You know those women that are so beautiful, smart and driven you’re constantly like how are they pulling it off and still able to be a good mom? Well, folks, meet Monika Dixon. I was first introduced to Monika through a mutual friend and was immediately in awe and had to know more. Over the past couple of years I have gotten to know her more and what stands out to me is her entrepreneurial spirit. She’s the owner of MDPR,  a single mother of two and has such a kind spirit. She truly is a boss! I know you will love her as much as do after getting to know her a bit more through our interview!

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

Seeing how your love and guidance helps your children to courageously develop their personalities – their mannerisms, quirks, likes and dislikes. Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege than raising the next generation. What a child doesn’t receive they can seldom later give.

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

I always worry about my children. Whether they are at school, on a playdate, or standing right next to me, I am constantly worrying about them! One of my favorite quotes is, “Being a Mother means that your heart is no longer yours, it wanders wherever your children do.” I think this sums up my feelings perfectly.

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

That despite their deepest desires, they will be able to clear their mind and bring themselves to a leveled position that will allow them to make the right decision.

Andrea Levoff interview Monika Dixon, dope ass mom, mom q&a, advice from other moms, mom entrepreneurs, motherhood advice

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

Where do I even begin? LOL. But in all seriousness, probably the need for “perfection” – not everything has to be perfect to serve its purpose. There is so much beauty in the imperfect!

5. How have you changed since being a mom?

I have changed a lot. Being a mother is a privilege and I take that role to heart. I no longer think for just myself, I’m thinking for 3 now and it is a very humbling experience. Also, your children learn from observing your body language, your actions and they watch how you speak and how do you treat other people. If we want our children to live by example they have to see it first.

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

You are the only mother that your children know. Don’t be too harsh on yourself if you make a mistake. The kids won’t notice it, only you will know.

7. What are three essentials you need everyday?

Fresh buns for breakfast (that’s the European in me), laundry detergent and water. My kids ask for water in the most inconvenient moments.

8. What late night food do you crave?

Ice cream!

9. What do you do to relax?

I read and I like to meditate at Chill Chicago. Yoga Sculpt at Yoga Squad is my non-negotiable. I absolutely need it.

10. How has motherhood changed your career?

The biggest challenge was adjusting my schedule. I limited my time for after work engagements that have meaning to me because my priority is and always will be my kids. Plus just love spending time with them!

Andrea Levoff interview Monika Dixon, dope ass mom, mom q&a, advice from other moms, mom entrepreneurs, motherhood advice

11. 3 words to describe yourself? 

Honest to the core. (Okay, that’s four but close enough LOL).

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

 My style hasn’t changed much. I love fashion and change my wardrobe pretty often.

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

 I don’t like uber controlling helicopter parents. Your children require you to love them, not to constantly correct them. I also don’t like parents who text you every 30 minutes to check how the play date is going.

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

My wallet lol

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

 Listen to your body – if you need to sleep, sleep. If you need to cry, cry! Don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself as your entire family starts with you! You need to be happy and healthy to be there for everyone else. Also, DO NOT compare yourself to other Moms and your kids to theirs. Don’t try to live on their schedule. Live the way that is best for you, listen to your heart – it will guide you properly just take the guilt out of the equation. Remember you will spend the first 12 months of your children’s lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next 12 telling them to sit still and be quiet.

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

I go between classical music to hip hop to Polish hits – I guess that’s what life is all about. The notes are always changing.

17. What’s your secret to being a dope ass mom?  I just try to listen. In order to be heard, you have to listen. I listen to my kids, my team at work, my friends, teachers, news all that is left afterwards is your interpretation of the current world and how do you want your children to live and be.

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

19. What does success look like to you in parenting?When I hear and see my children stand up for their truth. It brings me to tears. I know that it is hard on them yet they still do it and don’t bend their values to make others comfortable.

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

None of them lol They are not my type.

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

Self discipline!!! It’s very hard but I have amazing friends who are great mothers. They help me remember to be myself. They also have similar needs and together we are stronger.

22. Do you have a favorite child?

My kids are inseparable, they are each other’s biggest fans. I could not just pick 1, I could not live with myself. Favoring one child could affect the other one in ways that could not be reversed and could threaten the balance of the family system.

23. What’s your opinion on screen time?

They get 1 hour per day and they can choose when they want to use it. At the end of the day, the key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.

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

I want them to live by heart but not compromise their truth to please others. How you impact your children will not only have an influence on them but on everyone that they will meet throughout their life. I also want them to know that it is ok to be sad and to fail and remember that the real value comes from life’s lessons.

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

That’s such a hard question. I can’t think of anything as it changes so fast. Their little minds absorb everything and adjust. I love the good, the bad and the annoying. If there was anything that anyone wishes to change in their child they should first look and see if it is not something that could be changed in themselves.

