Welcome back to the "How Does She Do It" Series! We are heading to Los Angeles to chat with Stephanie Smith, a multimedia designer and blogger behind Mama Loves Coffee! Stephanie is a boy-mom who works from home full time while caring for her son and blogging for fun! We can totally relate to her love of coffee and it was a blast getting to know even more about this mama! You know the drill ladies, get comfy and let's get to know how Stephanie does it!
Tell us about yourself: Where do you live, age, marital status, number of kids and business.
Hi, I’m Stephanie! I’m 26 and live in Los Angeles with my husband, our 17 month old son Blaise and two kitties. My husband and I have been together since high school, and been married for 2 years. We are both from Washington state and moved to Los Angeles 5 years ago for work. I love it here but I do occasionally miss the rain! I work from home full time and also blog for fun at Mama Loves Coffee. And I’m always drinking coffee.
Describe a day in the life of you.
My days consist of balancing work with taking care of Blaise. After my husband leaves for work we play and get ready before I start my work day. We always go out for a walk or run on a neighborhood trail, getting fresh air makes a huge difference! Depending on my workload I’ll tackle chores like laundry or grocery shopping. Blaise only takes one nap now and usually goes down for it after lunch. I use that time to catch up on work and sometimes even get time to read. I always make a second cup of coffee during nap time! My husband gets home anywhere between 8-9, and I start dinner once he lets me know he’s on his way. Blaise loves helping me cook! Once hubby is home we eat dinner together, then Blaise gets some playtime with daddy before bedtime. Once he’s finally asleep my husband and I like to watch T.V. shows together. We just finished Ozark on Netflix (so good!) and of course we are loving Game of Thrones. I tend to stay up late to max out my baby-free time, so I usually read or play some video games before bed.
Do you have help? A nanny or housekeeper? Family?
I don’t have any help because my family doesn’t live close enough to help.
How do you manage to have “me” time?
It’s definitely hard, and some days I don’t get any. I try to squeeze some in during nap time, and when my husband gets home from work he gives me an hour to myself before its time to get Blaise ready for bed.
How do you manage to make time to stay in shape? Do you workout? Diet?
I don’t really like working out, but I’ve been trying to get in better shape and stay healthy! I used to go for 2 runs a week with Blaise, but my apartment elevator is out of service for a few months and the jogging stroller is too heavy to carry down the stairs. Some days I wear Blaise on my back and walk up and down the stairs, that's quite a workout especially while carrying laundry! I also try to eat healthy but I do have a sweet tooth! I’m trying to set a good example for Blaise though so I eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies.
Do you get ready every day? Makeup, hair and curated outfits? If so, how do you do it with children?
I do get dressed and ready each day and do my makeup. Since I work from home and don’t get out too much it helps make me feel more productive and put together. I usually get ready and do my makeup while Blaise is having independent play time. If it’s a busy morning then I’ll do my makeup during nap time. And I won’t lie, we do have the occasional pajamas all day kind of day!
Has your style changed after motherhood?
It hasn’t changed too much, though I do dress more casually. I stopped wearing dresses for a while when I was exclusively breastfeeding because they were hard to nurse in. Most days I wear a variation of shorts and a tee, or jeans and a tank top. And I’m usually wearing my Birkenstocks!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Teen TV, gossip magazines and Rosé. Love me some Riverdale and juicy celeb gossip! Oh and Iced Cinnamon Almond Milk Macchiatos from Starbucks. Those are my faves!
If you breastfeed, how do you schedule your day around feedings and outings?
I only nurse Blaise at nap time and bedtime now, but when I was exclusively breastfeeding I tried not to be out for too long. I never had an issue breastfeeding in public but Blaise was not a fan of nursing covers. It was usually more comfortable for us to feed at home before and after going out.
How many hours of sleep to you get a night on average?
I probably get 7 hours on a good night, and 6 if Blaise is up teething. I’m thankful he sleeps through the nights now, it was much harder when he was little!
