Real Mom Tips: Our HUGE list of REAL Money-Savers for Moms

Why spend more, mama? No matter where you are financially, saving money rocks – and for some of us means the difference between having the extras and not. We asked for your best family-friendly budgeting tips and you delivered! Here are some of our faves:

money saving tips for moms - family budget - moms saving moneyCoupons rule! My MIL is queen of couponing and is always sharing new websites that give money back! We buy in bulk and I also have a menu for each week so I can buy only what we need! – Heather

Start walking! I fell in love with walking after having my first and hardly drive anywhere anymore. It’s better than a gym membership, even in winter. We all just get bundled up and off we go! – T.N.

Recognize the difference between needs and wants! – Diane (a mom and grandma and a GREAT grandma so she’s knows what’s she talking about)

I love the Suze Orman’s expense sheets on her website. They are the best things ever!!! – Cathy

We don’t buy school clothes until AFTER school starts because my daughter (and my son too) want to see what the other kids are wearing first. They can be style conscious and I end up saving because the clothes are already back on sale. – Bon

Using cloth diapers (that I bought secondhand) whenever my son is at home has saved us a bunch of money. I’m getting more confident so I’m starting to use them when we’re out, too. – Lovethatboy

I sell things online. Outgrown baby things, household items, sometimes even books I have just laying around sell well on amazon or eBay. Recently I started making baby clothes and selling them on etsy.com. I’m crafty so it gives me something fun to do and brings in a little extra money. – Norell

Don’t just ignore automatic subscriptions running. Check on them every couple months to make sure you’re getting the best price on cable, your phone, newspapers, car insurance, etc. – Laureen

Try YNAB (You Need a Budget) You can’t figure out where you’re overspending if you don’t know where your money is going. – Court

Find a group of 4 local moms with children around the same age as your own. Each woman cares for the other women’s children one day per week while the others work outside of the home. They each work one different day per week, no one pays for child care, their children are cared for by a reliable, trustworthy individual and a part time income could be gained. If you’re going to homeschool it’s a great way to start that, too. – Rebecca

I pay my bills first and buy everything else second. You can’t spend what you don’t have! – Heather S.

Buy clothing during end-of-season sales in whatever sizes kids will be next year or even for the next few years. It can save A TON but you’re still getting great clothes. – Rennie

I actually have an Master of Education degree and just transitioned to being a stay at home mom after having a baby so I’m starting a small Montessori inspired childcare in my home. – Lailah

Breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed! – Peach27 (Editor’s note: Or collect all the formula coupons you can!)

Create a monthly spending plan. We call it our zero balance budget. Every dollar is going somewhere, maybe it’s for birthday presents or the savings account. Don’t forget to include money for fun, though! – Elliephant

All my parties are potlucks or BYOB+some to share. The spirit of cooperation means I can have people over as often as I want without it being a big money sink. – Cat

We recently gave up cable. We have an antenna for our basics, TIVO, Netflix, and Hulu Plus. we pay about $33 a month now when we were paying over $100 for our satellite package. What I learned is that most of the shows we watch come on the basic channels for free, and I don’t miss cable at all! – Michelle

Buy a convertible! (Car seat, crib, stroller, and high chair, that is!) And just because something for baby costs more doesn’t necessarily make it good or better. – Jess

When you’re going out with girlfriends leave your wallet at home. Bring as much cash as you’ll be comfortable spending but no more. When it’s done, you’re done. – Momof5

Meal plan and make ahead freezer meals have been a lifesaver. Before, we were going  out or ordering out whenever we couldn’t come up with something. A friend hosted a freezer meal workshop and it was amazing. We probably save $25 a week at least. – Lynn T.

Don’t buy anything that’s not on your kid’s school supply list because they are not going to use it and if you think it’s going to come home with them at the end of the year, think again! – CarieCarie

Never shop hungry. So simple but true. I’d add never shop with hungry kids. In fact, when you’re shopping for anything leave kids at home. – Heather R.

So much baby stuff is a gimmick. Baby towels? Use your own towels and washcloths. The best toys are right in your kitchen cabinets. Babies don’t need a lot of fancy gear. They just need you. -Skylarsmom

Make sure that your kids’ college funds are included in your budget if you’re planning on saving for school. It’s not the kind of thing you want to leave for later. Make it a priority now and you’ll thank yourself. – HappyTerrie

Trim the fat! Do you have a collectible you don’t care about anymore or designer clothes you never wear because you’re a mom? Try selling on eBay or Craigslist or a local message board. You make money and make space. Less stuff can mean more time. – Kristy

Don’t indulge your child’s every whim and wish. Let them be bored. It inspires creative thinking. – Melissaismom

I love You Look Fab for work clothes advice. Being a working mom – or just looking good – can happen with stuff in your own closet. Wear what you have! – NicoleEgert

We love these tips for saving money from our awesome moms. Add your own in the comments and you could be featured in our next money-saving idea post.

