Being a parent is hard. Being a mom is hard. And sometimes all you need to make it through a tough day is a reminder that you aren't alone or crazy! Enter Mom Break. A great resource for new (and not so new!) moms that offers a more real and more balanced perspective on motherhood.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Erica, the mama behind Mom Break, then let me introduce you to her! She wears so many hats that even I can’t keep up. Not only is she a mom, but she works full-time and runs THREE businesses on the side (yeah, I haven’t figured out how she does it either!). What I love most about her is that she has no filter (I mean that in the best way possible) and keeps it SO real for all us other moms out there who are just trying to make it through the day in one piece! If you aren’t following her on Instagram, then you should.
I sat down with Erica and asked her a few questions about life as a mom, business owner and how she manages to fit it all in a day.
So for those who aren’t as familiar with Mom Break, how did it all get started for you?
I had just closed two of my businesses (Breelee Boutique and Fabric Crush), and was looking for a creative outlet to channel my “mom life challenges”…so I turned to blogging.
I’ve been told my entire like that “I have no tact” or that my “filter is limited”, so I figured I’d take advantage of my blunt personality and share the real, brutal, amazing, exhausting, life-changing experience that is motherhood. After dealing with post partum depression, I was sick of people sugarcoating the challenges that come along with parenting, and I wish somebody had told me that it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, but also beats me down every single day….and hey, that it’s TOTALLY NORMAL!
I love that this amazing resource brings the challenges and realities of motherhood to the forefront. Have you found Mom Break has been successful in bringing moms together and starting those sometimes hard-to-have conversations? Is it what you expected?
I had hoped that when I started Mom Break it would bring moms together and start some of those difficult conversations, but honestly, I couldn’t even begin to fathom the amazing support I’ve received.
Not only have I made some amazing friends, but I also receive daily feedback from amazing moms thanking me for being real and honest. It’s incredibly humbling.
So let’s get this straight: you’re a busy mom to a toddler (and new baby on the way!), you hold down a full-time job AND you manage to run three successful businesses? What motivates you to do so much and how do you find the time to fit it all in a day?
When you say it that way, it does make me sound a bit insane, but passion is what keeps me going.
The businesses that I run (Mom Break, Bytown Academy, and Erica Fraser Marketing), are all built around helping and supporting women, so I feel incredibly passionate about the work that I do, so it often doesn’t actually feel like work (which certainly helps!).
Yes, some days are harder than others, but my family is always the number 1 priority.
It’s been trial and error learning to fit things in over the year (and it’s not always been easy), but I’ve recently realized that “work-life balance” isn’t a real concept…it’s all about “work-life satisfaction”. The most important thing to me is to love what I’m doing and to surround myself with people who I love.
Also, I have the most supportive husband in the world, who is the secret mastermind behind all my success.
Moms are always told how important self-care is but sometimes it feels impossible to fit it in. Where does self-care fit in there for you and what does that look like?
This concept has changed over time for me, but right now it means not “biting off more that I can chew”. I make a conscious effort to not put unrealistic expectations on myself, and to ask for help when I need it.
For example, right now I’m 36 weeks pregnant and have trouble lifting my toddler, so since my husband will be home late from work, I sucked up my pride and asked my mom to come over and help out. It hurts my ego, but taking care of myself is more important right now.
Being a “mompreneur” is both so rewarding and so exhausting. I know personally how hard it can be to disconnect from my business and focus 100% on my kids and family. Do you have any tips or tricks for disconnecting?
I still struggle with this, especially since Mom Break is so closely tied into my personal life as a mom. When I figure this out, I’ll let you know.
To take some of the pressure off of response time, I have set up auto-responders on social media and email, so that I don’t feel pressured to drop everything and answer immediately. I also make a solid effort (not always successful though) to not answer emails on the weekend.
I’ve received many e-mails and messages from moms looking for tips on opening up a business. What advice do you have for other moms who are contemplating the world of entrepreneurship? Any words of wisdom?
Oh this is a great questions, because people ask me this all the time.
There are so many things that I can share, but the biggest and first thing you need to decide as an entrepreneur is to figure out where you want to go with your business. Do you want to make a few extra bucks on maternity leave? Do you want to take over the world?
