Welcome to the Mom Force Podcast! Vanessa Quigley, mother of 7, entrepreneur and co-founder of Chatbooks, hosts this refreshing take on all things mom. Along with her 4 sisters, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of real life parenting together, bringing you some tried and true tips and tricks to help make mom-life a little easier. And check out the #momforce by Chatbooks Facebook group where thousands of moms are sharing real mom advice.
Here's the Latest Episode from The MomForce Podcast by Chatbooks:
Morning schedules, taking the family camping, and parenting different personalities are among the few hot topics Vanessa and her co-hosts and sisters talked about in this first season of The MomForce Podcast. Vanessa is revisiting ten of the stand out tips and tricks in this season finale episode.
1. Hire a “warm body” to babysit when the kids are all in bed.
2. When should you let your girls start shaving their legs??
3. Why printed pictures can strengthen your family relationships
4. How you can comfort a grieving friend - What advice would you give them
5. Making service a priority in your family - Getting kids involved
6. Helping your kids feel seen, safe, soothed and secure
7. Getting on the same with your partner about the family budget
8. Knowing the difference between discipline and punishment
9. When the best time to go to sleep is - and how to actually fall asleep
10. Healthy ways to cope with anxiety, for parents and kids.
As we prepare for our next season, we would love to hear from you. What do you want to learn about? What experts would you like to hear from? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Parenting is hard and we don’t have to do it alone! The MomForce is here to help you. And don’t forget to join our Facebook group, where thousands of like minded women from all over the world are helping each other out as we all learn and grow in our own womanhood/motherhood. Til next season, gals!
Let's face it. Mental Illness has a stigma. On this episode of The MomForce podcast, Vanessa and two of her sisters, Erika and Shelly, are tackling the touchy subject of mental health. Award winning journalist and former co-host of CBS’s The Early Show, Jane Clayson Johnson joins the conversation, discussing the need to destigmatize how we view mental health as well as her own struggles with clinical depression. She shares insights from her book, Silent Souls Weeping, where she interviewed over 150 men, women, and teens about their experience with depression. As mothers, many of us put unrealistic expectations on ourselves and when those aren't met, the sometimes crippling disappointment can spiral. In today’s conversation, Jane and the MomForce sisters discuss real life tips and tricks on how to cope, when to ask for help, and how we can support those around us that may be suffering. Help us change the stigma of mental health. Sharing our stories is the start.
Father’s Day is around the corner and on this extra special episode of The MomForce Podcast, Vanessa is talking to three very different dads about what fatherhood looks like in their home. Aaron McGee of @fatherhoodisdope talks about destigmatizing fatherhood, specifically as it pertains to men of color. Scout Masterson talks about the adoption process he and his partner, Bill, went through to finally get their two adorable children. Jeremy Andrus is a serial entrepreneur and the current CEO of Traeger Grills. He talks about teaching his 6 children the importance of service and giving back to their community. Whether you are in LA, Tennessee, or the mountains of Utah, fatherhood looks different for everyone. But one uniting factor for all these dads is teaching their kids to make the world a better place! Thanks dads, for all you do!
Sleep is one of a mother’s most coveted things. Mama sleep and baby’s sleep. In today’s episode of The MomForce Podcast, Kara and Shelly are talking about the things they learned from our previous podcast episode about sleep. Shelly’s 5th baby is 2 and had been a terrible sleeper. But thanks to the tips Shelly learned from Lauren Olson’s episode, baby Otto has mastered sleeping in this crib. Kara is due with her 5th baby this summer and Becca Campbell’s episode provided much needed direction on how to make sure newborns (and moms) can get the rest they need. And Christine Lawler provided tips both Kara and Shelly are using on how to get the best sleep with your partner!
For more information on these sleep pros, check out their websites!
Kate Call from @latewithKate is not afraid to goof off for the camera! For years, she’s been making us laugh with her hysterical antics on her popular instagram account. But did you know she also is an incredibly savvy business woman who created her own company, Lates by Kate? (If you need buttery soft jammies, then look no further!) In this episode of The MomForce Podcast, Vanessa and co-host Erika talk with Kate about how she came up with business ventures and how she “balances” work life and mom life - psssst, child labor! (wink wink) Kate also tells us why it's important for her to make people laugh. And it has everything to do with feeling comfortable in your own skin!
Budgeting can be a four letter word! But our friend, Jordan Page makes it simple and dare we say FUN! With purse strings tightening up all around us due to #socialdistancing, we are revisiting our popular episode to highlight Jordan's best tips for creating and sticking to a budget! Psssst - for the entire month of May, she's offering her Budget Bootcamp & Productivity Camp FREE! Check out her website for details!
Want to learn more about The MomForce Podcast - be sure to join our Facebook group - full of thousands of moms from all over the world, helping each other through the highs and lows of motherhood/womanhood. Also, follow our host @vanessaquigley for all the latest podcast details.
On this episode of the MomForce Podcast, Vanessa and her sister, Erika, are talking to Vlada Bortnik, the founder of Marco Polo, a popular video based messaging app. Vlada tells the backstory of the company and how it was created to help connect with others on their own schedule. As busy moms, keeping in touch with family and friends can get difficult. Vlada explains how Marco Polo can help! Vanessa and Erika are HUGE fans of the app and use it daily to stay in touch with their sisters and friends all over the country. Vlada also tells us why it's a completely safe app for children to use, which, BONUS, we have lots of children! And they love to connect with their peeps as well. There is science behind connection and the entire team at Marco Polo are on a mission to cure the loneliness epidemic. And during all this social distancing and Covid-19, we all are feeling a bit more lonely. Download the Marco Polo app and see why The MomForce loves it so much!
Want to learn more about The MomForce Podcast - be sure to join our Facebook group - full of thousands of moms from all over the world, helping each other through the highs and lows of motherhood/womanhood. Also, follow our host @vanessaquigley for all the latest podcast details.
Mother's Day is nearly upon us and it's sure to be unlike any other.
On today's extra special podcast episode, Vanessa and her 4 sisters (and co-hosts) are talking about all things they've learned during quarantine. Erika, Leah, Shelly, and Kara join Vanessa via ZOOM to discuss some hot topics. With 30 kids between them and spread out across the country, the sisters have seen just about everything and are ready to dish on all of it!
A few of the questions they talk about are - "How has your relationship with your husband changed?" "What have you learned about your kids?" "How will your mothering change as a result of all this?" "What have you realized about yourself?"
Building a business takes patience and grit and a whole lot of passion. Anna Lozano and Lindy Sood of @lovepoweredco have all that and more. Vanessa and co-host (and sis) Leah are chatting with the two mom bosses about how their business began and how they juggle all the many hats they are required to wear.
Leaning on each other's strengths, they took the leap and began Love Powered Co, whose mission is "to empower the next generation of mindful leaders, through the POWER of I AM. "
Starting a company while raising young families didn't come without its hiccups, but Anna and Lindy's passion for helping others through positive affirmations has been what has kept the two of them going, especially during this difficult quarantine time. If ever the world needed to be flooded with inspiring self talk, it's now!
We each have a pack of their beautifully designed cards. It's a beautiful way to start your morning - pick a card. Read it to yourself. Internalize it. And let your day be better.
Want more tips and tricks on tackling motherhood (especially during Covid-19) - Follow us at @THEMOMFORCEPODCAST
Then be sure to head over to our MOMFORCE FACEBOOK GROUP - full of thousands of moms from all over the world, helping each other through the highs and lows of motherhood/womanhood and life, including WFH, homeschooling, self care!
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which make you feel good. When you exercise via a High Fitness class, those endorphins are jamming out to wicked tunes right along with you!! On today’s episode of The MomForce Podcast Vanessa and co-host Erika are talking to Emily Nelson, co-founder of High Fitness. Emily is sharing how this incredibly popular fitness trend came about and how she and her co-founder Amber Zenith are keeping the music pumping and the sweat coming, even during this #socialsdistancing time.