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

It has not changed. They come to church with me now. People Church has an incredible program for kids and teenagers.

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

The exact same thing.

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

I don’t experience Mom guilt often. I am very aware of how I spend our time together. I know that I am doing my best and I know that they feel it. I can see it in their behavior.

29. If you could change one thing about how society views mother’s, what would it be?
Just be more polite and patient to the Moms or women in general. They are already doing so much. Open the doors for them, if they drop something pick it up, help them if you see them in distress – just be a well rounded person. Manners matter!
Andrea Levoff interview Monika Dixon, dope ass mom, mom q&a, advice from other moms, mom entrepreneurs, motherhood advice

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

Dope Ass Mom, Parenting advice

Andrea levoff, dope ass mom tips, relationships with kids

I want you to ask yourself a question. How would you rate your relationship with your kids? Since school has started, I’ve noticed myself speeding up a bit. I’ve become more focused on getting things done, and less on the relationships. In the mornings, before school, I’ve been yelling, like a drill sergeant somedays. I had to stop and ask myself, how do I want my kids to remember me? I know how important it is to me to build a strong relationship with my kids. I know this will serve them, and my as we move forward and into the teen (yikes) years.

When I asked myself this question the other day, my honest answer was a 7. That’s not good enough for me. I want a 10. Next, I asked myself what I needed to do to make it a 10, I pulled out my journal and this is what I wrote to myself:

Slow the F down : Seriously. Does it really matter if they are late somedays? Do I want them to grow up to be hurried, frenzied adults?  Because the way I am with them now is what I am programming into their bodies. Sure, it’s an important life skill to be on time and takes a lot more planning ahead the night before, but isn’t it worth it to have a less frantic morning? When I get so annoyed because they are taking forever to leave the house can I see it through a different lens? Perhaps they aren’t trying to personally offend me, can’t it just be that they love the home I’ve created for them and find it hard to leave? With all the activities we have these days, my plans for the fall are to take a deep breath and slow down my pace whenever possible.

Be Present:  I’ve heard this a lot lately and I feel like it’s become sort of a buzzword on social media. To me being present means being with what is and also to be fully there. So if you’re reading your kids a story, that’s all your doing in your actions and your mind. It also means that if you’re experiencing a negative emotion, you are fully there, with it. I think that’s what makes this one is easier said than done. My job is basically to be on my phone. I love posting stories and sharing my life with you guys. Yet I’ve noticed how sometimes it takes away from the moment. I miss the cute little things they say or the insights they have. As they watch me always stuck to my phone or planning the next thing in my head they are learning to do the same. Isn’t that the crux and the blessing of motherhood? We have the opportunity to teach them healthy habits but we also have the opportunity to teach the ones that won’t serve them. I have a wonderful morning routine that I will share later this week that helps me stay present because I know I’m not missing something and helps me stay present throughout the day.

Parenting advice, dope ass mom tips

Play with them:  Allowing myself to see the world through their eyes is one of the greatest gifts my kids have given me. In the times I’ve been able to truly be with them and get lost in their play, I’ve found that we truly connect and enjoy each other. I think this strengthens the relationship in a couple of ways. First, it builds trust, mom wants to understand me. Therefore if I have a problem I know I can come to her with it, no matter what. Second, it allows me to let go of any expectations I have for them to ” be a certain way.” This, in turn, gives them the message, ” Mom loves me just the way I am.” That’s a win-win!

See things from their perspective: Most of the time our kids don’t have an agenda. When they are being slow or doing something we don’t like, at this age, it’s rarely to punish us. It’s because they haven’t quite learned that sometimes they have to put other peoples needs, or the needs of their family ahead of their own. When I see it that way, it takes the personal offense out of it. The best advice I heard as a parent with your kids is that I am not reasoning with a small adult. Kids are kids. Their brains are not like ours. Lots of explaining and rationalizing with them just do not work. It’s better to reward the behavior we like and as best we can ignore the other stuff. When I see things through their eyes it makes it a lot easier to accept that they aren’t me with my agenda. My 6-year-old doesn’t care so much if I make my meeting. He’s more interested in mastering getting his shoes tied on his own or buttoning his coat. This awareness really helps me to manage expectations while slowly teaching them to consider the bigger picture.

Love them: Actively love them. Shower them with praise. Bathe them in it. Smother them. Ok, maybe not smother them. I make it a point to tell them how much I love them all the time. Before bed, I try to think of two or three things they did that day that demonstrated them being loving to themselves or to other people. I call it ” sweet talk” and they seriously eat it up.  If you have younger kids, the cutest thing to do is have them ” overhear” you singing their praises to a stuffed animal or another parent. This is the perfect thing to do before bedtime or first thing in the morning because it really sets the tone for great sleep or a beautiful day.