Understanding Christian Homeschooling: A Day in the Life of One Homeschooling Mom

The following guest post comes from one of Mom Meet Mom’s favorite moms, Natasha. With so many of our members curious about the homeschooling lifestyle and how homeschooling works, we asked Natasha to give us a look at what a day is like in the life of a Christian homeschooling mom and child. 

Hello! First, I want to thank the founders of Mom Meet Mom for this opportunity. This experience has been another unforeseen gift and blessing from God.

To me, every child is extraordinary. The minds and hearts of young children are incredibly fresh and new — radiating a certain curiosity and wonder that is extremely beautiful. As parents, I think all of us want the best for our children, and we hope that we’re able to see them reach their full intellectual and spiritual potential. Much like each one of us who visit Mommeetmom.com, I have many aspirations for my child (a daughter). I would love for her to grow up a well-educated Christian with great leadership traits.

A young child’s heart and mind is indeed astonishing, but it is also very fragile. Consider this simile:  A child’s mind is like a sponge that possesses an undefined capacity to absorb moisture.

Due to this state of both potential and fragility, I believe it is important to consider this: The life experiences of a toddler help to define the foundation for outstanding intellectual and spiritual qualities later in life.

It is paramount to choose the appropriate environmental factors for our children at an early age. That is why my family has implemented daily educational, social, and spiritual activities for our daughter since she was four months old.

Please note that I do not have an educational background; however, I do have the confidence and work ethic it requires to organize and implement such an undertaking. I believe that any dedicated parent can easily implement a similar “life experiences” curriculum for their toddler.

The “life experiences” curriculum that I have developed for my daughter didn’t necessarily fall into place. It has taken a great deal of research, trial, and error. As parents, we have differential goals for our children. In my case, I have had a desire for my daughter’s early education to be well balanced, organized, faith-based, and results orientated.

At four months old, I had an initial rudimentary schedule for my daughter that included a relatively limited amount of structured activities. With her increasing attention span, the growing need for a better schedule became glaringly obvious. I began to research the various ways that preschools, daycares, and homeschool families operated. I knew that I had to be open-minded and efficient. I looked at the activities that a typical preschool or daycare would conduct in a given day, and I have added new ideas for a more complete schedule. The resultant curriculum is generalized with time-allotted segments for specific activities.

This schedule might occasionally change or be conducted in different order due to varying circumstances, but I make sure we do these items each day:

7:30       Breakfast and Free Play (and see daddy off to work)

9:00      Arts and Crafts / Morning Walk (weather permitting)

10:00   Coursework: Several minute Starfall.com Lesson, Several minute Brill-kids Lesson, Discussion Topics: the Weather, the Letter of the Week, the Color of the Week, and the Number of the Week.

10:15    Snack, Bible Lesson, Music, and Dance Time

11:30    TV time and Mommy gets ready

11:55   Lunch

12:45   Rest/Quiet Time

2:00    Crafts and Science Projects

3:00    Snack, Story Time and, Sing-a-Longs

3:30   Coursework: Several minute Brill-kids Lesson (Repeat Session), Abcmouse.com, Phonics Awareness Activities

4:30   Free Play / Assorted Activities with Daddy after he returns from work.

Every day, we fill our hours with learning, fun, faith, and laughs. By having this schedule, I know our daily action items.

Notes Regarding the above schedule:

  • Between 4- 16 months old, my daughter completed two 3-minute coursework sessions (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) from her Brillkids Little Reader Program. At 17 months old, we started to focus on particular letters, numbers, and colors for each week.

  • Starfall.com has interactive short videos for the Letters, Colors, and Numbers. You can also use the other activities on the site such as explaining concepts, stories, phonics activities, etc.

  • I generally conduct all Starfall.com lessons activities prior to any Brillkids Little Reader Program activities.

  • I use Abcmouse.com for their printable sheets, books, and songs. I match these activities with our Letter, Color, and Number of the week.

  • I reinforce what she’s learning through educational activities with traditional activities throughout the day such as puzzles, books, arts and crafts.

