Dope Ass Mom, sibling rivalry

I consider myself a pretty easy going person but when my kids fight IT DRIVES ME INSANE. Sibling rivalry is the name experts have given it but pure hell is a more accurate description to me.  It’s enough when they are being difficult on their own but when they argue and wine it’s a special kind of annoying sauce that seems like it was made just to hit my buttons. ORDER UP! I know this is familiar to anyone who has kids that are close in age. When I got pregnant with Max I was so excited to give Anna a sibling.

“They will be the best of friends,” I thought to myself as I daydreamed about them playing quietly while I cooked dinner. The second I started dilating I knew that wasn’t going to be the case. Anna was jealous that she no longer had my undivided attention and in her mind, obviously, Max was the reason. I am no parenting expert but my exhaustive research and common sense have led me to the following conclusions.

The main key that I have found is prevention. This involves strengthening your relationship with each child, their relationship but not in obvious team building way because they will see right through that shit! Here are some things that have worked for our family :

Dope Ass mom sibling rivalry

Spend individual time with each child

Kids don’t want to share you because let’s face it, you’re amazing. You are their favorite toy! Spending time alone with each child lets them know that they are special to you and gives you time to connect. I try to do to this every week even if I’m busy. A quick errand just the two of us can turn into a mini “date.” Once a month I try to make it more special like a movie or a meal out.

Reward the pleasant behavior with PRAISE 

I mean lay it on THICK. I’ve read this in multiple parenting books and I know why! It works! With older kids, you need to be careful because they can call bullshit if you aren’t being sincere. Just make sure you are sincerely liking their behavior and don’t hesitate to leave out any moment that even resembles a good sibling relationship.   A positive side effect of this practice is that you will actually start to see more of this because you are looking for it! You really do get what you look for!

Plan a day of YES

I learned this from a friend of mine when my daughter was in preschool and guys this is brilliant. We have a day every once in a while called the day of ” yes.” So everything they ask for ( within reason of course) is a YES! Ice cream for breakfast?! SURE, stay up late? OF COURSE! I was so afraid to start this but honestly, they rarely ask for something that I can’t let slide for one day. They also feel united in their front to come up with crazy requests together. Try it and please let me know how it goes. The stories can be rather entertaining!

Choose love 

When our children are fighting, it’s easy to get caught up in the right and wrong and start screaming. Truth be told often our own stuff gets triggered when we are caught up in heated moments and it’s very hard to control our own emotions about the situations. Anytime I’m able to take a step back and take a breath and choose love, it always ends more peaceful. Choosing this way doesn’t mean not setting limits, it simply means not getting caught up in emotions and trying to understand my kid’s perspectives. More kids = more perspectives = more work,  but also MORE LOVE.

Dope Ass mom sibling rivalry

Dope Ass Mom, Andrea Levoff, Ann Taylor, leopard heels, distressed denim, white blouse, how to style leopard for Fall, fall outfit ideas, mom style for fall 2018

It’s no secret that I love leopard. I seriously consider it a neutral and therefore it goes with everything. Ann Taylor has such a good selection of leopard this season and I wanted to highlight some of my favorite pieces – plus everything is 40% off right now (use code FALLFAVES at checkout). As a busy mom who is always on the go it’s important to me to look stylish but not too fussy. I don’t have the time or patience to worry too much about accessorizing so I like to wear things that are easy and stylish on their own.

I love these leopard pumps with a pair of distressed denim and a white shirt so that they really stand out. These would also look great with jeans and a t-shirt or a simple dress. You really cannot style these wrong. These are a great way to add interest and edge to a simple outfit and bonus: they are super comfortable.

Dope Ass Mom, Andrea Levoff, Ann Taylor, leopard heels, distressed denim, white blouse, how to style leopard for Fall, fall outfit ideas, mom style for fall 2018

Dope Ass Mom, Andrea Levoff, Ann Taylor, leopard heels, distressed denim, white blouse, how to style leopard for Fall, fall outfit ideas, mom style for fall 2018

This Leopard sweater is one of my favorite throw-on pieces from this seasons collection. I actually threw this over one of my favorite dresses and paired it with an awesome pair of red booties. Layer this over a crisp white shirt for a colder day or for a more corporate setting. This sweater would also be awesome with jeans or leather pants for a bit more edge.