These are my intentions for the busy season that is fall. I can’t wait to share my progress and any changes I notice with you guys! Do you guys like when I share my thoughts on how I am planning to move forward in different seasons? Let me know in the comments and please share your intentions!

parenting advice, dope ass mom tips, Andrea Levoff

Andrea Levoff Comedy, Dope Ass Mom, how to make mom friends

Let’s face it making mom friends can be a challenge. Making friends in your 30’s and beyond is so different than making friends in your 20’s. Throw a couple kids into the mix it can feel like an olympic sport trying to schedule a lunch with someone that doesn’t want to make you poke your eyes out.

Nap schedules, feeding times, family pressures can make meeting new people seem almost impossible. Wow, can things get complicated.  I remember the early days when my first was a baby. I was so starved for adult interaction, I would befriend anything that would talk back to me. I would try to go to mom groups and occasionally I would meet someone I clicked with.

Let’s  face it mamas, just because you both have kids, does not mean that you share other values that adds up to a great friendship. At the heart of it, we are all looking for a friendship where we felt seen and heard, for who we are, not the kids we’ve had. So, I’ve rounded up some simple ways that you can also make lasting friendships with mom’s that you genuinely connect with.

Andrea Levoff, Dope Ass mom friends, jennifer worman, red soles red wine

1. Be yourself ( from the beginning ) 

One of my best girlfriends and I joked that on our first playdate we were like perfect mother robots of ourselves. We sat across from each other as our sons played blocks and pretended that everything was fine, mother hood was perfect and that our kids were fabulous. Was any of this even remotely true? No! We were too caught in up trying to be normal and impress each other to make a real connection.  Thank goodness we were able to drop the facade quick and get down to the real business of being friends. My advice, be real, from the get go. If you despise soccer practice or your little one’s tantrums have you one step away from crazy town, say it! Chances are she has felt, or feels the same way!

2. Volunteer to be the social mom in your child’s school

I don’t normally advocate for an additional workload on top of all your other mom’s duties, but somebody needs to do it and it might as well be you! Volunteering to set up social events puts you in prime time mom friend real estate.  Plus, this way you can control the restaurants and timing of the get togethers. This is a perfect way to meet other mom’s and feel out who is your crew and who is not. Plus you’re able to see who utilizes the dreaded, “Reply all.”

3. Try out an App 

Why not? Our millennial counterparts are finding successful hookups! Forget booty calls,  who is down for a 3pm nap time coffee call!?  Apps like Peanut allow you to select certain criteria if and search based upon interests. Being a stay at home mom can be so isolating and with all the demands on your schedule it’s sometimes hard to even leave the house. That’s why I love the idea of trying out technology to meet like-minded mamas in your area.

mom friends, Dope Ass Mom,

4. Passionate about something? Host an event ! 

Most mom’s are dying for connection. When we choose to share something we are passionate about it naturally draws like-minded people towards us. If you’re an expert on breastfeeding, why not host an event at your house and form a support group? Do you love to talk about sleep schedules? Arrange a meet up at a local coffee shop and form a sleeping mastermind. Offering support and helping others is a great way to authentically connect ( and also focus less on the fact that you are lonely) If you’re the one looking for support, there is bound to be a group in your community that is already formed and just waiting for you to be a member. Ain’t no shame in our support game!

5. Phone down, head up!

As much as I love social media, there is a time and a place for it. At the park with your kids where their might be other mom’s to socialize with, not the time! Put your phone down and look around for other mom’s to talk to. Complimenting someone’s kid is a great way to start a conversation. I know it can be awkward to make plans with someone you just met but if you feel a connection take the leap and ask for her cell phone number. Chances are she is wanting the friendship just as much as you are!

My friendships with these mommas get me through each day.  Take the step and reach out as you’ll never know who you’ll meet!

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Erica Eckman, Everything Erica, Chicago mom bloggers

Erica is the type of mom you just want to be around. She’s low key, easy going and knows what to order at every restaurant in town. She is a full time digital influencer who recommends recipes, restaurants and also does social media consulting! How does she manage her work and having her little one? Read on to learn more about Erica! You can find Erica’s blog here .

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

The best thing about being a Mom is knowing that you are the most important person in the world to someone who unconditionally loves you so much. That level of responsibility is what motivates me in my life.

 

2. What is the hardest thing about being a mom?
The hardest thing about being a Mom is the horrible guilt I feel on a daily basis. I want to be home and spend as much time with my daughter as possible, but I have to work to make sure we can live! It’s a terrible feeling.

