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“Me, my business, or a family?”

It’s a question many moms have found themselves asking. Of course, every path we take in life means another not taken. Having all the things at once sounds nice, but it’s not practical. You usually can’t save for retirement and travel all year round (with some exceptions). Just like you can’t be both an astronaut and a stock broker.


But are there some cases where you can “have it all”? Or at least, have most of it?

The two mama entrepreneurs at the wheel of Copper Pearl (a line of premium, trendy, and unique baby accessories and clothing) are convinced that it is possible to be a mom, run a business, and still have fun!

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Meet Stephanie Lee and Kristin Reichert, and listen to their secrets to living the life you deserve.

1. Prioritize

As any busy mom knows, there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to get to everything you need to! If you don’t make specific plans for each day, you may miss completing the tasks that are most important.

One thing that has been essential to us as moms while running Copper Pearl is to make sure our kids are getting the attention they need. We both made the decision to be at home with our kids during the day while working on the business. While this can make life seem chaotic at times, it’s a must for us to proactively plan on spending time with our kids each day.

2. Work on the things you’re best at

We quickly realized that running a small business can be more work than there are hours in the day!  It’s impossible to do it all so it’s important to know your limits, and when to ask for help. This help is essential because it allows you to focus on the things you’re best at and not spread yourself too thin.

Another bonus to growing your team is having more people to bounce ideas off of and share feedback about how to help the company. Running a business can be stressful when you feel like you every aspect is your responsibility. Having a solid team immediately provides fresh opinions and helps keep your trajectory on the up and up.

3. Get your family involved

We know that we can’t have our kids design products or run the business for us, but we do look for ways that we can involve them in what we do. It’s so much fun to show our children what we are working on and to talk to them about what we have built.

We feel it’s important to teach our kids about entrepreneurship while they are young and to lead by example. We are also lucky enough to have our husbands be part of our company, too. Fortunately, they are able to work full-time on Copper Pearl with us now, but even before they left their previous careers, they were still very supportive and made it easier to not feel like we were neglecting that side of our lives.

4. Believe in your products

Since we are moms ourselves, we are in a unique position to have an eye both as a creators and consumers. Our advice is to find something you can stand behind and be proud of. We truly love and personally use every single one of our products and it makes a world of difference as we work on the day-to-day, and lights a fire in us to keep creating!

5. Reward yourself

Running a business can be a grind sometimes. One thing that always keeps us going is to always have a goal we want to achieve. And when we do, we have small rewards. Sometimes it will be taking the whole team out for a fun, celebratory meal, and other times we’ll take some time off to recharge. Whatever types of rewards you choose helps to build morale and avoid getting burnt out!

And the co-owner of Copper Pearl has even more goodness to share. Check out Stephanie Lee’s answers to our classic Motherly questions.

A post shared by Stephanie Lee (@stephjeanlee) on

How do you make your mornings run smoothly?

Stephanie Lee: There’s a lot going on in our house each morning!  My husband and I both work out most early, and we have to get kids dressed, fed, and out the door for school. I also help my oldest son practice piano each morning. The only way to pull this off is to have a clear game plan with my husband every night before we go to bed. We’re pretty strategic about who is waking up when, and what our are responsibilities are to make the morning run smoothly for everyone!


The lifehack or tip that has changed my life. . .

Stephanie Lee: My current lifehack is investing an alarmingly large portion of our grocery budget on Halo Top ice cream. It makes me super happy and seems to solve lots of life’s problems!

What superpower have you discovered as a mom?

Stephanie Lee: I wouldn’t say it’s exactly a superpower, but I think something that has made me more powerful as mom is learning to set realistic expectations for myself every day.  I’m quite organized which is helpful in achieving goals that I’ve set for myself.

When I was a new mom, I was constantly disappointing myself because I felt like I couldn’t accomplish what I hoped to every day as it related to my own work, projects at home, helping my kids… now that I’ve learned to let my kids have more unstructured time and realizing I may not be able to get to everything that I was able to in my former, child-free, life, has made a huge impact on my happiness and feels like a superpower to me!


This quote inspires me. . .


“Try a little harder to be a little better.”
- Gordon B. Hinckley.

Stephanie Lee: I set high expectations for myself and I like to remind myself that I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to try to be a little bit better every day.