Dope Ass Mom, Andrea Levoff, Ann Taylor, how to style leopard for Fall, fall outfit ideas, mom style for fall 2018, red booties, leopard sweater, black lace skirt

Dope Ass Mom, Andrea Levoff, Ann Taylor, how to style leopard for Fall, fall outfit ideas, mom style for fall 2018, red booties, leopard sweater, black lace skirt

This trench coat is my absolute fave! The cheetah dots make it so much more interesting than just a regular khaki trench and It’s the perfect weight for travel or those crisp fall days. It looks good over t-shirts or even worn as a shirt if you button it up and tie it all the way. It’s an instant way to elevate a simple outfit without looking too overdone.

All of my selections fit my mom uniform criteria of simple, chic and not so expensive (don’t forget to use code FALLFAVES for 40% off everything!) that I’m going to have a hernia if something is ruined by a spaghetti stain. We all know marinara happens sometimes.

Dope Ass Mom, Andrea Levoff, Ann Taylor, how to style leopard for Fall, fall outfit ideas, mom style for fall 2018, red booties, leopard trench coat, leopard coat, distressed denim, graphic tee, how to style a graphic tee

Dope Ass Mom, Andrea Levoff, Ann Taylor, how to style leopard for Fall, fall outfit ideas, mom style for fall 2018, red booties, leopard trench coat, leopard coat, distressed denim, graphic tee, how to style a graphic tee

 

George Salon, Chicago

Did you guys know that I’ve only been a redhead for a short time of my life? I spent most of life as a die-hard blonde. I am not exaggerating when I say die-hard. As any Texas girl knows, we take blonde very seriously. It was truly part of my identity. I’ve been all shades of blonde, but mostly I just loved being a golden goddess. It wasn’t until I found George The Salon that I even considered trying another color.

In May of 2017, I decided to take the plunge and go crimson! I was tired of the same old same old. I was experiencing rapid growth in my personal life and needed my outsides to match my insides.

I’ve developed a very strong relationship with my salon and colorist as you can imagine. To the point of if she ever leaves I will track her down and find her are you listening NICOLE!? I’ve been to salons all over the city in my 13 years in Chicago and I have truly found one that feels like home. George The Salon is probably one of my favorites spots in the city!

George Salon, Nicole Berry

Nicole is the best. Beyond having great technical knowledge, she has great vision. When I first came to her asking her if I could go red, her face lit up before proclaiming YES! We looked at pictures together and talked it through. She was so patient with me coming into the salon and talking about it ad-nauseam until finally, I was ready to take the plunge. ( that’s not to mention all the messages I sent her with pictures and questions) She was always so supportive! I had been thinking about going red for a long time but didn’t feel comfortable implementing it until I met her. Any women will tell you that a good colorist and stylist is as important as hiring the right therapist. And if you’re lucky, you get a two for one deal!

Nicole Berry, George Salon, Andrea Levoff Andrea Levoff, George The SalonI’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting older and possibly more bougie but I love the ambiance of George. It’s very zen and relaxing like a spa almost. Whenever they wash your hair they massage your scalp. They always offer you a blanket and want you to feel as relaxed as possible. One time I even brought my daughter and they managed to make that relaxing. The receptionist offered her crayons and a coloring page of her choice before her appointment. I really can’t say enough about their customer service!

Michelle Vincent , George The Salon

I’ve been red for over a year now so the last time I was in I wanted to make a little change without going too drastic. We all know the age-old debate of BANGS.  Michelle convinced me to take the plunge and go with a longer bang. I’m happy with this option because I can still get them out of my face when I’m working out or sleeping. I think they add a stylish element to long hair that is mostly one length.