What is a priority for you, and what gets sacrificed? For example, everyone looks great but the house is a disaster, or the house is clean but work deadlines get pushed back.
I make work a priority, even when I don’t want to. Since I work full time I’m still expected to meet deadlines even though I’m at home. Sometimes that means the house is a disaster which drives me crazy since I love a clean home.
Do you cook meals every day for your family? If so, how do you plan them?
I cook - or at least start cooking - most dinners. My husband also loves to cook so if Blaise is being terribly clingy he will take over cooking once he gets home. We’ve been doing Blue Apron and it’s been fun getting recipes and ingredients delivered! It makes grocery shopping easier, and none of the meals are too hard to prepare. I like to plan our weeks meals on Sunday, we do 3 Blue Apron meals and then make a big meal and have leftovers the other days. Though sometimes if work is too busy for both of us we make a frozen pizza or order delivery.
Have you ever felt like you are losing yourself to motherhood and or life? If so, how did you bounce back?
I’ve definitely had days where Blaise is clingy and fussy and I feel like all I do is feed and comfort him. I try to keep my pre-baby hobbies like reading, cooking, adventuring and playing video games so I still feel like a person and not just a mom.
Does hubby help you with anything particular? If so, what and how?
My husband makes breakfast a couple times a week, and loves making dinner on the weekends. And he will even let me sleep in! He also stops by the store on his way home and picks up my favorite wine and some chocolate.
How do you manage motherhood and marriage?
I always try to make time each day to spend with my husband after Blaise goes to bed. We usually watch tv or just hang out together and talk. On weekends we always go do a fun activity together, like hiking, brunching, grabbing coffee or going to the beach. Blaise always joins us but its still special to have that time together and not give up our favorite pre-baby activities. Someday we will go on a baby-free date!
Do you work? Do you work in an office or at home? What does your work consist of and how do you get it done during the week?
I work from home as a multimedia designer for an creative advertisement agency in the entertainment industry. It’s the same job I had pre-baby, but with less work responsibilities and a slightly more flexible schedule. I get the bulk of my work done during nap time, but my workload varies day to day and some days get busier than others. If it’s a particularly busy day I set Blaise up with toys and coloring books in the room with me. Sometimes I will even work after he goes to bed for the night.
Have your circle of friends changed now that you're a mother? if so, how do you meet new mommy friends?
I don’t have a ton of mom friends near me, so thank goodness for Instagram! I’ve met so many wonderful mamas on there that I chat with every day.
What’s the least favorite household chore you dread doing?
Definitely laundry, though dishes come in a close second. Who knew someone so small needed so many clothes!
Describe a recent experience when you didn’t have it “all together” and how you handled it all.
I rarely ever have it all together haha. I just try to be flexible and adapt plans as needed! Because going anywhere with a toddler rarely ever goes as planned!
Fill in the blank: As a mother, it's a luxury to __________________
Use the bathroom in private haha!
What is your philosophy on balance and does it exist in your home?
Its definitely hard finding balance with working from home and raising a toddler. Weekends are work free times, and I make it a priority for us to do a fun activity together, even if its just going for a family walk around the neighborhood. My husband also helps out with chores and cooking on the weekends so I can relax and recharge for the week.
What are your dreams outside of motherhood that you would like to accomplish?
I would love to travel more! We didn’t go on our list family vacation until Blaise was 10 months old and I regret not going sooner. He does good traveling (so far) and I would love to show him the world, or at least different parts of the state. I also hope someday to expand my blog into a business and learn more about photography.
What is one thing that keeps you sane?
My husband! He always knows the right things to say when I’m having a particularly stressful day and steps in to help when he can. Also, coffee. Where would I be without coffee.
What is one question you'd like to ask our fellow mama readers?
How do you make time for yourself, especially on busy days? And how do you get you kid to sleep at a reasonable hour? I swear Blaise would stay up all night if he could!