We had a chance to catch up with Valerie to discuss motherhood, work and #TimeForYou2017!
Where are you from?
I’m a New Yorker but I was born and bred in New Jersey.
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
Two! Ages 6 and 4
Why did you start your blog?
I started Mommy R+R because I attended one too many play-dates where mothers were only talking about their children. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; it’s just I wanted to hear more about them. What they did for a living and what their hobbies were. I felt as though it was taboo to even inquire to know more about women before they became mothers. It was in that moment that I knew I had to create a forum where moms could gather (in person or online) that would allow them to get in touch with themselves and with others.
What inspires you to do this blog?
Moms inspire me. Since becoming one I know how hard it is to work whether in the home and/or outside of it and the stress that comes with this job is tremendous. My readers are what keeps me going. To know I am giving them a piece of calm or hilarity in the middle of chaos called motherhood.
How do you manage your day-to-day life and your blog life?
I’m not going to lie to you it’s hard. There is all this talk about balance but it really doesn’t exist. I just make sure to carve out certain times of the day for my blog and for family time. There are times where I may spend more time doing one more over the other, but as long as the family is happy and clients are happy then I consider it a job well done.
Who are your “mommyspirations”?
My mom is my biggest inspiration. She did it alone after my father passed on. She didn’t take a lot of time for herself. As a matter of fact she worked nights and still stayed awake with me. I don’t know how she did it. She is the foundation of Mommy R+R. My other “mommyspirations” are my blogging colleagues. These women come from all walks of life and it’s amazing (and inspiring) to see the challenges they overcome while achieving their personal and professional goals.
How else do you find time to do things for yourself?
When I’m not out in the streets of New York City for the blog you can find me at home. The older I get the happier I am to remain in the house. I am a huge t.v. nut. Game of Thrones is LIFE! I’m also into The Affair. I live tweet that every Sunday for fun. I also like to read. I have stacks of books on my desk. I start more than one at a time and go back and forth depending on my mood. Right now I’m into Luuvie’s “I’m Judging You” for when I wanna laugh out loud and “Mom Boss” by Nicole Feliciano when I want to learn a tip on how to become a better blogger and mom boss.
Do you work full-time?
Mommy R+R has turned into my full time job. With the knowledge I’ve gained through blogging its allowed me to explore other avenues that give me the opportunity to make money in addition to my blog. The two biggest things are: I write for other websites and I work as a freelance Virtual Assistant and Digital Graphic Artist. I basically work with other bloggers and small business owners to aid them in the expansion of their businesses by creating social media graphics and design websites.
How do you de-stress?
Read, eat and drink. Those are the three things I need in my life to sustain after a hectic day. Which is probably everyday. Oh, and nap. Those days where my husband keeps the kids occupied so I can sleep makes all things right with the world. After a good hour or two hour nap I feel so great!
Why is R&R important to you and what does that mean to you?
It’s important to me because without it we as mothers cannot function. Our whole lives are dictated by our moods and when you’re at your wits your family feels it. That’s why I stress R&R so hard. I want moms to know that you should never feel guilty about taking time for you. It’s not selfish to go to the movies alone or to buy something for you. Not everything has to revolve around your children. YOU deserve to do things that bring you happiness as often as possible.
What are your goals and how are you achieving your goals while being a mommy?
In the beginning, my goal was to climb the corporate ladder but since I’ve started working for myself my only goal is to continue to grow my OWN business. To learn as much as I can so that I can become a better blogger and business woman. My goal is to show my children, especially my daughter, that she doesn’t have punch a clock for someone else to be successful. She can take the reins and control her own destiny to create her own empire.
What does your typical Friday night consist of?
Doing anything that’s not work. Friday is usually the night I’m in bed the earliest. The work week is so busy that I can’t help but to crash. But this month it’s my birthday so my husband is gonna take me away. I’m really looking forward to that because we haven’t had a date in a while so we’re going to do a movie and spend the night in a swank hotel.
How do you get ready for each week? Any rituals or tasks that you must complete?
My white board is my friend. It lets me know major projects and other things that are coming up in the week. It’s right in front of me so I can’t miss it. Lately, I admit I’m slipping on it but I’m gonna get back on track with it. I also use the app Asana. This lets me jot notes and send things to partners who I team up with. I also research topics that I want to talk about and make notes about it for future posts. But as a whole I have to admit that organization is not a strong suit for me. I’m very much a fly by the seat of my pants kinda gal. Sometimes its works and others not so much. But I’m working on it. It’s one of my 2017 goals.
Tell us about the Daily Self-Care Challenge. What should our moms know?
During the Daily Self-Care Challenge 2017, moms can get a list of daily activities that they can do alone (or with a friend) and share pictures to Instagram using #TimeForYOU2017. Moms can visit my website to download a FREE monthly calendar that will help her track activities. They can print and post it on their fridge or vanity as a daily reminder that self-care is necessary to their well being and completely non-negotiable. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! When you subscribe to the Daily Self-Care Challenge newsletter for early access to the monthly challenge lists, receive words of inspiration, free digital downloads and a chance to win a prize at the end of every month.