Without a clear goal in mind, the road to getting there won’t be clear. So figure out what you want before jumping into things.
Thank you Erica! I know I'm not alone when I say that I love what you're doing and look forward to following along as you enter this new phase of motherhood!! If the rest of you want to do the same, you can find Erica/Mom Break on Instagram and on Facebook. Thanks for reading!
As most of you know, we recently took the kids on a week-long trip to Disney World! We braved 6 days in the parks with a 1 and 4 year old and believe it or not, it was one of our favourite family trips so far – and actually felt relaxing! I got many questions on Instagram and Facebook about where we stayed, what we did and whether or not I had any words of advice so I’m giving away all my Disney secrets today ;) Here are my top tips for surviving Disney World with kids:
- Plan ahead: We booked our trip about 3 months in advance, which in the world of Disney planning, is pretty short notice! I had NO IDEA that people booked accommodations, dining and rides soooo far in advance. Thankfully I came across Julie at Pixie Dust Holidays. All I had to do was send her my dates and she did EVERYTHING else! She came back to me super quickly with Disney hotel options, provided information on the Disney Dining Plan (which we didn’t take, by the way), secured our dining reservations (even the ones that are apparently impossible to get), and booked all of our Fast passes, taking into consideration the girls’ ages and what they would enjoy most. I highly recommend you get in touch with her if you’re thinking of planning a Disney holiday!
- Visit the dollar store before you go: Not only did I pick up random things to keep the girls busy on the plane, I also stocked up stickers and Anna & Elsa glow stick necklaces. This saved me lots of money in the parks once it got dark and all of the overpriced glow sticks, lights and bubble machines came out!
- Stay on Disney property: Obviously this might not be a feasible option for everyone but having stayed off site during our last trip in 2015, I wanted to experience the benefits of staying at Disney this time around. We splurged a little and booked a Royal Room at the Port Orleans Riverside resort. This particular resort is one of Disney’s moderate resorts and we were very happy with it! We used Disney’s Magical Express from the airport (complimentary when staying on Disney property), check-in was speedy and our room was ready early (win!). The room was clean, the staff was friendly, we loved the boat ride to and from Disney Springs and the Disney bus system to and from the parks made mid-day naps back at the hotel SO much easier.
- Order groceries ahead of time: Because Disney ain’t cheap, I did my best to try keep spending at a minimum where I could. We decided that in order to save a little bit of money, we would eat breakfast in the room before starting our days and we’d bring drinks and snacks to the park for us and the kids. So about a month before our trip, I submitted my grocery order online (we used Garden Grocer), paid and picked a delivery date and time. When we arrived at the hotel, our grocery order was there waiting for us – the hotel will refrigerate your dairy, meat, etc until you arrive! It was so convenient because the girls were starving as soon as we got there and thankfully I didn’t have to run around the hotel looking for food.
- Rent a stroller: At the time of the trip, my daughters were 4 (almost 5) and 1 (almost 2) years old. I knew we would be in the parks every day so a stroller was a must – especially given that my 4 year old is the laziest walker of life. Instead of lugging strollers from home, we opted to rented a double stroller from Kingdom Strollers and couldn’t have been happier with the service. The stroller was waiting at the hotel when we arrived and when we had an issue with one of the wheels, Kingdom Strollers brought us a replacement stroller the following day. It also made travel through the airport lighter, since we didn’t have to worry about pushing a stroller around (I just used my Lillebaby carrier for my youngest and she was happy with that!).
- Leave the park mid-day for naps: I know how tempting it is to try to tough the whole day in the park with your kids so that you can see as much as you possibly can – especially if your trip only allows for a day or two in the parks (and with passes being so expensive). But honestly, don’t do it!! I’ve been there… and it led to an EPIC meltdown and I know now that everyone (including mom and dad) is happier after a short break. This time around we made a point to leave the parks each day just after lunch time for an afternoon nap and we’d return to the park around supper time or shortly after. Staying on Disney property and using their bus service to and from the parks made this really easy and that was definitely one of the reasons we opted for a Disney resort vs. staying off site.
