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

 

Andrea Levoff, coffee shops chicago

As a work-from-home mom sometimes I find it hard to get things done in my home office. Before I became a mom I didn’t realize how much someone’s life might revolve around coffee. Yet, here I am. Waking up every morning thinking about when and where I will get my first cup. I’ m not good at making coffee at home, i’ve accepted this a long time ago. Getting out of the house is also always good for my work. I find there’s always something else in my home that needs to be done. Getting out of the house to work always provides new inspiration and it’s nice to be around other adults sometimes!  At least a few times a week, I drop my kids off at school, and head to these great spots to get things done!

Dropshot | 312 W Chestnut St, Chicago, IL 60622: This place has quickly become one of my favorites. The coffee cups are HUGE and the food is so good. I love the ambiance and the buzz that happens when everybody is busy pounding away on their laptops.

Dark Matter Coffee |  601 West Jackson Blvd, 60661: The coffee menu at Dark Matter is so unique. The vibe there is super creative and alternative, so it’s my go-to place if I am trying to brainstorm new content!

Floriole Cafe and Bakery | 1220 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614: This bakery and cafe has been one of my favorites since I moved into my house almost 6 years ago. Their pastries are so yummy and authentically French. This is probably not your best option if you are trying to avoid carbs.

Hero Coffee Bar | 22 E Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604: Formally known as “Pickwick”, I was just here last week and can’t say enough good things about this hidden gem. It’s down a small alley and has a lit up sign! Hello Instagram. It also has outdoor seating, wifi, and Oat Milk!

I love exploring new places to work and caffeinate in this great city. Let know in the comments what places you are loving lately!

Andrea Levoff, Coffee shops

 

 

 

 

 

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

Art institute, dope ass mom, Chicago blogger

 

“It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.” Steven Pressfield 

We’ve all been there. You desperately need an inspiration for a special project and have a deadline that is fast approaching. Or maybe you are are just feeling blah and want to feel reinvigorated about your life and passion in general. As someone who works in a creative field, I know too well that feeling when I just can’t get excited about anything. Sitting down to write feels like the hardest thing in the world in those times.  Inspiration can feel so elusive when I need it the most. Over the years I have developed some tools that always seem to get me over the hump, I hope that they can help you to when you’re feeling uninspired and experiencing resistance.

Work in a beautiful place – Changing up your work environment always helps to think of new ideas to write about. Public places are great for people watching and getting lost in thoughts and ideas. If it’s good weather, sitting outside in nature is a great way to connect with inspiration. Make sure to pay attention to your surroundings and jot any ideas that come to you, even if they don’t make total sense.

Dope Ass mom, how to get inspired

Write in a journal – studies show that handwriting (not typing) activates your right brain which is your creative side. If you are constantly on a computer try trading your keyboard for a pen or pencil. Handwriting also forces us to slow down, which is good for inspiring creativity. Anytime I am brainstorming ideas I always pick up a pen and notebook to start. I always enjoy spending time picking out a pretty notebook and special pen for my writing.

Andrea Levoff, Dope Ass mom, downtown Chicago

Dope Ass mom, inspiration, how to be inspired

Do what you fear the most – you’ve heard it before but often times what we fear the most is the exact thing we need to do to break through to the other side of our block. When I first started doing stand up I was so consumed with fear I actually started sobbing. It took me a while to accomplish the physical part of doing comedy but by taking three-foot tosses towards the larger goal got me there. For instance, I didn’t go out the next day and perform, I signed up for a class and started writing jokes!  I can’t imagine my life ( or creativity) without conquering that fear. Ask yourself what’s one thing I could do today to conquer my fear, and take one small step towards it today!

Andrea Levoff, how to be inspired when you're not

Attend a Conference or retreat – This is actually my best tip for getting ( and more importantly staying) inspired. I’ve made it a point in my life to always put myself in growth situations. If you aren’t growing, you’re dying! Scheduling a conference or retreat a few times a year puts me in that mindset and having events spread out helps keep the momentum going throughout the year. I always look at my calendar at the beginning of the year and block off the time so it doesn’t get filled up with stuff that’s not as important.

Just start! – Let’s be real most of us can’t always sit around and wait for inspiration to show up! Often times it shows up after we’ve been had the pen to paper for quite some time. Recently I had been trying to think of a name for a comedy show for days and it finally came to me about 3 am after my kids had woken me up. My point is, just start creating. Don’t worry about being perfect or editing yourself. We all get the first draft that no one else needs to see. Get your ideas down on paper without judgment.  Inspiration meets you at the point of action, meaning that often once we start taking action the idea shows up!

Always remember that resistance and feeling uninspired are just part of the creative process. If you’re feeling this way you are not alone. Try one (or all) of the things listed above and watch how quickly these feelings dissipate. We were born to create,  so don’t stop. And if you want more support on these, make sure to check out my favorite books. Happy creating!

Andrea Levoff, dope ass mom, inspiration