What is High Fitness, you might ask? Take everything you loved about aerobics from the 80s and give it a modern spin. Using simplified aerobic sequences and adding intense fitness based moves, participants get a
safe and effective workout, while having a blast doing it! BUT - because this is a group-type exercise, classes have halted during quarantine. Emily admitted the first two weeks were the hardest of her life! Because of their business model and music licensing laws, adding virtual classes proved more difficult than one would think. But they soon were able to work out some of the legal issues and are now able to provide some virtual classes on their popular YouTube Channel.
And you’re like Vanessa or Erika, it’s the mental/emotional aspect of working out that keeps them coming back for more! And Emily suggests even if it's for 10 minutes- move your body. Get your heart rate up. You will feel better. You will be happier. There are plenty of resources available online to help you get moving. Check out High Fitness’ Youtube Channel or Instagram page for ideas. And when the gyms open back up, check out their website to find a local High Fitness class near you! You’ll be hooked!
There seems to be no getting around screen time while we are all quarantining, especially when mom needs some uninterrupted time to get a few things done! On this MomForce Mini episode, Leah is sharing her thoughts on screen time, particularly video games and social media. (pssst. She may have said "death to snap chat!")
Psychologist and bestselling author Dr. Lisa Damour is joining Vanessa and co-host (and sister) Shelly on today’s episode of The MomForce Podcast to talk about stress and anxiety and how we can manage it!
“Stress occurs anytime we are adapting to new circumstances.” Raise your hand if you are feeling stressed during this quarantined time!! Dr. Damour says that the feelings of stress aren’t always bad. They are a normal human function. They can lead to growth and durability. But what happens when that stress is too intense, like during Covid-19? Dr. Damour suggests staying away from what she calls negative coping strategies. That can be poor eating habits, not getting enough exercise, turning to substance abuse (ie, social media, alcohol). Instead, look to maintain social connections, get outside more, take care of your body. These are all coping strategies that will help reduce the long term effects of all this increased stress.
Likewise, anxiety is your body’s natural response when it doesn’t feel safe. Allowing ourselves and our kids feel and experience anxiety is healthy. But just like stress, trouble happens when we let anxiety get out of control. Dr. Damour says one of the simplest things we can do is simply acknowledge that what we are feeling is normal and an expected response. When that isn’t enough to put our anxiety in check, a licensed psychologist can give you effective cognitive and physical techniques to bring your anxiety down.
For kids, it can be difficult to know when they need professional help. Dr. Damour says that if physical or emotional milestones are being missed, it may be time for an appointment or if your child specifically asks to talk to someone, we should honor that request.
So here we are. Quarantined. #physicaldistanced. And feeling all kinds of emotions and wondering how to cope. Thankfully, Dr. Damour has a step by step strategy that we can all use to help get us through any meltdown. Click HERE to see it! And while you’re at it, you can read her New York Times article about “quaranteenagers” and how we can support them through this time!
This is an uncertain time, full of worry and anxiousness. Being pregnant can intensify those feelings! On this MomForce mini episode, Kara is talking today about her experiences being pregnant with baby #5 during Covid-19. Lets just say, thank heavens for FaceTime!
#Socialdistancing has upended most of our lives. We’ve been told to “stay safe, stay home”. And while that is exactly what we need to do, it's created a dire situation for many businesses that rely on the public to keep their doors opened. No industry has felt this more than your local food joints! Without major corporations backing them, these “ma and pop” shops have had to get creative in how they can continue to provide services to their customers while maintaining the recommended and sometimes mandated rules of #socialdistancing.
In today’s episode of The MomForce Podcast, host Vanessa Quigley is joined by her husband (and Chatbooks co-founder / CEO) as they chat with three local restaurants about how they’ve had to adapt to the current situation.
Adam Terry, the owner of Waffle Love says the best thing you can do right now is to order a full priced meal! He says that businesses like his have significantly slimmer margins, so literally, every penny helps! What’s Vanessa’s favorite thing on the menu? Chicken and waffles!
Cameron Treu, the owner of Bam Bam’s BBQ (and host of The Nitty Gritty Podcast) says to spread the love! If you are heading to a drive thru that has 20 cars lined up, maybe find a joint that doesn't. Look for a place that doesn't even have a drive thru, but have improvised with a pull up service. Everyone needs a little bit of love right now.
Jayson Edwards, the owner of JDawgs says to get scrappy! Rethink how you sell your food. If that means creating “at home kits” then do it! Jason and his team put together DIY kits of their famous hotdogs and special sauce for families to pick up and enjoy at home.
This is a weird time. A hard time. And seeing communities band together to help support local businesses show that the human spirit is ready for the challenge. If you are able, order take out. When #socialdistancing becomes a thing of the past, we are going to want to hit up our favorite hot spots and supporting them now will ensure that their doors will be opened and ready to serve!
Click here to watch Waffle Love's TV show
Vanessa and Nate's podcast episode on The Nitty Gritty Podcast
And check our Show Notes podcast blog page for Vanessa and Nate's top 10 local food spots!
There are no GNO's or lunch dates happening. And that has left many of us feeling isolated and alone. On today's MomForce Mini, Shelly is giving her best tips and tricks on how to feel socially connected while keeping your physical distance. Psssst - Call your girlfriends. You both will feel better because of it!
There is an acronym that is having its time in the spotlight: WFH. Working From Home is not a new concept, but due to the world wide pandemic and #socialdistancing, many of us have found ourselves trying to figure out how to make the most of this new norm!
Chatbooks co-founder and podcast host Vanessa Quigley is talking to Ashley aka AB, our marketing product manager about how she is managing her WFH schedule while having a 6 month old baby at home.
Vanessa also gets some best tips from some veteran WFH Chatbooks employees. Did you know the majority of Chatbooks Customer service team is all remote, and mostly all mothers - 12 babies born to our MomForce team this past year! ! So when questions come up about how to balance WFH and motherhood (and for so many of us - HOMESCHOOLING) we knew we would get the best tips from these women.
Tip 1: Krista, who has been WFH for 10 years says do NOT get rid of “me time”! Whether it is a walk outside or taking a bath, taking care of yourself is what will give you the stamina to keep going.
Tip 2 : Hilary likes to block out 30 minutes in the day to tidy up. With kids home all day and schoolwork and homework and meals, the house can get away from you. Take some time to pick up - enlist kids to help. Having a tidy workspace can help improve everyone's mood and productivity.
Tip 3 : This tip comes from Ashley, who knows all too well that the 3pm slump happens at home as well as at the office! Her go to fix - Dr. Pepper! Find something that you love, a treat, a drink, a snack and allow a moment of indulgence.
Tip 4 : Alyce is 100% cool with tech! When she really needs some time to buckle down and get work done, or if she needs to take a call with a client, allowing screen time for her kids is top of her go to strategy! And especially now, with kids home from school, all day, everyday, relaxing whatever screen limits you may have just might prove to be the best course.
This sudden change of circumstances can be hard. On everyone. It might take a hot minute to find what works for you and your family. Vanessa’s final tip is it's ok to let things go! And we get a new day to try again! Good luck mamas! We are rooting for you.
Check out The MomForce Facebook group for lots more advice on WFH, homeschooling, self care and more!
#SocialDistancing has given us a lot more time at home with our families. Like, a lot more time! So what are you doing with all that time? On this MomForce Mini, Erika is talking about how her family of 9 are spending their time together and how its forced them to get creative in what they do.
Sleep impacts our mental well-being. And during times of stress and anxiety, sleep suffers even more. New parents, especially, can suffer, not just from lack of sleep, but lack of intimacy that can be a result of no sleep. Host Vanessa Quigley is joined by co-host (and sister) Erika to talk to licensed sex therapist and sleep expert Christine Lawler about how parents/adults can get the best sleep they can (and hopefully better intimacy will follow)
Tip 1. If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes of lying down, get out of bed.Go do something productive until you start to feel drowsy.
Tip 2. Stop the negative talk. When we tell ourselves, “I can’t sleep. I’m a terrible sleeper. I’m just going to lie in bed, awake, all night.” we create an association that can make it even more difficult to get rest. Our beds need to be the place where we sleep, not scroll social media, so we need to change the behavioral association we have with our beds.
