Name: Magdalena Lasota
Location: Chicago, IL
Occupation: I’m a stay at home mom and the founder of The MLM Brand, a maternity fashion startup for women on-the-go. Our first best-selling design — the little black breastfeeding dress — is a favorite among breastfeeding and pregnant moms. I would love to offer 10% off to Mindful Kids Coaching followers using the code MINDFULKIDS10.
Children (Names, Age): Julian 2, Adrian, 5
What brings you joy as a parent?
When I became a mother of two, I worried whether I would be able to be a good parent to both of them. Seeing my children together — Julian kissing Adrian’s bumped knee, Adrian grabbing a yogurt for his little brother at snack time — brings me a lot of joy!
What are some of your challenges as a parent?
Balancing parenting duties with all the other family and household responsibilities. One of the biggest challenges I had to overcome as a parent was to learn to let go, delegate, and stop blaming myself for not being able to do everything. Getting help with cleaning, signing up for meal subscription service, getting a baby sitter, and simplifying our routines are all strategies that improved the quality of our family’s life.
What is the best advice you received or lessons learned as a parent?
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is that in motherhood everything is a season. Taking care of yourself is taking care of your family. It truly takes a village to raise children. I often tell my new mom friends this: Do not be afraid to ask for help. It’s nothing to be ashamed of — it needs to be normalized and celebrated. We were not meant to parent alone.
How do you practice self care?
Finding time for self care became easier now that both of my kids are at school at least a couple of hours a day. The routine is never the same week to week as I try to juggle motherhood and growing a business, but I’ve found my rhythm. I’ve learned that regular workouts, uninterrupted blocks of work time, coffee dates with my mom friends are all good for my soul, and make me a better, more patient parent.
How do you make time for your relationship with your partner?
We try to have a date night (at home or out) at least once a month. The truth is, my husband’s demanding schedule as a resident physician doesn’t leave him much time for anything else. It’s our mutual hope that this will change in the future. Every couple tells us that getting a sitter weekly has saved their marriage and sanity, but it’s not our reality at the moment. Frankly, the societal pressure to have a date night is one of those parenting “should do’s” that we’re not doing, and it makes me feel guilty sometimes.
Are your parenting styles different than your partners? How do you manage parenting with your partner?
My husband and I were raised in two different cultures. I grew up in Poland, while his family comes from Puerto Rico. Our children attend a Jewish school. Raising a multicultural and interfaith family can be challenging at times, but I think both my husband and I are committed to raising kind, tolerant kids. Living in a diverse city such as Chicago and having friends from diverse cultural backgrounds is helpful. I can’t pinpoint any stark differences in our parenting styles, but, being honest, after 10 years of marriage my husband lets me have the final voice.
How do you spend quality time with your children?
At home we make art, play board games, read together. With my little one, we build train tracks. With my 5 year old, we build legos. Our kids love when we get down on the carpet to play with them and enjoy working together on a family project (card box house, pumpkin carving, painting a canvas). We spend a lot of time going to museums, parks, indoor playgrounds, theater shows, music classes and playing sports. Chicago is a truly wonderful city when it comes to finding quality and affordable activities for the whole family.
What parenting tools work for you and your family?
We’ve learned that what works for one child doesn’t always work for the other child. Time-outs work for our 5 year old who likes to be alone to calm down for a few minutes, and comes out when he’s ready to talk or hug it out. Time-outs as a discipline tool don’t work for our 2.5 year old. When he gets in trouble, he gets sad, begins to cry, and wants to be comforted right away.
After trying various methods we went back to the old fashioned rewards system. Our 5 year old gets rewarded with pom poms for chores and kind, thoughtful behavior. He gets to pick a special experience once the jar is filled. I think our 2.5 year is too little to understand the pom pom rewards system just yet.
Favorite parenting books or resources?
Favorite blog: Mother Untitled for the most helpful tips on navigating the pause between career and motherhood.
The Whole Brain Child for clearly explaining how the developing brain of a child works in various situations.
The Opposite of Worry for the playful approach to childhood anxieties and fears.
In day to day parenting situations, my mom friends — online and in real life — are the best resource.
What do you wish for your children?
I hope they grow up to be kind, compassionate, tolerant, well rounded, and confident.