  • Our faith and values flourish throughout the day too. When I adapted her schedule at 17 months, I also increased my efforts to teach my daughter about God and his love for us.

Nothing parallels the responsibility of raising our children. They look to us for guidance, and we can help give them the best outcomes with appropriate environmental factors. Whether it’s following my “life experiences” curriculum, or reinventing it as your own, it is possible that a detailed approach to teaching our children at an early age can make a great difference in the future.

Are you a homeschooling mom? We are looking to hear from other homeschooling moms who would like to share why they decided to homeschool. And if you have additional ideas for homeschool-related blog posts that you are interested in contributing, please send us your idea! To submit, please email christa@mommeetmom.com 

Letting Go of the Need to Keep Perfectly Clean Kids

Today’s guest blogger is a freelance writer, a blogger, and of course, a mom! She writes for WEtv.com and recently launched her own blog, http://anewmomintown.com, to help other moms navigate through motherhood without taking it too seriously. We asked her to share her tips for letting go of Type A tendencies. Here’s what she had to say:

Now that I have kids, my mom constantly reminds me about my first week at preschool.  The story always starts with…

“Your teacher thought there was something wrong because

you didn’t like to touch sand…”

Before I was a mom, I had no interest in debating that statement because it described me perfectly.  Sand.  Yuck!  For over 30 years, I managed to take mental notes of anything I touched that I defined as grimy, dirty or contaminated and looked for the nearest sink to wash the germs away (too bad I didn’t invent anti-bacterial soap when I had the chance).

Fast forward to 2009, my beautiful baby girl arrived.  It was hard for me to look at her and not promise to keep her safe and sanitized.  Her newborn months were filled with a morning wipe down, numerous clothing and diaper changes, and an evening bath.  I always felt so rewarded when other moms complimented how immaculate I kept her and joked they would have no problem letting their kid share a bottle with mine.  But when my little clean machine went to nursery, the new reality kicked in.

I would drop her off stain and germ-free and expected her to stay that way all morning.  However, when I returned to pick her up she would greet me with mulch jammed in her fingernails, left over snack stuck to her clothes, a giant hug, and sometimes a wet sneeze in my face.  What was happening?  My tidy tot was taken over by gross, slimy residue and snot, BUT more importantly FUN.

The laughter from this tiny hot mess opened my eyes and mind.  Kids are like sponges, I could either teach her to absorb my bad habits or my good ones.  I knew I had to make a mommy adjustment ASAP.  My obsessions may stick with me, but my days as a paranoid parent were about to come to a close.  Here are five things I learned from that day.

Let Go

Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you don’t make mistakes.  Recognizing your shortcomings and making strides to improve yourself is a good indication that you are ready to make a change.

Pop The Bubble

Face it.  Your kids are going to get sick and so are you.  It’s always good to practice healthy habits, but protecting your kids from every virus or cold is impossible.

Lead By Example

And I don’t mean you mom.  Take a cue from your child.  If she is having the best time rolling in the mud or jumping in the puddles maybe you should give it a try.

Challenge Yourself

We all want to keep our little angels fresh, but what about not bathing them for a night or putting them to bed without brushing their teeth?  The worst thing that can happen…they may make themselves sick from their stinky breath ☺.

Happiness is Contagious

Nothing makes a parent happier than seeing their child enjoy themselves.  It means you’re doing your job correctly.

Check out more of Hope’s writing at her website! And if you’re interested in guest blogging (real moms only please) drop us a line!

Courtney of Courtney Price Photography on Getting Great Photos (Even with Your Phone)

Today we’re excited to feature a guest post by mama and photographer Courtney Price. She and her husband (lovingly nicknamed “the Milk Man”) raise 5 kids in North-West Washington. Courtney began photographing her own children when she realized that she could do a better job than the mall! The requests started coming and after a lot of practice and study, Courtney Price Photography was born. Courtney loves music and also teaches voice and piano lessons. She runs a lot, bikes as much as weather will allow, and is currently taking her first ballet class!

There she is again. That mom on your social network of choice who always has great pictures. She might be a professional photographer, but even when she shoots with her phone, those images are better than yours too! What gives?

There are really two main things to keep your eye on when snapping a photo. And really, it only takes a couple of seconds to assess the situation, once you know what to look for.

