.

Here’s Freidel’s Friday morning musings.

What's a typical morning like in your household?

Right now, mornings have a very relaxed atmosphere. The kids are old enough to manage themselves. My older children bus to school and can walk if needed and my youngest gets a ride to school with a dear friend down the block. They are all aware of their timeframes to get out of the house and can really get themselves out with a minimum of my input.

How has your pregnancy experience changed now that you're on the 4th time around?

The fourth time around has been a wonderful experience. I am generally laid back about pregnancy, but this time seemed like it was taking it easy on me a bit. My kids were thrilled to have noodles and cheese for 5 months while I vomited, so that was a win!

How do you find time to take care of yourself during the day, especially while pregnant?

That is not something I am great at, but I try to put on mascara every day, eat regularly and never go to sleep without a shower. Vitamins are something I try to incorporate into my daily routine. I have been iron-deficient in the past and this pregnancy blood test showed a strong Vitamin D deficiency, so aside from sunbathing, vitamins it is!

The Zahlers prenatal is the first prenatal I have had that didn't come right back up. In all previous pregnancies I was not able to keep them down as they were so nauseating. I am really impressed with the thought they put into making this a palatable and pleasant experience.

What’s Friday like in your shop?

Fridays are traditionally a busy day for a flower shop in an Orthodox neighborhood, but we also have orders coming in every day for delivery all around New York City. Our clients come looking for our aesthetic and touch at their events. It's been humbling and thrilling to be invited to be a part of their momentous occasions.

What's it like being a mom business owner in the Orthodox community?

Being a business owner in the orthodox community presents its own challenges and benefits.

We are blessed to have Shabbos, a built in day off each week that is respected across the community so we get to recharge and reconnect to family and friends. We also have the added opportunity to host each week so when people come into the shop on Friday the most common question we get is, when do you cook? When do you do it? We've learned how to manage our time, balance our roles and prove to ourselves that we can do it all!

In the years since we've opened, we've seen an unbelievable explosion of young women entrepreneurs in our neighborhood and it has been so beautiful to watch! Our shop has been held up to countless skeptics who said that a religious, orthodox young woman who is a mother and wife couldn't create a successful business as proof on the contrary and we are so proud!

What inspired you to open Mimulo?

We started Mimulo on Mother's Day 2007. I had been working for someone else's startup, and I was inspired by it and I couldn't see why I couldn't do that for myself. I was pregnant with my first child at the time. Mimulo style is about taking what is and elevating it. There's nothing better than coming into a home or a wedding hall and NOT changing the whole thing, but focusing on the good and making it better. Our mantra/motto is to express the client while infusing it with Mimulo magic. It is distinctive in that it may go unnoticed but it is infinitely better. There's a quote I read that sums it up: 'When it's done well they can't tell you did anything.'

Tell me about your relationship with your business partner, Chani.

Chani and I have been friends since we were in the youngest bunk in Camp Emunah (sleepover camp). We were always great as friends, but working together has brought us closer in many ways and I am always grateful to have her a partner. She is always up for a good time and the hardest worker I know.

How does she inspire you as a mother and entrepreneur?

As a mom, Chani has a way of letting go that I admire. She doesn't coddle her kids and expects them to figure things out on their own. Her children are extremely independent and self sufficient. She is also attuned and attentive to their growth, and has a way of knowing how to give them the opportunities they can use to thrive. I am challenged to face my more protective tendencies and to remember that my kids are their own people who need to fall to learn.

In our business, she pushes me to focus on what we know is right for our business or client. I push her to think about issues we encounter from other perspectives so we can accomplish whatever we can on all fronts.

Tell me about your mama network and how it pushes, inspires and helps you to grow?

I am part of a group of friends who have all spearheaded businesses in different areas (e.g. fashion, restaurant, bookkeeping to name a few). It is great to have a place to bounce ideas, share tips, give and get real opinions and advice.

Some are more attuned to our craziness and push us to embrace it, for which we are grateful. And some are the critical audience we need to keep us grounded. We know at the bottom of it, all we are rooting for is the others’ success and that is the motivation behind us all. It is also very good to have friends who understand the pressure we put ourselves under and know how to get us to step out of it and enjoy life!

How do you balance having 3 children (almost 4!), running your household and also being a business owner?

Balance is a constant challenge. I have certain things set up so that I can manage (housekeeper, schedules, carpool) and I have a wonderful husband who is truly committed to making our life work. It is not always easy as my business is very seasonal so there are very hectic times and everyone has to step in or step up to help everything continue to flow.

Original photography by Stylish & Hip Kids for Well Rounded.

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By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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