Nicole’s tips for maintaining vibrant color are: use a sulfate free shampoo, wash less often and get a gloss in between colors. If you are in the Chicago area you need to check out this salon! I promise you will love it as much as I do!

Michelle Vincent, George The Salon George The Salon, Dope Ass Mom George The Salon, Nicole Berry, Michelle Vincent

Dope Ass mom, andrea levoff, son

The mother/son relationship is so special. Sometimes I joke with him that he is welcome to live with me forever. As much I would love to cuddle and kiss him for the rest of his life, I know I need to prepare him to be a conscious man that will eventually have an important role in society and his family. I think we haven’t done enough for our boys and it’s time to change that.

When I look around at our current climate, it makes my heart hurt. I do think we as a society has contributed to this toxic masculinity that I see so rampant today and in the news so often. I treasure this little boy and his heart so much and I have been thinking lately about what I can do to make sure he grows up to be a healthy example of the masculine. Here are some steps I’m taking in hopes of raising a conscious man :

Crying is not a weakness – In fact, it’s the exact opposite! Nothing good comes from suppressing our emotions but somehow we have given our boys the message that it’s not OK to cry or be upset. Too often we say things like ” be a man! ” or ” deal with it.” In my opinion, this is absolutely crazy and giving them the wrong message. You can still be tough and cry. You can still be masculine and have sadness. How can we expect our boys to be sensitive to other’s needs if they can’t even recognize their own? If I can teach him to be with himself through the dark times, I know he will be able to hold space for others to do the same.

Be able to cook and clean –  This is much for my son as it is my future daughter in law. How sexy is it when a man can take care of himself? Maybe not something I thought much about when I was younger, but now. … hubba hubba

Confidence and Ego are not the same – True confidence is an inside job. It’s knowing that you are worthy, capable and loved no matter what. Confidence is hella sexy. Ego is only concerned with appearance, how things look vs. how things really are. Ego is easily affected by outside opinion and mostly concerned with being popular.  Ego is fragile. Confidence is steadfast. I want my boy to be confident and soul based. Not ego driven and cocky.

Laugh at your mistakes – Making mistakes is part of the human experience. Being able to laugh at yourself and be quick to learn from them is a skill that can be developed. I think one of my greatest gifts is that I don’t take anything too seriously. I’m hoping I can pass that down to my boy. Once we can laugh at them, we can own them. Being able to say, I’m sorry I hurt you, what can I do to repair this is the mark of a really strong man.

Attitude is everything – You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how you react. Managing your attitude and responses is one of the best things to learn as an adult. I’ve always been a glass half full person and I know that mindset is almost always the missing link when people are struggling. There’s always what happened and then the story we tell ourselves about what happened. Controlling what we say to ourselves about what happened is sometimes our only choice!

I see it everywhere now where men are being asked to stand forward and be better versions of themselves. I think it starts at home with our boys. Teaching them and loving them and allowing them to express without feeling judged for being weak. I think it’s up to the awakened mom’s like us to do our part to shepherd them into the healthy masculine so that one day they can hold space for the beautiful feminine. What do you guys think? Is there anything you are doing for your boys that feels different from the way you’ve noticed boys being raised in the past?

Andrea Levoff, son dope ass mom son

dope ass mom, lessons for my son

HeyMama CO founder Katya Libin

Today I introduce to you Katya Libin, co-founder of Heymama. Heymama is part cool club, part think-thank and is the premier source of community, inspiration, career intel, and support for modern working mothers who hustle to make things happen. I was so excited to learn more about what makes Katya tick and I really enjoyed reading her answers. I know you will love her as much as I do!

1.What is the best thing about being a mom?

The snuggles. Hands down.

2. What is the hardest thing about being a mom? 

The attitude. It’s next level at 7 years old. Those eye rolls go so high you think they’re in the back of their heads.

3. What habit do you hope to pass down to your kids? 

Confidence. Dreaming big. Failing and trying again.