1. Keep the background simple. The “stuff” of life is very real and I don’t think that you should pretend to be someone you are not by “hiding” an imperfect scene. However, if you want the focus of the image to be your child, pose them away from the garbage can at the park, or just move the dirty rag on the counter before you snap the image of them making a big mess while they eat cake. I have plenty of bad examples of this, would you like to see one?

There is just way too much in the background of this photo. If I would have moved myself, it probably would have looked nicer to just have the storefront behind them instead of cars, people, chairs, bike-racks… you get the idea!

It is always a good idea to move yourself around a bit.

Another angle of the above picture has the line of buoys going straight through his head and another has people that we don’t know walking through the frame in bathing suits (I don’t love pictures of strangers in bathing suits). Those things take the focus from my boy. By moving around on the beach, I got the shot I wanted, just using my phone.

2. Look for light. It does not matter what camera you are using, lighting always comes into play. There are many difficult situations to watch out for.

On an overcast day, light is really diffused and doesn’t have a real direction. On those days, have your child look up at you to catch the light from the sky overhead. Otherwise, you’ll end up with shadowy sockets where their eyes should be. That’s no fun!

If you’re inside, turn toward windows or doors. Again, more light on the face= happy momma! I think that good lighting really showcases a child’s inner glow.

If it’s super sunny, watch out! That can actually make for the worst pictures. Let me give you another bad example, lest you were under the impression that I think I’m perfect!

Ugh! That light it ruining his cute face! In these conditions, it is best to head for shade. Put them entirely in the shade, but just on the edge (and still facing the light). This makes for gorgeous lighting and is also known as “open shade” because it is open to the light, but still technically shade. For instance:

The girls above are just inside the shadow of an awning. And now we can see their pretty faces. If they were standing out about 3 feet, I would only have squinted eyes to look at.

And lastly, be sure to pop out your camera at dusk…

…and at dawn.

Because that is when the light is just plain magical!

So, next time you are about to take a picture think about where the light it coming from and what is behind your subject. Move yourself accordingly and boom! A great shot!

More next time on what to DO with those fabulous images!


If you’re a North-West Washington mama, definitely consider booking a session with Courtney! You can find out more here:

  • www.courtneypricephotography.com
  • https://www.facebook.com/CourtneyPricePhotography
  • http://www.pinterest.com/pricecourtneyann/

On Becoming a SAHM

Today’s post comes from Meggin, who was one of our Featured Moms last summer back when she was a full-time working mom. Now she’s made the transition to SAHM fulfilling a dream she wrote about way back when – and the variety of reactions she’s received since making the change has been surprising. Here’s what she had to say:

In the past 12 months, I’ve gone from working while pregnant to becoming a mom, then working between home and office, to being a full-time work-from-home-mom finally to full-time stay-at-home-mom. Someone hand me a cold adult beverage, because 2013 was a busy freaking year.

I was not expecting to make the WFHM to SAHM transition, but sometimes the chips fall and things turn out differently. The brief low-down is that we were clicking along nicely until my employer informed me that they would no longer extend me the option to work from home. Womp.

At the very least, it was the kick in the pants I needed to finally make the change. I had been hoping for the opportunity to be a SAHM since I learned I was pregnant—here it was! I submitted my notice a few days later with trepidation and maybe just a little glee. As excited as I was, I still had plenty of reservations.

I was absolutely terrified at the thought of eliminating my income, the loss of my company-covered health insurance and the very real lifestyle change we’d have to make as a result. We had been making great progress reducing our debts (credit card, auto loans, student loans…everyone knows that song) and losing my paycheck meant that further progress would be put on hold. It was so gratifying to watch those outstanding balances dwindle!

In addition to that, I was wrestling with the feelings of guilt that I was experiencing. Crazy, I know, but I couldn’t get away from the thought that I would be a financial drag on the family. I hated that I wouldn’t be able to help shoulder the financial responsibility. It didn’t seem like much of a partnership to me.

In both cases, I had to remind myself (more often than I’d like to admit) that I was good for a lot more than financial contribution and that those other contributions were pretty damn valuable…dare I say, priceless. Still, it was a big shift in perspective for me. It’s a tough pill to swallow as a person in a culture that so often measures success with a financial yardstick.

We ended up tightening our budget and bought a health insurance policy privately and then I pulled up my big girl pants and rolled up my mama sleeves. All of that garbage finally aside, I was really looking forward to being able to spend my days with Caroline, who was 6 months old at that time.

My mom was a SAHM, so the idea of staying home with children seemed perfectly normal to me. When I told people that I was no longer working in an office, I was surprised at the variety reactions I received. The people who were married to a SAHP or were themselves a SAHP/product of a SAHP environment were absolutely thrilled for us.