Tip 3. Find your ideal amount of sleep. Some people can function perfectly on 6 hours while others need 7.5 hours. Christine helps her clients find that sweet spot that allows them to get the most beneficial nights sleep.
Tip 4. Talk about sex. Tiredness can be interpreted as disinterest. Open conversations about where your head is at can clear most confusion about desire and frequency. Dry spells happen. As long as you are still communicating with your partner, sex will happen. Professional counseling can help get to the roots of the issue, when needed.
Tip 5. It’s ok for both partners not to go to bed at the same time. You may just need to get more creative at when you can be intimate.
Sleep can make or break us, as parents and as partners. There will always be a quick fix pill, but real change happens when you put in the work, with your sleep cycle and your sex cycle! You can check out Christine’s websites The Peaceful Sleeper and Christine Lawler for more tips and resources on both topics!
Did you ever think you’d be homeschooling all of your kids? Well whether we like it or not, many of us are getting that opportunity right now amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. And in today’s MomForce Mini Vanessa shares some of her experiences homeschooling 5 of her 7 children and why she loved it!
Host Vanessa Quigley is joined by co-host (and sister) Shelly to talk to pediatric sleep expert Lauren Olson about how we can get our kids to sleep - and Shelly REALLY needs the help. Her darling 18 month old is waking up 5x a night and mama needs some help. Thankfully, Christine is full of great tips.
Tip 1. Try not to give your toddler food an hour before bedtime - their bodies will be wanting to digest instead of falling asleep. BUT - if you have to give a snack, did you know bananas have tryptophan in it??? Go with that.
Tip 2. Make sure your child is getting their caloric needs met during the day
Tip 3. Wean your child off their dependency. If they are falling asleep with a bottle, Chrisitne tells us to only offer half a bottle. And then the next night, maybe it’s water instead of milk. And then the next night, it's a sip of water. Older children have a much more difficult time with the “cry it out” method. Weaning requires work on our part, but ultimately is the best solution,
Tip 4. For a child that used to be a great sleeper but suddenly stops, look for outside stressors. Has there been a change in their daily routine? Are they going through a growth spurt? Is a parent traveling more? A new baby? Once you identify that stressor, you can help talk your child through their feelings, or if they are too young, it will give you more patience while working through the night wakings.
Tip 5. If you child wakes up scared, redirection works well. Christine gives the example of giving them a “dream stick” or rock, so that when they wake and are scared, they can hold the stick or rock in their hand a feel mom’s love for them. You might be in the trenches for a bit, but they will get there in time.
Tip 6. If you give melatonin, 2-3 days max. That’s all she suggests. Don’t rely on it as a permanent solution to sleep problems.
And perhaps the best tip of all, be patient. You child does want to sleep. Sometimes they just need a little help getting there. For more information on Lauren and her sleep solutions, check out
Social distancing is the new buzzword. And Vanessa and Erika are giving their take on the news surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. Pssst, as mothers of 7 children each, they really aren't hoarding toilet paper. One package lasts them til Wednesday! Stay calm, everyone. Wash your hands and take care of your neighbor!
March is National Sleep Month and to kick off our 3 part series dedicated to helping us get the best sleep possible, we have pediatric sleep consultant and podcast host Becca Campbell joining us on today’s episode of the MomForce podcast. Our host Vanessa and co-host Kara (and sister) ask Becca a few questions specific to baby sleep and she gives us some very useful tips
Tip #1: Many moms like to have their baby’s close to them at night. A bassinet next to the bed is a great way to keep your newborn close. But do you find yourself waking up to every coo and grunt? Try moving the bassinet a little further down the bed, or to the other side of the room. Your baby is still nearby, but all those sweet nighttime sounds aren’t disturbing your own sleep.
Tip #2: Does this scenario sound familiar? Baby is tired and cranky but won’t go down for a nap, so you strap him in the carseat for a quick ride around the neighborhood to fall asleep? Becca says eliminate the props. Teaching your baby to fall asleep without pacifiers or bottles or car rides allows them to self soothe, so when they wake up 20 minutes into their nap, they can roll over and fall back asleep on their own.
Tip #3: It’s 5 am and your toddler is ready to roll for the day.. So to buy ourselves more precious sleep, we give her a sippy of chocolate milk, turn a show on and we go back to bed. Yes, we might get an hour or so of sleep, but this teaches your child that as soon as they wake up, they get their “fix”. Becca suggests waiting at least 10 minutes before giving any drinks or shows or “fixes”.
Need more help? Use code MOMFORCE to get $10 off Becca’s sleep course. And check out her website for a free napping calendar.
Do you wish you had endless energy to do everything on your to-do list? What if we told you, we interviewed a real life Energizer Bunny and have some simple tips and tricks to share!
On today’s episode of the MomForce Podcast, our host Vanessa and her sis Shelly Hyde are chatting with a literal powerhouse, Meaghan Murphy. Meaghan is the new editor in chief of Women’s Day magazine. Previously she worked at MTV, Victoria Secret, Self Magazine, Cosmo, and Good Housekeeping magazine. She’s also a regular on TV shows like Live with Kelly & Ryan and she is a co host on a new podcast. AND she has 3 kids! Are you ready to learn what her “secret sauce” is for managing her life?
Exercise. Let’s say that again. Exercise. Meaghan is passionate about moving her body everyday.
Vanessa asked how she motivates herself to workout and she gave some great advice. Make it bite-sized and actionable. Avoid an all or nothing mindset. Enlist a friend. It’s always more fun when with a buddy. And our favorite tip - reward yourself! And not with food (food is just fuel). Tell yourself that after 3 gym days, you get to buy yourself a new cute sports bra.
Sleep. Meaghan’s advice is to be as specific as we can will our sleep schedule. And is anyone else guilty about falling asleep with your phone in your hand? Put it away and create a pre-bedtime routine and stick to it.
Relationships. Surround yourself with people who lift you up. It can be emotionally and physically draining trying to keep a dying / toxic relationship afloat. Healthy friendships make you happier! It’s also important to nurture your family relationships. Meaghan loves to take her family on adventures, taking pictures along the way, and then reliving those adventures through her Chatbooks - simple photo books she prints out for her kids. “We help author our kids' memories” through Chatbooks.
Gratitude might be Meaghan’s #1 ingredient in her “secret sauce”. She likes to look for one thing that makes her say YAY each day. She created @theyaylist on Instagram to post those things and she encourages everyone to do the same. Practicing the act of gratitude daily is transformative.
We’ve all heard of Marie Kondo her method of decluttering that frees up space in your homes, closets, dressers, and attics. But did you know you can do the same thing for your motherhood? You can actually purge some of the things from the way you “mother” that don’t spark joy! On today’s episode of the Mom Force podcast, Vanessa is chatting with Rachel Nielson, host of the popular 3in30 podcast, about how to take an internal inventory of your to-do list to make sure you have space and time for what you find most fulfilling.
So how do we declutter our motherhood, you ask? It's very similar to how you would declutter a physical space.
Step 1: Take inventory of how you spend your time. Write down everything you are currently doing - for yourself, for your kids, your job, etc.
Step 2: On a seperate sheet of paper, write down everything you think you should be doing.
Step 3: Look at those two lists and start Kondo-ing away! Mark which ones aren’t sparking joy, or aren’t necessary, or things that could be delegated to someone else.
But what about laundry, you say? Yeah we might hate laundry, but it still needs to get done, right? Yes - and this is the liberating part - you can decide to delegate it OR find a way to make it more enjoyable for you. Save your favorite podcast to listen to while folding or watch the show you’ve been dvr-ing. You are in charge of your own happiness. You can make a tedious task more enjoyable by your attitude.And last but not least…
Step 4: Once you’ve made this inventory of your life (your motherhood❤) and you’ve eliminated or delegated things off your list, you’re ready for the fun part! Now you get to fill that newly found time and space with things that you truly love including those things you’ve been missing out on.
Rachel reminds us to be careful not to compare to what we see other moms doing on social media. We are each different and the way we mother will be different too! But one thing is for certain...every mother deserves to have deep joy, clarity, and contentment in her life.
