Real Housewives of Potomac star Monique Samuels knows a thing or two about being a busy mom.
The reality star, entrepreneur and mom of three has had her hands at a new level of full since giving birth to her third baby last November. But speaking to her, she seems to take it all completely in stride. From making time for her successful podcast, Not For Lazy Moms, to scheduling date nights with her husband, former NFL player Chris Samuels, the New Jersey native is a pro at making it all work.
Motherly caught up with the "Real Housewife" to talk about how Monique stays balanced and channels her mom superpowers.
Motherly: It's been a whirlwind few years for you with The Real Housewives, the launch of your podcast and the expansion of your family. The question every mom has on her mind is how do I find the balance with all that's going on in my life. How have you found balance?
Monique Samuels: My key to being balanced is the power of saying no and not overwhelming or over-committing myself. Because before, not long ago, I was always pushing myself so much, I was completely exhausted. It's like you're rushing from the time your feet hit the floor, to the time your head hits the pillow at night.
And I was so miserable, I did not enjoy the fact that I felt like my whole life was a rush. I would look back on my week, and I'm like where did it go? I don't even remember what I did with the kids. So that's when I learned to just say "no." I think that a lot of times, that is what the issue is. We as moms, we tend to be superwomen, naturally. So we think we can do everything, which is true. We can really do it all, but within reason. So just knowing what your limits are.
Motherly: You recently became a mom of three. How has life changed in the last couple of months for you?
MS: I thought my life was non-stop, but now I realize what non-stop really is. The hard part is, when you have the first child and that's the only one you focus on, that's super easy, compared to now. I mean, they go with you everywhere. You just know that one person that you have to focus on and create a routine for. But then when you have multiple kids in different age groups, it's like each one has a different need at the same exact time.
Having a newborn who needs that non-stop monitoring, it's hard to make sure that you're not so focused on the new baby that you forget about the needs of the other two. So just kind of juggling that and making sure everything's balanced and everybody feels like they're getting their little attention when they need it. It's a lot.
Motherly: Do you lean on your husband for a lot of help as well?
MS: Yes, absolutely. My husband is retired, he coaches high school football, but his schedule is super flexible. So we're able to really make sure that all of the kids kind of have their time with us, and he'll take the baby and I'll put the kids to sleep, or vice versa.
Motherly: And how do you make time for your relationship?
MS: Well the only way that Chris and I have time is by having a scheduled routine for the kids. So the fact that they have a bedtime and they're in bed at the same time for the most part, every night.
Motherly: I want to shift gears a bit to your podcast, Not for Lazy Moms. Tell me where the inspiration for that came from. I'm sure that had some people in their feelings.
MS: Being a mom is a full-time job, on top of everything else that you do. So I like the title because it's a play on words, Not For Lazy Moms. Well, what mom really is lazy? No mom can be truly lazy when your whole life is around making sure everybody else is okay.
It's really a community of women who share their tips and their secrets on how to get it done. We want it all, we do it all. That's our motto. When I think about my mom, grandmom and great grandmom's generation, they never shared the struggles of what moms really go through. So what I wanted to do was create a community where women would actually share their secrets with new moms or expectant moms or women trying to get pregnant so that they don't have to go through it all alone with all of these questions.
Motherly: What's been the biggest lesson you've learned from a guest on your podcast?
MS: There's an episode we did on raising children with special needs, while also trying to maintain your marriage. I've never been in that position before. So to hear someone tell me how they keep it all together, and they have a child who has autism, and then they have another child that society would deem normal/healthy, and how they have to reconfigure their whole life to make sure that their child has the best chance. I was blown away. Also, we did a topic called My Two Moms, My Two Dads. It was very educational.
Motherly: Let's talk about what it's been like having your kids on a reality show. What's been the hardest part with that?
MS: The difficult part is just kind of reminding the kids constantly that people are strangers, but these strangers may know your name, they may know your mom and dad's name, they may know your sister's name, they may know about your party that you just had, but they're still strangers. We have to remind them that not everybody that knows your name knows you. So you always do whatever we tell you to do, if you're at school, you don't ever go home with anybody.
Motherly: And how do you deal with the criticism of your parenting style?
MS: One thing I've learned is when you're doing a show, you're going to have 50% of people who agree with what you're doing and another 50% who don't. So with that mindset, I said 'this is our family, this is how we do things. And whatever people think about it, whatever.' If they give me something that is a piece of advice, I sift through what I think is relevant and what I think is complete hate or judgment.
We all have different styles and we all know what our kids need. Because they're all different, every household is different.