 

3. What habit do you hope to pass down to your kids?
I hope I pass down my belief in kindness to my kids. I believe that you should help everyone be the best versions of themselves and that there is enough room in this world for everyone to succeed.

 

4. What habit do you hope to not pass down to your kids?
Sleeping late. I’m not a morning person.

 

5. How have you changed since being a mom?
I’ve changed SO much. Before my daughter, I had never even held a baby or had my own pet. I’ve never taken care of anyone but myself. Now, my world revolves around this person and every single thing I think, say, feel and do affects her. It’s made me a more thoughtful and caring person.

 

6. What’s the best piece of advice given to you?
Don’t be a know-it-all. Listen to people who are smarter than you at something and take their advice. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

 

7. What are three essentials you need everyday?
Water (I drink a gallon a day), my cell phone and Zyrtec

 

8. What late night food do you crave?
pizza. always.

 

Everything Erica, Erica Eckman, Chicago mom blogger, Chicago food blogger

 

9. What do you do to relax?
light a candle and watch trashy reality tv shows

 

10. How has motherhood changed your career?
I would say it added an entire new dimension to my career. Before my daughter, I was really only sharing photos of my food on Instagram. Now, I’m able to open up, share my life and I feel a lot more passionate about what I do.

 

11. 3 words to describe yourself:
confident, savvy, kind

 

12. How has your style changed since becoming a mother?
Well, I still have 10lbs to lose, so it’s become a lot baggier

 

13. What traits bug you the most in other mothers?
I never ever judge other Mothers. We all are just doing our thing and trying to be the best we can be.

 

14. What 3 things in your bag you couldn’t live without?
Water (I told you, I’m obsessed), my cell phone and rose water spray from Glossier

 

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

Mine is still only 2, but if it were a Mom of a newborn…I would tell you, it get’s SO much better.

Everything Erica, Chicago food blogger, Chicago mom blogger, everything erica

photo : @chicagomomgoessuburban

16. If your life had theme music, what would it be?
Happy by Pharrell Williams

 

17. What’s your secret to being a dope ass mom?
I mean, I don’t really think I’m all that dope. Maybe that’s my secret though. I think people look at me and say, “wow, she’s just like me” and that resonates with people.

 

18. Nanny, hairstylist or chef ? You can only have one live in:
Nanny. ALL DAY LONG.

 

19. What does success look like to you in parenting?
Success is a happy and healthy child.

 

20. Kill, Fuck or Marry – Justin Timberlake, Channing Tatum, Ryan Gosling:
Damn this is hard. Can I marry them all? Ok…marry Justin because he’s amazing. I’ld probably have sex with Channing Tatum (did you see Magic Mike?!). So..sorry Ryan…

 

21. How do you maintain your identity while still being someone’s mom?
I just try to take a few minutes every day to do something for me. Whether that’s take a shower (haha, it’s not as easy as it once was to find time), meditate or cook. Something that just makes me happy.

 

22. How has your relationship changed with your own mother since becoming a mom?
I definitely appreciate her a lot more since she stayed home full-time. I don’t think I could handle it.

 

23. Do you have a favorite child?
Yep! Since I only have one, it’s very easy to choose.

 

24. What’s your opinion on screen time?
I’m all for it in moderation. I think anything educational is great and I think if you need to get something done, throw on a show. It’s a great babysitter. I try to limit it to no more than 10-20 minutes per day and we NEVER reward her with it to get her to stop crying.

 

25. What’s one way you hope to make an impact on your kids?
I hope that I am able to work hard enough so that they won’t ever have to be in any financial debt when it comes to school. I want to be able to set enough money aside to cover that so when they graduate, they can start with a clean slate. It’s on my mind all the time.

 

Everything Erica, Erica Eckman, Chicago food blogger, Chicago mom blogger

 

26. How has your relationship changed with your higher power since having kids?
I don’t think it has to be honest. I’ve always been pretty religious!

 

27. How has having kids affected your relationship with your partner ?
100% We have so much less time to spend together and are always tired. We really have to work so much harder to make our relationship work

 

28. What would you be doing if you didn’t have kids?
I’d be traveling sooooo much. It’s my favorite thing in the entire world.

 

29. Do you experience mom guilt? How do you deal with it?
SO much. Every day of my life. I work from home so I can hear her in the other room and all I want to do is be with her. But, I have to work and help support our family so I try to remind myself of that.

 

30. If you could change one thing about how society views mother’s, what would it be?
I just wish society would cut Moms a break and remember that we are all just trying to do our best. For example with breastfeeding, if you don’t breast feed, you’re awful and horrible. If you do breast feed, people shame you for doing it in public. I feel like we are put in a lot of lose-lose scenarios when in the end, if you’re a mom, you’re automatically a winner in my book!