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Mix it Up

Randi Zinn builds bridges between NYC moms at her first ever Beyond Moms Mixer.

Mix it Up

I remember being pregnant and thinking “Of course, I’ll go back to work, I can do it all.” And then the magazine where I was the editor in chief folded. While I was sad that I would no longer see my work fam on a daily basis, I was relieved to know that I had a little more time home with my son Oliver. And after some more time home I realized that I actually had no idea how women “do it all.” But then Jessica (aka superwoman) and I decided to get the wheels moving on the launch of our baby: Well Rounded NY. And it struck a fire in us both. We created what we like to think is a kick ass website and continue to challenge ourselves -- and work our butts off -- daily.

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Even so, I struggle to figure out where I belong. Even as I try to schedule enough hours to work, I revel in things like an afternoon walk with my two-year-old that takes the place of the work I should be doing. I also endlessly make false promises of weekly yoga classes I never attend. Yet, I know I am just one of many grey-area stories of simply being a mom. These stories are one of the beauties of NYC; there’s a unique one around every corner. Except sometimes when you’re a mom trying to balance it all, it becomes harder to pick your head up to hear those stories. You forget to take time to connect with women over cocktails or coffee or after a yoga class. Most likely you’re focused on the task at hand: baby or work. But you’re still in need of that connection between other people too. Other moms in particular.

NYC mom and yogi Randi Zinn wants to change that with her first ever Beyond Moms Mixer coming up this Thursday, February 6th. Zinn will “mix” working moms, stay-at-home moms, and mama-preneurs up in one room to create an event about connectivity. “I’ve realized that these three groups of women don’t always understand each other,” says Zinn. “I’d love for all three of these types of women to have a more fluid relationship with one another, to drop judgment and realize that we have a lot to offer one another.” She hopes for them (YOU) to leave with many connections and a lot of wisdom.

“I plan to create a network that is both feel-good and a fire-starter,” she says. Zinn aspires to create a community that moms in the city want to return to again and again. Here, find out more about the Beyond Moms Mixer and how you just might want to set aside some “you-time” for it. You might just get inspired.

How did you come up with the Beyond Moms Mixer?

I’ve met so many purposeful, driven women since becoming a mom. Many are entrepreneurs, some are working in the corporate world, and some are taking time with their kids to reflect and figure out what’s next. These women don’t need more drive -- they have a ton of that. What they need is community: other women to be reflections of themselves, to say, yes, I’m working through that too. Or, I know just the person for you to talk to! We need each other. I’m into wellness for NYC moms -- not just wellness in our bodies (though that’s clearly important), but wellness in our hearts, and that comes from feeling supported and validated.

Why is community so important to moms in particular?

Motherhood can be isolating. It’s uncharted territory for us all. Even with each child, the game changes because you don’t really know what you’re going to get! But when you’re a mom who is “Beyond Mom” -- in other words, you continue to cultivate the YOU inside of you -- it can be even more isolating. Who do you talk to about this deep work? Who gets that you are a proud and loving mama, but that you also want to develop the person who is a woman, a creator, a power source? We need other women to validate and encourage this process.

How do you think being a mom changes the way you think about your career?

Becoming a mom gave me an outlet for my already established passions and talents. I’ve always been a writer, but suddenly I wanted to write about motherhood. I was a Yogi but suddenly I was utilizing my yoga to be a better mom and woman overall. I feel like I was given a profound experience to speak through, and this has shifted my career. Many women I speak to have come up with brilliant business ideas through the experience of motherhood and are in the midst of launching them, kids in tow! Not everyone goes through giant career changes when they become moms (and that’s ok!), but many do discover untapped creative potential and a slew of cool ideas.

How are they at an advantage?

I think today’s work climate offers opportunities to work in a variety of ways: freelance, home offices, family run businesses, etc. We can be more creative with the ways we produce.

How are they at a disadvantage?

Our culture is desperately trying to figure out the “Can women have it all?” questions. Can women exit the workforce and come back in and still climb the ladder? Can she build a business and be a mom and not lose her mind? Most of the women I know feel a giant tug to be with their kids, so whether they work for themselves or for someone else, there is always a tug or two of guilt and some real emotional stuff to grapple with. It’s always a little painful for us.

Is there a way to eliminate that disadvantage?

I think the only way to eliminate is to persevere. Keep showing up. Build your business. Network with other women asking questions and building businesses. Be the light you want to see in the world. It’s the only way to show that there is a new way to do things.

How do you personally practice what you preach at the Beyond Mom Mixer?

I network a lot. I meet women who are doing interesting things, I ask good questions, and I listen carefully. I really want to learn from women who are taking risks and running toward their dreams. Beyond Mom Mixer is about me trying to bring that level of inspiration to one place for the women who crave it.

Why do you think NYC is the perfect launching pad from this event?

Anything is possible here! The cliché is so true. I love the different types of families, the crazy cool businesses people run, and the fact that someone in my network knows a person I need to meet. This city has a heartbeat all its own and it’s a perfect place to do the juggle I’m talking about. And it’s a great place to be inspired if you feel try!

How do you take time for yourself?

I’ve built into my calendar “Me” time which is usually my workouts and yoga classes as well as Saturdays when my husband spends the bulk of the day with my son so I get time to write, visit with friends or get a mani/pedi. Those moments on my own are pretty refreshing.

How could each category of mom potentially benefit from the Beyond Mom Mixer?

Working mom: Working Moms usually need more me-time in the form of inspiring conversation, time for wellness, and perhaps discussions that have nothing to do with the typical at-work- mentality. Mix it up working mamas!

Stay-at-home moms: Despite conventional thought, stay-at-home moms are also desperate for inspiration and ideas. Hanging out with your kids all day can be tough and mind-numbing. Stay-at-home mamas are often thinking of their next career move and also need a relevant and up to date network. Why should they miss out on that?

Mama-preneurs: Mama-preneurs definitely need their network. We rely on each other to connect, introduce, and make it happen for one another. Networking, I have learned, is everything. But we also need to stop working sometimes (it’s really easy to be on Twitter into the wee hours) and have fun! We need our other mama friends to remind us that is ok to let go a little bit and relax.

Will we see you at the Beyond Moms Mixer?

Purchase tickets here.

A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Life

Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com 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 supporting 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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