We've got TWO sisters on today's MomForce Mini! Kara and Shelly discuss the whole gender reveal phenomenon. Are we crazy, but does a helicopter sprinkling colored confetti onto the onlookers seem a little much? ALSO - Kara spills the beans on a secret she's been keeping!
For years, Ralphie Jacobs of @simplyonpurpose has been teaching parents to find the good in their children! And today, she is answering a few of the most common questions we see in our MomForce Facebook group.
Question 1: How do you discipline a child when they do NOT listen? Ralphi tells us to first think about what we are expecting our child to do and then to remmebr that there are 2 steps to compliance: starting to comply and then full compliance. So if you want your child to turn off the TV and come to dinner, tell them they have 20 seconds to get ready to come to dinner. Then follow up with “Now it’s time to come to dinner” Children want to please their parents but they need to know what their expectations are - and remember - they model what they see.
Question 2: How do you stop children from teasing/fighting? Did you know that 90% of sibling conflict is inconsequential - meaning it does not require your attention. As soon as you insert yourself into the conflict, it prolongs the problem and it turns into sibling rivalry - who gets mom on their side!? Ralphie reminds us that when she overhears her children argue, instead of getting upset, she reminds herself that they are safe. They feel secure enough to talk about their problems in a home that is full of love, knowing they will be supported when they make mistakes. Children learn valuable lessons on how to properly resolve conflicts when they are given the chance to do so. Remeber. You are the parent and you get to decide how far you will let the conflict go and when to step in. SImple, direct statements, said in love and compassion will help diffuse a situation that may have gotten out of hand. They are kids, after all.
Question 3: How do you discipline a two and a half year old? I need something that I can do consistently and everywhere. Our favorite quote from the episode came when Ralphie was answering this question. She said that to discipline is to teach! She also says that most of our children’s misbehavior is actually stress behavior. Ask yourself - Is my child tired? Hungry? Anxious? The same goes for teenagers. Instead of a tantrum, they act tough and “intimidate” But are they tired? Overworked? Stressed? A good night’s sleep does wonder for toddlers and teenagers alike!
Ralphie leaves our listeners with her last words of encouragement which are “It’s never too late to make positive changes” Kids are inherently good. And we are the exact best parents our kids need. And like Ralphie likes to say - “When a child feels well, they behave well!”
Valentine's Day! Do you love it or hate it? Do you expect roses and chocolate? On this MomForce Mini episode, Leah talks about her unmet and possibly unrealistic expectations she once had about V-day back when she was dating her husband. She also tells us how she and her family of 9 (NINE!) like to celebrate Valentine's day now!
Being married 25 years is an accomplishment. Throw in raising 7 children and running a successful business and you may feel like you’re looking at a unicorn. Please meet Chatbooks co-founders Nate and Vanessa Quigley.
In today’s extra special episode, Nate joins Vanessa as they talk about her 7 tips for feeling more connected to Nate. And in true yin and yang form, Nate shares his commentary on what he thinks helps him to feel more connected to Vanessa.
Tip 1. The Check-in. Just a simple quick text asking how the day is going so far can help keep you connected throughout the day. This is especially easy for Vanessa and Nate as they work together. They can just look across their desks and check in on each other.
Tip 2. Assume the Best. This can be hard sometimes. Imagine you come home and your partner is ignoring your questions about their day. It can be easy to think they are upset with you. But according to Nate, “It never is!” Assuming the best makes it easier to look past a moody partner that probably had a long day and is exhausted and might just need some extra loving attention.
Tip 3. Cheer Each Other On. Be your partner’s biggest cheerleader. Everyone loves to be told they are doing a great job, especially in front of other people. So look for the good and let them know you see it and that you love it!
Tip 4. Date Each Other. The regular date night is usually the first casualty of a busy workload and growing family, but reconnecting with your partner is essential to keeping love alive. Want to take it to the next level? Go out with other couples. Watching your spouse interact in social settings can remind you of what you were so attracted to in the beginning of the relationship.
Tip 5. Have Fun! Nate knows Vanessa loves to laugh, so he likes to save funny videos or memes to share with her at night. Laughing can reduce stress so why not be the reason your partner can decompress? Win Win!
Tip 6. Work at the Relationship. We can always find ways we can improve. Take the time to learn what experts have to say and then apply it in your relationship. Vanessa loves the Connexions podcast and Couples Coaching with Natalie Clay podcast and so many other books like Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and The 5 Love Languages.
Tip 7. Don’t Compare. You know the saying - Comparison is the thief of joy. No two people are the same and no two relationships are the same. You never know what is going on behind closed doors. Focus on the good right in front of you.
Marriage and running a business are not for the faint of heart. But if you put the work in, you can reap the dividends and happiness in your marriage. And if all else fails, take Nate’s advice for - “I know that if I’m doing the dishes, Vanessa’s happy.“
Vanessa and her sister Kara are joined by Rachel Bertsche, a New York Times bestselling author of The Kids Are In Bed. Rachel tells us how to be honest with ourselves about what we really enjoy, and all three discuss their personal identities outside of motherhood.
Cause lets face it - this is hard! Motherhood and parenting is a wonderful gift, but do you ever feel like it becomes part of your identity and you start to forget what your life was like before your family? And even if you do have a chance to relax, you most likely might be thinking about the next appointment you have to get your children to or that nagging item you still haven’t checked off your to-do list. But parenthood can only be most fulfilling if you are the best version of yourself. So. How can you balance your identity as a person with your identity as a parent?
Rachelsuggests making a list of the things you can do for yourself as you take a little free time. She shares about what she enjoys doing, and encourages every mom and parent to enjoy the indulgences a little. What is your go to "selfcare" thing to do?
Have you ever said something to your child or husband and then thought, “Oh my gosh. I am my mother!” Well for better or worse, our childhood experiences, family dynamics, and the way we were mothered all play a role in how we raise our own families.
Today on The MomForce Podcast, Vanessa and her sisters Erika, Leah, Shelly, and Kara are joined by their mother April Munns to chat about how she’s influenced each of their mothering styles. With 30 children between the sisters, they see little bits of their mom in themselves and celebrate their ability of seeing life through rose colored glasses—something they inherited from her. April’s ability to “remember the good stuff” is apparent as she recalls some funny stories and even some of the harder parts of life while raising 12 children.
Handling finances as a married couple is hard! It’s important to remember that not seeing eye to eye on things is the norm, not the exception. There’s a reason companies don’t employ two CFOs and countries don’t elect two Presidents. If it doesn’t work there, what makes you think it will work at home? Divide and conquer for the betterment of the team!
On today’s episode of The MomForce Podcast we discuss breaking down your budget, deciding who oversees what, and answer all your questions about tackling the family budget. Vanessa is joined by mother of 6 (with another two on the way!) Jordan Page to discuss smart ways to get and stay on track. It’s not as easy as deciding to make and stick to a financial plan. You have to determine your why. Much like going on a diet or beginning a fitness regimen, the first week is hard! Make fun goals. Whether you’re saving out of necessity or principle, it’s never easy. You have to find your personal motivation!
Head to our Show Notes page for an exclusive code for Jordan's Budget Boot Camp!
Do you make New Years Resolutions only for find yourself half way through January and you've already failed! You are NOT alone! In today's MomForce Mini, Shelly gives her opinion on goals and what she does to keep things manageable and to keep herself motivated! So long yearly goals and hello daily goals!
Is your never-ending to-do list sucking the joy out of your life? Pop culture has taught us that we can and should be doing and having it all. This epidemic of unrealistic expectations has left us stressed, exhausted, and feeling like a failure. We can’t be all things to all people!
If you want to have your all, you’ve got to stop doing it all. On today’s episode of The MomForce Podcast, Vanessa and her sister, Leah, are chat with lawyer, PR executive, award winning author, and mother, Romi Neustadt to discuss ways to live a less frazzled and more fulfilling life.
Priorities and goals are two different things. If your goals aren’t serving your priorities you’re not helping yourself. Throughout the episode, Romi teaches ways to “relentlessly edit” our lives in order to clear out what isn’t helping us be our best. We’re moms and wives and balance jobs and PTA and activities. We all have so much on our plates and are spread so thin. Learning to say no, identify our priorities, and set goals that will help us fulfill these priorities will allow us to take ownership of our hours and create the life we strive for!