4. What habit do you hope to not pass down to your kids?

Not putting things away right after I use them! #sorrymom

5. How have you changed since being a mom?

I’ve slowed down. I cherish and crave home, routine and quiet. I’m endlessly more patient, and more organized than ever before.

6. What’s the best piece of advice given to you?

Comparison is the thief of joy.

7. What are three essentials you need every day?

Great question! My phone, sad but true.  My cold brew every morning!  Music!

8. What late night food do you crave? 

Pasta, pizza, both on a good night. 😉

9. What do you do to relax? 

I will sound like a broken record here but I journal, I meditate, I mask. I listen to podcasts. I turn my phone on airplane mode and stare at raindrops. I pay attention to small details I’m too busy to notice. I dance. I get massages… I’m actually trying to watch more TV, ha!

Katya Libin, Hey Mama co

10. How has motherhood changed your career?

It is my career. I never would have had HEYMAMA if I didn’t have Lili and feel compelled to start a community for mamas like me.

11. 3 words to describe yourself.

Kind, funny, determined.

12. How has your style changed since becoming a mother?

I think I prioritize comfy footwear above all else.  But other than that… it’s fairly similar! I love to play around and have fun with fashion… that hasn’t really changed. I might have slowly been going more classic and practical than before. I’d buy some very random attire.

13. What traits bug you the most in other mothers?

I try not to get bugged by other peoples choices but I’d say the ones that rsvp to a birthday party and then not show up. #happened

14. What 3 things in your bag you couldn’t live without? 

Lipgloss // lip something… my Trestique glow stick.. business cards because you never know who you meet.

15.Best advice you could give a mom with young kids?

It gets so much easier. Breathe baby.

16. If your life had theme music, what would it be? 

Probably a combination of Jay Z and Beyonce. TBH.

17. What’s your secret to being a dope ass mom?

Never forget to make time to have fun!!!!

18. Nanny, hairstylist or chef? You can only have one! 

Chef, hands down, followed by a lovely human who can keep the house looking FRESH.

19. What does success look like to you in parenting?

Raising an independent kind and giving human who is compassionate to others, not spoiled and understands the value of family.

20. Kill, Fuck or Marry – Justin Timberlake, Channing Tatum, Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling Fuck (of course I start with the best!), Justin, marry. Channing Kill. Sorry!! never did it for me.

21. How do you maintain your identity while still being someone’s mom?

I try not to let motherhood define all of me. It’s a huge part, but it’s not 100% of me. I make sure to have friends of all different ages, who do and don’t have kids, and continue to fill my live with some version of spontaneity and travel.

HeyMamaCO

22. How has your relationship changed with your own mother since becoming a mom

It’s both gotten more challenging and gotten better. Sometimes I cringe at the things she does and says that resonate with her and what’s important, and other times I just step back in awe because I know she’s right.

23. Do you have a favorite child?

The one and only I have!!

24. What’s your opinion on screen time?

Weekends only. Never on weekdays. no phone, no ipad, no tv. We just don’t watch a lot of it in our home.

25. What’s one way you hope to make an impact on your kids?

By showing her that what you envision is what you will create.

26. If you could change one thing about your child’s personality what would it be and why?

When she gets cranky it takes a bit to shake it off. I’m like “cmon it’s not that big of a deal!! Let’s be happy baby! Lili: eye roll and into the room with epic long sigh!”

27. How has your relationship changed with your higher power since having kids?

Tremendously. Not because of having kids but because I naturally went through a big spiritual shift.

28. How has having kids affected your relationship with your partner?

I am single and ready to mingle. 😉

29. What would you be doing if you didn’t have kids? 

Traveling the world, running some sort of business from Bali, because why the hell not, and possibly still stuck in corporate America, not being happy.

30. Do you experience mom guilt? How do you deal with it?

Not very often but sometimes when I get the “you’re always on your phone” convo, it hurts. Of course, they catch you right when you look at it!

31. If you could change one thing about how society views mother’s, what would it be? 

That we’re somehow in someway any less efficient, effective, investable, powerful and capable than men.

You can learn more about the Heymama community here

Katya Libin, Heymama