To me Motherly means…

To me Motherly means sacrifice. I feel like I’ve had to give up so much of myself to be a mother and I’m learning more and more each day that the sacrifice is well worth it.

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There are few kids television shows as successful as PAW Patrol. The Spin Masters series has spawned countless toys and clothing deals, a live show and now, a movie.

That's right mama, PAW Patrol is coming to the big screen in 2021.

The big-screen version of PAW Patrol will be made with Nickelodeon Movies and will be distributed by Paramount Pictures.

"We are thrilled to partner with Paramount and Nickelodeon to bring the PAW Patrol franchise, and the characters that children love, to the big screen," Spin Master Entertainment's Executive Vice President, Jennifer Dodge, announced Friday.

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"This first foray into the arena of feature film marks a significant strategic expansion for Spin Master Entertainment and our properties. This demonstrates our commitment to harnessing our own internal entertainment production teams to develop and deliver IP in a motion picture format and allows us to connect our characters to fans through shared theatrical experiences," Dodge says.

No word on the plot yet, but we're gonna bet there's a problem, 'round Aventure Bay, and Ryder and his team of pups will come and save the day.

We cannot even imagine how excited little PAW Patrol fans will be when this hits theatres in 2021. It's still too early to buy advance tickets but we would if we could!

News

In the middle of that postpartum daze, the sleepless nights, the recovery, the adjustment to a new schedule and learning the cues of a new baby, there are those moments when a new mom might think, I don't know how long I can do this.

Fortunately, right around that time, newborns smile their first real smile.

For many mothers, the experience is heart-melting and soul-lifting. It's a crumb of sustenance to help make it through the next challenges, whether that's sleep training, baby's first cold, or teething. Each time that baby smiles, the mother remembers, I can do this, and it's worth it.

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Dayna M. Kurtz, LMSW, CPT a NYC-based psychotherapist and author of Mother Matters: A Holistic Guide to Being a Happy, Healthy Mom, says she sees this in her clinical practice.

"One mother I worked with recounted her experience of her baby's first smile. At eight weeks postpartum, exhausted and overwhelmed, she remembered her baby smiling broadly at her just before a nighttime feeding," Kurtz says. "In that moment, she was overcome by tremendous joy and relief, and felt, for the first time, a real connection to her son."

So what is it about a baby's smile that can affect a mother so deeply? Can it all be attributed to those new-mom hormones? Perhaps it stems from the survival instincts that connect an infant with its mother, or the infant learning social cues. Or is there something more going on inside our brains?

In 2008, scientists in Houston, TX published their research on the topic. Their study, "What's in a Smile? Maternal Brain Responses to Infant Facial Cues", takes data from the MRI images of 26 women as they observed images of infants smiling, crying, or with a neutral expression.

The images included the mother's own infant alternated with an unknown infant of similar ethnicity and in similar clothing and position. In each image, the baby displayed a different emotion through one of three facial expressions; happy, neutral, or sad. Researchers monitored the change in the mothers' brain activity through the transitions in images from own-infant to unknown-infant, and from happy to neutral to sad and vice versa.

The results?

"When first-time mothers see their own baby's face, an extensive brain network appears to be activated, wherein affective and cognitive information may be integrated and directed toward motor/behavioral outputs," wrote the study's authors. Seeing her infant smile or cry prompts the areas of the brain that would instigate a mother to act, whether it be to comfort, care for, or caress and play with the baby.

In addition, the authors found that reward-related brain regions are activated specifically in response to happy, but not sad, baby faces. The areas of the brain that lit up in their study are the same areas that release dopamine, the "pleasure chemical." For context, other activities that elicit dopamine surges include eating chocolate, having sex, or doing drugs. So in other words, a baby's smile may be as powerful as those other feel-good experiences.

And this gooey feeling moms may get from seeing their babies smile isn't just a recreational high—it serves a purpose.

This reward system (aka dopaminergic and oxytocinergic neuroendocrine system) exists to motivate the mother to forge a positive connection with the baby, according to Aurélie Athan, PhD, director of the Reproductive & Maternal Psychology Laboratory (a laboratory that created the first graduate courses of their kind in these subjects).

These networks also promote a mother's ability to share her emotional state with her child, which is the root of empathy. "A mother cries when baby cries, smiles when baby smiles," Athan says.

While there's a physiological explanation underlying that warm-and-fuzzy sensation elicited by a smile, there may be other factors at play too, Kurtz says.

