HEATHER LAURA CLARKE
Life is busy — but always interesting — with our three-year-old son, Dexter, and our one-year-old daughter, Charlotte. I’m married to my high-school sweetheart, Michael, and we moved from the city to the country so I could freelance from home and be here with the kids. I write about my life as a work-at-home mama on my blog, LaptopstoLullabies.com.
Secrets of a WOWMOM
For me, it all comes down to organization. Getting out of the house on time, bringing what I need to bring, making the best use of those toddler naptimes, and having a system for just about everything. I run a tight ship, but it works for us.
What inspires me
I was a loyal blog-reader before I started my own blog, and I still find so much strength and inspiration from the women I follow. As a work-at-home mom, I really identify with Sherry from Young House Love, and Emily from Imperfect. Reading about how they juggle their families and their careers always reassures me, because they’re going through the same challenges.
My sanity saviour (tips & time savers)
I couldn’t function without my multiple, colour-coded Google calendars. I keep track of everything there, from bills and my writing assignments to my son’s preschool schedule and our family commitments — even things like buying gifts, or filling out forms. Since I only have a limited amount of time to work, I need to make sure I plan exactly what I’m doing each day — and allot enough time for everything.
My best WOWMOM advice
I know everyone says to let the housework go when you have little kids, but I find I’m much more stressed out if I’m in a chaotic home. I’m not a neat-freak by any means, but keeping the house tidy and conquering clutter makes me feel like I have a good handle on things — which in turn, makes me a more relaxed, confident mom. Because my kids help me (and we make it fun), they love to wash dishes, pick up toys, and do the laundry. For now, anyway!
My WOW moment
My mom was big on teaching “restaurant manners,” so when I take my kids out to eat and they’re polite and charming, it really makes me feel like I’m doing something right. As parents, we just love when strangers tell us our children are polite, don’t we?
My not-so WOW moment
My patience level significantly towards the end of the day, and sometimes it’s hard to get through from dinner to bedtime without yelling over something trivial.
Keeping it WOW (how not to lose yourself)
I started attending an adult gymnastics class once a week, and I love having 90 minutes to chat with other moms, work on my fitness, and bounce on professional trampolines. I can’t do handstands or cartwheels and I’m not flexible at all, but it’s really fun.
Favourite MOMent of the day
I do a lot of baking with my kids. Yes, little ones sometimes tip over the bowl and get batter everywhere, but even at 18 months, my daughter is getting the hang of pouring in ingredients and stirring. We all enjoy it, it’s relaxing for me, and then we get to enjoy the finished product together!
Does balance exist?
Yes, but it looks different for everyone. I’m grateful that I’m able to be here with my kids full-time, and still do some work from home. It requires a LOT of organization, and on the bad days it feels like I’m failing at both “jobs,” but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
My guardian angel
My husband is the best father I could have ever imagined, and he works incredibly hard for our family. His parenting style is much more relaxed than mine, but that’s exactly what I need — he knows how to make me slow down, stop planning, and “just be”.
The last time I laughed out loud
My kids always crack me up with how they interact with each other. Dexter seems to understand all of Charlotte’s babbles, and sometimes when they squabble over a toy, it’s hilarious.
Words Of Wisdom (Mom’s message to My Kids)
Choose a career that will make you happy, not one you think will make you rich or guarantee you have a job. I’ve been writing since I was eight years old, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. As a child, my husband loved heavy equipment and outdoorsy work, and that’s what he does now (for Air Canada). I hope our son and daughter figure out what they love, and build a life around that.
MY WOWMOM MUST-HAVES
Fave things, places and sanity savers for WOWMOMS!
1. NARS blush in “Orgasm.” I’m really pale, so blush is a daily necessity for me! I put my makeup on every single morning, even if I’m not leaving the house, because it makes me feel good.
2. Baby Signing Time. Dexter had pretty significant hearing loss until he had surgery after he turned two, so we were very into sign language for about a year. We haven’t done it nearly as much with Charlotte, because she’s so talkative, and I miss it!
3. My custom address stamp from Three Designing Women. It feels like I’ve sent out SO much mail since having kids — birthday invites, thank you cards, holiday cards, photos, etc. This has definitely saved my hand from writing our address hundreds of times, and it’s so cute.
4. Graco’s Sweet Slumber Sound Machine. I got this as a gift before Charlotte was born, and I wish I’d had one when Dexter was a baby. I love hearing the soothing white noise coming over the baby monitor from Charlotte’s room. It makes me feel sleepy right away.
5. Stella & Dot’s Deco Drop earrings. I used to wear different earrings every day when I worked in an office, but now with two little kids, it’s easier to keep these on most of the time — they’re classics!
6. My Singer sewing machine. I love making Charlotte custom dresses and hair accessories, soon I was making them for her friends, as well. I started selling them in a local boutique, and doing custom orders through my little hobby business, Lottie & Dex Designs. I have no plans to try to become a fashion designer, but this is a fun way for me to justify buying cute fabric!
7. PicMonkey. I post a ton of photos of the kids on Facebook, but I don’t like posting eight nearly-identical shots just because they’re all cute. So if I turn eight different shots into a little collage, it’s only one photo — all the cuteness, without bombarding everyone’s newsfeed with a million photos!
8. Comfort Jeggings/Jeans from Reitmans. Since having my son, these are the ONLY kind of jeans I buy. They don’t have zippers or buttons — so you don’t get that pinchy feeling — but they look like regular skinny jeans. LOVE!