“That’s great!” they’d say, “How wonderful for Caroline!”

On the other hand, people who hadn’t been exposed to such an environment or who had not raised their children as such were much more likely to raise an eyebrow. Most couldn’t fathom what I did all day.

My all-time favorite gem came shortly after my last day of WFHM life.

“So!  You’re a lady of leisure now!”

Um. Wut.

I absolutely bristled. This came from someone who had to work while raising kids—someone I greatly respect but still, a person who had no experience as a SAHP. BE POLITE MEGGIN. Come on though!! Do those ears of yours work, because I’m not sure you heard what you just said! LADY OF LEISURE?!

I’ll tell you what, fellow parents, it was everything I could do to not rudely invite that person to sit on that comment and twist. My unscheduled hours are many but lady of leisure I am not.

“So, do you…clean something…every day?” one of my more industrious and successful relatives dubiously asked, to which I raised my own eyebrow and explained that I cleaned what needed to be cleaned when it needed to be cleaned.

It was hard for me not to snark back in both instances, which is my go-to defense mechanism, I’m sorry to report.  It’s not their fault. When a large portion of life is packed with this meeting or that one for YEARS on end, it probably gets tough to remember what it’s like to have ‘free’ time. I can sympathize with that, I suppose. I had to remember that many people have no frame of reference whatsoever when it comes to this sort of thing.

I’ll admit that I expected I’d have more downtime than I actually have. I thought I could do tons of chores while the baby played in the living room or while she napped. I thought that I’d have lots of time to maintain my blog and to do some contract work for my former employer. I thought I’d go for a good run every morning and work in a strength routine, too. I’d cook every meal from scratch and keep the basement freezer stocked with healthy options.

The reality is that I do have some time to do those things, just not as much as I thought I’d have. Sometimes, any semblance of a schedule/routine/plan I had goes directly into the crapper when Caroline wakes up cutting a tooth and needs to snuggle with me.  But you know what?  I’m completely ok with that. She’s 10 months old, increasingly mobile and curious as all get-out. To miss sharing a new experience with her in favor of cultivating my dishpan hands or culling the dust bunny population under the beds would be completely asinine.

For now, this whole SAHM thing remains a learning experience and I’m sure it will continue to be a learning experience loooong after I expect it to be. I’ve said in the past that my day-to-day hovers somewhere between “my life has zero spontaneity” and “holy crap my life is nothing but spontaneity,” so right now I’m trying to focus on finding something close to equilibrium.

Looking forward, I’m pretty sure 2014 will be just as hectic and messy as 2013. Bring it on, I say! There’s no place I’d rather be.

Check out Meggin’s blog here!

‘Post Baby Hot Mamas’ – Here’s our perception…What’s yours?

If you’re a mom, chances are you’ve seen the following post-baby photos that have come out as controversial and are virally making their way across the web. The first is the “What’s Your Excuse” ad posted by non-profit entrepreneur and fitness enthusiast, Maria Kang. The second is a “selfie” posted by Norwegian soccer wife and fitness blogger, Caroline Berg Eriksen on her Instagram feed just four days after giving birth. Some consider the photos “fat shaming”, many call out their genetic fortune which is not the case for most mothers, and others cheer them on for their passion and commitment to health and fitness.

Co-founders of Mom Meet Mom, Julia High, Christa Terry, and Meg Gerritson found themselves reacting quite differently to these photos.

Left – Maria Kang Ad / Right- Caroline Berg Eriksen Selfie

 

Julia – “If it’s about you, cool. When it’s about me, uncool” 

I have wildly different responses to these two images because of the difference in how they are presented. To Caroline Berg Eriksen: it’s awesome that you felt confident enough about your body to post this picture 4 days after giving birth. Everyone’s body is different; some women are naturally thin and willowy, some are curvy, some are muscular. Everyone handles pregnancy differently; some have big bellies, some small, some put on lots of weight, some gain very little. Ms. Eriksen appears to be someone who stays thin and doesn’t put on much weight. That’s cool by me! I *will* say that I have no idea how she managed to wedge a super ultra overnight maxi pad into those undies, so, you know, kudos. I do hope she isn’t pushing herself to recover too quickly, but for all I know she spent the entire day lying down in sweatpants. Most importantly, Ms. Eriksen’s picture has nothing to do with me.