Check out our MomForce Instagram page for more info on Romi!
Being present and showing up is important in every relationship, especially when it comes to raising our children. The best predictor of how a child turns out is their attachment to at least one parent. It’s not simply about being there when they come home from school, or showing up for each baseball game, it’s about making our children feel safe, seen, soothed, and secure.
On today’s episode of The MomForce Podcast, Vanessa is chatting with Dr. Tina Bryson, author of “The Power of Showing Up.” Tina, a therapist and mother of three, discusses the power of the 4 S’s and how they relate to “attachment science”. Whether you’re a working mom, a foster mom, a baby wearer, a single parent, or otherwise, these principles can help us be better parents, and help us be forgiving of ourselves when we make mistakes!
By showing up for our children, even when they feel strong emotions, become frustrated or overwhelmed, we are helping our children build mental models for what they can expect in new relationships. We are teaching them that they have value. When children feel safe, seen, and soothed they become secure in themselves and develop grit and resilience to face life’s challenges. And isn’t that what we all want for our kids?
Vanessa has always been a huge fan of Rifle Paper Co., and so when Chatbooks teamed up with the brand, it was truly a dream come true!
In this episode of The MomForce Podcast, Vanessa chats with Rifle Paper Co. co-founder, Anna Rifle Bond, all about growing a thriving business while growing a family. Spoiler alert--it’s all about managing time, turning work off when you’re not at work, and learning how to cope when you’re feeling overwhelmed or things don’t go as planned.
Also, as 2019 has come to a close, it is a great time to create a 2019 Year in Review Chatbook with one of our beautiful Rifle Paper Co. designer covers. You’ll have a hard time choosing which one! (And don’t forget to use PODCAST20 at checkout to save 20%).
Do your kids believe in Santa Claus? If so, at what age should you tell them the truth? Should we feel guilty about “lying” to our children? Vanessa shares her opinions about all things Santa on this MomForce mini.
New Year’s resolutions can be ambitious and overwhelming. We’ve all created long lists and set lofty goals only to fall short come February. Why does it need to be so complicated? It doesn’t. Today Vanessa sits down with Shawni Pothier to discuss simplifying your goals for the New Year.
Mindful. Guided. Discipline. Focus. Enjoy. Choose. Be Still. A resolution doesn’t have to be something that’s daunting. Make it simple. Pick one word to represent the coming year. It should be something that inspires you or helps you progress toward who you want to be. You don’t have to pick it today. Maybe it comes to you a few months into the year, or your goals change and you switch it up in time.
Want to help your kids set resolutions for themselves? Give them the framework and allow them to think of what they’d like to work on in 2020. Keep track of your progress and record your goals from previous years so you can look back together and witness their growth.
Sometimes we’re better mothers when we take some time away to reset and refresh and a weekend alone or a quick trip away with your girlfriends might be just what we need! And bonus, our partners may end up appreciating us a little more if they are home alone manning the ship.
Today Vanessa is joined by her sister, Shelly, on this episode of The MomForce Podcast to chat about their tips and tricks for prepping for a get away, so you can relax and not stress about everything at home! Who should be in charge of the kids? What do you do about meals, homework, or after school activities? How soon is too soon to leave a baby? How long is too long to stay away?
With tips like setting up back up babysitters, and surprising kids with a kind gift or note each day you’re gone, you can set yourself up for success so you can actually relax while you are away!
We all want to raise humble, grateful children but it’s so easy for kids to hit a “wall of entitlement”, especially this time of year. Creating opportunities for your family to experience the joy of service is a great way to break down that wall, but how do we get started?
On this #GivingTuesday, Vanessa chats with Kristin Andrus about creating a culture of service in your family. Kristin, the self-proclaimed “Chief Culture Officer” of the Andrus family, works hard to create a culture of service in their home and is sharing how, with 6 young kids, their family gives back all throughout the year.
Kristin's tips: Go to Justserve.org and see what needs are in your area. But don't get overwhelmed! Not all causes will speak to you and that's ok. Pick what you're passionate about and give or do what you can. Kristin also preaches the power of serving n your own family and neighborhoods. You don’t have to travel the globe to make a difference!
#GivingTuesday is a great way to kick off the charitable season, but let this just be the beginning. Kristin challenges us to make serving and giving back a family a priority year-round.
There are two sides of the aisle - decorating for the Christmas before Thanksgiving or NOT! On this MomForce Mini, Erika talks about why she decks the halls soon after Halloween. And she has science to back her up. Where do you stand?
While our moms may have been great about buying Christmas gifts year round and filling stockings months in advance, we aren’t all cut out for that sort of holiday preparation. But the season is upon us and whatever you celebrate, it’s finally time to start thinking about gifts!
It’s not hard to get our kids to share what they want. They presented us with a seven page (front and back) letter to Santa, after all. But Santa is on a budget, and we don’t want to fill their Christmas with more “stuff.” On today’s episode of The MomForce Podcast, Vanessa is joined by her sisters Kara and Shelly to talk about those “home run gifts.” The ones sure to get played with year round. Scoring the gift that stops them in their tracks doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank, either! The sisters share their tricks and tricks to finding the best toys at the best prices (while sharing what was a big miss, as well).
Gift giving isn’t always easy. Husbands, extended family, neighbors, and in-laws are sure to leave you stumped. Some of our favorite gifts haven’t been extravagant. Finish a project your spouse was never going to wrap up on their own. Personalize something they can treasure for years to come. Give them the gift of an experience they won’t forget. Help beautify the neighborhood, or make charitable donations on behalf of others.
Simplifying your shopping list will prevent you from making that panicked last minute dash to Target to load up your cart with stuff you don’t need. Being prepared will also allow you to put thought into gifts and make the most of your holiday season. After all, it can’t be the most wonderful time of year if you don’t enjoy it!
Chatbooks Holiday Cards (save 20% with Podcast20): https://chatbooks.com/photo-cards
Traditions show children that their family circle is a living link to a chain of generations. Research shows that much like displaying printed photos, practicing family traditions helps build children’s identity and family connection. But holiday traditions can be overwhelming! You don’t have to do ALL of the things in order to make your season magical.
Rituals and traditions can be as elaborate as planning daily activities for your Elf of the Shelf, or as simple as starting each morning with kiss as you send your kids out the door. In this episode of The MomForce Podcast, Erika and Leah join Vanessa to discuss the traditions they had growing up, the traditions they bid adieu to as they got older, and the compromises they made when their spouses brought their own holiday traditions to the family.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or hoping to carry on long lived family traditions, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Schedule your activities, and be realistic about your expectations. Traditions shouldn’t be a burden. If your family doesn’t like Thanksgiving food, switch it up! If you don’t have time to set a storybook scene in your living room every night, maybe it’s time for your Elf to retire. Your tradition can be non-traditional. It’s ok to simplify. Big or small, elaborate or minimal, the benefit remains the same; traditions help us pass along memories and experiences we cherish to our children.
Chatbooks Holiday Cards (save 20% with Podcast20): https://chatbooks.com/photo-cards
The first of a new series! Vanessa and her sisters are going to take turns giving their own "unpopular" opinion on a trending topic/debate/question. We love the diversity of our Facebook group, The MomForce, and want to share our thoughts and opinions with our listeners! Do you have a question or topic you would like our take on? Let us know - DM us on our instagram page, @themomforcepodcast
Are you frazzled at the mere thought of traveling with your children? Jessica Gee, mother of 3 from The Bucket List Family, has chosen to embrace it all and as a family they’ve visited over 80 countries!
Vanessa chats with Jessica in this episode of The MomForce Podcast to chat about her tips and tricks for traveling with kids--everything from how to acclimate to time changes and introduce new cultures and foods, to what her favorite kid friendly destinations are and how to travel on a budget.
And if you've seen any of The Bucket List Family's pics on Instagram or videos on YouTube, you know that documenting their travel is very important to them. Jessica also shares her tips for capturing those fleeting moments and the easy way she holds on to them forever. With our new Bucket List Family travel Chatbook you can hold on to your travel memories also!
