Excited to kick off a new series today with questions you all submitted on Instagram over the weekend!!
Tell us about yourself, your age, hobbies etc.
This is a good one, because I assume everyone knows me but I forget some people have just discovered me on Instagram recently! I’m 36 and live in Maryland outside of Annapolis. I’m a city girl at heart (spent nearly 5 years in NYC after college) and try to get to DC and NYC as much as I can because I get very bored very quickly in the suburbs… so I love to travel! I love to cook and bake, take Barre when I get around to it, read and try to make time for seeing my friends as much as I can, though we are all so busy these days. I love going OUT, getting dressed up and trying new restaurants but don’t do it near enough. When I’m not pregnant wine is my favorite. I don’t watch a ton of TV but will binge watch shows with my husband. I am addicted to true crime podcasts which isn’t healthy since I’ve always scared of the dark/being alone. And of course my greatest passion in life is being a mom to my two daughters.
Do you homeschool?
Nope! I’m always in awe of mothers that homeschool!! I work full time to support our family (read more about that here). I started both of my girls in a pre-school setting at 2 (Flora at 20 months) and up until that point they were at home with me, though I had a nanny for Piper in our home starting at 3 months.
What was your career before you had kids?
I wrote this LONG response to this question but deleted it in favor of something a little more brief :) I interned at Nordstrom after college and then worked as a department manager, on the buyer track before quitting to move to NYC. I was in New York for almost 5 years working as an assistant in fashion advertising having the time of my life, learning a ton and working my butt off (it was very much like Devil Wears Prada). I started my blog right when the blogging world was starting 11 years ago! Ended up back in Maryland where my family we eventually and connected with Taylor who was starting the lifestyle website, Glitter Guide. I worked for Taylor for over 5 years in a variety of roles (editorial director, advertising & partnerships, creating content & producing shoots) growing Glitter Guide, learning an incredible amount and was awarded so many amazing experiences during my time at the site. I am so fortunate for my time there and for being able to work at home when I had my babies. After having Flora it became clear I couldn’t be a mom to 2, juggle my role at Glitter Guide and run my site which had been chugging along all of those years. Somewhere in there after I got married I started a wedding planning business (Kruse & Vieira Events) with my partner, Julie for a little bit before realizing I actually couldn’t do it ALL! So here we are a few years later and I’m running The Mama Notes full-time in addition to doing freelance social media work!
Best trip you took in the last 5 years?
Oh this is very tough. Austin and I had the opportunity to go to Italy with a brand partner on a media trip when i worked at Glitter Guide, we came back pregnant with Flora and it was quite amazing! And then I fulfilled a lifelong dream of going to Paris with my girlfriends in 2018!! I always love our family vacations to Maine, too!
How did you prepare Piper to be a big sister, what are you planning this time?
I spent MANY hours worrying about how Piper would handle the transition of us coming home with a baby sister. I spent hours crying over it and was so so so emotional about the entire thing. Before Flora was born we talked about it as much as you can with a 2 year old, read a lot of books, had her help us with the nursery and then gave her this big sister gift at the hospital.
But more than this – is how Austin and I agreed to handle the situation once we got home. I have a whole post coming on this but we used many of these crowd sourced tips from The Mama Notes Community!
This time around I’m not as worried because Flora is 100% obsessed with Piper and as long as she’s around I feel like she will be pretty happy, haha! We will do big sister bags again and pre-plan some one on one outings with each girl both before and after the baby arrives!
How would you compare the transition from 0-1 kids and 1-2 kids (I get asked about this topic a LOT so I’m going to elaborate here).
This is a super personal question and I realize that EVERYONE has their own experience with these transitions, I’m sharing mine! Having your first baby is mind blowing – a drastic lifestyle change and everything is so new. Despite a the two months being a blur, I really did not struggle after I had Piper. She was a good sleeper after the first few weeks and I was just so excited to be a mom I think I was living in a happy bubble for a while.
I had a much harder time going from 1-2 kids for the first 6 months. I was struggling with postpartum anxiety and mood swings, trying to balance work, and we were dealing with discovering and figuring out what was causing the eczema that overtook Flora’s body for months (food allergies). It makes me sad that I look back at this time as being kind of dark, but it is what it is. I constantly felt guilty about Piper not getting enough attention and worrying about her happiness after her being an only child for so long. BUT – after 6 months the postpartum feelings began to fade, I began to feel more like myself and thus things got easier. We got into a groove. And yes, having two kids is a lot of work but it’s also much more fun! Now that Flora is 2 I think their sibling relationship is at it’s prime and they just have an enormous amount of fun together!
Where are you looking for baby name inspiration for #3 ?
Everywhere!!! I am soooo bad with picking out baby names and often wait until the last few months and am very picky! And now we have to come up with both a name for a boy and girl! I want something unique that not every kid in the class will have! You can read the story behind Flora’s name here! I loved these names in 2018 .
How do you balance work & motherhood and does your husband think you ‘work too much’ ?
Oh I don’t balance it really! It’s a constant struggle. My laptop gets put away at 3:30 most days when Piper gets home from school and start ‘mom duty’ until bedtime.
There were years when Austin and I would argue about me working too much. I’d like to think we’ve kind of turned that corner and he knows it’s just something I have to do in this season of life when I’m trying to balance so much with Flora only in part-time childcare.
I usually work after the girls go to bed, but since becoming pregnant in the fall I’ve really, really tried to scale this back and I have to say it’s really refreshing! Instead I get up an hour early to work a few days a week and find that balance pretty much gives me enough time to get what I need to get done in a day accomplished.
How do you handle screentime with your girls?
In short, with grace! They are not allowed to watch TV during the week in the morning. I would say about 50% of the time in the afternoon around 4pm when I’m cooking dinner I’ll let them put on a PBS show if they are restless. We don’t have set ‘rule’ about this – but I just do what I need to do to get what things I need to get done taken care of. On Tuesdays & Thursdays when Flora is home with me I will sometimes let her watch Sesame Street if I have a work deadline or something but she’s not too into TV yet really anyways. We never have the TV on after dinner for them unless it’s a special occasion. Weekends are kind of anything goes – cartoons in the morning, movies here and there. And we really try to avoid electronics when we are out unless traveling. We don’t bring an iPad or anything to restaurants etc. If worst comes to worst they will look at photos on our phone or play a game if we get desperate. We have never made this a normal occurrence to they don’t really expect it now. That’s why I love my busy bags and filling them up with fun activities!