- Go with the flow: While I had a loose plan for what days we’d be in which park (because we had pre-booked Fast Passes), I know from experience that it’s unlikely that 7 days of travelling with kids will go as planned! Sure enough, both of the girls came down with a stomach bug on two separate days of the trip, so we had to adjust our activities at the last minute - including cancelling some dining reservations. Disney was AMAZING and so accommodating, so this was a non-issue. And there was so much to do around the resort that we were able to easily keep the girls busy during those days.
What I’ve learned about Disney is that a bit of planning goes a LONG way! If you’re looking for a more comprehensive guide to Disney, then I recommend you visit Disney Tourist Blog – they cover EVERYTHING Disney and more. And of course, if you have any questions about our trip, leave them for me below and I’ll try to answer them as soon as I can.
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So as some of you may have seen on my Instagram stories, I just got back from attending my very first wholesale buyers show (is that even what it's called? that's how new this is for me!) in Toronto and I am SO pumped about all that I saw and the new things that I’m planning to bring into the store. I can’t give it all away just yet (sorry, ladies!) BUT I did want to share a little bit more about my day since I got a ton of questions about what I was doing and what I was shopping for!
Attending the show was a bit of a last minute decision. The show – which is all things women (clothing, shoes, jewelry, etc) – has been on the back of my mind since I heard about it sometime last year. I didn’t really feel like I could justify spending the money (or time) last year but when I realized earlier this month that the dates were so close, I booked myself a flight and that was that!
I knew from doing a little bit of research in advance that it’s HUGE and then add that to the fact that I only had 7 hours to tour and shop, I made a bit of a game plan before I went! It was SO tiring but also, pretty fun. Looking, touching, feeling and getting to know new products and brands is one of the best parts of the gig, so the fatigue on Monday morning when I was back at the office was all worth it (mostly!).
Here’s a look at my day:
5 a.m. – Wake up and get ready (quickly) to leave for the airport
7 a.m. - Flight from Ottawa
8:05 a.m. - Arrive in TO … first stop: (more) COFFEE and then grab a cab.
9 a.m. – Registered and ready for opening – now it’s time to shop. Jewelry, leggings, cardigans … it’s hard not to buy everything!
1 p.m. – Time to take a quick lunch break and meet up with my friend Mel who owns Jolie Folie Boutique.
We exchange notes on what we've seen, what we've loved and where we're off to next.. oh, and make plans for a drink later (obviously!).
3 p.m. – Head across the street to the Toronto Gift Fair to check out Pixie Mood, a line of vegan bags I’ve had my eye on.
3 p.m. – Meet with with the girls for a drink before grabbing the shuttle back to the airport.
5:10 p.m. – Peace out Toronto!
Fashionista, mama-to-be or new mom - we've got you covered.
GIFTS FOR THE FASHIONISTA IN YOUR LIFE*
Comfortable, stylish and completely versatile. Best part?
Two colors available.
Get it here.
They hug in the all the right places and make your bum look amazing!
Get them here.
What do you get the girl who has everything? Jewellery, of course!
Our new arrivals from Humanity Jewellery will add the
Get them here.
GIFTS FOR THE MAMA-TO-BE OR THE NEW MAMA
These (non-maternity) tees have been flying off the shelves ever since our first order last year. Such a powerful message and these tops are made right here in Canada!
Get it here.
When I think of cozy winter sweaters, this is exactly what I picture!
This cardigan can be worn open, closed, with a bump, without a bump. It makes a great cover-up for any nursing mama and I promise it'll continue to be a part of her wardrobe long after pregnancy and breastfeeding is over!
Get it here.
Know a brand new mama? Give the gift of hands free!
Just another great Canadian product that both moms and
Get it here.
This multi-purpose over is one of those "mommy must have" items!
Get it here.
There are so many good reasons to support businesses and entrepreneurs in our own communities, especially around the holidays! Some of the most thoughtful and most-loved gifts I’ve received for my little ones over the years are made-in-Canada products. And now, as a business owner myself, I get to support other moms (and dads) around Canada who are doing what they love: creating amazing products for parents and their little ones.
This month, I thought it might be fun to put a face to some of the Canadian brands found at Maman Chic. I hope you enjoy getting to know these amazing entrepreneurs and on behalf of all of us: thank you for shopping small and supporting local!