Check out their Chatbook HERE for 20% off your purchase!
Also, be sure to follow us @themomforcepodcast. We will be posting more about Jessica's best travel tips!
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a great relationship with their Mother-in-Law, but Vanessa says she hit the jackpot! In today’s episode of The MomForce Podcast, Vanessa (a new MIL herself!) chats with her Mother-in-Law, Bonnie Quigley, about the success they’ve had fostering their in-law relationship. It's all about space, support, and respect.
The conversation continues as they discuss raising well mannered children, and how things have changed and stayed same since she was a young mother. And she shares Grandma Bebe's Golden rules for raising well mannered and delightful children.
As a special bonus, Bebe shares the gifts that she, as a Mother-in-Law, has cherished most (and don’t we all need help with that!).
Wanna follow along with Vanessa? You can find her at @vanessaquigley on Instagram.
Also - be sure to follow @themomforcepodcast on Instagram for more tips and tricks - as well as fun stories and highlights.
Don't forget to check out our MomForce Facebook group! It has thousands of like minded women, helping each other to navigate the good and the bad of life! And use code podcast20 for 20% off your next order from Chatbooks! That code works for CARDS too! Order your holiday cards and send them our to all your peeps! They will LOVE it.
Moms everywhere are overwhelmed: driven to tears, hyperventilating, rage cleaning, or perhaps hopping in the car and driving away. Caring for an entire family is challenging. Often we ask ourselves, are we doing enough? Are we fun enough, compassionate enough, patient enough? No wonder we are feeling overwhelmed!
Good mothers have bad days. The newborn stage is hard. The toddler stage is hard. Teenagers are hard. Heck! Even our adult children are hard! On today’s episode of The MomForce Podcast, Leah joins Vanessa to talk about how they handle the weight that motherhood places on your shoulders. They discuss recognizing your own needs and taking action. Alone time doesn’t have to mean jumping on the next flight to Bora Bora (though it would be nice). Sometimes just a few minutes alone in a quiet bedroom will do the trick. Turning to your support system when you need validation (or just a good laugh) can do wonders for your mood. And even something as simple as cracking a smile (even if you’re faking it) or giving a good 8 second hug can help… there’s science behind it!
Deep breaths, Mama. This too shall pass. You’re just the right person for your kids, and we promise, they love you more than any mom out there!
Chatbooks Holiday Cards (save 20% with Podcast20): https://chatbooks.com/photo-cards
The oldest child in the family is often the guinea pig, but by the time it comes to establishing a curfew for the younger kids, parents are worn down and the rules become a bit more relaxed. Whether it’s your first time dabbling into the world of curfews, or you’ve been there done that, determining the appropriate level of freedoms to give your kids is hard!
Whether you’re going to follow the letter of the law or allow your child the flexibility to make their own responsible choices, you have the right to know where they’re going, who they’re going to be with, and how they’re getting home (even if they roll their eyes at all your questions). On today’s episode of The MomForce Podcast, Vanessa and Erika talk about their own curfews growing up, how they enforce curfews for their own teens and tweens, and share some brilliant advice from the MomForce Facebook group.
No matter where you land on your curfew, it’s important to let your expectations be known and stick to the consequences, should it come to that. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but remember what they say… “Nothing good ever happens after midnight.”
Check out our instagram page @theMomForcePodcast for some fun extras!
Wanna connect with us? Join our MomForce facebook group.
Grief is something we may all be faced with one day. There are varying degrees of grief, but it’s always complicated. Time heals, but grief never fully goes away. Rather it evolves and manifests itself differently over time.It is human nature to want to help those we love through difficult times. Sometimes our actions are helpful, sometimes our words are meaningful. But other times even the best intentions leave us with our foot stuck in our mouth.
In this episode Vanessa sits down with Keenan, one of Chatbooks’ original MomForcers and a mother who has experienced heartbreaking loss. Five years after the death of her daughter, she reflects on the lessons she’s learned, the healing she’s experienced, and provides insight on how others were able to help her through her darkest moments.
From discussing death with children, to showing friends and neighbors support, and the importance of being selfish as you heal, this episode covers some of the often overlooked aspects of grief. Everyone’s rock bottom is different, and many people may never discover theirs. But all grief is valid and should be treated delicately.
Check out our instagram @chatbooks as Keenan is going to be doing a takeover and answering your questions. And then head over to our MomForce Facebook group, where you will find lots of advice and resources from moms all over the world.
It's recommended that 4th graders get 10-12 hours of sleep per night. But kids activities are often built around adult schedules! A night time routine is imperative for happy, healthy kids...but its hard! Younger kids have this built in FOMO that leads them to believe that everything good is happening right after you put them to bed for the night! Older kids are just so busy these days that it's hard for them to get to bed before midnight! Today Kara and Vanessa discuss their evening routines and share the tips and tricks they use to help their big and little kids get the sleep the so desperately need! They agree...you have to set a time to officially wind down for the evening. When you can, have a family dinner at a consistent hour and use that time to reflect on the highs and lows of the day. Allow children to wind down by reading or listening to an audiobook. But sometimes you might just have to trick your kids into an earlier bedtime, or give everyone an occasional "sleep gummy". HEY...whatever works!
Screentime. Devices. Social Media. Oh my! Our MomForce facebooks group is full of questions about raising children in a digital age. How old should your kid be before you allow them to play on an iPad? When is it appropriate to have a smartphone? What about a social media account?
It’s a tech heavy world. Kids are practically born with the ability to work devices. Teaching online safety is just as important as teaching fire safety these days. Stop, Walk, and Tell should be taught right alongside Stop, Drop, and Roll. On this episode of the MomForce Podcast, Anna MacFarlane of “Kids are the Worst” joins Vanessa to share her expertise on all things social media.
It’s not IF your kids are going to see something bad online, but WHEN they’re going to see it. When kids come across something they’re not comfortable with, they need to feel like they can come to you about it. You can limit kids exposure, but the best defense is good communication.
Check out our shownotes for links to Anna's social media guides. And then head on over to our MomForce facebook group. We will be reposting a LIVE that Anna is going to do, answering some of your most pertinent questions.
Kids need anchors and families and connection. With so many in the world hungry for those things, something as simple as a printed photo is a way you can nurture and feed your children's souls.
Motherhood and childhood go quickly. Looking at a photo and taking a moment to reminisce is an antidote to the daily pushes and pulls and stresses and anxieties of life. Not only is that magic... it's science! Today Vanessa is joined by developmental psychologist and University of Utah professor, Dr. Trisha Weeks to discuss the research conducted to prove printed photos strengthen families. Vanessa knew there was power in putting photographs in the hands of her children, but we wanted to test the science behind it!
Our study (comprised of focus groups and over 15,000 survey respondents!) illustrated how physical photographs build a sense of identity, increase self esteem, lower behavioral issues, and enhance the connection between family. Looking at photos and conversing about the events captured is a shared experience - something you simply can’t gain scrolling through pictures on your phone by yourself. Documenting our family’s story makes us feel like good moms… and it turns out we really are doing good for our children. It’s science!
Check out the rest of our research at chatbooks.com/printed-photo-report
“There are no hacks. These kids don’t listen. This is your life now. God Speed…” Ok… it isn’t that bad, but it sure does feel that way some days with kids are running around looking for the cleanest dirty shirt and scrambling for school lunches. And with little ones are waking up way too early and big kids that won't get out of bed! It's enough to turn the sweetest and most patient moms into a desperate to a crazy person. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In today’s episode of the MomForce Podcast, Vanessa and Leah dish their greatest hacks for having a better morning. Check out our Instagram page @themomforcepodcast for recipes, tips and more tricks. Then head on over to the MomForce facebook group for more great ideas on how to tame your mornings!
Kids grow up. It’s a fact of life. One day we’re all gonna have teenagers (or even tween-agers) and with that comes certain rites of passage; make up, shaved legs, and pimples. Kids are self conscious, and it’s our job to make this tricky stage of life as easy on them (and and ourselves) as it can possibly be. Plus, none of us want to live in a house that smells like a locker room. That’s why today we’re talking all things kid hygiene.