Maria Kang, however… that “What’s your excuse?” changes the entire tone of the image. “What’s your excuse?” means that Ms Kang’s post is about *me* and *my* body, and I reject the premise that the shape of my body (or, for that matter, anyone else’s) has any implications about my success or failure as a human being or as a mother. My “excuse” is that judging a mother – or any other woman – on the shape of her body belittles her mind, belittles her heart, belittles her courageous acts, her resolve, her hard work that manifests itself in ways that aren’t revealed by micro shorts. My “excuse” is that I don’t need abdominal definition to be happy or even healthy. You can be a mom and be thin, and that’s great. You can be a mom and be fat and that’s great, too. Ms. Kang is a mom who has chosen to emphasize fitness, and that’s great, as long as she doesn’t try to force those standards on anyone else. I’m a mom who chooses a more intellectual path to go with my size 8 jeans. I figure that my choice is great for me, but I don’t really need to take a picture of myself, my 3-year-old, and my 6-month-old sitting on top of a stack of the 38 books I’ve read so far this year with a caption of, “what’s your excuse?”

Christa – “I’m Torn!” 

On one hand, I completely understand the way a message like this could mess with a new mom’s head. Like what IS my excuse? What’s wrong with me that I’m failing so badly? I must be doing something horribly wrong if these women can get their pre-baby bodies back in just a couple of weeks or even days and I’m planning my baby’s first birthday in my maternity pants. The problem is that when body image issues are involved – not to mention hormones and sleep deprivation – new moms probably aren’t going to look at Maria Kang’s “What’s your excuse?” pic logically and say “My ‘excuse’ is I don’t have any help”… “My ‘excuse’ is that my c-section resulted in chronic pain”… “My ‘excuse’ is a baby who cries for hours at a time”… or a special needs child, taking care of an elderly parent, having to go back to a stressful job, post-partum depression, or a host of other ‘excuses’ that are actually just reality.

But on the other hand, as much as I don’t like the implication of the verbiage the “What’s your excuse?” mama used, the most common response to pics like Caroline Berg Eriksen’s – i.e., sexy and skinny selfies – from other moms seems to be biting criticism. Moms who bounce back quickly – and I’ll admit, I am one of them, though there are no washboard abs here – are called freaks, show-offs, unhealthy, intimidating, and self-absorbed. Sometimes moms who are fitness focused and lucky enough to have won the post-pregnancy genetic lottery are called out as selfish or not as good at being a mom because they make working out or losing the baby weight a priority. Skinny new moms who lucked out in the body type department are called unhealthy and accused of starving themselves. And in my opinion that’s just as uncool as accusing moms who don’t have the time, energy, or whatever to hit the gym of being lazy.

The big question is why moms on either side of the post-birth baby weight divide feel the need to cut each other down. If a mom never loses the weight or she’s cut like Schwarzenegger, what does it matter?

Meg – “Rock on Mamas” 

Caroline Berg Eriksen, you are one hot momma. Good for you for having the confidence and pride to post a photo like this on Instagram. I am not going to say that “you clearly have great genes,” because I don’t know your story and quite frankly I know very few people (okay, no people) who have genes that without any physical training, will drive their bodies immediately back into this shape just four days post birth. It amazes me that people have to hunt around for a “freak reason” why some people bounce back after having a baby. Sure, for some it’s genes alone, but given your background as a fitness blogger and the muscle tone in this photo, in my mind you appear to be very active and committed to your health and physical fitness. Good for you.

As for the Maria Kang photo, it’s meant to be motivational not mean. I think people can be so sensitive and over-analyze this stuff. If you walked into a gym and saw this ad, your first thought would be ‘Damn, I want to look like that momma” and then you would hit the treadmill. You would think this because you are already interested in taking steps towards getting back in shape. Severe health circumstances aside, the people who push back on this stuff are likely not ready to take those steps. It’s pretty clear that the ad is doing what it should – motivating the motivated and challenging the unmotivated.  And like I mentioned in reference to Caroline’s photo, let’s not jump to the “good genes” explanation. It’s clear fitness is also a priority in Maria’s life and it shows. Good for you. As an entrepreneur who owns a fitness non-profit that works with families primarily in underprivileged neighborhoods in order to build self-reliance, health, and capacity, this mom has and will continue to inspire other mothers to make health a priority, despite how hectic our lives become. All too often, as mothers we put other “priorities” before ourselves. Maria is motivating us to rethink this and I thank her for that. Keep up the good work.

Now that you’ve heard what we think, what’s YOUR take?