The Over Company came to life after Sabrina & Michael’s daughter Olive was born prematurely and left the hospital at only 5lbs. Heading home with just a blanket over her daughters car seat, it was clear to Sabrina that she needed something more to protect her baby from the cold (and germs!). Enter the OVer Cover, the original multi-use cover for car sears, nursing and shopping carts. All OVers are handmade in London, ON and a portion of the company’s proceeds go to the London, Ontario NICU. (shop OVer Covers here)
Haley, the mama behind Beluga Baby wraps, started her company when her daughter Sawyer was a newborn. She wanted a business she could run from home and it was important to her to sell something that would make life easier for new moms! Handmade in Vancouver, Beluga Baby wraps help moms (and dads) stay close to their babies while letting them be hands free. The wraps are fashionable, comfortable, and above all, keep mom, dad and baby happy. A win for everyone! (shop Beluga Baby wraps here)
MiNi TiPi was founded by Trish and Mel, two young and practical minded mamas from Gatineau, Quebec,whose goal is to offer handmade products to quality-conscious parents. Their company is inspired by their cultural backgrounds: Ojibway, Quebecoise and Canadian. Trust me when I say their blankets are some of the softest I’ve ever touched in my life! (shop MiNi TiPi blankets here)
This Abbotsford, BC company is run by husband and wife team Amanda and Jeff. Amanda made the first ever pair of Minimoc moccasins from left over scraps from Jeff's handmade leather wallets and not surprisingly, after gifting a few pairs to friends, the orders started coming in! These made in Canada soft soled moccasins are perfect for indoor and outdoor play (weather permitting!). (shop Minimoc moccasins here)
There is no denying that the cool weather is here to stay. If you are pregnant, you might already be wondering how you’re going to stay warm this winter. Do you buy a new coat or try to squeeze into the one you have? For a lot of women, it seems like such a waste to spend money on a maternity coat when odds are that you already own an expensive, good quality winter coat (that will just sit in the closet unworn this winter).
Well the good news is that you can keep wearing it!
Bridge the Bump for pregnancy
Our Bridge the Bump coat extenders are designed to keep you warm and stylish in your own jacket this winter! They not only eliminate the need to buy a maternity coat, they will also keep your baby warm while babywearing (when the time comes!). All you have to do is flip the extender upside down and zip it into your jacket.
Bridge the Bump for babywearing
Having had only winter babies, I know the dilemma that comes with wanting to spend time outside with a newborn. Strollers are hard to maneuver in the snow and they require you to put baby in a snowsuit… which not only looks uncomfortable but makes it hard for you to monitor their body temperature. With a Bridge the Bump coat extension, you can carry your little one on your chest in a soft carrier and zip your jacket up easily and comfortably. It is completely safe and there is no worrying about baby being cold! Major win.
Oh, did I mention that your partner can also use the insert for babywearing in their own coat? Yup, these coat extenders can do double duty! All you have to do is purchase an extra Zippy Strip Adapter to make swapping between coats a cinch.
Order yours now by clicking here.
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Le temps froid est sans contredit ici pour de bon. Si vous êtes enceinte, vous vous demandez peut-être déjà comment rester au chaud cet hiver. Est-ce que vous vous achetez un nouveau manteau ou si vous tentez de faire durer celui que vous avez? Pour plusieurs femmes, il s’agit d’un gaspillage de dépenser de l’argent pour un manteau de maternité alors qu’elles possèdent déjà un manteau d’hiver dispendieux et de bonne qualité (qui passera l’hiver inutilisé dans la garde-robe).
Bonne nouvelle, mesdames : vous pouvez continuer à le porter!
Pour la grossesse
Nos extensions de manteaux Bridge the Bump sont conçues pour vous garder au chaud et à la mode dans votre propre manteau cet hiver! Elles éliminent non seulement le besoin d’acheter un manteau de maternité, elles garderont aussi votre bébé au chaud en portage (lorsque le temps viendra!). Vous n’avez qu’à placer l’extension à l’envers et à l’attacher à votre manteau.