Vanessa and her sister, Erika, survived their own teenage years as well as those of their children. They understand the unique challenges that come with raising teens. On today’s episode of The MomForce Podcast they tackle everything from stinky boys to girls eager to dive into their own make-up routine. They discuss the trials and tribulations of their own hygiene milestones while sharing the lessons they learned along the way.
We want to make our kids feel good about themselves while allowing them to take the lead when it comes to their personal hygiene. Sure, these conversations can be a little awkward (for everyone) but in the end, your children will be grateful you communicated with them. We all want to do our part to protect our children from the world. If you don’t tell them about the need for good hygiene, someone else may. And that could much harder.
Bonus! Tune in for tips on easily preserving school memories year round and for a special code for 20% Chatbooks and then head over to our show notes webpage for the links the sissies talked about in the episode!
It’s official! We’re back to school! It comes with some mixed emotions, but for the most part we are ready to get back on a schedule. While we’d had dreams of a laid back, chill summer, the reality was we still had so much to do! Each week was spent scrambling for something to occupy the kids (hello camps!) while we got some work done. Now that school is back in session, we have the chance to finally get back into a routine… even if we’re just starting to ease into it.
Maybe your kids are homebodies who need a push to try something new. Or maybe your kids want to do anything and everything and you have to lock in their downtime on a calendar. On today’s episode of the MomForce Podcast, Vanessa and her sister, Shelly, talk about creating a schedule that will work for any family. Limiting the number and type of activity each season and remembering to schedule days off (or even family dinner!) will keep everyone - not just the kids - from burning out. Finding a way to sync the family calendar lets everyone know what’s on the horizon.While some families live by the rule that you don’t need to start activities right way, others see the benefit in exploring interests at a young age. Whatever approach you choose to take with your kids activities, it’s important that no one feels stretched too thin! Being on the same page will help getting back into the groove this school year enjoyable for everyone.
The term “Influencer” can get a bad rap. But, we’re all influencers. It doesn’t take 100,000 followers and a pristine, perfectly lit, white living space. You can use your own influence for good, even in your own home. In today’s episode, we throw out the timer as Vanessa sits down her dear friend, a very down to earth real mom (and yes, she’s also an influencer), Jenna Rammell. Together they discuss everything from back to school, vulnerability, and maintaining your sanity as a parent. They dive deeper into learning your children’s individual personalities and parenting each child accordingly (and the many challenges that come with doing so).
There is no one size fits all parenting. Today, we have so many tools at our disposal to help us see our children individually and to help them grow as beautifully as they’re meant to be. Parenting with an eye to the individual is a gift to them. It builds self confidence, self worth, and allows the child to recognize the strength of being themselves. That doesn’t come with simply checking off a few parenting boxes. Many times, we’re still working on this as adults.
Check out our episode webpage for all the links mentioned in today's show!
Every now a special moment reminds us why our photos are so important (a preschooler shedding tears over treasured pictures of his class, for instance), but often times we don’t realize how much they mean to us until we don’t have them anymore. In this second part of our podcast dedicated to photos, Vanessa and Erika discuss organizing, sharing, safeguarding, and printing your photos… and why it’s so important to do so.
From deleting your blurry outtakes to make your camera roll more manageable, to taking advantage of shared albums and FREE photo storage, this episode shares simple hacks to ensure the moments you swore you’d never forget don’t get lost. Our goal is to strengthen families, and we feel there’s something powerful about putting photos in the hands of children (in fact, it’s science!).
Long gone are the days of being bound by 24 exposure rolls of film (36 if you splurged). We aren’t lugging around giant SLRs as often anymore, and there simple alternatives if you just can’t find the time to catch up on your scrapbooks. But despite technology improving so drastically (and making things SO much more convenient) we still aren’t always capturing the moments we’ll treasure when we look back at photos.
In the first part of this two episode podcast, Vanessa and her sister, Erika, chat about their tricks for taking the photos they’re going to love forever. It’s not always the perfectly posed kids in coordinating outfits that they look back on with the greatest sense of fondness. Sometimes it’s the real life moments; the piles of tiny shoes left by the back door, the child’s name written in crayon (even when it’s across the furniture), the stubbornness of a pre-teen not thrilled about having their photo taken, or the change of background that would have otherwise gone unnoticed that sparks the happiest memories.
Photographing life’s everyday events can make us more mindful of what’s happening in that time, sparking a feeling of gratitude that may have otherwise escaped us. In the trenches of motherhood it’s easy to overlook the magic of the moment. Looking back on a photo allows you to see the greatness. As a rule of thumb, if it makes you smile, snap a photo of it!
Head on over to our episode webpage for a fun printable that will get your creative photographic juices flowing. And don't forget to use code podcast20 to get 20% off your Chatbooks order! Let us help you print your pictures!
Also, be sure to join our thriving and entertaining MomForce Facebook group! Let us be part of your village!
Parties are a fun chance to explore your creative, crafty side. But they can also bring the pressure to create this once in a lifetime experience that doesn’t always go as planned.
On today’s episode, Vanessa and Leah sit down to talk about birthday parties. Maybe you’re prepared to make throwing a Pinterest-worthy party a part time job. Or perhaps you don’t possess the time, money, or mental capacity to host 20 kids at your house. Doing what works best for you will result in everyone being much happier! And the same holds true for your kids. While one child may plan their next party all year long, a movie and ice cream date may be the other child’s speed. Do you!
Today’s MomForce Podcast covers everything from party favors and picking out birthday presents (taking my kid on an open-ended Target run in the toy aisle? No thank you), to combining parties and what to do when you simply can’t invite the entire class. It’s filled with creative ideas, smart solutions, and helpful advice on making things run as smoothly as possible. Whether you’re in the market for a birthday blowout, or want to stick with just a few meaningful traditions, the goal is to make everyone feel happy and appreciated.
For a lot of us, summer is already wrapping up and the days of counting the pool as a bath are coming to an end. Getting kids to practice good hygiene can be a battle, but none of us wants to send our kids off to school with dirty nails or “teeth sweaters.”
This episode of the MomForce Podcast is dedicated to kids and hygiene. Vanessa chats with her sister, Shelly, on what’s worked, what hasn’t, and the experiments that have gone awry. There are a LOT of confessionals on this episode. The truth comes out about personal hygiene shortcomings growing up (do germs really boost your immune system?) and the unusual methods we’ve resorted to to clean our kids up in a pinch. And once again, the MomForce comes through with some great hacks that will hopefully save you some dental bills down the line.
Heck, sometimes it’s just easier to get in there and do the work for them. Truth is, we’re all trying our best. The trick is consistency! Share your tips and tricks in the MomForce Facebook group. We can use all the help we can get!
Also, use code podcast20 to off your next phonebook at Chatbooks.
It never fails. You prepare a home-cooked meal and your “starving” child is suddenly too full to eat. Getting kids - especially those picky eaters - to eat healthy can be a challenge. Every parent has faced obstacles when it comes to feeding their families, but we can’t be expected to be short order cooks. Children have to discover the wide, wonderful world of flavors!
All of us can benefit from more fruits and veggies, but it’s hard to get those on to kids’ plates. In today’s episode, Vanessa and Kara tackle picky eaters. Maybe you have a non-eater. Or perhaps your kid is turning the color of their favorite food (true story!). Getting over the hump of disliking certain foods is key to helping your family gain variation in their diet.
It’s not all about eating, though. While it can be so satisfying for a mother to see her child eat all their dinner, we’re not talking about the clean plate club here. We want to teach children to listen to their bodies, to be open to new foods, and ultimately, to take the pressure off mom!
Also, use code Podcast20 for 20% off Chatbooks!
Growing up with sisters meant a lot of fights. But it also meant you had a tight knit group of built in best friends. While not everyone grows up in such a big family, friendships of any sort are important. Moving away from family and transitioning into different phases of life has reinforced the importance of creating and maintaining meaningful relationships as adults.
