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Moms We Heart: Big City Moms

These sisters make the baby-making business a little more manageable for moms in the big city.

Moms We Heart: Big City Moms

When Kaity and I decided to launch Well Rounded NY, our first order of business was going to the “it” event of the industry: The Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower. It’s a sight to behold: thousands of gorgeous pregnant bellies and just about every pregnancy and baby brand that exists in the universe. In one room. The Biggest Baby Shower is basically the epicenter of the baby-verse, and a NYC pregnant gal’s right of passage. When we learned a little more about the women behind Big City Moms -- Risa Goldberg and Leslie Venokur (above, from right to left) -- we quickly became fans; these two business partners (and sisters!) turned their passion for the “mommy” industry into a very real and successful business. Now 10 years in, they have expanded into a national brand that includes weekly dinners, special events, year-round Biggest Baby Showers, and a new lifestyle website filled with valuable info for mamas and mamas-to-be. We recently had the opportunity to pick their Big City mommy brains about business, babies, balance and so much more over a little shopping session at one of our favorite baby shops in the city, Little Edit. Owner Alissa Emerson showed us around the sister (or should we say, baby sister?) shop of Edit New York, her impeccably curated women’s boutique in a beautiful townhouse on the Upper East Side. While we shopped, the Big City Moms shared their tips on building a business in the mommy industry -- and buying baby gifts that every new mom will cherish. Tell us about why you started Big City Moms and how it evolved into the incredible resource it has now become. To start off, we are sisters, and as little girls, we always thought it would be cool to own a business together one day -- a candy store, to be exact. After Risa’s daughter was born, we both realized there were no resources available to meet other moms and to learn about all the stages of motherhood. We were both working full time and created Big City Moms as a side job to fill this void. We started small, by having weekly dinners for 15-20 moms, and quickly expanded into holiday parties, educational seminars,and baby showers for up to 1,500 moms. We built Big City Moms 10 years ago as a resource for new and expectant parents to meet through events, seminars and holiday parties. Soon after we began, companies in the juvenile space approached us regarding launching products, sponsoring events, and advertising on our website. We are fortunate that the community has embraced everything we have done over the years, which has afforded us the opportunity to launch a national website and produce events all over the country. How have your families grown as your business has grown? We have 5 adorable children between us: Risa’s daughter, Hallie (10), and twin boys, Cooper and Harrison (7); and Leslie’s daughter, Sami (5), and son, Max (17 months). All of our children are close and attend as many Big City Moms events as possible. Now that some of them are older, they help out as well with set up or gift bag distribution. They love to be involved! As your own lives have changed, and your kids have grown past the infant stage, how do you continue to stay passionate about this market? When we started Big City Moms something clicked, and it has been part of our lives ever since. We are so fortunate to have helped form thousands of new friendships between mothers, and educate them on all stages of motherhood. The excitement that we get when a mom stops us on the street to tell us she survived the first year of motherhood because of our support groups or that she met her best friend at one of our expectant dinners keeps us going and motivated to do as much as we can. What advice would you give to expectant or new moms attempting to create a business out of a passion for pregnancy or new baby? If you have an idea and really want it to be a business, then you have to treat it as a business. We see so many great ideas from new moms, and they are full speed ahead at the beginning – and then life gets in the way. So if you are passionate about starting a business, ask for help, outsource when necessary, and set goals for yourself. This may sound a bit cliché, but if you have an idea and believe in it, you can make it happen. Definitely network with your friends and friends of friends -- early on, they can be your sounding board for ideas. Make sure you have a solid business plan in place -- this can be instrumental in helping you as you grow. You guys are a dynamic duo -- what's the secret to working with a partner? Does being sisters help? Awww, thanks! Being sisters definitely helps our working relationship; we know each others' strengths and weaknesses, we have the same work ethic, and we trust each other. Although we are very close, we also see the world differently. Big City Moms is something we both share and love, and it is amazing to grow a company with each other. Our parents are thrilled that we are working together! We complement each other because we each excel in different areas of business. No matter what goes right or wrong, we are sisters, and we will always support each other. It’s funny -- when we speak together at events, we play to each others' strengths...sometimes it's like a comedy routine. What are some of your own personal strategies for balancing life and kids with a booming business? We have yet to master the balance of raising our children and running a business. We are always working on achieving that "perfect" balance. We are both extremely lucky to have supportive husbands and amazing babysitters! Our husbands know our event schedules better than we do and they come home from work early to be there for our children while we are running evening events. We try our best to take some time for ourselves. We are both addicted to SoulCycle and love our date nights with our husbands -- and, of course, our monthly girls’ nights out with friends. You guys are basically the baby experts - we loved going "new baby shopping" with you! Tell us about what caught your eye at Little Edit and what makes a great baby gift. Everything at Little Edit is stunning! It “almost” made us want to have another baby! To us, presentation is everything. At Little Edit, they have all the essentials for baby’s first wardrobe. The yummy onesies from Kissy Kissy with matching bibs, hats and blankets are the perfect gift for any new arrival. Top it off with a one-of-a-kind stuffed animal, and you are good to go. We loved how they had a variety of items at different price points. You can get that special “splurge” item, such as Baby Chloe, or a unique toy that you won’t find anywhere else. Our favorite gifts to give are the items that the recipient wouldn’t normally purchase themselves, and Little Edit definitely offers those special items that every new mom will cherish. Photography by Bridget Eldridge Photography.

FEATURED VIDEO

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

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

Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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

Life

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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