"In my clinical practice, I often observe a stunning exchange between a mother and her baby when the latter smiles at her. A mother who is otherwise engaged in conversation with me may be, for that moment, entirely redirected to focus on her little one," Kurtz says. "This kind of attention-capturing on the part of the baby can enable and cultivate maternal attunement—a mother's ability to more deeply connect with her infant. The quality of attunement in early childhood often sets the stage for one's relationship patterns in the future."

Whether a physiological response, a neural activation, simple instinct, or the tightening of emotional connection, the feeling generated by babies' smiles is a buoy in the choppy ocean of new parenthood.

And while the first smile may be the most magical by virtue of its surprise and the necessity of that emotional lift, the fuzzy feeling can continue well into that baby's childhood and beyond. It keeps telling parents, you've got this!

[This was originally published on Apparently]

Life

Chrissy Teigen is one of the most famous moms in the world and definitely one of the most famous moms on social media.

She's the Queen of Twitter and at least the Duchess of Instagram but with a massive following comes a massive dose of mom-shame, and Teigen admits the online comments criticizing her parenting affects her.

"It's pretty much everything," Teigen told Today, noting that the bulk of the criticism falls into three categories: How she feeds her kids, how she uses her car seats and screen time.

"Any time I post a picture of them holding ribs or eating sausage, I get a lot of criticism," she explained. "Vegans and vegetarians are mad and feel that we're forcing meat upon them at a young age. They freak out."

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Teigen continues: "If they get a glimpse of the car seat there is a lot of buckle talk. Maybe for one half of a second, the strap slipped down. And TV is another big one. We have TV on a lot in my house. John and I work on television; we love watching television."

Teigen wants the shame to stop, not just for herself but for all the other moms who feel it. (And we agree.)

"Hearing that nine out of 10 moms don't feel like they're doing a good enough job is terrible," she said. "We're all so worried that we're not doing all that we can, when we really are."

The inspiration for Teigen talking publicly about mom-shame may be in part because of her participation in Pampers' "Share the Love" campaign. But even though Teigen's discussion coincides with this campaign, the message remains equally important. Advertising can be a powerful tool for shifting the way society thinks about what's "normal" and we would much rather see companies speaking out against mom-shame than inducing it to sell more stuff.

Calling out mom-shame in our culture is worth doing in our lives, our communities and yes, our diaper commercials. Thank you Chrissy (and thank you, Pampers).

News

Dear fellow mama,

I was thinking about the past the other day. About the time I had three small boys—a newborn, his 2-year-old brother and his 5-year-old brother.

How I was always drowning.

How I could never catch my breath between the constant requests.

How I always felt guilty no matter how hard I tried.

How hard it was—the constant exhaustion, struggling to keep my home any kind of clean or tidy, how I struggled to feed my kids nutritious meals, to bathe them and clean them and keep them warmly dressed in clean clothing, to love them well or enough or well enough.

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Those years were some of the toughest years I have ever encountered.

But mama, I am here to tell you that it doesn't last forever. Slowly, incrementally, without you even noticing, it gets easier. First, one child is toilet trained, then the bigger one can tie his own shoelaces, then finally they are all sleeping through the night.

It's hard to imagine; I really really get it.

It is going to get easier. I swear it. I'm not saying that there won't be new parenting challenges, that it won't be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. It will be. But it will get easier.

These days, all of my kids get the bus to school and back. Most of them dress themselves. They can all eat independently and use the toilet. Sometimes they play with each other for hours leaving me time to do whatever I need to do that day.

I sleep through the night. I am not constantly in a haze of exhaustion. I am not overwhelmed by three tiny little people needing me to help them with their basic needs, all at the same time.

I can drink a hot cup of coffee. I do not wish with every fiber of my being that I was an octopus, able to help each tiny person at the same time.

I am not tugged in opposite directions. I don't have to disappoint my 3-year-old who desperately wants to play with me while I am helping his first grade bother with his first grade reading homework.

And one day, you will be here too.

It's going to get easier. I promise. And while it may not happen today or even next week or even next month, it will happen. And you will look around in wonder at the magnificent people you helped to create and nurture and sustain.

Until then, you are stronger and more resilient than you can even imagine.

You've got this. Today and always.

Love,

A fellow mama

Life
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