We threw out the timer for this All-Sissy episode of The MomForce Podcast. Vanessa, Leah, Erika, Kara, and Shelly are together to chat about the value of friendship, the importance of girl time, and meeting people in this busy phase of life. Between playgrounds, play dates, and preschool, it was a little easier when the kids were young. As the kids get older, making friends and fostering relationships takes more effort.
Whether you’re looking for a way to meet new people, advice on recharging with your gal pals, or need help staying connected, it’s good for us to be a friend and have a friend. No one wants to feel like the girl at the party with no one to talk to! Even if you “married your best friend,” girl time is important!
As moms, wives, and working women there is a certain expectation that we’re always reachable. Having a phone is not only important, it’s almost required! But that doesn’t mean we have to be addicted to our phones. The trick is getting them to work for us in a way that allows us to be more productive, less stressed, and happier!
In today’s episode Vanessa visits with her sister Leah, who shares all the brilliant ways she uses apps to maximize her phone’s potential. Setting alarms (to wake up in the morning or remember to get your kid from school), using reminders to create checklists (so satisfying!) and shopping lists that automatically pop up when you arrive at the store, adding images to your calendars and record keeping right in the app, shared notes and keeping important information handy - Vanessa and Leah have hacks for each of your native apps that will blow your mind (we’re talking way more than the basic functions here!).
Your phone can be a tool to make you more cheerful, you just have to know how to use it! Our goal is to always be present. Using technology to organize our lives gives us the opportunity to enjoy the good stuff.
With 11 siblings and 7 children of her own, it’s safe to say Vanessa has experimented with a range of possibilities when it comes to allowance. Whether it’s getting paid for simple household chores, getting a job, or being paid for good grades, teaching kids the value of a dollar is hard!
Let’s face it… we may feel like it’s privilege enough to live in our homes, but kids need money - especially as they get older! In a follow up last week’s Chores episode, Vanessa and her sister, Erika, sit down to discuss the challenge of wanting their kids to have fun without handing out money for nothing.
In our Allowance episode, Vanessa and Erika chat about the different allowances (and reasons for them) they received as kids, and how they’ve used money to reward (and sometimes penalize) their children as they’ve grown up. From splitting the costs of non-essentials, to emphasizing the importance of money making skills, we’ll cover what’s worked, what hasn’t, and all the reality checks along the way (you’ll want to hear about the time Erika’s son, Jett, hit the jackpot with his Lemonade Stand).
There’s always more conversation on the MomForce Facebook Group Page. Follow us there as we continue the discussion by talking about ways to teach value to younger children and those not motivated by money.
Let’s face it, your house isn’t going to clean itself. As families grow, so do their messes. If you want to keep your home from looking like a tornado struck, you’re going to need everyone to do their part. But that is easier said than done.
When it comes to kids and chores, we all get “the WHY,” but “the HOW” is another story. In today’s episode, Host Vanessa Quigley sits down with her sister Erika (aka Rikki), to discuss how kids can help with household chores. Between the two of them they’re raising 14 children and have tried lots of different things--from chore charts and assigned zones, to party style family clean ups--they dish on what has worked and what has failed miserably and share some hacks from members of the MomForce that are worth giving a go.
The bottom line is that these are important life skills to teach (sometimes for the sake of their future roommates and partners) and it’s not a one size fits all plan. Your 5 year old may love being rewarded with high-fives, but that may not work in their teenage years… trust us! But in the end, a job done by a kid is better than a job not done at all. We continue the conversation about never ending laundry over in a Facebook live in the MomForce Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/288060834871331/
There’s something about summer that seems to make kids hungrier. And with kids home all day, there’s an added challenge when it comes to meal planning. Gone are the days where you can send the kids off to school with a slice of toast in their hand then swing by the store to grab groceries for that night’s dinner. Now you’re responsible for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (not to mention the snacks in between) all while juggling a hectic summer schedule.
In today’s episode, Vanessa and her sister Shelly discuss little steps you can take to make summer meal planning easier. Summer is a wonderful time of year, but brings added obstacles when it comes to the daily routine. Sometimes simply getting (and keeping!) food in the house is half the battle!
You don’t always have to prepare a big, fancy dinner. You know what your people like! Use these tips to be ready on the go, learn to cut corners, and use your resources. Make summer meal planning easy on yourself!
Check out our website for Show Notes, links to recipes, the watermelon hacks, as well as our meal planning printable.
Our MomForce has spoken and one thing on many summer bucket lists is camping! Whether your idea of camping involves being deserted in the wilderness or you consider a hotel room full of kids roughing it, family camp-outs are a great way to foster memories.
In this episode, host Vanessa Quigley is joined by her sister, Kara, co-founder of Raising Wild Swimwear and mother of 4, to discuss the highs and lows of braving the great outdoors. While they agree that camping may not be for everyone, there are ways to recreate the experiences they so fondly remember without requiring expert survivalist skills. And hey, everything tastes better by a campfire, right?
Vanessa and Kara discuss tips for the hotel camper and the nature lover alike. One thing holds true: when it comes to camping with family, compromise is key. While it may not be the most relaxing or rejuvenating trip, that’s not why you do it. And remember… one night won’t kill you. Happy Camping!
Visit our website for a fun camping printable and this episodes Show Notes.
If you just discovered our podcast, you might be asking yourself, “Who are these people and why another mom podcast?” Well, let us tell you!
In this episode, we introduce Vanessa Quigley, entrepreneur and mom of 7 kids ranging from ages 24-11 (plus a new daughter-in-law!). Along with her sisters (and co-hosts) they have 30 kids… YES! 30! That’s a lot of mommin’!
Together with her husband, Nate, Vanessa runs a company called Chatooks. In the early days of their business, Nate and Vanessa would work late into the night personally responding to customer emails. As the company grew, so did their need for helping hands. They hired remote, part-time employees to jump in and help with the workload, all of whom just happened to be moms! And with this, the MomForce was born!
A group was created, and friends and family were invited to join. What started as a team of women using Facebook as valuable parenting tool became a growing community where moms could find advice on everything from getting their kids to sleep in their own beds to sneaking veggies into the dinner menu. Today, The MomForce Facebook Group is a sisterhood of over 6,000 women sharing their best parenting hacks.
There was just too much good stuff to keep trapped on Facebook. So, with the goal of strengthening families, we introduce to you the MomForce Podcast! Quickie 15 minute episodes that cover all the crazy ins-and-outs of momlife and get you on your way!
Create your Summer Bucket List or help your family tay on the same page with a Summer Calendar. You can find these fun printables on our web page.
Don’t forget your Chatbooks Discount Code: POD20
And join us on the MomForce Facebook Page
Babysitters are the lifeline of a Mother’s sanity. But let’s be honest, there are several tiers of babysitters. In the first part of this two-part episode, we discussed the many roles a babysitter can fill. In today’s episode, Vanessa and Leah break down what happens when things don’t go quite as planned, how to get past the awkwardness of the pay conversation, and what you can realistically expect when you invite someone into your home.
Hiring babysitters is all about allowing yourself to be a better mother! Whether you returned to a tornado of a house, or your (likely well paid) sitter made it possible for you to come home and slip straight into bed, you’ve got to ask yourself two questions: 1. Is everyone alive and happy 2. Was it worth it.
We’re continuing the conversation on our MomForce Facebook page, where we’ll be chatting about older sibling babysitters! Listen to the episode, and join us there: The MomForce
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to babysitters. Whether you’re looking for a mini camp director or are simply in need of a warm body that can dial 911 in case of emergency, babysitters are a crucial tool for remaining a sane mother.
In Part 1 of this 2 part episode, host Vanessa Quigley is joined by her sister, Leah, as they discuss the different (and creative) roles a babysitter can fill. From the Mother’s Helper who is in charge of cleaning up the Slime mess and touching the yucky stuff at the aquarium to the sitter who can handle “witching hour” while you enjoy a much needed Early Date with your spouse, the right babysitter will keep you from losing your mother-loving mind this summer.
Join us as we discuss tips and tricks for keeping the “television babysitter” at bay and answer all of your babysitting questions on our Facebook MomForce page.
Are you looking for real life, tried and true, tips and tricks to help with all the nitty-gritty stuff of mom life? Well this podcast is for you.