Pour le portage
Ayant eu seulement des bébés d’hiver, je connais le défi de vouloir passer du temps à l’extérieur avec un nouveau-né. Les poussettes sont difficiles à manœuvrer dans la neige et bébé doit porter un habit de neige… qui a l’air inconfortable et avec lesquelles il est plus difficile de vérifier la température de bébé. Avec l’extension de manteau Bridge the Bump, vous pouvez porter votre bébé contre vous dans un porte-bébé et fermer la fermeture éclair de votre manteau facilement et confortablement. L’extension est complètement sécuritaire et vous n’avez pas à vous inquiéter de froid pour votre bébé! Tout le monde gagne.
Ai-je mentionné que votre conjoint peut aussi utiliser l’insertion pour le portage avec son propre manteau? Oui, ces extensions de manteau travaillent en double! Vous n’avez qu’à vous procurer un adaptateur supplémentaire pour facilement passer d’un manteau à l’autre.
Vous voulez en savoir plus? Si vous êtes dans la région d’Ottawa, je serais heureusement de vous donner un rendez-vous en boutique pour répondre à vos questions et vous montrer comment ça fonctionne!
(613) 799-6649 ou firstname.lastname@example.org
Pant season is officially here! If you’re on the hunt for that perfect pair of pants that will take you through your pregnancy and beyond, we are breaking down our most popular (and comfortable) styles.
The classic over-the-belly legging - Leggings are a must for pregnancy, especially during the cool fall and winter months. Whether you are lounging, running errands or heading to work, you’ll need a pair (or two!) of these. Wear them on their own with a long top or under dresses and skirts (these leggings have a sheen to them which makes them look a little dressier than your typical cotton leggings).
The maternity support legging by JoJo Maman Bébé
The black tregging – They look like a pant but feel like a legging – every pregnant woman’s dream! Made from a heavier weight Ponte that sculpts and flatters, they are the perfect mix of comfort & chic, especially for those of you who have to dress for the office. $78.75 (on sale!)
The black maternity tregging by Isabella Oliver
The Isla jegging – Denim is a staple any time of year but darker washes are great for the coldest months of the year. A classic dark wash or black jean will go a long way and I guarantee you won’t get sick of wearing them over and over again! The Ripe Isla denim tapers nicely at the ankle which means they pair well with booties, sneakers or tucked inside a high boot.
The Isla jegging by Ripe Maternity
The faux leather Tuscadero legging – The comfort of a legging … with a little edge! I highly recommend these pants if you’re looking for bottoms that will make a statement and show off a little bit of your personality!
The Tuscadero legging by Ripe Maternity
Shop Maman Chic's entire collection of maternity pants by clicking here!
La saison des pantalons est officiellement arrivée! Si vous êtes à la recherche du pantalon parfait qui vous servira pour votre grossesse et après, nous vous présentons nos styles les plus populaires (et confortables).
Le legging classique par-dessus la bedaine – Le legging est un incontournable de la grossesse, particulièrement pendant les mois froids de l’automne et de l’hiver. Que vous soyez en mode relaxation, en train de faire des commissions, ou en route pour le travail, vous avez besoin d’une paire (ou deux!) de ceux-ci. Portez-les avec un haut long ou sous une robe ou une jupe (ce legging reluit ce qui le rend un peu plus chic que le legging de coton habituel). (magasinez ici)
Le tregging noir – Il ressemble à un pantalon, mais possède le confort d’un legging – le rêve de toutes les femmes enceintes! Conçu à l’aide de Ponte de qualité qui sculpte et avantage, il allie parfaitement le confort et l’élégance. (magasinez ici)
The jegging Isla – Le denim est un incontournable tout au long de l’année, mais les couleurs foncées sont idéales pour les mois les plus froids de l’année. Un jean foncé ou noir vous servira bien, et je vous promets que vous ne vous lasserez pas de les porter encore et encore! Le denim Ripe Isla devient plus étroit à la cheville, ce qui signifie qu’il se marie bien avec les bottillons ou les espadrilles, ou à l’intérieur d’une botte haute. (magasinez ici)
Le legging Tuscadero en similicuir – Le confort d’un legging… avec petit plus! Je recommande fortement ce pantalon si vous cherchez à vous démarquer et à montrer un peu de votre personnalité! (magasinez ici)
Magasinez notre collection de pantalons au complet ici.
