In 2017, SmartMom launched the Real Life SmartMom series featuring your favorite Mommy Bloggers, experts and influencers. We go to these women for advice, recipes, support and whenever Google comes up with an answer we don’t like. Let’s get to know these amazing mommas a bit better – why? Because they are SmartMoms; and smart moms talk to SmartMoms.
This week we invite Kaitlin Duren to join the SmartMom community. She is a mother to two beautiful, chocolate milk-loving girls who you can see on her Instagram account @kaitlinallieduren as well as a digital marketer that you can find out more about on her blog xoxo, mama Kait.
Here are some questions we asked:
Tell us about your kids: names, ages, and fun facts.
Hi! I’m Kaitlin and I have two girls that are thirteen months apart. Not planned, but so perfect and I can’t imagine it any other way! My oldest is Channing Abigail and she’s three. My youngest is Charleston Kait, we call her Charlee, and she’s two. Channing has blue eyes and brown hair and Charlee has blonde hair and brown eyes! Channing is tall and skinny and my husband calls Charlee our linebacker (lol) because she has this adorable little chunky, thick body! 😉 They couldn’t be more opposite!
What are some of your favorite things about your kids?
It’s funny how you’re kids can be so different, I have so many favorite things about each of them! Channing doesn’t know a stranger and is passionate about everything, from the smallest things to the biggest things. She gets excited about everything, and she puts all she has into everything she does. I love that so much about her! She concentrates and wants to do everything right! Very meticulous! Charlee is absolutely, positively none of those things. Ha! She is as ornery and mischievous as they come, in a sneaky, quiet, hilarious way. Which makes it so hard to get onto her! She is super shy in a group of people, but put her in her element and she’ll have you in stitches! She is my baby and I love that she likes to cuddle! The way she wraps her tiny arm around my neck is one of my all time favorite things! They both have such different personalities and I love every aspect of who they both are!
Who do you look up to for parenting advice?
I definitely look to my mom for the most parenting advice. She is my best friend and is always willing to help me with the girls in any way she can! She made me the mama that I am and I can only hope that I’m half the mother to my girls as she was to me and my brother! Truly the most selfless person I know!
How would you describe what you do for your blog?
For my blog, I share little bits of all the aspects of our life! My crazy adventures in motherhood, fashion, travel and anything else that comes to my mind! I love sharing links to places I shop, stories, asking for advice because what a wonderful community of mother’s we have that are always willing to help, and telling about our getaways as a family.
How do you balance work and family?
Balancing work and family gets a little rough sometimes but, no matter what, my family comes first. Work can always wait! I usually do things before my girls wake up, while they nap, or after they go to bed! If I don’t have time to do work things one day because my kids are sick, or I want to spend time with my husband, or they just want me to hold them all day then I just don’t work that day!
What does an ideal day look like for you?
An ideal day for me usually starts with girls waking up between 6:30 and 7. They are early risers and always have been! They sleep together so they always wake up together. They drink a cup of chocolate milk and we watch morning cartoons. Their chocolate milk is like my coffee. It seriously takes them from monsters to angels within seconds! I fix breakfast and I try to do a devotional with them while they eat their breakfast. We usually go play after that or the girls will play while I pick up our never ending clutter of a house! Haha! I make lunch then they take a nap between 1 and 3. They wake up, and drink chocolate milk again with cartoons. Daddy comes home, we have dinner, and try to give baths and have the girls in bed by 8:30 every night! We struggle quite a bit with them sleeping in their own bed, but as they get older they are getting better. They have their nights when they want in bed with us and I’m a huge sucker!
What were some of the biggest questions you had or challenges you faced as a first time mom?
As a first time mom I can just remember thinking that I can’t even keep a plant alive, how am I possibly going to give this child everything it needs!?!? I was really concerned with doing everything “right” and as I have grown as a mother I’ve realized there is no set way to do things. There is no handbook. Every child is different and as you grow with that child and you figure each other out, your instincts take over and you somehow know what to do for them. I make mistakes and I realize and grow from them, and I think that’s that most important thing! I still get overwhelmed some days and I have questions, but I just have to remind myself that God has entrusted me with these little lives and He has equipped me with all the materials I need!
How did becoming a mom change who you are?
Becoming a mom has changed me completely! I have always wanted to be a mom! As a child I never remember wanting to be a doctor, or a superhero, or an actress, I just always wanted to be a mom. It changes your whole world in the best way. Before I had kids life was about me, and that couldn’t be more opposite now. My life revolves around them and their needs and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Happiness takes on a whole new meaning for me now. My husband always laughs at me because when I see them really happy, sometimes I tear up a little! Haha! I can’t help it! It’s just the ultimate form of happy to see your children happy!
What are you favorite baby products you’ve discovered since becoming a parent?
I love trying new baby products! One of my favorite baby brands is Babyganics skin care line. Both of my girls have super sensitive skin and once I found their products I was so relieved. I use everything they make I think and I love it all! Solly and Tula Ring Sling baby wraps were my very favorite. Also, as much as I wanted to make the girls baby food (HA!) I just couldn’t. So Earth’s Best Organic baby food saved my life! I didn’t feel quite so guilty ;). We are hard on ourselves as mom’s, so finding good products, that we feel good about giving to our babies is so important to me.
What was the most surprising or unexpected thing about becoming a mom?
The most surprising thing to me about becoming a mom was how much poop you deal with, how much sleep you don’t get, how hard mixing in a second one was, but most of all I just could have never expected how much love they have brought to my heart! Just when you think there is no way you could love them more, they come over and whisper “I love you, mama” and all the poop, sleeplessness, and crazy goes away! It’s all so WORTH IT!