Il y a tant de porte-bébés sur le marché aujourd’hui! Si vous êtes une nouvelle maman (ou une nouvelle utilisatrice d’un porte-bébé), cela peut être difficile de choisir le meilleur porte-bébé pour vous et votre enfant. Il y a beaucoup d’informations à considérer qui peuvent vous aider à trouver le porte-bébé le mieux adapté pour vous. Afin de vous aider à débuter vos recherches, j’ai demandé à Esther, une monitrice de portage de la région de répondre à quelques questions.
Pourquoi devrais-je porter mon bébé?
Le portage favorise le lien d’attachement, aide le bébé à réguler sa température, aide à prévenir le développement de la tête plate (plagiocéphalie positionnelle), calme l’enfant, réduit les pleurs, donne de la sécurité et réduit le stress du bébé et favorise le développement du langage.
Quels sont les principaux types de porte-bébé?
Les principaux types de porte-bébé sont:
- les écharpes (extensibles ou tissées) sont de longues pièces de tissu en coton, lin, chanvre, laine ou plusieurs autres sortes de matériel.
- meh dai (aussi connu sous le nom de mei tai): d’origine asiatique. Il s’agit d’un carré de tissu avec 4 bandes de tissus qui y sont cousus.
- les écharpes à anneaux (ring slings): pièce de tissu cousu sur des anneaux de portage.
- préformé souple ou structuré : avec attache à la hanche munie d’une boucle, de sangles et de courroies ajustables.
Quels porte-bébé sont à prioriser selon l’âge de l’enfant?
La plupart des porte-bébé peuvent être utilisés pour les bébés de 8 lbs et plus. Afin de respecter la position physiologique d’un bébé naissant (moins de 3 mois), l’écharpe extensible ou tissée, l’écharpe à anneaux (ring sling) ou le meh dai sont à privilégier. Par contre, plusieurs fabricants de porte-bébé préformé rigide ou souple proposent maintenant des inserts pour nouveau-né qui peuvent permettre d’utiliser ce type de porte-bébé avec un bébé naissant, de 8 livres et plus.
Il est important de savoir que les écharpes à anneaux sont un type de porte-bébé porté sur une épaule seulement. Selon l’endurance du porteur, il peut être difficile de porter avec une écharpe à anneaux (ring sling) durant une période de temps prolongée dès qu’un bébé atteint 15 ou 20 lbs.
Est-ce que je peux allaiter an portant mon bébé?
L'allaitement en portage est très pratique et sécuritaire. Les experts recommandent normalement d’attendre que l’allaitement soit bien établi et que bébé ait un bon contrôle de sa tête (autour de 4 mois de vie) avant d’allaiter en portant son bébé. La position recommandée pour allaiter en portant est à la verticale et non à l’horizontale.
Est-ce que je peux faire du portage en hiver?
Oui, le portage en hiver est très pratique! Avec un enfant en bas d’1 an, ma préférence personnelle est de porter le bébé à l’intérieur d’un manteau d’hiver en utilisant une extension de manteau. Ainsi, il est plus facile de surveiller que bébé n’ait pas trop chaud ou trop froid et c’est plus confortable pour bébé que de porter un habit de neige.
Pour les enfants de plus d’1 an, vous pouvez les porter de façon confortable, souvent au dos dans le porte-bébé de votre choix en ayant chacun votre habit de neige.
À partir de quel âge puis-je porter mon bébé au dos?
La recommandation officielle au Canada est de porter au dos lorsque le bébé est capable de passer de la position coucher à assis par lui-même ou elle-même (normalement entre l’âge de 6 à 9 mois). Certains fabricants recommandent d’attendre que l’enfant ait 1 an.
Est-ce qu’il y a de bonnes références sur le web afin que les parents puissant s’assurer de porter leur enfant correctement dans leur porte-bébé?
Puisque chaque porte-bébé est conçu différemment, le meilleur guide de référence est toujours le manuel d’instruction ou vidéo du fabricant. Par contre, Santé Canada est une bonne référence en matière de portage et fournit des photos, des conseils et de l’information en général sur le sujet.
Pour plus d'informations, visitez la page Facebook d'Esther: www.facebook.com/estherportage